Thursday, December 29, 2005

I like gray areas.

I was watching a piece on CNN about the number of sex offenders living in motels. They focused on a stretch of motels in Los Angeles County, California. But I'd wager a guess that it's an issue almost everywhere. They told the horrible story of a motel worker who was forced into a man's motel room and held captive for over 4 hours while he molested her in a number of unspeakable ways. Scary, right? So, then they go on to talk about the frightening number of these people who are living legally in motels, and how we should all be terrified on our next vacation, basically.

At one point, a lawyer guy they interviewed said something about how he wouldn't want to stay there, or let his family stay there.

That may be true....but they fail to make the point clear that this is NOT the Holiday Inn they're talking about. Residential motels are a totally different thing. I bet most of those places haven't seen a "tourist" in several decades. No, those places are reserved for people so destitute, they can't afford to live anywhere else. The working poor, mostly. People who make just enough to be gouged for the weekly motel rates, but not enough to ever be able to save up for the 2 months rent required as a deposit on a legitimate private apartment. So, while CNN is scaring all their whitebread middle-class viewers shitless, the people who are truly affected by this live with it everyday, and are most likely too busy scraping a living together to be glued to 24 hour news stations. Plus, you don't have to tell THEM. They know their situation is dangerous. In Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich said the only time she felt truly afraid during her adventures in poverty was when she was forced to live in a motel like this.

So, that's fuzzy point #1: CNN took the easy story angle (surprise surprise)and ignored the deeper gritty reality. This is yet another example of the injustice that poverty creates here in the Land of the Free.

On to fuzzy point #2.
My Senior year of High School, we had a semester-long social studies class called "Street Law." It was the most interesting class I ever took in High School. We once had this great discussion about whether sex offender notification laws were Constitutional or not. Clearly these offenders are being punished for their crimes twice, because after they serve their time and "pay their debt to society," they are labeled for the rest of their lives. They're denied jobs, housing opportunities and in a number of cases they are harassed, attacked or even killed for it. It's an unpopular debate topic because nobody wants to sound like they're OKing sex offenders. I'm not doing that either. I think the registration laws may be a necessary evil, but I just see the other side of it too. It's not all black and white. There's no way to distinguish the Offenders who are itching to re-offend, and those who made an awful mistake, paid the price and now just want to get on with their life.

That's why when we get teenage offenders or near-offenders where I work, they get MAJOR treatment. We try to inform them of the lifetime of negative consequences they'll have to endure if they get themselves officially labeled as a Sex Offender. Maybe it won't do any good, but even if it keeps one kid from going down that path, that's something, I guess.

Monday, December 26, 2005

He sure ain't the only one.

"Call Me ASAP!"

So, I was out with an old high school friend that I haven't seen in like NINE years (Hola, Roxy!) tonight. During the course of the evening, I received TWO nearly identical "Call me ASAP!" messages. Now, I'm not all that important of a person, so I was kind of taken aback to get TWO such urgent sounding messages. I immediately checked up on the situations.

One was regarding a cap gun that I sent a friend in the mail as a Christmas present. Now, this is not just ANY cap gun. This is a very special cap gun that has deep emotional significance to some of us. The emergency was that I had mailed the gun to said friend's parents' house, as she lives in New Orleans and is not currently being serviced by the USPS. I had assumed that she drove home for the break....when in fact she had flown. Cap guns on airplanes....not a good idea. So, I had to help brainstorm a way to get the sacred gun from Indiana to New Orleans without giving Michael Chertoff a stiffy in the process.

The second situation in need of my immediate attention was a friend of mine who had decided to go drink at the Legion in his slippers and bathrobe. He thought that it was absolutely necessary for me to get MY bathrobe and slippers and join him. I passed. Although, I did appreciate the thought.

Anyway...the point of this whole convoluted story is that I LOVE what passes for an emergency in my little world. Some people get frantic messages about plummeting stocks, looming merger deadlines, hostile take-overs and other things that I only vaguely know about from tv shows I click past when I'm channel surfing.

I get cap guns and bath robes.

That kicks ass. Some days I do get lucky after all.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


So, a friend and I bought some t-shirts from the other day. We ordered them together so we could split the cost of shipping. He bought the classic "Sex: Do It For The Kids" shirt for his roommate, and I bought the "Without ME it's just AWESO" shirt for myself. Because I'm selfish. And awesome.


UPS delivered the shirts to me yesterday, and though my AWESO shirt kicks total ass, the invoice itself was the best gift. His roommate's shirt was listed as:


Which would totally BAGNFARB.

Merry Christmas y'all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Friday Random Ten:

The "You Can Actually Listen To This" Edition.

this is an audio post - click to play

That's right....thanks to the magic of modern technology (that I have JUST figured out), you can hear my playlist too! Good times. Nearly 40 minutes of musical Flamingo fun. Lucky you! Merry Christmas.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I pre-recorded this yesterday. But random is random, right? It's just that I had an unofficial work "Christmas party" last night, and I had a feeling I would be too tired to bother with it, if it waited til today. And I was right. (I saw 5 knock-down, drag-out fights last night....and I wasn't even at work! AND I sang the Rainbow Connection at a karaoke bar, and tried to sound like Kermit the Frog. AND I had the best pizza EVER.)

1. Sleeping In--The Postal Service
2. The Trumpet--Sing Along with JFK
3. Every State Line--Ani Difranco
4. Let Go--Frou Frou
5. Pop--Mitch Hedberg
6. Fear of Flying--Viva Voce
7. Creeps (You Are Giving Me)--Freaks
8. Girl's Attractive--Diamond Nights
9. Plans--Bloc Party
10. Wish the Worst--Old 97's

I just saw the picture of Johnny Damon post-"shave and a haircut".....and, it just me, or does he kind of look like a woman now? Which is odd. Long hair Johnny=masculine. Short hair Johnny= less than masculine. Weird.


Testosterone City


Sex and the City

Oh yeah...Happy Festivus too. That's today, you know. So, get your Festivus pole out (that sounds dirty, huh?). Start stretching for the Feats of Strength, and settle in for the Airing of Grievances. Hell yeah. A Festivus for the Rest of Us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

An Open Letter to NYC.

Dear New York City,

I am very sorry.

I have heard about your Transit strike problems. I feel bad about it, because I'm pretty sure it might all be my fault.

Let me explain:

A few weeks ago, I had this thought that it is insane that I am 25 years old (nearing 26) and have never visited your fair city. I've been all over the rest of the country, so I'm not sure how I over-looked you guys. But it seemed wrong, so I set out to correct that. That's when I made the big mistake.

I started planning a trip to NYC for sometime soon in the new year....maybe for my birthday.


The universe doesn't like it when I do stuff like that.

Earlier this fall, I had been considering a winter vacation to Isla Mujeres, off the coast of Cancun. The result: Hurricane. I had also planned a return trip to New Orleans: Hurricane. And now this. I started considering the trip only recently...too late for hurricane season. So the universe has obviously had to get creative this time around.

So, good luck sorting the whole thing out. But you might not want to do it too quickly...otherwise the universe will have to throw something else at you. I'm thinking freak ice-storm, bird flu, sewer back-up....something awful, for sure.

Sorry again. My bad. I have been a very naughty bird this year.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My head has just exploded.

Very messy stuff, brains.

JOHNNY DAMON is going to be a YANKEE?!?!?

There are not enough "WTF"s in this world to adequately cover this particular situation.

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's like a radio show....

but not as good.

Some music. Some babbling. It's Monday....that's about all I could handle.

this is an audio post - click to play

It's longer than a normal audioblogger post, so it might take a couple minutes to download.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Welcome to the Monkeyhouse

So, I saw King Kong tonight at work with the boys. I have been so excited for this movie the past few weeks, so that's awesome, right?

Except for the fact that the movie was so sad I almost couldn't take it. Now, I've seen the original movie a few times, and I didn't just fall off the turnip truck I KNEW how the movie was going to end. I tried to brace myself for it. It didn't help though. That big monkey is just so darn lovable. I refuse to let the delinquents see me cry, so for like the last 30 minutes, I was choking back tears so hard that my jaw ached from clenching my teeth. It was kind of a relief when it was done.

I walked out of the theater, and one of my charges (an incredibly entertaining young black kid) said "I am NEVER seeing that movie again." I asked him why not, and he said "That damn monkey almost made me cry. Why do Americans have to destroy everything?"

Whoa! Pretty interesting insight.

Then, one of the other boys, a Native kid, came up to me and said he felt like crying too. I assured them that I also was sad because of the movie. The three other boys we had along all said that they loved the movie and didn't think it was sad at all. The Native boy leaned over and whispered to me "It's because they are all White Men. White Men don't feel anything."

Double Whoa.

The perceptions these kids have (though not always entirely accurate) are amazing sometimes.

Then, to make ourselves feel better, the three of us who HAVE human emotions, spent the drive back to the house brainstorming ways that we would have saved King Kong if it were up to us. (The conversation was similar to last weekend's brainstorming session on how many penguins we would have rescued if WE were the filmmakers responsible for March of the Penguins.)

Anyway, I did think King Kong was good, in general. Although, and I know I am probably the only person alive who feels this way, I sometimes think that Peter Jackson doesn't understand the concepts of "the law of diminishing return," "too much of a good thing" and "leave them wanting more." Sometimes his stuff is just too much. That's why I was the only person in the world who didn't think Return of the King was the greatest movie ever made. At one point on opening day, I accidentally, sarcastically, said out loud "Oh goody...more Orcs...." I'm kind of surprised I didn't get shanked in the parking lot by some disgruntled geek shrieking obscenities in Elvish.

I just think that Jackson's action sequences are repetitive and way too long, in general. For this flick, there are some dinosaurs...woo hoo!
King Kong vs. 1 T-Rex = "Cool!"
King Kong vs. 2 T-Rexes = "Whoa! Awesome!"
King Kong vs. 3 T-Rexes = "Jesus Christ, enough already! If one more T-Rex shows up, I'm going to figure out a way to kill myself using this popcorn bag and a drinking straw."

There were a number of moments like that in the movie. If every one of those scenes could have been tightened up, the movie could have clocked in at closer to 2.5 hours than the 3+ hours it runs. Why do his movies have to be so freakin' long?
this is an audio post - click to play

All sorts of Friday randomness

First up. Random screen capture of the most random poll I've seen yet.

This is what passes for hard-hitting news? Seriously? OK then.

Next, a random observation of mine...I recently bought an ironic "Bob Ross, Happy Trees!" t-shirt, and wore it yesterday. And nobody gets it.


Doesn't anybody else remember Bob Ross? The 'fro, the happy trees? What the hell.

And finally, the Random Ten:

1. If My Heart Was a Car--The Old 97's
2. Cinder and Smoke--Iron & Wine
3. Streets of Fire--The New Pornographers
4. Sound of the Crowd--Gene Serene
5. Johnny Cash--Sons & Daughters
6. Give Me Novocaine/She's a Rebel--Green Day
7. Dig for Fire--Pixies
8. This Place is a Prison--Postal Service
9. Virgin State of Mind--K's Choice
10. Blue Babies--Midnight Movies

Thursday, December 15, 2005

It's hard to be coherent right now. Sue me.

I'm just home from work. I picked up an extra shift tonight, with delinquents. But tonight, I went back and worked with girls instead...on the same Unit I worked for 3 years in college. Flashbacks were abundant. Different kids, but everything else about it was the same.

My head is pounding, and I'm exhausted. I have forgotten how damn hard it is to work with teen girls. Jesus H. Christ, is it hard. Boys are so much simpler.

And, as long as I'm talking about work anyway...if anyone ever wonders why I talk so much about this particular job, you can get a hold of this obscure book. It was written by a guy who used to work at the same place, back when my father did. He does a good job of trying to explain how much this particular job gets under your skin. One of the characters is actually based on my father, too. Which is cool.

And on the subject of books....has anyone read Cloud Atlas? I've had the damn thing for months, but I just can't sit down and read it. It's supposed to be really good, but I can't get past the first 5 pages. Am I missing something?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Did anyone notice

as they woke up this morning, that the world was a much brighter, safer, more loving and peaceful place?

Yeah, me neither.

So much for that.

And the executioners weren't even competent enough to find the goddamned vein. That's enough to make me physically ill. I like this LA Times piece on the matter a lot. Well...maybe not "like"...I appreciate it.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

It's all Greek to me

(At the end of this post is an invitation to comment that is extended to everyone. I don't care if you've commented here a zillion times before, or you accidentally stumbled here looking for the "Fanta Song" or "Kill Possums in Wisconsin"....seriously. I'm just curious about people's thoughts.)

For me, any existential crisis worth its salt allows me to find comfort, and at least temporary resolution, in the world of philosophy. The existential crisis I currently find myself in is a real it's required me to break out the big philosophical guns, so to speak. I've been revisiting the Ancient Greeks for the past few days, especially Socrates. Socrates is my personal favorite. (Plato's a close second though.)

I've been considering the questions that Socrates posed to various strangers, in an effort to refine human knowledge and birth to the Socratic method of inquiry.

I'd really like it if people would take a minute or two to just consider one of his questions and post a thought or two. It doesn't need to be profound....just your gut reaction. I think it'd be pretty hard to have a true Socratic dialectic blog-style....but you never know. It's worth a shot.

So, consider if you will the question that most intrigues me at this precise moment:

What is Justice?

so....what is it to you?

More Movie Insights

Shopgirl is the new Closer.

Just the other day I was thinking to myself that it was about time for a really good "Yes, Virgina, people ARE awful" kind of movie to come out. Sometimes at Christmas, I get all caught up in the holly jolly merriment, and my inner cynic feels left out. That's when it helps to have a movie that can remind that inner cynic that she's not wrong.

Last year, as some of you may recall, that movie was Closer. Every time I went Christmas shopping, it was exhausting enough to warrant treating myself to a movie. I went out shopping four times. I saw Closer four times. It was great. I probably need to watch it again, actually. It's been too long.

But this year, I was afraid I'd be left without the perfect misanthropic holiday film. I guess Rent is depressing...but any singing in a movie tends to negate that and uplift you even unwillingly. Plus, Rent is more of a "People are good, but life beats them down" kind of a movie. That's no good. I need something a wee bit stronger than that.

Then I was saved by the completion of a remodeling job. The largest of our local cinemas has been remodeling all of their theaters, so for the past 8 months or so, only 6 theaters at a time have been open for business. This has severely limited my movie watching ability, because they only thing they've been playing is blockbusters. No independent films, no documentaries, nothing but mainstream Hollywood. Ick.

But they finished two weeks ago, and we finally got an influx of fabulous movies I've been wanting to see. One of them being Shopgirl.

I have loved Claire Danes since the fall of my Freshman year of high school when My So-Called Life premiered. Angela Chase and I had a lot in common back then. I think I had a better relationship with my parents though. And my best friend never O.D.'d. But we both did think that Jordan Catalano was the hottest thing imaginable.

Of course, re-watching those episodes now, I see that Jordan Catalano was basically just a huge illiterate jackass, and I wonder what we ever saw in him at all. But we were 14, and Angela and I made some dumb mistakes.

And judging by Shopgirl, we're still making them more than 10 years later. The character Claire plays is named Mirabelle....but I know it's basically just Angela Chase all grown up. And Angela/Mirabelle and I still have an awful lot in common. It was almost physically painful to watch, honestly. There were a number of times I almost had to bite my tongue to keep from yelling "Don't do that!" at the screen.....mostly because there were an awful lot of dumb things that she did on screen that I have already done and lived to regret in real life.

A few scenes in particular were pretty a scene that shows Mirabelle telling her friends about her wonderful new romantic possibility, and at the same time you see said romantic possibility explaining to his therapist that he met a girl that he just wants to use for sex. Lovely.

Also, I have been the girl who has left the naive, happy, "just wanted to say hi" voicemail for a guy WHILE he was with another woman. Oh yes, I have been her....that was fun to watch. Not.

And finally, when emotionally unavailable. just-using-her. "love" interest Steve Martin makes an insensitive joke about wanting to meet someone new and settle down, Mirabelle sees the light,breaks down, and finally just asks "Why don't you love me?" Yup. Been there too.

So, yeah. This movie is my near-perfect holiday season movie. It's not quite up to the Closer status though, because it has a happy ending that is so unrealistic to my inner cynic that it almost ruins the whole thing, whereas at the end of Closer everyone one was miserable or dead. But Shopgirl's good enough to get me through Christmas shopping at least. That's all I ask.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Always Winter and Never Christmas

Yesterday I bought advance tickets for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for the kids at work. The boys have been reading the book in school, so they were psyched. We took them to a sold-out 7pm show. Most of the kids are definitely the have-nots of society, and seeing popular movies on opening day is not something they're particularly accustomed to on "the outs." They ate it up...the fact that they had tickets that other people wanted, standing in line with the other chosen few, the mad rush to get 7 seats together somewhere, and they mystique of "opening day" had them all atwitter. It was darling.

The movie wasn't bad either. I've always loved the C.S. Lewis books, so I was kind of psyched about the movie myself. It didn't disappoint. I think the movie plays up a lot of the Christian symbolism even more than I remember in the book, but it's not Mel Gibson-obnoxious. Probably because the Christianity that C.S. Lewis wrote about is pre-Neo Con Christianity. The focus, and rightly so, is on the story of Grace, Mercy and Salvation, rather than Law and Damnation.

Plus, it's just a kick-ass story. And the talking animals are WAY cool.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The 2005 Flamingo Jones Music Awards

Welcome to the 2005 Flamingo Jones Music Awards. If this were a televised award show, it would be hosted by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Just pretend, OK?

A slightly different sort of award, music need not necessarily have been produced in 2005 to win a Flamingo Jones Music Award. Be prepared for some non-traditional categories as well.

First up, the award for Artist Who Seems to Be Randomly Showing Up So Many Places It Makes Me Think That Maybe I Should Try To Like Him goes to…..

Ben Lee. This little dude is everywhere I look (er…listen) lately. My New Music from New West music sampler. Covering my all-time favorite song on the This Bird Has Flown tribute to Rubber Soul album. On the soundtrack to the movie Just Friends. He’s all over the place. So, I’ve listened to his Awake is the New Sleep disc a few times. I really like a couple of the songs, but I’m reluctant to buy a full price ticket on the Ben Lee Express for one big reason: this video for “Catch My Disease (or, as I refer to it, “The STD Song”). Watching this video makes me feel the same way I did as a kid the time I ate like 4 packages of Pop Rocks at once. So, pretty gross.

And the award for Artist Who Seems to Be Randomly Showing Up So Many Places It Makes Me Think That Maybe I Should Try To Like Her goes to…

Dar Williams. I don’t know why I haven’t really liked Dar Williams thus far. I think it’s just because everybody else does. I’ve been resisting. But her version of Comfortably Numb is starting to win me over. And there aren’t any hoola hoops or line dancers involved, so in addition to the award, she also gets a cookie. Suck on that Ben Lee.

The Award for Favorite Song Title goes to

Stars for Your Ex-Lover Is Dead.

The runner-up for Favorite Song Title also goes to Stars for One More Night (Your Ex-Lover Remains Dead).

The Best Looking Boys in Tight Trousers Award goes to Franz Ferdinand. Again. It actually took me a while to warm up to their new album You Could Have It So Much Better, but I love it now. They’re all even better looking in person too.

The Good Speller Award goes to Gwen Stefani. Thanks to Gwen, all of my elementary school students can correctly spell the word “bananas.” Previous winners in this category include 50 Cent for ensuring that my 1st grade students could write things like “Brian is a P-I-M-P” all over everything.

The Coolest Brother and Sister Combo statue is awarded to the Fiery Furnaces. The Fiery Furnaces also pick up an award for Best Use of a Grandparent for their Rehearsing My Choir album.

The award for the Best “You Are an Asshole and I Never Want to See You Again, but I Have to Drive Past Your House Every Day to Get to Work and Back” Song goes to The Old 97's for the live version of Wish the Worst on their Alive and Wired album.

I hope you craaaash your mama’s car,
I hope you’re passed out in some bar,
I hope you catch some kind of flu,
Just say I wish the worst for you.

The Fact that Something This Awesome Exists Makes Me Happy to Be Alive Award goes to The New Pornographers for Twin Cinema. Wow.

The Why Hasn’t This Artist Been Signed Already, For God’s Sake Award is given to Gene Serene. Gene also picks up a statue for “Best Hair as well.

And the Best Musical Performance in a Film Award goes to none other than our hosts, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon for kicking ass and taking names in Walk the Line.

Monday, December 05, 2005

"Sexy Secret Car Decal" or "Flamingo's Latest Crackpot Idea"

Driving this morning, I decided that I don’t care for Darwin Fish on cars. Something about them rubs me the wrong way….and I think I’ve finally realized what it is. I don’t like the fact that they demonstrate a belief in negative terms. Can’t we express ourselves and our beliefs without tearing down someone else’s? Isn’t there a way to show belief in science and provable scientific theory over Intelligent Design without being snarky about an ancient Christian symbol?

I know, I know. This sounds very un-Flamingo. I revel in snark. But I also do support everyone’s right to believe what they want. I’m respectful of that. I don’t like it when people are overbearing and mean about it, but that’s a different post. And, though Dobson and like wouldn’t want you to know it, being Christian and accepting the theory of evolution are NOT mutually exclusive.

Plus, when you think about it, the story of the icthus is kind of cool. A secret symbol drawn in the dirt to identify yourself to other believers….c’mon….that’s neat. It’s sexy to be clandestine.

So, anyway. I was thinking that it might be better to have our own sexy secret car decal to identify us as supporters of the work of Charles Darwin, keeping Intelligent Design out of classrooms, and the freedom of individual thought and expression….rather than just opponents of Christianity (which isn’t true….but that’s how the Darwin Fish comes off, I think). So, whenever you see one of these sexy secret car decals, you know that’s a kindred spirit driving. Nifty, huh?

I wracked my brain thinking of the perfect car decal, preferably one already in production, so I don’t have to make it myself (that’s a lot of work). And I came up with one that I think works well.

I present:

The Beagle
(Representing, of course, Darwin’s famous ship the HMS Beagle.)


The Beagle 2


The Beagle 3

And more. There are a disturbing number of Beagle decals in this world. Seriously, there are. Do a Google Search. Let's put them to good use. Any Beagle will do.

Now, obviously, if you choose to put said decal on your car, a lot of people might just think that you really like Beagles. That’s the chance you take. I’m sure a lot of people thought that ancient Christians were kind of loopy folks who really liked fish a lot.

So, I'm totally gonna do this. Pass it on.

Friday, December 02, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Friday Random Ten

The feature that needs no introduction (but gets one anyway):

Friday Random Ten: The "I Hope Santa Brings Me New Music" Edition

1. Don't Panic--Coldplay
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)--The Fiery Furnaces
3. Princes and Princesses--Ellis
4. Last Night--Masha Qrella
5. The Dufrenes--Mitch Hedberg (incidentally, it was during the Dufrenes joke that I first realized that I was totally and completely in love with Mitch Hedberg...if you haven't heard it, I pity you..."Bush, Search Party of Three. You can eat once you find the Dufrenes.")
6. If It's Not With You--Phoenix
7. Hummalong--The Drams
8. I Dream About You--Yuka Honda
9. Love and Peace or Else--U2
10. XFire--The Bens