Friday, February 28, 2014

Cookie didn't want to have to do it.

Because I have been forced by the economy into the wild world of being a sole proprietor (writer and genealogy), my income varies from next to nothing to nothing.

But I have had to take a part-time position in retail. Ugh.

If it were an Adult Cabaret, at least the stories would be good.  But it isn't.  And because it's a national chain, and I had to sign a piece of paper that says I can be discharged for blogging about said Employer.

And because Employer is one of the top 100 retail companies to work for, and they have been exceptionally nice and happy to have me on board, and I get benefits, I have to abide by that.

So for the sake of all things considered, I will refer to said chain either as "Employer" or as the "Adult Cabaret", even though I thankfully keep my clothes on and do not need to pole dance.

I can tell you that I did this exact same thing in this type of environment that I worked in almost 30 years ago for six of the most depressing years of my work life time, and despite the lapse, the people are exactly the same.

No, I take that back, they are worse.

They are still making requests for things - we'll call the "drinks" though they are not - but don't know what they are requesting.  So there are a lot of conversations that go like this:

Customer: "Yeah, I want a drink that I saw on Steve Harvey and it was pink.  I don't know what was in it.  And I can't remember when I saw it on his show.  But it was pink."

Me: "Was it rum based, vodka based or gin based."
Customer: "I don't know! You're the expert!"

And the conversations also go like this:

Customer: "When you go home what do you snack on?"

Me: "I'm not a good snacker.  But lets take a look at the staff picks for snacks."

Customer: "I don't care what they snack on, I want to know what you snack on."

What the fuck.

Seriously.  What the fuck, indeed.

And don't get me started on the children.

Evidently, parents today think that if the weather outside is bad, then its OK to bring their offspring into retail stores and let them scream at the top of their lungs and run around.

And Evidently yesterday I shot a look at a parent a look because they were standing next to my position at the Cabaret Customer Service Station and they were doing nothing to stop their children from screaming, shrieking and crying.

"I'm sorry," says the mother in a thick Russian accent.  "Is this bothering you?"

I smiled and said, it is making it hard for me to listen to this customer. In my mind I was blowing an air horn in her face and asking "does this bother you when I blow this air horn in your face?"

But instead of getting her kids under control, she simply had them stand three feet further away while they screamed at the top of their lungs.

Thanks for being clueless, I thought.

Yesterday was simply hellacious because I spent the day dealing with a lot of African American Church ladies - and while I love me my church ladies - they came in asking about all sorts of off the wall drinks.

Do you have the menu from the last supper?  Do you have recipe cards for what they served.  And "What would Oprah have served if she were choosing the wine?"

All fucking day.  All day. Unending. All. Fucking. Day.

The cherry on the top was the man who came in and asked where our Unicorn Section was.



"For your daughter?"

"No," said the mouth breather.  "My girlfriend loves Unicorns."

They simply aren't paying me enough for this job.

And when things calmed down a bit, a coworker who has been somewhat brusque came up to me and said thanked me for being a big help.  Me?

Evidently, customers like me because I am nice.  And in Baltimore, that is a rare thing.

The good thing is, I am able to leave work and not bring it home with me.  And when I do get home, I have the husband and the dogs waiting on me.

Still, I need to find a steady job suited for an introvert.  Because what I am doing now could lead me to actually seek an adult cabaret, wave a $20 bill and demand that the dancer dance like she dances when she dances at home.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Somewhere West of Laramie

If you have never heard of Ned Jordan, then you have never taken a course in marketing, creative writer or advertising.

Jordan was an advertising man in the very early 20th century.  He had an idea in the 1910s - long before GM hired Harley Earl to give its cars some style - that well to do stylish people were driving - or being driven - around in dumpy, blocky cars.  And most of those cars were black because "Japan Black" laquer dried the faster than any other color.

So he gathered some friends, bought some land in Cleveland, Ohio, and decided to assemble a car that wealthy people would enjoy driving.  Note that I said assemble.  Jordan's brilliance, and long before anyone else dreamt up the idea, was to use outside suppliers to build everything from the engine (Continental units) to his ignition switches (DELCO) and his folks at the factor would build the bodies and put it all together.

While not a rousing success, he made a lot of money.

One night while dining and dancing at the Mayfield County Club, while his wife sat on the sidelines, the fortysomething Jordan danced with one Eleanor Borton, who said, according to Jordan, "Why don't you build a swanky roadster for the girl who loves to swim and paddle and shoot, and for the boy who loves the roar of the cutout?"

Jordan thought about it for about five seconds and thanked her.  The next day he designed the Jordan Playboy - a lightweight sportscar with superior a suspension and lightweight body.  While not a stunning car, what brought the Playboy into the national psyche were the ads that Jordan used, not so much to sell features and benefits of the car, but of the magic and the charmed aura of the vehicle.

Ads to that point in U.S. ad industry as weren't creative as they were practical. From the Model T to the most expensive Pierce Arrow, ads either told you about the car in dry factual language ("The Ford Model T is the sensible car for the American family...") or they said nothing at all, preferring to show a photograph and the makers name.

But Jordan was an ad man.  He knew little about engineering a car, but he knew everything about how one could spin words together to entice the soul and ignite yearning for escape and adventure.

Take the ad above.  No facts.  Not even a picture of the car.  But from the text, which I invite you to read if you have not done so by now, can you see in your mind's eye a car that streaks through the great open west, a young woman at the wheel with a zest for life and that she is driving for the sake of driving - not going anywhere, but driving where the road takes her.

While the Jordan Playboy never became a bestseller, Jordan's seductive prose made the car and its "aura" an instant classic.  And people responded.  They started clamoring for cars that weren't simply black.  Cars of any color were available at the time, but they required custom paints jobs as red, blue, green, gray and white all took longer to dry and cure than the standard Japan Black laquer bodies that could be painted and cured in hours, instead of the days and weeks the other lacquers required.

When DuPont developed a bright royal blue lacquer that dried as fast as Japan Black, it quickly became the most requested color for people ordering production regular vehicles. People now saw the car not only as something to keep up with the Joneses, but it became the vehicle transport the soul and its desires.

And for a while, girl babies enjoyed a break from being named Mildred and Mabel and quite a few were named Jordan in honor of the girl in the ad.  F. Scott Fitzgerald named Daisy Buchanan's best friend, the athletic, lean and aloof Jordan Baker as a nod to the spirit of Ned Jordan's girl in the advertisement.

Emboldened by the accolades, Ned Jordan penned other advertising prose. But he soon tired of making automobiles.  Like the girl in the ads, he was beginning to yearn for something beyond what he had amassed.  And that marked the beginning of the end of Jordan Motors.

While America flirted with the story of Preston Tucker and his automobile of the future in popular culture, Ned Jordan has simply faded from the American psyche.  All that is really left of Jordan Motors in Cleveland is Ned Jordan's private residence near Rockefeller Park in East Cleveland.  No movie maker has ever flirted with the task of trying to capture that girl behind the wheel of the car - cloche hat over her head, the setting sun on her face against the darkening sky in the background. No one.

Jordan Motors, which Ned Jordan had relinquished day to day responsibility in the late 1920s, went bankrupt in the early 1931.  The cars it produced, save for its small "Country Club" line, are recognized by the ACA as classics, not for their engineering or their power, but in tribute to Ned Jordan and how he taught American's that a car was more than the utility vehicle from going from point A to point B.  Ned Jordan, who went onto a bright career in advertising, showed that an automobile could also be the conveyance for those who dared to dream and desire, to see what was waiting somewhere west of Laramie for them.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The stuff you find...

Sad to say that the Men's Dress Shop at Loch Raven and Taylor has closed.

You would figure that this being Baltimore, a store devoted to dresses in men's sizes would have gone over big.

Guess nothing's been the same since Divine died, you know.

Do you remember this crap?  I actually saw some for sale at junk store in Joppatowne.

Didn't even have a chapter on heavy breathing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Still indoors.

Yeah, STILL inside.

Even the dogs had to do to daycare for exercise.

Making a brisket for tomorrow night.

Domestically yours,


PS, Happy Valentines Day

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yeah, I am at that point.

Cookie is normally a happy go lucky person in February, because February means that winter is almost done.

Then this Nor'easter hit, and we had - in a 24 hour period:

1) Cold.
2) Snow.
3) Lots of snow.
4) So much snow that it buried the window ledges.
5) So much snow that the we had to shovel paths for the dogs through the back yard.
6) So much snow that our 30 year old snow blower up and died.
7) Seventeen inches of snow by 10AM.

In the coming hours we are expecting,

8) Thunder snow - that snow that is accompanied by thunder and lightning - 2-3 more inches
9) MORE snow on Friday and Saturday.

Now intellectually, I understand that next week, we are going to be in the 40s.  I also understand that the longest this stuff will stay on the ground is a week.

Still, I have great sympathy for the character actors of the past who played characters in far away places, beset by snow and cold, and who go through rye like its water saying things like "the snow the snow, oh my gosh, the SNOW!"

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Somedays, you just go through the motions...

So it's Saturday in Charm City, February , 2014.  Not much going on.

So today the husband and I had lunch at a McDonalds because it was fast and cheap, and because Cookie heard that the McDonalds plays Billie Holiday music to keep the kids from hanging out at it.

Yep.  Billie Holliday.

Evidently the kids that would fill up a McDonalds on a weekend can't take much Billie Holliday.  Now I find her fabulous.  But evidently its the rare teenager who finds her voice soothing.  So they play it inside and out.


Then we Cha Cha Cha'd up the road and went to BJ's Wholesale Club.

I'm always a hopeful everytime I think of BJ's.  Habit I guess.  Then I remember that its a WHOLESALE CLUB, and hope is replaced in my mind by resignation.

I love buying paper products at deeply discounted prices, but its the people who are there that depress me.  Like the Russian emigres that shop there.  None of them understand that the EXPRESS LANES are for EIGHT items or less.  They push their way up there and then the cashiers are try to tell them NYET, but they refuse to budge.  "Why should I go over there in crowded line.  I wait my turn here."

Then they feel like they get to haggle.

"I no pay that much for that item, box has dent.  No, no, no, I no want another one that does not have the dent.  I keep the dent and you charge me less."

WTF.  Seriously.

And I have yet to see a man at BJ's that I would give a BJ to.

After BJ's, we went looking for some second hand furniture to see if I can create a tableaux of livability at Xanadu, the project house of Mr. Peenee and Secret Agent Fred.

I found nothing, but a lovely nightstand with a built in ashtray for people who like to sleep in bed.  But since neither of us smokes, it stayed behind.

Kevin, the Wonder Mutt

We returned home to find Kevin and Rocky jumping up and down like they hadn't seen us in MILLION YEARS.  I told Kevin if he pooped on his afternoon walk, I would put his picture on the blog.   So you can guess why his picture is on the blog.

The dogs have taken this past week to synchronized pooping in honor of Putin's Olympics.  But we aren't watching.  Not even the curling.  Putin has put a dent in the Olympic spirit.  So this is my silent protest.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Dear One

As with Norma periodically, a death notice trips Cookie's notice.

She seems like a terrifically lovely woman.  Farewell Kitty.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Are you Hep to the Prep?

Well, I have been brooding for the past week or so, trying to get my mood up and all.


My colonoscopy, of course.

It stood there, on my horizon as a giant impenetrable wall.   Cookie is not one of those people who sees the bigger picture all of the time, especially when there is a huge demand upon me.

So as the date came at me like hunter upon its prey, all I could do was schedule things for the future, but obsess about how many days until IT happened.

I say "it" because despite being a raving homosexual, and make no mistake - Cookie does not mince about about, but I love MEN - Cookie's ass is a total outie.  I do not enjoy people up my ass, figuratively, or literally.

Having been through this before, I know full well and good that the prep is the worst part.  But I wasn't ready for this prep.

Instead of the old "Go Lightly", a product that they should seed rain clouds with over desert areas, the new prep is 4 pills of Dulcolax, followed by 64oz. of clear liquid mixed with MiraLax.  The patient, and I advise you NOT to even think about this unless you are doctors orders, takes the four pills, waits two hours, and then mixes the MiraLax with the clear liquid, very well.

From that point on, one is directed to drink ONE eight ounce glass every 15 minutes.  In a perfect world, you are done with the drinking in two hours. Right?

With the Shit Storm started after the fourth glass and like Dumbledore drinking from the font in the cave in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince I was practically incoherent by the beginning of glass eight.

And I was feeling queasy.

But what was between me and the final eight ounces, right?

Let me stop and tell you that when your body has been pounding laxatives for four hours and you feel queasy, you need to cease drinking that stuff.


Because what happened next was TWO FULL HOURS of projectile vomiting, while jets of water laced laxative shot through my anus like the high pressure fountains at Bellagio, at the same fucking time.  And this fluid was everywhere.

As fast as we could mop it up, in came another tsunami.  Even the dogs looked like they were going to hurl from the hallway.   I couldn't even keep a sip of water down.  I was eventually able to make it to bed, and slept through the night.

TODAY, just before the test, I told my doctor about about this reaction and he said, in English, heavily accented with his native Italian "Not to worry.  Besides, your reaction could have been caused by the terrible Super Bowl performance by the Denver team, no?"

Well, here's the good news, I am, save for the hemorrhoids and the diverticulitis, no cancer, no polyps.

I'll take that.

Betty would have been proud of me!