Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Does It Feel to Breed One of the Beautiful People?


The picture you see to the left is NOT a picture of Greg Hodge the U.S. Managing director of www.beautifulpeople.com. I couldn't find a copyright free picture of this bozo to share with you. You see Greg has a problem. It seems Greg, and the people like him at www.beautifulpeople.com, are so damn pretty people want their sperm. He was bitching about this on CNN's "The Joy Behar Show": http://joybehar.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/28/beautiful-sperm-for-sale/). Apparently this is a big problem, and Greg and his people have come up with a solution and that is to graciously share their pretty eggs and sperm with the less fortunate. Once I picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard, I made it my mission to go to: http://www.beautifulpeople.com/ site to get the skinny and bring it back here. This is the kind of shit I live for. What a huge disappointment that they are currently not allowing "visitors" because of "recent publicity" on the site. Apparently, A LOT of uglies are in need of spermatozoa!

So, I will have to discuss these people without having access to their site, as I am both happily married, and not in the market for sperm or eggs. Denied access I will have to resort to making a few observations about these narcissistic benefactors of beautiful off-spring. First of all, they take themselves REALLY seriously. Being pretty is really hard and fairly humorless. Secondly, before you can say "Lebensborn" we (The average-to-ugly set. If you are reading this and are one of the "beautiful people", you will know because you are moving your lips.) need to wake-up and realize that being one of them is just better.

I have always made it a policy to never date a guy who was prettier than me. Not that my husband, the Bulldog isn't absolutely adorable, but I am vain and there is nothing worse than fighting some guy for space in front of the mirror. It's just SO unmanly. I was raised with stupid ideas like "Beauty is only skin deep", "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" or "Beauty fades, dumb is forever". (You know -- all the stuff they tell ugly people to help them get over it.) My parents clearly missed the boat on this one, and once again, were remiss in preparing me to complete in the real world. So not only did I learn to appreciate good-looking people I was taught to find beauty in other things such as talent, brains, humor, compassion, courage, ethics, honor, virtue and the ability to make farty noises with your arm-pit. Seriously, when we think of people we truly, truly love, is the first thing that pops into our head is whether or not they are physically beautiful? My husband is currently a deployed soldier, and right now I can't imagine a face more beautiful than his.

We all appreciate beauty, but there is so much that can be considered beautiful. Francis Bacon once said: "There is no beauty without some strangeness in the proportion." Ain't it the truth?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are We Addicted to Addiction?


Maybe it is because of all the fuss with Lilo, Mel Gibson and the BP Oil Spill, but I am getting tired of EVERYTHING being referred to as an addiction. The "addicted to oil" phrase being the number one offender. I have said it before and I will say it again: I am not addicted to oil -- my car is.

Morning T.V. just loves an addiction. Need to fill some time? Bring in an addiction expert. Apparently we are addicted to drugs, oil, alcohol, caffine, shopping, cats, dogs, clutter, bargains, computers, computer games, sex, online sex, food, junk food, make-up, exercise, not exercising, My Space, Facebook, Twitter, Ebay, blogging, texting, cell phones -- you name it, they have an addiction for it. My issue with calling everything we do on a repeated basis an "addiction" is that it implies there is some chemical dependency upon the object of our addiction. O.K., I suppose there could be some "chemical" alteration of our brains that occurs from playing too much "Farmville". However, playing too much "Farmville" seems to be a far cry being a crackhead. My so-called "addiction to oil" is pretty much a social norm. I am not personally sticking with oil because of some physical need my body has to go huff gas fumes. My car runs on gas. (Incidentally my car is a 2002 Isuzu Trooper we HAD to buy because Montana didn't plow their roads and we NEEDED a four-wheel drive SUV so I could see the cardiologist in St.Louis in the dead of winter. I continue to drive it because IT IS NOW PAID FOR. Hello?) Face it, we are ALL addicted to food. If we don't eat, we'll die. Some of us eat too much and get fat. Some of us eat the same amount we always ate and get fat. This is cruel and is known as middle-age. Calling every little thing an "addiction" sort of negates the power of an actual addiction, which is no longer referred to as "addiction" but chemical dependency. All of this makes my head hurt.

My point is -- and I am really starting to doubt whether or not I have one -- is that we are addicted to addiction. We LOVE addiction. T.V. in particular LOVES addiction. It gives us something to do, something to improve, something to judge other people about, something to talk about, something we can relate to, and most importantly -- something to broadcast on a slow news day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

...and don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.


After a reported 1 Million Pound (that's WAY more than dollars) and a half-a-million pound yearly pension, Tony "Turd-Bucket" Hayward has resigned as president of BP. If you haven't guessed, I hate this guy. That he gets this kind of money from BP to QUIT is just mind-boggling. If it were up to me, this guy would be out with a bucket and sand shovel scooping-up his own fucking mess. The company he heads up loses $17.5 million and he gets a milllion pounds and a hefty pension. Son-of-a-bitch, I am in the wrong line of work. What this guy did was criminal, and he gets off with this HUGE settlement. THIS is why we get so excited when some over-privileged, entitled brat like Lilo actually gets sent to the slammer.

Before BP royally fucked-up and flooded the Gulf with oil, I thought maybe if it decreased our dependence on foreign oil, off-shore oil drilling might be O.K. PROVIDED it was done RESPONSIBLY. What a naive moron I was -- corporate and responsible are just two words that don't seem to mix. BP has successfully proven to me that off-shore drilling is ALWAYS a bad idea because corporations cannot be trusted to do the legal, morally-responsible thing. Ask me about off-shore drilling today (or tomorrow, for that matter) and you will get a big: "Hell no!"

All those Americans on the Gulf coast trying to earn and honest living dependent upon the Gulf, already having had the crap knocked out of them by Hurricane Katrina, now having their livelihoods and their futures destroyed by this company are having to BEG for money -- and Tony Hayward gets a freaking bonus??? Where is my form to resign from the human race? I am filling it out today.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Making Peace With Martha


Those of you who know me know that I used to have long standing issues with Martha Stewart. Her pretentious bitch attitude truly conflicted with my own. She was the only person who could make raising chickens sound lah-de-dah. Chickens are filthy, dirty stinky beasts, and unless they are of the grilled variety, I don't want them in my backyard. Martha was just annoyingly full of information on how to do freakin' EVERYTHING better than you. Of course, we all knew she had a big 'ol staff doing the work for her. Her do-yourself, free-range attitude when what she did required a cast of hundreds just annoyed the hell out me. This woman had never even tried Cool Whip. WTF?

Then Martha went to the slammer. Back then I would have said it served her right for even suggesting I have time (or the inclination) to shell my own freshly grown peas. However something I did not see coming happened to Martha while in jail. She seemed to take serious stock of her life and actually became a better person! When she got out it, was as if the three ghosts of past, present and future had come to visit her at the Federal Penitentiary in Alderson. We always hope that a stint in a federal prison might give someone the attitude adjustment they need (hint, hint) but it rarely ever does. Most people emerge from the poky pretty much the same as when they went in, or worse. Not Martha, though. She came out wearing a poncho one of the inmates made her and seemed to be somewhat humbled. Martha was so truly remorseful that Donald Trump stopped being her friend because she wouldn't be mean enough on her reality show. The core of Martha's personality remained the rooty-snooty-tooty-booty that could say "Alderson" like it was Vassar, but she seemed nicer. Martha she even seemed to develop a sense of humor. The old Martha was still there, but I could tolerate seeing her on T.V. without reaching for the remote. It was sort of amazing.

Then I started noticing something else about Martha Stewart: Nobody does Halloween quite as well as "Martha Stewart Living". They are a little on the tasteful side given my streak of kitsch-adore, but damn, Marth and her people have got some seriously good Halloween stuff (Or should I say "good things"?) No sooner had she lured me into her world with fabulous Halloween goodies, she launched a craft line that featured the best damn border punches I have ever used or seen. At first Michael's Craft Store was a little snooty and over-priced about this line. But no sooner could you say "Martha has craft supplies at Wal-mart", the prices dropped.

I may not arrange my schedule around when Martha's T.V. show is on, or subscribed to "Living", but Martha is nowhere near as irritating as she was before she went to the slammer. And that's a good thing. (Then there is Lilo...)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fur Pants for Fall?


Before you can say "Chewbacca" Winter 2010 will be upon us. The August issue of "In Style" magazine included a Chanel ad featuring fur pants. At first I wasn't sure if they were pants or chaps, but upon further inspection they are indeed pants. Whew -- what a relief! Fur chaps would be silly. Apparently, it is ALL about Inuit Chic for Fall. The fashionistas have outdone themselves on this one: They have FINALLY found a look that is universally unflattering on everyone, except maybe Tickle-Me-Elmo. Designer Karl Lagerfeld assures us that the pants are strictly faux fur, as Chanel would never do anything so tacky as using real fur. Thank goodness for this, because I would NEVER wear REAL fur pants! (I wonder if they are machine wash/tumble dry, too?) Lagerfeld goes on to explain that the use of REAL ice icebergs as a back drop for the models in this collection is a statement on global warming. I guess that is why he always has that fan. I thought maybe he was menopausal. This show was Spring 2010, which was before the big BP Oil Spill in the Gulf, so now I can't wait to see what he comes up with using that for inspiration!

Leggings are starting to look better and better.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Honk If Your Blog Sucks!


I love Google Analytics. How else would I know that "Joannafesto" has received hits from over thirty-six different countries? This blog has even received a hit from Krygyzstan, a country which is so poor they can barely afford real vowels! Wow! Through Google Analytics I have determined that this blog has a steady stream of regular visitors, and for some odd reason, is really big in Austin, Texas. Go figure. (I looked up Austin and it is a city where the small business organization has chosen the phrase "Keep Austin Weird" as its motto. I may have to more there.) So upon the anniversary of writing this, my 101st blog, I decided to figure-out how I stack-up against the rest of the blogosphere. Yes, I Googled "blog improvement".

Bloody hell if that wasn't depressing. According to the blog expert I read that the average time spent on my blog is only 47 seconds is a complete disaster. I thought it was just because "Joannafesto" was not what they were looking for when they ran their search. We have all Googled something like "tassels" when we were looking for drapery items and pulled up something totally different. I figured people just landed on my blog through some misguided search attempt. However, according to this article, my blog is so bad because people cannot even stand to look at it for more than 47 seconds. How can somebody spend 47 seconds on my blog and even have a clue as to whether or not it is any good? It takes me longer than that to sneeze. The average reader also only reads 1.25 pages per visit, which given the 47 second average time spent rate, pretty much makes them speed readers, too. According to my stats and the article I read: My blog sucks, I suck, my cats suck, my writing sucks, it all SUCKS. It's SUCKTACULAR!

"Why, why, why???" I cried out to no one in particular.

The article answered it was because I was doing something wrong. I needed to run contests, participate more on other blogger's blogs and write about more topical issues. For instance: What was my most popular article? Most popular search term? I looked it up: "Toddlers and Tiaras". The more I thought about this, the more disturbing it became. Maybe that my blog is being read by a pack of pedophiles would explain why they're disappointed and lose interest within 47 seconds! (But isn't that really a good thing?) According to the article, I needed to write on more topical issues, pop culture, things people are actually interested in besides the unpopular crap I am currently addressing. I will admit it, when I write about pop culture stuff I do get more traffic, but does the blogosphere really need more commentary on Lindsay Lohan? Don't get me wrong, I could write all day about HRH ("Her Royal Huffiness"), but hasn't that been done to death? Won't it just get lost in the piles of blogs already written about HRH?

Then the article went on to tell me how to optimize search terms by using labels for my posts. Even though I had been using these from the beginning, I was starting to get tired of seeing the string of words at the bottom of my blog generally cluttering-up the whole look and feel of my blog. "Hey," I thought. "Maybe THAT is the whole problem!" So I deleted ALL them, which is counter productive according to this build a better blog guy, but frankly I found that his use of highlighting key words in the body of his blog freaking irritating. Okay, I can see how highlighting key words and linking them so your reader can click on them and go deeper into your blog will boosts you stats, but isn't the point to get them to read the blog? This whole article was about how to boost Google statistics, but said NOTHING about how to actually improve my blog.

I read the rest of the article and if I wanted any more information I could pay a fee to learn how to improve my blog. Curiously, this is how many blog improvement articles read. They tear you down then offer you the sales pitch. No thanks. This guy could boost my stats, but I doubt he could improve my blog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Home Improvement is for Chumps


Back when my husband and I were first married and lived in the dinky apartment from hell, I used to dream of all the DIY projects I would do once we owned a home of our own. I was Suzy Freakin' Homemaker with a tool belt in my head. Imaginary me was hammering, painting and reupholstering the universe and saving money to boot! I was living in a fool's world. Here's the problem with home improvement: The whole damn world is both figuratively and metaphorically about a half-inch off.

I should have seen the writing on the wall when living in the dinky apartment and I took it upon myself to replace two knobs on a dresser. There were two holes, two screws, two knobs -- what could be a simpler fix? Quickly I discovered that the wood on the dresser was too thick for the screws that came with the knobs. Looked like this was going to take a little more effort then I had anticipated. After a trip to the hardware store, I learned that the screws in the new knobs were metric, and after much ado the clerk produced the only screws he could find that would fit. I purchased them and upon returning home, showed them to my husband, the Bulldog. He took one look at them and said:

"Why did they give you masonry screws?"

"They were the only ones that fit." I replied.

Convinced that I had been had by the hardware store for at least a $1.50, the Bulldog decided he could find the proper screws. He took the masonry screws back to the hardware store and since they were still the only ones that fit, returned them because they were the wrong kind. We spent the better part of that Sunday going from hardware store, to hardware store searching for those elusive screws. After failure at the final hardware store, even the Bulldog realized it was a lost cause. He had to go back to the original hardware store to get the wrong masonry screws. Interestingly enough, when the Bulldog went to attach the knobs he noticed that part of the wood where the knobs attached had been chiseled away in what appears to have been a previous attempt to replace the missing knob by Bulldog's grandfather. We had to put a couple washers to get the knob to be level where the wood had been chipped away. To this day those knobs are held on with those same masonry screws and backed with washers. No one has ever noticed.

After fifteen-bazillion moves, and one life-altering heart-surgery later, I finally figured-out that the path of least resistance was to purchase a newer home with standard EVERYTHING. NO FUNNY BUSINESS. No quirks that other people mistake for character that are so often found in the older homes that I so dearly love. Screw character, I want simple and it works, damnit. I don't want to have to paint, paper, plaster and repair to have my husband come home and announce: "I don't know how to tell you this, but the Army is moving me (as in US) again." I don't know how much of my life has been spent trying to find curtains to fit weird-ass windows, but it has been a considerable portion and I am now focused on cutting my losses. Home improvement? I am officially OVER IT!!! You can KEEP your quaint 100 year-old farmhouses, I want new and improved and easy-peasy, damn it. If I want character I will provide by the sheer force of my winsome personality.

Still, I can get sucked into the simplest of home improvement projects, which are NEVER, EVER SIMPLE! Several months ago I purchased the E-Z Wrap Deco Cornices for my windows. They are guaranteed a simple no-sew project any four year-old can put together. First, I ordered some fabric off Ebay that I really didn't like in the room once I got it. I carted the foam valance forms and fabric out to the back of my car and fully intended to take them over to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Then I had an idea. As I was cleaning my studio, it occurred to me that black and white fabric that matched the accoutrements (stuff) I already had in that room would be fabulous. I retrieved the foam cornice forms from my car. I ordered five yards of fabric off of Ebay again. This promised to be plently, given the project instructions which, incidentally, I actually read. Then I got the fabric. Damnit if the print wasn't one-directional and I needed the fabric to be 52" wide for a one directional print to fit over the cornice, and the fabric is only 45" wide. Sonofabitch! THIS is how home improvement ALWAYS turns-out. Always, always, always. No matter how hard I try, some snafu raises it's ugly-assed head and turns the simplest home improvement into a freakin' PROJECT. This is why I try to avoid this crap. Once again, I am kicking myself for getting sucked into trying to a DIY project.

It could be worse. We once had a neighbor, the home improvement type, who bought plenty of paint all at once like you are supposed to. After painting the hall and entryway she was delighted that the paint covered everything with one coat. However, after the paint dried she noticed a little streaking and a few missed spots. She cracked open the remaining can of paint that was supposed to be the same color to touch-up the first coat. After all, she purchased all of it at the same time. Soon she was knocking at my door:

"I need your opinion on this project." she said.

We went over to her house and she showed me the hall and entryway.

"I tried to touch it up. I think the new can is a different color. Can you tell?"

Oh, dear. How could I break this to her gently:

"Um, kinda." I replied, everyone knows I have a extremely low level of standards for this sort of thing. If I notice, it's bad.

"Auugghhh!!! I was afraid of that." She had to do the whole thing over. I just hope she had enough paint.

When considering home improvement it pays to remember that nothing is EVER easier than you think it is going to be. No matter how well you plan, measure and prep SOMETHING you didn't see coming will rear its ugly head. Some people look to this as a challenge; and some people look to the "Yellow Pages" under "contractors". Guess which one I am?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Toddlers and Tiaras, Little Miss Perfect: Talking the Talk


debbie, originally uploaded by ishatter.



How do you top three weeks which included a gravel-voiced beauty queen terror-toddler, a pageant organizer skipping town with the pageant prize money, and a thirty-one year old woman who decides to make her pageant return via the "...age ten and up division"??? You can't and after three weeks of spell-binding programing, "Toddlers and Tiaras" has been a little tame the past couple of weeks. Don't get me wrong: Waxing a kid's eyebrows is still seriously freaky business, but we've seen it before, and I have gotten a little numb to the shock factor of watching toddlers get spray-tanned and plucked. Too much reality T.V. sort of raises one's tolerance for that which one defines as normal.

I remember when I first started to view the child beauty pageant shows "Toddlers and Tiaras" and "Little Miss Perfect". Back then, they were a jaw-dropping view into a parallel universe. Even if half the time I didn't know what the hell they were talking about. So, as a public service to those of you who are new to the pageant lingo, here are a few definitions guaranteed to improve your viewing enjoyment.

1. Facial Beauty: Whew! I was TOTALLY relieved when I heard one of the mothers explain that the children in the pageants were mostly judged on "facial beauty". The creep factor of imagining the judges voting for 3 year-old Kylee because she had a "swell rack and great gams" would have been a little too much for all of us. I am not sure how the mothers explain to the losers that the other little girl just had more "facial beauty" without permanently damaging the kid's self-esteem, but that may be why I have cats instead of children. (That, and you can't leave four children under the age of five at home by themselves with bowls of water and food on the floor.)

2. Full Glitz: Full fake. This look requires fake hair, fake tan, fake nails, fake eyelashes and plenty of glitter. If you can still find a child under all of this crap, you haven't loaded on enough stuff. Get out the Be-Dazzler and get crackin'!

3. Natural Beauty: Highly-overrated. Budget pageant. Cheap parents. Can afford the pageant entrance fee, but not the stuff to truly tart-up their kids. This pageant, from what I can tell, is set up to weed the "wheat from the chaff". The "wheat" being the the parents who will eventually blow their life savings on frou-frou dresses and spray tans; from the "chaff" which would be the (cheap) parents who think spray tanning a kid is sort of silly and decide to spend their money for useless things like mortgages and college educations. Good riddance to them! If they aren't willing to invest a butt load of cash into their kid, then they lack the sort of commitment it takes for a girl to be " The Full Package".

4. The Full Package (also: "The Total Package", "The Entire Package", "The Whole Package"): Full Glitz with no behavioral issues. Has learned to walk like a prissy little robot. Has perfected more poses than Tyra Banks.

5. "Sparkle, Baby!": This is a phrase often shouted by pageant moms to their little girls. I am glad no one shouted this at me when I was four or I probably would have tried to shoot gemstones out my behind. What I think this phrase means is to furiously bat your eyes at the judges, like the sparklies from your full glitz dress have made you so dazzling you might blind even yourself, or something like that.

6. Flirt: Suck-up to the judges.

7. Beauty Walk (also Prissy Walk): A slow, stiff walk in a short sparkly dress with lots of "sparkling" and "flirting". This usually requires a special coach. Apparently, there may be some danger involved. I dunno. Wear a short dress. They may say it's about facial beauty, but there is a name for girls who wear long dresses: Loser.

8. Pull-Out: O.K., I was pretty concerned when I first heard this term being batted around by the pageant moms. It does not pertain to what the slutty girls in high school were promised by the guys who got them pregnant. (Big "Whew!" there, huh?) Instead it has to do with the complicated pageant award system which, if I am not mistaken, seems to be set-up so the girls who are losers don't really realize they are losers until they get home. By then it is too late for their parents to realize they have been had and demand a refund of their pageant fees. This also appears to be a part of placating the newbies' parents into thinking that "Princess Best Hair" is actually a good prize and there is hope for their child in future pageants. When a girl "pulls-out" it means she has been selected for a higher title, usually something like "Ultimate Grand Supreme", which I think sounds like a dessert and usually makes me hungry.

Any questions?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Arturo's New Hairdo


BEFORE


AFTER

My cats are assholes. Make that three of my cats are assholes. Little Arturo (Fuente), an adorable nine-month old kitten, was having a few issues grooming his butt. This led to a series of unfortunate mats. At first I tried clipping them out, but they started to multiply like dust bunnies during shedding season. Arty was also getting just a little miffed with my persistent attempts to brush his behind. In an attempt to maintain my peaceful kingdom and make life easier for myself I decided to take Arty to the groomer to get a lion cut.

I carted him over to the groomer early Friday morning. When I returned home sans Arturo, the other cats looked somewhat anxious as to what had happened to Arty. Lew (Rothman), Arturo's brother seemed the most concerned. He parked himself in front of the door waiting, I supposed, for his brother's return. "How sweet!" I thought. "He already misses his brother."

However, when I brought Arturo home with his new hairdo, all hell broke loose. First Eddy got a little huffy with Arty. Eddy is not smart, so this wasn't much of a surprise. Her response to just about any change is to hiss first and ask questions later. Patsy just sort of ignored him and hissed only when Arturo tried to rub-up against her. Lew, ARTURO'S OWN BROTHER, was the nastiest of all. Growling, hissing and raising a fuss generally reserved for shows like "When Animals Attack" instead of living rooms in suburban Atlanta. What I thought was a simple haircut has escalated into an all out turf war. Nobody is happy at Kelleywood. Least of all yours truly. No matter how much I try telling them "Change Is Good", the cats are not having any part of it.

Poor, poor Arty. Ostracised for being different. I had no idea that a new hairdo would send my household into this much of a panic. I feel sort of guilty, but I believe there is room for diversity at Kelleywood. The cats, however, are not having ANY part of it. Do you think they could be Republicans?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Halloween in July in Which I Announce the Kelleywood Halloween Theme 2010!


It's already July and that time of the year when the bone melting heat reminds me that Halloween is just around the corner. Here's the deal: Stores are not nearly as dedicated to Halloween as they are to Christmas, so it bee hooves one to get ready early and to POUNCE on the good stuff the minute it hits the store shelves, or in in my case EBay.

Last year, I took a tumble down the porch steps in my magic witch boots. I landed at the foot of the stairs in front of a group of startled trick-or-treaters. Bravely I cried-out to the Bulldog: "I'm O.K., I'm O.K. Pass out the candy." (It still makes me tear-up a little when I think about how courageous I was -- with no thought for myself, thinking only of the little trick-or-treaters staring down at the fifty-something woman laying in a witchy heap at their feet with confused and startled expressions on their painted faces which seemed to say: "Is this supposed to be a part of Halloween?" Caring nothing for myself -- only that Halloween must go on -- I bravely ignored my own pain -- and I am at that age where breaking a hip is becoming a serious concern -- I thought only of the children and their need for candy!!!) At that moment I swore I was getting too old for this crap and next year it was a t-shirt and jeans por moi. But the minute the Fourth of July comes to an end, it hits me: Now what? HALLOWEEN!!!! Joy, joy, joy. Goodie, goodie gumdrop!!!! Then I take it upon myself to dazzle the neighborhood once again.



Last year the weather so cruelly did not cooperate and it rained so much I was more concerned about boring grown-up shit like the basement flooding, than getting Halloween crap out. Two weeks before Halloween, there was still no sign of Halloween at Kelleywood. Neighbors started to come by to ask when I was going to put my stuff up. In these days of economic downturn they depended upon me to bring a little joy du jour to the humble hood. I realized I could not disappoint them. Then near tragedy occurred when the garage got hit by lightening and knocked the power out to the front porch. I had to get electricians out stat (as they say on the hospital shows) to repair everything just two weeks before the big day. For awhile it seemed as if the lights would be out in Kelleywood for Halloween. A team of electricians (O.K., a guy named Jose from "Mr. Sparky") came out to restore electricity to the front yard at Kelleywood. Still, it continued to rain. I couldn't put out most of my electrical stuff because the ground was so saturated. Fortunately, due to my genius for planning ahead, I had acquired a spooktacular Halloween airblown which alone could dazzle any neighborhood (Provided it was not entirely populated by gay men. That sort of goes without saying, doesn't it?): A horse drawn pumpkin hearse, with lights,and a skeleton which cried: "Ha.Ha.Ha. You're next!!!". It was a huge hit. I saved Halloween once again.

Now Halloween 2010 is almost upon us. Every year it is the same two problems: Budgetary restraints and topping last year's display. I paid way to much for the airblown-that-saved-Halloween to not use it in this year's display. How could I possibly incorporate my last year's Halloween motif into this year's razzle-dazzle? I needed a theme. (I'm from Florida, after all, we do LOVE a theme.) So, after not nearly enough fanfare given its fabulousity, the Kelleywood Halloween Theme 2010 is ZOMBIE PROM!!! I ask you: What theme could be more perfect in a town famous for having been used as a film set for the movie "Zombieland"? AND what could fulfill my adolescent need for glamour and adulation better, while being a rocking back drop for trick-or-treaters than making MYSELF ZOMBIE PROM QUEEN??? Best of all: It requires a tiara!!! That's right: Suddenly I realized that there was no need to be elected prom queen. I could just throw my own prom and make MYSELF prom queen!!! Hot damn! Halloween is starting to look downright cathartic. All that adolescent angst swept away by a bloody axe in the head and a tiara. I'm even thinking of developing a software program where you can take your old high school year book and make yourself president of every club and queen of every prom. Say "Bye-Bye" to teen trauma and rewrite your youth.

Oh yes, I am certainly on to something FABULOUS!!! Stay tuned to "Joannafesto" for updates on "Zombie Prom 2010"!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Facebook Bullies


This morning I went on to Facebook to send my mother-in-law a virtual birthday card.
Facebook had decided to get rid of this service. I was not real happy about it, so I went to Facebook's page on this issue to complain. Pretty routine stuff. What followed in the comments section was post after post of the SAME post, repeatedly re-posted by Muslim extremists complaining about the now infamous "South Park" Mohammad-in-a-bear costume and to Facebook for allowing the group "Draw Mohammad Day" to be formed. Facebook later reconsidered their decision to allow this group, under pressure from Muslims who considered this group "offensive", and removed the page from Facebook. Now, empowered by Facebook's willingness to accommodate their prior demands, people who appear to be of the Islamic persuasion, are flooding Facebook with their complaints and further demands.

Here's the deal: Some people get offended when someone makes fun of their religion. Frankly, I don't care if you have accepted Santa Claus as your savior and still think that the moon is made of green cheese. If that floats your boat, have at it, BUT KEEP IT OUT OF MY LAKE. I don't care what sort of religion a fundamentalist is, fundaMENTALism ALWAYS seems to lead behavior which is essentially nothing short of bullying. Pick a religion, any religion, and there are people within it who get offended by pretty much EVERYTHING. Trying to accommodate everybody and their religious demands would be impossible. My ham salad sandwich offends some people. Can you imagine the chaos of trying to accommodate EVERY religion just so somebody somewhere wasn't offended? Impossible. So why is Facebook catering to what is a noisy, humorless, special-interest group because of their religion? Along with the right to free speech comes the probability that you, me and everybody else is probably going to be offended and one time or another. Big deal. It sure as hell beats having to submit to a religious ideology you don't believe in.

Facebook probably thought that if they accommodated the people now complaining they would be REASONABLE and stop disrupting Facebook. But, instead the same people are back on Facebook, spamming away, disrupting things and demanding their own way once again. I had a several try to "friend" me with some one's picture and bogus Facebook pages so they could further spam me because I dared to disagree with them. If Facebook capitulates to these people one more time I will probably leave. Don't get me wrong, I like Facebook. It is a wonderful way to communicate with my friends and family. However, there is something really insidious, underhanded and very wrong about what happened to today on Facebook. Maybe it this is being overly dramatic, but it sort of felt like terrorism and I really didn't like it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Marilyn Bathroom VII



My husband, the Bulldog, is in the Army. Therefore we move -- a lot. Taste has never been an obstacle for me when decorating, but it was sheer genius (Hey, if I don't say it maybe no one else will. I looked at my stats on Google Analytics -- not so good, but they love me in Austin.) when I came-up with the Marilyn Bathroom. Many moons ago, the Bulldog and I moved into this teeny tiny little house (dubbed "The Little House") that was somewhere around 100 years old. The bedroom was in an open loft and the bathroom had been upgraded sometime in the 1960's. It came complete with a blue bathtub and a blue sink. Not only was it dated, the shades of blue did not match. I took one look around and thought: "It looks 50's or 60's." I pondered the dilemma. The answer came to me like a bolt of lightening from above -- Marilyn Monroe. Thus was born the first in a series of Marilyn bathrooms. I substituted a director's chair I picked-up at a thrift store, ironed the name "Miss Monroe" on it, rolled some towels and -- viola! -- we had a linen closet. Dedicated to the premise that a little bad taste is a good thing and a lot bad taste is even better, I am on number seven in a series of Marilyn Bathrooms. The Little House was long ago torn down to make way for a highway (sniff!), but the Marilyn Bathroom lives on in sequel after sequel.


This toilet seat had to be replaced. I am still looking for another giant decal to put on my new one. If anyone knows where I can find one, please let me know! I rubber stamped a toilet seat with Marilyn's picture once and surrounded it with glued on rhinestones, but found the rhinestones rather uncomfortable upon the naked tush.




They actually made a series of small electronics with Marilyn's signature on them. Here the thing that looks like a microphone is actually a radio. The domed figures -- gifts from my mother-in-law actually play a recording of Marilyn singing. Ain't technology grand? The statue in the middle was one of the first Marilyn pieces I ever purchased at a flea market in Florida. Behind it all is Barbie as Marilyn. Two icons in one.



I hung a chandelier (Candlelight, of course. That whole electric chandelier over the tub thing just has suspicious murder and/or accidental electrocution written all over it.) above my garden tub. The blue plate on the right my beloved late father bought for me for my birthday (I was born on his 30th birthday) and is one of my first pieces. The one on the left is of Marilyn entertaining the troops in Korea and I bought it on EBay when my husband was deployed to Korea for a year. I picked-up the ceramic face of Marilyn in San Francisco back in the 80's. A friend embroidered the towels and gifted them to me one birthday.




Marilyn Christmas Tree ornaments from my mother-in-law. My MIL has be a dedicated supporter of the Marilyn bathroom for years.





It was a happy day when I found the Marilyn shower curtain, shower rings and matching bathroom accessories! Who knew such things existed?








More amazing crap from EBay.



This is one of my favorites. It is supposed to be 1/16 of an inch of Marilyn's hair removed from a hair net Marilyn actually owned. What? You don't believe it? It came with a fabulous presentation folder with pictures and all sorts of stuff. The "Fan Club" button is from the 50's and the pink polka dot tissue box holder was purchased at a thrift store for $1.00.

So, what do you think?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Welcome to the Real World, Lindsay Lohan!



Lindsay Lohan may have been the only person in the free world who was surprised a judge finally had enough of her nonsense and is putting her in the slammer. Sporting a "Fuck U" on the middle finger of her manicure Lindsay plead for her freedom. Fat chance, sweetheart. Perhaps 90 days in jail and a stint in rehab will clear Lindsay's brain of the toxins she has been ingesting for the past few years. Once the fog of drugs and alcohol lift maybe she'll get a clue. Probably not, but I hate to see a young person toss away their life so carelessly.

It will be interesting to see what legal maneuvers her attorneys will attempt as they consider making a "Hail Mary" pass to keep Lindsay's butt out of jail. Good-luck with that. It IS California where stardust can sometimes cloud the viewpoint of a blind Lady Justice (Mixed metaphors, anyone?). Something gives me the feeling that Lindsay is going to the slammer. If a regular person pulled Lindsay's nonsense, do you seriously thing the judge would give a crap as to their work schedule? The boo-hoo-hooing yesterday seemed sincere, as Lindsay is probably not wanting to have any of her 24kt gold-plated body cavities searched by a woman who probably isn't her type. I would like to be on the committee that welcomes Lindsay to the real world that the pack of ENABLERS surrounding her have so carefully shielded her.

You see, Lindsay, your behavior annoys us because the rest of us have to do things like drive sober and show-up to work on time. We may feel a little sorry for you because NOBODY in your circle seemed willing to discipline your spoiled, rich behind and it has left you with a dangerous sense of entitlement. Some us regular people may be a little jealous because when we get caught doing what you have been doing we would have ruined a big chunk of our lives. Every single time we applied for a job, we'd have to fill in the little box that ask whether or not we had been arrested, and we would have some explaining to do after we checked that box. Nobody in the legal system would particularly care if we kept our lost our jobs because that is kinda' part of the punishment, darlin'. My husband is an Army officer if he got caught doing what you did, he would lose his commission and his career in the military would be over. AND get to go to jail. Do not pass "Go". Do not collect $200. So we are a little frustrated when you show-up late for jobs the rest of us would consider a privilege. A lot of people can't even find jobs in the current economy, so your snotty behavior towards your employers and the court system is pretty annoying. It is disrespectful to all of us. Any empathy people have for you is because of your youth and because your judgment may have been seriously impaired by drug and alcohol abuse. We also empathize because it seems the people you have surrounded yourself with do not have your best interests at heart.

So far Judge Marsha Revel is the only adult who has stood-up to your shenanigans by sentencing you to 90 days in the slammer. It is a good start. I hope you go. I hope you remove the "Fuck U" from your fingernail and stop behaving like a spoiled shit before you kill yourself, or take-out a carload of innocent people. Welcome to the real world!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blowing Up the Golf Course


I have seen Fourth of July fireworks in all sorts of memorable places: Displayed off of a ship in Lake Michigan, sitting in a parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Bozeman, Montana, driving to what used to be home in Orlando, Florida and seeing the amazing fireworks displays from the theme parks. However, the most memorable display I ever saw was in the Mid-West of my youth.

Back in the day -- the 1970's -- drinking was considered good, fairly clean, harmless fun. People actually smoked indoors. Nobody even thought to ask if it was O.K. to smoke -- what a silly question! A good host or hostess provided plenty of ashtrays and matches, too. All decent parties required liquor and plenty of it. My Dad actually had a friend who would trick-or-treat with a shot glass every Halloween. It was sort of a neighborhood tradition. Most of the normal neighbors considered this great sport. A couple of people may have pooh-poohed his behavior, but they were more or less considered the neighborhood cranks. Who the hell would want those fuddy duds at a party, any way? So where there was a party, there was lots and lots of drinking.

One Fourth of July in Decatur, Illinois, THE party happened to be near the golf course of the South Side Country Club. For some reason, most of the fireworks displays in the Mid-West took place at golf-courses. I don't know why -- perhaps golfers have some sort of buried, pyromaniac tendencies -- or something. Having partied for a large part of the day, the Fourth of July revelers in our particular party, hurried on foot, many still carrying a drink, to the fireworks display. The first few displays went off without a hitch, everyone "ooh...ing", "ahh...ing" and clapping as drunk people are prone to do when fireworks go off.

At the time, I was a bell-bottomed, jaded teenager, who my parents had dragged to this stupid B-O-R-I-N-G party to watch lame fireworks. (Having responsible, non-hippy parents I, of course, was not drinking.) When would this all be over? Then something unexpected happened. The jump suited dudes in charge of the fireworks had also been drinking. There were about eight large, metal barrels filled with fireworks on the green of what I believe was the third hole of that golf course. It could have been a a misguided bottle rocket, or the butt of a cigarette tossed carelessly aside by one of the drunken pyro-technic golf guys-- but something went awry and set off a chain reaction in those metal barrels. At first the jump suited fireworks guys, having realized a little too late that maybe the barrels were too close to each other frantically tried to pull them away from each other. They rapidly saw the error of that and pretty soon jump suited guys were running from the fireworks in different directions away from the explosion. You haven't seen a guy move until a Roman candle goes horizontal. It was a spectacular scene to behold. What was meant to be an evenings entertainment lasted about four minutes. But what a scene it was -- eight canisters of fireworks all going off at once. Every time one of the sonic booms ignited and exploded, the ground would shake. I had never seen anything like it.

As we walked back to the party people were still straggling in to watch the fireworks. We had to tell them for all intents and purposes, that the whole thing was pretty much over -- except for getting insurance estimates on what it would cost to repair the golf green that had been transformed into a crater. Everybody seemed to sober up pretty quickly after that. But for one brief shinning moment it had been one helluva party.

This story is a little late having experienced computer problems over the Fourth of July holiday. "Joannafesto" is now back up and running.

Mel Gibson Goes to Hell


There has to be some sort of statistic that can predict the time from when some public figure "gets religion", decides to pontificate to the rest of us and the moment of impact in which his career completely implodes. When "The Passion of the Christ" was released back in 2004, Mel Gibson became the darling of many a right-wing Christian. As a student of history, I had a pretty good idea of what was involved in a Roman crucifixion, and did not feel inclined to go to see "The Passion of the Christ". Yet, my email was flooded with requests from well-meaning friends and family imploring me to see this movie. It is now 2010 and I have still managed to refrain from viewing this film. Back in 2004, Mel Gibson was still way up on his high horse. He invested millions of dollars into what appears to be his own special version of Catholicism. It takes a spectacular brand of ego to invent your own religion, but blessed with career, looks and family, Mel Gibson was willing to fund the task.

Cynical me, I had seen this sort of self-righteous behavior before and quietly thought to myself: "This too shall pass." I checked the time and waited patiently for the moment when it would all fall apart for Mel. It did. I am not sure how it all went down, but my guess is that it went down a lot like this: Mel, a recovering alcoholic, started drinking again. This is not altogether unusual for an addict, but when coupled with a the sort of self-righteousness that would inspire one to found one's own religion, as Mel did, it can lead to some serious insanity. I think Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) needs to add a thirteenth step to their twelve-step recovery program which reads something like: "Upon recovery and finding one's higher power, thou shalt not pontificate to others about said higher power." Why is it that people who find themselves doing things like buying Oxycontin in a McDonald's (Rush Limbaugh) are so willing to tell the rest of us how to live and what to believe? I have never gone to McDonald's looking for much more than a burger and fries. If my life were to derail to the point of finding myself in a McDonald's looking for Oxycontin, I would hope it would occur to me that I might just have problem.

Religion has long been used to bully people into submission. Mel Gibson's nasty tirades show him for who he is, and apparently, he is not a very nice person. Just how many times does someone have to express their bigotry before we believe it?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!



Wishing everyone a safe and happy July 4th. Especially to my Mom, the first child of German immigrants born 81 years ago today.

Thanks to the men and women of our armed services, and their families, both past and present, who keep this nation strong and free every single day. We honor your sacrifice and service to this great nation.

Now, turn off your computers and go out and have some fun!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Poll Results: DON'T Stop the Music



I am having trouble with my so-called Internet provider "Nu-Link", so who knows when you will ever hear from me again. Today was my husband's birthday and our seventeenth wedding anniversary. Of course, since my husband is a deployed soldier in a far-off land, I needed the computer to wish him a happy day. Yesterday around 2:00 p.m. I went to arrange cyber-greetings for him since he is currently out of ear-shot. The server was down AGAIN. Grrrrr. The computer fixer guy didn't get out until 7:00 p.m. this evening. He installed a temporary fix, but they won't REALLY fix it until Tuesday. So after sending my husband well-wishes and explaining my situation to him, I hurried on over to my fans at "Joannafesto" to access the poll results.

Sixty-percent of you are enjoying reliving my childhood. Twenty-percent of you didn't know there WAS music on "Joannafesto" (And I believe these are probably people I went to high school with because they weren't paying attention then, either. Seriously, who was?) Ten-percent of you (as in one) wants to switch to Gregorian Monk Chants which wasn't too suprising as I suspect have a huge readership of lapsed Catholics. Only ONE of you checked the response that the only thing worse than my music was my writing, and to please stop the music. Dude, could you not tell that this question was a set-up so I could ask the following question: If you hate my writing and my music, why are you reading my blog?

So there you go. The music stays.

Rock-on, Festos! (That's my new name for "Joannafesto" fans!)