Thursday, August 28, 2008

The ties we find.

I've been hanging out a lot this week with a few of my aunts - two aunts and one great aunt - and have had a blast. Of course when you hang out with family, you end up talking about family and in our case, family history. Which made me curious to know more, so I joined a website called to do some research.

A couple of years ago, an episode of THS had me convinced I was related to Anna Nicole Smith. They had interviewed her hillbilly cousins and they all had the same last name some of my relatives in that area of Texas. So I figured if nothing else, doing a little research could help me solve the Anna Nicole mystery, as I haven't slept soundly since my initial realization.

I will also confess another reason for my ancestral interest is joining the Daughters of the American Revolution. We have a cousin that's very involved with DAR and after doing some research, I want a piece of the action. I found a couple of local chapters with some wonderful programs such as "Historical Shoes" and "White House China: A Retrospective". I'm only kicking myself that I didn't attempt to join sooner.

"Now these shoes belonged to Millicent Butts, of the Baldwin County Butts. And I think I speak for the room when I say, 'Thank the good Lord for Manolo Blahnik!'"

Surprisingly, I've found this whole ancestry thing mildly addictive. It's fascinating what, rather who, you'll find. Obviously, the first order of business was establishing my "patriot", so that when I attend the meeting on "How to Mark a Patriot's Grave", I'll know who the hell's grave I'm supposed to be marking. And sure enough, within a couple of days I'd established that I'll be riding into the DAR on the coattails of Private Evan Shelby.

But I didn't stop at the 1700s with my searching. On my paternal side, I was able to trace my family back to the 900s. We were Italian then, but sadly that was soon buried under 1000 years-worth of English and Scottish heritage, explaining why I can't get a tan to save myself.

Other interesting finds have been famous relatives I've come across. I'm related to an alarming amount of famous writers/publishers (William Randolph Hearst, Gore Vidal, Geoffery Chaucer, Mark Twain, Elizabeth Browning, and Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a few) which have given me comfort that genetically-speaking, there's no way this blog can suck. Other than writers, I learned most of my famous relatives fall into the categories of actors (Jimmy Stewart, Mae West), political figures (Zachary Taylor, Woodrow Wilson, Lady Bird Johnson, BOTH Bushes) and outlaws/robbers (Pretty Boy Floyd, Frank James, Butch Cassidy, at lease one of the Bushes).

But today I found something even more horrifying than discovering I was related to President Bush (my seventh cousin, twice removed).

At the time, I was working on the heritage of my sixth great grandmother, Susanna Clement, when suddenly I saw names that looked familiar: Simon Clement and Susannah Lockett. Why did they look familiar? I backed out for a bigger picture view and proceeded to throw up in my mouth.

They sounded familiar, because they were ALREADY ON MY TREE!!! My sixth great-grandmother married her goddamn COUSIN!!! And a first cousin, at that! I'm a product of incest, and not the ancient-European-royalty-keep-the-bloodlines-pure kind of incest, but the backwoods, Appalachian, cousins-screwin'-in-the-woods kind. Only in my case, they married each other.

I didn't even know what to do with this info. Part of me wanted to run to the bathroom like Fergus in The Crying Game, while the other wanted to run to the mirror to relish the fact I don't have three eyes.

So before you judge or yell at me for what my cousin has done to the economy, please keep in mind that unlike you, I'm just lucky to have opposable thumbs.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The glamorous world of advertising.

When I was in high school, I absolutely loved Melrose Place. Amanda and Courtney worked at D&D Advertising, and it was, like, the coolest thing ever. The pages of a magazine brought to life.

Now that I'm actually in advertising, I'm constantly irritated by the glamour conveyed on television and movies when it comes to representing my profession. I love advertising and can't imagine doing anything else, but it's still nothing close to what's shown on TV. And to illustrate my point I bring you the following...

"My Monday: A Story in 25 Acts"

Wake up at 3:30 after about 3 and a half hours of sleep.

Get to airport by 5am.

Fly to Dallas at 6:30am.

Eat a nasty breakfast at Chili's Too.

Board a plane at 8:30am to fly to Kansas City for a 10:30 meeting.

Take a seat on the last row by the shitter, behind a screaming child.

Get nauseated by the smell of the toilet.

Check out the cute guy across the aisle, and wonder if I could get past the fact he's missing a hand.

Decide I could live with the stub and proceed to flirt.

Bitch about screaming toddler with flight attendant in line to small/smelly lavatory.

Wonder what's going on with the plane.

Get excited the one-hand man is flirting back. (Yes, he was just. that. cute.)

Deplane an hour later due to "computer issues".

Realize we'll be missing the meeting if we try to fly now.

Watch my airplane crush board the next flight without me. *sniff*

Call-in to meeting.

Have an hour-and-a-half long conference call on consumer segmentation at Gate 8, while a creepy man stares at me.

Eat a nasty lunch at same Chili's Too.

Board flight home in a thunderstorm.

Experience heavy turbulence the entire way home.

Convince myself I'm about to die in a plane crash.

Embarrass myself by babbling nonsense to the co-worker seated next to me in a desperate attempt to distract myself from our impending demise.

Land safely and am back in the office at 3pm.

Eat two bags of popcorn for "dinner".

Finish working at 8pm.


Amanda never would have had a day this un-sexy at D&D. That said, she also never would've received an e-mail this awesome from her travel agent.

To: Liz
From: Travel*
Subject: since you had a bad day, hopefully this will make you smile

Here's a picture of a rabbit with a pancake on its head...enjoy.

*Not his real name.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Crack attack.

Speaking of unflattering pictures, here's one I snapped the other night at dinner with my mother.

This ass belongs to a 60-ish woman who came into our restaurant wearing a tunic over black tights. About thirty minutes into the accidental peep show, our waiter (who had been sending his other server friends through our area to enjoy the view) came over to our table.


"Man, I don't know what you do here," I replied.

"I mean, do I say, 'Excuse me m'am, but I think your dress is maybe riding up a little in the back.'??? How do I address this tactfully?"

"Sorry, you're asking the wrong person. I just took a picture of it."

"Well, it is funny," he sighed.

At this point, my mom chimed in. "I was awlready enjoyin' the sunset. Now I get to enjoy a full moon, too!"

Yes, mother. There's nothing like staring at the smashed ass of a senior while eating ravioli...

Friday, August 15, 2008

And the gold for the poorest taste goes to...

I realize I'm not a photo editor, but I have to imagine that Sports Illustrated could have found a better picture of Nastia Liukin to tout her gold medal in women's gymnastics.

I don't even know what I'm looking at. There's a pained, twisted face, terrible form, wrists bound in tape, some weird hair-like thing on her ass and a metallic, hot pink crotch. I mean, for godssake, is this the Olympics or S&M porn?

In seventh grade, my picture was on the front of the Sunday sports section in the town paper. (Which is sorta like being in SI for your Olympic performance, except way, way lamer.) Anyway, in the picture I was playing tennis and going for a backhand with my mouth flung open and my tongue hanging out. The next Monday, the hottest senior in school saw me and shot me his impersonation of my face. Of course, everyone howled and I wanted to crawl through the floor. That moment haunted me for years until said hot senior decided he wanted to date me and I discovered he was the single worst kisser on the planet.

One can only hope the universe bestows young Nastia equally good karma without the added insult of WAY too much tongue.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Squiggle, putter, Beelzebub, Zamboni

I know this whole Georgia/Russia thing is horrible, and will no doubt result in all of America staring at the noses of nuclear weapons because we've pissed off Russia. But, I've gotta be honest, I haven't heard anything as fun to say as "Tbilisi" in awhile.

Tbilisi, Tbilisi, Tbilisi.

It's like when a toddler discovers their mouth. You just want to say it over and over, or say it in a mock sneeze and see if it prompts a "Gesundheit!"

Miss Handler, your glorious euphemism "Shadoobie" has just been dethroned. (No pun intended.)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Westley, what about the R.O.U.S.'s?

The other day, I went to lunch at a local coffee shop. As I approached the restaurant, I saw a man seated at a table on the patio with his dog on a leash beside him. However, as I got closer I realized it wasn't a dog at all. Nor was it a pig. Nor was it any animal I've seen before in my life.

My first thought was that I'd taken a wrong turn and ended up in the Fire Swamp, face-to-face with an R.O.U.S. Turns out I wasn't too far off.

"Um, what is that?" I asked the man, trying to sound pleasant but clearly a little unnerved.

"It's a khaki-barra," he said, as though I was the dumbest person alive.

"It's a what?" I asked, as I reached out and ran my hand across what felt like boar bristles.

"It's a khaki-barra," he replied, clearly irritated with me.

Okay, listen, you arrogant prick. Don't sit there like whatever that is on a leash is something even remotely common. I watch an embarrassing amount of both the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, and I have never seen anything like that. A sloth, for example, is not of our land. But if you had one on a leash, I'd be like, "Oh, there's a guy with a sloth on a leash." I'd proceed to judge you for that, but I'd at least know what the hell you had for a pet.

I went inside and was paying for my order while continuing to stare out the window.


I snapped out of it and realized the woman at the counter was handing me my credit card. "Shit, sorry," I mumbled.

"It's okay. There's a kookaburra outside. It's understandable."

Now, see? Once again. I know what a kookaburra is. (A bird from Australia.) I used to sing a song about it in kindergarten, and I can promise you that whatever the hell that thing outside is never sat in the old oak tree, or was the merry merry king of the bush. But in the spirit of research, I feigned ignorance.

"Um, yeah, what is that exactly?"

"It's a Brazilian rodent."

So I was right. It is an R.O.U.S.

As soon as I got home, I googled, "large Brazilian rodent". This is what I found:

This, friends, is a Capybara - the largest living rodent in the world. They are semi-aquatic (apparently they're fond of ponds) and can grow to be about four feet.

I could go on all afternoon wondering why someone would want to have the world's largest rodent for a pet, why they'd take it to a local restaurant, and how one might obtain a permit for such an animal, but at the end of the day, it's all INCONCEIVABLE!