Archive for January, 2013


Dear Defendant in Court Today:

You have the right to be presumed “innocent until proven guilty.” You may indeed be innocent. It’s entirely possible.

But you do not want me on your jury.

As soon as I heard the first charge against you — child molestation — I mentally declared you a creep and a criminal. I’ll bet other potential jurors thought the same thing.

But no one said a word when the district attorney asked if anyone would have difficulty maintaining an open mind. Perhaps it was the fear of piping up in a deathly quiet courtroom full of people.

The D.A. revealed more details of the case and I remembered news coverage. When he asked if anyone remembered this coverage, I stood up.

When he asked if I could remain impartial, I said I’d try.

Your attorney asked the same question, then wanted me to elaborate. I had to be honest. You’ll remember that I said, “I have two kids. My husband and I always talk about the fact that if someone did something to those kids, we’d be in court ourselves.” Of course I meant jail first for attacking the attacker.

Was I really the only one who felt this way? Your attorney seemed shocked.

Sorry, dude. You have the right to an impartial jury. Yet, I had already beaten you to a pulp in my mind.

Your attorney was wise to excuse me.

Hoping for justice in whatever form that takes,

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Lookin’ for a come-up

Value VillageDear Value Village:

You were my first. I was young, lured in by two older men. In mere moments, though, I was hopping like a junkie.

You were my first thrift store. My (slightly older) boyfriend drove his best friend and me over to you one frosty Saturday. I swear birds sang when I opened the door and gazed upon your aisles and aisles of awesomeness.

Inside Value Village

You got me hooked on vintage clothing — the gateway drug to antiques. First I was getting high on a green and yellow plaid men’s blazer. Soon I was freebasing a Victorian dresser at a Chattanooga antique market. I hit rock-bottom when I shipped an Art Deco fan home from a vacation in Maine. I had gone too far.

Though my house still features remnants from my wild past, I keep those collecting demons in check through small, regular doses of Gap ads and the Ikea catalog. If I’m having a rough day, I might need a Modern Home magazine infusion.

Thanks to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, my past flashes in red neon every time I turn on the radio.

I admit that I still have Cheetah Coat. You know that I always will.

I miss you more than a little bit.


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Dear Technology:

I’m glad we’re back together after a short, holiday-induced break. It’s good we didn’t have to buy Christmas gifts for each other. What would I get the entity that has everything? (Teleportation capabilities for the user, perhaps.)

I want you to know that I cheated on you with paper. I read magazines by turning real pages. I carried books around in my bag, and did not worry about also carrying a charger and trying to find an outlet. I had face-to-face conversations with actual humans.

I know we never said we’d be exclusive, but I still felt guilty every time I had a tangible experience.

“We were on a break!”

Anyway, now that we are back together, I’ve been thinking about how much I depend on you in general. I can’t really get you out of my life. I’m not the only one. It’s kind of frightening. Allow me to elucidate:

A very good friend emailed me to ask me what her husband’s cell phone number was because she had left her cell phone at home and couldn’t remember his number. I relied on you (in the form of iCloud) but you failed me and managed to lose half the numbers in my address book. His was one of them. I had to call Eddie to get the husband’s number, which Eddie texted to me. And then I emailed it to my friend.


Remember the days when we didn’t need you to remember numbers? I bet you are feeling really proud of yourself right about now.

Anyway, even though we are back together, I want you to know that I still value my independence. I can’t have you all over me all the time. It’s not you, it’s me. Sometimes I need a little time to myself, time without you. I hope you understand.

See you in a few minutes!

Digital communication

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Help me help you

Dear Local Columnist:

I’ve been reading your “column” for a little while now. I realize that our local paper is not quite The New York Times, but there are many excellent writers and columnists on staff. So, I have expectations. I keep expecting that your column will get better, more interesting, less meandering. It doesn’t.

The paper has been running your column for about three years now, I think. I know it must be tough to find something fresh to talk about on a regular basis. Believe me, I know. Sometimes I can barely maintain this blog.

You really can’t go on this way, though. Today’s column might have been the worst yet. It had no point whatsoever and smacked of deadline desperation. Plus, it was long. Way too long. It could have ended at the headline, in fact.

I want to help you. Here are a few tips:

  1. Figure out why you are writing. What is your purpose? What is the main point you want readers to take away from your column? Do you want to inform? Motivate? Entertain?
  2. Pick a tense and stick with it. Today’s column featured past, present, future, past progressive and future perfect — all in the same paragraph.
  3. If you are going to name-drop, use names recognizable to most people. I didn’t know whom you were talking about half the time today (and I didn’t care enough to Google).
  4. Don’t date yourself unintentionally. (See No. 3.)
  5. Make sure your work has a clear beginning, middle and end. Each paragraph should build consciously on the prior. Your work should flow.
  6. Find a good editor. All work can be better. Find someone to read your work before you submit it — someone you know will be tough on you so that you can improve. (Maybe you are a good editor and want to edit this post for me. Please do!)

I want you to succeed. I know you have some good ideas; it’s the execution that needs finesse. If you improve, we readers benefit.

Good luck!

Thanks to teachers


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2012 in review

Dear Sickos Like Me:

Thank you. It is because of you that certain posts on my blog continue to earn attention. For the second year in a row, parasites and rednecks continue to be the main attractions, according to my WordPress annual report. Search termsThat sounds about right.

In fact, I’m about due for another procrastination post like this one or this one. (WARNING: disturbing images!)

There’s a small problem, though, as evidenced by these stats:

Top posts

The top posts have nothing in common with each other. So the people who come looking for rednecks are probably not the ones who look for parasites. I could be wrong. There could be people out there with the same odd interests I have.

WordPress suggests I write about these topics again. Maybe. I guess you can never have enough parasite posts. You sickos like me would like that, wouldn’t you?

So, just for you, here is something super awful for you to enjoy:

intestinal schistosomiasisTo quote from “The Princess Bride,” “Dear God, what is that thing?” That, my fellow freaks, is a Brazilian man afflicted with “intestinal schistosomiasis leading to portal hypertension and splenic sequestration.”

In layman’s terms, he is suffering from an infection with a type of Schistosoma parasite that led to high blood pressure in his portal vein system and enlargement of the spleen.



P.S. If you want to read the rest of my WordPress annual report, scroll down for the link:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 36,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power eight film festivals.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Dear Readers:

It’s the new year and, as always, I have a plan. I’m not big on the typical resolutions, though, because they are, well, typical. Here is what I plan to do in the new year.

  1. Gorge myself on wasabi cashews until I am sick of them, then swear off them for the rest of the year.Wasabi cashews
  2. Kiss someone every day. This is likely to be Eddie and/or the kids, but I’m leaving myself open for Johnny Depp-related opportunities.
  3. Tell Eddie I love him every day because he puts up with comments like the above. I’ll do this every single day, even if I’m mad at him (in which case I will hiss it through gritted teeth).
  4. Refuse to be ashamed that my favorite song right now is “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, and I’m a little bit fascinated by Harry Styles.
  5. Record my children recreating a “Saturday Night Live” skit featuring Will Ferrell as Harry Caray.
  6. Finally finish reading the Harry Potter series to the kids. (Those last few books are wicked long.)
  7. Find something nice to say about the people I don’t like, even if it is something as small as “She isn’t as bad as most people think.”
  8. Focus on the positive student comments instead of the one cranky one.
  9. Keep candy in my office to elevate visitors’ moods.
  10. Use only three-word sentences on one random day. (This seems weird and fun and has no redeeming value.)

I think it’s a short, interesting, eminently doable list.

I had a plan last year too. Here’s what did not happen:

  • try noodling. (I could not find a guide in Georgia.)
  • acquire more chickens. (I travel too much.)
  • stop letting my son’s superhero noises bother me. (That’s never going to happen fully, but I did have good days here and there.)
  • see Van Halen reunited with David Lee Roth in concert. (Tour cut short because of Eddie Van Halen’s health issues.)
  • see my friend Tina’s new place and finally talk her into visiting us.
  • audition for a play or musical. (No time.)
  • actually go out for drinks/dinner with my friends Matt, Pam and Kathy instead of just talking about it.

What are your not-so-typical resolutions? I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes in the new year!

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Happy new year!

Dear 2013:

Welcome! I am happy to see you. Your predecessor, 2012, was a tough character in some respects.

Although I am pleased you are here, I’m a little worried about your plans for me. The first day I spent with you was not one I’d like to repeat. The day started out great in the North Georgia mountains hanging out with good friends, but ended in a roadside ditch (well, nearly).

Let’s recap:

  • Humming noise manifests in the back of Eddie’s truck, and it is not one of the kids
  • Commence prayers to the vehicle gods (“Please let us make it home and we’ll take it to get it fixed immediately.”)
  • Prayers unanswered, and we receive vehicle god smack-down in the form of a clunking noise, a huge thud, and then black smoke billowing from the back end
  • Stuck 20 miles north of the thriving metropolis of Macon, Georgia
  • Call to Firestone roadside assistance that took two hours to finally fetch a tow truck (Idiot service woman on phone: “What is your zip code there?” Eddie: “Where? Here on the side of the road?”)
  • Car repair and car rental places closed for holiday
  • Tow truck arrives but refuses to transport children
  • Call to Middle Georgia Taxi to get transportation to a hotel in Macon
  • Taxi arrives in the form of Lester in a 100-year-old grandpa car
  • One week’s worth of luggage, snacks, a cooler, etc. loaded and taken to hotel
  • Dinner at Cracker Barrel (yay!)
  • Call from Firestone this morning revealing that the entire back end has to be replaced at a cost of more than $2,000 (yay.)

So 2013, I really hope that this is not indicative of our next 364 days together. I’d like joy, peace, health, and more money in my savings account than I ended with last year. If you could make that happen, then I’ll forgive your behavior on Day 1.

Thanks, and I’m looking forward to spending a great year together!


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