Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Ears Have It

I'm wrapping up a busy weekend. Friday, I had lunch with a couple friends one of whom is having a baby girl tomorrow if she didn't go into labor this weekend. Exciting stuff. Pregnancy agrees with her, she's absolutely glowing. Lunch was followed by an afternoon with my knitting group. Everyone seemed to be talking about what they're reading (Me? Sting's memoir, "Broken Music."), and one of the women was pleased to share that her son recently became a published author and was invited to participate in UCLA's annual Festival of Books.

Friday night, I met another set of friends for a bite to eat followed by slipping into a business park where they set up their instruments and rocked the office complex. I am so not kidding. I was surrounded by incredible talent, too; so much so, in fact, that I actually declined the mic when it was offered. Trust me, I'm a whore with the microphone as much as anyone, but I also have a shred of dignity. I can sing with my brother's band, but I'm way, way out of my league with these guys. Anyway, can I just say I love Led Zeppelin? Do you know how cool The Immigrant Song sounds live with really solid bass and drums? It's like a religious experience.

Saturday, I went to Santa Barbara to attend a reading by David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell. They were together at the Arlington Theater on State Street which is a must-see if you're a fan of architecture. The interior is designed to re-create the feel of an outdoor amphitheater with faux moon and stars in the fake sky. The effect is really quite lovely. David and Sarah switched off reading their pieces. On stage with them was a woman signing, translating for the hearing impaired. I kept an eye on her because she kept cracking up throughout the reading, especially as she translated lines like (from Sarah), "Is one of the five languages you speak pussy?" But I also watched her because I've always been curious about sign language. It fascinates me how few hand movements it takes to convey so many words.

The week of the Virginia Tech shootings, I started to imagine the same situation unfolding at my alma mater (San Diego State) and felt the strong urge to call my old college friends, just to connect. A day later, I checked my caller ID when the phone rang to see that one of my dorm buddies had beat me to the punch. Imagine my surprise when she told me she was calling to tell me she had a brain tumor. Don't worry, this story doesn't take as bad a turn as you think and like I thought when she imparted the news, just like that. Her brain tumor is not cancerous. It's a slow-growing tumor called an acoustic neuroma which, as the name suggests, affects the part of the brain related to hearing. She had acute and profound ringing in her ears (the symptom which led her to seek medical attention), and she's already permanently lost partial hearing in the affected ear. While it's not life-threatening, she is faced with some hard treatment options with fairly unpleasant potential side effects (permanent tinnitus, total hearing loss, hemi-facial paralysis, cerebral spinal fluid leakage from her nose, to name a few). I don't envy her the decision.

In my line of work (I'm a medical transcriptionist), I think a lot about disease and illness. All day, I sit at my desk wearing headphones, transcribing dictated medical reports, with my music playing in the background. And even though my friend kind of won the lottery as far as brain tumors go, I would personally be devastated if something happened to my ears. My ears and my hands are positively sacred to me. I couldn't work or live without them. If the world went silent to me, I honestly don't know if I could enjoy life.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Agony and Irony

It's with bitter irony that on the same day Pat Tillman's family and Jessica Lynch testified before a congressional committee about the Pentagon's abusive adulturation of their stories for the purposes of its ongoing propaganda and misinformation about the war in Iraq that we learn of the death of David Halberstam. I found this tribute to the journalist, the relevant passages below:

Halberstam told The Nation magazine that today the United States is what he called an "entertainment society. We want to be entertained more than we want to think. It's a serious problem. We're the most powerful nation in the world, but our network broadcast is increasingly about celebrity, sex, and scandal. It's less about substance than it used to be. It's not as good as it should be. And it makes us a more volatile society. We pay very little attention to the rest of the world, then when the rest of the world doesn't act in concert with us and salute us, we're very angry."

The corporate ownership of newspapers today means that the kind of aggressive reporting that characterized journalism in the 1960s and 1970s, bringing down the presidency of Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign in 1973, is no longer possible. That kind of clamorous, insistent reporting by major news organizations in the face of public opinion, no matter how erroneous that opinion may be, fanned by jingoists waving the bloody shirt, causes editors and stockholders big headaches.

As school children in this country, we are taught that we have a "free press" in America because it's not controlled by the government. But we can't pretend that corporate-owned media is unbiased, just as we must be watchful in monitoring the relationship between our government and those very corporations that are doing the broadcasting and printing.

Does Halberstam's death mark the demise of critical thought and forthright, unbiased reporting in the United States? It's up to us to make sure it doesn't, and we must be vigilant.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Why I Need to Hit the Lottery

I added two new links over on my side bar. They are both blogs with celebrity real estate listings with eye candy of sweet cribs. Pictured here is Josh and Fergie's new place from Real Estalker. And if that's your cup of tea (hey, Ffleur!), don't forget to take a look at Celebrity Real Estate Big Time Listings.

Good times.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Car Show

I took this photo from the center of Main Street, Seal Beach, straight ahead to the pier. Unfortunately, I only had my camera phone, and you can't see the flag pole in front of the pier with the flag at half-mast in honor of the Virginia Tech killings this past week. Nevertheless, I think you can see it was a beautiful day, and lots of people came out to enjoy the annual Seal Beach Car Show which I attended strictly by accident. It just sort of popped up in the middle of my walk.


GetFlix was able to get a comment in before I wrote a post. The fact is, I was shooting for the Hummer in the intersection between Main Street and Central. This is more or less the "center" of town, and typically if someone is stopped in that spot, it's cause for lots of horn-honks and waving fists. (Okay, rarely happens... we're a sleepy beach community, after all.) I just opened my camera and shot. The beefcake on the left was kind of a bonus.

Little Red Corvette

I just recently saw the film Boogie Nights, so at first I thought I was simply hyperaware of Dirk Diggler's red Corvette when I saw two on my short walk from home to Main Street. Once I reached my destination, I realized the automotive bounty was thanks to the annual Seal Beach Car Show. Everyone was in town showing off their hot rods, no reference to Dirk intended.

Haute Dawg

This sweet guy sat in front of one of the most popular restaurant/bars in town, humbly accepting pets and kisses from nearly every passerby. I snapped this in the mere seconds between admirers. He's a good boy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jackass in Texas

Donkey Becomes Witness in Dallas Dispute

DALLAS (April 18) - The first witness in a lawsuit Wednesday between two neighbors was a real ass. Buddy the donkey walked to the bench and stared at the jury, the picture of a gentle, well-mannered creature and not the loud, aggressive animal he had been accused of being.

The donkey was at the center of a dispute between oilman John Cantrell and attorney Gregory Shamoun that began after Cantrell complained about a storage shed Shamoun was building in his backyard in Dallas.

He said Shamoun retaliated by bringing Buddy from his ranch in Midlothian and putting him in the backyard.

Cantrell complained of donkey noise and manure piles.

"They bray a lot any time day or night. You never know when they're going to cut loose," he testified.

Shamoun said Buddy was there to serve as a surrogate mother for a calf named Lucy that needed to be bottle-fed.

Neither jurors nor Buddy had the last say.

The neighbors settled their dispute while jurors deliberated.

Shamoun agreed to buy some of Cantrell's land and Cantrell agreed to withdraw his complaint with the city.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Kurt Vonnegut
1922 - 2007

Aww, this bums me out.

Here's the LA Times obit.

(both images by the great Ralph Steadman)

Do This

--Go to

--Click on Maps.

--Click on "get Directions."

--From New York, New York

--To Paris, France.

--And read line # 23.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

For the uninitiated, click here to witness the miracle of surgically separating Peeps conjoined quintuplets. I think medical and lay people alike will appreciate this scientifically advanced technique and how it benefits our culture. And I'm not talking Yoplait!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Keith Richards Snorted His Father

In an all-new low, Keith Richards claims he snorted his father.

"He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared," he said. "... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

Richards' father, Bert, died in 2002, at 84.

You can read all about this mess here. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. The truth is truly stranger than fiction.

UPDATE: Damn, apparently this story is fiction after all.