Laura, the one-woman show

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see, Laura asks correspondents. Posted by Hello

Laura Bush was reportedly funny Saturday evening at the White House Correspondent’s Association dinner in Washington. That bunch — the correspondents — are just a regular bunch of cut-ups anyway. I’m sure they would laugh at just about anything that will feed them.

She first read the book Brown bear, Brown bear, What do you see? to correspondents. I heard that afterwards they were clamoring for transcripts of the children’s book.

Apparently the remarks she made after reading to the reporters were hilarious. She made a reference to the ABC-TV hit “Desperate Housewives,” which most of the White House correspondents had never heard of, much less seen.

It was only after when Mrs. Bush began “flying around the stage like Tinkerbell” did the reporters notice it was not going to be any ordinary correspondent’s dinner. She then picked Sam Donaldson out of the audience, asked the now ancient reporter to come up to the stage and told him to get down on all fours. Laura grabbed a lasso from under the dais and jumped upon Donaldson’s back, and screamed: “Yeeee Hawwwww.”

Secret Service agents had to gingerly disengage the rope from her hand once the lasso flew onto her husband’s neck as she apparently was going to use him for calf-roping practice.

The first lady then began to sing and play air guitar to Gretchen Wilson’s “I’m Here for the Party.”

All in all, it was a pretty eye-opening night for the mostly reserved first lady as well as for some of the lugs in the press corps. Said one correspondent as he was leaving: “Damn, I wish I could get me a woman like that.”

Polka on!

Making the middle-aged dance like chickens Posted by Hello

It’s somewhat heartwarming to see both young and (almost) old looking foolish and not really giving a damn. Brave Combo seems to have that influence on people with their strange but groovy blend of music stew making even the most staid pat their feet.

Brave Combo played last night in their hometown of Denton, Texas, at the Denton Arts and Jazz Fest. The band has been around forever, okay, 25 years. I’ve seen them several times including in the 100-degree Labor Day tents at West Fest, the Czech festival just north of Waco. The band has been acclaimed and won Grammy awards for its so-called “nuclear polka.” But these guys fuse a little of everything into the mix — polka, zydeco, Tex-Mex, rock, big band — and somehow it all works.

In Grateful Dead, cult-like fashion last night, the combo’s “Chicken Dance” started playing and youngsters as well as middle-aged folks in their “Save the Planet” T-shirts began to obediently dance as a chicken would, provided the chicken had an iota of rhythm. In addition to the old standard polkas such as “In Heaven There Is No Beer,” I like their whimsical tunes such as “Flying Saucer:”

I want to see something not from Earth,
Something new to understand,
Something way beyond sex, death, or birth,
Or playing music in this band.

A mild 1st day of May, an admission-free festival, Brave Combo, and dogs, plenty of dogs including those wearing bandana AND sunglasses. I’ve spent worse Sundays.

Lost again!

I checked my Lotto Texas ticket just now and found that none of my numbers match. The good news is the pot rolls over to an estimated $52 million and gives those of us whose lives are lived in quiet, or even sometimes noisy, desperation the reason to dream.

What would you do if you won $52 million or even $1 million? That is a common question when talking about the lottery. A friend of mine once jokingly — I guess — said that if she won she would have someone dress her. People always say they’d buy a house or a car or, if you’re in Texas, a pickup truck.

My wish list has changed over the years along with my priorities. When I was younger and partying was my major objective, I wanted a dump truck should I ever find myself suddenly rich. Yes you read that right — a dump truck. I figured you could hold one hell of a party in the bed of a large dump truck and cleanup would be a snap. Just dump the party remnants in the landfill when you are through.

Around the time I had my dump truck fantasies I moved in with a friend in the little town of University Park, which is near Southern Methodist University and is pretty much surrounded by Dallas. For those of you unfamiliar with the territory, University Park and the city of Highland Park (known as the Park Cities), are home to the Dallas area’s rich. My friend and I were not at all wealthy but it was nonetheless fun living in such an enclave. I always said University Park was like a cross between Mayberry and Beverly Hills.

Living in such a community can have quite an effect on your standards. So I tweaked my fantasy a bit. If I ever won the Publishers Clearing House prize (Texas didn’t have a lottery back then) I vowed to buy a Mercedes dump truck with Gucci mud flaps. I was pretty sure Mercedes would have a suitable chassis for such a vehicle. As for Gucci, I don’t know if they’ve ever made mud flaps, but I do know that money makes a lot of things possible.

These days I think I’d like a little place in the country, say 100-200 acres with a sturdy house and a front porch. The chances of that happening anytime soon, especially since I am out of work, is pretty slim. Also remote is the possibility of winning the lottery. The odds for correctly picking all five balls and the bonus ball in Lotto Texas is about 47.7 million-to-1. Many people also like to point out when discussing such odds that your chances of getting killed by lightning are about 2.3 million-to-1. I think making such a comparison is a tad severe.

Yes, your odds of getting fried by lightning are much greater than winning the lottery. But your chances of being killed by lightning are still the same if you don’t play the lottery. You can’t win if you don’t play. But you still may be fatally zapped by lightning.

I say live it up. Chances are against you ever winning enough money to engage in rank frivolity. But you might as well try. You also need to make sure you are in a safe place during a thunderstorm. I don’t think you really would want to win that lottery.

Champagne wishes and tuna fish dreams

Ah, fame, infamy, it’s all about the pretty pictures Posted by Hello

Should I be amazed at the more than 1,900 stories on Google News this morning on the relationship between actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes? Should I care about the 16-year age difference between the reportedly happy couple? Should I care that Katie is allegedly “saving herself” for marriage? Well, if you picked “no” as the answer to all the above, give yourself a prize. I don’t care what kind of prize.

Celebrity or, our fascination with it, is nothing new in this culture. But also our society has the tendency to revel when the mighty (or the famous or the mighty famous)fall (left top in above collage, Tawny Kitean mugshot, left bottom, Yasmine Bleeth mugshot). The same if the infamous who have already made a name for themselves at the bottom of our culture’s pile (top right, Unibomber Ted Kaczynski, bottom right, alleged “Chili finger woman” Anna Ayala, plunge over the edge.

So I am not amazed that Tom and Katie are such a big story. I just know how much larger the story will be if they get arrested for bitch slapping each other in public or if they are caught after pulling off a sudden diamond heist at Tiffany’s. I guess we are sick puppies by celebrating the misfortune of others, most notably if they are famous. Like Pogo once said: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Gov. Leslie?

Leslie and no visible thong Posted by Hello

Many of the bloggers in my fair state of Tejas seem to be promoting their early favorites for the governor’s race. All of the possible candidates I have heard mentioned have their positive points. Gov. Rick: Man, best hairdo this side of Jimmy Johnson. Kay Bailey Hutchison: She once used my restroom. Kinky Friedman: A genuine Texas Jewboy character. Chris Bell: Skewered Tom DeLay with an ethics complaint.

It is too early to pick my favorite. Since my presidential candidate, Willie Nelson, didn’t get elected, I will leave him to his singing, selling BioWillie and whatever the hell else he might be doing. But may I suggest a dark horse candidate — Leslie Cochran.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Leslie, a description from Wikipedia :

Leslie Cochran is the most famous street person from Austin, Texas. He is an outspoken critic of police treatment of the homeless in the downtown Austin area. Many consider him to be the epitome of the “Keep Austin Weird Campaign.”

Leslie hangs out around Sixth Street in Austin, usually around Sixth and Congress during business hours. He is most frequently seen wearing women’s clothing. His most popular attire is his leopard thong and high heels. In 2000 Leslie ran for mayor against incumbent Kirk Watson and finished second. His popularity waned in the 2003 election because of his platform to house the homeless in tepees.

I couldn’t in good conscience publish a picture of Leslie in his thong, not so much that I worry about anyone’s sensibilities, but rather that my breakfast has not quite settled. I think Leslie would be a logical choice for governor. He knows the area around the Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion as good as anyone. And just because he may dress a little odd and be delusional at times, that doesn’t disqualify him as governor of Texas. Hell, does anyone remember Bill Clements? I won’t endorse Leslie just yet. However, I think he should be put out there as a potential candidate.