Miz Shoes

Dueling Banjos

Arrowmont was fabulous. The women in my class were (are) fabulous. My instructor rawked. The food at art camp was spotty, but the morning oatmeal was fabulous. After the snow on Monday, the daffodils and jonquils and narcissus and wood violets and forsythia and wisteria bloomed. I saw a single tufted titmouse. I love them, and they don’t venture south to Miami. However. Gatlinburg itself is scary. If Niagara Falls had butt sex with the cheap end of International Drive in Orlando, and the resulting love child was birthed by Las Vegas, that love child would be Gatlinburg proper.

It is a single long road, bordered on two sides by Elvis impersonator shows, haunted houses, museums dedicated to the automobiles of dead celebrities, chain restaurants, themed miniature golf courses, taffy and fudge shoppes, multiple offerings of “vintage” photography studios (the kind where you dress up like old west hookers or gun slingers and get a sepia toned 5x7 for $45), multiple iterations of Ripley’s Believe it or Not “museums”, a Hard Rock Cafe, an aquarium of some repute (“Hah. Fish in tanks.” says my friend Diana) a scattering of nutjobs preaching the Word from atop bus benches, tacky tee shirt and tchatcke shops,  windows with ticket hawkers reminiscent of hookers in Amsterdam, and the random banjo player looking for hat change. And then there are the tourists who find all that a desirable destination. Good lord. If I hadn’t already had a drink, I would have needed one.

And yet, turn left at the Hard Rock, go up a shallow hill, and you are in an art school. A fine craft wonderland. I’ll go back, and I might even wander down to the joint where we had some great micro-brews and amazingly good pizza. Just, please, don’t make me go back down the gantlet to get there. I don’t know if I’ll be able to say no to the vintage photography set ups.

Miz Shoes

Flaming Teenage Head

Good lord, how do people live? How does the average asshole I have to interact with day by day remember to breathe in and breathe out? To stand erect and not scratch themselves? I honestly don’t know. If I could, I would just go on a rampage today. I hate Verizon, and I’m not too happy with ATT. My beloved husband, the Renowned Local Artist, is a hair away from becoming my beloved husband of blessed memory. The computer guy at work set up the creative director’s computer, and checked a few things, but not the important ones, and consequently, she can’t work. Did I mention there’s a deadline and that she and I are going off to art camp next week, so if this job isn’t done by close of business tomorrow, it won’t be done at all? And she can’t work on her computer? I can’t find the internal IT guy, and my emergency call to my outside techies isn’t getting me help either. I have even called my old co-workers from Apple and not a damn one of them is answering their phones. I am ready to throw myself (and several other people) out of a window. And this is me on Prozac. Can you imagine what state I’d be in without it? Did I mention that it may snow up at art camp? And that we’re driving a vehicle that gets about 12 miles to the gallon. And gas is nudging $4 a gallon? And it’s (to the best of my computations) about 10 tankfuls, there and back? And that I HAVE NO FUCKING MONEY????

Yeah. Good times, people, good fucking times.

Miz Shoes

Pick a Little

First thing I saw on the train this morning was a woman plucking her eyebrows. She did not want me to take her picture. For the millionth time, I ask: What the fuck is wrong with you that you would perform a personal and private grooming function in public… in fact, on public transit.


Miz Shoes

Jesus Christ, Superstar

I’m minding my own business at the office today, when a little plink announces that there is new e-mail. It’s from a member of a Green committee that I’m on, so I open it. Only, it isn’t about our committee, it’s an invitation (forwarded with other e-mail stuck to it) to join her in a new Bible study group that she’s forming. It will meet in the break room on my floor at lunch time. It will be non-denominational, she says, because there are so many of us of so many religions. To which the attached reply has responded, and I pretty much quote: “Praise the Lord. What a great way to spread His word.”

I choke on my coffee. I type the following reply (paraphrased): “Dear Cow-orker, I’m more than a little offended by your invitation. I find bible study in the workplace highly inappropriate. Although you claim that this will be non-denominational, it has been my experience as a Jew, that when people like you say “Bible”, you are not referring to the Pentateuch, (my Torah) or even the Old Testament. You will be reading the story of Jesus, the New Testament. Please remove me from this mailing list.”

But I didn’t send it. Why offend someone I have to work with? I rewrote it, substituting “I’m uncomfortable with your invitation.” Then I took out the “people like you” part. Then I called the HR office and spoke to someone in Employee Relations and trashed the e-mail entirely. I mean, come on. My name is so typically Jewish that I often joke that it’s Jewish for Smith. Or Gonzalez. What makes her think I want to join a bible study group that includes people who say “Praise the Lord” fer fuck sake? Of course, this is the woman who told my Hindi friend that Jews don’t read the bible. She told my friend when she overheard us having a conversation about borrowing one of my prayer books. So she said it to my face. And I corrected her then. Sigh.

Anyway. I work for a business whose business is death and dying. We are, as individuals and as a company, acutely aware of spirituality and how that manifests in a million ways. We are very careful in our Chaplaincy to not promote or endorse any one religion, but all spirituality. And I have some wanker asking me to partake in lunch time bible study. On site. Um, thanks, but no thanks. And I think HR explained to her how, if she wanted to read the bible with her friends at lunch, it would be better to do it informally among friends, rather than sending out a blanket invite to all and sundry.

Miz Shoes

A Mighty Wind

I’m skimming the news about the tornadoes and I run across this sentence:

President Bush, who said he called the governors of the affected states to offer support, plans to come to Tennessee on Friday. “Prayers can help and so can the government,” Bush said.

Prayers can help? Help what? Help who? They did a splendid job of keeping the winds out of the area yesterday, because that statement surely means that the people in the nearby towns that didn’t get destroyed must have prayed harder than the people who died…right? That’s what the Idiot in Chief was saying, wasn’t it? Or do I just not (being a Jew and therefore bound for Hell) understand how that Christian prayer thing works.

And if his idea of the government helping is New Orleans two years later? Then count me out. For the love of all that is sacred and holy (in Bush’s case, that would be oil, money and power) what is he going to do? Send in the trailers and tents that are affectionately known as “Hurricane Magnets” in my part of the woods and “Tornado Magnets” elsewhere?

Is he going to send in the prayer squad or is he going to actually send in food and generators?

I just really need to stop reading the papers.

Miz Shoes

Are You Experienced?

You gotta be kidding me, right? Who would give this fucking blog an ‘R’ rating. Did they not read my archives? Did they not notice the many and permanent links to the Rude Pundit?

I’m offended. As Groucho Marx said, I wouldn’t want to be a member of a club that would accept me.

Miz Shoes

(Insert Disgusting Nasal Noises)

Well, the fat dirty bastard may not have had a cell phone, but what ever was causing him to make those noises was apparently virulent and airborne, because I’ve been in bed with a stupid sinus infection for the past two days. Went to work on Wednesday and by the time I got home had a throat tickle, and sore lymph nodes and a headache and woke up the next morning with a full-blown sinus problem. Thank Dog for videos and hot toddies. Must go back to sleep.

From the AP: the Democratic candidates for President were asked who they liked in the American League East run for the pennant. The two teams in the playoff are the NY Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. These douche bags can’t even answer that question. They name their home teams. Who cares, assholes? It’s BASEBALL: pick a team in the running.

By The Associated Press

How the Democratic presidential candidates responded when asked during Wednesday night’s debate whether they support the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees baseball teams:

- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: Red Sox.

- Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Cleveland Indians.

- New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Yankees.

- Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel: Red Sox.

- Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards: Red Sox.

- Illinois Sen. Barack Obama: White Sox.

- Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: Red Sox.

- Delaware Sen. Joe Biden: Yankees.

Miz Shoes

Viva Las Vegas!!

While my passion for baseball has been well documented in this space, perhaps I have not been quite as forthcoming about my dalliances with football. (American football, for you readers from Down Under and abroad) It’s true that I went to games in high school and junior high, but only because in a tiny Southern town, that’s all there is to do on a Saturday night… except watch the sidewalks roll up. In college, I went to the first home game of my freshman semester, and no others. Now, again, there is this to factor in: the University of Miami Hurricanes lost almost every game during all four of my years there, and it wasn’t until Jim Kelly came along that UM became the quarterback and running back factory it is today. During the glory days of Bernie Kosar and Vinnie Testeverde, et.al. I went to every home game and some away games, most notably the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State in which Vinnie so spectacularly needed a Heimlich maneuver on the field.

But I haven’t been totally up front about the fact that I used to call my father to discuss the Dolphins, the Hurricanes and/or the (shudder) Florida Gators. Or that I found out John Lennon had been shot from Howard Cosell because I was in a hotel room 40 miles from home so that I could catch a Dolphin game that wasn’t broadcast in my area. Or that I bought a hi-def, giant screen tv so that I could watch the Superbowl commercials in HD and letterboxed.

All that being admitted, last night I was watching Sunday Night Football (San Diego going down in feeble sparks, not even flames, to the awesomeness of the New England Patriots—with their star, Randy Moss coming out of UM many years ago). There were the usual commercials for trucks, trucks and more trucks, and for various erectile dysfunction treatments (do not use if you have high blood pressure, low blood pressure, normal erectile functioning, liver disease, heart disease, stroke, vision problems, are breathing, are left handed but bat right, get erections lasting more than 4 hours!! etc…) and I was pretty much ignoring them all. But. Then a terrible thing happened. Viagra has co-opted my very favorite song not originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan. And when I say favorite, I mean it. I have an instrumental version featuring Johnny Ramone and Lemmy, a soulful rendition by Shawn Colvin, a couple of live takes by Bruce, the original by Elvis, the Tort Elvis/Dread Zeppelin reggae version, a punk version by the Dead Kennedys, and a few others. Have you guessed the song yet?

Viva Las Vegas has become Viva Viagra and I’ll be having nightmares about this for a month.

Miz Shoes

With God on Our Side

Is it wrong that I am not at all saddened by the sudden death of Jerry Falwell, and, in fact, may even be a little bit hopeful that nobody will pick up the reins (or reign) of his evil empire of neo-con religious zealots?


Miz Shoes

Can You Smell That Smell?

The breakroom on my floor vents directly into my office: right over my head, in fact. I smell every cup of oatmeal, every piece of toast, every bit of re-heated anything. Mostly this is fine, or at least acceptable as no one has yet to reheat liver.

But the one thing I hate, that I cannot abide, that causes a visceral revulsion through and through is what is currently wafting through the vent:

Microwave popcorn, with heavy artificial butterlike flavor.

I’m retching. There is something about the smell of microwave popcorn that just makes me heave. I would outlaw the stuff if I could. Or at least ban it from public access microwave ovens. I think it makes for worse air pollution than cigarette smoking.

Don’t misunderstand me, please. I think that popcorn is one of the major food groups, right up there with fried poultry skin, coffee, chocolate and liquor. But I mean real popcorn. Popped in oil over high heat. Personally, I like to use olive oil, and I once used bacon grease after reading in some White Trash Cookbook or another that bacon grease rendered popcorn ineffably delicious. It does, but I will never be able to eat it again. I could hear my arteries seizing up over the crunching.

I also miss the popcorn of my movie-going youth, when it was popped in palm oil, and real butter could be poured over it. I have seen solid coconut oil in the health food store, but can’t quit bring myself to purchase it, having a somewhat hazy memory of the reason movie theaters don’t use it any more is because it’s even worse for you than bacon grease. Probably explains why it tastes so good, too.

ADDED MAY 17, from GOURMET WEEKLY e-newsletter:


California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, author of a bill to ban diacetyl, which gives microwave popcorn a faux buttery flavor but is suspected of causing a life-threatening lung disease in workers who handle it, speaking to The New York Times: “It’s not like we’re talking about a potential flaw in the polio vaccine. We are talking about a potentially devastating disease caused by buttering flavor. And there are alternatives out there. Including butter.”

Miz Shoes

Yes, And How Many Times…

As often as I am wont to say that I hate the living, I don’t think the answer is locking the doors and shooting everyone else.

And as much as I’m a Yellow Dog strict constitutionalist, and all, I think that the intent of the founders regarding the 2nd amendment had more to do with protection of the citizenry in the face of no standing national army and less about the right to bear arms for the hell of it, or the day the silicon chip inside your head gets switched to overload.

For the POTUS to deliver some mealy-mouthed inanity like he did: “Oh, jeez, everyone should have the right to bear arms, but they should obey the law”* just makes me want to vomit.

You know what? In this day and age, there is no need for the average citizen to own a handgun. Or an assault rifle. Or any other small arms. And if you want to, then join the fucking military and go defend us from the world.

Or how about this? You can own all the guns you want, but you can’t own the ammunition. Or how about the British model, and the guns are locked up in gun clubs and the only time you get to play with your toys is when you are out with other killers hunters shooting at animals. And not like here, where there are hunting farms, where the animals are penned until you get there to kill them. That would be the kind of hunting done by that masterful asswipe, the Vice President of the United States, who shot 400 quail and his hunting companion. There were 500 quail released that day. Oh, I made the numbers up, so sue me, I can’t remember everything I read. But he did go out shooting live skeet, and he did shoot his buddy, so do the numbers really matter?

But no. This is America, land of the freely stupid and bravely stubborn in the face of all logic. How many more? How many more people will be shot for no reason by people with no reasoning but plenty of guns and ammunition? When will the neo-cons and NRA apologists figure out that guns don’t kill people, but people with guns do?

To quote the Rude Pundit, have you ever heard of a drive-by stabbing?

A long, long time ago I dated a man who used to dream about killing his ex-girlfriend. Not in an abstract way, but vivid and explicit dreams about shooting her in the head.** (No, I didn’t date him long after I heard about that, and when he wanted to see me suddenly after a year or so had passed, I would only meet him in a public place.) A therapist told me that we all dream about or can dream about killing people, but that only a person capable of doing it in real life could see it all in that kind of detail. But that was twenty-some years ago, before hyper-real FX in movies, and first-person shooter games on every PC and GameBoy and Wii.

We have not become, as our Moron-in-Chief says, a culture of life, America has become a culture of glorified violence. It is approved by our government when we dance around the definitions of torture re: the Geneva Conventions. It is approved by our government when we out-source our prisons to folks without the same delicacy of nature that America pretends, as a nation, to have.

How many more students will be shot down? How many more innocent folks, putting gas in their cars? How many children caught in the cross fire of gang wars? How many more gallons of blood will paint the hands of the NRA and their spineless puppets in Congress before we decide that maybe, just maybe, in the 21st century, in this place, we all don’t need to have a sidearm strapped on?

I hate the living, but that doesn’t mean I want to kill them.

* Especially since the POTUS and his entire administration seem unable to obey any laws theirownselves. You know, the little ones, like perjury, and destroying evidence, and doctoring evidence, and leading this country into an illegal war, and wiretapping, and illegal search and seizure, and spying on US citizens, and you know, the whole rest of the ten commandments and most of the US constitution.

** That boyfriend? Killed himself. I was never able to find out how, but there were hints… he’d watched Blue Velvet a hundred times, it involved massive amounts of drugs and, yes, a gun.


Miz Shoes

The Return of Oriental Payne

Let me first set the record straight, and say right out, I am not a cutter. I do not find pain (mine or anyone else’s*) enjoyable. However, I tend to be just a wee clumsy, and especially when I’m depressed.

Many years ago this tendency was spotted by a boyfriend, who commented that I didn’t just hurt myself, I hurt myself in complicated and very torturous ways, like some kind of exotic, oriental pain. That immediately became my club name: Oriental Payne.

So. Last week, after a brilliant morning (I found the very first spot in the parking garage open, and I met a new person on the train—an Apple-carrying, clog-wearing film person) and an ok work day, I trotted out of the building, aware, as always since last year’s Valentine’s Day tumble down the stairs, of where my feet were as I went down those steps. The light on Biscayne Boulevard turned red as I reached the curb, and so I took off across the street without breaking stride.

I saw the red car in the first lane. I saw the blonde boy with light eyes and no helmet on a yellow sport motorcycle in the second lane. I don’t know who or what was in the next lane, because I stepped out of my very high, very fabulous brown mule and went ass over tea kettle and did a magnificent face-plant in the middle of the third lane.

Thankfully, nobody ran the red light.

My glasses went flying. My book bag went flying. My titanium Mac in its chic little Vera Bradley bag went flying. My shoes, ditto.

I have a road rash on my left leg that extends from mid-calf to knee. The knee is completely skinned - flayed, even. The bruises are impressive and keep traveling around (yesterday a new one appeared below my ankle and wrapping around under my instep).

The right knee turned purple immediately and swelled to the size of a pie pumpkin. It is now green, with interesting purple undertones, and the right leg is also host to travelling bruises.

The only person to even acknowlege me sprawled across two lanes of traffic was a man on the far curb, who called out as I was gathering up my possessions and my wits “You OK there?” He did not, nor did anyone else, offer to help me.

*OK, I admit, there are a couple of people in whose pain I would take pleasure. My ex, for one. My ex-bosses, for two, three and four. And, you know, a few Neo-cons and a POTUS or two. But really and for the most part, no.


Miz Shoes

Unclear on the Concept

I blame this on Starbucks and the fashion industry which have skewed our understanding of size standards. What was once a small is now a tall. What was once normal is now plus sized.


Miz Shoes

You Got A Lot of Nerve

An astute new (and presumably very young) reader accosted me in my comments this morning with the following question, which I quote in its entirety, and exactly as she typed it (in all caps, shouting at me first thing in the morning… sigh)


First of all, sweetiedarling, the correct abbreviation for which you are searching, is ETC, as in etcetera. Not ecksettra, or however you are pronouncing it in your head.

Secondly, what gives me the right to judge people is this: I am the self-appointed arbiter of taste for the universe and it would be a much more attractive place if people would just take my advice.

Thirdly, what gives me the right to be arbiter of taste for the universe is that I have exquisite taste, and if I ever did make a fashion mistake, there is no film hanging around to prove it.

Finally, regarding your final statement, the one in which you opine about the frequency of my sex life versus the number of pairs of shoes you own… what, exactly, was the point you were attempting to make? I came of age in the 70s, child, and I’ve been married to the Hottie Renowned Local Artist for 15 years, so I hope you have a spare room or two to house all those pairs of shoes you claim to own. And I hope you keep them all polished, stored neatly in boxes, with tissue stuffed in the toes to keep their shape. I also hope that you make sure the heels are always in good repair.



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