Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jeezy Creezy!

I've embedded one of my all time favorite SNL skits below.  It's my favorite for  couple of reasons.

1.  It's got Jon Hamm in it.  Hello, Jon Hamm!!!  
2.  It's got Vincent Price (of a sort) in it.
3.  It's funny.

The sad thing is that very few people in the current generation (or ones that come after) will understand why it's so funny and who these people are supposed to be.  

Other things that this generation will be robbed of:   Jim Croce and Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.

But for now, the happy!

Click Here & Sorry in Advance for the 15 Second Commercial!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tidbits from the Trenches

Here’s a laugher for you:
Student had to make a presentation on Deutsche Bank.  You know he called it “Douche Bank” throughout. 
Or another:
“American Airlines should try to avoid bankruptcy by remaining profitable.”
“I know I may fail English 101, but I had to put my time and effort into my important classes.”
And finally:
“I used to be a nursing major. Then I switched to social work. But now I want to be an English major. My mom is mad, though.  She said, ‘You’re climbing DOWN the ladder of earning – you’ll never get a worthwhile job with a background in English.’”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Itchy Trigger Finger

Itchy Trigger Finger.  Do you ever get that?  That urge to press “SEND” that cannot be denied.

I do.  I did.   I maybe shouldn’t have.

See, I finished the revision of my manuscript, the one about which my  agent said, “Hey…this is really ambitious…” which, as we all know, is code for, “Oh, god.”

Okay, okay, I thought. I'm not going to let that break me, so after a few days of turning that over in my mind (ie, worrying it to death)  I took another look.  She was right.  It needed work.  She said it needed more depth and stuff.  Fine.  It did.  So what?

I cheerfully (fake cheerful, actually) promised to take another look, this time sans rose-colored glasses.  I told her I would revise it.  And I did.  I revised the heck out of it.

But now I’m not sure I made it any better.  Oh, sure.  I made it LOOOOONGER.  But better?  Eh…we’ll have to see.

Did that stop me from hitting SEND.  Nope.  Not me.  Why reflect when I can act, right?  RIGHT?

(pause for crying and chocolate)

So now it’s gone.  And , sure enough, two hours after hitting that dreaded SEND button, I thought, “Oh, man…I could have made Chapter 48 better!  Or even deleted it!”  (Yes, there are at LEAST 48 chapters.  Ambitious, you say?  Oh, god, I say.)

But now it’s too late.  The itchy trigger finger got the better of me.  It’s off into the ether and when she opens that Word document tomorrow morning, I hope she is floored by the mastery of the words and scope of the storytelling, and not the sheer size of the document she must plow through.

And now there’s nothing left for me to do but wait.  And I will…on pins and needles.

In the meantime, however, I’m going to go chop off a finger.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Deep Thoughts on a Stressful Day

What’s a soul worth to you?

Weird question, I know, but I was thinking about this.  What would you sell your soul for?

Sure, we all say things like, “I’d sell my soul for a piece of cheese!”  (Okay, that was me.  I’m on a low cholesterol diet.  Don’t ask.)  Or things like, “I’d sell my soul if I could just get _______ (fill in the blank).”   Published?  Recognized?  Rewarded?  Laid?  (Okay…me again.  Sorry.)

Writers say they’ll sell their souls for a book deal.  Musicians will sell their soul for a gold record.  Students will sell their soul (and those of their grandparents, dropping like flies at this point in the semester) for a passing grade.  Actually they want much more than a passing grade.  They want a GOOD grade.

Now think of all the people who have done that.  I mean it – they’ve literally sold their soul for something.  The friend who knifed you in the back…now that had to have cost a pretty penny.  The ex-significant other who cheated with your best friend?  Cha-ching!  The co-worker who gave directions to the driver of the bus that rolled over you?  

These things happen every day and they have to cost something.  Nothing in life is free.

So, with that in mind, answer the question.  What would you sell your soul for?  You can say the obvious things, of course:  

To keep your kids safe from danger.
To give a terminally ill loved one a few more years.
To win the heart of your one true love.
Ten bajillion dollars.

But what else is your soul worth to you? 

Friday, September 2, 2011

I love this Guy.

I am taking this opportunity to declare, publicly and openly, my undying love for Sam Rockwell.  Watch this montage of clips and tell me you don't love him too.  I DARE YOU.

Added bonus:  He played Guy Fleegman in only the BEST MOVIE EVER MADE.  Yes, that's right:  GALAXY QUEST!

Check it out:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lying is Good

Yeah, you read that right.  Lying is good.  Just ask Casey Anthony.  Actually, don’t.  I’m sure the media will and she’ll make millions…  Ugh.  I don’t even want to talk about it.

I came here today to tell you a story, a story about lying, and how it can actually be a good thing.  

Lying is actually what got me into writing in the first place.  I owe a lot to lying.  Not my own, of course, but those of a “friend.”

Here’s my story.  You decide if it’s true or not.

Once upon a time I worked for a small company.  I was the HR person which meant I got to interview everyone who passed through our doors.  Well, one day, this pretty young woman comes in to interview for an Executive Assistant job, supporting our CEO, our Chairman of the Board, all our top execs.  I asked about her college background because there was none on her resume.  She said she attended one of the Seven Sisters, but had mistakenly left it off her resume.  Word processing issues, you know.  (Boy, do I know.)

She interviewed with our execs and they LOVED her.  They hired her on the spot, despite the fact that I could not reach any of her references.  When asked about it, she said one was on his yacht in the Mediterranean.  Another was in treatment for a terminal disease.  (You see where this is going, don’t you?)

They hired her anyway.  She became a very important part of our small company, with access to all our records, all our financials, everything.  She was pretty, she was charming, she even got our Chief Operating Officer to say, “If I ever have a daughter, I’m going to name her after you!”    Wow.  I chalked it up to a comment the girl made to me once, “Well, the COO and I are tight.  We get high every weekend at her apartment.”  TMI, right?  

She was willing to share other things with us, too.  About her upcoming wedding at Trinity Church in Boston – and if anyone knows Trinity, they know it’s booked years in advance because it is STUNNING.  She was planning her reception at the Ritz Carlton.  Her family was wealthy and from the seashore, dahling.  

Then, one day, she abruptly gave her notice.  She said she was going to pursue her Masters degree at Tufts.  I was impressed, as we all were.  That got me thinking.  Here she was, a young woman with all her options laid out before her.  She was quitting her boring day job to go back to school and pursue her passion.  What bravery!  

 I thought about my own life.  Here I was, stuck in a job I didn’t love.  I loved the people – even her – but I didn’t love what I did.  So I said, “Hey, I’m going to do that too!”  and I applied to the Writing Program at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Then the other shoe dropped.

The woman who had inspired me to pursue my dreams got fired before her notice was even up.  Turns out, she was embezzling.  A LOT.  She was disclosing proprietary information.  She was doing bad things.  The Board demanded a full investigation.  Here’s what it turned up:

  • She had been fired from all previous jobs for similar activities.
  • Her parents had a lawyer on retainer, just to handle her infractions.
  • She never graduated from college, nor from the preparatory school she said she attended.
  • She never worked for the multinational peacekeeping body, as listed on her resume.
  • She was never engaged.  There was no Trinity Church.  There was no Ritz Carlton.
  • Her parents were remarkably average.
  • And, of course, there was no grad school.
Luckily for me, the stars aligned just right and a layoff loomed.  Our Chairman of the Board sat me down and said that if my passion was writing he would certainly help pave the way for that.  He paid for my first course in my Masters program, then “eliminated” my position, with a nice severance package.  

Two years later, I walked across the stage to collect my Masters degree.

All of this came from a lie, a lie that inspired me.  I still shake my head at the thought.  Amazing.

How's THAT for a story?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Hey, Dad!  Look what I got you for Father's Day!

Well, okay...maybe I didn't get this for you.  I had some help.  From these guys.

But they were happy to pitch in to get you something you really, really, really wanted.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.  I know you would have loved this.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Do You Remember?

As you may or may not know, the Boston Bruins are playing the Vancouver Canucks in the playoffs.   Of course the B’s will win  – I can’t imagine otherwise. 

You see, I grew up in a hockey household, watching the Big Bad Bruins.  Gerry Cheever, Phil Esposito, Derek Sanderson, and, of course, Bobby Orr.   There was no escaping hockey-fever.   I remember when I was young once asking my dad, “Dad, I’ll bet you don’t know where Bobby Orr was born.”  I thought I’d stump him.  His response:  “Pffft.  There are two birthplaces you remember.  Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, and Bobby Orr was born in Parry Sound.”

Tonight I watched team captain Zdeno Chara take a hit that would pulverize any normal human, and it occurred to me that players used to actually play without helmets.  Can you imagine? 

No helmets, no plexiglass face shields, no cages, no teeth guards.  If they got hit in the face with the puck, they shook it off, skated to the sidelines to get stitched up, and hurried back into play.  If you don’t believe me, check out Slapshot, a great film with Paul Newman, where (if memory serves) a player gets stitched up IN the penalty box without Novacaine!  Ah, the good old days.

But it also got me thinking about all the other things we used to do in the good old days.  Some things I remember:

Waiting for food to heat up on the stove or in the oven – there were no microwaves.

Playing outside and never wanting to go home, not even when the streetlights came on – now I can’t wait to get home and to bed.  The clock hits 9:00 and I ask myself, Is it a little sad if I go to bed now?

Watching TV until the test pattern came on – programming actually ended sometime around midnight.  The National Anthem would play and then the screen would turn to snow.

Roll up car windows, manual steering, and non-power brakes – talk about a workout!

Busy signals and never knowing who was on the phone until I picked up – no caller ID meant it was always a surprise (sometimes good, sometimes bad).

I also remember the banners being lifted into the rafters of the Boston Garden.  Some memories are sweeter than others. 

Those are just a few of the things I remember.  What do you remember?  What do you miss?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Breakup

Wow, this is awkward, a lot more awkward than I thought it would be.  I see you looking at me expectantly.  You’re waiting for me to say something.  I’m waiting for me to say something.  But what is there to say?  

It’s over.

It’s been a fabulous run.  I mean it, really.  It was great…a real rollercoaster ride!  I remember the first time we laid eyes on each other, sizing each other up.  You looked nervous.  I’ll bet I did, too.  

And then we started to talk…at the same time!  How funny was that?  You had a million questions for me, I tried to give you answers, but let’s face it:  Most of my answers didn’t make you happy, not really.  Well, sure…sometimes you were happy, like the times I told you how wonderful you are, and how smart and funny, and how I loved seeing you every day.  The good times.

But there were bad times too.

All the times you didn’t listen.  Those happened more frequently as we spent more time together.  Then there were the times you forgot I even existed.  You ignored my emails.  And then I’d ignore yours –they didn’t always go into my spam folder.  (I guess since we’re being honest now, I can tell you that some of them made it into that folder with a little help from me.  Sorry about that.)

I’m sorry about a lot of things, actually.  I’m sorry you felt disappointed during the bad times, and I’m sorry the great times didn’t last longer, but this kind of thing is hard work!  You don’t just stay great – that’s reserved for relationships like Kate and William, for crying out loud, and things like Godiva chocolate.

And now it’s over.  You’re looking a little tired, a little sad, but there’s a glimmer in your eye, too.  Is it excitement?  Deep down inside, you’re happy we're done.  You’ve already got your eyes set on greener pastures, the fabulous future stretching out in front of you.  You hope the next one will be better, nicer, kinder to you.  I hope the same.

It’s okay if you’re happy.  I’m happy it’s over too.  And a little bit sad.  Despite our ups and downs, I’ll miss you.  I’ll miss the way you made me laugh, the way you made me cry, the times I gritted my teeth to keep from throttling you.  You could be so infuriating.  And so great.

But it’s time to move on.  

You can smile as you leave, and I’ll smile too.  That doesn’t mean I won’t miss you.  

We’ve been through this before, you and I.  It’s just the end of the semester.  

There’ll be another one along sooner than we think.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top o' the Mornin' To Ye!

So, obviously I’m Irish, what with a name like Shelagh and all…although I’ve been called everything in the book aside from Sheila.  She-lag.  She-laughs.  She-lagla.  Shelga.  I’ve got a list somewhere.

And being as how it’s St. Patrick’s Day, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge my roots, of which I am very appreciative.  The Irish have such great blessings:  “May the road rise up to meet you…” and all that.  “May God keep you in the palm of his hand until we meet again…”   You get the idea.  Poets, they are, every blessed one of them.

Without a doubt, the one phrase I hear most is “You have the luck of the Irish!”   Luck of the Irish?  I’m thinking maybe the Irish weren’t really all that lucky…well, aside from being born Irish, that is.  That’s pretty lucky.   

But, let’s look at the history:  potato famine, political unrest, snakes needing to be driven out of Ireland, the oppressive Catholic church, etc.  Those are just a few.  I’m starting to think that we really aren’t that lucky after all.  Or, maybe we just say stuff that we think we know, when really we don’t know much.

Kind of like my students.  For example, during a vocabulary drill in class, here are some things I heard:

“Who knows what Esperanto is?” I ask.

Student’s hand shoots up.  “I know!  It’s coffee!”

My reply, “No, that’s espresso.”


“What does infidelity mean?”

Student, oh-so-excitedly:  “It’s when you can’t get pregnant!”

Me:  “Um, no.  That’s infertility.  Good try though!”

And my favorite:

“What’s desiccation?”

Student throws hand in the air, bouncing out of his chair:  “I know that one!  It’s like when you have sex in a church!”

“No, that’s desecration.”

God love ‘em, they do try; and I can say that at least my students are funny, take everything in good humor, and make me laugh every single day.  Much like the Irish. 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!