Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's THAT Time of Year

Well, the holidays are officially upon us, as of this week. Know how I know? I got 26 catalogs in the mail today. Yep, TWENTY-SIX. Most of them went straight into the recycle bin. A couple I kept to page through, just for fun. One of my favorites was in there, one that makes me laugh. It's one of those catalogs that has all these goofy novelty and pop-culture gifts; crap that nobody really needs but you inevitably end up buying for one of your good friends because it "just fits" them. I was not disappointed by this year's selection of gifts. I even found a couple items to put on my must-read list:
Wonder Woman is my hero, so I'm sure the first book will be full of handy tips from the Amazon perspective. I can see it now: "If your boss insists on calling you "Honey," wrap his ass in the Golden Lasso of Truth and dangle him off the 34th Floor window ledge." And the second book? Well, really, what more is there to say? I'm giggling already. Probably my favorite thing about this catalog, though, is the selection of wittily-captioned t-shirts. Face it, we can all use more t-shirts. And many of these we'd LOVE to wear in public, but couldn't quite get away with it. A few of my favorites: Don't make me get the Flying Monkeys! National Sarcasm Society - Like we need your support.... Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints. Just another poo-flingin' day in the jungle. Sarcasm. Just one more service I offer. Patience is a virtue, but flipping someone off feels better. I'm a BadAss. You're just an Ass. Easily distracted by shiny objects. Heavily medicated for your safety. Yet despite the look on my face, you're still talking. Paddle Faster! I hear banjo music. I admit it. I ate the last cookie. Looking for love (will settle for green jelly beans) The decline of Western Civilization leaves me strangely unmoved. Careful, or you'll end up in my novel. What would Yoda do? Your ass, kick it, he would! Police Officer: Our job is to save your ass, not kiss it. And my personal fave... If you woke up this morning.... It's because Jack Bauer spared your life. Only 56 more shopping days, People!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

They're Still Beautiful... Oh SO Beautiful...

I was one of the lucky folks who won passes to the theater screening of the Bon Jovi documentary "When We Were Beautiful." You could have knocked me over with a feather when I got THAT e-mail a couple days ago! I never win ANYTHING. But if I am going to win only one contest, ever, well, this one will do. At least for now. So, tonight was the screening of the Doc. Both of my local SheCop Jovi GalPals happened to be out of town for work this week, but they just couldn't stand the thought of me attending alone. So one of them changed her return flight, which would have been tomorrow, to today so she could "keep me from being lonely" (AKA glom on to my free second pass). She came straight from the airport to the lovely Mazza Gallerie Mall in northwest Washington, DC, in just enough time to enjoy a pre-Doc celebratory glass of wine. Then in we went, along with a whole buncha other Jovi Peeps. Oh. My. Freakin'. God. It was everything I hoped it would be. And more. I love documentaries. I will watch a documentary on just about anything. History of toilet paper? Check. Soviet Space Program? Yep. ANYTHING by Ken Burns? Abso-freakin'-lutely. But of course I love Rock-Docs most of all. In fact, I just recently watched "Anvil - The Story of Anvil," which I thought was brilliant. So, knowing I liked the genre, my question going in was: "Is this really gonna be the honest, open, warts-and-all behind the scenes look at what it's really like to be part of the Jovi world? Seriously?" Well, IMO, it is. The doc opens with scene of Jon getting limbered up in prep for playing MSG (side note -- how do I get that job? GAH!) and talking about the fact that it's almost 25 years ago to the week that he first played The Garden. And off we go from there. I'm not gonna give you a play-by-play and ruin the fun for those of you who haven't seen it yet. But I will say that I found it to be well-balanced, with a good mix of interviews with each of the band members (no Huey, though), candid moments with Jon and the Band, concert footage, and interviews with others such as Obie O'Brien and Kid Rock. I really got a sense of the highs and lows the Guys go through on the road, and how their own personal lives help ground them and sometimes push them close to the edge. There is some pretty raw emotion, some candid opinion-sharing, and even a little smug arrogance *gasp* from you-know-who. But you definitely see the love and devotion these men have for each other. And that's the real story, the real heart of this film and this band. Just a few of my favorite moments: * The pre-show huddle in Abu Dhabi, when Jon tells the guys what to do if things go wrong (it's funny) * Jon talking about going from on-stage in front of thousands of screaming maniacs to the silence of his hotel room, and not even being able to call anybody and share how excited he is that the Soul just beat Dallas -- Again! * Tico talking very frankly about dealing with his anger about his childhood and his drinking *Jon going off about his frustration with lawyers and promoters and Ticketmaster and MLB and the Mayor of NYC and pretty much EVERYBODY in trying to get the Central Park concert to go. (I could TOTALLY identify with his reaction here, lol!) * David commenting that maybe someday Jon will make the band a real democracy... and then somebody better check the dosage on his Prozac * Some very candid and direct conversation by all the guys about what was going on behind the scenes when the band almost split up in the early 1990s.... and just how close they really were. * A really sweet & funny scene of Jon meeting an elderly lady whose home was rebuilt as part of the Detroit Soul Foundation project. * Richie talking about Ava coming to NYC, not to see him play in an historic event (Central Park), but for another reason entirely (I won't spoil it for you, but it's really funny, and Ava's gonna kill him!) * The gorgeous soundcheck performance of "Diamond Ring" * Richie performing IBTFY * Jon performing *gulp* "Hallelujah"--the entire song, with some dialogue overlaid. Just stunning. * The final scene, which damned near turned me into a Jonny Girl. You get to see the REAL Jon, probably more so than anywhere else in the doc. It's just beautiful. Judging from the audience reaction, pretty much everybody had the same thoughts as I did as I watched. There were lots of chuckles, some outright laughs, and quite a few sighs and growls (especially when there was a sweaty lead singer involved); singing along to the concert scenes, and complete breathless silence during some of the more painful parts (such as Richie talking very candidly about his problems). Granted, there was some pretty significant bias in this audience, but it really did seem to touch everybody on some level. My only complaint? It's not 12 hours long. Can't wait to watch it again, and again, and again.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Ever have one of those moments that just makes you go "WOW"? One of those times when it seems that the planets have all aligned, the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place, and some higher power is trying to tell you something? I had one of those today. I have had a brutal week at work. My job takes me all over Washington, DC, usually by means of public transportation and good ol' shoe leather. My scheduled was jam-packed all week long, meaning I had to accomplish all my paperwork at night, after normal business hours. Add to that family responsibilities, a little time for my writing, the baseball playoffs, and that didn't leave a whole lotta time for sleep. Oh yeah, and it's been cold and rainy for like the last 3 days straight. So today I was trudging down the sidewalk from the Metro stop toward the State Department, hunched under my umbrella in the pouring rain, feeling pretty cranky and snarky, when I saw something that actually made me stop and smile. My trek to State takes me through the campus of George Washington University. I've been making that walk for the past 5 years, and for as long as I can remember, I have encountered a homeless man sitting on a milk crate outside one of the buildings that is part of the GWU Medical School. His name is Ernest, and he is something of a "mascot" to the people who pass his way, especially to the GWU students. Ernest is a Vietnam Vet, and the lines on his face and the weariness in his posture tell me me has had a very tough life. Far tougher than I can imagine. But Ernest is always smiling, always cheerful, calling out "Hello"s and "Good Morning"s and "God Bless You"s to all who pass by, whether they decide to drop a little change in his cup or not. Over time Ernest and I have gotten to know each other in a way, and when I have time I stop to chat for a moment with him before continuing on to whatever appointment I have to keep. I had a series of assignments over the summer that took me to other parts of the city, so I didn't see Ernest for awhile. When I started walking by his usual place again, a couple months ago, I was saddened that I didn't see him. I wondered what had happened to him, and I hoped that he was okay. And today, he was there. He was sitting off the sidewalk today, under the overhang of the building, out of the rain. "Well, Helloooo, Purple Lady!" he boomed out when he saw me. (He calls me that because I have a purple briefcase.) Though I was in a bit of a hurry, I gave him a big smile and asked where he had been for the past few months. Ernest had wonderful news. With the help of a couple GWU Law Students, he had been put on a list for a subsidized housing unit through a local charity, and he had been fortunate enough to receive a small apartment and other services to help him begin to climb out of the poverty and despair he had endured for so long. I was genuinely happy for him, and I told him so. But the thing that really made my jaw drop was what Ernest had cradled on his lap. It was a beat-up old acoustic guitar. I asked him about it, and received a gigantic grin. Turns out Ernest has played guitar since he was a boy, growing up in the South. After he started receiving services through the charity a volunteer found out he played and gave him the instrument. Now Ernest plays every day and is teaching some of his friends from the Shelter he used to frequent how to play too. Standing under the overhang of that building as the rain pelted down, looking at the smile on the face of a man who had little of nothing but the pure joy of music, I remembered just how blessed I am, to have a job and a family and a home and people who love me. Then something else happened -- and I'm convinced it was the Karma Goddess just tapping me on the shoulder, but nearly knocking me on my ass. "You look a little down today, Purple Lady," Ernest said, giving me another big smile. I nodded and made the excuse that I was tired, and that the rain always made me a little blue. "Well, then maybe you need a little somethin' to cheer you up." Ernest replied. Then he started to pick out a tune on his battered old guitar, and to sing in his warm, gravelly voice. Here comes the sun Here comes the sun, oh I say It's all right.... I damned near started crying right there. Seriously. I had tears in my eyes. I stood there listening and watching for another minute, until I had to go. I thanked Ernest and wished him the best, and stepped out into the rain again, continuing on to do my job. That was probably the best gift I could have gotten today. Not just because I needed it, but because I have a friend who is going through her own little rough patch right now. And I happen to know that she loves that song, too, especially as performed by a certain Jersey-Boy guitarist. She was on my mind as I trudged through the rain and encountered Ernest and his song. I'm convinced that song was as much for her as it was for me. Everybody rides on the Karma train. And sometimes it's a good ride...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Squids!

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775 by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength. After the American War for Independence, Congress sold the surviving ships of the Continental Navy and released the seamen and officers. The Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1789, empowered Congress "to provide and maintain a navy." Acting on this authority, Congress ordered the construction and manning of six frigates in 1794, and the War Department administered naval affairs from that year until Congress established the Department of the Navy on 30 April 1798. In 1972 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of 13 October as the Navy’s birthday. Since 1972 each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion "to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service." And I must say, they do have the best and worst uniforms in the entire military. Worst: dungarees. Best: Oh, those Officer's Whites!!! Happy Birthday, U.S. Navy! Anchors Aweigh....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, You Hot Cubano!

Happy Birthday to my favorite Hot Cubano.... Teek, hope your day is filled with laughter and love. See you soon! 'Cause I just can't resist him when he plays the bongos....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Rite of Passage

How many of you remember the first album you ever bought? Was it vinyl? Cassette? CD? I remember mine - Pat Benatar's "Crimes of Passion." It was 1980, I was 12. And yes, it was vinyl. I still have it. My parents, who were still living in the era of Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and the Comets (not that that's a bad thing, they're just a little behind), were NOT thrilled. Especially when they heard my favorite song from the album.... "Hell is for Children." Yeah. Today was one of those landmark days in our house. Today my Baby bought her very first album, with her very own money. After her guitar lesson we stopped by WalMart to pick up a couple necessities, and there she encountered the album she HAD to have, just COULDN'T live with out. "Momma?" she said, batting her insanely long, thick brown lashes at me. "Will you buy me this? PLEEEEEEAAAAASSSSEEEE?" (She forgot that works on Daddy, not me). "Hmmmm..." I thought. Actually, I really wanted the music, too. But I wanted to see just how badly SHE wanted it. "Well, not today." "But Momma, PLEASE!" she begged. "Well, Baby... if you want it, you can buy it with your own money." She stopped and considered that for a moment. She won $20.00 in premiums for her projects at the county fair last week. Normally that money would be frugally squirrelled away to pay for an extra week of horseback riding camp next summer. Was this CD worth having to work a little harder for the Barn Rat Fund? I tried not to grin as I watched her little face twist into a beaming smile. "Oh yeah, Momma. I'm gonna buy it." Blame it on the love of rock and roll. Her very first album purchase? Sonic Boom, the new KISS album. (Jeez, Kid, couldn't wait for "The Circle?" LOL) I know she'll remember this day forever, just like I remember the day I walked out of Musicland with "Crimes of Passion" tucked under my arm. I wish she could have had the experience of going to a REAL record store, but hey, times have changed. She'll have it memorized by tomorrow, I guarantee. *tear* I'm so proud!

Heat Wave

October 4-10, 2009 is National Fire Prevention Week. Many cities across the U.S. also designate this week as Firefighter Appreciation Week. I am firmly in support of that idea... In observance, be safe and thank a Firefighter! Though to have one of these guys show up in a big red truck.... Kinda makes you wanna play with matches, doesn't it?

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Hate it when Work Interrupts Important Stuff...

So, Jonny snuck into D.C. again today... Well, he didn't really so much "sneak." He was a keynote speaker for World Habitat Day Opening Ceremony at the National Building Museum. JBJ is a member of the U.S. World Habitat Day Honorary Committee. Unfortunately, I don't hang out at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HQ (though I am in there occasionally for work) and I can only watch so many press office sites at one time, so I missed this one. And, to add insult to injury...I was only TWO BLOCKS AWAY at the DC Metropolitan Police HQ at the time! Grrr... One of the press releases mentioned he was scheduled to perform, so we may see some video sometime soon. Of course, it's all over the press here...NOW!!! D.C. always gets all a-Twitter (pun intended) whenever HRH comes to town: Politico Spotted: Jon Bon Jovi kicking off World Habitat Day at the National Building Museum Monday morning. Also in attendance: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, and HUD Secretary Shawn Donovan, among others. Washington Post ".... Jon Bon Jovi hanging in the lobby of the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton on Monday. Tight black pants, tight black T-shirt: Rock on! Was in town to serve as a celeb rep at the U.N.'s World Habitat Day at the Building Museum." Apparently Jonny's hangin' at the Ritz! Hmmm... they have a good bar.... :) Queenie also has some great pics up on her blog. Man, he cleans up good! Jonny, Baby, next time you come to town, give me some notice and I'll clear my schedule for you, LOL!