At least once a year one of my college age kids calls, in a panic, because a text book is going to cost them some stupid amount of money. $600 is not unusual for a science book$543 for a ballet text book, $400 for a history book, .
That’s more than my mortgage, people in third world countries live on six hundred dollars a year, put two text books together and you can get a root canal! But that’s what we expect from our collage kids and their families. It’s wrong, absurd….it’s retarded. ( yes, I know I’m not supposed to use that word but I don’t care.)
To add insult to injury the book you pay hundreds of dollars for will probably be uselessly out of date in a year. Then when you try to donate it to your local library they will laugh at you and refuse the ancient and costly artifact. So you’ll give it back to your college kid knowing they will use it as door stop or they’ll just roll joints on the cover for the next year.
Kids are trying to find ways around the text book mafia, they share, they buy used books, they troll the internet as though searching for a mail-order bride. And I just found out about a site called slugbooks.com you can click here to check it out. Maybe they have a solution to this insane and unfair practice.
If we don’t fix this problem kids will take second jobs, like Strip Karaoke to pay for their books. The late hours at the strip club will keep them from getting to class, they’ll flunk out and become professional dancers just because their Into to African American Literature book cost $450 dollars.
But here’s my idea. They should start making textbooks the same way they make comic books. Those are pretty cheap, they are light weight so our children won’t have back problems from carrying them around in their back packs. And kids love reading comic books.
And when the semester is over we should all meet in front of the text book publisher’s office building, set our comic book and laugh at them.
Comments OffTags: college text books.
This man, I’ll call him Reagan, is a walking contradiction. A wall to wall, coast to coast conundrum.
Reagan he owns a chain of very successful sex stores in central Arkansas (a very conservative state). These stores have videos and linger, novelty items and “toys”. When I meet Reagan in one of his stores, to work on his advertising options, I never know where to look. I don’t want to make eye contact with the creepy dude looking at weird videos. I don’t want to study the “toys”. Generally I poke through the fish net nighties until he appears and we sit down in his office.
Many consider Reagan the “porn king” of Central Arkansas.
Reagan is also openly gay and has been for more than twenty five years. But never, once, have we had a sexually explicit, graphic or dirty conversation. He’s just not that kind of man.
Reagan is one of the smartest men I know and we have great discussions about current political issues, our similar family histories (both of us had brilliant Southern diva moms), bad literature, civil rights, herbs, recipes and my children. When my daughter, Mary, needed sponsors to attend a political workshop in Atlanta, he was one of the first to write her a check.
Finally, Reagan is a dedicated, had core Republican. We have great debates over policy and voter trends. He generally wins because he’s more well read. But I try to keep up.
Once I told him finding a gay-Republican guy was like discovering a unicorn or mermaid. I thought they were mythological creatures and didn’t actually exist in this reality. But Reagan is a conservative. He votes his wallet.
In reading this, it’s obvious Reagan and I have virtually nothing in common. But we are humans and we are friends that’s about it.
We all want to put people into one box, with one name. But most of us crawl out of our stereotypical box and find homes in a bunch of other boxes. Reagan is all kinds of stuff but most importantly he’s my friend and adds to the complexity and beauty of my life. I’m lucky to have him.
Tags: Cupids, friends, radio sales, Republican men
My first husband was a man named Vic Latham and he lived in Key West. He was a huge, legendary kind of man who takes up too much space in the room. He drank, ate, snorted and smoked more than five men on a full moon night. If they made a movie about Vic they would have to dig up Cecil D Demille to direct the damn thing. That’s how big he was.
He was more than twenty years older than I and I was his fifth wife. (I was young and didn’t think four previous wives was a bad sign for a marriage.) vic and I had two “first meetings”.
The second introduction occurred when my brother, Granger was getting ready to go to prison. I had to take care of some shady business in the Florida Keys, for him while he was away. I was in college at the time, semi innocent and dedicated, no, devoted, to my brother Granger. He introduced me to Vic, who was one of the owners of a famous late night bar called the Full Moon Saloon (aka The Full Spoon Saloon). He asked Vic to ‘keep an eye on me” while he was behind bars.
Vic fell in love with me. Hard. I fell in love with Key West, the famous people who hung out at his house, the appearance of money and a rambunctious wildness, I fell in love with his charm, his stories and being completely adored.
After Vic and I had been dating for six months or so I suddenly remembered a picture, from a vacation my mom, dad and I took when I was a very little girl. I called my mom and asked her to dig up the artifact. And she did. And it was so spooky I was nearly speechless for an hour.
My mother, father and I had visited Key West when I was eight years old. We ate lunch at a elegant bistro called Louies’ Backyard. It was a beautiful old house on the ocean. In the picture I’m wearing a blue Holly Hobbit smock shirt and eating steak tartar. My daddy is next to me with a bloody mary and smoking a cigarette. The manager of Louies’ Backyard is standing between us staring directly at the camera with black eyes and a black goatee He’s very tall, handsome and dangerous looking. And he’s the only one looking at the camera. It was Vic. He’d taken care of us that afternoon and he posed when my mother asked to take our picture.
For years Vic joked my father would have shot him right there had he known what would happen years later.
Obviously Vic and I were meant to be together. Fate was busy orchestrating our meeting and marriage because Jack and Mary were born, two of the most inexplicably magical, talented and extraordinary people on the planet. They are so much like Vic and so much like me. And they will change the world.
Vic died yesterday, Easter. But he lives on.
Tags: Full Moon Saloon, Granger McDaniel, Key West, Vic Latham
I recently discovered a website called uneducated trader.com. It seems to be a website for idiots interested in the stock market. Perfect. I’m raising my hand because I’ve always kind of sort of wanted to understand stocks and trading. I think I’m supposed to actually be a rich person rather than an insecure middle class one and it seems the stock market might be able to help me.
I want to make enough money to buy a boat, a fast boat, so I can drag my children behind it and listen to the scream.
So, I read the first two paragraphs on the home page. I almost understood all the words and the guy writing it, “Adam” is defiantly aiming for and trying to help idiots. He writes things like , “ To tell you a little bit about me, I have exactly 1 year of trading experience as of this post and I am not very good at it.” He sounds like my kind of man.
Then he started talking about the “tim trading challenge”, he explained penny stocks, SNPK, JVA and The Worst Pump of the year. My eyes glazed over and I started counting the freckles on my right arm. I tried to read on, I looked at the graphs, then changed the ink cartridge in my printer.
I’m an idiot. I should have money but I don’t. Sadly, I don’t think I’m going to make it in the stock market because I get distracted by shiny crap, I get restless. I guess the stock market isn’t for me. But maybe you can figure it out then help me. Or, maybe you can buy a boat and invite us out every weekend. My motto ever summer has been, “Make more friends with boats.”
I’ll bring the sunscreen and children.
My first husband Vic Latham is a brilliant mess. He was also, it seems, a muse for some of the most famous and talented artists in American history, from Jimmy Buffett to Phil Caputo. He’s always had a cruel and elegant way of twisting the English language. Years ago, he came up with one of my favorite lines describing a smuggler friend, “he had that rich glint of lunacy”. He is a huge man, nearly six foot six, but I always thought Danny DiVito should play him in a movie.
In the 1960′s Vic was living in New Orleans, bar tending at The Kings Room. Now he’s gnarled and gray. Once a newspaper described him as a cross between Orson Well and Santa Claus. But back them he was something to look at. Towering over most men with black hair, a black goatee and a voice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
He had a friend named Jerry who was a drifter and street musician at the time. For several weeks in 1966 Jerry had been crashing on Vic’s couch and then he went missing. Finally, Vic found him, in jail.
After bailing Jerry out of jail for $52 dollars they went out and ate hot dogs. While they were eating Jerry pulled out a piece of yellow legal pad paper and said, “check out this song I wrote while I was locked up.”
Vic read it and said something polite. He was still thinking about his lost fifty two dollars. He knew he’d never see that cash again.
A year later Vic was in some dive, outside new Orleans and dropped his change in the juke box. There was a song called “Mr. Bojangles” that seemed familiar but he didn’t recognize the name of the artist. When the song started, Vic realized immediately what he was listening to. Jerry had changed his name to Jerry Jeff Walker and the song Mr. Bojangles was his first big hit.
Since that night Vic bailed Jerry Jeff out of jail he’s gone on to realease more than two dozen albums and is a legend in Texas and the world of Country music.
When Vic first told me this story I thought it was bull shit. Then one day, Jerry Jeff called our house in Key West. He wanted Vic to play golf with him and jokingly offered to pay back that $52 bucks. Well hell, that time the story was true.
“The rich glint of lunacy” ….that’s actually the perfect way to describe Vic.
Tags: Jerry Jeff Walker, Mr. Bojangles, Vic Latham
When you hold a baby, who’s only wearing a diaper, it’s almost impossible not to kiss their tummy. Or better still, we raspberried their bellies, making that famous prolonged fart noise. We called those “Zorberts” The babies would squeal with laughter. Their grins eating their fat faces and the result was hysterical, contagious happiness. I think I kept on Zorberting the kids until they were five or six and even then those ten second fart noises on their tummies made them laugh until they almost cried.
Why did that stop? It was fun and funny. But I’m thinking if I Zorberted 25 year old Jack’s hairy belly it wouldn’t be a cool moment.
When babies have jelly on their fingers or play with your lips, the first thing you do is start sucking on their fingers, right? Again the result are peels of exquisite laughter. It’s beautiful. Trust me, I don’t want to suck my kids fingers anymore. And after baby-hood, finger-sucking only takes place during early dating, right?
Toes, baby feet, they make me absolutely crazy. Baby feet look like uncooked biscuit dough and have an almost unworldly softness. the softness of baby feet have made me tear up and I don’t know exactly who. Who hasn’t kissed those fat soft baby feet over and over? Cause it’s one of the best things in life. Do I want to kiss my ten year old son’s feet now? HELL NO! I think the almost primal need to kiss baby feet stops the moment they start walking. The fat softness disappears and they start to smell. No kissing required.
And when we hold a baby we all, almost instinctively, smell his hair. We hum and rock. We loose ourselves in the unmatched innocence and beauty of the new born. Babies are like prayers in our hearts, released, we are able to talk to God in a language we don’t know.
There was one thing I did to my babies, I don’t know if anybody else did and I’ve always was afraid to ask. When my kids had stuff on their faces, chocolate or jelly, stuff like that, I would sometimes lick their face clean, like a cat licking her kittens. Obviously, this isn’t something I would do in public, I didn’t’ lick my kids in Wal-Mart. but if Mary had Jelly on her cheek and there wasn’t a rag handy, yeah, I’d lick her face.
To this day, all my kids think licking people is the funniest thing. If Lexie and I are posing for a picture and Jack is in the room. odds are he’ll sneak up and lick one of us just as the shutter clicks. The ultimate photo bomb. Apparently, my wolf like licking warped them in some weird way.
I miss all those baby moves that resulted in sheets of laughter. But I guess Zorberts are gone for now. Until the next generation joins us and then the finger sucking, toe kissing, face licking will start all over.
Tags: babies, baby, bellies, parents, toes, zorbert
I’m so proud of my daughter, Mary. She’s 24, gorgeous and a senior in college. She’s worked for the Clinton Foundation and plans to do good in the world and be taken seriously.
The other day she called because she’d been invited to join a burlesque troop. (Mary is minoring in dance in college) She was excited, she loved the girls, she would get paid to dance, it sounded wonderful. But…it’s a burlesque show.
I’ve seen that movie with Cher, still I don’t really know what Burlesque is. In my mind it involves fishnet hose and a stage, in my mind it’s the first cousin of pole dancing. But I didn’t say that to Mary. Instead I let her talk and talk and talk. She went through the pros and cons, the ups and downs.
After twenty minutes she decided not to do it because of the internet. In cyber space she would always be a burlesque dancer. There would be cheeky pictures on facebook. When a prospective employer googled her name, there she would be…in fish net hose and hooker pumps…on stage.
“If it was an important job, I wouldn’t hire me,” she finally said.
Mary had the brain process of an adult! What lots of kids don’t understand is, because of the internet, bad choices, drunken keg party pictures and videos of cruel pranks NEVER GO AWAY! They are like forearm and neck tattoos.
For several years I worked at a very very selective high school. If we got an application from a kid with an email address or twitter account like pyro-nympho-manica2002 @ gmail we did not typically invite them to our special school. Bad choices live for ever on the internet.
I now understand burlesque is not at all what I thought it was. And if there was a burlesque dinner theater, I’d love to go….as long as my daughter wasn’t on stage.
Tags: burlesque, daughters
Central Park Fusion on Park Avenue used to be a bank branch. My dad designed it in the 60′s, I think. The beautiful rock wall that arches away from the building was such an elegant design touch. The curve and texture of that wall were perfect. Dad used volcanic rock so it would match the tuffa rock found in the National Park. The idiots who knocked a big hole in the wall make me and the building crazy (not the current restaurants owners). Because of the cantilevers and stone work it was one of my mother’s favorites. That building always talks to me about the power and importance of detail, even on the smallest projects.
The Arlington of course talks about all kinds of stuff. She wishes someone would fix her up again. She loves warm nights when couples and families sit on the veranda. We talk about nights when Alex and I were dating. We would visit the Arlington to hear the legendary Reggie Cravens play his stand up bass in the lobby. Alex would ask Reggie to play My Funny Valentine and we would dance and laugh along side the tourists.
I tease her about her Christmas decorations. They are ancient and shabby, but the squeaking made by that Santa and his
reindeer are the sound of Christmas for me.
The Ohio Club is such an extraordinary building it makes me smile. That gigantic and gorgeous back bar stuffed inside such and tiny and ornate building is ridiculous and wonderful. The Ohio Club, which is the oldest bar in Arkansas, is the reason we should all avoid chain restaurants and bars in strip malls. I’m so glad my buddy Mike Pettey has taken that building and restored so much of it’s exquisite history and beauty.
When my daughter, Mary was a little girl we’d listen to a guitar player, Mike Stanley, play at the Ohio Club. He’d sing John Prine’s “Daddy’s Little Pumpkin” and Mary would dance away, shaking her butt and laughing hysterically.
The First Methodist Church has plenty to say. My grandfather was one of the architects who worked on the original sanctuary and it’s stunning. My dad designed the modern half of the building. He had Mexican artists create the three story Jesus mosaic who towers over Central Avenue, arms outstretched. I was a little girl when the building was under construction but I remember how upset my mom was when Daddy invited all the Mexican artists to the house for dinner without giving her warning. They filled the house with big smiles and dirty work clothes. Fortunately, they didn’t speak English so they didn’t understand my parents snarky remarks that night.
Sometimes the Methodist Church and I talk about my grandmother, Mooie. In order to coax the grand kids to be quite in church she kept a roll of Life Savers in her purple purse. ( Mooie never wore or carried anything that wasn’t purple). The Life Savers were always covered with lint from the bottom of her purple purse so we spent most of the time picking them clean.
The buildings talk and I listen. Makes driving through town pretty interesting.
Tags: ghosts, Hot Springs, I Granger McDaniel, Mosaic Jesus, Ohio club, Park Avenue, Reggie Cravens, the Arlington Hotel
Here’s the problem. She’s sixteen and has lots of wonderful friends who have boat loads of issues, troubles, stresses and concerns. I’m not talking the garden variety problems, these kids have to deal with so much bad stuff. Some have moronic moms who stay out at bars all night, then come home falling down drunk. There are really mean step dads, jealous and greedy step moms and biological fathers who have been missing for years. A lot of times Lexie’s friends are the actual adults in these households. They constantly worry about their little brothers or sisters, they make sure mom gets up and goes to work. and these guys generally have to work and keep up their grades and take care of things at home.
Lexie’s life, our life, isn’t perfect…it’s not even in the same zip code as perfect. But it’s not terrible. She has a beat up car to drive around, clothes, food, a little spending money. Lexie knows how much we love her and how proud we are. She knows Alex and I will get up and go to work every morning and take care of her little brother. So, compared to her friends…she’s got nothing to bitch about. Several of her buddies have said to me, “I’d give anything to have Lexie’s life.”
But Lexie’s life is absolutely not stress free. There are mammoth pressures on the kid. We expect excellent grades, an excellent attitude and we demand to know where she is all the time. Alex and I screw up constantly because we are human.
There’s a long history of crazy in our family that’s not always easy to deal with.The house is falling apart and there’s never enough money. She has a little brother who can be annoying because he’s a ten year old boy and she has puppy poop to clean up ALL THE TIME. I get stressed out, tense and mean, Alex gets worried about things and clams up. She doesn’t have a closet in her room and there’s only one bathroom for all of us.
But Lex can’t whine and complain to her friends because they just sigh and roll their eyes. They figure puppy poop, a stoic dad and a crappy car are nothing compared to their problems…and they are right….kind of. Lexie never tells them what’s really upsetting or about the pressure she puts on herself. Because she know, in their eyes, she has no right to complain.
Thankfully she does have a big brother and sister she can talk to. They will listen to her bitch and moan and whine,sometimes.
I really do feel sorry for Lex because whining about your life and parents is kind of a right of passage. Her friends think her life is shiny and flawless but they are wrong.
As a family we rarely sit around blowing bubbles and holding hands, though this morning, during breakfast we did turn off the lights and chop open a bunch of glow sticks just to see what kind of shiny mess we could make.
Comments OffTags: complaining, famalies, friends, Lexie Hampo, teens, whining
There’s something about those weirdo reptiles. They have become iconic in a way the Power Rangers couldn’t . And I think it’s because they are flawed, annoying and have bad habits. Raphael is the natural leader but he farts and burps and forgets to speak with respect when addressing Splinter. If you were never a TMNT fan, Splinter is their teacher, their sage. And he’s a rat.
Yesterday, I saw all kinds of new Turtle stuff at Wal-Mart. Little boy boxers, hats, shoes. The dudes are back and yes I do want to see them again. All the turtles were kind of in love with April, a journalist, who I think will be played by Megan Fox. But they are mutant turtles. How can love work between a woman and a turtle? I’m not going to think about that. Check out http://teenagemutantninjaturtles.com/.
All the turtles and the rat once were normal animals but they somehow got into toxic ooooze and became semi-human super heroes.
When my son Jack, who is now 25, was little, there were lots of moms who wouldn’t let their kids watch TMNT. They were freaked out by the freaks. They thought there was something demonic about them, that drugs were involved in there inception.
Still, I caved and let him collect dozens of action figures with flip-able heads, throwing stars and bow staffs. They were great toys.
Parents didn’t trust the Ninja Turtles but I think they are freakishly brilliant. They are flawed, just like the rest of us, so we like them, or at least trust them because they are humans with shells and four feet. They are turtles, with super hero powers, who are more human than lots of actual super hero humans They struggle against their anger, their instincts, their arrogance, and their fears. People aren’t perfect, most of us are a mess. Jesus was the only perfect one. The rest of us just flail around trying to figure out how to stop screwing up. The TMNT are just like us. Just like all of us.
Their new movie comes out soon. Here’s the link to the web site http://teenagemutantninjaturtles.com/ check it out. They are fun, they are real…heros on the half shell. I still kind of love them.
Tags: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles