Through The Looking-Glass

(Luna and I are standing face-to-face)

Me: I found this under the passenger seat in the car. Is it what I think it is?

Luna: It looks like an envelope to Visa. Oh! I bet that’s the one they keep calling us about!

Me: The one you said you paid?

Luna: Yeah! That one! I mailed it.

Me: Um, I think you didn’t. It’s in my hand, you see. You’ve been telling me for weeks that you mailed this. It’s hard to confuse “putting it in the mailbox” with “losing it under the seat”. What gives?

Luna: I can see myself in your sunglasses. (beams, primps) I’m cute!

Poor Andy

Six months after quitting my news-immersion gig, I am reacting to the the news items I do see in a way that’s really kind of interesting to the detached-observer part of my brain. I saw a headline today, “Zarqawi Denounces New Government”, and I was startled at how much it felt like perusing TV Guide and seeing

8pm Sunday: “Malcolm In The Middle”
Malcolm’s second divorce irks his mother. Hijinks ensue.

-or-

9pm Tuesday: NYPD Blue
The squad comes to an uneasy truce during an IAB investigation, Sipowicz is gang-raped.

I mean, seriously, is that show still on? I stopped watching a long time ago. And they’re still doing the same shit, too. Huh.

Taking One For The Team

I’m nervous about ASSDEX 2006. There are a lot of new variables here:

* It’s the largest turnout ever: Ten people.

* Of those ten, two have never been to ASSDEX, and three more have never been to Vegas at all.

* ASSDEX has never been held in the Luxor.

* The Wynn has an as yet ASSDEX-untested buffet.

* High Roller Night will be held at a restaurant that didn’t exist last time I was there.

* I have never taken a four and a half hour flight.

* I have a new camera, which has not yet been vacation-tested.

* I have never had to adapt across three time zones.

* I have never gone to Vegas with both a foreigner and a relative in the same trip.

* I am out of Buffet Shape since the last trip.

* I am no longer phoning it in six hours a day at a job I hate. I am working like a demon fifteen hours a day at a job that was thrust upon me. The effect this may or may not have on pent-up tension levels is unclear.

* I look much better in a swimsuit than I did last time I was there.

* I have a cellular phone.

* And a new chin-beard configuration.

* And wireless internet, which I might not have known existed last time I was in Vegas.

I’m deeply concerned about this. I need to conduct an inspection of the city and convention facilities before ASSDEX officially kicks off Friday morning. I could fly in a day early, but that doesn’t really address my concerns – what if there are problems, and I don’t have time to address them.

I need to stop being a nervous nellie. I need to quit whining and do something about this. Someone has to take charge here. Someone has to see about this. Someone has to make the sacrifice, to ensure this weekend comes off the way it should, and gets us back in the twice-a-year groove.

There.

I moved my flight to Monday.

That gives me three days to get things in order before ASSDEX begins.

You’re welcome.

Reason #2,872 Why I Love Sports Talk Radio

790AM, 6:48pm Eastern, Wednesday, April 19. The poll question on today’s Dan Le Batard Show: “Who in sports looks like they smell like cigarettes?”

Caller: “Dave Wannstedt looks like he smells like cigarettes.”

Dan Le Batard: “I don’t see Wannstedt smoking cigarettes. Every time he tried to put one in in his mouth, someone would intercept it and run it back for a touchdown.”

Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In

:30 second radio spots
Performed by Money Honey
Words and music by Blood & Thunder

1) “When you were eighteen, would you rather have had college tuition or a boat? Hi, this is (Luna Lovegood), Certified Financial Planner with (Money-Honey) Financial. If you’re saving for your children or grandchildren’s college tuition, put it in your name, not theirs, because if it’s in their name, it’s their money. (pause) College savings are just one aspect of personal financial planning. To learn more about all of them, call me (on my cellphone) for a free initial consultation on your personal financial picture.”

2) “Are you seriously planning to put four hundred thousand dollars under your mattress? Hi, this is (Luna Lovegood), Certified Financial Planner with (Money-Honey) Financial. Being able to retire on the profits from a home sale is great, but, while you go fishing for the next twenty years, you have to put that money somewhere . I can tell you where. (pause) Real estate and retirement planning are just two aspects of personal financial planning. To learn more about all of them, call me (on my cellphone) for a free initial consultation on your personal financial picture.”

3) “Who needs more life insurance, Fred Flintstone or Batman? Hi, this is (Luna Lovegood), Certified Financial Planner with (Money-Honey) Financial. Most people think it’s Batman. And they’re wrong. Batman might have a dangerous job, but Fred is a family man, and people with children need more life insurance. (pause) Life insurance planning is just one aspect of personal financial planning. To learn more about all of them, call me (on my cellphone) for a free initial consultation on your personal financial picture.”

4) “Who would you rather leave more money to: Your grandchildren, or your Uncle Sam? Hi, this is (Luna Lovegood), Certified Financial Planner with (Money-Honey) Financial. Estate planning, especially for business owners, is complicated, time-consuming, and best left to professionals like me. Unless, of course, you’d like to leave everything to the IRS. (pause) Estate planning is just one aspect of personal financial planning. To learn more about all of them, call me (on my cellphone) for a free initial consultation on your personal financial picture.”

5) “Until you can meticulously plan your wedding, you have to meticulously plan your finances. Hi, this is (Luna Lovegood), Certified Financial Planner with (Money-Honey) Financial. Until the day when two brides or two grooms can legally wed finally arrives, you have to pay a lot more attention to your finances to avoid leaving your money, home, and possessions to someone other than the love of your life. (pause) Domestic partner issues are just one aspect of personal financial planning. To learn more about all of them, call me (on my cellphone) for a free initial consultation on your personal financial picture.”

Whaddaya think?

Get A Pen, Kids

We will be in Chicago from June 5 until June 19.

We will be in Florida from June 19 until June 30.

And — this is the fun one — polish up your barbecue tools, because we will be back in Chicago from July 1 until further notice.

(Jesus. How hard is it to pick a wedding date and stick with it?)

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

At 2:05 a.m., Friday, April 14th, I officially became addicted to online poker.

The implications — especially for my Visa balance, my body-fat percentage, and this blog — are breathtakingly unpleasant to contemplate.

Things That Did Not Warrant Their Own Day

I was going to write a long tribute to all the things my bottom retainer and I had been through together, because it fell out last week, but with the exception of a couple of tongue-related items, I was mostly depressed by the realization that my retainer was older than I would like to be.

* * * * *

It is reportedly spring in Chicago. I got a little blue about missing the glorious feeling that comes over you when you’ve broken the back of winter. I wondered: Was no winter worth missing the first few days of spring?

Then I was told that Chicago is about to have their first back-to-back-to-back seventy-degree days in six and a half months. Put that debate to bed right fast.

(But I still had less self-doubt about being here when it was cold and grey there.)

* * * * *

I am unabashedly pro-breast implants. I am pro-cosmetic surgery generally, in the same way I am pro-tattoo and pro-(nongenital) piercing: Your time on Earth is short. Your time of physical attractiveness, should you be lucky enough to have one a-tall, is shorter. Enjoy and indulge yourself while you can. Do, in a word, wutchyalike.

But should you get implants – and God bless you for it – there will come a time in your life when you need to hire a medical person to go in and take the girls out. Having Pam’s tatas under Gram’s face…there should be a law.

(By the way, I feel certain that I have just come up with the basic plotline for the Old Yeller of adult cinema.)

* * * * *

I did a couple of spec pieces for the local newspaper, and the editor told me “You should write for Jon Stewart”. Which was very flattering, but, hand to God, my first thought was “John Stewart? The Green Lantern?”

So therefore, I am, six months into treatment, unarguably, measurably on the road to being a recovered news junkie.

Cute Overload

While I was in Chicago, I supervised the baby for an afternoon, because everyone else on earth more qualified to do so was attending a bridal shower. (Remember how Harold T. Stone became a judge? Like that.) At some point during my period of profoundest responsibility, my mother – she was there too, though I am certain by mere coincidence and not because I refuse to change poopy diapers — decided that we should go to Panera Bread for lunch. Panera Bread is roughly two hundred yards from my mother’s house. I grabbed my jacket and asked what she wanted. She said, “We’ll all go.”

I didn’t see any point in all three of us going to Panera, but didn’t feel like arguing, so I picked up the baby and opened the door. My mother said “Aren’t you going to put her jacket on her?”, launching a process that ended thirty minutes later with four toys, two blankets, a green knit sweater that was once mine and made my neck itch just looking at it, a sippy cup, a hat, a jacket, and the stroller. It took more time to get out of the house with the child than it would have for me to walk to Panera, order sandwiches, do the Sunday crossword puzzle, and walk home. There is clearly no good reason to leave the house with a baby unless you are taking it to a medical person.

We eventually got to Panera, ordered, got our food, remarked sourly on the irony of a place with the word “bread” on the sign running out of butter, and sat down at a table. Reconfiguring a table for that big bitch – the stroller, I mean, it’s like a cut-down Ford Galaxy – was annoying enough, but then the child went on stage. She has learned to say “Hi”, in both voice and proper context, and she knows maybe one or two other words. So she has a lot of conversations like this: “Hi!” “Hi, baby!” “Hi!” “Aren’t you big!” “Hi!” “What’s your name?” “Hi!” “Uh, hi. That’s a cute duck.” “Hi!” “Look, I gotta go.”

She also knows – accurately – that she’s cute, and so she tries to get EVERYONE’s attention, to say “Hi.” And if they don’t look at her, she gets pissed, and can communicate “HEY, ASSHOLE! QUIT SHOVELING THAT TORN-UP BEAD BOWL INTO YOUR GAPING PIEHOLE AND LOOK AT ME. ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME, MOTHERFUCKER? I’M DROPPING CUTE ALL UP IN HERE! LOOK, BITCH!” entirely with the word “Hi!”. And if she can grab you on your way past, she will. And she will say “Hi!” And you better fucking smile and say “Awww” or she might cut you.

There is a game that she plays, called “Uh Oh”. Let us say that Player A has the serve. Player A drops something – say, a cloth telephone that rings – on the floor, makes eye contact with her partner, Player B, and says “Uh-oh”. (Depending on the level of in-game taunting, some servers will say “Uh-oh” before dropping the item.) Player B then returns serve to Player A, who begins the process anew. I am a disappointing “Uh Oh” partner. I don’t have the temperament for a long volley.

The last item in the Panera Amusements Trick Bag is the Helen Keller Gambit. Remember the scene with the sausages? In our version, we notice some food we want, so we reach for it and make the pleading-groan noise: “UhhhhhnnnNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNHHHHHHHHHHHHH”. When receiving a bit of the food, we sniff it, touch it to our darling little face, then make a face and discard the morsel. We busy ourself for a moment with something else, then notice some food we want…you see. I am even worse a partner at this than I am at Uh Oh.

I inquired, politely, as to whether or not these sorts of things were typical of a year-old child on an outing, and expressed the opinion that maybe it was more trouble than it was worth. My mother told me, “You used to do all the same things when you were her age. We went out to lunch all the time.”

Not that I am admitting anything, mind you – Mom is prone to exaggeration – but, just to be safe, if you were in a restaurant in Chicago in May of 1975, and there was an adorable brown-eyed toddler in an itchy sweater charming the pants off you and wheedling you to play Uh Oh, I’m terribly sorry. It won’t happen again.