Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dog Fights

Some of the most vicious dog fights haven't been organized by Michael Vick and his crew ( The battles take place in cyberspace where folks who love animals just can't seem to get along. Spay/neuter enforcement, breeding, pet adoption fees, shelter fundraising, training techniques... on both sides of each of those arguments are people who love pets. Oh, but when they don't see eye-to-eye it gets nasty, VERY nasty. Animal lovers can you handle tough love? If not, don't read any further... We run the risk of being dismissed as a bunch of wackos and that hurts the cause, no matter which side of the argument you're on.

Any comment, event or interview about animals can be a scary situation. My dog, Henri, is my number one stress reliever. Tops on the list of stress enhancers? Disagreeing with other dog lovers. Sometimes even when you agree, if you don't agree the right way, it gets nasty, VERY NASTY. While I don't think that discussions about animal control and rescue should be limited to news stories about the latest PETA stunts, it is imperative that supporters educate and leave the attacking to expertly trained police dogs. Let's approach animal rescue with equal parts passion and compassion for the victims of abuse and neglect AND the folks trying to save them.

Dozens of dog owners came together for the Perfect Pooch Pageant last weekend and it was FUN and PEACEFUL! It was organized by June Ross, a Matt and Ramona Show listener ( who worked her tail off to benefit the Humane Society. Despite complaints about which rescue organization should get the money raised and whether pure bred dogs and puppies should be able to compete in the "cute" category (not kidding about that, somebody thought it wouldn't be fair for a full grown mutt to have to compete with an adorable little Yorkie-poo puppy) it was a soggy, tail-wagging good time. Thanks to all of the sponsors, dogs and their owners who participated. Special thanks to SouthPoint Pet Hospital ( for providing the location and Party Reflections ( for donating the tent that kept us dry. The judges had their work cut out for them. Much love to the folks who made the tough decision to pick the showgirl wiener dog over the Elvis spaniel in the fashion competition. Judges, on behalf of pets everywhere, you earned our gratitude by spending your Saturday afternoon helping out. If it were appropriate I'd scratch all of you behind the ears and then rub your bellies. Sarah Crosland from Charlotte Magazine (; my mom Wheezy (self proclaimed America's Favorite Cougar); Maddisson Shepard, Miss Mecklenburg Outstanding Teen and Candy from the Candy and Potter Show ( THANK YOU. Henri would have thanked you himself but he was a bit embarrassed about clawing Sarah's dress and pooping in the judging area.

In the end, there were no sore losers... just lots of dogs dressed better than me and over $1500.00 raised to help the animals. See what can happen when there's no dog fighting?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Safer as a Circus Star?

Before there was "Dancing with the Stars" there was "Circus of the Stars." Celebrities would learn how to train elephants ( or they'd let other stars throw knives at them ( I wonder if there was a big injury cover-up back then. It certainly seems like the dancing stars of today get carried away on stretchers more than the circus stars of yesteryear.

Two stars never made it to this season's debut show because of their dancing wounds. Both of the Steves performed injured last night. Computer Steve and "Jack Ass" Steve both got low scores, but the judges made it obvious that they don't want the chubbier, sweatier of the two to hang around much longer. Steve W got a score of 10, but his goofy Samba wasn't that much worse than Steve O's 15-point Foxtrot ( There is something slightly creepy about computer Steve. He's funny to watch, but that might be because the Woz looks like an eccentric Santa Claus cutting loose in the off season. Steve O will probably get the pity vote. He seems genuinely sad about not being able to perform.

More of the same from Denise and Holly... stiff and boring. Both of the bombshells take the judges criticism like a kick in the stomach. It is amusing to see the veins in their foreheads pop out the minute Bruno tears into their performances. Bruno really appears to admire what he calls L'il Kim's "bionic booty" because he's so mesmerized that he forgives her technical errors. She summed up her dancing best by saying, "I had fun shaking my booty." She won't win the DWTS mirror ball trophy, but she'll continue her skankification of ballroom dance for a few more weeks.

Big improvement for Chuck. He might have lost his honky-tonk street cred, but the country crooner and his lady are just too cute. David stepped it up. His high-kicking routine helped him outscore the rodeo guy by a point. Rodeo Ty held his own. I'd like to keep him in the competition just because his comments about learning to dance are down-home funny. It was a better night for Lawrence, but he just isn't as likable as the football stars who have preceded him on the show.

There was a three way tie for number one between this season's standouts Gilles, Melissa and Shawn. Gilles' was so sexy it brought his own mama to tears ( While a few of the celebs may be hoping that the ballroom dancing will whip them into shape. Gilles is already there and he knows it! Melissa was flawless and graceful. Shawn has the mechanics of the dance, but lacks the ability to bring a character to life when she performs. I hope there is enough money in the DWTS budget to give her a few more yards of fabric for her costume. The styles are not appropriate for Shawn's age or shape. She looks like she's been playing in Edyta's closet.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Big Disconnect

This is it... just one more e-mail and two more phone calls before I'm outta here. My goal is to take four days off. Four whole days! No computer, no cell phone, no meetings. I even took a day off to prepare for my days off. I should've left the house hours ago, but I'm still here waiting for a phone call. That phone call will lead to lots of questions that only my computer can answer. AHHHHH!

Why is it that when you try to take a little vacation, you wind up working overtime for your getaway? My friend BethAnn firmly believes that the devil knows we need rest, so he keeps us super-busy to distract us from getting the relaxation we so desparately need. She might be right. That explains why every urgent e-mail I answer leads to two more urgent e-mails.

Disconnecting is a sin for some. I have a few friends who would rather lose a finger than ignore their cell phone. I think many of us are just too plugged in. I know that when I unplug I'll have a huge load of stuff to do when I return. It makes me feel a little guilty to think that my big disconnect might leave some other folks in limbo for a few days. We're so used to everyone being so accessible all the time that when we can't be reached it drives some folks crazy. Am I the only one who sometimes longs for the freedom we had when computers lived in office buildings and phones lived on a wall in the kitchen?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Night Conspiracy

Once Jack Bauer figures out who is behind the attack on the White House on "24" I'm hoping he'll help me tackle America's other TV conspiracy. I need to get to the bottom of why the "Dancing with the Stars" judges hate David Alan Grier. The only contestant who scored lower was Steve O and he wasn't even well enough to compete live. The judges gave the "Jack Ass"star's dress rehearsal a 14. David Alan Grier earned a 17. That was enough to tie him with techie Steve Wozniak who did the slowest quick step I've ever seen. Steve kicked his feet at will and was in no way in time with the music.

Holly Madison could win a trophy for "most annoying nervous giggle" but no prizes for her quick step. She ran across the dance floor like someone yelled "free boob jobs!" The 18s bestowed upon Holly and Belinda Carlisle left me wondering who David had ticked off before the show. Belinda's moves, especially her stiff kicks, remind me of a less entertaining Cloris Leachman. Oddly, the former Go-Gos singer ( couldn't quite seem to close her legs while dancing and her routine had the worst ending ever. Her final pose was a hand stand. I can't get the sight of her smiling partner, Jonathon, peeking through her parted legs out of my head. AWKWARD!!!!

Even Lawrence Taylor, who seems to get more depressed with each performance, scored a 20. Country singer Chuck Wick and the most improved dancer of the night, rodeo star Ty Murray, earned 20s as well. I think L'il Kim is on the show too, but the woman they claim is her looks nothing like the short, raunchy chick who used to rap with the Notorious B.I.G. If that IS L'il Kim, then I think its obvious that Michael Jackson's plastic surgeon is still in business (

The shining stars of this season? Jilted bachelorette Melissa Rycroft and gymnast Shawn Johnson. Gilles Marini took his shirt off during the rehearsal shots. I think going topless was the move that catapulted him into first place with a 27. After all, judge Bruno has made it clear that watching ballroom dance is like porn for him.

Hmmmm.... I think I'm getting to the bottom of the Monday Night Conspiracy. Sex sells, right?. The judges even encouraged 17-year old Shawn to turn up the sex appeal. Sadly, they told her she could learn something by watching L'il Kim. Isn't that what we were hoping for from the Olympic medal winning sweetheart? Didn't we all tune in for this season of DWTS to see if L'il Shawn could learn to shake that thang like a felon who raps about her Lewinsky skills ( Perhaps if David and Chuck perform in speedos, they might climb closer to the top of the leader board next week.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bargain Hunting Blues

Relaxing, fun, and motivational... shopping is my therapy and this economy is choking the stuffin' out of my favorite pastime. The challenge of finding the best price, mixing and matching to create the perfect outfit, getting inspired to re-decorate or shed a few pounds. Trips to my favorite stores, solo or with a friend, are often the highlight of my week.

Just like there always seems to be heavier-than-usual traffic on the days when you're already running late, there always seem to be plenty of great buys in the right size and/or color when you have decided that you are just going to "look." A $9.99 Ann Taylor skirt in my size ( 70% off those cute Jessica Simpson shoes. 500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets for $40.00. Half off all spring decor! The icing on the cake is that I have to go with my mom to an appearance at Blacklion ( on Saturday morning. Everything I could ever want for my home in just one place?!?! I can't take it. The temptation to take my credit card on a field trip is just too strong. Baby, I've got the bargain hunting blues.

I'm blaming banks, car companies, politicians and ponzi schemers ( for robbing me of my sweet retail therapy. Don't give me malarkey about exercising, meditating or drowning my stress in a bottle of wine. I get exercise when I'm strolling from store to store at the mall and finding great deals releases my endorphins. It is no fun to shop KNOWING that you can't buy anything. Its just frustrating. On second thought... bring on the wine.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Granny Whisperer

When you're a kid your parents make the plan and you follow it. That's just how its done if you want to live peacefully under their roof. When you become an adult you can make your own plan and the folks who live with you simply follow it. That's how its done IF you're a parent taking care of your children. That is not how it goes when you're taking care of a parent. They've laid down the law for so many years, that it is downright impossible to make rules they'll follow.

Your first two decades on the planet are spent listening to your parents. Can someone tell me how to get them to fall in line when the roles change ( After raising me and teaching for over 40 years, my mother is accustomed to giving orders. But when it comes to taking orders... let's just say that mutiny is Wheezy's speciality.

The doctor warns against doing any bending while her back is healing ( I look out the window and catch her bending down to pick up the dog's poop. Yes, we have a pooper scooper. Yes, I've told her to leave it and I'll get it. She says she has complained so much about neighbors leaving their dog droppings in our yard that she would be ashamed if one of them caught her walking away from one of our dog's piles. She is also on her own agenda when it comes to bending while cooking and doing laundry. Her response to my request that she not try to navigate the basement stairs when I'm not home? With an eye roll and what can best be described as a half sigh/half growl noise I hear, "oh my God."

The household budget? If she catches me cutting when she thinks I should be spending her first threat is to stop getting her hair done. Patting her curls back into place, she wonders aloud how long before her hair starts looking like "picky birds and guts." I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I think the modern-day translation is "hot mess." When she wants to go for the guilt jugular she vows to save hundreds of dollars each month by not taking her heart and blood pressure medications so we can afford the things she wants to do.

If you think it's tough to keep a toddler in line, then imagine trying to get a willful senior citizen to follow your directions. Hellllllp! I don't think the Super Nanny ( works with old folks so I need a Granny Whisperer quick!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Reality Recipe

The recipe for reality TV? One likable host, one hero, at least one drama queen, a heaping cup of contrived drama and a dash of filler material. Last night, as usual, American Idol followed the recipe to a "T" and in the process toyed with the over-the-top emotions of Tatiana. Raise your hand if you thought that the melodramatic beauty queen deserved a spot on the wild card show? Just as I thought. We all know she was tossed back into the batter to earn a giant, "oh, no they didn't" from the audience.

Astute producers know that putting Tatiana in the final baker's dozen would have pushed us over the edge. Those vote for the worst folks ( might have backed her and they couldn't risk having Tatiana tank the American Idol tour if she made it to the top 10. Any reality TV recipe will warn you to remove the drama queen from the contest before you pull the finished dish out of the oven. Tatiana was simply AI's version of New York, from "Flava of Love" ( You want to keep her around to keep some drama simmering in your pot, but you can't let her win. Every good cook knows that too much salt will spoil a recipe and salty personalities don't make good reps for your sponsors.

From the ingredients I've seen so far it is doubtful we'll have a teen idol this year. There are only two teens in the mix, Allison and Jasmine. We've seen it before with a previous Jasmine( Like Trias, Jasmine Murray is a cute girl with a mediocre voice but she doesn't have a good back story and doesn't stand out. Allison Iraheta has a fantastic instrument (help, I'm writing like Paula talks) but she can't pull off the innocent, bubbly teen act that America loves. Country fans won't get an Idol this time around. Don't put your money on Michael Sarver to go all the way. And Look for Anoop Dawg to get a make-over. Idol loves to turn nerdy college guys into fashionistas. Remember when Clay Aiken discovered the flat iron ( and became a shoe whore?

There is an art to whipping up the perfect reality dish. You have to know when it's time to turn up the heat and it is imperative to make sure you let it bake long enough so it'll be satisfying and not undercooked. So we'll have to trust the likable host, Ryan Seacrest, to manipulate the theatrics by always giving us the results RIGHT AFTER THE BREAK!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Real Age

How old am I? Sometimes I say 63. The other day when a man who'd been flirting with my friend asked I said 73. He thought it was my clever way of telling him that I'm 37. It seems like I've been lying about my age my entire life. Subtracting a year to get into a movie at the kiddie price. Adding a year to get a job at the local Kmart when I was in high school. Adding a few years to get into Club Zanzibar. I know the name sounds corny now, but I swear it was New Jersey's coolest place to dance to "house music" ( These days I add many years to my real age. I like to think that I'll look exactly the way I do right now when I really am in my sixties or seventies.

Aging really scares me sometimes, but I think I'm learning how to tame the beast, conquering one dilemna at a time. The first piece of the aging puzzle is adventure. Thoughts of nothing to look forward to but trips to the doctor and new episodes of "Wheel of Fortune" send chills down my spine. Whether you are 27 or 72, you only grow and learn when you step out of your comfort zone and tackle a new adventure. Adventure doesn't find you. You create it.

Unsure of exactly what the trip would bring, I accepted an invitation to spend the weekend with a friend and her family on Sapelo Island in Georgia ( I've been to the island before, but this time I experienced it through the eyes of children. Their open-mouthed excitement gave me a new perspective... dare I say a dash of adventure. So, next time I don't think I'll wait for an invitation. I'm gonna find the adventure and do the inviting myself.