Saturday, September 29, 2007

Leg on a Grill

Only in North Carolina: segment #216 in a laundry list of news of the NC weird:


"Shannon Whisnant purchased the grill during an auction Tuesday at Maiden Plaza Mini Storage. Lawing’s company lawfully auctions off items stored in the units of delinquent renters if they do not collect the items or pay rent. About 100 people showed up for the auction.

After buying the grill, Whisnant took the large cooker home and began cleaning it, said Maiden Police Capt. Tracy Ledford. When Whisnant lifted the top, he found a human leg from the shin to the toes. Dissatisfied with his new purchase, the freaked-out Whisnant brought the mummified leg back to Maiden Plaza Mini Storage."--Hickory Daily Record

And just why was this disembodied leg mummified and stuffed in a grill? Well, the original owner kept it for "religious reasons." Shoot; why not get it bronzed?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dreaming; Reading

While rinsing my coffee cup this morning, a swirl of golden leaves jettied through our backyard, catching in the Japanese maple and polka-dotting the brown grass. Fall is coming, even if the heat is still unbearable.

* * *

The other night, I came across some old dream journals. Reading through the bizarre filters of my subconscious, I thought about how long it has been since I actively kept up with the elaborate alterworld of my dreams.

All of my life, I have dreamt vivid, often ritualistic dreams, with reoccurring characters and adventures on a grand scope... Kind of like a free mini-series in my very own head.

Since having children, however, I have focused more on the sleep itself than the dreams that harbor there. Still, I figure it's worth a try to revisit the old habit of pen and paper at the bedside.

* * *

In other alternate realities, I just finished Gaiman's American Gods and I have to say, I truly enjoyed it. Pulpy and a bit overblown, it is a fun read that delves into mythology and the nature of America. I did wish for pictures, however.

Now I'm knee deep (or is it skin deep?) into Alex Kuczynski's Beauty Junkies, an eye opening (lifting?) exploration of the fervor for cosmetic surgery. Well researched and insightful, I am in the chapter on the nature of beauty and this quote struck me:
"Yet beauty speaks to such basic, deep longings, that our search for it remains the most insistent force in our lives. It is an expression of the divine, a symbol we hold up against the inevitable humiliations of mortality." (p. 115)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Washes your Brain as Well as your Dishes!

As if we didn't have enough products headed directly for a landfill:

Still, I was completely baffled by the new product I saw this weekend: Dawn Simple Pleasures with Air Freshener Base. Umm, why? It's dish detergent! It's an air freshener! It's BOTH!

Seems like a bad idea, to me. For one, the air freshener is on the base of the bottle, where it will inevitably get wet. Secondly, why? Are dishes so stinky? Does the drain need cleaning? Have people never heard of baking soda?

I read the company website and was surprised at how fiercely devoted Dawn purchasers are. These people are hardcore, professing that they will (and I quote):"Love Love Love It! The smell is great, cleaning power is great, overall, GREAT! I Deffiantly will buy over and over again. Reccomended to all my family and friends! A product that always be in my kitchen!"

Yeah, lady. You go ahead and defiantly buy your fake-o smelling dish soap. Or how about this enthusiastic reviewer in Alabama:
"This product far exceeds my expectations.Wonderful,functional idea but the simple pleasures in life are really what gets us through the day.Every time I go into my kitchen I pick up the bottle of dawn simple pleasures and enjoy it's design and aroma.Aromatherapy really works.Thank you,Dawn for giving me simple pleasures plus satisfaction that I have a quality product in my home that thinks of new ways to indulge me.This product ,for me,is a neccesity and a luxury."

Oh, to have dish soap that "gets us through the day!" Egad. These people don't need dish soap, they need a therapist!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Holy Milk Prices, Housewives!

Guess I'm having sticker shock at the dairy case... but since when did hormone filled, run of the mill cow's milk warrant a 6 dollar and 13 cent price tag? Gasp. Groan.

(And yeah, I bought the store version instead. Oh: and it was Walmart. Curse me as you will.)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

In my pursuit of the perfect Glinda the Good Witch costume (a seemingly unending quest, as women apparently don't routinely purchase elaborate pink ball gowns with puffy sleeves and then donate them to Goodwill... and much is the shame!), I keep thinking about the Land of Oz Theme Park, a quirky and defunct tourist attraction once atop Beech Mountain, NC.

The Land of Oz was exactly what it sounds like: a theme park based on the movie, with a yellow brick road, Dorothy's house, and various movie and book themed vignettes, like the Emerald City (no longer there) and the witch's castle (still there). It was in operation from 1970-1980, but it eventually fell into ruin. People looted and vandalized, and it wasn't until 1990 that there was a local push to preserve and restore what was left of this once magical mountain kitsch.

I first encountered the idea of the place in high school, when a friend showed me photos of his parents on their honeymoon to--where else?--the Land of Oz. Having always loved the film, it captured my imagination. Several years later, I visited the "remains" that are housed at the Appalachian Cultural Museum in Boone, NC--there were some leftover concrete mushrooms, segments of the yellow brick road, and a history of the local attraction.

Now the park is only open 2 days a year, the first weekend in October. The park has food stands, memorabilia galore, and of course, people in costume. Every year, someone from the original film is a guest of honor, though there are no details on this year's guest. Though I've never been, there are some pretty thorough descriptions on Roadside America (how I love that site!). Thousands of people come and stand in long lines for the opportunity to walk the yellow brick road. I'm twisting my husband's arm even as I type!

Bonus fun: Any time of the year, you can rent Dorothy's House and stay atop Emerald Mountain...

(photo from

Monday, September 03, 2007

Privette and his Privates

Good grief. One of the things about living in a small town is that you get used to the same, self righteous candidates repeatedly winning offices that they should have vacated decades ago. Case in point: Coy C. Privette. He's the kind of politician that southern stereotypes are built on: former state legislator, retired Baptist preacher, and current county commissioner, he is self righteous, unabashedly right wing, and full of cockiness (as you'll see), never afraid to condemn others for failing to agree with his views.

Apparently he was more cocky than previously believed. Privette was caught with his pants down, so to speak, when the prostitute he gave BLANK checks to tried to cash them. Concocting some cockamamie story about how his wallet was stolen and he had "no idea" who the person, Tiffany Summers, was, Privette initially tried to brush off the indiscretion. Unfortunately for Privette, Summers had a camera phone, with pics of the two of them.

The short and long of it is this, viaThe Independent Tribune:Privette on two occasions allegedly paid the prostitute with checks then reported those checks as stolen, officials said. He then backpedaled and pled guilty to "six counts of aiding and abetting prostitution."

His punishment? Via local blogger, Left on 49:
Rowan County district attorney Bill Kenerly agreed to defer prosecution which means if Privette meets the conditions of the court orders, the charges against him will be dismissed. Those conditions include supervised probation for the next year, completing 48 hours of community service, paying court fees and continuing psychological counseling that he had already initiated (some people might say there are other republicans who also might benefit from psychological treatment).

Of course, the biggest news of all is that Coy Privette thinks his privates are well, private. He thinks people will just "forget" about the fact that he had sex with a prostitute six times. In fact, he plans to continue to serve the constituents of Cabarrus County as commissioner, despite the fact that area newspapers, the Republican Party of NC, the Cabarrus County Republican Commission, and fellow County Commissioners have called for his resignation. Any reasonable thinking person would conclude that the man needs to focus on his personal problems and repairing his reputation more than he needs to strut around local meetings and barbecue joints. Seriously, who wants this politician dandling their baby on his knee? Lord knows what else he's been dandling.

Will Coy Privette do the decent thing and step down? Unbelievably, there is no law in place to force him to do so, so it is ultimately his decision. Guess we'll see what happens--but knowing Privette's attitude in local politics, I can't see him leaving willingly.