Wednesday, February 15, 2012

talk turkey – idiomatic phrase (Am. English): to seriously discuss a difficult problem with the intention of solving it.

You can always tell when a cowboy is ready to talk turkey. The first thing he does is set his hat on the back of his head. So that he can see his eyes. And there’s a look that says, “I’m willing not to win, if you’re willing not to win.” It’s the moment in a fight where you realize that if, even if you do win, you’ll have lost just as much. And realizing your opponent is in the same spot.

Americans may have invented that phrase. But we sure have lost the ability to do it. I don’t know. Is it that we’ve come to enjoy the fight more than the peace? Have we lost the mental strength to cope with a vision of the world that isn’t just the way we think it ought to be?

And it’s politically and personally both. We have politicians that enjoy saber rattling more than deal brokering. We have relationships that end in because people can’t see their way clear to a truce. Friends, family, marriages. Broken.

So, there’s only two options. One is to live with people who are exactly like you, so that you never have anything to argue about. That doesn’t sound like much of a relationship to me. And it doesn’t sound like the America that I believe in either. Or we learn to talk turkey again.

Monday, February 13, 2012


The death of Whitney Houston pretty much defines the idea of “shocking, but not surprising.” How could you be surprised? The rawness of her damage was visible. From the years of rumors, to the Enquirer pictures of “Whitney’s Crack Den,” to the recovered-yet-not-whole spectacle of Being Bobby Brown, to the voice that was in ruins. She’d give one more loopy interview that denied any current state of addiction, and make you hope against what was only too evident. Whitney just never could get right. And you’d sigh over the loss of such a gift, and add a sad “poor Bobbi Kristina.”

And really, it’s one of those addiction stories you never can quite comprehend. Her wealth gave her the two things that most addicts don’t have: access to the very best medical help and time. If you have a substance abuse problem, you’re really lucky to get 90 days in a decent program. Whitney could have schedule day after day of any and all kinds of help (8:00 am: yoga, 9:00 am: group, 10:00 am: dialectical therapy, 11:00 am: biofeedback, noon: lunch, 1:00 pm Freudian analysis, 2:00 pm: horse therapy . . .). She could have whiled away hours (days, years) in every treatment known to science, religion and Dr. Drew. For as long as she needed it. Hell, the Scientologists would have LOVED to help her. Whatever it takes. She had world enough and time.

And she had every reason. A family that loved her. Fans who loved her. A daughter who needed her. A faith in a higher power. And a talent that was a true gift. Not many people get that kind of a talent. And yes, I’m kind of mad at her for pissing it away. On top of that, she was beautiful. A decent actress, whose magnetism made up for any technical shortcomings. Really, she had everything. When you have everything, have been given everything, is it easy to just not value it?

When Whitney sang, she sounded like a warrior. Shocking that in the end, it doesn’t matter how much armor you have, but how willing you are to fight.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I’ve waited a bit to say anything about the Paula Deen thing. The fact that she has Type 2 diabetes. I just found the whole situation pretty disturbing.

Full disclosure: I come from a family with weight problems. Like most Americans, really. Not the super-sized weight problems. But the every-day, your doctor wants you to lose some weight kind of problems. The kind that can lead to diabetes. And in some cases, already have. I’ve known this for a lot of years.

I also come from a family that eats not far from the kinds of food that Paula Deen cooks. As a kid, I was completely unaware that it was possible to serve vegetables without butter. Chicken-fried steak is a sacrament. Biscuits and gravy aren’t just for breakfast. In some ways, eating healthy disconnects me from family tradition.

And watching the health problems that my family has gone through also has given me a very clear window into what the consequences can be of “everything is better with butter” lifestyle. For myself, I decided that eating healthier was the better option. Because I’ve also seen what the drug intervention route can do. Too many medications, for too many problems that have one major contributing factor - bad eating habits. I’ve seen older members of my family swallowing handfuls of pills for “my heart, my cholesterol, my sugar.” Doing pretty much everything but cleaning up their diet. And also seeing the number of times that drug interactions have created even worse issues. I can’t do it.

But I also can’t condemn Paula or anyone else for going the other route. Food is a powerful thing. It is nourishment, it is cultural, it is pleasure. And I can’t completely walk away from those foods that are so closely related to my history. A little butter makes life worth living. I just have to balance it with making my life livable.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Okay, so the tv show Smash. I didn’t watch it. I’m trying to decide if I should. I mean really. Given that we’re talking about me, it’s a little on-the-nose, don’t you think? It’s show tunes. It’s not Glee (which I’m so over). It has Angelica Houston (we-re-not-worthy). Contrarily, I’m being chary with my favor.

Really, it’s got 2 things going against it. First, it’s episodic. And I’m just not sure if I’m up for another show to keep up with. Plus, I’ve got what-happens-next burnout. Cliffhanging just has lost some of its appeal.

Second, behind the scenes in musical theater. I really just am not sure I want to know how the sausage gets made. If it’s at all realistic, I don’t want to know how the magic happens. Nothing can quite sweep me away like a musical. I’d just prefer that the Wizard stay behind his curtain.


On the undeniably enticing side is Jack Davenport. Who evidently plays the narcissistic bad boy director. Yumma. At least his voice. To me, his voice is like I’m a Twix cookie and he’s the caramel enrobing machine. Just lay back and be layered in rich, chewy goodness. Don’t know where he’s from, but the accent is killah on top of a really nice voice. Okay, he looks kind of like a junior high science teacher. But if he’d read sonnets to me, I could so get over that.

Is that enough? I mean, he’s not going to be talking the entire show. And if you just fast forward to the moments where your sex bomb of the moment is, shows just really don’t make any sense. Don’t ask me how I know that.

Meh. Probably will just end up flipping a coin.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Well, so far the “Yes” resolution has been my easiest one to keep – ever. Score. So far, the only things I’ve had to give my okey-doke on have been going to see the ballet Dracula in Fort Worth (outside my usual Zone of Entertainment, but not exactly painful) and buying a dress.

Okay, saying yes to the dress is slightly more difficult than it sounds. Not that it was a dress, per se, more the style of it. I picked it up at a flea market and said, “I like it, but I don’t think I’m “that girl.”” Because this dress is definitely a certain kind of person. The cute girl. The quirky girl. The girly girl. And, most particularly, a younger girl. This dress is Zooey Deschanel’s dress. I’m not that girl.

Okay, to be specific about the dress, it’s got a slightly retro look. Light gray muslin top, with puffy cap sleeves and a lace-edged mandarin collar. The skirt is an ever-so-slightly orangey red corduroy, pleated front, offset pockets, knee length. There’s nothing specific about it that makes it age inappropriate*, other than it just reads young. Like 23-ish. A hipster 23-ish.

I really liked the dress. And it was my size. But I doubt that even when I was 23 that I would have attempted this one. I’m not cute, quirky or girly. Add on the mutton-dressed-as-lamb fashion issue that I fear like hardly any other, and I’d probably back on the rack with the slightest touch of wist.

But, I said it out loud. “I like it, but I don’t think I’m “that girl.”” The woman next to me, who was rocking some age appropriate quirk said, “You could be that girl.” And the woman who was selling the dress said, “I’ll let you have it for $10.”

Ooo, boy. So, I was caught. In my self-defined parameters of “Yes.” Within my morals and within the realm of possibility. Dear Reader, I bought it.

And I plan to wear it on February 24th. To the ballet. Two birds. Now I just have to figure out shoes. What would Zooey Deschanel do?

* And just a brief side-note on specific things that make clothing age inappropriate. More specifically still, mini-skirts. Yes, adding a pair of tights can make a slightly short skirt acceptable on a woman over 30. But they aren’t a time machine. At a certain point – no, ma’am. I’m still working on a formula. Like [skirt length – age in years + dark tights = number of inches past your cooch that your hem must be]. I was an English major, though, so I haven’t quite got the numbers right. So for now, if you have any questions, just send me a picture and I’ll tell you whether you’re allowed to go outside.

TIME: Quotes of the Day