Thursday, February 25, 2010

XXX's & OOO's

There is a movement on the East coast sponsored by the simplistic RARA's to punish Nivea for a clever advertising campaign they initiated on Valentine's Day. As usual, the Anti-Equestrian Eco-Terrorists have gathered their pitchforks & torches, twisted their undies into an unpleasant and chafing bunch and are trying to hit a company that produces a legal product advertised in conjunction with another legal business. So, you know, the same old tired crapola.

You know what would be great? If the RARA's would go and help horses that actually needed it instead of ours that don't warrant any of their unwanted "attention."

Well, two can play at that game. The RARA's have started an emailing movement, sending vapid letters to management listing their concerns about the "exploited, dispirited creatures." So, if you feel that giving an animal a job is not cruel or abusive, may I suggest that in a show of solidarity you do the following:

Send these people an email showing your approval for their ad campaign and the horse drawn carriage industry. Tell them that you support free enterprise, and you will buy their skin care products.

Nivea Executives, Beiersdorf, Inc.

Iain Holding-President

Kathy Shea – COO

Gary Sharpe – CFO

Thomas Bellina - Treasurer

Leslie Kickham – Nivea promotion

PMK-BNC, Public Relations firm

Maggie Katz
Christina Stejskal,

May I suggest you cut and paste something along the lines of the following into the body of the email:

Dear Person Who Works For A Company That Didn't Do Anything Wrong But Is Being Persecuted By A Group Of Self Righteous Morons Who Have No Idea What They Are Talking About,

You go, girl!
(or guy; change the designation according to who you are sending this to. If their name is Pat, Chris, or Sal, consider using "Person" or "Citizen" so as not to offend.) Thank you for utilizing the New York carriage horses in your campaign. Not only does it show the world these productive, healthy and well cared for animals, but it also displays your superior taste and above average intelligence.

To show support for your fabulous advertising initiative, the next time I am at a store that sells your product I'm going to buy a butt-load of it. Really. Because I have dry skin. And when I say "Dry Skin" I mean that Armadillos and Gila monsters mock me because their hides are luxurious and glowing compared to mine.

Anyway, your ad caught my eye and fueled my imagination. Not only that, but the next time I pass a horse drawn carriage I think I'm going to take a carriage ride. And tip the driver. Big.

My skin thanks you for producing a superior product. And the carriage horses thank you because they have jobs, which apparently the RARA's don't have, which explains all the free time they have which they use to instigate imbecilic letter writing campaigns instead of, you know, looking for a job.


Then, you know, add your name. And feel free to change the above text so it doesn't sound quite so eclectic. Or frightening.


Don't forget! The Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner! Contest is still active~ make sure to get your entries in. Intrigued? Go here to find out more…

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winner! Winner! *Chicken Dinner! Part 1:

As some of you know last fall an eBook was published containing an essay I wrote about my life-long obsession with horses and how I have incorporated it into my life. The book is called Ignite Your Passion and it has stories and suggestions about taking what you love and turning it into the thing that motivates and inspires you to get up in the morning.

Here is a little info about the woman who pulled it all together:


Subject: Where does the energy in your life come from?

What do you call the source of energy that flows through your life like a spring? Sometimes it’s so full and fast it can carry you away. Other times, it’s slow moving, stagnant. When you’re doing something you love, the spring is right there with you, sustaining you, refreshing you, taking you to wonderful new places.

My friend, April M. Williams, calls that energy Passion. About a year ago, she found herself thinking about it a lot:

What is it?
Where does it come from?
Why was she fortunate to have so much of it?
And what happened that so many people don’t have a drop to spare?
Are there ways to nurture it in your life?

She started talking to the many people she met in her life and through her profession. April is a Career Coach who helps people through job transition. She saw the stark difference among her clients: those who had the grace of Passion running deep in their lives tended to have shorter job searches, more fluid transitions, and were better able to meet their goals.

Those who had, well, you might call it a Passion deficit, had a more difficult time overall. They often worked just as hard, but things came harder to them. She noticed something else, too. She felt different around people depending on their level of Passion. People who had more seemed to call her own Passion out of her and into the moment. People who had less often left her feeling drained and needing to replenish.

April was especially fascinated by people who seemed to have found a deep, ever-flowing source of Passion and energy in their lives. They loved what they were doing, even when they took on difficult challenges. Some of these people were able to talk articulately about the Passion that flowed through them. They had wisdom about the gifts of Passion balanced with the demands of Passion.

She asked these wise folks if they would be willing to help her write a book on Passion with the goal of helping everyone get in touch with their own source of energy.

“Ignite Your Passion: How to Find and Ignite Your Fire Inside,” April's E-book, is the result of that collaboration. 18 authors share with you stories of how they discovered the Passion that drives them, the difference it’s made in their lives, and insight into how each of us can tap that energy in ourselves.

April Williams is one of the best Career Coaches I know—maybe the best—and I know that her clients are benefitting from what she learned during her search for the sources and wisdom of Passion.


"So," a faithful Confessions of a Slave Driver reader might be asking themselves right about now, "what the heck does this have to do with a *Chicken dinner?" (You knew I'd get around to that at some point, right? As off topic as I usually get, I most of the time occasionally wander back to the original idea…) Well, I only used "*Chicken Dinner" because, not only does it sound tasty, but it rhymes with "Winner", and that's what we'll have one of if you enter my super fabulous contest to win a free copy of the eBook, Ignite Your Passion.

Here is what you have to do to enter:

Go to , scroll to the bottom of the page where you will see blue letters that say
"Don't let this happen to you: "
Beneath that is an excerpt from my essay. Copy that blurb and paste it into an email. Then send that email to me at along with your name (first name only is fine if, like me, you distrust the internet and really don't want your *real identity bandied about the Interverse willy-nilly).

I'm running the contest from now until 11:59pm, March 11, 2010. (I know a lot of you only visit every two weeks or so..) On March 12, after I wake up and scarf down a couple of cups of coffee so I can see straight, I will, using the exacting and scientific method of pulling a name blindly out of a hat, or a bucket, or some kind of container, and choose a winner. Then I will notify the lucky winner via email along with the coupon code to download a free e-copy of Ignite Your Passion!!!

See? Easy peasey.Click on link, find my blurb, copy, past, hit "send."

And I promise that none of the entries or email addresses will be released to anyone else even if they torture me by forcing me to watch American Idol or even (shudder) anything on the Hallmark Channel.

*No chickens were harmed in the writing of this blog.

Now for all the legal mumbo jumbo:

Only one entry per email address allowed. Period. All duplicate entries will be sent to the recycle bin. Only one copy of the eBook will be awarded to one winner. Ineligible entries ( ie: no blurb cut and pasted into the body of the email) will be disqualified. Odds of winning are based solely on the number of entrants. Cash value of this blog is 1/20 of 1 cent. eBook available only in English and as an eBook. Void where prohibited by law. Be kind, rewind. TYFSAK.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rock Of Ages

I don't have all of my ticket stubs, but I do have quite a few...

Nope, I didn't suddenly curl up and die. I got new bedroom furniture which precipitated a round of painting the walls and moving stuff around and… well, you get the picture. I was busy!

Friday night we attended a concert for which I've had tickets in my possession for eleven months now. It was supposed to happen last November but then one old man got sick, then the other old man got sick and…well it was rescheduled.

I have been an Elton john fan since I was fourteen years old. I mean, a big time EJ fan. The first concert I ever attended was the Elton John Band performing at the Chicago Stadium. I went with my two best friends, Lynn and Carol, their mothers, and Lynn's brother Tommy. My friend Carol's Tanta (Aunt) Frieda had a nephew who was working his way through medical school by scalping tickets. (In Chicago it's not about who you are, it's all about the friend of a buddy who knows a guy…) He was able to get us main floor, third row center seats and generously charged us face value.

We ponied up $8.95 a ticket. A man seated next to us using a zoom lens on his camera told us we were 17 feet away. It was the best concert I've ever been to.

A few of the photos from the 1977 Elton John concert I attended. he jumped around a lot more then.

Over the years I've seen Elton a number of times, and in 2001 my older brother bought me a pair of tickets to see Elton John and Billy Joel during the Kansas City stop in their Face to Face tour for my 40th birthday.

That concert was awesome.

I also drove from Kansas City to Chicago with The Kid and my friend Shelley to see Bernie Taupin's (Elton's lyricist) band Farm Dogs perform at the House of Blues. I was able to tick off an item on my "bucket list" of "Meet Bernie Taupin" before I die.

Bernie Taupin with Slave Driver from 1999 or so.

That's how dedicated (and insane) of a fan I am.

Several years ago we took The Kid to an EJ concert, and before the encores she was telling us, "It's a school night and we should be leaving because I have to get up early tomorrow morning."

I laughed at her. She's not a fan. I should have omitted her ticket and used the extra money to get us better seats. She is however, a Billy Joel fan, and that's all my fault. We used to cruise the gravel roads of Platt County, Missouri in a Le Baron convertible with the top down and the stereo cranked, blasting Billy Joel tunes out into the universe. Her slightly warped version of a bucket list (it's good she's starting young) included "See Billy Joel before he dies."

I guess, given the age difference, it's all a matter of perspective.

Billy Joel

So we went to the concert last week and it was phenomenal. I expected that, being that they are two consummate performers.

Elton John

The Piano Men

What I didn't expect was the variety of people in attendance. We noticed an elderly gentleman (70's or so) being assisted up the stairs by another gentleman in his 50's. The Kid sat next to a woman who looked about 10 years older than myself (she was alone) and the two of them danced the entire night, a 16 year old and a 60-ish lady, having a grand time together.

The Kid and her new friend bustin' a move

So that's why I've been MIA. Sorry, but once in a while I have to ditch the internet, and deal with real things.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Evils of Preparedness

I've been dog shopping. It's a fun yet sad way to waste time, looking on Petfinder at all the doggies in need of homes. Happy and hopeful smiling canine faces, trying to catch hold of someone's heart with their tales of woe. Some of the copy is written in a very antiseptic manner, name, rank, serial number … just the facts. Yet other, more creative humans have done their best to pique your interest. It's called a "hook", and is what fiction writers do to grab and hold the attention of their readers.

Johnny Cash caught my eye, mostly because of his expression.

* Hi! My name is Johnny Cash. The man in white…the big man in white. Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way you expect. One day you are home, safe and loved. And then, like in my case, you find yourself walking into a shelter – and not walking out with those you thought would always be there for you. I guess I wasn’t totally out of luck since I was transferred to rescue and on to another chance at someone to call my own.

Did I mention I am big? I am big in affection, looks and love…oh yes, and in pounds so I am on a little diet. I get along great with other dogs, but please no kitties. I know basic commands and have terrific house manners. What’s missing from my life? Well, at present it is a second helping at dinner and MOST importantly…you. Will you be mine? I can’t wait to meet you (Johnny Cash: German Shepherd, Male, White, DOB ~05/06, 145 lbs. and losing)

No, Cowboy hasn't passed yet. He's still holding on, snoozing away most of the day. His appetite is good, which is why we haven't taken the Big Sleep step yet. When Mr. Slave Driver comes home from work, Cowboy occasionally tries to engage him in a game of "Throw this slimy dog toy for me and I'll bring it back to you." Wease visited last Sunday, bringing her cluster of dogs down from Cache Valley. When they visit Cowboy reverts to his natural herding state, trying to force her dogs into submission by utilizing his patented Border Collie Glare. We try and discourage this behavior (yeah, right, like that ever worked…) because after they leave he's stiff and sore for several days.

Tiny looks like a sweetie...

** Tiny is an adorable Husky/Pyrenees mix who is about 5 years old. He is very loving and gets along well with children, cats and other dogs. He rarely barks, and walks very well with a pinch collar. Tiny's ideal home would have another dog there to keep him company when the family is away as he will escape if left alone. Tiny is better suited to be an outside dog, although he is calm indoors he needs to be watched carefully inside as he tends to be mischievous when the family is not watching him. With time and training Tiny would be an amazing family dog. For more information about Tiny or to meet him call the shelter at (208)785-6897 or Marcia (208)244-1513. Please leave a clear message with your name and number and that you are calling about the Tiny the Husky/Pyrenees cross. Tiny is up-to-date with routine shots and spayed/neutered.

Besides shopping for dogs I've also been looking up "services." Because as distasteful as it is, soon I will need services related to euthanasia and cremation. The local animal shelter provides this. I've never had to cremate a pet; we buried several, including my favorite rooster, on the farm, but the backyard here isn't big enough here, and I'm pretty sure it's not legal. So along with checking out the available replacement dogs, I've been researching options for Cowboys final destination.

I hope "Angus" finds a good home.

*** Angus is a big puppy about 4 months old. He is sweet and shy and needs to learn everything about being a dog. He has beautiful black and white markings from his Border Collie parent and will be a big boy from his Pyrenees parent! A patient owner who can take Angus to puppy obedience school would give him a great start in life. Come by and meet this boy! Angus is up-to-date with routine shots and spayed/neutered.

Mr. Slave Driver gets to choose our next dog. We have settled into a round-robin approach, taking turns deciding on the type of pet we want to live with us for the next 8-13 years. Mr. Slave Driver is partial to large dogs, although watching him with my Pomeranian you'd never know that he professes to dislike small "ankle biters." Last year at Strut Your Mutt he discovered a breed called "Leonberger" and immediately fell in love with them. They are an extra large dog with a double coat, webbed feet, and unlike, say, a St. Bernard, they don't drool. They also are supposed to have a super laid-back disposition, much like Mr. Slave Driver himself. Leonbergers are at the top of the short list now, along with Bernese Mountain Dogs, Newfoundlands, and Great Pyrenees. Whatever ends up living with us needs to like camping and Pomeranians. And Drafting. I would like to have a dog large enough to draft with, and I've already found the perfect cart to use.

Me, wanting a dog big enough to drive. Go figure.

* Are you a fan of Johnny Cash? You can find him at

Snow Capped Shepherd Rescue
PO Box 270981
Littleton, CO 80127


Phone: (303) 973-SCSR (7277)

** Have you been tickled by Tiny? Drop in and see him at

Bingham County Humane Society
Blackfoot, ID

***Intrigued by Angus? Check him out at

308 Weaverville Road
PO Box 904
Divide, CO 80814

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Facebook Anti-Equestrienne Eco-Terrorists:

I'm a Facebook user. That’s right, I regularly connect with both friends and strangers using social networking sites. Why? Because with a high speed internet connection and a laptop, I can. And because I have acquaintances scattered across the globe I like to keep in touch with and it's easier then calling up someone in Algonquin, Illinois or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and telling them the same thing ("I'm so F*cking happy that Football season is over!" or "Slave Driver is watching Zombieland again…") over and over. Plus it cuts down on my cell phone minutes.

The other day I came across a Facebook group that advocates the eradication of carriage horses in Salt Lake City. No surprise there, that particular group is all over the world, wanting to ban the legal practice of offering carriage rides in numerous cities and countries. And yes I know, everyone is entitled to their opinion, it's just that their argument is so incredibly weak and baseless.

For example, here is their "Mission Statement":

This group is for you if...

-you feel bad for the horses when it's so cold out that you see icicles hanging from the horse's mouth.

First of all, simpleton, they get icicles on their nose, not their mouth. Because horses that pull carriages are the only horses in a cold climate like, say, Utah, that feel weather. All the rest of them have a magical personal heat retention system that allows them to remain toasty warm all winter long.

Oh, wait, no they don't. The feral horses out on the range that the RARA's aspire our carriage horses to become have to forage for their food, and live outside, subjected to the elements every single day of their lives. At least my co-workers have food and shelter, which they get in exchange for doing a little work a couple of days a week. And for a horse like Jerry, who used to be employed on an Amish farm working from sunup to sundown, it's a really easy gig.

-you cringe when you see a carriage rider whip a horse.

There are three sets of participants in a carriage ride: The Horse, the Driver and the Passengers, who "ride" in the passenger compartment of the carriage. We don’t typically give the passengers (riders) whips; First, because they don't need them. Second, because they wouldn’t know how to correctly use them, and third, depending on the maturity level of the individuals, they'd just end up smacking each other around which would result in a lot of screaming and crying. So there is no cringing during one of our rides, because we don't whip the horses. That whip on my carriage? It's reserved for stupid people. Like drunken panhandlers. And RARA's.

-you think the riders should get off their butts and walk.

That would make them walkers, not riders. Really, it's semantics. And by the way, it is easier on horse to pull something then it is for that same animal to be ridden. The identical principal applies to humans, that's why people put their kids in strollers or Radio Flyer wagons. It's way easier than hiking them around on their shoulders. So if you are a horse owner I'll tell you right now, my co-worker is better off as a drafting animal then yours is as a riding one.

-you believe horses would go south for the winter if they weren't held captive.

Okay, this sentence is the entire reason I had to respond to this ludicrous Facebook group to begin with. So, hold onto your butts while I expound: First of all, horses, even wild ones, are not migratory animals. If you don't believe me, google it. According to Wikipedia, "No wild horses do not migrate, In fact wild horses move around a "track" on a 24hour schedule, Meaning they are in the same exact place at the same time every day of the year."

Now, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that they are in "the same exact place at the same time every day", because horses, due to the fact that they have hooves and not fingers, are unable to use a TomTom or Garmin GPS device and navigate themselves to "the same exact place at the same time every day" while roaming around out in the wild. They do, however, stay in their same geographic area.

So, if "unleashed", and no longer held "captive," would a horse like Cletus decide to head down to Tucson or Boca for the winter and graze on a golf course? No. Herds of Horses are not like flocks of geese. And besides, could you imagine how inconvenient it would be if they did? Just navigating around the piles of horse crap on the fairway would be an absolute nightmare…

-you don't believe the argument that horses like it.

Then you've never met Charlie, Jerry, or Hank. In other words, you have no clue about horses, other than they are big, and pretty.

-you think it's dangerous to be on the busy streets and that the cars scare the horses.

If everyone thought this way, no one would ever go anywhere. Life is inherently dangerous. Fortunately for us, the incidents of horse vs vehicle accidents are very low, especially when compared to vehicle vs vehicle accidents. Why? Because we're watching for motorists who are not paying attention to what the heck they are doing, that's why. And the "cars" don’t scare the horses. If that was the case, every time any operator drove past a horse the horse would freak out. Horses become accustomed to their environment; this is why humans were able to domesticate them thousands of years ago.


Now, this is a pet peeve of mine, when someone uses "etc" to pad an argument. By invoking the shorthand "etc," the reader is forced to use their imagination to fill in the gaping "etc" blank with... what? Really it indicates that there might be more, the writer is just too damn lazy to come up with additional bullet points.

So while I will still enjoy using my social media to network I have to remind myself that the internet is, in fact, the Devil's playground, full of people who have no idea what they are talking about, but, like me, they too have a computer and internet access.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Alice Cooper

Yes, it's February 4, Alice Coopers Birthday. Also Rosa Parks, Charles Lindbergh, Dan Quayle, George Romero and Oscar De La Hoya.

But I love that it's Alice Cooper's birthday, because I grew up a fan of his music and identify the most with him on the list of Famous Birthdays Today.

What, you are asking yourself, does this have to do with Slave Driver?

Well, to quote the Beatles, "It's my birthday too, yeah."

And here is what I'm doing to celebrate:


First off, it's a Thursday. Not typically the day of the week one goes out to party. Plus, Mr. Slave Driver is on a clear liquid diet for today because he has a procedure tomorrow typically reserved for men of a certain age to check for polyps. So, obviously, there will be no fine dining or cake and ice cream today…we'll do that Saturday after he's recovered. Along with looking for a new clothes dryer, since ours quit on us last week.

It could be worse; several years ago my birthday fell on Super Bowl Sunday, the official holiday for football fans where the rules dictate that one cannot be more that 6 feet from a wide screen television. That day sucked ass. Because unless you follow football,(I don't) or are an aficionado of Buffalo chicken wings,(meh) your celebratory choices are severely limited.

The birthday I remember most fondly was a long, long time ago.

When I was a teenager, like most teenagers, my teenage friends were poor. My high school boyfriend was in a garage band, and I'd just had a major fight with my parents. So, being somewhat depressed about the entire situation, while I sat around band practice and stewed about the argument, my boyfriend and another person borrowed my car, took it to a car wash and cleaned it out (I'm a car slob. My personal vehicle always looks like a family of Gypsies has taken up residence. I subscribe to the theory that 1) it takes less time to apologize for a mess then it does to clean it and 2) if I'm ever stranded, I can forage for food in my car and survive for at least a week on the various half filled bags of Fritos and Starburst Fruit Chews I unearth from beneath the seats.) Then they filled the gas tank. For you young pups, back in the late 70's gas was between .32 and .40 cents a gallon. The most money I would invest in my gas tank at a time was $5.00, which filled the tank on my '67 Pontiac Catalina at least half way. I know this sounds like a fabulous deal, but mind you my car got a whopping 8 miles to the gallon. It could, however, sit eight people, comfortably, inside and fit three more in the trunk. You do not want to know the details of how I know this.

Ah, good times.

Anyway, in honor of my birthday I'm doing nothing today, so I'm sorry to report that this is the blog you're getting. It's about as close to nothing as I can manage.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The. End.

Tonight is the last night of the Sundance Film Festival, but really it ended Saturday night. That was when the films in competition were awarded their prizes, and the finalists went home on the red eye Sunday morning.

This years fest was fraught with glitches, snafus and bugaboos. It started with small stuff, like not having the coats available to distribute at Check-In (We were advised, "The Men's jackets are here, the Women's are stuck in customs…") to 50% of our volunteers getting the incorrect size ("I ordered an XXL and they gave me a Medium, what should I do?") There was a misprint in the Film Guide (traditionally The Rose Wagner is the only Salt Lake theater showing films on the last Sunday, but the schedule had them at The Tower theater, which is 17 blocks away…) and the list goes on…

The patrons seemed especially aggressive this year. I cannot tell you the number of times I had to explain "The Wait-List Paradox" (If you save a seat for someone in the Wait List line, and tell me the seat next to you is unavailable, then we cannot sell a wait list ticket to your friend in the line that you are holding the seat for because you've told me that seat is already occupied… Get It?") One guy even shoved Charlie around because there were no more seats available, he showed up late, and demanded to be allowed in.

Dude. Seriously. Have you ever heard the phrase "Ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag"? For a show yesterday we were told that two people were sharing a chair in one of the balcony boxes. Sorry, but I cannot fathom wanting to sit on one butt cheek for 90 minutes. I don't care what movie it is, my ass deserves better treatment than that.

We spaced ballots for one of the films in competition, and neglected to hand them out before the movie started. Catching our error, we handed them out as soon as the film ended and had a better rate of return on the ballots then we usually get (a lot of people lose them, put them in their pockets or bags, and neglect to turn them into us after them film.) I actually had a woman infer that we did it on purpose because of the subject matter of the film. I was speechless…almost. I advised her that it was a grievous error, for which we made sure to make right for the film maker, and there was no "conspiracy." Then she made a comment about "You Salt Lake People", like we're all Right Wing Conservative Republican Mormon members of The Eagle Forum, which, as anyone who know me (and the people I volunteer with) can tell you is so far off the mark it's laughable. We had already advised the film's director, but she made sure to run over and tell them, just in case. Like we were hiding something. Which we weren’t.

Deep inhale… hold it… hold it... long exhale.

Tonight is Best of Fest; we have three movies scheduled to show today, and then it's over. The managers from the Rose Wagner Team are also hosting our second annual "Sundae Monday" where we bring in ice cream and all the accoutrements for Sundaes to our volunteers to thank them for digging in and returning to our venue and doing the fabulous job that they do.

Even if their coat doesn't fit.