Thursday, July 27, 2006
Just Another Reason to Stick to Carry-On Baggage
Have you ever wondered what happens to unclaimed/lost baggage?
I haven't. Still, I find myself agog over this website
. That's right, it's the UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE STORE.
Go take a look-see. When you get past the immediate feelings of revulsions over a company making profits off of the loss of air denizens, you'll be amazed at what you can find.
The prices are still too steep for me. But people pack some pretty crazy stuff. I wonder if they have an 'adult' section?
Then again, who wants to own a pre-used battery operated toy?
They do have a list of unusual items, however. My favorite?
- "A special camera designed for NASA’s Space Shuttle was discovered in an unclaimed piece of luggage."
- "A guidance system for an F16 fighter jet valued at a quarter of a million dollars showed up in unclaimed baggage"
Great. It makes me feel safe and secure that the best stalemate to allowing top secret, multi-million dollar government projects from leaving the country is through the unpackers of the Unclaimed Baggage Center.
Makes me wonder, though, what happens to unclaimed baggage in the rest of the world. Given to kings and despots? Laundered through drug cartels?
Wonderful. Something else to keep me up at night.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The First Wedding Gift
Welcome to my office. This is where the magic happens. And by magic, I mean on-line shopping. Sometimes, working. More often than not, blogging. Researching knitting patterns. You catch my drift. Upon my chair rests a tube. It is not the London Tube, nor the Metro. It is a simple white tube used to deliver fragile goods. Photographs, for example. It is my very first wedding gift, and I am thrilled to see it there, resting oh-so-patiently on my rather uncomfortable computer chair.
What's this? Upon opening the tube, I come across a note. A note written so beautifully and so neatly, I can only think of one person who has the extreme patience and dexterity to letter as such. I can only think of a librarian.
Ah! Yes! A family of dynamic individuals! Photographers
and civil activists
! It could only be from MADGE
of the DUCK MOTIF
. And what a motif it is.
Madge and her fantastically wonderful Significant Other (his name his Steve, I hope he won't mind me saying so...) were kind enough to share this gift of Steve's with Michael and myself. Now, people, when we look at the photograph that I admired a few weeks ago, do not only look at the lines and minimalism. Also: understand that Steve developed this in his own darkroom. Additionally, the picture was taken with a toy camera
. This photo is more than lines. It is truly an accomplishment, and one that Michael and I will enjoy for many years. Additionally, Steve's work will be shown at a Florida gallery
in the near future. Please pardon my 'framing'--it had just sprung out of the tube packaging.
Very faintly on the back of the photo, Steve has signed it. Now, I did not take a photo of his signature because it was such a faint one, and I don't want anyone to take credit for Steve's name. Instead, you can also see how Steve kindly named this photo 'Elizabeth & Michael 1/1'. No, that does not mean we are handicapped. Perhaps, he did not 'title' the photo 'Elizabeth & Michael', but I would like to think so. Next time it's printed, it might be 'Parking in Wheels' or 'The Lines Drawn' or something else profound and intellectual. Meanwhile, this is an original piece done just for Michael and I. We are more than thrilled with it.
I have not yet found the appropriate frame for this work. It will have to be done just so--acid-free matting and all that, plus a good border to highlight the lines of this work. I believe when it is done, it will accompany my churches I've kept in the bedroom. A collaboration of work. For payment, I shall be knitting two hats. Perhaps I can convince Michael to reproduce one of his works. It would be in keeping with the theme of photography.
In closing, I shall say this:
Not only is the work phenomenal, but more importantly, the friendship behind it. Madge and I have been posting on one another's site since late last year
. We have created a bond via the Internet, and I am so thankful. Never have I met a more happy-go-lucky and intensely kind woman. Madge has a playful ability to laugh at her life and events therein, but also see the beauty of all things great and small. It is obvious that Steve is much the same. Madge, darling, you are an inspiration and a friend. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this gift--our very first wedding gift.
(No, no, we're not married YET, it's just that this seems APPROPRIATE...)
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
- Stuff that keeps me awake at night:
- Remembering how I fell out of a truck on prom night. Yes. Me in all my pink glory FELL OUT OF A TRUCK. I hit the curb. I blame the gold sandals--and the beehive some woman created out of my thin hair. I still bear the scar on my elbow. Do you know what my good friend said when I fell? This is what she said: "HAHAHAHAHA! YOU FELL!" That good friend is accompanying me to my wedding. Last weekend, she bought me cool pencils. I put eraser tops on them and sharpened them all to a fine point. On the night in question, I would have gladly stuck one of those pencils in her eye. Man.
- Does anyone else talk to herself like I do? Just five minutes ago, I looked up from my computer screen and said, "Is it just me, or is it hot in here?" Like the cat would answer back? No. Okay, even worse, I replied, "No, it's totally hot in here." Concerning? Yes. In keeping with Fritziness? Totally.
- Grand Poobah Fritz (my dad) quit his job as a fruit cutter at a grocery store to teach English as a Second Language. He reports there is a Bangladeshi woman in his beginner's class who talks all the time--some in English, most in her native tongue. She is not talking to anyone in particular. I think he resents her for being nuts in his class. HA HA, Dad. Do you think he is having memories of tutoring fourth grader Fritz in fractions?
Dad: So, if you take one apple and cut it in two pieces, what is one of the pieces called?
Fritz: A semi-circle.
Dad: Yes, but what amount of the apple is it?
Fritz: The part with the seeds, which I don't like, so I throw it away.
Dad: It's a HALF. Say 'HALF'
Fritz: Dad, I HAVE to get a Popple. Can I get a Popple?
Dad: Anne? Anne? Can you please suffocate this child for me?
Mom: The cat threw up again.
Dad: I quit.
Fritz: I wore my eraser down. I need a new eraser top.
Dad: You're not listening to me.
Fritz: Mom's gonna make me clean up the cat barf.
Dad: I just wanted a son. A boy, smart in mathematics. Brilliant in golf. But no.
Fritz: So, um, what about long division?
Fritz Cubed: Fourth Grade. Ardent Reader. Lamest Math Student Ever.
- I have a blog stalker. She knows who she is. She is sitting somewhere in North Carolina, smirking right this moment, reading my blog. She is another good friend from high school. She used to think that Helen Hunt was her biological mother, and not without good reason. She should totally comment.
- Senior year of high school: we got to put these little quotes near the index of the annual. Mine said: "DB, KB: TB and DQ 4ever! John: I love you for all eternity!" A month after submitting that, DB went totally nuts, KB and I never returned to Taco Bell or Dairy Queen, and I smashed John's heart into a million different pieces because he looked a lot like that guy in Goonies whose face was all weird. True story. Do I wish I had said something a bit more profound, like, "Hope is a thing with feathers"? Duh. No shit, I wish I had.
- All of this kind of stuff leads to a poor night's sleep. I'm gonna grab a nap.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Stupid Drunk People
Aw, look! The grass plant at the end of Fritz's driveway has been uprooted! How sad! Fritz wonders how this could have happened.
When Fritz looks closer, she sees that the huge iron fence has also been knocked down--just like the plant! What kind of madness is this?
It must have taken somthing HUGE and FORCEFUL and STUPID to do this. Trees have been knocked over, as well. Strangely, there are no skid marks indicating a desperate attempt to brake. Hmmm. Fritz is curious.
Who needs brakes when one can use a three hundred thousand dollar townhome to stop a car? Aw. Poor neighbor! Poor, poor neighbor who thought that owning a home at the end of a street would insure quiet and safety. Guess again, poor neighbor!
Poor Fritz and Michael; they did not hear the subsequent vomiting, cursing, or sirens. Twenty feet away they slept in complete tranquility, unaware of the stupid drunk person who pulled this off. Poor Fritz who briefly thought about parking her Scion at the end of the driveway; she realized later this sad accident could have been the way out of a very high car payment. Fritz has decided she will start parking her car near the curb, so that the next stupid drunk person doing a stupid stunt like this will hit her car and Fritz will potentially save a tree or two.
Stupid Drunk People.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
I'm Doin' That Thing
...where I go into hiding.
I could go on an on about all the things on my plate right now. But that's dull enough as it is, and doesn't require me painstakingly listing dullness on my blog. I could tell you about how mosquitoes are attacking me and leaving two inch welts all over my body. I could report to you how my plucking of my chin has led to some kind of strange texture, and I'm worried I might be a hermaphrodite. I could describe the struggles I'm having with my weight, and how it is not helped by my stress. I could tell you all about these things, and that would simply not be enough to satiate myself or you, dear readers (if there are any of you left).
Instead, I will tell you about the old man and the cemetery.
Michael works in the horrid little town of Canton, where I once worked, long ago. Ah, I'm pleased to report that Canton, GA is now a mere destination for lunch every now and again, as I'm prone to meet Michael near his work for Mexican. As I drive to his work to meet him, I pass a cemetery. It is not the kind of cemetery I enjoy, with decrepit headstones and plants and trees. It's one of those modern things, where the dead enjoy a scripted plate dug into the ground and some fake flowers that are replaced every two weeks or so. It isn't a cozy place, the way cemeteries SHOULD be. It's rather manufactured. In any case, I drive by it without even thinking about it as a resting place for the dead, because all those fake flowers and neatly trimmed plaques remind me more of a park than of a final destination. I don't hold my breath as I drive by, nor slow down, nor even turn down my music. There's nothing even slightly moody about the place. And with the drill of power machines from the road crew, or the smell of chicken from the chicken processing plant a mile away, the cemetery becomes even less romantic. You see what I'm saying? It's a dull cemetery.
But I drive by it one day, and see an old man sitting on a 'memorial' bench beneath one, young, withered looking tree. The tree is at the corner of the cemetery, so he can look at the expanse of it beneath his tree. It is hot out, like 97 degrees, but he is wearing a long sleeved cotton shirt and neat khakis. He is simply sitting there with his hands folded on his legs. He is sitting amongst the stench of chicken and the roars of the bulldozer, and he is just staring.
I pick up Michael for lunch. We drive back by the cemetery, and Michael comments, "There he is, again." I look at Michael and he explains that the old man is there everyday, always at the same time, always sitting on the same bench. Sometimes, the old man is sipping from a flask. Sometimes, he is smiling and sometimes he is sad. But he is always there, like some kind of sentinel for the rest of us driving by. He's a landmark in the afternoon. You can count on his presence. Michael looks sad while he explains.
"Who do you think he is visiting?" I ask.
"I bet it's his wife," said Michael.
"Yeah. Me, too."
We both grow quiet at this exchange, and think about that. What that would be like--like losing a limb or a vital organ, yet chugging along through life while that innate part is buried underneath some dumb plaque. It is no wonder the flask accompanies the old man.
On those rare days that I meet Michael for lunch, I always look for the old man on the bench. I turn my music down and hold my breath. You see, the cemetery has now truly become a cemetery for me, thanks to that old man. He reminds me that the dead are there, and resting, and we should remember them, regardless of the fake flowers and the lack of trees. Over the fourth of July, flags were placed in the flower holders, and lots of cars could be seen parked throughout the desultory drives. People walked about, talking to their loved ones who have passed away. The cemetery is growing for me. I am glad for that old man.
We have not seen him recently. We wonder if he has gone to join his wife. Possibly, he has grown to understand that he needn't sit there to remember her--that he can do this in his home. Maybe, it's simply too hot. Whatever the case may be, I miss the old man, and now look longingly at the bench he sat upon, thinking of him. This is the case of cemeteries. They make you remember.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
My New Adventure
Thanks to Ubermilf
, I went to The Venus Revolution's homepage
This particular artistic project highlighting the rumpus biggus
of some women is centered in Atlanta.
Apparently, they are always looking for new models.
I couldn't freaking resist, so I sent them this email:
Is this only open to Black women?
Just curious. I'm white and am in
possession of one rather voluptous bottom.
Could it be 'cause I'm
I can't wait to get a response.
UPDATE: I checked my email, and guess what? I got a response:
we're actually looking for white women right now.
do you know
send a picture if you have one
I asked Michael, and we're so going to do it. White women, beware! Fritzae Assae coming forth in all its shimmering glory!
DISCLAIMER: This particular post will make Fritz look like a racist, classist bitch. It is possible that Fritz is a little bit of both, and hates herself for it. Please know that ultimately, I respect the sanctity of life and the myriad cultures this Earth has produced. Please also know that I am concerned for the future of the world.
Michael and I were having one of those talks. You know the kind--you start talking about stem cell research and wind up debating how the world will end. We're undecided--will it be nuclear holocaust? Planetary destruction? Overpopulation? Derisive abuse of fossil fuels?
Europe's birthrate had actually declined but is now on the increase due to illegal immigration from Africa. America's birthrate is expected to explode with the population increases due to the immigration routes from South of the Border. China (as we all know) is imploding with folks. India is regenerating exponentially. Over half of the world's population lives in China and India. That's over four billion people. Wow.
Meanwhile, the Latino cultures value Roman Catholicism, and the Church preaches against birth control and women's rights. So that means more babies. This is a slippery slope. Am I a racist for thinking we have to do something about this kind of thing? Should I be concerned when third and fourth world countries are reproducing at a faster rate than first and second? What are the implications? Can this quickly dissolve into more racism? On the other hand, shouldn't we move to protect the fragile resources this world has? Does the Roman Catholic church have a responsibility to look at its doctrine and tinker with it so people could stop making babies? Or is this essentially a case of the beginning of the end--entropy, so to speak?
It's interesting how viruses work in the same fashion. They enter an organism and start stealing its nutrients. Then, the virus multiplies and mutates. It does it so much that the organism can no longer support all of the little viruses. The organism dies, and with it, all those gazillion viral pieces. Dead organism. Dead viruses.
And in the end: should we worry about this kind of thing or just accept the fact that in the history of evolution, humans might not have been a good idea? Should we understand that we are causing the death of our world--we who are sentient and capable of thought and emotion and communication? Or shall we simply say, "Well. That's it. We're on the downward slope to destruction and we may as well deal with it"?
It's hard to love this world, because it makes it so much tougher to watch it being ripped apart. I'm grateful (in a sad, morose kind of way) that I probably won't live to see the end of the trees. At least we still have those--the bits that cause us to look up, and dream about a nice place, where everything co-exists in peace.
Where lions and lambs slumber together.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
U.S. Military Dead in Iraq: 2540
U.S. Military wounded and not returned to war within 72 hours: 8560
Iraq Body Count Max: 43269
No, really. Let's all just go back to shopping at Wal-Mart. Please. Continue. Life will go on uninterrupted. Don't worry. We're winning. We're totally and completely secure in our actions in Iraq.
Everything is fine.
Everything is great.
When you see the mothers pouring their sorrow into the streets, look away. They sacrificed for the greater good. Their losses will be compensated in our strong economy and our strong faith in God. When you see a 22 year old veteran, praise him. Tell him 'Thank You for Sacrificing Your Legs in a Car Bomb. Please don't drain our welfare system now that you are suicidal.' Support your troops. Be pleasant to them until it is too difficult to see them. Pass them by if it becomes...uncomfortable.
When the mothers pour out their sorrows at the Capitol, shun them. They've gone too far, then. Silence them. Ignore them. They are not helping morale.
When you see uniformed children boarding planes at the airport, salute them and smile. Be happy for them. Congratulate their parents on raising such fine citizens. This is okay. Do NOT support anyone who questions her child's role in the Iraqi resettlement. That is reprehensible.
And when you see the fresh graves smattered here and there in your city's federal cemetary, look away. We beg you. Look away.
Click on photo for more info. on how the USA is trying to keep us from seeing the numbers of coffins coming back from Iraq.
Or: Go here for a list of names of the dead.
And remember them.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
i was driving home from denny's at two in the morning in omaha along 80 west when the mustang passed me going 100mph (how could i tell? i was draining the trooper at 60) and following it at breakneck speed came the motorcycle. and the low lights of february in nebraska glowed in tungsten light against that glassy blacktop, and we thought nothing of it and then came upon the wreck just less than two minutes later. his helmet was thirty feet from his bike and his legs--i cannot forget his legs--disjointed like a broken doll's. the driver of the mustang was weeping and there was no hope in that scene. you don't forget things like that.
i could swear a bum lived beneath that towering oak next to my childhood home in evanston, illinois, but my parents don't recall--i watched him from atop my plastic rocking horse with the springs that sang in every lurch and swing. the bum was brown like the bark of that oak, and moss grew in his beard, and he came and went, but i knew his home was that oak tree. the library was only a few blocks away and my father would feed the squirrels as we walked to and fro that sanctuary of books, library paste, a window seat on the second floor, tucked in the shelves of children's books.
my first boyfriend in college was gay. he was the kindest boyfriend i ever had in college. he broke up with me beneath a fountain on campus at night, and walked me to my dorm, and told me that it wasn't me--that if i had been a man, he would love me. it was the most romantic way i've ever been dumped in my life. a year later, he was an alcoholic. i don't know what happened to him. i think he went to dominican republic for a semester. maybe he's a preist. i hope he's living a beautiful life.
my last roommate in college was crazy. she's a lawyer, now. oddly enough, she is also an alcoholic.
the most beautiful memory i have of the nursing home i worked in for a year was the death of an old man in a dimly lit hospital room, his wife holding his hand, the mylar balloons drooping in a melancholy manner, the flowers i brought sighing in a contrived fashion, and dear gerald telling me as i wept 'we knew it was coming, dear.' he died right there in front of me, a painful smile on his face, pulmonary disease, a nebraska farmer, sixty years a smoker. what withered hands, what a weathered brow, a prouder death i've never seen.
my father listened to arlo guthrie and classical guitar. my mother listened to the beatles and the oakridge boys and beethoven. i grew up in a home with records piled upon records, and the scratch of the needle against the empty grain, and the sounds of silence, and that folk hope of the sixties. dad had a crush on joan baez. and i think i had a crush on dad with his guitar and banjo and that mandolin that now hangs abandoned in the basement of my parent's home, next to rosa rita--the orange transsexual my mother bought from some artist in chicago when she was single. it's worth some money, but it always frightened me as a child. an orange woman with hairy armpits. do we abandon memories? do objects grow dim with age, their worths diminished, their sentimental values declining?
summer camp: i swam better than any other girl scout and was permitted to leave the shallow end of the lake. i was the only girl scout who was not attacked by leeches. the s'mores tasted so much sweeter that night round the campfire as i huddled to myself with my private victory.
a communist from ohio named each one of his marlboro red's after leaders. stalin, lenin, marx...we smoked them in a concillatory manner at the coffeeshop, one after the other, discussing philosophers and political theory until the highschoolers filtered in smacking gums about musicians of note and the weekend's greatest party. it puts it all in perspective; i'd leave the coffeeshop with my own reds, locked in their mysterious politics, hoping for a better world, climbing steep hills of pavement back to my tiny apartment, head shrouded in bandanas. i smoked pot to the empty sounds of the growls of my stomach, nursing burnt coffee and wishes for a transcendant kindness.
a buddhist studying to be a preist living one floor beneath me supplied me with most of my pot. he was very kind and very optimistic about humankind; his only furniture was a mattress and a small refridgerator. we smoked up platonically and listened to the chants of the dominican monks. i hope he is a world traveller, now.
michael has the grace of an angel with all the forbearance of a grizzly bear. he was a union steward for the teamsters' in history, when he rumbled 'round a steel mill in a train. i could not be safer than when i am in his embrace, knowing his working class hands and his first rate mind will accomplish more than what my pithy brain can beat out in this lifetime. there is knowledge in his cooking and his smile, and his brevity, and his laughter, and there is love there. so much more love than i ever knew existed is right there, wrapped in hot flesh.
when the leaves behind our apartment bend up in the wind right before the rain, i know that green, green, verdant hope will burn into my memory, and will become a part of this chapter of my life, and i will never forget the color of this particular dream of life. as i age, i file these things farther and farther away until they spring up again, neglected and sorry for loss. i'll simply fall down this steep staircase of tangible memory as i grow older.
what a wonderful life i've lived.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
I'm having a TS Eliot
kind of day.
Yes, I know it is the Fourth of July and that means I should be concerning myself with patriotism and the conduct of war and other estimable, important things, but I haven't time
for that. I'm too busy running.
When Fritz runs, by the way, she means to say METAPHORICALLY and not LITERALLY as it has been some time since she has run...well...anywhere. That's what motorcycles and imaginations are for--getting here and there. Perhaps, I'll clarify.
The mind of Fritz is running on hi-speed, like a record player.
Here are some examples of this frequency:
"What if I had taken that bus in college instead of going to the coffee shop that afternoon?""What if I sold the piano?""What if I got a second job?""What if I die?""What if the Zoloft has stopped working and I'm really going crazy this time?""What if I have cancer?""What if we get evicted?""What if we go to war?"
"What does it matter?"
So, whenever I find myself in this state, I watch Run Lola Run
, and I come to the same conclusion. None of it matters. Life simply sorts itself out, and whether I die or get evicted or we go to war or the aliens come and steal us all up to the heavens without letting us kiss our mothers goodbye, it all makes the same difference--exactly none.
Or exactly everything--the existence of the cosmos, the last dime in the bank, the final cut--nothing would be proper if it wasn't going exactly as it is going, and we'd be lost in chaos. So there is a season, and a time, and a proper place for things and so on...etc. etc. etc
And the fire and the rose are one.
Just keep running.