Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Que James Taylor

......."I'm your haaaaandy maaaan..."

Well, no. Not me. I mean, yea, I'm handy. But it's not my own talents I'm touting.
And, no...I'm not turning the blog into the classified ads.

I had the occasion to meet a young guy today that's a little down on his luck. I know, I know. I'm a sucker for a hard-luck story. Obviously, I can't vouch for his work ethic...so if you'd happen to engage his services and he turns out to be a lazy ass, ain't my fault.

I did, however, get to see some of the things that he's done to the place he lives in, so I can vouch for the quality of his work. Repaired drywall. Laid a faux-wood floor. Built a wall. Interior painting. And he did a good job. I think, with my qualifications as a former "flipper", I'd be safe in saying he did a darned good job. He says that he's also done some tiling and just about every other kind of interior-type fix-up.

So, if any of you locals find yourself in need of a decent handyman, shoot me an email and I'll pass along his name and number.

(Damn. Guess I kinda blew my "I'm a snotty bitch and you can kiss my ass." rep.)

Like I said...I'm a sucker for a hard-luck story. Not always. But sometimes.

He caught me on a good day.

This one made me laugh out loud

Ooops! My sadistic streak is showing.

A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle. For example: If she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features.

However, if she is menstruating, or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with duct tape over his mouth and a spear lodged in his chest while he is on fire.

No further studies are expected.

Monday, February 26, 2007

It's Monday? Already?

Boy, they don't make those three and a half-day weekends like they used to.

Yea, I get three and a half-day weekends. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it. Usually three and a half days is plenty, but this weekend just flew by.

Isn't that always the way, though? If you're bored, the time draaaaags. But if you're havin a blast, the time...well, it just zoooooms by.

A couple of our dear friends spent the weekend. I cooked up a big ole pot of mussels again...damn but those little buggers are good! They musta thought so too, 'cause we scarfed every last one of 'em. We were up until 2 am talking and laughing and just generally really enjoying each other's company.

Got up Sunday morning and drank a couple of pots of coffee and decided to go out for breakfast. After trying to come up with some place that wouldn't be packed, we decided on the Sterling Family Restaurant. Figured if it was good enough for ole GW, it was good enough for us. And it was. Good food. Cheap prices. Reasonably clean...except for the bathroom. ICK! Glad we'd all already eaten before I used the littl girl's room. I'm hoping the kitchen was a helluva lot cleaner.

Oh well. Nobody got sick. Which is always a good sign, right?

After a long, leisurely breakfast, they wanted to see the new digs, so we took a little drive. Nearly all the snow was melted, so we were able to get a good look at the yard. Unfortunately, that was all. It looks like the couple that are renting it for three or four months while their house is being built have already moved in.

'Course, just lookin at it again made us wanna come home and start packing. (sigh) Sometimes, it sucks being a nice person.

Anywho, the yard is great. Plenty of parking too, which we weren't able to see when we were there last time. It'll be nice not to hafta jockey for positon like we do here sometimes. We also checked out the nearby town...seems like a pretty nice little place. Pretty much everything you'd want in a small town and then some.

Back home again, a few more cups of coffee and some more great conversation, and it was time for our friends to head south.

A late afternoon nap and poof!. Sunday was gone.

I had every intention of actually doing something today. But ya know what they say...the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Guess I'd better pack my sunblock, huh?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ow! Ow! Ow!

My butt hurts and all I had was a lousy eye exam.

I'm blind as a bat. Have been all my life. If I didn't wear glasses, I'd be legally blind.

Hey...now there's a thought. If I can't afford glasses, could I be declared legally blind and get disability?

Nah. Prolly doesn't work that way, does it?

It's been five years since my last eye exam and I've been having a little trouble seeing things at a distance, so I stopped in my usual eyeglass dispensing chain store yesterday to have the ole baby blues checked out.

Of course, my script needed "tweaking". I knew it did.

It got tweaked to the tune of FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY FRIGGIN DOLLARS!

And that's with a "substantial" discount because of where I work. Substantial, my ass.

I know I have a "tough" prescription. Like I said, I'm blind. I hafta have the thinner lenses which, of course, cost more. If I didn't get those, my glasses would look like I was wearin a coupla fishbowls on my eyes. "Coke bottle lenses" don't even begin to describe it.


Now I know very little about how lenses are ground...or however the hell they make them. But I can't imagine what on earth they hafta do to them to justify $287 (WITH my "discount") because that's what they stuck me for. The frames were only $112 with the discount. The killer is, they were $150 frames to start with. A hundred and fifty bucks for about two ounces of plastic. And those weren't the most expensive ones...I grabbed one pair and tried 'em on...liked 'em...til I saw the price tag. TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY NINE DOLLARS!

Holy shit, Batman!

Add in 30 bucks for the exam, 15 for the "Eyewear Protection Plan" and 11 for "ADD High Rx + or - 6 Diopters" (whatever the hell that is) and I could have made two friggin car payments. Talk about a racket.

I came home and started checkin out places online that sell eyeglasses. I found a place that would do my tough script AND had some neat frames. Their price? $127...with free shipping, no less. I do need a spare pair, but the idea of ordering glasses online makes me kinda hinky. They didn't say anything about any kind of guarantee, so I'd just be screwed outa $127 if they weren't right.

Anybody ever try one of those places?

I dunno what to do...order online and take my chances or order another pair from the original place...and bend over again.

At least I wouldn't hafta bend over quite as far...if I order a second pair within 30 days, I get 50% off.

Who knew havin your eyes checked could make your butt hurt so much?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another example of brilliant corporate mentality

There is a Peoria-area employer (who shall remain nameless) that has begun to advertise job openings. Their big "hook" for snagging applicants is touting their excellent benefits, which include their insurance plan.

Sounds great, huh?

Yea. It's a good deal. The starting wage for a 40 hour work week will not only cover the cost of the employee's portion of the health insurance, it'll allow that employee to purchase...oh....maybe 20 bucks worth of groceries. Every other week.

All the employee will hafta worry about is finding a place to put his or her cardboard box where they won't be rousted by the cops and which bus to catch to get to work.

Ya know what the real kicker is, though, doncha? The employer will wonder why they can't get decent applicants.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Just stuff...without bullets

'Cause I'm too techno-tarded to learn how to do bullets.

I'll use the handy-dandy little * instead.

* (See?) I knew this'd happen. We agreed to let another couple go ahead and move into The Beach House on the Moon (that's what we've already christened the place...we're quasi-ParrotHeads) for three or four months while their new home is being built. I figured that'd give the weather a chance to clear up a little and we wouldn't hafta be moving in all this slop and goop. Plus, it'd give me plenty of time to get organized and sort through some of my accumulated junk. Plus, I was being a nice person. HAH! Bet that won't happen again. Because, you see, it was sunny and nearly 50 degrees out today and I WANNA MOVE NOW.

* This is related to the first *. I'm already dreaming and scheming about paint colors and curtains and room layouts and what things we need to keep and what we need to lose...and what I need to shop for. And on and on. (sigh)

* Anna Nicole. Good gawd, what a fiasco. Anybody see "Weekend at Bernie's"?
Just plant her ass somewhere and get it over with. Then the whole game of "Who Yo Baby Daddy?" will continue. Personally, I think she had some of ole Howard's sperm saved in a jar in the fridge...right next to her bottle of methadone. I don't see an end to this clusterfuck any time soon.

* What do John McCain and an Asian Carp have in common?

* This * is related to the first one, too. Because I'm obsessed. Our soon-to-be landlords are so excited to have us move in. I asked her, do they want references? Because we have excellent ones. Nope. Does she want to stop by here...just to be reassured that we don't have 36 cats and have newspapers and plastic milk jugs piled up to the ceiling? Nope. She said that she can tell that we love the place as much as she does, so she figures we'll take good care of it. How cool is that?

* Got to meet Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy today. Noooo, I didn't get arrested. It was a purely professional meet. Seems like a helluva nice guy.

* I should be trying to figure out what to fix for supper, but here I sit...lollygaggin.

* Um. Ok. I think I'm done.

*********************************** (That's just because I like playin with my asterisk button)

* Oh. Almost forgot. Happy Fat Tuesday! Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulet!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Well...I am a sucker for a cathedral ceiling...

...and the spectacular view didn't hurt a thing, either. Of course, I forgot to take the camera.

We drove out to look at the house yesterday.

We'd very nearly talked ourselves right out of it before we even headed out.

There are a gazillion reasons why we shouldn't move. We love it here. Everything is soooo damn handy. I'm 10 minutes from work and Zig is about 20. The management is right on top of things...something breaks, they're here to fix it or replace it within a day. The rent is reasonable. The utilities are so cheap they border on ridiculous. The apartment itself, while not exactly on Taj Mahal standards, is quite spacious and extremely well laid out.

So we'd decided that this house had to be something pretty damn special before we'd even consider moving. I was even glad that it was cold and snowy and just plain crappy out...I figured that'd kinda kill the mood, so to speak. I had a whole list of questions for the owners and figured that if even one wasn't answered the right way, that'd be the end of it.

They answered every last question the right way.

At first, I didn't think the house was anything special from the outside. Until I realized that you drive up to the back of the house...the front faces the river. Duh.

It's small...a little smaller than what we have now, but still a perfectly acceptable two-bedroom size. But the living room has a friggin cathedral ceiling. And a loft. And a huge window overlooking the river. And there's a large (probably 12 x 12) deck...that leads to a spacious, wooded lot...that leads to THE RIVER. There's a friggin beach. It's not a big beach...but a BEACH. With a firepit. The marina is within walking distance should we decide that we can't possibly live without a boat.

We saw tons of different kinds of water birds...flocks of gulls...Canadian geese. And the area is thick with bald eagles, though we didn't see any while we were there. The rent is exactly the same as here. The utilities are about the same. I can paint or redecorate to my heart's content. And while we can plant whatever we want to, (Oooo! Flowers and herbs and tomatoes and...) they take care of all the mowing. Good gawd...could it get any better?

Yup. Brand new stove, refrigerator and stackable washer and dryer are included. Oh, and no water or garbage pick-up bill, either.

The only drawback is that it'll add 15 miles or so onto our commute. I really don't mind, but then I only work two and a half days a week, anyway. The Zigster is the one that it'll affect the most, so I told him that it all boils down to whether or not he wants to add the drive.

Lessee...30 extra miles a day and we have our own little "beachfront" property...or stay here and sit on our cramped patio and pretend we're on our own little beachfront property.

Boy, that's a toughie.

Yea, right.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Another knock at the door...

...but it wasn't opportunity this time.

I was very pleasantly suprised when three of my old pals showed up at my door last night. I know I probably didn't act like it was a pleasant suprise...almost slammed the door in their face, in fact...but I was truly tickled to see 'em.

See, because this is supposed to be a "secure" building, nobody knocks first unless they live here. We normally hafta "buzz" guests in. Guess the main door wasn't quite latched. I just thought it was my 87 year old neighbor again. Bless her heart...any little noise or any tiny thing that's not quite right, she panics, goes into an anxiety attack and beats on our door.

Besides that, I had my nightgown on. But then I figured that they'd all seen me in various stages of undress, anyway. Hey, you guys oughta be glad I had anything at all on. heh

Aaaanywho, we had an impromptu meeting of the Patterson Bay Detective Agency and talked of many things...wine...cats...our jobs...midget porn...gastric bypass...you know...just general catching up.

It was delightful, my three amigos. Next time, though, let's make an afternoon or evening of it and indulge in a big slab o'meat.

Getcher mind outa the gutter...I'm talkin prime rib, not porn.

Oh, and Joe? I'm still waitin for you to teach me how to be a wino. Uh. I mean, teach me about wine.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Opportunity knocks

But it was only the phone ringing.

It's an opportunity, but it also presents a conundrum. What to do...what to do?

I've often spoken about how much we like where we live. We've both said that this place is perfect for us and it's where we'd stay. Unless some filthy-rich distant relative dropped dead, leaving one of us with a couple million with which to buy a little shack on a tropical beach somewhere. Or we win the lottery.

Unfortunately, neither of us has any filthy-rich relatives and I guess ya hafta actually buy lottery tickets to win, doncha?

The only thing really wrong with where we live is that it's not near water. Of course, "near" is subjective. We're within a couple miles of the Illinois River. I guess some would consider that near. I mean near as in ON. It's always been our dream to live on the water...somewhere. An ocean. A river. A lake. A pond. Ok, a big pond.

The phone rang this afternoon and we've been presented with the opportunity to move to a place that's ON the river. A little house. With a deck. Overlooking (as in RIGHT ON) the Illinois River. I'm thinkin we'd feel like we're on vacation 365 days a year.

We haven't even seen it yet, but we know the approximate location. We know that it's in an area that we love...an area that we've often said that we'd love to live in, but would probably never get the chance.

We have the chance.

We're gonna go look at it this weekend. Ziggy made the comment that we need to go look...if for no other reason than to pick it apart and find all kinds of reasons that we shouldn't move.

Think that'll work?

Nah. Me neither.

Thankfully, we've got a couple months to think about it. No doubt we'll change our minds a dozen times between now and then.

Anybody wanna take a guess as to what decision we'll come to?

Happy Valentine's Day

I'm not one of those women who's into Valentine's Day. I don't want fresh flowers. I don't want jewelry. I don't want expensive dinners out or champagne.

Personally, I think celebraing love shouldn't be limited to one day a year. It should be celebrated 365 days a year. Having said that, there are some things that I do want.

I want daily kisses and hugs and to know when those kisses and hugs mean sex...and when they don't. I want a pat on the butt as he passes by. I want him to hold me when I need it and leave me alone when I need to be left alone. I want him to take charge when I don't want the job and not let his ego get in the way when I do feel like tackling the job.

I want him to be my sounding board, my confidante, my helper, my co-conspirator, my best friend and my lover. I want him to make me laugh and make me think and to challenge those thoughts.

I want to feel confident that he won't expose my deepest, darkest secrets; won't be jealous of time that's not spent with him and him alone; won't undermine me, humiliate me or put me down when we don't see eye to eye. I want to know that he has the balls to back up his confidence...no armchair quarterbacking. I don't need a father...I want someone who won't tell me what I "ought" to do...unless I ask for his opinion.

I want a man who will buy me an expensive box of assorted chocolates, even though he knows I don't need them, but because he knows I love 'em.

Hmmmm...I just realized that my "wants" are acutally my "already haves".

But I knew that all along, didn't I?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow job

The last time I looked at the clock last night, it was nearly 2 am.

The alarm went off at 6 am because it's a work day.

We're in the midst of a blizzard.

So why am I feelin so damned goooood?


Yup. I'm gettin paid to stay home. Absofuckinglutely amazing.

As a nurse, I never thought I'd be able to say "I don't hafta work today. The weather's too bad." Small thing, I know. In the greater scheme of things, it's miniscule. But it's a big deal to me. Really big.

Being a hospital nurse is like being a mailman...the whole 'neither snow nor rain nor sleet yada yada yada' thing.
Talk about putting your life on the line. I've driven through crap that no sane person would venture out into. Because people depended on me. Because if I didn't get there, it would put tons of extra work on whoever did manage to get there. Because there were patients depending on me. And because if I didn't, I'd be severely reprimanded, if not outright fired.

And now I work at a place that actually puts the safety of their employees first. A place where what I do isn't a matter of life and death. A place where people are actually happy to be there.

And even happier when they don't hafta brave a blizzard to get there...and they still get paid for it!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Overheard conversations

A little background, first. We have a local attorney who frequently advertises on tv. He portrays himself as sort of a good-ole-downhome-Peoria-born-and-raised-workin-guy. To further illustrate that point, he's shown rollin up his sleeves on his freshly-starched white shirt, as if he's gettin ready to go bale hay.

He's gonna work for the workin man.

"Uh....Pete? Ya might be a little more believable if ya weren't wearin French cuffs."

Those gold cufflinks tend to get caught in the hay baler, doncha know?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Somebody kill me....

...somebody kill me...now.

I've been arrested by the SANITARY POLICE!

Ya know, I really couldn't be called anything close to environmentally conscious. But I don't litter. I try to watch our water usage, even though we don't hafta pay for our water. I reuse and recycle some things, but only if it's beneficial to me. I really don't think of it on a global level like I probably should. Maybe that's enough, though. I mean, if everyone did that, then the problem of waste disposal and saving our natural resources wouldn't be much of a problem, right?

And just think...if big...huge...companies did this. Just some small thing, but on an enormous level. Just one, little thing.

Take those plastic grocery bags, for instance...

Personally, I like those plastic grocery bags. They're a lot easier to carry and they fit perfectly in my bathroom waste can. (See? I'm recycling AND saving trees.) However, I try to use the least amount possible when I make a trip to the store. They tend to multiply in your closet...like rabbits.

Ya know, sometimes they'll just put one or two things in a bag and I'll tell 'em to put more in...I'm not particular about just exactly what goes in with what. Most of the packaging now days takes nothing short of a nuclear bomb to open, so I just don't worry too much about it. Besides that, I'm usually the only one doin the haulin-in, so less bags is just easier.

Sometimes, the checker or bagger will get just silly about it, though. They'll put one little package of chicken breasts in one sack. Gawd forbid you have a friggin hermetically sealed chicken package touching a hermetically sealed hamburger package. Puhleeeeeese.
Ok, I can sorta understand the big hoo-hah about chicken. Salmonella and all that. I think it's pretty ridiculous, but there it is. At least there's a quasi-scientific reason for it.

However yesterday, the sanitary police just went one step TOO far...and I blew.

We had to run to WalMart for a few things. Cat food, tampons, toilet paper...ya know? Stuff like that. While we were there, I snagged a few other things. (Of course) A couple cans of this...a box of that. Nothing anywhere resembling raw food.

Long story short, we stood in line for 15 minutes to save a couple bucks. What the hell...it's always entertaining to what else is crawling out of it's cave to shop at WalMart.

The fun really started when the cashier started ringing up our stuff and bagging it.
She put my box of tampons in a sack....all by itself...and handed it to me.

"Uh...you can save a bag and put some other stuff in there. I'm not one of those women who's hinky about her brand-new box of tampons touching her can of dark red kidney beans", I said.

"Oh, we can't do that!" The cashier said. "That would be unsanitary."

Oh. My. Fucking. Gawd. My head started spinning around and pea soup spewed from my mouth and nose. I threw myself on the floor and started having a grand mal seizure.


"Oh, fer gawd's sake! It's not like they're USED!" I very nearly screamed. "It's a brand-new, never-been-opened BOX that would be touching a brand-new, never-been-opened CAN!"

Ziggy started whistling the theme from "The Exorcist" and looked the other way. The woman behind us stepped out of line and into another one. I either scared the shit out of her or grossed her out. Good.

She was probably one of those hinky women I mentioned.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Despite what that rat-bastard (ok...rat-bastard's cousin) Punxatawney Phil said, I don't believe that this winter will ever end. And I think the weather is the cause of my present fundadelic-ness.

I feel like I'm stuck in the middle of Siberia somewhere. Frigid. (Uh..no. Not me frigid. The weather, I mean.) Colorless. Blah.

I oughta be ashamed of myself. I mean, this is the Midwest. And it is winter. And for the last several years, we have had really mild winters, so it's time for an ugly one, I suppose. And we've really got nothin to bitch about compared to...where is it?...upstate New York?...that's got something like 6 feet of snow.

Yea, I oughta be ashamed. But I ain't.

I'm still soooo ready for spring I can hardly stand it. I feel like Goldie Hawn trapped in boot camp in "Private Benjamin". "I wanna go out to lunch! I wanna wear my sandals!"

I wanna go to the River Beach Pub and sit on the deck and look at the river and drink a cold Blue Moon and have a hamburger. I wanna ride around town with the top down on the 'vert, radio crankin. I wanna put away the sweaters and the socks and the damn coats. I WANNA WEAR MY SANDALS, DAMMIT!

The really bad part about my funk is that I can get dangerous when I get like this. I'm so anxious for a change, I tend to do stupid things. Like cut my own hair. Mmmhmmm. I'm sooooo tempted right this minute! I know if I just hang on...wait it out...the temptation will pass and spring will be here and my hair will be safe and everything will be ok.

Wonder where I put those scissors?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tropical dreams...

...or not.

We got somewhere between three and five inches of snow here today. Add to that the frigid temps (down to 0 tonight) and a substantial wind-chill factor and it's just plain miserable.

So I've been thinking about vacation.

The last four years, we've gone to the Keys. We love it there. Especially in the middle of April when we usually go. It's not a bit crowded and the weather is positively gorgeous. Plenty warm, but not yet miserable.

We usually take a full two weeks...a couple-three days to get there, a week or 10 days there and a couple days to get home. But I'm not able to take any real 'vacation' time from my job until I've been there a year. I really don't mind taking days without pay, but since I won't have been there a year until October, I'm not sure if they'll even let me take that much time off without pay just yet.

So, we're thinkin a shorter trip somewhere. Someplace around a lake...Wisconsin, maybe. Somewhere where I'd only hafta take three or four days off. I could work 3 or 4 days into a good week/week and a half off if I figure them in with my 'regular' days off. We've found a place in Wisconsin and it looks like the perfect place. Little cabins on a lake...boat rentals...lots of peace and quiet. And we could be there in four or five hours. Piece a cake.

Only thing is, we'd hafta put vacation off until along about June or July. I'm thinkin Wisconsin in April isn't anywhere close to tropical.

But on days like today...I wanna go somewhere tropical! (Insert whining voice)

Maybe New Orleans again. That's pretty tropical. It'd only take us a day to get there. I know the crime is awful, but it'd sure be a lot less crowded now. And there's no doubt that the city can use every tourist dollar that it can get it's hands on.

So I dunno where we'll wind up.

But I'm ready to go somewhere warm. Now.

Monday, February 05, 2007


...and I ain't just talkin about the weather.

Just got back from the Seventh Circle of Hell, better known as our local grocery store. I usually have at least a couple of things to bitch about after making a trip to Kroger, but it wasn't bad at all despite the single-digit temps today.

No, what chilled me...kinda made the hair on the back of my neck wanna jump up and do the Macarena...was what I encountered when I got home.

I know I've mentioned several times how much I like living where we do. Our small apartment complex is diverse. Very diverse, actually, as far as ethnicity and socio-economic background goes. We have a few doctors, a few nurses, a couple of city and/or county employees, a lot of retired men and women. There are also a lot of Middle-Easterners.

It's not at all uncommon to see women in their full-length birkas, faces covered, in the parking lot with their children or pulling in in their cars from the grocery store or wherever.

Today was no exception. As I pulled in, I noticed that one woman in the next building over was pulling grocery sacks out of the trunk of her car as her two little boys, probably ages 2 and 4, played on the small lawn that's just adjacent to where she parked. As I slowly cruised by on the way to my parking spot, I noticed that the older of the boys had taken a 'firing stance'...and was pointing a toy gun...at ME.

My first reaction was mild horror. Then I got pissed.

After I got all my grocery bags inside, I made a cup of coffee and sat down to think about this...to try to figure out just exactly what pissed me off so bad.
I've come to the conclusion that part of what made me so mad was my own...I dunno...loss of innocence, I guess. Twenty years ago, I'd have thought it was cute. Little boys playing cowboys and indians. Or gangsters. Or any number of things little kids play with toy guns. Hell, I did it myself. When I was five or six, I wanted to be a shoot-em-up cowboy and I had quite a collection of toy guns.

Today, when a little Middle-Eastern kid pointed a toy gun at me, all I could think about was "What in the HELL are your parents teaching you?"

It may be perfectly innocent on the parents' part. Maybe they look at it like we did twenty years ago. But do they even think about how utterly bad it looks? Especially today? I detest even using this phrase, but do they realize just how politically incorrect it is for their little kid to be pointing a toy gun at an American?

Then I got to thinkin...what if it's more sinister than that? What if...just what if...they're teaching their children that killing people who do not believe the same way as they do is ok. Is, in fact, expected.

Then I got to thinkin that maybe I'm just paranoid.

Am I being paranoid? Am I being too thin-skinned? Am I thinkin 'mountain' when I should be thinkin 'molehill'?

It just really pisses me off that I should even hafta ask myself those questions in the first damn place.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I'm torn

AUSTIN, Texas - Bypassing the Legislature altogether, Republican Gov. Rick Perry issued an order Friday making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.

On one hand, if I had an eleven or twelve year old daughter, we'd have already started the series of injections.

On the other, I'm not crazy about the fact that, once again, government is sticking it's nose in where it probably doesn't belong.

By employing an executive order, Perry sidestepped opposition in the Legislature from conservatives and parents’ rights groups who fear such a requirement would condone premarital sex and interfere with the way Texans raise their children.

Beginning in September 2008, girls entering the sixth grade — meaning, generally, girls ages 11 and 12 — will have to receive Gardasil, Merck & Co.’s new vaccine against strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

I suppose it's no different that mandating that all children have vaccinations. Except we're talking about something that's...(gasp)...sexually transmitted. It's not like whooping cough or polio.

But wouldn't it be nice if we could say that we've essentially wiped out cervical cancer like we have those two diseases? I happen to think so. No, it doesn't prevent every strain of HPV. There are about a hundred different strains, most of which are pretty harmless. Of those 100, about 30 are sexually transmitted, but not all 30 cause cervical cancer. Not all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. Just most of them.

Now, you can yell and scream all you want about things like preaching abstinence and teaching sex ed in the home. I won't argue with you much. I think those things are very important. But the fact of the matter is, most kids are gonna experiment. Period. Some will survive their experimentation unscathed. Some will wind up teen-aged parents. Some will contract one STD or another...or more. Some will contract HPV and it could (and does) go undiagnosed for years.

And some will die from cervical cancer because of that undiagnosed HPV.

But, of course, some parents would rather say their daughter died from polio than admit she died from cervical cancer...because she had unprotected sex.

Some Peorian...

...has far, far too much discretionary time on their hands, as evidenced by the email I just got. Don't shoot me...I'm just the messenger.

(A three-post series)

Mattel recently announced the release of Limited Edition Barbie Dolls for the Peoria market:

Weaver Ridge Barbie
This princess Barbie is sold only at Grand Prairie. She comes with an assortment of Kate Spade handbags, a Lexus SUV, a long-haired foreign dog named Honey and a cookie-cutter house. Available with or without tummy tuck and face lift. Workaholic Ken sold only in conjunction with the augmented version.

Dunlap Barbie
The modern day homemaker Barbie is available with Ford Windstar Minivan and matching velour gym outfit. She gets lost easily and has no full-time occupation. Traffic jamming cell phone sold separately.

Peoria Country Club Barbie
This yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2. Included are her own Starbucks cup, credit card and country club membership. Also available for this set are Shallow Ken and Private School Skipper. You won't be able to afford any of them.

Bartonville Barbie
This tobacco-chewing, brassy-haired Barbie has a pair of her own high-heeled sandals with one broken heel from the time she chased beer-gutted Ken out of Creve Coeur Barbie's house. Her ensemble includes low-rise acid-washed jeans, fake fingernails, and a see-through halter-top. Also available with a mobile home.

(I'll continue in another post)

Peoria-market Barbies...continued

Creve Coeur Barbie
This pale model comes dressed in her own Wrangler jeans two sizes too small, a NASCAR t-shirt and tweety bird tattoo on her shoulder. She has a twelve-pack of Bud Light and a Hank Williams Jr. CD set. She can spit over 5 feet and kick mullet-haired Ken's butt when she is drunk. Purchase her pickup truck separately and get a confederate flag bumper sticker absolutely free.

Moss Avenue Barbie
This doll is made of actual tofu. She has long straight brown hair, arch-less feet, hairy armpits, no makeup and Birkenstocks with white socks. She prefers that you call her Willow. She does not want or need a Ken doll, but if you purchase two Moss Avenue Barbies and the optional Subaru wagon, you get a rainbow flag bumper sticker for free.

West Bluff Barbie
This recently paroled Barbie comes with a 9mm handgun, a Ray Lewis knife, a Chevy with dark tinted windows, and a Meth Lab Kit. This model is only available after dark and must be paid for in cash (preferably small, untraceable bills), unless you are a cop, then we don't know what you are talking about.

South Side Barbie
This 16 year old Barbie now comes with a stroller and infant doll. Optional accessories include a GED, a bus pass and a Link Card. Gangsta Ken and his 1979 Caddy were available, but are now very difficult to find since the addition of the infant.

(Wait...there's one more!)

And, finally...

Downtown Peoria Barbie/Ken
This versatile doll can be easily converted from Barbie to Ken by simply adding or subtracting the multiple snap-on parts.