If it's a story about me, then I'll say so up front.

This is a blog about Truth, Justice and the American Way. The stories are true. No names have been changed to protect anyone's identity, including my own. If the story is about me, then I'll say so right up front. If I don't use a name to identify whom the story is about, then it's because it's not relevant. So please do not call me or e-mail me with your kind condolences or unwarranted congratulations about something that you believe is a cleverly disguised bio from my alter ego. These stories, like my photo, are unretouched.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I stole from my man.


Before everyone gets all up in my face about this blog post, let me state right up front that I didn't really "steal" from my man.  I was protecting him from someone else stealing his intellectual property.  He knew I was doing it; or at least he should have known because it isn’t like I didn’t tell him in advance.  I don’t think he believed me.  Silly boy.

My husband, Brad, has been a writer of one kind or another his whole life.  He started as a news reporter, then became an advertising copywriter; eventually he wrote and directed television commercials.   He had a great idea for a screenplay about a murder case that he covered as a reporter.  Terrific idea.  Lots of twists and turns.  Eventually he figured out how the murderer got away with it, so there were wonderful possibilities.

I went back to Indiana and dug through the newspaper morgue (the archives) and did the research for him.  It had been a number of years since he had covered the case.  He poured over my research and began talking about the story to friends.  A year later he was still talking – to everyone within earshot. 

“Quit talking about it and write it,” I mentioned ever-so-tactfully about a million times.  “Someone is going to steal it from you.”

Another year passed and he was working as a producer on a small feature film.  The executive producer was a big deal from Hollywood.  One day I walked into a break in shooting to find Brad telling the Hollywood guy about his idea for a screenplay – telling him in excruciating detail.

“Shut up, shut up, shut up,” I gently suggested.  “Are you insane?  These Hollywood guys would steal the food from their mother’s mouths.”

A year later, I finally gave him an ultimatum.  “If you are intent on letting someone steal this thing, then keep it in the family.  You’ve got until September to write at least a treatment (a synopsis) and get it registered with the Writer’s Guild of America or I’m going to steal the damn thing myself.”  Honestly, did he think I was kidding?

The following January we were getting our taxes together and he saw a bunch of cancelled checks made out to WGA.  “What’s this?” he asked.  

“That’s the Writer’s Guild of America for my many treatments,” I answered helpfully.  “I took your screenplay and registered it seven ways from Sunday.    It’s registered as a true story, a piece of fiction, a third-person narrative, a first-person narrative from the POV of a young reporter covering the story, and a first person story from the POV of the murderer.  It’s mine now.”

The British have a word for what Brad was.  It’s called Gobsmacked.  It means confused, shocked, dumbfounded.  “Suppose I still want to write it?” he asked.

“Well then I guess you’ll have to be a lot nicer to me.” 

Men.  They really must start taking us more seriously.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Beaten by a Porn Site. Oh, the Shame!

Imagine my surprise at discovering that the Biz Bitch is into hard-core pornography, on-call dominatrices and bad rap music.  Bummer! 

It all started when I Googled “Biz Bitch” to make sure that my blog was getting good SEO.  For a couple of years now, I’ve prided myself on being the top three to four items on Google and Yahoo! search engines.  This made it easy for fans to find me.  They didn’t have to remember a whole URL; they simply Googled “Biz Bitch” and there I was, right at the top of the leader board. 

I’m still at the top but unfortunately, over the past year, a couple of interlopers have been slowly sneaking their way into my territory.  The first was the BizBitch.biz pornography site.  That was some scary hard-core stuff.  I had no idea that women and mules were so affectionate (giving new depth of meaning to the term “animal husbandry”).  I filed a complaint with InterNIC, which is licensed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and suddenly the site disappeared.  This was good news for me but bad news, I suppose, for animal lovers.

Now I see that over on Yahoo! you can go to TheBitch.biz and order up your favorite dominatrix from Australia, Asia, Ghana and numerous places in the USA.  There’s a 31-year-old in Beijing who is currently looking for a sex slave.  Her name is Rainmaker; don’t ask what her specialty is.  They all seem to be willing to relocate, which is a big selling point, I guess.  You can order online with your credit card and get your domme mistress delivered, just like on eBay.  Is this a great country or what?   

They have a Featured Bitch (this month it’s Dora Johnson), a Photo Gallery and even Bitch Humor.  The site is educational, too.  Did you know that the plural of dominatrix is either dominatrixes or dominatrices?  Your choice! You can even watch the music video The Bitch Song by Bowling for Soup.  I didn’t bother listening to the song but I think that Bowling For Soup may be one of the all-time greatest band names ever.

My primary search engine rival these days seems to be Its Biz Bitch Radio on MySpace.  I didn’t think anyone over the age of 13 was even allowed on MySpace.  Its Biz Bitch, however, appears to be a 20-something guy of indiscriminate color who writes and records rap demos in his basement in Louisville, Kentucky.  What any of this has to do with business or bitches is beyond my comprehension.  Clearly he’s not hung up on pride of ownership because you can’t find his name anywhere on the site, but his fan club does list “members” such as Dirty, Foster, Mondo, Lil J, Lush, and Bizzy Biz (whom he claims to sound like, a fact that is not particularly complimentary to either one).  He doesn’t have a record label but he’s associated with FilthyDirty Productions and his recordings live up to the name. 

In the interests of research for my readers, I unselfishly listened to the five recordings that he currently has on his website.  Actually, I had to listen to several of them more than once because you can barely understand anything he says on some of those tracks.  You’ll notice that I have not referred to any of them as “songs.”  That wasn’t unintentional. 

First we have Far Away, most of which is too dirty to reprint.  I think it’s about a road trip in a ’96 Lincoln and it starts with talk about K-Y jelly and his girlfriend – at least I hope it’s his girlfriend and not his mother.  In Untouchable at least he makes an attempt to rhyme: “You wish you had this…celebrity status.”  The ditty called Bring The Heat is the most incomprehensible of the lot, although it’s clearly about “weed.”  I assume that his lawn needs mowing because he claims that, in reference to the weed(s),”It’s higher than a choir; higher than a telephone wire.”  That’s a pretty serious crabgrass problem.

Speaking of serious problems, the rhyming in his ode to alcoholism, Here’s A Toast, gets downright desperate (as does his subject matter): 
my conscience is disregarded
trying to get in someone’s daughter
and party like we outta.”

Also indicative of his artistic style is his complete and utter disregard for spelling, capitalization, punctuation or pesky grammar as demonstrated in the title, Lets smoke snipet.   He’s in rare form here with lyrics:
“When the weed kicks in I took the blunt like a twizzler,
let it cook like a sizzler,
must be Mary’s twin sister,
so hit it like a mister…..

OK, he’s not exactly Robert Frost. 

The point of all this is, that a serious and studious writer such as myself can’t allow herself to get her blog SEO jacked by a playa hater like Dora Johnson or some kid in a Louisville basement.   I mean, that’s just whack!   Don’t you agree?

Are we having fun yet?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Feng Shui Your Ride!

Gee, Feng Shui for a car?  I just can’t see it, even though I do try to keep an open mind.  For instance, my BFF Bernice (she always says that while she appreciates being my best friend, she frankly worries what the other “F” stands for) rotated her dining room table because her interior designer said it was better feng shui for the room.  And, Lord knows, Bernice is making a lot more money than I am, and has classier dinner parties to boot, so who am I to argue?  Still……

I know someone else who got paid good money for installing a Bagua (Pa Kua) Mirror in a mutual friend’s home as a way of manipulating the negative outside energies.   Talk about negative outside energy – she would have been better off with a divorce lawyer if you ask me, but I suppose buying a mirror in a octagonal red wooden frame was cheaper.  And she can always use the mirror in her next marriage.

In my own home, I use the Yin-Yang theory in which the interacting forces of Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine) keep us deeply interconnected.  As an example, the Yin closet is the big closet in our master bedroom.  And, not wanting to mix these universal forces, the Yang closet (for my husband’s clothes) is in the small guest bedroom down the hall.  OK, in all honesty, his clothes occupy half of that closet because I need the other half for my hats.   And in the bathroom, the Yang is exceptionally good about always putting the toilet seat down after use because he fears the Yin ch’i when certain people sit down in the middle of the night and get nothing but porcelain.   Trust me, nothing good can come from that.

Anyway, I thought I was pretty hip about this stuff until my blog-friend Diane alerted me to an article from the Ford Motor Company entitled, Ford Offers Feng Shui Concepts to Create a Calm, Organized Vehicle All Year Long.”  Well, as you can imagine, this article answered so many questions about what’s wrong with my life (and Brad’s too).   Just look at the accompanying diagram and you’ll see the problems right away. 




First of all, according to their diagram, my poor husband (who is a creative director) has all of his creativity stuck in the rear passenger wheel well.  Bummer!  That would explain his client who keeps going round and round the copy choices he has given her without ever making a decision so they can move forward.  Hello!

Also, 75% of the wealth and relationship energy reside outside the body of the car. That doesn’t bode well for the folks riding inside.  It might go a long way toward explaining our bank account, however.

On the other hand, the knowledge ch’i appears to be right smack dab in the middle of the driver’s seat, which my husband will happily embrace since he thinks that he is ALWAYS right even when passes a perfectly good parking spot or doesn’t move into the right hand lane until it is too late and then curses the other drivers who won’t let him in. I’m just sayin….

The Ford folks want us to put a medal or an icon or a picture in the glove box to reduce stress. Right now, all I have in the glove box is my vehicle registration, insurance card, the owners manual and a stale candy bar.  Since I’m Jewish, a medal or an icon probably won’t do it.  Maybe I’ll toss a “Happy Face” sticker in there so that at least I’ll remember to“have a nice day.”

I wanted to do further research, but when I Googled “feng shui your car,” I got 2,230,000 hits, a smattering of which showed that in order to have proper “feng shuiness” (yes, it’s the word that is actually used), I need to:
  • Choose the lucky color according to my individual feng shui chart (I guess my husband is SOL)
  • Choose the day of purchase that is positive according to my feng shui calendar (gee, we chose the day based on when we could afford to buy it)
  • Ring with hand bells inside the car to purify the energy (giving new definition to the term “Baby, ring my bell”)
  • Scatter sea salt on the car floor carpets to absorb negative energy (careful – that stuff will hurt like hell when it gets into any scratches you got on the beach)
  • Order license plates with only lucky numbers (our Prius says 62MPG)
  • And above all, do not hang crystals or anything on the rear view mirror, since it draws away the attention of the dragon from your protection. 
I don’t know about you, but I hate it when the attention of the dragon is drawn away from my protection.   I wonder how the dragon feels about air bags?

Are we having fun yet?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Open For Business 25/8

I don’t know about you but I just love it when a client calls at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday to “run some ideas past you.” After all, freelancers don’t need no stinking “sleeping in” on a romantic, rainy Sunday. Sleeping in only results in spontaneous sex. Better to lie beside your spouse and listen to a conversation about distribution quotas while you quietly seethe. That will bring the population growth down.

I also love it when clients call in the evening, during a movie. Do you answer? Yeah, so did the guy in front of me in the multiplex last night. First he tried whispering. Then he got “stink eye” from his neighbors. When someone beaned him with a wadded up napkin, he left the theater talking all the way. You could hear the conversation. It was about a deadline that had been moved up. (Why are deadlines always moved up? Why are they never moved back to give you some breathing room? Why is that?)

I suppose he could have ignored the call but my experience tells me that if you don’t answer, they will just text you. Over and over again.

Why are we allowing ourselves to become on-call slaves? Because we live in the age of instant gratification. Early morning; late at night; weekends; holidays. BTW, what are holidays? I haven’t seen a holiday since 1972. And I live in Hawai‘i, the state that has more official holidays than any other state in the union. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, New Year’s Day, Prince Kuhio Day, King Kamehameha Day, Independence Day, Statehood Day (which is celebrated by native Hawaiians by displaying the flag of the nation of Hawai‘i upside down – the international distress signal) and all the rest. Oops, did I accidentally say “rest?” Ha, ha! That was a joke. The only people who get to rest on most holidays are state workers. For everyone else, it’s just a day in which the busses don’t run as often (for our convenience).

And it’s not just clients who are guilty of this behavior. Suppliers also call whenever the muse is upon them. Because we’ve all become accustomed to being available not just 24/7 but beyond 24/7. I once wrote about the appalling statistics of American workers in comparison to those of other developed nations. We suffer twice the rate of clinical depression as our European counterparts. And we’re literally killing ourselves – in 1980, we ranked 11th in the world in life expectancy; we now rank 42nd.

I have a plan. (You knew I would.) This is a shocker, so you may want to be seated for this – freelancers and entrepreneurs could declare their business hours and then stick to them. Out there in the real world of non-freelance (aka “paid”) work, businesses actually post their hours right on the door. They do. Then when the end of the day comes around, they lock the door and they leave.

I realize that this is a far fetched concept. But think about it:

  • · When you call your bank after hours, does the President of the bank interrupt his dinner to answer your call?
  • · Would you expect your hairdresser to meet you at Starbucks on Sunday morning to review some pictures of hairstyles that might look cute on you?
  • · Do you wake your butcher up at 11:30 at night to tell him about your upcoming dinner party and get his “feedback” on entrĂ©e choices?

Let’s try, shall we? Let’s tell our clients right up front, in writing, the hours that we are available for meetings and phone conversations and then (gasp!) turn off the phone. Unless you are a trauma surgeon, let’s pretend that no one will actually die if we don’t take this call. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Some unexpected sex? I don’t know about you but I could live with that.

Are we having fun yet?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Using Mom’s Hairdresser as Your Focus Group

To write about my husband’s clients would be indiscreet and highly inappropriate and we certainly wouldn’t want that. So let’s just say that I know this certain guy (let’s call him “Bob”) who has a number of small business clients (let’s just call them “clients” because calling them Dumbo, although tempting, would be inappropriate).

In earlier times, “Bob” worked at a fairly major Chicago ad agency and so he understands the etiquette of how a marketing plan and its accompanying creative product are handled. He knows that there is a creative director through whom all creative product passes before going to the client. He knows that marketing is not the same as advertising, not all cost savings are a good thing, and you don’t “rebrand” your business by changing the logo.

But small business clients don’t always know this stuff and trying to get them to understand it is like trying to teach a pig to sing – it’s not only futile but it annoys the pig.

“Hey Bob, I know that you told me not to be passing your confidential marketing notes around the office because it’s just a rough draft and all, but I was so excited about the concept and so thrilled about the work I thought I should share it with just a couple of key people. Twelve people within the company (including an intern and the third-floor janitor) loved it but the lady who does my mother’s hair doesn’t like it and now I’ve decided that maybe we should rethink this whole thing.”

And:

“You know that new logo that the professional graphic designer who specializes in creating logos designed for us? The one we spent two months, seven meetings, 56 phone calls and 1,146 emails about? Well, after I dropped it off at Bubba’s Auto Emporium on Monday to have it painted on the company vans, Bubba Jr. decided to take it to his high school art class and these kids have come up with something entirely different that is kind of cute.”

And:

“Bob, you can take that professional film production money out of the budget because I met this retired welder at my cousin Blanche’s wedding last weekend. He just started a wedding video business and he’s going to shoot the whole package – the commercials and the training film – on his iPhone for a fraction of the cost. Can you have the script ready by Friday? We’re going to save even more money with the on-camera talent because Blanche offered to do it for free and she looks so nice now that she’s got most of the weight off.”

I’ll bet you think that I’m kidding. I’ll bet you think that I’m exaggerating. I will admit that these examples are a compilation of the kinds of things that several different clients have come up with over the past year. Nonetheless, this weekend “Bob” has to try to break the latest news to the art director. I’d tell you more, but that would be inappropriate.

Are we having fun yet?