Monday, July 31, 2006


Hey little girl, please turn around. I won't bite you. I'm just here to take your picture. Honest.

These are the tiniest of tiny dancers, dressed up in their "ball" gowns for their pictures (and their dancing, which is done Mexican ballet style.) They wear the same traditional garb Mexican ballet dancers have worn for decades only, in their case, maybe just a wee bit smaller.

Small dresses for small dancers. Makes sense, right?

Until next portrait...

Saturday, July 29, 2006


The latest in uber-cool, hip, new Utata projects, Utata Speaks, has been released and what a monster of a project it it turned out to be. You can see this image, along with the accompanying text, as part of my contribution, "Driving Away Wild Horses." The project was designed to mirror traditional photographic essays, done in the "old school" style, only to display them on the web. Being an art photographer, it was a bit of a challenge for me, but, I think I managed to pull off a respectable essay (although it still features blurry, out of focus images. What can I say? Old habits die hard.)

Speaking of releasing, wild new uber-cool stuff, and the like, the other day I stopped by my mother's house. She had the TV on-she always watches those shows about Hollywood, celebrity gossip, new movies and the like (hey, somebody has to keep up with Carmen Electra's wedding status, right? Well, somebody besides Carmen Electra, that is.) As I walked in, they were talking about some new movie featuring Nicolas Cage and my mother pipes up, "look, Nicolas Cage has a new movie coming out about New York and September 11th."

I said, "You know Nicolas Cage? You know who he is?"

She replied, "of course. He was in..." and proceeded to rattle off a host of Nicolas Cage movies most of which, TiVo be damned, I have yet to see. (Great, even my mother knows who Nicolas Cage is. And, she hasn't seen a movie released since 1955, unless you count Saturday Night Fever, which is kind of "old school" anyway.)

Since we're on the subject of the Cage monster (because, apparently, TiVo wants me to) the mustachioed Cage, in one of his new films plays a cop, fireman, or some such thing in New York City during September 11.

I know this because my TV is broken (that would be the same TV that's hooked up to the still Cage-obsessed, yet now TV-less, TiVo.) I've been reduced to watching TV in the oh-so TiVo-less bedroom, which actually, has a nicer set but, alas, I have to put up with those uber-annoying advertising-like "potty breaks" we call commercials. (Oh the horror! Oh the humanity! Take away the coffee and it'd be like a 3rd world country in here.) It's not bad enough I have to sit through these multiple minutes of ads, no, my snowflakes, the other day I had the unfortunate experience of seeing a commercial for this horror of horror flicks (well, at least it's not about Jeffrey Dahmer. That's an improvement. I guess.)

It's not bad enough that the ubiquitous Cage monster is now cashing in on 9/11 (Peter would *so* not approve) no, what's worse, what makes this the mother of all "horror" flicks (rivaling, really, watching Office Space while gainfully employed for IBM, I'd have to say) is his fake New York accent.

Cage is supposed to play some kind of a NYC cop or something but he looks like he's never eaten a doughnut in his life and his usual, annoyingly nasal/whiney voice is obscured in this, ahem, "fine film" by a feigned NYC accent. I hate fake New York accents. I really, really hate fake New York accents. I have a real New York accent and I almost hate that too. (The only thing I hate more than a real, honest to God, hardcore, New York accent is a fake "Hollywood style" New York accent.) There's something about "nails on a chalkboard" fake New York accents that really gets me (Did I mention I hate fake New York accents?)

In fact, I think Hollywood should just stay out of New York altogether. There's no reason for you to go there. It's cold and you don't own enough sweaters. Stay out in LA-LA land with your palm trees and your icy cool tropical drinks (you know the ones-they have those little brightly colored umbrellas in them? Yeah, get your "bad" self one or five of those and stay away from the east coast you poseurs.) Leave the mean City streets to folks like Rudy Giuliani, Leona Helmsley, and Donald Trump (Ok, we'll throw you a bone. Maybe, just maybe we could let Gilbert Gottfried stay, but only if he promises to quack like a duck a lot. He makes such a good New York duck, don't you think?)

Donald Trump doesn't have a fake New York accent. He's have everything else in the freaking City (and maybe even the world) but he doesn't have one of those, so why should you?

Besides, look what the damned City did to his hair.

Until next time...


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Broken Booping

HeadlessCherub, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, by now, you're probably thinking, "she's been awfully quiet about her TiVo lately...maybe that cat she's afraid of finally got her tongue?"

I almost feel like I have writer's block simply because I haven't blogged about my TiVo in so long. No, it's not some grand government conspiracy and no, I didn't actually run off to become a Willie Nelson groupie (somehow, the words "Willie Nelson" and "government conspiracy," while grammatically correct, don't logically belong in the same sentence. I mean, if something really did happen on that grassy knoll, you know Willie would be the first one to smoke it-leaving us with, well, just a "knoll." No grand conspiracy in that, right?)

My TV set, the same TV set that's hooked up to my TiVo, is in fact broken (somebody play taps.) Now, as you, my ingenious snowflakes, know, I do own more than one TV set (one in the bedroom, one in the digital darkroom, and one surgically attached to the TiVo in the living room.) I *so* want to know why nothing is ever on (any of them) but, yes, it's true *that* TV set is broken. Yes, my snowflakes, it's true. My possessed, Nicolas Cage obsessed, Law and Order sometimes recording, once Jeffrey Dahmer infatuated, sometimes Lassie Come Home catching, TiVo is now, in fact, TV-less. (I'd say, "the plot thickens" except that, well, it really just broke and didn't get any "thicker" if you stop to think about it.)

At first, it wasn't broken, it just started going dark on me. The video would go out, leaving sound without a picture. It would just sort of "go black" in the middle of a TV show, but then it would come back on again. I'd have a picture again for a while, and then, like a few minutes later, it would go out again, leaving me in the dark. It was as if I was trapped in some giant randomized black hole really. Lately, it's been doing it more and more, so much that the TV is pretty "unwatchable" (well, with the summer line-up, I should qualify that to say more so than normal, I guess. Um, I can't actually see anything, not like there's nothing on-which there isn't but, well, you get the idea. Even if there were something on to watch, I couldn't actually see it on my TV set, ok?)

The set itself is old. I bought it in NH and moved it to Texas when I moved here in 1992 (I did say it was old. In "TV years" that's like 146 or something.) I bought it in my favorite electronics store in Nashua, which has since gone out of business, and, as I recall, I was really happy when I first got this particular set, since it was one of the earlier models with stereo (it even has s-video which, back then, was pretty modern.)

When I moved from Austin to Cedar Park, Steve managed to fit it in the front seat of his car. He put the seat belt around it and we all laughed because it made the little light come on. (For some reason, it's always really funny when the little light comes on and you have odd objects in the front seat of you car.)

Ah yes, my old holds sentimental value to me because it's so old and I've had it so long but it's broken now and, funny thing is, I don't really miss it all that much. Maybe TiVo ruined it for me, maybe I've just grown bored with what's on the tube, or perhaps I'm sick of thumbing through the Nicolas Cage "boopfest," but, I don't find myself itching to get a replacement TV anytime soon.

You know what this means, don't you? I secretly watch Nicolas Cage movies when nobody's looking. Nobody, that is, not even me.

Until next boopingly broken TV set...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Secret Life of Root Beer

RootBeerNo4, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

There's a vending machine I know that sells cokes, sodas, juices, and, yes, root beer too. An interesting thing about this particular vending machine is that, sometimes, the cans get stuck in it. On their great journey, on the personal exciting adventure, they find themselves haplessly stuck against the glass. Like Huck Finn himself, they try and try again, to fall down into that dark chamber, that opening known as the "bottom" of the machine, that great unknown crevice, where they know the hand of the giant (that would be you) will come to free them. But, no, they get squashed, face first, against the front of the machine, suspended, hanging indefinitely, apparently defying gravity or, at least, breaking some bad ass laws of physics.

An even more interesting thing about this phenomena occurs when I observe the reaction of people who recently tried in vain to purchase a cold beverage only to discover it got stuck. When denied their icy cold beverage of choice, some people get mad. They bang the glass. Like helpless prisoners clanking tin cups against their jail bars, they become convinced that, the more they bang, the harder they slam, the louder they get, the more likely their can will fall to freedom. "To Hell with the other cans that get stuck, to hell with the laws of vending and the great gods of Pepsi, I want my root beer!" They chant uselessly. Others just laugh or, maybe, cry. Not really cry, I can hear the whine of discontent in their "Oh's," "Ah's," or "Damn's!" from where I sit. Some resort to tipping the machine-a maneuver which is neither safe nor results in the expulsion of their icy cold beverage of choice but must, somehow, satisfy their pent up rage.

The other day, I was in the vending room and a lady came in to have her lunch. She pressed the button for "coke" but got instead a root beer. Acceptingly, she put the root beer down on the table but, as the microwave beeped, indicating to her that her lunch was now burning (but probably still frozen in the middle) she tried to pop the top off the root beer only to have it explode from the pent up fizzies inside of it. In hindsight, I guess she should have gone out for lunch that day (the vending machine really had it out for us then.)

So, try as we may, the cans refuse to fall, explode on contact, and even mess with our selections. You would think that they didn't want us to drink them. You would think that they didn't want that freedom-freedom that can only come from the hand of the giant. And, yes, my snowflakes, you'd probably be right.

Slurp on that the next time you enjoy and icy cold root beer, you cold blooded beverage sucking king kong of an imbiber-you evil root beer murdering giant-handed gulping killing machine.

And, please, don't even get me started on the candy machine.

Until next root beer...

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Subdivision, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I live in suburbia. It's common to see homes such as these, sprouting up over the horizon. They build them in record numbers, with more going in each day. They have modern kitchens, pretty ceiling fans, and lots of closet space.

In my neighborhood, they have plans to build 10,000 more of these homes this year alone. It's pretty common to see new ones build built and see existing homes, built "circa 2002" being called "old."

Still, that's a lot of ceiling fans, don't you think?

Until next time...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Lots of Stuff

WeirdStoreWindowNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

There was a lot of stuff in this store window. I had my eye on it for a while, and it just kept growing and growing and growing. There's a finger, an eye, a red pillow, a doll with a rather pretentious hair-do, a shell, a lamp, a dragon, and probably a few more things I cannot make out, just from looking at the picture.

Not much to look at here, just quite a lot of stuff, don't you think?

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dead Man's Curve

WheelChairTable, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Every town has one. That stretch of road where the pavement bends, maybe the hills rise up just the right way, the traffic ebbs and flows wrong enough to make it slightly dangerous. Along Highway 183, in north Austin, between Oak Knoll and Braker Lane is an expanse of highway I like to call Dead Man's Curve.

An interesting thing about Dead Man's Curve, is that it's right near Chuy's, on the north side of Austin. Actually, it's over Chuy's. As you maneuver, swerving to avoid being swallowed by Dead Man's Curve, you can see beneath the overpass, if you look down, the naked Chuy's man spinning the world on his shoulders (which is the statue marking the entrance to Chuy's on the north side of town.)

Should you happen to miss Dead Man's Curve, well, I suppose, you might catapult yourself off the Highway 183 overpass, onto the top of the Chuy's restaurant, taking out the naked spinning man with a globe on his shoulders as you fly by en route to your untimely death.

An interesting thing about Chuy's on the north side of town, apart from the fact that they have a statue of a naked man spinning a globe on his shoulders to mark their entrance and that they serve vegetarian re-fried beans, which are really hard to find, is the fact that, if you were to catapult yourself off the Highway 183 overpass, take out the naked spinning man with a globe, and land right atop the margarita machine (or, for that matter, the tortilla machine, or maybe, the vegetarian re-fried bean machine, if there even is such a thing) is the fact that this still would not be the single strangest thing we, the drivers of Highway 183, have seen. (Nope. Not even close. Not even in the category of "a little unexpected" really, except for maybe the re-fried bean part.)

Every day we, the drivers of Highway 183, navigate the overpasses, avoid the potholes, dart around the slow moving trucks, and curse the construction and, everyday, thousands of vehicles take the not-so-gentle curve to the right by trimming 5 mph off their speed limit, lightening up on the accelerator, or, like slowing down to see if he'll spin back around again, so we don't have to look at his naked butt.

Somewhere, along Highway 183 in north Austin, between Oak Knoll and Braker Lane, is an expanse of highway that brings out the ghosts in all of us. Dead Man's Curve, marked by it's naked man spinning a globe on his shoulders is lurking, waiting for that one time you forget-you neglect to take your foot off the gas, lighten up on the accelerator, or forget to notice him, take the curve too fast and BAM! Miss it.

Dead Man's Curve is waiting. Will you be ready for it?

Until next drive by...

Monday, July 17, 2006

My Guy Chase

ChaseGetsBallNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Life with puppy can be fun. Everything's new to puppy. He lives in a world of new smells, new sounds, new sights. Things that go "bump" in the night make him curious. Things that you and I take for granted? Well, it's a new world to him. Yesterday, he attacked a lawn sprinkler. He didn't care that he was getting wet-he "went for it" with reckless abandonment. It was new and he was excited to find out all about it.

I dropped an ice cube on the kitchen floor and it was like I got him a new squeaky toy. He was running, chasing it around. He barked at it as it melted on the floor. He chases shadows too because, well, they move and he can.

He attacks Austin too. Waking up, jumping really, from a sound sleep, barking in his little "chirpy" voice, desperate for Austin to play with him-he pounces on the poor old guy (who's actually the ripe old age of 3 years old this month too.)

I took Chase to the vet-he's healthy and now caught up on his shots. Today, he's at the groomers, having his hair done. When I took him this morning, she looked at him and said she couldn't cut him. "That's baby hair," she said to me, "it won't grow back. You shouldn't cut it." How was I supposed to know he's all puppy fuzz? (She's trimming his nails, giving him a bath, and maybe cutting out his eyes so we can see his little face better.)

Little fellows all curls and attitude, I tell you. He's 8 and a half pounds of mischief, all wrapped up in a curly little package.

Until next puppy tale...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Don't Call Me William

ChasesFaceNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

The other day, I had to write a lot of stuff. I had to write something for work, I had to update some documentation, craft some web content, write something else (I've since forgotten what it was) and then come home to blog.

Normally, I like to write. It's a hobby of mine and I don't usually get to do enough of it to really enjoy it. I like to sit back, with a pad and one of those nice ball point pens, you know the kind, where the ink just flows freely, or maybe cozy up with a laptop and let my fingers really fly.

But, on this particular day, I had to write, write, and do nothing but write. All day long. I started at about 8:30 in the morning, writing over my morning coffee, and then just kept going. I was writing and writing and writing. I was a lean mean verbiage machine (well, ok, maybe not lean-I was a "pleasingly plump" verbiage machine.)

Sometime around noon, I believe, I lost my ability to punctuate. Ok, no biggie. I'm not usually the queen of the well-placed semi-colon to begin with, in fact, I'm not too good with punctuation-commas are just not my bag, ok? (Here, have a spare, really, you want one, or forty nine,,,)

By four o'clock, my eyes had glazed over. I couldn't see. Words were running together in my head. I was bleary-eyed and bushed and all I did, all day long, was sit in a nice comfortable chair, at a nice comfortable desk, and write. Jot down a few words here, a few words there. Nothing but write. I felt like somebody dragged me down 183 from a chain tied to the back of a pickup truck (and, believe me, that wouldn't even come close to qualifying as the strangest thing to happen on 183.) I had the worst headache I've ever had in my entire life.

I somehow managed to get all my writing done but, like, I'm sure, I left behind a mangle of dangling participles the likes of which you've never seen, in my path. (That's not saying much, actually, since I wouldn't really know a dangling participle if it bit me in my semi-colon. Honest, I wouldn't. But, I'm sure, I left a mess of them in my wake, behind somewhere. Maybe look under that gerund, sticking out, over there.)

I don't know how William Shakespeare did it really. I mean, all those words, crammed into one lifetime. Wow. He lived an entire life, like my "writing day," only look at how much better his words turned out. Look what came from his "writing lifetime." I have a new appreciation for it, really I do, especially after a day like my "writing day from Hell."

I'm just glad he didn't have to deal with HTML, editors, tech writers, or the famed Microsoft paper clip. Could you imagine what we would have had from him if he had to deal with some of that stuff? (The Merchant of Microsoft just doesn't have the same ring to it, now, does it?)

I get a headache just thinking about it.

Until next rolling pen...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Great State of Texas Drove Me to Drink

HalfOfMe, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Last Sunday, I couldn't sleep, as usual, so I woke up early and decided to go grocery shopping at my local H-E-B. I picked up a few items, including some frozen lunches and I noticed that they were having a sale on wine-some Australian Shiraz for $4.99. I thought this was a really good price so I put a bottle into my cart.

When I got to the register, there were surprisingly long lines, the kind that always seem to follow me around, and I found myself stuck behind some guy buying, among other things, chewing tobacco. I noticed him because he kept fighting with the cashier about the price of his Skoal, insisting it was $1.06 and not $1.08 as marked, while my frozen food melted on the belt. He made the cashier run back to the tobacco section over and over again, trying to get the exact price that he wanted. (Five people in line behind him be damned, he was out to save those two cents.)

Eventually, I made it up to the cashier, who started ringing up my stuff. She took the bottle of wine out of the cart, scanned it, and then the computer kept asking her to enter my birthday but wouldn't let her enter a date. Then, she realized what was happening and said to me, "today's Sunday. You can't buy this before noon. We have blue laws in Texas, you know?"

I put the wine back and politely apologized but started thinking about this in the car on the way home. The blue laws don't allow you to buy wine or alcohol of any kind before noon on Sunday. That would be the same wine that Christ himself drank, right? That would be the same bottle of wine that you're probably not going to open up until Friday night. But, that toxic tobacco? Have at it, man! What exactly is Texas trying to protect me from, with these "blue laws?" Squashed free roaming grapes? (Good Lord! Duck! They leave carpet stains in their wake. Don't let them out of that bottle.)

The last time I went to my Doctor, she told me I should drink more wine. "It's good for me," she said, "[I] should drink it every day." Apparently, Texas thinks it's not good for me on Sunday morning. But, I can smoke, that's ok. And I can get a "real" prescription, consisting of, say, something slightly "harder," like maybe morphine. Go ahead, dope yourself up. Fine on Sunday, just don't even think about any of those fermented grapes. Oh, no, no, no, we can't have any of that "grape action" going down on Sunday morning now, can we?

Later on that same afternoon, I telephoned my mother, to tell her about this "great grape incident" and she asked the price of the wine in question. "Four ninety nine," I said, "but, that's not all. If you buy six bottles, you get more $$$ off." We decided to split a case and went back to H-E-B, the same H-E-B that I had visited earlier, that very same day, in the morning, to get more of the same wine, only a few hours later. (It was, by then, after the "wine o'clock witching hour," I suppose.)

So, now I sit here knowing that I have six bottles of Australian wine in the pantry, as I proclaim, "the state's blue laws drove me to drink," and that's not too far from the truth.

Anyone up for some Yellow Tail?

Until next Shiraz...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Toss This

RemodelingInSuburbanHell, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Or, just how *do* you dispose of a recycle bin?

This morning I listened to one of those uber-annoying radio talk shows they always seem to stuff into my ears in the early hours of the day. Now, usually, I despise these-finding them neither funny nor entertaining, but not this morning. Today, I happened upon some group of DJ's talking about the environment. It was absolutely hysterically funny. It was the funniest thing I've heard in a while. It was so funny, I almost drove off the road (I hate it when that happens.)

It seems one of the DJ's was not very "environmentally correct." He was proud of the fact that he didn't recycle. He threw out newspapers. He announced that, at one point, he threw out his recycle bin because he had absolutely no use for it.

"I felt a little guilty," he said, "so I filled it up with junk and tossed it into a big dumpster when nobody was looking."

For some reason, I find this incredibly funny. The thought of some guy wracking his brain, trying to figure out how to dispose of a recycle bin just really tickled my funny bone, and then, to hear him talk about it like that, well, it was pretty amusing. He was going on and on about how he didn't recycle, didn't reduce, didn't reuse, and just didn't care.

I mean, I'd hate to ask how he'd rid himself of an entire trash bin. Polar caps be damned, it might just end up on the six o'clock news or something.

Until next little green plastic bin in the dumpster...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Head Butt

GoatPackNo3-1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

He likes to butt things with his head, that goat does. He must be a world cup soccer player, that's all I can say. I mean, aren't they famous for butting things with their heads?

Speaking of world cup, what a great game. I'm so glad they got rid of the coin toss to determine the winner when there's a draw. I know Italy would have lost. And, the best part? I'm fairly certian that now famous French head butt cost them the game and, in turn, the cup.

I mean, had he used his head and, like, *not* actually used his head but screamed at the guy or something, he would not have been tossed out of the game. And then he might have made the goal. And then France might just have won.

But, no. He had to go stick his head in where it didn't belong. Serves him right.

Until next horny dude...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Everybody's a Critic/Cannonball Run

YellowSemiTruck, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I followed a canon to work the other day. I don't know why but I see the strangest things on Highway 183. I mean, the absolute strangest. Take strange, put it in a blender, push "puree," and that's what I always seem to follow to work, in the morning, down Highway 183. It's bizarre.

I don't know why some guy was driving down Highway 183 with a canon, really, I don't, but he was. He actually had two of them, back to back, in a little pull trailer. One of them was facing right at me. The funniest part? I didn't notice it right away. There I was, sitting behind the wheel, bopping down Highway 183, radio blasting, sunroof open, cool wind blowing through my hair, and a canon pointed right at my chin. I started following him, pretty closely in traffic, looked up, and thought, "Hey! That kind of looks like a canon." Then, I realized it was. It took me a while to ask, "what the..."

Speaking of facing canons, I read perhaps some of the funniest flickr action I've seen in a while. Seems some guy scanned in a Cartier-Bresson and put it in one of those obnoxious "Delete Me!" groups on flickr. The comments! Oh, how funny!

My favorite was from some girl who kept insisting, "something has to be in focus. It's too soft." Wrong! Ever look at a pastel? Or an oil painting? How about a watercolor? Hint: They aren't always what you were calling "sharply focused." Nimrod.

These online groups are filled with crappy photographers who like to mouth off. If you want to get good, and I mean really good, one of your tasks is to learn to take criticism and direction only from certain people. You need to learn to find people who appreciate your work, seek them out, and take their criticism, because they understand your direction, and ignore the "chatter" since it's less than useless. It only drives you crazy and doesn't lead to better photography.

The other folks? The Delete Me! and flickrati who love to plop comments down on everything but have crap in their own streams? Just noise really.

Nothing but loose canons running around in cyberspace if you ask me.

Until next canon...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Happiness Is...

LookingToLandNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Up, up, and away! Happiness is just over the next horizon. Honest.

(Sure...don't believe me.)

Until next time...

Requiem of Humor and Light

DeepForestNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Shocking news from the autopsy of ex-Enron exec Kenneth Lay, who died earlier this week of an apparent heart attack. Upon closer post mortem examination of his heart, doctors were shocked to discover that he, in fact, had one. Wow. The things you dig up with microscopes these days.

In Mogadishu this week, the famed Swedish photographer Martin Adler was gunned down by a sniper's bullet as he photographed a demonstration. Somalia is a hard place to work, it's very dangerous. It's a strange lawless land, divided by common ground, occupied by militants intent on breeding hatred. With the situations in North Korea and Gaza, I'm certain that Martin Adler's death will get little to no press coverage but this doesn't change the fact that he died doing what he loved and we can go on, loving what he did, as he leaves behind a great photographic legacy.

If the world didn't have hardcore journalists, willing to risk life and limb to provide information, we would all be less connected and the common struggles of mankind would too often go unnoticed.

Maybe, if the crooked corporate execs spent a little more time on the "front line" and a little less lining their pockets their "legacies" would garner more respect.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Taking Chase/Cheesy Treasure

JumpingChase, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I know, I know, I haven't been blogging that much lately. Call off the hounds, stop the search, bring back the choppers, I was just busy.

You see, I have a new man in my life. He's cute as a button-a strapping young thing really, almost too young, with thick black wavy hair, deep dark eyes that could melt your soul, and, the best part? He's almost housebroken! Yes, my snowflakes, it's true. In the "Quick! Hide your socks, guard you pant legs, put your shoes in a vault" department, I have a new puppy.

Meet Chase. Chase as in Chevy. Chase as in car. Chase as in "chew that little squeaking rubber ball and stop eating my couch" chase. Chase as in Chasey Jones, my little engineer. Engineer, HA! He's more like the wild man of Borneo, but he's mine and I love him so. He's precious. He's a five month old (!) cockapoo, almost all black, with a white tuft of hair at his chest and wild white eyebrows.

Speaking of this weekend, small treasures, and dark wavy hair, I saw part of National Treasure this Independence Day as well. I guess you could say I "squeaked" through part of the movie, since Chase had his rubber ball trumpeting the treasure chasers and I only really got to see the tail end of the movie-you know, the part where the hero (that would be the former tampon salesman, Cage) lights up a torch and illuminates the great treasure which, I can only presume, was the "National Treasure" in "National Treasure." Since I only caught the end of it, I can't really say for sure if I liked it or not but it's yet another in the Nicolas Cage "boopfest" that TiVo has drummed up for me to watch this Independence Day. I saw the end so that kind of spoils it but it looked good enough that next time it's on and I'm home, I may pull up a torch, sit on what's left of my couch, and watch the whole thing.

Speaking of TiVo's, I heard a DJ complain about hers the other day on the radio. Seems it started recording material she didn't request and then, in an actual fit of madness, but what she swears is actually some kind of grand government conspiracy, it went crazy recording Burt Lancaster re-run movies. (Imagine that. Her TiVo recorded a movie without Nicolas Cage in it. Wow. It must be like broken or something.)

At least, I think she said Burt Lancaster although I'm not really too sure, as I was too busy laughing my ass off at the current state of TiVo affairs to really pay attention. This time though, you bet I'll wise up and *not* use my TiVo to find out who, exactly, Burt Lancaster is, because, well, I'd probably never recover from that mayhem. I'd be stuck on what's left of the couch secretly hoping he never made a movie with a murder in it (or that he co-starred with Nicolas Cage in anything. Anything at all. Especially not like a tampon commercial or one of those Japanese ads for like toothpaste or something.)

I'm also fairly certain (although I could be wrong) that George W. could give a crap about what's on our collective TV sets. He's too busy squandering our tax dollars in far away lands to give a crap about evening television and all. (He's got sinking trailers and $900 hammers to worry about, could he possibly care about a TiVo gone crazy?)

I'm pretty safe in all this too. I mean, as far as I know, IMDB is still conspiracy free, although I do have to wonder where they get their cheese after listening to the DJ rattle on about George Bush, the war in Iraq, phone and wire taps, secret committees, the microchips of TiVo, grassy knolls, and such.

Although, in this grand conspiracy, some big questions still remain. Does Nicolas Cage look anything like Burt Lancaster? Does George Bush have a thing for TiVo's? Will Chase chew through the wires in the back of the TV set and short out TiVo, thereby putting a poetic end to the never ending Nicolas Cage "boopfest" with his teething? Will I have a couch left to enjoy that when it happens? Will the rubber ball ever stop squeaking? Are pant legs anywhere in Texas safe from his puppy wrath? Who shot JR? What's a grassy knoll and how, exactly, does it differ from a hill anyway? Is Elvis still dead? What does Willie smoke? (Ok, that one's maybe not such a mystery. He is, after all, the "Herbal American.") When people chase for treasure why do they use torches and never flashlights? (What do these people have against electricity anyway?) And, most importantly, where does the government get all that cheese and, when this seemingly infinite supply finally runs out (you know it will) will they start handing out free TiVo's instead?

If they do, you know this government mule will be last in line that day. I mean, who knows? With my luck, I'd end up with one that records only C-SPAN.

Until next wild Borneo-based puppy chaser...