Wednesday, September 30, 2009

injaynesworld we ask "What Are the Odds?"

I enter everything. Ev-er-y-thing. Raffles, lotteries, online sweepstakes, writing contests... If there's something to be won, I'm totally there. I've endured more than my share of ridicule for this, especially for buying state lottery tickets, and my response is always, "Hey, someone wins. It's not like it's a scam and they never give the money away." Occasionally, I even win. Last spring, I won a $10 gift certificate and a bag of groceries in a local market raffle. In July, I won $425 in the Fantasy Five lottery, and today I was notified that I won an online essay contest at The contest was to write 350 words on something in your life, so I wrote this piece about the rural area where I live:

"After nearly a lifetime as a city dweller, I left the traffic, smog, and crowds of Los Angeles for the beauty and serenity of a small rural community in central California and quickly realized that I had a lot to learn.

The people here are warm and friendly, never too hurried to stop for a chat. To avoid a neighbor’s eye or mutter a brisk hello while moving on will not endear you. True, I’ve had to avoid grocery shopping during peak hours or risk my ice cream becoming a puddled mess in my cart, but when you’re sick or have lost a loved one, you can count on this whole community to wrap you in its arms.

There’s not much nightlife, so people entertain mostly at home. For my very first dinner invitation the host carefully instructed me to avoid driving over the wet cow paddies as they would splash up on my car and create quite a mess. I agreed to be mindful of that and thanked him for his advice. However, not in all my years had I ever received such an instruction and I couldn’t help thinking it odd. Not so much that he would caution me to avoid driving over wet cow paddies, but that he would just take it for granted that I’d be able to tell the wet ones from the dry ones. As I drove to their home that night, it seemed a good idea to simply avoid all of them, which I did. I’m just grateful the sheriff wasn’t around to watch my car zigzagging down the road as I’m certain I would have been arrested on the spot.

As a newcomer, I was eager to plant a vegetable garden. It can only be learned by experience that two zucchini plants are more than enough, and that if you don’t lock your car here in the summer people will fill it with the green stuff. As for our dress code, you don’t want to be walking around looking too clean. If you don’t smell like a horse or a cow and have at least one trace of some kind of manure somewhere on your person, people will think you work for the government and regard you with suspicion... But I wouldn’t live anywhere else."

The prize was nine books of their choice which, as an avid reader I'm thrilled about. But winning isn't just about the prizes, it's about the thrill -- the feeling that for that brief moment you were just a little bit better or luckier than the next guy. It's like the joke that goes, "It's not enough for me to be thin, my friends must also be fat." That may sound bitchy, but come on... you all know exactly what I'm talking about. We live in a competitive society. From the time we're kids playing soccer or being on the swim team, it's pretty much drummed into our heads that winning is a freakin' big deal.

For me, entering contests is kind of a metaphor for how I've lived my life. I have gambling blood in my veins. My grandfather trained and raced horses for a living. My father, when he was around, would show up with a fur coat for my mom one week and we'd be scrambling to pay the rent the next. You'd think such instability would make me cautious and a seeker of security, but it had just the opposite effect. Being used to instability and having survived it, it made me unafraid to go for outrageous things like a career in Hollywood and actually believe I could achieve it. It made me totally used to times when I had no money and no idea how I would pay my bills or buy food because my mother always told me, "There's always a way," and damned if something didn't turn up to pull my butt from the fire just in time.

So how does this relate to entering contests? If you enter, you may not win, but if you don't enter, you sure as hell aren't going to win. So if there's something you want to do in life -- a career switch, a move to a new city, a return to school, whatever -- just go for it!    Because playing it safe? That's for losers.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

injaynesworld we offer a recap of "This Week's Madness"

A new feature we may or may not do on a regular basis.


On C-Span’s Washington Journal this week, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) gave his astute reasoning for why global warning is a left-wing hoax.  Apparently blaming God, he offered, “God’s still up there,” claiming that climate change is simply a result of normal cycles.   Hey – our hands are clean.  Bitch about it to the Big Guy.   Okay, Senator, I’ll pass that along in my nightly prayers.    Yo,God... Inhofe said it's all your fault.  Get it together, you big screw-up.   

From Sen John Kyl (R-Ariz), we have this misogynist gem:   “I don’t need maternity care,” so employer health plans shouldn’t be required to include it.   Fortunately, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich) was there to shut his face with this quick retort, “I think your mom probably did.”    You go girl!


Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) was caught on tape Wednesday evening at a Pima County Republican Women's event letting loose with this brain fart: "It is a great relief, to say the least, to get out of that hell hole in Phoenix and be down here in Tucson."   Her office immediately went into crisis-management mode, telling reporters that Brewer was referring to the "hellish budget hole" and not the capital city of Phoenix.    Yeah, right.  Brewer’s poll numbers are already in the toilet.  Let the flushing begin…


Because we can never have enough reality television, this courtesy of the New York Post: 
The CW network has announced plans for "The Fly Girls," a new reality show that will track five Virgin America stewardesses as they cavort in their "high-flying careers filled with exotic locations and handsome strangers."   The eight-episode show, scheduled to premiere mid-season, will follow the women, who share a "crash pad" in LA, as they fly around the world "while pursuing good times, great parties, adventure and love."  Not mentioned:  long tarmac delays, bad airline coffee and snarky passengers.                             

Virgin Airlines?  Seriously?... I know I can’t wait…


From the tell-all, “Speech-less” by Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer, perhaps the most disturbing thing he reveals about George W (at least to me, but we all know how disturbed I am) is that he used to pad around the White House wearing Crocs.    I don’t know about you, but for me this explains a lot.

And our top story of the week…

Mackenzie Phillips delighted us all with her graphic regurgitation of her 10-year sexual relationship with her father.   When asked for a comment, her half-sister (the pretty one), Chynna Phillips, replied, “Who in their right mind would make such a claim if it wasn’t true.”   Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe a lifetime heroin addict, has-been actress looking to make a buck?    I’m not saying it’s not true.  Maybe it is, but did we really need to hear about it?    And when did Oprah morph into Jerry Springer?   I needed a hot shower after this one.  

And so ends this episode of "This Week's Madness."   If you have some of your own to add, by all means do share.

Friday, September 25, 2009

injaynesworld "Hindsight Is the Booby Prize

“Go Back.  You Are Going The Wrong Way.”

This is my all-time favorite highway road sign.  I smile every time I see it.   If only everything in life was this simple.   But instead we get useless drivel like “hindsight is 20/20.”    Yeah,  but you see, if I’ve already driven my life off the freakin’ cliff that’s not really very helpful now, is it.   How about a little foresight once in a while, huh?

Why do we always have to crash and burn to learn our lessons in life?     Human beings have notoriously bad judgment.   We do really stupid things.   All the time.   We’re like those little wind-up toys that walk into walls.   So why would  a God who is supposed to be all-knowing ever consider giving us free will?    Is God the ultimate punkster?    I sometimes have a vision of Him sucking back on a bong and laughing His ass off, but only when I’m really pissed off about something that, in hindsight, I realize was a colossal clusterfuck which, with a little foresight, I could have avoided completely. 

What about a simple handbook that grows with you in the womb and pops out with the placenta?    Would that really be so much to ask?   A personal guide to life which, if followed, would at least give you a fighting chance with warnings like:

 “No man ever pulled out in time.”   

 “Your trailer park, like all others, will be in the path of a tornado.”

“Women with fat thighs should not wear mini-skirts.   This goes for women over 50, too, unless you’re Tina Turner.  Failure to heed will result in painful ridicule.” 

Had I been able to read in my own personal handbook that on April 4th, 2006, a combination of new high-heels, too little food and copious amounts of tequila would result in a fall where I would break my neck, I might have modified my behavior that night.   Maybe at least had some chips with all that tequila.   Something.   To those who would say, “Why sure, common sense would tell you that,” I repeat, because this cannot be stressed strongly enough, “Human beings have notoriously bad judgment.”   

I can think of endless ways such a guide would come in handy for me.    What would  yours have to say?


Monday, September 21, 2009

injaynesworld we wonder about "Women Who Litter"

The Duggars are having their 19th child,  Octomom has 14,while the Gosselins, those slackers, have only managed to produce eight, but there’s something else these incessant breeders have in common besides hyperactive uteruses…

Until recent history, there were always carnival freak shows featuring such oddities as the bearded lady, the elephant man and your usual assortment of midgets.  Nowadays, such would be considered politically incorrect, so those in the business of entertainment have simply adapted with the creation of  reality TV and, in particular, shows about families with no concept of population control.  

What puzzles me is who watches these shows?    I can’t imagine they have a large male following and I don’t know of any single, childless women like me who’d be enthralled, so who is the audience for these ventures into the wonderful world of procreation? 

Now, I have to admit that I’ve tuned into the Jon & Kate show a few times, but only to see what new and exciting way Kate would come up with that week to emotionally castrate the proud father of her brood.    It was nice to see Jon finally show some balls in a recent interview where he said he “despised” Kate, and Kate’s forced smile and Herculean effort to take the high road in response has been a thing of beauty to behold.   That’s got to be causing her a serious rash somewhere though, don’t you think?   I mean, you just can’t hold that kind of stuff in and expect the body to oblige forever. 

The Duggars’ shtick apparently is giving all their offspring a name beginning with the letter “J”, although why the affinity for that particular consonant I don’t know.   I e-mailed them and asked “Hey, what’s up with the J’s?” or words to that effect.   I got an e-mail back from the super hero of sperm himself, Jim Bob Duggar, trying to sell me a Duggar DVD and a bible, but no answer to my question.   He did, however, want me to know that they manage to raise their little products of God’s love (because they attribute their flagrant humping like bunnies to God’s will, of course) absolutely debt free.   Well, sure you can, Duggars.   Because people like me are subsidizing you.   You get another tax deduction with each new kid you pop out.   And on behalf of taxpayers everywhere, let me just say it’s our pleasure.

At least the Octomom had the fleeting presence of mind to admit in an interview back in June that maybe having all these kids wasn’t the best idea she ever had.    Let’s hope that moment of lucidity didn’t put a damper on the box office returns of  “Octomom – The Musical.”  Yes.  Really.  

Which brings me back to my original question.   Who is the audience for these shows?   I did some research and found a site where the fans of the Duggars could leave comments.  From someone calling herself Ms Juicy Boo we have:    “Yep its tru…I like the show…Havent seen the new ones yet…but I dont think its out yet either…So I havent watched it…but having 18 kids is CRAZY…I wonder will she every get on BC…or would the hospitals are soemthing make…meanin if she get old and is still having kids!??? hmmm”

“Yep.”  I think that pretty much solves the mystery for me. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

injaynesworld "Gays Will Be Forced to Marry..."

… be miserable and get divorced like everyone else.

A bill has been introduced in Congress this week to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and it’s about time. Among the asinine things done by the Bill Clinton that did not involve a blue dress (NAFTA, bank deregulation, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell), DOMA was among the highest ranking in sheer mean-spiritedness and stupidity and the sooner we correct this injustice the better.

This whole idea that marriage needs to be defended from gays is ludicrous. Marriage needs to be defended from divorce. And a California man is doing just that. John Marcotte ( is gathering signatures for an amendment to make divorce illegal in the state. I have to admit, being single and snarky, that this idea does kind of tickle me. If gays can’t get married, then straights shouldn’t be allowed to get divorced and if the right-wing Christian folks are really serious about defending marriage, they should have no problem with this at all. They swore before God to stay together till death parts them. All we’re asking them to do is keep their word to the big guy. Of course, this may have a slight influence on the murder rate in the state, but hey – a small price to pay. Besides, we can always amend The Ten Commandments, too. It’s not like they were carved in stone.

What seriously bites my ass here is that these same upstanding citizens who are fighting so hard for the “sanctity” of marriage are the first to cry socialism at any attempt to help families faced with unemployment, alcoholism, domestic violence, crime-ridden neighborhoods, lack of access to medical care -- problems that all put unbearable stress on marriages. So if you’re white and rich, by God your marriage is sacred. Fall below the poverty line? Not so much.

I remember when getting a divorce was a big deal. When you had to show a court cause to be granted one. When there was a strong societal stigma attached to someone from a “failed” marriage. Nowadays, “no fault” laws have made obtaining a divorce like a drive-through at Jack-in-the-Box. So to the Christian “right,” I say put up or shut up. Either everyone is allowed to marry, or you’re legally bound to your partner for life.

Lest you think I'm completely unreasonable, however, how about this for a compromise. We only allow rich, white, Christian Republicans to marry. Come on... you know you're out there. Well, maybe not "out."

Monday, September 14, 2009

injaynesworld "Kanye West Would Be Visited By Nuns"

Last night’s outburst by Kanye West at the VMA Awards is just the latest in a week that saw civility brought to a new low. Republican representative from South Carolina, Joe Wilson, kicked things off by screaming out “liar” at the President during the congressional address, followed closely by Serena Williams lobbing F-bombs at officials at an internationally broadcast tournament for a call she didn’t like. What the hell is going on here? Whatever happened to basic civility? I have to say, at least the audience at the VMA Awards showed more class than the members of Congress by booing West off the stage. Our esteemed representatives just sat there in silence like the do-nothing cowards they are. Every single one of them should have been outraged and on their feet booing at Wilson. They should have barred Wilson from the floor until he stood up on national television and apologized, not only to the President, but to you and me, as well, because the halls of Congress – those are our halls. That is our house. I know if a guest in my home screamed an insult at one of my other guests, I would damn well expect an apology or they would never be invited back and I damn well expect an apology from you, too, Joe Wilson.

And Serena… Whatchoo thinkin’, girl?! You have a responsibility to set a good example for the thousands of young girls who look up to you. You can’t just be going off like some damn ghetto bitch ‘cause you don’t agree with a call. You should be deeply ashamed of yourself. And no, your lame ass “apology” isn’t good enough. Hell, you didn’t even use the words “I’m sorry.” And as for that “I’m only human” crap. That ain’t flyin’. Because you know what? You’re not “only human.” Once you’ve allowed yourself to be elevated to superstar status and enjoyed all the fame, fortune and perks that go along with that you are also elevated to an entirely different standard of decorum than the rest of us lowly shlubs. So I want to see some real contrition out of you, girlfriend, before I’m ready to just forgive and forget.

We got our first glimpse of Kanye’s impulse-control disorder when, after Katrina, he informed a television audience that “George Bush doesn't care about black people.” And we’re all familiar with the times he’s rushed onto other award stages to piss and bemoan his own losses, but Kanye, your assault last night on 19-year-old Taylor Swift for having beaten out Beyoncé, your choice for female video, was beyond bad manners. It was just plain brutish and mean. You are an egomaniacal asshole who seems to think others give a big goddamn about your opinion. Newsflash: You’re not even a decent rapper anymore. And, again, no we do not accept your apology. Get some therapy for your anger issues first, then we’ll talk.

You know, the up side to sending kids to a Catholic school, as least in my day, was if your parents were lax in teaching you basic manners, the nuns would beat the shit out of you for behavior like this. This was back when such actions by teachers were allowed in schools and you know what? It was a good idea then and it’s a good idea now. Too good to be limited to school-age children. Wilson, Serena and Kanye West should be visited by nuns. And not the modern kind wearing street clothes either. The ones in full scary-ass, black-robed, nun regalia with only that cut-out showing their stern faces. My nuns didn’t carry rulers. They carried yardsticks and they would wail on you if they didn’t like the way your hair was parted. Oh, yeah… we learned civility.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

injaynesworld "The Economy" is kicking my ass

The “Time For Service” light has been on in my car now for three months. Any time, I expect to see the “Hey – I Need A Little Attention Here,” light, followed closely by an angry, flashing “I Told You So.”

My car is not the only area of my life suffering from neglect. I’ve taken to wearing hats whenever I leave the house so as not to expose the two inches of gray roots seeping from my scalp. As luck would have it, I live in a rural area where cowboy hats are considered acceptable attire everywhere. Sometimes I throw on a baseball cap just to change things up a bit. I do have to say I’m happy to see that torn jeans are considered high fashion at the moment because that’s pretty much the condition of all of mine and I fully expect to be mistaken for Cameron Diaz any day now.

Fortunately, I’ve never required an abundance of food. We have chickens on the farm where I live and they provide a steady supply of eggs. There’s a veggie garden, too, and several fruit trees. What we don’t grow here is easily pilfered from the lands of surrounding farmers, but except for the occasional splurge on a jar of Bacon Bits, meat is a thing of the past.

Being single has some financial advantages in these lean times. Nobody on Facebook cares if I shave my legs, so I save on razors. Also, the bushes growing on my limbs keep me warm in the winter when I can’t afford heat, and I’ve discovered that underarm hairs can be plucked.

Like most animal lovers, my dog’s needs come before mine. If Dixie has a hang nail I rush her to the vet. I, on the other hand, have to be scraped off the front of a truck before I’ll see a doctor. Not that I don’t have insurance. I do. But if I use it, they’ll raise my rates. Which seems reasonable. Those executive-owned mansions don’t come cheap.

I will never be able to retire. I feel sorry for all those who worked hard their whole lives and scrimped to save for their golden years only to have lost those savings in the market downturn. Now they’re just like me, only I never saved a dime. Life as a freelance writer rarely offered such an opportunity, plus I squandered a lot of it, too. I do have a job, so I’m ahead of many in that respect, but work has slowed recently while, conversely, the monthly bills only seem to know one direction -- up. Funny how that works. To those who say “money can’t buy happiness,” I say if you have money and you’re not happy, you’re just not trying.

So, how’s the economy treating you?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

injaynesworld "Mother-Daughter Outfits" rarely flattered either

My mother was 32 when I was born, so when I was around the age of ten, these were all the rage among moms desirous of clones. This was in the late 50’s, an era of “Peter Pan” collars and starched petticoats that will not go down in history as our finest fashion hour. Easter seemed to be the time this urge would hit all the moms in the neighborhood the hardest. They really took that whole “Easter Parade” stuff to heart. To this day I break out in hives when I hear that song. The attempt to find a style, color and pattern that would flatter the body types of both a fleshy 40-year-old woman and the stick figure of a 10-year-old child inevitably produced only a truly terrible hybrid that I wanted no part of.

Unless, like my friend, Ellen, your mom had you when she was 16 and now, at 26, she still looked cool. But then you had to explain to everyone that your mom was a ho in high school, which kind of ruined the whole “like-mother-like-daughter” effect you were going for. Coming from a family with a penchant for the juice, I was certainly not one to judge anyone else’s relations. Besides, I liked her mom. When we hit puberty, she let us smoke. This was way before the Surgeon General put a damper on it, when the worst you could expect to be told was that you looked cheap.

At that time I wore black, skin-tight skirts, ratted my hair up into a bleached-out silver beehive and had lined my eyes with black Magic Marker when my mom told me I couldn’t wear eye makeup to school. So telling me I looked cheap because I had a Marlboro hanging out of my mouth was like, “Yeah? What’s your point?”

Needless to say, by then my mother had no interest in dressing like me anymore and the mother-daughter outfits were sent off to Goodwill where I’m sure they continued to emotionally scar other little 10-year-old girls for years to come.

Oddly, as I look back at some of those photos of my mom and me now in our matching pill box hats and crisp white gloves, I’m stirred not by embarrassment at all, but rather by a certain nostalgia for that time and I find myself wishing I’d had more patience with her and her desire for what she must have thought of as a bonding experience. Had I known then that I would lose her only 12 short years later, I’d like to think I might not have been such a pain-in-the-ass about the whole thing.

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