Monday, April 25, 2011


I can not believe how many true stories I know and this is the absolute latest and truest. I have a friend that I'll call "Lina" because that is her name. She lives in Mississippi through no fault of her own. Before you start making assumptions about her you need to know that she has a very above average life. Great husband, great kids, beautiful home, but unfortunately no pets. Recently she told me that she has actually paid a great deal of money (so much money that she refused to disclose the amount) for her son and her husband to go on a "field trip" to Arkansas and be mistreated! Yes, this is real.

Her son is enrolled in the "gifted and talented" program at his school because he is viciously bright. He will grow up to be very rich and very cruel but he will provide for his mother, even from prison. Dad and son are actually going to an undisclosed location in Arkansas (horror!) where they will be divided into two groups, the "Rich(es)" and the "Poor(s)." I have created those category names because I don't remember the real category names BUT the premise is absolutely TRUE. So, after being transported to a remote spot in Arkansas (is there any other kind of spot in Arkansas?) they will be randomly assigned to Team Rich or Team Poor. The Poor(s) will be given nothing. They will have to beg, borrow, scheme and steal to get what they need. Their shelter will be substandard and where they "relieve" themselves is limited only by their own imaginations and understanding of germ theory.

On the other hand, the Rich(es) will be treated to a Five-Star Arkansas experience and all that beautiful dream entails...

Can you begin to see how this is going to end with some fat kid dead?

Here's the scene as I would really, really like it to occur: The "Rich(es)" will be strolling around in dinner dress, sipping their potent cocktails. They will engage in good natured joshing and boasting about their Alma Maters while tossing around the ol' pig skin. Speaking of pig skin...out of the woods comes one "Poor"" with a sharpened stick - he is quickly followed (but only over a very short distance) by a hungry, wheezing pack of "Poors" that haven't eaten since lunch. One of the slower and heavier of the "Rich(es)", a dad,  is captured and made to drive the the entire horde to the Frosty Hut and buy Bar-B-Q pork sandwiches with Marlboro Lite sauce and milk shakes made with with real ice cream and NASCAR-sponsored chewing tobacco.

Back at Rich Town/Poor Town, the Rich(es) have their staff collect the pointed sticks that were dropped when the marauding Poor(s) set them down to use their inhalers. The weapons become quaint, rustic skewers to spear artisnal marshmallows. These treats are perfectly browned with tiny propane torches held by staff specially screened for their trigger finger strength and docile behavior. Upon the "Poor(s)" return, everyone gathers and laugh, laughs, laughs about the earlier  misunderstanding. The South is polite country and one of the moms drawls,"Y'all wouldn't eat a human bein' now ,would y'all?!"

What will actually happen on this important and expensive social experiment? Stay tuned.

Monday, April 11, 2011

PAINt in the a$$

Painting kills
Today I was reminded of a couple of hard truths about painting - interior, not exterior - that is too horrible to contemplate. This information is mostly for the kids but even the more experienced can benefit from a timely reminder. Someday soon you will live in a space that you will want to put your mark on with paint. I am not talking about your crappy college apartment that you spackle with toothpaste and slap on the cheap whitewash at 3:00 a.m. - that just makes me mad. How long have you known you were moving?!  I swear to God you had better get the security deposit back - don't even come home this summer if you lose that security deposit. Stay up all night and finish cleaning that dump  or go to India and find a job to earn back that security deposit!

OK, here is the DIY painting advice that will save you a river of bitter, bitter tears:
  • It will not be "kinda fun" to do it yourself
  • If you think you're bad enough to mix your own colors - write down the colors
  • You can not get it done with just one gallon - ever
  • When you start to run out of your "custom paint" you will need to skip the parts of the wall that are obscured by furniture. Others may never know you didn't paint behind the Armoire but you do, you do
  • When you pull the painter's tape off the ceiling don't let it fall on your head. It's really sticky and it will painfully rip your hair out from the roots
  • All the period detail you find so charming? Nooks and freakin' crannies
  • I hope you buy in bulk because somebody is losing their toothbrush to clean those nooks -n- crannies out before you paint them
  • When descending a ladder, never assume you are on the last step - verify visually
  • Your custom (impossible to duplicate) color is indistinguishable from the color you thought wasn't quite right