Your Questions: EXPERTLY ANSWERED!

Perhaps I’ve been named the internet’s favorite polymath. More than likely, I just need to stop talking about wangs. Taken from search terms that brought people to my website:

“How to remove max factor maxwear lipcolor” – I use eye makeup remover. Works very well. I think this is where I add the disclaimer: eye makeup remover is intended for external use ONLY. Uh, don’t drink it.

“Penis hangs,” “Dr Oz penis,” “Why Penis Hangs to Left,” “What decides penis where hangs” and quite a few more penis hits – Well, well, aren’t we all secretly obsessed with which way our members fall, boys – and, yes, I’m purposefully ignoring the fact that people were wondering about Dr. Oz’s penis. From what Dr. Oz taught me and, please, correct me if I’m wrong, the penis will tend to rest on the side which the testicle hangs lower. As if it’s sort of pushed out of the way by the higher one.

“Afraid to make phone call” – I wish I had something to offer here. You found me because I have a fear of making phone calls. I can only assist by telling you what I do when I’m facing the dreaded task. First, breathe. Second, yell, “Hey (insert secretary’s name here), call (clients name here) and tell him (lie here) and tell him I apologize that I didn’t call myself.”  Third, repeat as necessary.

“Dallas Desperados bogo” and “Desperados bogo ticket” – While I could probably run off the details to every ticket deal offered by the Tampa Bay Storm, I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about the way things run out in Dallas. I suggest having your secretary call 972-785-4900 and asking the fine folks in the Desperados Ticket Office.

“Ten year old michigan boy with heart transplant january 2008″ and twenty-six this month simply using “heart monitor” – about four years ago I put up a few pictures of me wearing a Holter monitor and then, a few years later, I put up some more. I did tag the photos, so of course I got hits. I pretty much only put these up to show my mom but, hey, if someone has an arrhythmia fetish, a heart monitor fixation or just a thing for wires glued to women, I have no objection to having provided material. So, while I know why I’m getting hits I often wonder what people think when they see the pictures. I hope they think, “gee, that looks like it would itch,” ’cause, it does.

“Subway egg salad” – yeah, I know. Why don’t they?

Supermarket Sweep: Right-of-Way in the Grocery Store

If I would have written this post last week it would have ended up as an angry tirade about the Sweetbay near my house, the miserable people who work and/or shop there or the fact that they never have carambola. Instead, I’ve waited and I’ll simply showcase my crazy by telling the totally true story of how I feel people in supermarkets should drive their carts.

I really hate grocery shopping. I know a lot of people say that but I’m sure that there are those random few people that it doesn’t bother. I’m equally sure that there’s always that one weirdo in the store that absolutely loves the experience. I will never be that guy. I hate grocery shopping because, like the escalators at the mall and every sports venue ever built, it’s always been just another place for me to exhibit my dreadful road rage.

I’m being completely honest here, friends. I truly believe that the grocery store – especially our new best friend, the “Super-” supermarket – would be a much friendlier place if we all at least attempted to follow the rules of the road when pushing around shopping carts.

First off – right lane is the travel lane, left lane is for passing only. This way traffic can move north and south freely and, for the most part, unobstructed. I’m not saying people don’t have to stop to browse the selections on the shelf – but that’s when the passing lane should be utilized. If there’s traffic coming from that direction – you wait.

Emergency parking is to be done on the right shoulder only. This is probably the one that has the most potential to annoy me. If you have to stop and browse – either side of the aisle – pull your cart as close to the shelf on it’s right side as possible so that people can move around you. Why are there folks who insist on leaving their cart in the middle of the aisle? There’s an invisible yellow line down every row, as far as I’m concerned.

Big east-west lanes down the front and rear length of the store have RIGHT-OF-WAY. Just like on the highway – those coming from the side streets yield to those traversing the more major artery. I do, in fact, look both ways before I push my cart out into the intersection of Aisle 3 and Big-Street-with-Meat-Counter Blvd and, conversely, I expect my travel to continue unobstructed while I’m speeding from one side of the store to the other and skipping all the aisles. Sure, I’ve rammed right into someone’s cart when they disobeyed my imagined rules and cut me off. I’ve done that and I’ve looked into the eyes of child and asked, “your mommy doesn’t know how to allow right-of-way, does she?”

We should all – at least those of us that drove to the store – know these rules. It’s not like you have to walk around constantly reminding yourself of them – they should be second nature by now. Why not apply them at the store in an effort to make an experience most of us already dislike a little easier to deal with? And I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way. I’ve seen a few of you smarties out at the local Publix and Super Target piloting your wire-chariots safely and clearly following the same rules I’m speaking of here. We only share a brief smile and go on our way but please know, fellow ragers, that you’ve made my shopping trip more bearable.

If you’re ever shopping in Lutz O’ Chapel Lakes (it’s just north of Tampa, folks) and a crazy little brown person with long hair and an eye twitch opens up her box of Crispy Hexagons and starts flinging them at you one by one – well, you’ve met both me and my wrath – and, obviously, you’ve broken my rules.  Game over.  Try harder next time.

Put Me In, Coach

I’m in the second round of playoffs in the PIM only fantasy hockey league I’m a part of.  So far this week, I’m winning.  Before tonights games it was 30-11 or something like that.  Daniel Carcillo has 12 already tonight and Zack Stortini has 5.  I’m feeling alright but they guy I’m playing against has some of those brawlers that rarely play but when they do they go absolutely psycho.  I’m won’t be letting my guard down.

I’ve been noticing, though, that when I log in to check on my games in progress, the first guys I’m drawn to clicking on are the guy who had games but for some reason or another I had to sit on the bench.  I’m pretty sure I do the same thing every night.  On nights like tonight – Tom Kostopoulos got five for fighting – this only pisses me off.  It was between him and Stortini and at 184 minutes to 102, I had to go with the guy more likely to produce.

All beside the point.

Why do I even look – or at least, why do I look at them first?  I’m going to see it reflected in their totals tomorrow and if they’ve gotten anything I’m just going to be disappointed that I had them on the bench.  Why is it my initial inclination upon viewing my team at night?  Is this a “glass-half-empty” kind of deal?

Either way, my pessimism is working.  I’m totally kicking ass.  I could have been kicking ass by 5 more minutes (grrr) but I’m kicking ass none the less.

“… I’ve Never Found a Rusty Snake …”

I’m one of those that believes that you do, indeed, learn something new every day – trivial or not – new knowledge is new knowledge and when I die I want my brain to be full and information to be pouring out passed my lips.

If it’s Alzheimer’s, though, I won’t be getting my wish – for it steals the one thing we believe is sacrosanct.  It voids the thing we always claim that no one can take from us no matter the adversity we face.

I know what snake oil is – in it’s true form and as disparaging term – but I’d never heard the counterargument mentioned in the title of this post. While this may seem like no big find to you – I’m completely in love.

I hate, though, that Terry Pratchett is dealing with this ugly, terrible disease. I know and love a man that is dealing with this now – and have known and lost others. It’s scary and I actually do know the pain, depression and shame – but at least he’s talking about it openly. Maybe we all will someday.

… and I hope that when I learn my fate, I’m able to deliver gems like that.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Terry Pratchett:

“People don’t know what to say, unless they have had it in the family.

“People ask me why I announced that I had Alzheimer’s. My response was: ‘Why shouldn’t I?’

“I remember when people died of ‘a long illness’. Now we call cancer by its name, and as every wizard knows, once you have a thing’s real name you have the first step to its taming.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“Some of those who got in touch wanted to sell me snake oil and I’m not necessarily going to dismiss all of these, as I have never found a rusty snake.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

“You can’t out-run the train but you can run and, who knows, if you can keep running for long enough, someone might find a way of blowing up the train.”

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Dr. Oz’s Penis Hangs to the Left (and Still, I’m Left With Questions)

I love public discussion of health and the human body. Seriously, there are only a few things that all of us human beings all over the earth truly have in common – and those are things biological. Most of us also seem to have this common interest – goal, even – of staying alive.

Why is it that we whisper things we should be shouting?

CHECK YOUR BLOOD SUGAR AND CHOLESTEROL! HEART DISEASE SUCKS!

SMOKING CAN CAUSE CANCER!

GET A COLONOSCOPY!

SELF-EXAMINE YOUR BREASTS AND TESTICLES!

BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR BODY: EATING, DRINKING, SMOKING, INJECTING, SNORTING, EATING … AND EATING!

Why do we shy away from talks about our bodies and it’s functions? How is anyone even supposed to know when something is wrong if they’ve too afraid to talk about how it behaves with things are right?

We- a lot of us – are especially afraid to talk about disease, old-age and death. Do we all think we’re above these things?

While I do applaud their efforts, why are we even at the point where Oprah and Dr. Oz are teaching us these things?

If that’s what it takes, though, I guess that’s better than it has been. If Dr. Oz isn’t afraid to let us know to which side his rod dangles, perhaps we shouldn’t be afraid to admit we have genitalia – especially when discussing how to care for it.

People need to care about their own bodies enough to learn how they work (encyclopedias are a good start), learn to run some diagnostics (I know more people who can change their own oil than can measure their own heart rate) and participate in their own health care. Know when to see a doctor, know what to tell your doctor and know when to get a second opinion (hint: always).

Learn enough to BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE. No one else cares about you as much as you.

… while I’m ranting – why is it that parent’s don’t teach their children the proper names for their own body parts?

STRIKE THAT. I know why.

Why are people afraid to use the proper names for their own body parts in discussion with other humans who, I’ll wager, have the same god damned parts! I’m always so embarrassed when I hear a peer use incorrect terminology. It’s only a “pussy” if you’re talking about sex or making a joke. Otherwise, it has many bits and pieces. Our cunts are complicated!

Be specific!

Oh, and vulva and vagina can mean two (or, like, seventeen) different things. Women, c’mon. Even Oprah said we’re the ones who are more willing to discuss these things!

To Turn a Phrase

When I’m watching a game and I hear one of the commentators, uh … comment that a team is “riding a hot goaltender” – I have a vision and it doesn’t have much to do with hockey.

God love the double entendre.

Of course, I only have the one in my head now – but, I’ve looked and this guy has a pretty good list – mostly sports, all British. I don’t care if they are real or not. They are funny.

Mine is real, though.  Not as out there as those other ones but I hear it all the time … and my mind wanders.

Not Every Situation is Comedic

I’m sitting at home alone and instead of watching SmackDown, like I should be, I’m watching the premier of a new sitcom (ick) on Fox (double ick).

I like Parker Posey … but 10 minutes in I’m completely sure sitcom is not her format. I think she has a problem imagining the canned laughter.

Or maybe the laughter is my problem

The Return of Jezebel James seems to be – from what information I’ve managed to glean mere minutes into the shows life – about a young, professional, recently divorced woman who finds out she’s infertile. Get this – Asherman’s Syndrome. I guess they really wanted to make sure she could never conceive. I wish they would have told us it was a result of a past D&C or an STD so I’d believe the story. Or identify. Something.

Hey, it’s Lauren Ambrose! Looks like she can actually deliver a line I believe. I like her.

So, Parker Posey decides to ask her sister, Lauren Ambrose (yeah, I haven’t caught the names of their characters yet), who she hasn’t seen in a year, to surrogate.

OK – fine. Monica and Chandler already went the adoption route. I suppose that’s too tired for the highly competitive world of situational comedies.

Oh, look. Their parents are disappointed in almost every aspect of the idea. At least that’s true to life.

Never mind – she wasn’t married to the guy she was with all those years. At least she seems a little smarter, now.

A character I should really be able to identify with played by an an actress I like … but I guess I can’t laugh at infertility yet. Perhaps it’s because of the laugh track – I only ever liked those on Golden Girls. Perhaps it’s because I’m already sure they aren’t exactly going to have their facts straight and infertility is still something we talk in whispers about. I guess it’s nice to see a barren woman in prime time again but I guess I’m a little too wrapped up in my own syndromes to really be ready for it presented in this manner.

I must be hysterical.

Oh, hey! Parker Posey was just wearing a hockey jersey! Sure, it was a Brendan Witt Isles jersey, but it was NHL. Maybe they get one more episode.

Lost River Preserve

It wasn’t lost. We just weren’t sharing.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

This Saturday morning I was both bit by the nostalgia bug and feeling the need to go on a mind clearing drive. When it’s only the drive I’m craving I’ll hit the twisties in Lutz or the long empty stretches in northern Pasco or Hernando. Once or twice a year, though, I feel the need to go check in with good old Ruskin and my old haunts in south Hillsborough County.

It’s not like I ever really left. I still live in the Tampa Bay Area. My work keeps me in or close to downtown and most of other needs I have are filled locally as well. Even though it’s only a short drive down the interstate I never need to go to Ruskin – so I rarely do.

Ever since the discovery – made by the major cookie-cutter homebuilders about eight years ago – that Ruskin is, in fact, on Tampa Bay and actually has both modern and usable beach and boating access, the area has been billed as “SouthShore.” That’s cute and everything but when I was growing up there all anybody on the outside knew about us was that we grew the best tomatoes. We were known as “Little Mexico,” “The Big Tomato” and “The Sticks” – all said quite lovingly, I’m sure. Yeah, people may have heard that Apollo Beach was a half way civilized place to live if you owned a boat (it’s population over tripled from almost-nothing to almost-four-thousand between 1970 and 1980 – talk about a boom!) but with Gibsonton and the then widespread fear of bearded ladies and people that owned carnival rides laying in between Tampa and “SouthShore,” folks stayed north or north and east. This made Brandon and Valrico the beautiful, thriving communities they are today. Urban sprawl is considered appealing these days, I think, right? Positive press about the Lobster Boy family and the debunking of myths surrounding carnies along with the aforementioned discovery of salt water and and undeveloped (read: agricultural) land both allayed fears and piqued interest in the area.

Now the sprawl continues southward.

When I entered sixth grade I was bussed to a school north of Gibsonton/Riverview in an area called Progress Village. I’m not at all bitter about having been sent to a school exactly twenty miles away from where I lived. I did kind of live “out in the country.” This year of busing really began my real-life education into the type of social experimentation by “the haves” that used to be called “the projects.” I didn’t exactly grow up in an affluent area but it had it’s pockets of wealth and decadence. A lot of my friends lived in labor camps but a few also lived on large pieces of land with horses or in homes along that Bay we thought we were hiding. The year – my eleventh year of life – I spent at Progress was a year full of eye opening experiences for me. I now had friends that lived a new kind of poverty and, also, friends that lived in Bloomingdale. I drove through both areas on Saturday morning. They are still as different as night and day even though they are only really separated by a highway intersection. Little remarkable development has happened in either area except for the fact that some one actually figured out how to cram even more subdivisions into the latter.

On this particular drive I made my way, first, south along US 301 through Riverview and then, later, on my way back home, north on US 41 through Gibsonton. Riverview does, in fact, have a river running through it – the Alafia. When I was young Riverview was already a popular place to live in south Hillsborough county and lots of people made their home along the banks of the river the area was named for. There was, also, the first “master planned” community not targeted at people over 55 I’d ever seen – Summerfield. As an adult I realize that this is certainly not the case but, as a child, I thought everyone that lived in those little pastel colored concrete boxes with attached garages was rich! I think it was the fact that they had community pools, golf courses and sprinklers in their yards – or maybe that there were other kids to play with on every single street. Now Riverview is teaming with communities like this. Riverview’s farming industry was already dying by the time I was growing up in my farming family in Ruskin so the seemingly empty land there was actually unused. The fiscally sensitive side of my brain can certainly see why that barren land along US 301 was bought up and filled with tenth-of-an-acre pastel plantations but the rest of me – a product of that area – has no idea why anyone would want to live in a place called Riverview when you’ve no chance of viewing a river. I don’t know if I’d actually consider this “trivia” – but I enjoy this little blurb about “two lane roads” and the “rural setting” that someone included on Riverview’s Wikipedia entry.

Gibsonton, aside from smelling like phosphate mines, actually makes more sense to me for development like this. The area along US 41 is actually closer to the water and, with some help, decent beach and boating access could be achieved. We’d just have to knock down a phosphate mound or two which I’m sure couldn’t be that hard! The drive to downtown along US 41 is also a pretty easy one. That being said, Gibsonton has seen a few new planned communities pop up – but nothing like Riverview. Driving through Gibsonton now is pretty much like it was when I was a kid.

So there weren’t any huge shocks for most of my ride – which is nice. I got choked up a few times. I’m a sap. Loads of memories come flooding back whenever I do this and that is, without a doubt, the most enjoyable part of being able to take this drive.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Finally – the lost river.

South of Ruskin proper (yes, this exists, smart ass) is Gulf City – presumably (by me) so named because it’s near the southernmost part of the Bay where the line between it and the Gulf of Mexico become blurred. Despite what the current version of the Wikipedia article tells you it is neither 40 miles south of Tampa nor abandoned. While historical Gulf City may have been forgotten and made into part of unincorporated Hillsborough County – the true and actual site is very much reachable by road. In fact, US 41 goes right over the Little Manatee river and leads right up to Tampa. Seriously – who would say there wasn’t a bridge over the Little Manatee River? Any point other than that can be reached on foot or by boat.

So, it’s no longer a “city.” That doesn’t mean it no longer exists. I love how, when something becomes “history,” it somehow ceases to be real.

Gulf City Road looks nearly the same as it did when I was kid with a few glaring differences. There are a few newer homes lining the (my!) river and there are some signs promising upscale housing communities along as-of-yet undredged canals but with the recent downturn in the housing market, I doubt we’ll see those plans come to fruition any time soon. The farm land my father worked is now seemingly – like historical Gulf City – abandoned. The giant warehouse and cooling facility once used for his crops is in desperate need of attention – as is the house I grew up in.

My river is still there, though some are claiming it was lost.

At one point, as you attempt to head west towards the Bay, Gulf City Road quickly turns you south. Not much farther and it’s and sharp west facing turn, again and back south shortly thereafter. This area has been known for quite some time as a place that has provided an outstanding look back in time for both paleontologists and regular old kids like me. Amazing fossils and bits of evolutionary evidence have been pulled from the Liesey Shell Pit (Caloosa Shell Corporation) - a place few who aren’t in the know would suspect to find along a isolated trail along a river and in the swampland. Now, though, and for the past few years there are signs on either side of that set of turns – signs that read “Lost River Preserve.”

Now, these signs and this community idea are all fair, I suppose. Mr. Leisey, whom I do not know but assume I met at some point in my childhood, and his company of Caloosa Shell have every right to do whatever they wish with the land. Things change, childhood “hiking” trails disappear, homes are built, man-made lakes emerge and “new” areas as discovered as suitable places to live. Everyone has to grow-up, suck-it-up and give-up on certain fantasies of recapturing our youth.

Not just me, I know. Everyone.

“Lost River,” though?

She was never lost – not to me.

I get it. The name could be pulled forth from a million different allusions – especially those involving archaeological finds at a shell pit. All I keep thinking about, though, is my river and this whole new “SouthShore” thing and emotion takes hold. The name makes me think that the banks of my river may have forgotten me or that, worse, she thinks I forgot her. Perhaps it’s that I feel lost, myself. I’ve disappeared into the sprawl of the concrete and attached garages and all of those things that formed my character and identity are being discovered by other people who will built 2500 sq ft-minimum homes on them.

I’m sure the place that I live is on top some else’s lost river – which only makes me feel worse because I don’t even like the place I live. My house is very nice and the area is safe, clean, gated and pastel with golf courses and community pools – I even live on a (man-made) lake. It’s not home, though, and even though home is only a short drive down I75 – that’s not mine.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

There’s a light at Gulf City Rd and US 41 now. That always strikes me as strange because while the plan was for more people to end up living there, they never really showed up. As I started to head back north, right before the bridge that does, in fact, exist over the Little Manatee River, I saw a car pull over on the shoulder and three people get out and grab fishing poles and nets. I was 25 minutes south of downtown and in the 19th largest MSA in the United States yet, still, there’s a river that quaint winding through one of it’s suburbs.

I’m glad I didn’t wander too far from home. I’m glad I can still take that drive.

(Apologies and one intentional allusion to Neil Diamond)

Tied Up and Twisted

Every few years the stars align in such a fashion that each individual Monday Night Raw story line develops into completely boring, utterly trite crap that no one can imagine being played to resolution. When this happens, there’s only one way out.

It’s time to get twisted.

Earlier this season we saw Jericho come out of retirement and immediately challenge the robotic, monotonous Randy Orton only to see that squelched in a few short weeks using JBL as an out. Now, Chris is fighting the closest thing RAW has to a Jericho clone in Swanton-beauty, Jeff Hardy. Now they are feuding. For absolutely no good reason, as far as storyline is concerned except, instead of Randy’s belt, Chris wants Jeff’s belt. Blah, blah, blah – not the weirdest thing going on right now but, perhaps, the saddest.

Cena’s back … and nobody cares. “Booooo!” is what we hear whenever he’s in the ring. Why? I don’t know. I’m not deep enough to understand how a man who is legitimately injured while exceedingly popular returns, much earlier than expected, only to be hated on by the crowd. The look on his face almost leads me to believe that he’s confused as well. Tripple H used to be the ultimate baddie and Randy Orton … well … he’s walking in dad’s heal-for-life shadow – but Cena is booed. I’ve admitted it here – I was never a big fan of the guy – but everyone else was. What happened guys?

Ric Flair. FOR GOD’S SAKE, FINISH THIS ALREADY. I’m not talking about his career (although, if this goes on any longer I’m afraid I’ll be driven to a point where I won’t really care) but this win-or-retire storyline is terrible. The twisted part, though, is having his fate hang on the outcome of a match between him and Shawn Michaels, a man that, I’d like to believe, truly respects him. I think that the writers could put all sorts of Nature Boy bashing onto a script and hand it to HBK only to have him laugh and ask for the real script, terrifying the puny, fanboy wordsmiths I envision the WWE employing.

I love Santino Marella. Him ripping up the cover of the latest Playboy magazine over the head of ex-angle, Maria, while she lay crippled after her match with Melina was completely twisted, though. At least for me. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m a woman but – ouch – that smacks of domestic abuse! Of course, I appreciate even the noir-est (oh yeah, I’m cultured) of comedy and found it hilarious … while also, kind of weird. I like to pretend that the (previously established) puny WWE writers are also witty envelope pushers, specializing in dark humor.

Big Show/Mayweather – that’s just retarded. So unbelievably stupid that I can’t help but watch – and complain – and whine- and watch – the entire time these guys are on the screen.

The most twisted of the twisted, though, in my humble O, is this Mr. McMahon/Finlay/Hornswoggle/JBL deal. Two weeks ago we learned that Hornswoggle may not be Vince’s progeny. JBL, somehow, has the inside line on the fact that Finlay is, in fact, this mutant, midget, leprechaun child’s (seriously – what is he supposed to be – a kid, a little person or an Irish faerie?) biological daddy. COOL! Finlay is awesome and has always looked out for little Horny. The tough love thing was weird, anyway and I, personally, was waiting for a story line where DCF got involved and terminated VM’s parental rights. (Now that is imaginative writing … where’s my contract, WWE?) The fact is, Finlay is such a good guy and, his ignoring paternity aside, I felt for him when I saw him beat the ever-loving shit out of Mr. Kennedy with a Shillelagh tonight after JBL mocked him via satellite. What’s more twisted than a grown man savaging a … uhmph … whatever Hornswoggle is … while he’s in a hospital bed? He did this while Finlay was watching! This was absolutely the most twisted thing I’ve ever seen in WWE history. A grown (fatty) man abusing a disabled child(?) in front of his helpless father. Sick. WICKED. IMMORAL.

TWISTED.

About time.

WWE Monday Night Raw is back on track … and I can’t wait till I’m enjoying all of this while sitting at WrestleMania.