April 16th, 2014
My brother and sister’s mother died in 1972 and the youngest one was 5. She came to live with us and my mother adopted her. I adopted their grandmother. She was really the only grandparent I really had any relationship with and she was AMAZING. She treated me like her own. I never really wanted to claim her son, though. Bill was a miserable fucker. He absolutely sapped the joy out of any room he was in. He exhausted and broke my grandmother with every encounter. He called her “Mother” in this creepy Norman Bates kind of way. I don’t have tons of memories of Mean Old One Eyed Uncle Bill, but every single one of them is ugly.
The first memory I have of him is when I was about 4 or 5. My sister, we called Fini (Fee-nee) were there for our summer visit with Grandma and our sister who was in her early 20s. Both Grandma and Bill were drunks. Grandma’s vodka seemed to magnify her love for us and her sadness over her daughter who predeceased her a few years before when she lost her battle with MS. Bill’s vodka magnified his personality flaw of being a heinous bastard. I don’t know what led up to it, but Bill had taken off his belt and beat his 65 year old mother around the house with it. We were small and he was big (and armed with booze and a belt) so all we could do was cry and stew in our rage. When Bill passed out in the living room and Grandma in her bedroom, my sister got out a legal pad of paper and wrote out “I hate you” a few hundred times on a few of the long yellow lined pages. I helped her tear them into pieces and we very quietly and carefully spent the rest of the night taping the hundreds of “I hate you” notes to his blacked out person. When he awoke to find himself covered in hate, he came into our room, his gravely smoker's voice roaring with indignation. “WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!!” He yelled about little girls and their disrespect for their elders and somehow ended up taking off his belt, handing it to my 8 year old sister. He told her to beat him with the belt and presented his backside. Fini looked confused, but he insisted, so she swung back and began to beat that muthafucker with the belt and all the hate she had for him. After she got in a few sweet licks , he jumped up and snatched the belt away from her. It hurt and he looked confused. He shared some fucked up story about some fucked up relative who had done the same to him as a child and he couldn’t bring himself to hit the adult. He was genuinely confused by and likely disgusted with my sister who had no problem taking the opportunity to beat his ass. Bill was actually a really smart man in many ways, but he sure as fuck didn’t understand angry little girls.
Bill was Mean Old One Eyed Uncle Bill because he got into a bar fight in Arkansas and someone broke a bottle on the counter, and then jabbed him in the eye with it. Bill made people want to do things like that. I asked one time why he had one brown eye and one blue eye. I was told he pawned his glass eye once for booze and didn’t pay the money back in time. He ended up buying another glass eye later from a pawn shop, but unfortunately, it was a kind of dull blue eye that didn’t match. I always thought about him when I would read Tell Tale Heart.
My oldest sister made my nephew visit him while he was in a convalescence home once. Steve walked in and asked how he was doing. Bill gestured to the bed on one side of him with a comatose man and a man on the other side of him who was yelling with senility and madness and croaked out, "I'm sitting here between Death and Insanity. How the fuck do you think I'm doing?"
I remember seeing Bill again when we went to visit my 16th Summer. Grandma had sold her lovely house at Bill’s insistence and given him and my brother the money to piss away on a failed business. At one point, she followed him to New Orleans where he had mob connections and talked Grandma into putting his porn shop on Bourbon Street that was some kind of front for the mob in her name (She is still on the list for unclaimed property for money owed her from the electric company). We used to tease her by calling her The Porn Queen of Bourbon Street. My 16th Summer, Bill was laying up in the 3rd bedroom of my sister’s trailer with his oxygen tank. The emphysema was really kicking his ass. I was there almost a whole day before I felt bad for him listening to everyone laughing and visiting down the hall and he was stuck in his room, so I went to go sit and visit with him a while. He asked what grade I was in and what I studied in school and I told him I took a lot of voice and instrument lessons and was getting into music theory and intended to study Music in college. We talked about the relationship between music and math and for the first time ever, I really was enjoying talking to Bill. He was always a really smart man who knew a lot and had traveled the world while being in the service. He was my father’s best friend and my father died when I was five. I looked forward to hearing stories. Then it fucking went left. He had made a comment, and I can’t today even remember what it was, that contained a piece or erroneous information. I had inquired if he meant XXX when he said YYY and he looked at me like I had just grown the biggest set of iron nuts he’d ever seen. He gave me an arrogant reply and let me know I was clearly just a stupid little girl who didn’t know what I was talking about and had no right to question him and now don’t I feel stupid. It wasn’t really that I knew I was right (I was. It was a really basic piece of information that I had learned in like 6th or 7th grade and I really knew my shit anyway). It was that dismissive, smug look on his creepy fucking face. I went all Julia Sugarbaker on him and ended my rant with something like, “…and THAT’s why you sit here all alone, you creepy, smug, hateful fuck. No one wants to be around you and you know you are going to die all alone. Try not to catch the fucking trailer on fire again smoking with your oxygen tank, Einstein.” and left the room, closing the door nice and tight so he couldn’t even enjoy our voices down the hall anymore. I didn’t ever speak to him again. He died a few years later. When my sister had talked to him and he asked her, "I hear you're in college." She replied, "Yeah" He declared, "You are going to end up in pornos" Nice.
My sister went to visit with her boyfriend one Christmas as a surprise a couple of years after he died. As she and the boyfriend climbed the stairs to the deck, they could hear Bill’s voice. No….. how…?!?!! They let themselves in with a “Surprise! Merry Christmas!!” and sitting in the living room was a younger, shorter, fatter version of Uncle Bill (but with two matching eyes). Fini was introduced to Billy Leonard. Uncle Bill had and ex-wife and daughter who wouldn’t talk to him in Florida because he had beat the ex-wife so bad he broke her jaw. Apparently, Uncle Bill also had illegitimate kids, too. Billy Leonard had never met his father, but the carnival he worked for was wintering in Arkansas and Billy Leonard decided to look up dear old Dad…. And since Daddy is dead, and he’s a broke carnie, can he flop at Cousin Linda’s for a couple of weeks? She did end up telling him after a month or so he needed to flop elsewhere.
A fucking Carnie…. That miserable bastard did nothing but suck the joy and money from everyone he ever came in contact with and after he is dead and gone and everyone is breathing a sigh of relief, he somehow manages to drop a freeloading carnie on us. Well played, Bill. Well played.
January 17th, 2014
1 tsp castor oil, 1 tsp avocado oil, and 1 tsp jojoba oil.
1) Prepare. Either mix your oils together ahead of time, or have the bottles ready. Set a clean washcloth beside the sink. Turn the hot water on to warm up.
2) Cleanse. Starting with a dirty face (no need to pre-clean here, even if you’re wearing makeup), rinse your face lightly with the warm, running water. Pour the oil in the palm of your hand and then apply gently all over your face. Massage firmly, but gently, always moving upwards. Massage for 2 minutes, and then let the oil sit on your face for 30 more seconds or more.
3) Rinse. By now, you should have very hot water coming out of your faucet. Adjust the heat until it’s cool enough to apply to your skin, but warm enough to soften the oil (it’s probably going to be hotter than the water you usually rinse your face with). Dunk the washcloth under the hot/warm water until it’s completely soaked. Apply the washcloth to your face and hold it there for 10-15 seconds. Slowly begin to wipe off. Rinse your washcloth and repeat until you’ve wiped all the oil off your skin.
Done! Skin is clean and soft.
September 21st, 2013
Have you heard the song "Left Eye" by Krayshawn?
I love that angry shitty little rap song.
So two weeks ago, I woke up at Dorian's and he had his tablet in bed and I rolled over and looked at it. I asked, "Why are you googling the lyrics to left eye?" His search field said, "Brittany spears shaved head lorena bobbit cut your dick off patty hearst" He put the tablet down and said, "So those ARE lyrics?" I said, "Yeah... Left Eye. Krayshawn. Why?" He said, "I woke up to you telling me "Imma cut your fucking dick off." I said, "You're gonna what now?"
"Then you said, "I'm Lorena Bobbit Chillin' in your bed. I'm Brittany Spears on hella drugs and I just shaved my head. Fuck the Feds and the Police. Ain't no body catchin' me. Thelma and Louise; Suicide girl thuggery"
1) he had to check to see if those were lyrics and not what I come up with off the top of my head in my sleep? Seriously?
2) lol. Bless his heart. At least after, "Imma cut your dick off " he said, "... wait... let's hear more."
Oh, and after I told him "Imma cut your fucking dick off" I stretched out my arm and smashed his face in with my hand. Bless his heart.
I woke up one day and he asked what I was singing. I said, "I don't know. What does it sound like?" He couldn't hum it. I thought of some of my favorite songs I'd been singing lately. I got to the third one, and Italian aria Lasciatemi morire- Monteverdi . He said, "That's it. But why were you singing it in Italian?"
I said, "umm...because it's an Italian song... I don't know it in English... I can't SPEAK Italian. I am not so awesome I can transliterate English to Italian in my sleep....weirdo."
June 17th, 2013
I am absolutely sickened every time I see one of those damn "you touch my daughter or think about her vagina and I will shoot you in the face" type memes online. I find it an affront to my feminist sensibilities Like her sexuality is something he owns and is his to guard. Being a dad doesn't come with the title to your daughter's body.
"The model of the overprotective father stepping in to defend his daughter from the evils of the world isn’t just about control of her sexuality, but about control of her whole body and identity. There’s a long social history of a parental sense of ownership over children, particularly when it comes to fathers and daughters; it wasn’t that long ago that fathers really did have total legal control over their daughters in many cultures."
The idea of this hasn't changed; there’s very much an assumption that fathers, less so than mothers, can exert control over their daughters in a way that is uber effing creepy. It is expected that men should “protect” their daughters . Protect them from the very real dangers of the world, or the perceived erosion of the value of their property? What other normal part of growing up and developing do men talk about not "letting their daughters" do? Do they suggest they don't want them learning to read until they are 30? Do they suggest they don't want them learning to do long division until they are 30? No. Because that doesn't involve their vaginas. ....fucking creepers.
A study came out recently showing that female sexual desire is just as strong and just as lustful as men's, unsettling conventional wisdom about sexual equality and monogamy. "Women want sex just as much as men do, and this drive is 'not, for the most part, sparked or sustained by emotional intimacy and safety.' When it comes to the craving for sexual variety, the research Bergner assembles suggests that women may be 'even less well-suited for monogamy than men.'" (http://bit.ly/ZRUdiX)
So there is no "sweet innocence" to protect from the "horn dog monster" . Women have been trying to tell y'all for a long while now, we think about sex. A lot. We are sexual beings. But for some reason, that seems to be too much to handle. (So much so that “female Viagra” drug that was developed is concerning some that it may be too strong and that would be awful because lord knows what we would do if we had a strong sex drive.. oh my! http://bit.ly/ZRUdiX.... )
I have explain to various men: you want to make sure your daughter lies to you, sneaks out, and trusts someone else with her ideas and questions about her body? keep that shit up about guns and threats and no dating until they are 30. She'll probably be knocked up before she is in college, too.
Talk to her openly, answer her questions with respect and honesty and she'll trust you will her questions and what is happening in her life, mind and heart. She'll be armed with the confidence and correct information to make the best decision for herself. Because like it or not, buddy, she IS going to be the one making the decisions for her body.
April 29th, 2013
I would like to share an embarrassing story with you before I get back to this file I am working on.
I had to write a paper about a book we read for macroeconomics. In my usual Marilyn form, I waited until the day it was due. While my class was going on, I was in the computer lab at U of H writing my paper. No outline. No rough draft. Nada. Just me and a computer and two hours. When I finished it, I printed it, pulled my pages off the printer, sprinted across campus and as everyone was leaving the lecture hall, I ran down to the front to turn in my paper. We then had a week off to study for finals.
When we returned for finals and turned in our blue books at the front of the hall, we picked up our graded papers. That was the end of class.
I picked mine up and as I was leaving the hall, looked at it. I got a B+. Not great, but hell, I really didn't deserve much better, right? I was flipping through the pages, looking at the critiques. After the last page, there were 4 more pages. They weren't part of the paper. They were the most god awful racist jokes and cartoons.. like big nose Jew cartoons.... big white lipped African cartoons.... FOUR FUCKING PAGES.... attached to my paper. I must have picked them up off the printer with my paper at the computer lab. He didn't say boo about it. My face was stinging. My blood pressure was through the roof. Oh. My. God. What in the world did he think? "Does she think this is going to HELP her grade?!" "Does she not notice I am Jewish and my TA is a Black woman?" I couldn't even bring myself to go back in there and explain. I wanted to throw up so bad. I have that paper somewhere. It has been fifteen years and I STILL get mortified thinking about it.
April 23rd, 2013
On Connor's 16th Birthday, he broke his face/teeth/jaw by riding into a truck on his bike resulting in this :
which when then got fixed to look again like this:
He rides his bike to and from work now (ten mile round trip) six days a week and has managed in the past three years to not run his face into any more vehicles. He wears his helmet. He does wreck every now and then resulting in that bike being in the shop more than it should for popped tires and bent rims. I personally think that since he refused to learn to ride a bike until he was 14, he just isn't a natural at it like people who learned to ride when they were small. That coupled with 19 year old arrogance and ADD means he hits shit.
He has been having to ride up to the local community college, HCC, for orientation stuff, to turn in transcripts, etc, and that is about 4 miles the other way and across a freeway. Since there are some pretty major roads, I showed him on a map how to go through the residential neighborhood where it is safer to get there and even printed a map for him in case he needed to stop and look at it. He told me the first time, "I can just ride on the sidewalk"
I flipped my shit. I told him, "I have told you REPEATEDLY do NOT ride on the sidewalk. It is illegal for bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk because it is dangerous. The drivers cannot see you 1) when they are backing out of their driveway and 2) when you are coming into an intersection". I have shared with him the story of my first week of being a bicycle courier in downtown Houston (when I didn't know it was illegal to ride on the sidewalk and why) The first week I got hit like a mofo! Came off a sidewalk into an intersection and someone hit my rear tire and spun me. I had to buy a new bike. Took a chunk of skin out of my thigh. It was hanging off of the bolt on my handlebars. Driver had to beg the cop to not give me a ticket.
He was on his way to orientation this morning and called me at 9:30 to tell me he got hit. He said he was totally okay. His bike is messed up. He was coming off a sidewalk into an intersection and a driver hit his back wheel and spun him. I got so angry. FURIOUS. I was full of "god dammits" and "I told you sos" I asked if the driver was still there. He said the driver left. I told him he was lucky, because the driver could have called the police and he could have gotten a ticket and been held liable for the repairs to his car. Not what Connor was expecting. He is walking his bike to the orientation (glad he is not deterred. Hope he gets there in time) and then taking it to the shop before going to work.
I then broke down and had a nice little five minute cry. I do not recall thinking my parents didn't know anything. If my mom and dad said to me, "When I was 20, I stuck my finger in this bowl of melted metal and I lost my fingertip" I would not have looked at some really cool melted metal and said, "I wanna touch it. Surely it won't melt off MY finger, too. They just touched it wrong"
Now.... finances and credit... that's another issue. I heard them... I did. I tried... lol. Fixing it now.
November 11th, 2012
My grandmother wrote this poem after her brother was killed in action in WWII. She had it published a couple of times. I am grateful for all my family who have served and are serving and for all our veterans.
A FLAG AND A PURPLE HEART
They sent a flag and a Purple Heart--
You were killed in action, they say.
But I can see you more clearly than when
You were only a week away.
You walk at evening along the lane,
Your handsome dark head bare.
When the baby runs to you, laughing,
You swing her in the air.
She rides, high on your shoulder, and twines
Her fingers in your hair.
She isn't a baby, but a big girl now. You'd be
So proud of her.
You stop and kneel beside the boy
When he asks you to string his bow.
Careful and patient, saying, "Son,
I'd better show you how,"
You teach him what you could quickly do:
You wanted him to know.
Ah, he needs you so. You wouldn't know him.
He's grown so tall.
You will never be broken and old,
Bowed with sorrow or pain,
But forever laughing and young,
You walk along the lane.
The children run to meet you, happy
That you are home again.
But they say you were killed in action and sent
A flag and a Purple Heart
My father, David Carrol West
Great Uncle, Robert Ringlaben (Subject of poem)
October 11th, 2012
Seen: Tonight Paul Ryan told Martha Raddatz that he plans to take her right to choose away and move toward a theocracy and Romney told Jim Lehrer he'd fire him. Those Republicans know how to make friends.
October 3rd, 2012
The candidates shouldn't really be able to just steamroll over the "moderator" during the debates. He either needed a taser or a "cut the mic" switch.
God I love politics though. We had our snacks and drinks ready like a sports event, but it was for something that actually matters and makes a difference. I can't get passionate about sports, reality shows (BB, Great Race, Bachelor), or other entertainment like I can for politics. I care what happens to our people, our country and our world. THESE things matter. Everything else is just fluff. There is nothing wrong with fluff, but I know what it is .
September 10th, 2012
In April of 1998, I was lucky enough to meet President Clinton when he was in Houston to participate in a town hall meeting on race relations and sports at Wortham Theater Center. I was a member of U of H’s Young Democrats and we were asked to volunteer by the White House Advance Team. I was Wolf Blitzer’s toady for a day. A couple of friends of mine drove various people in the motorcade.
I was in total fan girl “squeeeee!” mode hanging around Wolf Blitzer. I remember watching him on TV during the first Gulf War, bombs going off everywhere and he didn’t even blink. I listened carefully for the **clang** *clang** sound that would prove his balls were indeed made of brass, but I never heard it. It was pretty loud in the press room anyway, so that must be why I didn’t hear it.
We were promised the privilege of meeting him, shaking hands and getting a photo of said meeting to reward our hard work. He was running out of time so they had us line up in the outside hallway of the Hilton from the hotel to the garage where his limo was waiting. He would take a few minutes on his way to the Wortham.
I was 8th in line and he was making his way down, shaking hands, thanking us for our time. I felt I had to do something special. Something different to get more than a “Thank you” out of him. I had a pin that said, “Will Rogers never met Pat Buchanan” on my hip. (In case you haven’t heard of it before, Will Rogers had a quote that included, “. . . I never met a man I didn’t like” that he wanted as his epitaph. I moved the pin to my shirt, thinking, “That could be a conversation starter.”
As Clinton made his way to me, I was absolutely vibrating with excitement. As he stood in front of me, he pointed to my chest and said, “Heh, heh…. I lahk that.” with that charming smile of his. My immediate thought was, “OH MY GOD!! THE PRESIDENT IS CHECKING OUT MY RACK!!!!” What a horndog! You can see why I would think that, right? I then remembered the pin I had moved to my chest (where he was pointing) for just this purpose. I laughed and thanked him. He asked where I got it. I told him, “At the Texas Democrat Convention” and offered it to him. He declined, thanked me for my help, and moved on down the line.
I never did get my picture. Whatever turd from our group in charge of getting them to us, never distributed them.
I DID, however, get to go party and karaoke with some secret service later, and that was pretty darn cool.