Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brief Hiatus...Sorry!

Hi, all. Just a quick update. Alas, it is hard to be a writer. More alas, it is hard to be a writer with a full-time job and a move to a new apartment going on. Result: Not much time to write my blog. I'll try to fit in an entry this week. I'll be back to a more normal posting schedule next week. Stay tuned... I'll be writing about where to *really* meet men in Tulsa...ChipperMuse style...which means funny and ironic and with a great big sigh. You'll love it!

Thank you all for your patience. I'll see you next week!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shoot Me Now

Today's Thought:
Obama wants to start a fund for the BP oil spill. Shoot me now.

The ChipperMuse Extra:
I heard this one on the news this morning. I don't know what the fund is supposed to do. I really don't care. I can't motivate myself to find out. I don't want to know.

I prefer to think that Obama wants to raise the tarballs with all the entitlements they deserve and then send them to an Ivy League college where they can study ways to prevent tarballs in the future. That's the only way I can keep myself from allowing this story to make me drive needles through my eyeballs.

Another fund? Really? In this day and age, that means only one thing. A thing I can't stand to even think about. Another $&#% telethon.

Look, here's the deal. I don't mind that we did a telethon for September 11, 2001. That made sense. We all needed to grieve together as a nation, find ways to help, and feel we had some control over our future. I'm down with that.

The fundraiser after Hurricane Katrina felt a little copycat-ish, but okay. I could live with that. Then there was the Haiti earthquake telethon. Now I fear that Obama's desire to start this BP oil spill fund is going to motivate Sean Penn, Kristin Stewart (the Twilight actress), Lindsay Lohan, and Charlie Sheen to decide they have a right to interrupt my regularly scheduled programming.

And if I'm being honest, then I have to admit: I'd still rather some husband-wife act sing out of tune and juggle on America's Got Talent than watch Bruce Springsteen whine out Give Peace a Chance any day of the week.

I mean, don't get me wrong, but...another telethon? What did people do about disasters before the age of television and telephones? Did they--God forbid--actually go out and volunteer? Did they donate money in person? How barbaric!

Thank God for the Internet, which allows me to self-righteously throw a few dollars in the general direction of someone who might give that money to someone who might eventually manage to use that money to help some general stranger overseas during some crisis. Unless the money is stolen or misspent or whatever. I'm so glad we live in a more civilized era.

All I can say is: If this BP oil spill fund leads to a spill of Hollywood hubris all over my reruns of NCIS: Los Angeles, please just do me a favor. Do it because you love me.

Shoot me.


Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Joining a Motorcycle Gang (aka Why I Love the Internet)

Today's Thought:
If I ever want to join a motorcycle gang, I got the information side of the process covered.

The ChipperMuse Extra:
The Internet makes everything easier, and I mean everything. Stuff you couldn't imagine...yeah, it's on the Internet. You can Google it. You can Bing it. You can Dogpile it. You can wipe the doodoo off your Internet shoes and keep searching if you need to. Because the Internet has everything you need.

I found this out quite accidentally when I innocently went online to search for The Breakers. That's the name of a Florida motorcycle gang in an episode of Burn Notice. Since the show is known for its attention to real-life details, especially on the spy action side, I wondered if the writers gave the same attention to naming the gang that appeared in the season 4 opener episode.

I haven't found a Breakers home page. But I did find a slew of articles on joining a motorcycle gang, in case I was interested. (I'm not right now.) But I'm relieved to know that if I change my mind, I can hop online and get "expert" help at joining a gang. By "expert," I mean someone smart enough to know how to post online.

There is actually an article on joining a motorcycle gang on eHow, a well-known website featuring how-to information of every kind. If you wondered whether eHow is thorough, I guess this answers your question. Although to be fair, the eHow article focuses on joining clubs, not gangs, so the article title is misleading.

If you're looking for more information on outlaw motorcycle clubs (the actual gangs), head over to Wikipedia, because the online encyclopedia has an entry on that topic. This is where I discovered that outlaw gangs not only engage in criminal activity; they also like to participate in charity events. Who knew?

By the way, I searched for this information using Microsoft's new search engine, Bing. Bing not only gives you articles on the subject of your search, but also a list of related topics you might want to consider searching too. The related topics for joining a motorcycle gang include (oh, and I quote):

Join Crip gang (afraid to even click on this, it sounds so dangerous)
Popular gangs (great if I ever want to write a research paper)
Why join a gang (what a depressing thought)
Gang affiliations (again, great for that research paper)
How to join the FBI (since when is the FBI considered a gang?)
Joining a gym (if I can't join a motorcycle gang, a gym would at least be a healthy alternative)
Joining a credit union (hey, motorcycles cost money)
Joining a Catholic monastery (after you repent for joining a gang, I guess)
Joining a BF2 clan (BF2 is a shoot-em-up video game...perhaps to entertain you after the thrill of being part of a motorcycle gang is gone)

If nothing else, the Internet definitely has great entertainment value--often when I least expect it. I enjoyed this little search more than I should have. Don't worry, friends. I'm not really going to join a motorcycle gang. But a tattoo... Hmm... I'd better search that one out.

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Darth Vader's Diagnosis...and Yours Too

Today's thought:
An article discussing Darth Vader and mental illness is not really the worst problem in our society. We are.

See CNN article on CNN by Elizabeth Landau titled What is Darth Vader's Diagnosis?" along with the comments section after the article. Link below:

The ChipperMuse Extra:
I know, I know, I feel the same way you do. FINALLY, Darth Vader is getting some psychiatric care and it's about time! He has destroyed worlds, choked people left and right, and violated fashion rules by wearing all-black in space (it's as bad as wearing white after Labor Day). H has been crying out for help, and now he is getting it from psychiatrists who have diagnosed him--at last--with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

The CNN article I'm referring to is supposed to be light-hearted reporting that responds to a letter to the editor in the professional journal Psychiatry Research. There is a legitimate reporting aspect here, however thin. I intended at first to write about that, because it's funny that these people think Darth Vader is a great way to educate the public about a genuine mental disorder. Ooo-kaaay.

But in reviewing the article's comment section, I realized that I need to talk, not about Vader, but about people in general. About us. Because based on the comments, I'd say we all need a diagnosis, perhaps more badly than Vader does. The article is only six paragraphs long, yet it generated a total of 384 comments. 384! Where do these people find their time? Why don't I have that kind of time on my hands?

If you've ever taken the time to read the comments section on any web article (or as I like to call it--masochistic punishment), you already know what I'm about to say. I have questions about people who take the time to actually comment on articles. Some comments are unnecessarily vitriolic (harsh, brutal). Others are the same-old, same-old. But the comments to this (and pretty much any) online article reveal a lot about people and personalities (and our issues and problems).

Here are my observations and my own, totally unprofessional diagnosis of the commenters:

The mention of Star Wars always brings out the fans. The Comic Book Guys. The ones who insist on preserving the Star Wars canon. These people might make good librarians at the Library of Congress, because they are so focused on detail. But instead, they are using their superpowers for the mundane. They go on about how the psychiatrists just don't understand the genius of Lucas' writing or the subtleties of Vader's character. They ask, "Did you even see the movies?" And they insist on discussing whether the original movies (episodes 4, 5, and 6 if you're a nerd) are better than the prequels (episodes 1, 2, and 3). Diagnosis: Obsessive tendencies with possible delusions and hallucinations

Then there are the religion haters. These people comment everywhere they can. It doesn't matter if the article is related to religion or not. They just hate Christians, or God, or both, and they feel the need to attack everyone because of it. If you've got a beef with religion, fine. I don't mind. But do you really feel so hateful that you have to diagnose God with BPD? Do you honestly think Vader is just like a person abused by Catholic priests? Diagnosis: Obsessive tendencies and anger management problems

Then there's the guy who complains about the nerds who insist on psychoanalyzing fictional characters because they have too much time on their hands. Even though he apparently has enough time on his hands to write a comment himself. Diagnosis: Classic projection of one's own problems onto strangers

Some of the commenters have relatives who suffer from BPD. Many of them were upset at the article because they felt it was a mean-spirited comparision that did not help people suffering with BPD. Others, however, applauded the article because they felt it was an accurate depiction of what life with their sick relative is like. Diagnosis: Comparisons are in the eye of the beholder

One person felt the need to write a dissertation rather than a comment. He went on for paragraphs and paragraphs, much longer than the actual article itself. I didn't even read what he said. Diagnosis: Diarrhea of the keyboard, coupled with egomaniacal tendencies

Two people said things that actually made perfect sense in relation to the article and Vader's motivations. They said we do bad because it's so much easier than doing good. And if the dark side existed, many people would choose it because it gives them what they want...power, success, etc. Diagnosis: Totally sane, and the voice of reason

There were a few bottomline types too. These people said the psychiatrists were overcomplicating things, and that understanding Vader is simple. He's "a total douche" and "just a jerk." One wondered, "Whatever happened to crazy?" Good question. Diagnosis: Totally sane pragmatists

Then there are the people who said what I might have said if I had taken time to comment on the article (which I didn't). They asked, "Now that this issue is settled, can we please cure cancer?" and "Does this mean that when Vader threw his boss down the reactor shaft, he was making a great psychological breakthrough?" Exactly what I was thinking! Diagnosis: Fairly sane, with a strong sense of the satirical and ironic

I leave you with this question: Where do you fit in the diagnosis section?

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Your Ticket to Success

Today's Thought:
Your respect for others will be your ticket to success. (Thanks, fortune cookie, for your wisdom!)

The ChipperMuse Extra:
Every once in a while, I get a fortune cookie with a fortune in it that seems absolutely brilliant. This is one of them. Over the years, I've come to see that my success doesn't happen totally by my own efforts...maybe because true success always involves other people in some fashion. Whenever I do well on the job, it's due at least in part to my willingness to cooperate and listen to coworkers. My successful relationships have developed as a result of learning how to make strong connections and work out problems with other people. If I have strength of character and if I achieve significant personal accomplishments, it is the result not just of my own hard work, but also through the encouragement, guidance, and constructive criticism I've received from other people.

I don't believe it is possible to go far in life if you don't respect others. And you sure won't be as happy as you can be. Other people have so much to offer you and me. And I think the key to drawing on what others have to offer is simple: Treat them right. Listen to them. Allow them their opinions, even if you disagree. See things from their point of view. Make a point of being kind. Be honest, but see if you can let them know you love them while you're also being honest.

This approach to relationships goes beyond the Golden Rule of doing unto others as they do unto us. It enters the realm of doing unto others what is decent and right, regardless of how they treat us. For every fool who doesn't appreciate receiving that kind of respect, there are a hundred wise people who will appreciate it...and those are the people who will help us as we propel our way forward in life.

I pray to be a person who respects others and helps others find success. I consider those two things as a gift I can offer. I hope you'll consider doing the same. You'll be making your corner of the world a little better for everyone, yourself included.

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Never Tell Me the Odds (aka Finding Adventure in Tulsa)

Today's Thought:
It is not easy to find excitement in Tulsa. But I'm trying anyway. (To quote Han Solo, "Never tell me the odds...")

The ChipperMuse Extra:
The past two years have been rough. In the past two years, I turned 40. I've seen some friendships break up. I switched jobs from an organization that paid me less than a living wage and that had a level of hostile in-fighting you would not believe to an organization that pays me fine but that went through a public rough patch that began a scant month after I started there. My apartment flooded. I got sick on my mission trip to Kenya. And the worst, of course, my brother died unexpectedly, leaving me a lone sibling.

Not so fun.

It's impossible not to be changed by all these events. I've realized that life is short, that I deserve to have more fun than I'm having right now, and that I don't want to go out of this life making excuses for what I could have achieved, but didn't. So... One of my goals for the next 12 months is to stretch myself and do what I don't normally do.

Of course, stretching myself and living in Tulsa as I do... Um. Those two things seem almost mutually exclusive. Like George Clooney and a wedding ring. Or the New York Mets and a championship.

What I'm saying is: It's going to be a challenge to get out of my box in this one-horse town. Anyone who has ever lived in Tulsa will understand what I mean. But for those who need a picture, let me paint it for you.

Here's what constitutes excitement in Tulsa: 

I'm driving home from the grocery store, and I go to change out the CD in my CD player. Suddenly, I hear what sounds like an announcement coming over a muffled, weak public announcement system (a PA). I glance for a second into my rearview mirror to make sure there's no police officer or some such there. There isn't. I go back to changing the CD. I hear the noise again. It seems to be coming from my left.

I glance over briefly, and there's my answer. Two teenaged boys are sitting in their big old pickup truck, with some stupid toy thing that allows them to broadcast their voices, and they're trying to get my attention. Because they onviously think they are the hippest guys to come out of the midwest since Brad Pitt, and because they have nothing better to do. Probably because it's still light outside, and they can't go cow-tipping until it's dusk and the cows are drowsing.

I ignored the boys, of course. I didn't want to encourage them to think of themselves any more highly than they already did. And like I said, I was changing my music CD. I have priorities, folks. Even so, the boys were pretty insistent, really trying to get me to look at them. This is the definition of a big night on the town in Tulsa. Seeing if you can get women who are probably your mother's age to look at your pickup truck.

I suspect that the boredom zone engulfing Tulsa explains the fascination with PA toys. I also believe it is the reason for all the mega-churches here. If you had to choose, which would you prefer:  Sitting in a chair in a gigantic air-conditioned room watching techno-worship music, or driving around the 100-degree streets of Tulsa so you can be harassed by teenaged boys who think a pickup truck with a PA system makes them Donald Trump?

Um. Actually, there is a third option that I should mention just to be fair, because a lot of people in Tulsa take this option. Yup, that's right. I'm talking about wandering around Walmart. For many people, that's a really big night. Right up there with taking in a Broadway show and eating at the Four Seasons and taking a ride around Central Park in a horse and buggy.

So, as I said, my work is cut out for me. But I'm going to gamely try anyway to have some fun in Tulsa. I'll share my adventures with you as they happen, for your entertainment and mine. Let's hope I don't go nuts in the process.

Stay tuned.

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Top 10 Oil Spill Solutions from James Cameron

Today's Thought:
How is James Cameron, Hollywood director, truly qualified to help fix the BP oil spill? I don't care if the guy invented cool underwater filming vehicles for his movies. The Feds have no reason to ask him for his help.

The ChipperMuse Extra:
In response to my scathing suspicion of his inabilities, James Cameron sent me his list of top 10 ideas to fix the oil spill. I present them here in a totally unbiased way. (Sure, I do.)

1. Don't worry about the BP storyline. Just film the spill in 3D. At least it will look visually impressive.

2. Throw Leo DiCaprio into the spill and let him overact in it until the oil goes into hiding.

3. Wait until the spill reforms into the Terminator-1000, and then destroy it in a vat of molten steel.

4. Hire ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) to create an alien aquatic species that survives on oil. Consider it a plus if you can get Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio to help out with this project.

5. Send in Arnold Schwarzeggar to make funny quips in an Austrian accent as he beats the oil spill into submission with his massive arms.

6. Arrange for a death match between the oil spill and the creature from Aliens.

7. Film a documentary attempting to prove that the tomb of Jesus is located inside the spill.

8. In a great ironical move, use nuclear weapons to bomb the spill. Then film antiwar movies forever after.

9. Ask Skynet to devise a solution, then panic when machines take over the world as a result.

10. Divorce fifth wife to marry the oil spill. Then move the spill to Hollywood so it can become a regular on a daytime soap opera.

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Hangovers...

Today's Thought:
I'm not really hungover (because I don't drink). I'm just having end of the long weekend blues. My brain is saying, "We've just had three days off... That's officially the start of a vacation. Let's keep the vacation going. Let's sleep in and sit outside in the sun all day, and do fun things. Let's not get up and go to work this morning. We don't need to do that. Work bad. Bad. Bad."

Yeah. I went to work this morning. Believe me, I know I can't listen to my brain after a three-day weekend! My brain is unreliable right now and instigating trouble. I need to ignore it while it is hungover from the time off.

You know what I'm talking about, don't you? Why is it so hard to switch back to normal routine? It's not easy after a normal two-day weekend, worse after the extra day off. I think human beings were created to sit around in a garden in the grass soaking up the sun. We weren't made to work in offices without windows. It's just not right. Eden had no corporations, no buildings, no time clocks. Now, Hell might operate that way, but not Heaven. Am I right?

But we're living in a world where Eden is shut down. As a result, I need to get back to my regular routine of work. Drat that Adam and Eve. This is all their fault. Since my brain is still recuperating from the three-day weekend, I'm not quite awake creatively yet. Which is why this post is rambling.

Ah well. Just know that I sympathize with you, no matter what kind of hangover you have this morning. And I ask you to sympathize with me. Let's share our pain together as we mourn the passing of a wonderful long weekend and get back to reality.

Reality. Oh yeah. It's going to be a busy week. When is the next long weekend? And where's my coffee right now? Because I need it.

Oh, my aching brain!

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.