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{Saturday, April 19, 2003}

From Dead Parrots to Axis of Evil

The jungle is closing in and my little natives are restless; no time for erudition, must get out the machete and start putting our clearing to order. But before I go: stumbled across a dead parrot today. Aunt Linda sent me this one, so if you haven't seen it, enjoy. It's supposedly by John Cleese, and if it isn't it ought to be.

Axis of Evil

Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the "Axis of Evil," Libya, China and Syria today announced that they had formed the "Axis of Just as Evil," which they said would be more evil than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of in his State of the Union address.

Axis of Evil members, however, immediately dismissed the new Axis as having, for starters, a really dumb name. "Right. They are just as evil . . . in their dreams!" declared North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

”Everybody knows we're the best evils . . . best at being evil . . . we're the best."

Diplomats from Syria denied they were jealous over being excluded, although they conceded they did ask if they could join the Axis of Evil. "They told us it was full," said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "An axis can't have more than three countries," explained Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "This is not my rule, it's tradition. In World War II you had Germany, Italy, and Japan in the evil Axis. So, you can only have three, and a secret handshake. Ours is wickedly cool."

International reaction to Bush's Axis of Evil declaration was swift, as within minutes, France surrendered.

Elsewhere, peer-conscious nations rushed to gain triumvirate status in what has become a game of geopolitical chairs.

Cuba, Sudan and Serbia announced that they had formed the "Axis of Somewhat Evil", forcing Somalia to join with Uganda and Myanmar in the "Axis of Occasionally Evil," while Bulgaria, Indonesia and Russia established the "Axis of Not So Much Evil Really as Just Generally Disagreeable."

With the criteria suddenly expanded and all the desirable clubs filling up, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, and Rwanda applied to be called the "Axis of Countries That Aren't the Worst But Certainly Won't Be Asked to Host the Olympics". Canada, South Africa and Australia formed the "Axis of Nations That Are Actually Quite Nice But Secretly Have Some Nasty Thoughts About America," while Scotland, New Zealand and Spain established the "Axis of Countries That Want Sheep to Wear Lipstick." "That's not a threat, really, just something we like to do," said Scottish Executive First Minister Jack McConnell.

While wondering if the other nations of the world weren't perhaps making fun of him, a cautious Bush granted approval for most axis, although he rejected the establishment of the "Axis of Countries Whose Names End in 'Guay," accusing one of its members of filing a false application. Officials from Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chadguay denied the charges.

Israel, meanwhile, insisted it didn't want to join any Axis, but privately world leaders said that's only because no one asked them.

posted by Celia 3:25 PM

{Friday, April 18, 2003}

Florida: Hot and Edgy

Lately it seems as though there is a rash of mystery/crime/suspense novels set in here in Florida. Or maybe the supermarket line is just getting slower, and I have time to read more than just the screaming lies in the rag headlines, like "Lisa Marie Marries Alien!!!" Okay, that one was true.

Anyway, I've lapped them up whenever possible, and they always picture Florida as teetering on a razor's edge of sanity; hot, steamy, and full of mysterious, sexy, questionably innocent young widows, and the grizzled, yet young, hard-partying private eyes who almost, but not quite, fall for them. There's usually a murderous, but lovable crank-with-a-grudge woven in and out of the story and an ultra-hip senior citizen, one of whom will either solve the mystery/crime/suspense or save the private eye from a critical moment of bad judgement, or both. Naturally, he gets to take the credit anyhow. Sometimes one or both secondary characters are also secretly millionaires or the p.i.'s parents, but that's just icing. All have shady pasts and are just colorful as all get-out. Lots of alcohol and fresh seafood is consumed. And so on.

Now, I've lived here for ten years---and I'm talking on or near the coast, too, not out in the dairy/horse-country hinterlands---and I have yet to encounter one of these people, or anyone like them. I feel cheated, perhaps petulant, about this. Heaven knows I've kept my eyes peeled. I've gone into convenience stores after sundown and walked on the beach a lot. (A lot of that alcohol and food consumption takes place on beaches. Also random encounters and a majority of the murders---and yet I've never once stumbled across a dead body. Go figure.) I stand still and listen when potentially odd people start to talk to me, but they keep disappointing me by turning out to be garden-variety pan-handlers or multi-level-marketers. What am I doing wrong?

Here I am, all open to the whole Florida Weirdness experience, and the closest I've come is when M, the clerk at the corner Stop n Pay Too Much, confided to me that she was worried her brother was considering suicide because his girlfriend took his Camaro and his Led Zepplin LP's, and wouldn't give them back. M had a black eye at the time, from walking into the dumpster late the night before, and has hair dyed such a deep shade of black I could feel the gravitational pull, but I don't think that counts as "colorful."

I'm beginning to think all those writers just make that stuff up.
posted by Celia 7:04 PM

Bugs in the Jungle

I have wasted an incredible amount of time validating my suspicion that I don't understand diddly about how a website works. Could I just blog on with a free site, wasting (at least less) time just yapping away? Nooooo. I had to get clever and try adding little things like "comments" and counter links, links to other people's websites and so on and so on. A task for which I am dazzlingly unqualified.

For instance, at the bottom of this blog you will find not one, but two "comments" links. (Well, you might. I really don't know; that's where it gets so exciting.) One works; one doesn't . I think. Isn't that fun? Is this because I want you to repeat yourself, or I just like cutting and pasting HTML, hitting the save button and then waiting in breathless anticipation to see what will disappear or appear or maybe just migrate on my page? Well, maybe. But I've decided I may, after all, be an optimist. How depressing.

Well, dang if I haven't lost the previous comments altogether. Humph. Apologies, Sean.

posted by Celia 2:23 PM

{Thursday, April 17, 2003}

In Method Writing, Motivation is Everything

I decided to do this blogging gig for four (or so) reasons:

1) Most of my friends and family (who have transparently urged me to pursue this venue, or any venue, please really, you're wasting this on us! No. Really.) are gainfully employed and/or a gazillion miles away, and even phone cards and calling plans cost money. Said family and friends almost certainly delete my nine-page emails unread, and may be contemplating an intervention. It's time to head this off at the pass, before I start planning my days, and the baby's naptime, around "Dr. Phil." (No offense to Dr. Phil; I like Dr. Phil, and the therapeutic value of lounging around for an hour sneering, "Oh, right, I'm having a body-image crisis over my latest collagen injection too,'" while ignoring the weeds obscuring my mailbox, is indisputable. But still.)

2) I was shocked today to hear my almost-two-year-old (yes, the same one who still calls our dogs, Mickey and Mojo, "Icky-Jo" as though they were one entity) muttering what sounded like, "S**t, s**t," while leafing through an "Olivia" book. This may have been an editorial comment, but I doubt it. Clearly, she has watched Mommy pay bills too often and taken note of the proper vocalization that accompanies the viewing of printed matter on one's own. I need another outlet for expression, to put it in quasi-legal PC language.

3) It is another way to practice my typing other than those tests which take me through the keyboard in a manner that evokes the psyche-scarring piano scales practice forced upon me as a child...well, I just can't talk about that. Anyway, if I ever get up to the dizzying 75 wpm or so the transcriptionist services require, and I'm very, very good, I may one day be able to bring down an astounding ten bucks an hour Working From Home!! And this, in turn, might mean that:

4) We can someday move from a neighborhood where "living within our means" --ha--constitutes having neighbors with tattoos over 90% of their visible body surface and for whom "Harley" isn't merely a mode of transportation, but a lifestyle choice. No offense to them, either. They are clean, employed, cordial, keep their homes and lawns immaculate, and I know where to borrow a firearm should I ever feel nervous on any of the nights my husband is out of town on business. (Not that feeling safer when he's here isn't blatant delusion on my part, given that the last time we heard a suspicious noise in the night, he urged me to "Go see what that is!" while he rolled over and went back to sleep. I did, by the way, armed with a wooden flagpole that somehow had ended up in the corner of our bedroom. (Go ahead, draw all the kinky inferences you wish....Tragically, this speaks more of my housekeeping proclivities than any sexual ones, but I digress.) Also, he once slept through the double sonic boom that occurs when the space shuttle passes back into the atmosphere (We live in Florida.), and later told me he tossed and turned all night, didn't sleep a wink. But that's another story.) Where was I? The neighbors, right. It's just that the places where our lives intersect are necessarily constricted. I drive a 10-year old Acura and have limited my voluntary bodily disfigurement to pierced earlobes and an extra 40 pounds of "baby fat." The idea, at this juncture of my life, of associating myself with anything called a "hog," is simply too evocative. All of which curtails the desired adult interaction. Which takes us back to:

5) ...Hmmm. Something about adults. Oh, right! Needing an adult outlet for expression. Sounds like one of those University for Man courses you can audit down at the JC, along with "Making 'The Tripod: Career, Family, Fun' Work for You," and "Home Decorating with Old Phonebooks." I'd sign up in a flash, but they tend to frown on people who can't find a reliable sitter and who are wearing their old phonebooks, since the last time they shopped for (or fitted into) fashionable clothes was when they were young, single, employed and remembered how to apply mascara. There's more to all this, but I'm starting to get distracted; I can hear Dr. Phil starting. Today he's going to be counseling people who are frazzled and conflicted about whether to summer in Provence or buy that larger yacht they've had their eyes on. The baby's asleep and the weeds can wait; time to warm up my sneer.

Oh, P.S.- Those friends I mentioned? You can thrill to their socially significant observations at My Sweet Happy Crazy Life and Wendy City The first is my dear friend Sara, who is chiefly to blame for all this (but not the only guilty party). She's another SAHM, but wait, wait, dammit! Yes, while the number of stay-at-home-moms willing to commit their every coherent thought to print (witness Yours truly, Me) is so vast that the very mention of such subject matter is enough to elicit narcolepsy in most people, Sara is different. You haven't busted a gut until you've read her "Take Your Pick" blog! The second is the delightful Wendy, who is cogent, friendly and just damn funny. Also, she has yet to tie up her yacht in any particular dock yet, which is a breath of fresh sardonicism for many of us. Check these ladies out!

posted by Celia 8:39 PM


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