Thursday, January 31, 2008

This Just In: There's E-mail Access in Heaven!

This is the best press release I've received in a while; thought I'd share (It's also a cheap and easy way to log an entry, as Shaken Mama will boot me from her blog roll if I slumber). As one of my reporters mused: "Wonder if the FCC would be interested in this?"

Among my questions: What's the domain name? Who's teaching people like Laura Ingalls Wilder the Internet? What if you're illiterate? When are Hell, Limbo and Purgatory going to get Internet access? Finally, to hell with e-mail, let's get 'em on the Skype line!

P.S. A search for an illustration for this post brought up at least one other similar service, Is nothing sacred?

SoCal Psychic Mediums Email Dead People - Get a “Letter From
Heaven” at, the metaphysical website that enables users to communicate with deceased relatives and friends, has formed an Internet partnership with renowned psychic mediums, Melanie and Michele Morgan, it was announced today by Hardy Warren, President of AfterlifeLine, Inc.

“The SoCal psychic sisters are unique among mediums,” says Warren. “They are able to conduct fluent conversations with departed spirits and thus provide word-for-word messages containing language and references that are instantly recognizable. We call
their signature service a Letter From Heaven.”

The Morgan Sisters, also classical musicians and recording artists, have been using their psychic gifts to bring comfort, healing and transformation to their clients
for more than twenty years. “But now, with,” says Melanie, “we can service our clients remotely and forward Letters From Heaven over the Internet. Now we have a world-wide reach; we can help spiritualseekers everywhere.”

Warren and the Morgans see as filling a universal need. There are millions of people who have lost someone and are yearning for evidence of a life beyond this one. “So many of us are grieving,” says Michele. “It’s comforting to know that this life is neither the beginning nor the end. There is always a new opportunity to express love and forgiveness.”

In addition to their work with private clients, the Morgan Sisters are nearing completion on the first in a series of books entitled: STARS IN HEAVEN – The Dead Celebrity Archives, a collection of scholarly interviews they’ve conducted with dozens of departed quotable notables from the arts, sciences, politics, sports and
entertainment, including The Marx Brothers, John Lennon, Albert Einstein, Babe Ruth, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and many others.
Transcripts of some of these interviews are currently available at

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Of Wooden Spoons, Moamar Khadafy and Cancer

My childhood best friend Margaret is pregnant with her third child and is stuck in a hospital on the "other" coast until she gives birth on or around Feb. 6. Things get pretty boring there, and I have promised to entertain her with my blog, which she dutifully checks on her Blackberry. So expect a lot of M. between now and then. And don't expect all of it to make sense.

For those of you who have checked out my blog roll links, M. is Lyrissa's mom. Three years ago, little Roo, not quite two, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare, deadly cancer. It just so happened that at the time, M. was very pregnant with her second child, Nicholas. It was a long, long road for M. and her family, and Lyrissa's life hung in the balance. There were many days M. didn't know if her firstborn girl was going to live or die. Miraculously, Lyrissa is clean now. Still, she has to use hearing aids from side effects of the treatment, and she had to fight to catch up to kids who didn't have to spend months on end in the hospital at such a crucial developmental age.

But enough of the sad stuff. I just wanted to include that to show you what an incredible person M. is, and to encourage you to check out Lyrissa's page and others at They're some amazing folks.

I promised M. that I would begin by regaling the myriad (ha ha) readers of Stella's blog with The Story of the Wooden Spoon. Y'all are going to just have to wait to see what in the world a Libyan dictator has to do with the price of eggs in China.

When M. was in first grade, her teacher had a yardstick she used as a pointer. So M., who liked to "play school" at home, located an old mop handle that she would bang against the cement walls of her basement while teaching her imaginary pupils. The tactile sensation became a habit, and by the time I met her about six years later, she always had a pencil (unsharpened, mind you) or stick on hand to bang on the ground, her palm or side of a building as we worked through our adolescent angst.

One day we were in the kitchen with my mom, who had the misfortune to break the spoon end off a wooden spoon in a bowl of batter. M's eyes lit up as she covetously eyed the handle in my mom's hand. "Can I please have that?" she asked. My mom handed over the wooden stick, laughed and said, "I have never seen someone get so excited about a broken wooden spoon."

When I spoke with M. the other day, I asked her if she still "banged." "Oh yeah, I have my pencils," she said. "My kids know to go get them for me." Among the things her husband packed for M.'s stay in the hospital? You guessed it: her pencils. Unsharpened, of course.

As for Moamar Khadafy, I can't even really remember when we latched onto his name in the newspaper, but he certainly deserves royalties for the number of times we've used it since then. We liked the sound of it rolling off our tongues, and from then on have called each other Moam. Generally, I'm Moam Sr., since I'm two years older. Often my signature gets a "J.D.," "PhD" or "Esq." after it. Variants include Moamus, Moamius and Moamdigger. Twenty-odd years later, I'll answer the phone and hear a tentative, "Moam?" On one of my last visits, we drove Lyrissa crazy singing the Moamdigger song. (Of course there's a song!) "Mommy, STOP SINGING!" she pleaded.

Fat chance, kid. The Moams are here to stay.

Baby Talk

Today was Chebbles' Mama's "unofficial" baby shower, as I take it some people don't think it's appropriate to go all out for additional children. As the youngest of six, I say woot woot! It's not the baby's fault she wasn't born first.

I was one of three unmarried women there. I kept looking around thinking, these women are gorgeous and young. Since when did being a mom become so cool?

I was on hand for Chebbles' grand entrance into this world (she actually looks more like my daughter than E.'s, which has prompted the neverending joke, "Are you sure she's yours?"). E. and I agree: The event traumatized me more than it did her. Hey, I had nothing to take home with me, though E. graciously later awarded me a "participation" ribbon, which hangs on my fridge.

Chebbles wasn't on hand for the festivities, but being at Shaken Mama's abode reminded me that I wanted to record what I learned from Chebbles last week when V. and I came to visit.

1. If you're getting dressed when guests arrive and you're impatient to see them, it is totally OK to streak into the living room just carrying your panties, which you can put on later.
2. Sometimes sunglasses actually look cooler when you wear them upside-down.
3. Having a full, stinky load in your pants should not deter you from asking someone to carry you.
4. Occasionally, stuffed animals need their temperature taken. Thermometer in the ear is the best approach.
5. Sometimes daddies think they're creating a cute surprise when they line up all the Disney princess Pez dispensers in the front window for Chebbles' return, but it turns out that is a most unwelcome gesture.

Chebs, there's no end to what I'm going to learn from you and your li'l sis!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Eerie Coincidence

I admit I am one of those. You know, the people who still have Christmas decorations up on Jan. 25. (Hey, at least I took my tree down!) So here I am today, wrapping up the much-loved manger scene my dad gave me when the phone rings. Unknown caller. I'm planning to ask the telemarketer to take my number off her roster when a woman asks to speak with "Mr. Joseph." When I say there's no one here by that name, she says, "How about Mary Joseph? There's no Mary Joseph there?"

Well, there's a Mary and Joseph here. But they're in bubblewrap and can't come to the phone right now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On the Way to Work, a Pinto Pulled in Front of Me

How could I not want to tap it?

It reminded me of this scene from Top Secret:

This Was My Cat This Morning

But instead of hitting me with a baseball bat, he bit me. And I realized that if he were bigger, he would eat me.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tromp 'Loin, or I Have a Guardian Angel

"If you are looking to get in a fight, stabbed, mugged, shot, raped, killed, crack, pot, San Francisco's Tenderloin District can deliver." -- Thomas Michael Corcoran)

Do you ever do something really, really stupid and think about it later and say to yourself, "Holy crap! What was I thinking? I wasn't thinking."

Well, that was Wednesday night.

That's when my boss, a friend and I meandered over to a party being thrown at a club near the paper by one of the exhibitors at Macworld. We aren't back to the 90s yet when these types of parties typically would feature such luxuries as ice sculptures amid a fountain of champagne. But as they say, close enough for government work, right?

So we're enjoying the free sushi and drinks and it gets to be 10 p.m. and I'm thinking, I need to get this butt in bed if I'm going to function at work tomorrow (isn't that lamely early?). So I bid farewell and start walking up Sixth Street to get a cab, as I at least was smart enough not to try to drive.

If you're not familiar with Sixth Street, all the better for you. It's a depressing corridor lined with homeless people, addicts smoking crack and shooting up and proffering tricks, and all manner of people Down on Their Luck.

As I approached the corner of Market, one of these people, a woman, offered to "keep me company" for the night. I politely declined.

Then I made a strategic error: Instead of turning onto Market Street, which still would be filled with nastiness, but at least the squalor would be well-lighted and I'd have a better chance of catching a cab, I crossed the street and headed straight into the Tenderloin. Again, if you're not acquainted with it, all the better for you. While I don't believe the old tale is true that the name comes from a time when policemen were paid more to patrol its scary streets, thus affording them the finest cuts of meat, it's still pretty dismal.

So there was I, striding along unfazed to calls of "Look at the white girl!" I made a left on Turk, past the corner store that always annoys me with its misspelled sign advertising "sandwhichs," following -- in my drunken haze -- the route I drive home from work. I don't even like driving through this section, and here I was tromping down the street like I was right at home, chatting with the various people who approached me (one first told me his name was Joe and then a block later that it was Ramshki and when I pointed out that he had just told me two different names, he shrugged and said, "I like the Russian sound"), who on the whole were quite gracious.

I continued up Turk, desperately looking for a cab ("Oh, girl, they don't pick up here, you're never gonna get one"), trying to outwalk Joe/Ramshki, who wanted me to join him in laying out his wares on the corner for a latenight "flea market" ("Oh, I've seen you on that corner!" I told him. "The cops always shut you down." "Yeah," he said.).

Here I must describe what I was wearing, as it plays into the next vignette, which is -- really -- the whole point of this post (burying the lead, I am): Sleeveless black turtleneck sweater, short black pants, shiny black high-heeled pointy boots, and a long black sweater draped around my shoulders like a shawl. (I'm a freak; I love the cold.)

I was crossing Jones Street when a man started calling to me and running across Turk to meet me at the corner. "My name's Tim," he said. "I'm a paralegal. Can I have your number?" No, I said, I'm just trying to catch a cab. Undeterred, he procured a notebook and wrote his own number on scrap of paper. As I slipped it into my purse to be polite, he said, "I was across the street with my friend and I saw you and I told him I was gonna go meet that girl. And he said, 'Dude! That's not a woman -- that's a dude! Look at her arms!' "

I assured him I was a woman and that I just have muscular arms.

"I told him! I told him you were a woman!" he said as a taxi mercifully pulled up, another one of my new TL friends held the door for me, and I was whisked home.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ed McMahon at the Grocery Store

If you saw Ed McMahon at the grocery store, wouldn't you -- just for a nanosecond -- consider the possibility that he was there to find you to give you one of those big checks? And wouldn't you -- just for a moment -- kinda hope that he would pull out that ginormous checkbook to pay for his items?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Things a Girl Wonders

Why is there a light in my refrigerator but not in the freezer?

Why do I have to pay the U.S. Postal Service to guarantee that something is delivered? Isn't that their job?

When will someone in authority hold Britney Spears responsible for her actions?

Will I have to report for jury duty this week?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I (Heart) 4 a.m.

I began loving 4 a.m. when I lived in Noe Valley along the 48 Quintara (diesel) bus line, and the bus would stop at my corner and lurch to a noisy start again. I'd wake up around 4 a.m. to silence after the route had ceased for the night, knowing there would be a couple more hours before it started again.

In my current place in the Outer Richmond, I still love 4 a.m. It's a time when most car traffic has faded outside my bedroom window, and it's several more hours before the construction workers will continue their seismic retrofit of the veterans administration across the street.

And, it's several more hours before the GoCars that have become my ire-filled obsession will begin buzzing by with their GPS-prompted announcement that can be heard far and wide, "At the stop sign, continue straight, on Seal Rock Road." (Thank god for the foreign visitors who choose another of the despised tour company's four other languages, just to give me some variety.)

At 4 a.m., I lie in bed and listen to the silence. Anything can happen. It's still night, but it's also morning. I don't have to get up, but I could. It's so quiet, I almost wonder if my world is me and I've made the rest of my life up. And I am happy.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Waiting for My Reporter to File

That's how I found this. Now that's what I call a potty mouth:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Rainy Day in the Outer Richmond

I called in "exhausted" to my boss this morning, as I've been spending way too much time in the office and need to recharge. Thank god he understands. I slept late, located my old (Hearst-owned) Examiner slicker and took myself to breakfast at the Seal Rock Inn, a few blocks away.

As luck would have it, I took a seat next to the "Fort Point Gang," a group of older folks who meet at Ft. Point under the Golden Gate Bridge once a week and then walk (or drive) to the Seal Rock Inn. As my colleague Carl Hall describes them in this April 11, 2002, article: "Fort Point ... (is) the focal point of a San Francisco waterfront tradition: weekly gatherings of the 'Fort Point Gang' of mostly retired union stalwarts, political progressives and even a few Spanish Civil War survivors."

In fact, one of the group, a former fireman at Station 13 who knew the infamous Dan White, introduced himself to me, and I indeed met a Spanish Civil War survivor. He is 93. It was his birthday.

Lickety, Lickety, Lickety -- Split!

I am sure this video is of no interest to anyone but me. But it's my blog, and I'll post if I want to. Skeezix, you should have been there!


I'm baaaaaack!

When last you tuned in, your Girl was recovering from bathroom entrapment at friend V.'s wedding party. And what the hell have I been doing since?

Well, 2007 was an interesting year filled with surprises -- good and bad -- changes at work, self-examination, a new fitness regime and bigtime pushing out of my comfort zone.

You see, one of the main reasons I stopped blogging was that I applied to become a police officer here in the city. This took a lot of physical training, tests, interviews and secrecy at my current job. Meanwhile, my background investigator advised that it wouldn't be wise to write about the goings-on of the application process, I think in part because some there feared I might be going through the motions just to write about it in the newspaper. (I wasn't.) And my newspaper and the police department have just one thing in common: distrust of each other.

In the process, I lost 40 pounds, took up running and passed all the requisite tests (this took the first half of the year). I was No. 9 on the eligibility list, slated to enter the academy in September if all checked out, when I received a prestigious award at work that involved a swanky trip to NYC, a talking-to by the editor asking me to stay, a promotion and a raise. So I filled out the city form to put my application on hold for three years and decided to stick it out at the paper and see where that took me.

Still, I'm glad I went through the process. Having always relied more on my intellect than my physical strength, the physical training was the most challenging part. Imagine me, a 39-year-old woman, running around a gym after young studs half my age. I'll say one thing: I think I know where all the cute, young, straight guys are in San Francisco.

Currently, my boss is a good friend of mine and we run a section of the newspaper together. It's a blast.

If there's anyone out there still reading JAGISF, thanks for checking back in!