Thursday, December 31, 2009

Feeling resolute

Well, it’s New Years again. Yeah! I love a fresh start.

My 2009 resolution TANKED. Obviously had delusions of grandeur last year. Damn. And oh, well. Cleaning up litter in Texas was obviously beyond my humble skill set. That’s okay. I made a lot of personal strides to clean up litter (changed some of my consumption habits; found out that trash clean up days are fun; started some new recycling ventures). And if I find a way to get started again, I’ll get everybody in this damn state bitter about litter.

So 2010. Right! Yeah! The key to good resolutions? Lowered expectations. This year I’m going to officially re-dedicate myself to the small meals throughout the day plan. I had tried this and found it really did help my energy level. But I’ve way fallen off the wagon lately. The last two months have been very catch-as-catch-can as far as food goes, and I’ve been back in crash and burn mode. I don’t like it.

So, I’m going to get back in the saddle. Of course, I’m starting to get an inkling of my “Lent” project for the year. And, if I decide to go the route I’ve been eyeballing, the small meals thing is going to be extra complicated. Here’s a hint – it will be the opposite of a process of elimination. Hmmmmmm.
Anyway. I’m looking forward to a new year, New Year’s and a new decade. The start of the century was kind of bumpy. Farewell, Naughties. Hello, Teens! Who’d have thought I’d be excited to relive the Teens?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


So I call up a friend to get some input on a birthday celebration for her. Here's something I learned - it's really not all that bad to do for easygoing people who like their birthdays. As opposed to me.

I'm starting to have some pity for people who try to rope me into celebrating my birthday. I mean, all sorts of questions come up. Like "How many tranquilizer darts will we need to actually get Julie to the party?" and "Will she get up and storm out of the restaurant if we have clapping singing waiters deliver cake?" [Answers: One and yes.] With her the questions are "Where do you want to go?" and "Who do you want to invite?" Which is also easier when people basically like any kind of food and have a "more the merrier" party philosophy. As opposed to the "if she's going to be there, I'm not coming" philosophy. [Which I don't do. Even I have my pain in the rear limits.]

Man, I am really a pain in the rear on the birthday celbration issue. I could take pity on my fine friends. Pity, yes. Mercy, no.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wait . . .

So, it's Dick Clark's Rocking New Years Eve with Ryan Seacrest? Does this mean Seacrest is going to take over some day? Does this mean he's permanent? And he's not just going to go away some day? You know, just kind of be done. Some day. You know. Like the Furby. Or Color Me Badd. A fad. He's here, there and every where now. But someday, he'd be not here. You'd look at somebody and say, "Do you remember that Ryan Seacrest guy?"

But if he's the new Dick Clark, someday I'll be like 80 and watching Times Square on New Years. And Seacrest will be 30, introducing Cyrus Jonas (Miley Cyrus and that youngest Jonas brother's grandkid). The future suddenly seems very dark and grim.

Shoot. I kind of just assumed if we waited it out, it would just be Seacrest . . . out.

Kitchen Chronicles

Well, as I drag my lazy bohonkus to the keyboard . . . the Christmas food wrap-up.

First that chocolate spice bread - yeeee-ummmm. It was like a slice of Mexican hot chocolate. Very moist. And just a bit of heaven when paired with a nice cup of tea.

Second, the no-knead whole wheat bread. On the up side, this bread could not have been easier to make. I wasn't sure what would make it rise. Since there's no sugar, I wasn't sure what the yeast would eat to make those yeast farts that make the bread rise (you're welcome for that little image - good luck getting it out of your head). But rise it did. Those wee yeast beasties are a determined lot. On the downside, switching out the rye for corn meal was not a good choice. It just turned it into cornbread. Duh. And I've had better cornbreads. Not that it was bad. It was actually pretty good. And I'm more than willing to tinker with it to come up with a good flour blend. Given that the entire recipe was "put the ingredients in a bowl; stir; wait; put dough in pan; wait; put pan in oven; bake", I'm thinking this could be a go-to classic for me.

Third, the guac. Oh, the guac. I bought 6 avocados, planning to do one regular and one spicy guacamole. 6 BAD avocados. How does one buy SIX BAD avocados? How does that happen. I have no idea. Especially since I went to the hippie store, and their produce is usually top notch. Very disappointing. Luckily, I'd overbought on tomatoes, and was able to freestyle a pico de gallo-style salsa. Which, got rave reviews, she said modestly. Necessity is la madre of invention. I'm a southwest girl, and can also Magyver a queso dip out of two tomatoes, a paper clip and a block of Velveeta. Ole!

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 goes Bang

'The Big Bang Theory' cast is ready for its close-up

Bah-ha-ha-ha! (That's a big Arnold from Happy Days laugh for those old enough to remember, or young enough to admit they are old enough.)

All of these are pretty dead on. But dang that picture of Johnny Galecki as Susan Boyle is platinum funny.)

Drive me crazy

Well, I’ve been driving to work for the last week or so, with the exception of the holidays. I forget how wearing that can be. Traffic. Pa-tooie. Can’t wait to get back to my beloved mass transit, and let somebody else have the headaches.

Because it really is a headache driving in traffic. For one there’s the shame and guilt that I feel every day, when I hit the morning tie-up and scoot along, bumper-to-bumper for 3 miles, and start mumbling “There better be at least 3 wrecked cars and a bleeding head wound at the point of this mess.” And then you get to whatever it is and find out it isn’t. Anything. Just zoom. You’re out of it. No stalled cars. No ambulances. No one wrapped in gauze. Grrrr. Not even somebody pulled to the side of the road with their hood up. Nothing. Dallas is the only city I know where people rubber neck NOTHING.

Ow, ow, my head.

Then, it’s also just psychically draining to be driving along, especially in tight traffic, trying to telepathically intuit things like people moving into your lane. Picking up on those subtle mental vibrations that you get just before someone swerves right in front of you and probably jams on their breaks. I really wish there was something, you know, outside the car, that would let me know when someone was wanting to get in my lane. Or shoot across 4 lanes of traffic to get to an exit. I don’t know. Something that would tell me right or left. Something easily visible to other drivers. Maybe, like a light, or something. That would be nice. If anyone can come up with an invention that would do that, I’d be happy to provide startup capital to get an idea like that off the ground.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Just taking a second out of the baking frenzy (truly, frenzy, two loaves in the oven and 3 lbs of apples to peel) to say happy holidays, seasons greetings and much joy to all my blog buddies! Hope you stay warm and surrounded by loved ones.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Someone's in the kitchen

Okay, I'm getting set to be a cookin' fool. Most of the year, I'm the queen of the cold salad or the cocktail shaker. I save my culinary ambitions for the holidays. I'm no Martha Stewart (I'm not even Rachel Ray), but I think it's part of the holidays to contribute to feeding everyone. I've got three dishes to crank out from Eve to Day: guacamole, apple pie and wheat bread.

The guac I have no worries about. I'm from Texas, y'all. I've been making guacamole since I was 8. I could do it in my sleep. And have done it under the influence. It wasn't pretty, but it sure tasted mighty fine. I'm a moderate traditionalist when it comes to guac. I don't hold with the more Anglo additions like mayo or cream cheese. Mine is just avocado, tomato, lime juice, salt and a touch of garlic and onion powder. Occasionally, I'll get a little wild and throw in a touch of jalepeno or bacon (come on, it's me we're talking about here). But the straight up stuff is really my fave.

Then I'm doing the Colonial Times Apple-Cranberry Pie with Cornmeal Crust from Bon Apetit again. It was a big hit at Thanksgiving, and I had a special request. My pie crust skills are pretty shaky. But this one came out pretty well. And it really was a gorgeous pie. It's a bit of a challenge. But it's worth the extra effort. Big bang to buck ratio as far as time and nerve investment. (If you decide to check out the recipe over at Bon Apetit, I followed one of the comments that recommended cutting the sugar in half. It was plenty, and really allowed the apples and cranberries to shine. I also added a health dash of ginger to the filling. I love the way cranberry and ginger play together.)

Now for the biggie - homemade wheat bread. It's usually my Waterloo. Fruit breads, I can do well. But real bread breads get me every time. I've made more than one inedible mess. And this one has yeast. Yeast, people! Scary business. But I'm using Mark Bittman's Fast No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread from the New York Times. I trust Bittman. He's very no-fuss. Damn close to lazy. And I say that with all due respect. And this recipe looks like a lazy baker's dream. Guilty. I'm going to gird my loins and enter the field of battle. If you smell smoke, it could be me.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Keep me searching for a heart of gold

Okay. I’m taking a stand. I will not be seeing Avatar. I waited until the reviews were in to make the final determination. It was entirely possible that my deeply held beliefs that James Cameron is a complete hack who has had one or two lucky breaks in his career, and existed on complete flim-flam ever since was coloring my perceptions of one of the weakest trailers I have ever seen. It could be that this titanic (snort) budget released some hidden artistry in Cameron and lead to a cinematic tour de force. It could happen.

But uniformly the glowing reviews have come down to “sure it’s weak on plot, but look at the amazing visuals up there on the screen.” I’m pretty much a plot girl. I like having to think a little about what’s going on. Maybe if Avatar had been sold as a kid’s movie, I might have been a little more willing to shell out $9. But this is supposedly for adults. Or at least for people who are old enough to understand to follow something more complicated than good guys wear white hats. I’ve got nothing against razzle-dazzle. I loved the new Star Trek. But throw me a bone here. I need the story to be at least half as good as the show.

But I get it. I’m in the minority. Right now is not a golden age of nuance in film, and most people are pretty happy with boom-boom-pow at the movies. ‘s cool. And I don’t think James Cameron’s going to the poor house because I’m keeping my saw buck in my pocket. I’m thinking I’ll go blow it on Crazy Heart or A Single Man. I’ll skip the glitter and pan for gold.

Just 32

So Brittany Murphy died of natural causes. Yup. Anorexia is totally, totally natural. Just the way your heart stopping because you've ingested massive quantitites of drugs is way natural. Or if you take a bullet to the brain - natural. Because they all cause cardiac arrest. A natural process.

Please. That girl had looked like death warmed over with a heavy coat of foundation and eyeliner for years. The same Hollywood ugliness that would allow Michael Jackson to continue to abuse his body for 30 years let her continue to maintain an unhealthy body weight so that she would be more marketable as an actress. This is of course in the opinion of the same people who brought us the effed up aesthetic that thinks botoxed brows and D-cup breasts with 3% body fat is appealing. There can be cosequences. If you maintain a low body weight over a period of years, the body starts to cannibalize itself and eat it's own muscle tissue. And the heart is a muscle. Which can lead to cardiac arrest.

Which, by the way, is totally, totally natural.

Most anorexics don't die from their disease (though it is entirely possible). They just scrape along in miserable silence, suffering from heart problems, digestive problems, dental problems, esophageal cancer, fertility issues, depression and metabolic fatigue. But it seems to be a price that Hollywood is more than willing to pay to have walking stick figures who look thin on camera because the camera adds weight. Here's an idea - fix the damn cameras. If James Cameron can spend gross national product of Ecuador on making blue people look real, why can't somebody come up with a damn lens that doesn't add 10 pounds?

Will this be the wake up call? All anyone remembers is that Marilyn was found in the nude and Elvis died on the toilet. Cue the Brittany Murphy retrospective on TNT.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Where are Crow and Tom Servo when you need them?

Okay, so last night, I’m trying to finish hats for my nephew’s bald, little head. Fingers flying. Ears bored. So I turn on the TV. I just leave it on the same channel. I just needed noise.

This movie starts. I kind of glance at the title. Hard Luck. Familiar? Maybe. I don’t know. Whatever.

This movie is holy crap bad. In the first 5 minutes, they roll out the lead character’s entire back story. Good guy gone wrong. Goes to prison. Finds redemption in the love of a good social worker. Gets released. Hurricane Katrina hits and kills his wife and destroys his home. He goes back to New York. Where, oh, by the way, he’s from. Did I mention this is all in 5 minutes? Did I mention this is Wesley Snipes? Oh, you say. That explains a lot. Yes, it does.

Along the way, there’s a white boy who thinks he’s Tony Montana, a Puerto Rican girl who says she’s Cuban (why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s more exotic), Mario Van Peebles as a cop, a gun fight that becomes a car chase, and Cybill Shepherd dressed in a French Maid outfit with a plastic mask on engaging in some seriously weird Saw action with her young Asion boy toy, while her mentally challenged son sits in a farm house (why? I still don’t know). And there’s something going on with the Mafia. Or the cops. I wasn’t sure on that point. It didn’t seem to make a difference. Anyway, I gave up after a half hour. Yeah, that was all in a half hour.

Remember when Wesley Snipes was the new Denzel Washington? Yeah, me too. Wonder if he does. Remember when Mario Van Peebles was a respectable actor and director? Yeah. Me neither. Remember when Cybill Shepherd left Moonlighting to do bigger things? Bet she cries herself to sleep at night remembering that too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

To paraphrase my mother: You'd look so much prettier without all that PhotoShop all over your face

Okay, this is just annoying. Is airbrushing a model for face cream false advertising? Duh. (and BTW – if your pants won’t make a model look thinner without the aid of Photoshop, then they won’t make me look thinner either. Because I’ve yet to figure out how to airbrush real life. So, yeah, that’s false advertising too.)

And so completely unnecessary in my opinion. We get older. That’s okay. We don’t need some false hope that some bottle of wonder cream is going to erase the tracks of time. By 50, you have the face you earned. If you lived healthy, kept your karma clean, avoided the sun when possible and did your best to smile whenever possible, then you look just fine. I guarantee it. And if you didn’t do all those things all the time, you’ve earned your lumps and you probably have some really interesting life lessons that you can impart on others, and a little moderately priced lotion as part of a healthy skin care regime. And you look just fine. If you were a bitter, nasty blight on humanity and a boil on the collective posterior, you also have the face your earned, and the most expensive bottle of platypus placenta/Kopi Luwak extract face cream in the world isn’t going to make you a beautiful person. It isn’t. I don’t care what Twiggy says.

I’ll go on the record saying that I think there are very few things on this planet prettier or more feminine that a happy, healthy, older woman. It’s just true. The way the ocean is pretty. Or a sunset. And the happy and healthy part can’t be bought in a bottle. They take harder work that slapping down a credit card. No shortcuts. No airbrushing. And No magic potions. Leave those faces alone, Madison Avenue.

Lump o' Coal

Okay. I’m getting Grinchy. Enough already with the Christmas.

My fault. I popped the cork too soon. I started doing Christmas right after Thanksgiving. Mis-take. I jumped in and knitted, and shopped, and decorated, and drank eggnog, and listened to Christmas music, and watched holiday specials, and uuuuuuugggggghhhhhh.

Too much of a good thing. I’m really starting to get tired of Christmas music. And just on a personal note to all radio stations, more than one version of the same song in the same hour does not count as a different song. I don’t care if Nat King Cole and Christine Aguilera have a “different take” on the classic. It’s still chestnuts roasting on an open fire. And enough with the Perry Como. You shouldn’t operate a vehicle under the influence of Perry Como. And speaking of under the influence, could somebody please get Sarah Mclachlan some antidepressants? Girl sounds fit to slash her dang wrists. And I love Burl Ives. You love Burl Ives. Everybody loves Burl Ives, but Holly Jolly Christmas is on too many play lists. There is no federal regulation that states it must be played every hour. There are a lot of other perfectly good songs out there. Everybody and their dogs have a Christmas album. This is why God created iTunes.

Okay. Whew. Glad I let that out. It was giving me acid reflux. Or maybe that was the 20 ginger snaps that I ate. Anyway. I’ll get back on track. If I can get everything done by Saturday, I may take a Christmas-free Sunday, and just avoid all things holly and jolly for a day. A holiday-less sorbet to cleanse the palate.

Next year, 12 days of Christmas ONLY.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Catch a Tiger by the Tail

I clicked on Top 10 most searched today link on Yahoo for "Actovegin". I mean, I had to know. Is this something new? A fad? A trend? A bandwagon I have yet to jump? A new superhero? Is it newly coined word for the practice of actively vegging out? Oxymoronic, yet intriguing. Or is it politically active vegans who can't spell?

But no. It's just more good news for Tiger Woods. It never rains, right? So one of his doctors got busted for performance enhancing drugs. And considering the string of extra curricular activities that have showed up, it's no wonder he needs a little help with his long game. So to speak.

Are we witnessing the complete meltdown of one of the top sports figures of the century? Can sports betting and tax evasion be far behind?

Idle Hands

Okay, after all my years of watching Intervention and Dr. Drew Rehab of the Stars (drugs and sex editions), I may not be qualified to be an actual addiction therapist. But I have figured out one handy hint that I think would help all of these people.

Get a hobby.

And I mean this seriously. No facetiousness intended. What you see, time after time, is people who’ve given up the main thing that took up their time, who then have nothing but time to sit around with all their obsessive thoughts. A good hobby will take care of that. It’s something to do with your hands. In the case of sex addicts, a benefit not to be underestimated. In fact, as a devoted knitter, I’d recommend a yarn craft to start out. Those sex addicts could probably keep homeless shelters and NIC/ICUs stocked in blankets and preemie caps year round. Of course, as a functional yarn addict, I can tell you, it could be trading one addiction for another. But at least this one would result in a sweater.

Also, as a confirmed hobbyist, I can say that there is a certain buzz you get out of a completed project. The feeling of “I ROCK!” that comes with that last stitch, brush stroke, step, or whatever it is you do to keep busy is pretty damn good. Given the fact that every addict seems to have self-esteem lower than a snakes belly in a wagon rut, a little I ROCK could probably come in handy.

A good hobby will keep you engaged, give you a sense of achievement, give you something to talk to about to other hobbyists and it can get you through a tough time. And I’d think it could go a long way if you’re trying to get out of the Devil’s workshop.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Invictus – I’m going to give it a personal grade of A, an overall grade of B+. It is not a towering cinematic achievement. But it is good story telling. And if you are in a group that has a vested interest, I think, like me, you’ll like it a lot. And here’s how I’d break those groups out:

Morgan Freeman fans: [Hi, Glo!] It’s his best performance in years. He really challenged himself by taking on a distinctive public figure like Mandela. The accent isn’t exactly right (Matt Damon does a much better job with the Boer accent), but he gets Mandela’s cadence and tone very, very well. And the body language is just spot on. Plus you also get the magnetism that you get even just watching Mandela on TV. There’s a good mix of “great man” and “just a man”. I’d compare it to a Frank Capra movie. With Freeman playing the Jimmy Stewart role.

Sports fans: This is a really good sports movies. And even if you don’t understand the finer points of rugby (how many Americans do?), you’ll get what a physical and dynamic sport this is. It could even tempt a few American football fans into checking this craziness out. Rugby is like football if you grafted on soccer, volleyball and king of the mountain, and then played it backwards and off your medication. The only place that the movie slightly falls down is that because they didn’t want the other players to completely tower over Matt Damon, the other members of the team aren’t quite as big as they should be, so you don’t quite get the overall impact of what professional rugby should look like. But it’s pretty darned close.

And you were there: This is where I fall in. After reading Playing the Enemy, I had to wonder what it was like to actually be there at that World Cup match. And you really get a taste of the scope of what happened that day when the Springboks played the All Blacks. Clint Eastwood really went for the power of the historical moment. Once again, I knew how it all turned out, but I was still riveted. And it’s a good piece of end-of-the-year optimism that shows a moment where people behaved better than they thought possible.

On the downside, there are some things that would be misleading if you didn’t know the actual history. Damon’s character appears to be a mix of Francois Pienaar and Morne Du Plessis. The way the Springboks learned Nkosi Sikelele is completely inaccurate. The flyover is an even better story than what you get in the movie. And you might get the impression that Mandela only came up with his plan after he came to office, when there is good evidence that he had the seeds of the idea quite a bit before he came to power. But there are sacrifices that need to be made in history in order to make a coherent movie. And I think the adaptation is close enough that you get some taste of the incredible real-life drama that this was. And I hope some people will become curious enough to go find out what really happened.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Off to the picture show

Well, I’m off to see Invictus tonight. I’ve been so looking forward to this. It’s based on Playing the Enemy, which is a really fantastic book. I have some doubts, of course. You do with any movie adaptation. First, it’s Clint Eastwood, and that weird combo of macho and melodramatic, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, that I find a little off-putting. And Matt Damon looks NOTHING like Francois Pienaar, the captain of the South African rugby team. Other than being blond and bipedal.

Most of all, I’m doubtful because in Playing the Enemy John Carlin did a wonderful job of distilling a huge issue into an understandable narrative. And he did it by telling some of the incredible individual stories that are involved in the end of apartheid. I’m doubting that Anton Lubowski or the jet flyover made it into the movie. And since Amazon has the hardcover book for $8, Super Saver shipping eligible . . . I’m just saying.

I’m less concerned about mythologizing Mandela. We worry a lot about not making leaders super human in history. And when you see the scope of what happened in the predominantly peaceful end of apartheid, it is a moment in time worthy of myth-making. And Mandela does deserve his place in history. Playing the Enemy does a particularly good job of showing the forces that were in play that make what happened in South Africa remarkable. You know, your local library probably has a copy.

Anyway. I’m pretty stoked to see this movie. And see if Eastwood and Morgan Freeman may have caught lightning in a bottle a second time out of this story. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The kid's out of the picture

So, my brother takes my nephew to get pictures with Santa. The little guy is informed that if he wants that new red dinosaur, he’d better tell Santa, just to make sure it happens. My nephew takes a look at the truly splendid Santa, and runs screaming. He informs my brother that he’ll talk to Santa “next year.” So, no ’09 Santa pics. And a story that will be told throughout the ages, lo these many Christmases to come, is born.

You think it’s a golden memory of childhood you’re creating. The kid thinks it’s some beardy, red giant that’s going to squeeze them to death. The things that an adult thinks will enchant a kid rarely work out. It’s why you’ll see a 5-year old lying on the ground, screaming and kicking their feet in the middle of Disneyland. Happiest place on earth. Ha!

We grownups, we all see our childhood memories through an adult lens. And we’re not so great at really seeing what it is that will knock a kid’s socks off. A friend of mine took her goddaughter to one of those Renaissance dinner theater things. The handsome prince walks up to the 7-year old little girl, with curly blond locks and a cupid’s bow mouth, and offers her a crown to be his princess for the night. My friend gasps. Every little girls dream. But the kid ain’t having it. No, thank you, she says. My friend says she nearly snatched that crown and plopped it on her own head to show the kid how it’s done. Perhaps it was more of a big girl dream.

I think a lot of it is that kids still have that glowing imagination. They don’t need a real live Santa or prince. The one in their head is so much better than the “reality” will ever be. But we need the guy in the suit or that magic castle in the middle of a Florida swamp to fill in the holes that wear in our imaginations as we grow older. Kids never plan to be amazed. They just are. It’s pretty rare that their imaginary worlds and ours meet. And it’s almost never something that we cook up for them on purpose. You just have to be there, and paying attention, when whatever it is catches their imaginations, and their little faces light up. You can’t really force it. But it’s so worth waiting for.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Picture it

Hmmm. Interesting. Well. Kinda interesting. Somebody tried to extort money out of Stamos. With pictures that show him posing with fans. Hmmm, I say. Posing. With fans. What can that mean? And why would it be bad enough to pay hush money over. Is this like when Rob Lowe "posed" with "young fans"? Is Osama bin Laden a big Full House/Uncle Jessie fan? Is he posing with fans with Tiger Woods? What's worth $680,000? Interesting number to pull out of your ass and put on an extortion note, by the way.

But, really, why Stamos? He could be living fat on Full House money. But I think most people's response to anything less than full on pervy is going to be "Eh. Whatever." I wouldn't call him a has-been. He's more of a really-was-now-kinda-is. He was monster in the 80s as Blackie on General Hospital. She who did not snog a Stamos poster on her high school locker door at least once may cast the first stone. And his career certainly didn't take the death spiral that fellow GH hunk/singer Rick Springfield. He's stayed busy. The face is still good. You get the feeling that he'll be showing up as the guest love interest on TV shows for another 30 years. But it's not like he'd fall from a really big height. Stamos pretty much defines the B-list. And if you're not perched that high, it's much harder to knock you down. Smart, when you think about it.

What could those pictures possibly be?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Clean up on aisle 5 - or They Will Know Us By Our Trail of Sick

Okay, so one of the questions in today’s Carolyn Hax column is regarding what to do “in a marriage, when the other just can't have that breakup talk (tears, excessive emotions, vomiting)?” Wow. Vomiting? Really? On the one hand, greeting emotional confrontations with tears is one thing, but vomiting a whole different kettle of fish. Right up there on the list of red flags. Did this person know about the projectile response prior to getting married? Cause I’d have been saying, “Hold on there, pukey. Ain’t nobody putting a ring on anything around here.”

On the other hand though, as far as defense mechanisms go? Cool! This is pretty highly evolved. Like National Geographic Channel special highly evolved. Protective coloration? Nuh-uh. The best defense is a good offense. Bet ya that sneaky eagle might think twice about snatching a frog out of his happy little pond if it turned around and up chucked on him. Bluuuuurp.

In fact, this human might even consider working on this little survival strategy. A purse might not be such a prize if it comes with a barf payload. Especially if you managed to barf directly into the purse. Here ya go. It might also make getting fired a completely different proposition. Okay, you might not get to keep your job. But it would be pretty satisfying if they had to show up at your severance meeting covered up like they’re on their way to a Gallagher show.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Honest Scraps

Okay. Courtesy of the tag from Washington Gardener (, here are 10 honest things about me. I was admonished to make them interesting. I don't find myself all that interesting, but I'll give it a shot.

  1. I can touch my tongue to my nose. Really. It’s my best stupid human trick.
  2. I love the sound of my own voice. I avoid radio stations that play songs I don’t know, just because I can’t sing along. Talk radio is a complete waste of my time.
  3. I hate bathing. Don’t get me wrong. I like being clean. I just hate baths and showers. I take showers because they’re more efficient. But I find the entire process irritating.
  4. I am, bar none, the laziest person I know.
  5. Canadians, performance artists and lawyers bug me.
  6. Even if I lived completely alone on a perfectly climate controlled deep-space station, I would still wear clothes.
  7. I’m intimidated by just about everyone on the planet. Yes. Even you.
  8. I’ve enjoyed very few “great writers” that I’ve ever read. Among others, I hate Dickens, Melville, Hawthorne, nearly all of Hemingway, Saul Bellow, Henry James, Hardy, Dreiser, Orwell, Conrad, D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Kerouac, Cheever, Updike, Plath and Pynchon.
  9. I have disliked nearly everyone who has ever been introduced to me as “Oh, you’ll love Soandso. He/She’s just like you.”
  10. I’m 40 years old and I still have no idea what I’m doing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Depends on what you mean by "high maintenace"

Talking about George Clooney’s “youth preference” got me to thinking about high maintenance and low maintenance. Off the cuff, if I asked what was “high maintenance”, most people would say that it involves lots of expensive presents “just because”, romantic dinners, spa appointments and always being on one’s best behavior.

But there’s the other kind of high maintenance woman, that doesn’t get as much press. Someone who expects emotional honesty, generosity over indifference, honorable intentions and kindness. That takes a whole lot of work. It can be pretty exhausting.

I think many men complain pretty openly about the first kind of high maintenance women, but live in secret fear of the second. Which is kind of disingenuous. The first kind of high maintenance results in a picture perfect woman suitable for any trophy case. Though they may complain about it, that airbrushed gal is has something tangible that you can show off to the boys. The emotionally high maintenance woman is a little harder to brag about. “Man, my woman never lets me get away with saying things are fine when they aren’t. What a gal!” Too bad. That kind of high maintenance usually ends up in hearty relationships that go the distance.

And this isn’t a knock against men. There are just as many women who pride themselves on being Birkin Bag and spa treatment high maintenance, and don’t ever think about being the other kind. It’s a lot of hard work too. Because it’s hard to demand things like emotional honesty when you aren’t doing it yourself.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Look at me! Look at me!

You know, I think with the Heenes (Balloon Boy and Co.) and the Salahis (the infamous White House Gate Crashers) reality TV “characters” have finally reached the tipping point. Or is that “reality” TV characters? Probably both. In the two of those stories, the great entertainment phenomena of the 00s come crashing together.

One of them is the “pushing the envelope” trend. In entertainment in the last decade, everything had to be bigger, louder, sexier, more shocking and more outrageous than the episode before. You won’t believe what happens next. If Britney wore a tube top and hot pants in her first video, she was going to have to wear a thong and a pair of pasties in her second. If The Desperate Housewives made you gasp last week, they were going to have to give you a heart attack this week. And the more shock and awe we saw, the bigger the concussion was going to have to be to get the same reaction the next time. We really got to be shock junkies.

Then there was reality TV. From American Idol and Survivor we learned that real people will do stuff that you just can’t make up. Or wouldn’t believe if somebody did. You can’t say, “Oh, nobody does anything that crazy” if a real-live human being just did it on national TV. Who would believe that we’d actually have a TV show to watch people diet (Biggest Loser)? Or eat bugs (Fear Factor)? Or sit around the house (Big Brother)?

So what people found out was that the only talent you actually have to have to be famous is for being a shocking character. How do you shock? You ratchet it up from whatever the last person did. If Richard Hatch was a jerk, then Omarosa is going to have to be a heinous bitch to get somebody to pay attention. The thing is that you’re not acting on a soundstage. You actually have to DO it. And eventually, there is going to be someone and desperate enough for attention that they were going to DO something illegal, and dumb enough to get caught. If Sylar kills somebody on Heroes, Zachary Quinto doesn’t go to jail. But if the Salahis gate crash at the White House, they could actually go to jail. And I’m not really sure about jurisdiction here, but if it’s DC lockup? I don’t think a chance to be on Real Housewives is going to look all that worth it.

I really can't wait until this decade is over.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Not in the same weight class

So, I get an e-mail from a friend with this link to the Huffington Post (she’s one of those addicts), that’s tagged “when I first saw this picture, I thought, Wow, Clooney is dating someone almost his own age.” But no. That’s his Mom. [Which, one, explains a lot. And, two, did she have him when she was 6? ] The dewy one on the other arm is the girlfriend. Snowball’s chance of him dating somebody age appropriate.

Not that it’s to the point of gross. This isn’t Jack Nicholson and anyone of the string of chippies he’s dated since he stopped seeing Angelica Huston back in the 80s. Which is gross. Clooney is a good looking guy who takes care of himself (and evidently swam out of a deep gene pool – and hold on just picturing that – heh-heh-heh – ooo yeah – okay, I’m back). In fact, he treads really close to that “no men prettier than I am” rule that I have. So it’s not like he can’t get 20-year olds, or would look ooky with one.

It’s that he wants to hang around with them. Bless their hearts, 20-year olds can be just cute as bugs. But have you tried spending a bunch of time with them? After awhile, you just want them to go away. Exhausting, and a little boring. Sure they’re bright and shiny. But so’s a sparkler. And you can only wave one of those around so long.

By the time you’re George Clooney’s age, you should have some life experience. Some thoughts running around in your head. You’ve got some game, and you’d think you’d want to challenge yourself a little bit in your choice of partner. Dating way below your age range just seems, I don’t know. Lazy? It’s like Troy Aikman signing up to play Pee Wee football.

Okay. Who am I to judge? It’s not liking he’s slipping the ruffies and taking advantage of them. He’s dating consenting adults. But I have to say, it does make him a lot less attractive.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bears have the right idea

I always feel myself to be in conflict with the winter-lovers this time of year. The temperature drops and they get all happy. The walk around with these contented smiles, saying cheery things like, “Doesn’t it just feel like the holidays?” No. It feels like I’m freezing my ass off.

Here in Dallas, I really shouldn’t complain. We get “seasons” (blech). But for the most part they’re all pretty mellow. The summers aren’t as hot as Arizona. The spring isn’t as wet as Florida. The fall isn’t as windy as California. And we aren’t a dimple on the butt of a Michigan winter. We get a little bit of all of it. But, thankfully, not a big old heaping helping of any of it. Even our tornado season isn’t as rowdy as our neighbors to the north.

It’s just I don’t like cold weather. And I have trouble understanding people that do. And they’re just so happy about it. My hands are turning blue and they’re ready to frolic in the park. Freaks. Plus cold weather makes me cranky. And I do things like call people freaks because of the alternate lifestyles. Some weirdoes even like the “S” word. [Don’t say it. Don’t think it. If you say the “S” word, it might hear you and come looking for you. Double ugh.] Personally, I think there must be a medication for that.

Guaranteed, I’ll be in the elevator at some point I’ll be in the elevator, and the information screen will show the forecast. “Oh, look! A high of 43 on Friday! Isn’t that exciting?” Breathe deep. Calm. Don’t say it.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Pucker up, buttercup.

[Welcome back from the holidays! Hope you all had too much turkey and enough downtime to enjoy – though is there ever really enough?]

So, I get my package today. I’ve been waiting with bated breath (ha-ha, you’ll get it in a minute). It’s one of those things that is among the many reasons that God created the internet. Those things that you think, oh, geez, I really used to love that? You never see it in the stores any more. But, lo and behold – Amazon. Bless ‘em.

Binaca. I love Binaca. In fact I used to love Binaca a little too much. Zsp-zsp. Fresh breath. And I cared not that it made me look like a 70s lounge lizard. In fact that may have made me love it just a little more. Breath mints annoy me after about 2 minutes, and I end up chewing them. And I have no restraint when it comes to gum. I’m just jawing on that stuff until I give myself a nasty headache. Binaca was the fast and minty alternative. I always had some in my purse.

And that became the reason I stopped carrying it. I went through a period of about 6 months back in the early 90s where I had to pick people up from the airport. And this was when they actually let you go to the gate to pick people up. Remember that? I miss that. Anyway, I’d have to put my purse on the x-ray, and be ready to say “It’s Binaca” when the guard would give me the skunk eye for trying to sneak in mace.

So, for some reason Binaca comes up in a conversation last week, and I got all nostalgic. Zip over to the internet, and now I have a 6-pack of those handy breath fresheners in my hot little hands. And danged if it isn’t just as good as I remember. Coffee breath, begone! Ahhh. Contentment.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Much Ado

So, the fallout from the Adam Lambert at the American Music Awards thing, huh? Interesting.

I actually saw the performance. Unlikely given the fact that I’m fairly anti-award show. And also, given the fact that most of the acts up to that point were pretty meh. That chain coat that Alicia Keys was wearing looked like she stole it from a Fly Girl. Probably Jennifer Lopez, because she was obviously digging in her old Fly Girl costume closet. And when even I, who would lick Billy Joe Armstrong from nose to toes, find Green Day’s performance a bore, you’ve got problems. Pretty much only Gaga broke the malaise miasma that hung over the AMAs.

Then we ended with Adam Lambert. He tried. But let’s face it, the kid has a lot a larnin’ to do when it comes to big stage performance. He got a little big for his britches and would have probably pulled it off if he’d scaled the entire performance down by half to a quarter. But, points for ambition. Which is more than can be said for most performers Sunday night.

Which leaves us with the “acting out” behavior. As far as the boy-on-boy kiss, I did not really realize that he was kissing a boy. In fact, my thought was, “For a homosexual, he’s really snogging the heck out of that girl. Too many Katy Perry plays on his iPod?” But I approve of Universal Love Gods, and actually thought it was a little edgy that he was shmenking a girl. So, I have to admit I’m a little disappointed that he was just kissing a boy. Yawn. Way to play to type.

Which leaves us with the rather blatant simulated oral cop (as they’d call it on the SVU). That was in poor taste (ahem), and way over the line for the AMAs. In his own stage show? Certainly and brava. On MTV? Borderline, but it is cable so go for it. But miming a blow job on network television, that’s just not cool. And it wouldn’t matter whether it was a guy or a girl with their face smashed against his groin. I’m just hoping it was an artistic miscalculation, and not just a cheap publicity move timed to coincide with his album dropping. Adam has enough talent to make it on just being a cute guy with a great voice. Knock ‘em dead with your pipes. Not by faking getting . . . oh, nevermind.

[Sidebar note: Why are all of these people so phenomenally poorly mic’ed? Seriously. If we expect people to actually perform, without artificial help, go to the trouble to make them not sound like they’re singing through a tin can.]

Monday, November 23, 2009

Shaking the dust off our feet and hightailing it on out of here

You know what? The Naughties are coming to an end! That’s right 2010 is right around the corner. Frankly, yeah. I’m dang tired of this decade. It’s been some new damned thing every year. And I haven’t liked much of it. Buildings falling, bubbles bursting, cities washing away, super viruses, melting glaciers, and people just going flat-out out of control. And if decades have characters, I don’t think this one’s going down in the books as one of the more likable ones.

Maybe we should be making a “new decade resolution” and just agree that there are some things we just need to leave behind in the 00s. Like the fact that we lost track of the fact that Gordon Gecko’s “Greed is good” was meant ironically. Or the fact that even if you can afford it, $15,000 really is too much to pay for a purse. Or maybe there really is such thing as too much bling, and Over the Top is just over the top. Or if you need an SUV to carry all of your kid’s sports equipment, maybe your kid is playing too many sports. Or that it’s okay to grow up, and you can have fun as an adult too. Or maybe porn stars and strippers really shouldn’t be fashion role models. Or it’s okay to not get something you want. Or that polite is not a synonym “uptight.” Or that the cell phone is not a life support system; you can put it down. Or maybe “keeping it real” just ends up being just as fake.

Everybody seems to kind of go into a new decade with a new vision, and a disdain for that’s “so last decade.” I’d really like to think we’re all gonna blink on January the 1st, and think, “Wow, did that really just happen?” And we’ll wake up out of whatever fever dream we’ve been living the last 10 years. I don’t know what the Teens are going to look like. But, jeez. We can do better than this.

Friday, November 20, 2009

You could have just asked

I just thought I'd share my befuddle.

They had to kill people to get this? Not just rob graves, but kill people? They couldn't find volunteers? Cause this one could help you out. Nice sized tummy pooch. No waiting.

If true, then . . . what?

I don't think I've ever understood the Shroud of Turin thing. Granted, I was raised in a church that doesn't go in for much beyond Communion and baptism, as far as the whole rites and rituals thing. So I don't have much background here. But the relics are just kind of beyond my capacity.

I really don't have an opinion on whether it's real or not. I think, given how many pieces of the True Cross and saints knuckles are floating around out there, there's a good chance it's a fake. But maybe not. Stranger things. And if people want to believe, that's their business.

But I'm not sure why, if you do believe, it's something you'd want to keep around. Let alone touch. It's basically Jesus' BandAid. Like, with blood stains, and everything. Personally, when a bandage is on my finger, it's fine. But once it comes off, I never want to touch it again. You know like when one falls off in the shower, and you just stare at it because you don't want to pick the nasty thing back up. On your body - fine. The second it's off? Now it's hazardous waste.

And I kind of think Jesus would think the same thing. Like if he were to show up in Turin, for like a ski trip or something. "Hey, look what we've got!" "Oh. You kept that? Really? . . . Wow." It's not like it would even be a reminder of a good memory. I mean, you know. Dead and all. It's not like it's his favorite sandals or the cup he used to turn water into wine. "You guys! Hey, I can't believe you kept this! Good times. Good times." But the sheet you got wrapped in after being crucified? Not a good souvenir.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kate Moss says thinks nothing tastes as good as skinny feels

Obviously she's never had my momma's chicken fried steak.

Guess it was too much to hope

So, my niece tells me that even the rap and hip hop kids are wearing the skinny jeans that the emo kids wear.

At last! Something that kills the dropped pants phenomenon. Finally, finally, these kids won't look like imminent threat of a full moon siting. What's it been 15 years?

"Hallelujah. At least now they won't be walking around with their pants hanging half off their butts any more."

She just looks at me and slowly shakes her head.


Fear not, Ewan - I ride to your rescue

The Forbes most overpaid actor list pegs Will Ferrell as number one this year. Well, no duh. But they single out Ewan McGregor as number 2. And that just seems kind of out of whack. And I’m not sure if it’s just that I like Ewan or not. The fact that he’s a nice looking fella who’s willing to get his kit off at the drop of a hat argues in his favor, as far as I’m concerned. But I think there are a few other elements that the Forbes assessment doesn’t take into account.

One is that there is a big difference between the best thing in a bad movie, and the worst thing in a bad movie. We all know that actors will sometimes work for the paycheck. You can take pride in your work. But you can’t eat pride. But once you’re in, you can do your damnedest to make sure that the time you’re on the screen doesn’t suck. Which McGregor frequently does. Where as Will Ferrell appears to be developing an aesthetic of suck. At one point I was thinking his overgrown manchild shtick was kind of interesting and wanted to see where he was taking it. But he’s not actually taking it anywhere. Character development done. I’d caution him that only the French think Jerry Lewis is a genius for doing the very same thing. It gets old.

The other thing that one can do with paychecks is finance your time spent doing no-to-low budget projects that do stretch your creative muscles. And Ewan McGregor has spent years floating back and forth between commercial and creative work. He’s among the actors who have been able to make the “one for me, one for the bank” career work. Will Ferrell on the other hand has really staid pretty exclusively in the commercial sector. Other than that Woody Allen movie and, if you’re really generous, Stranger than Fiction, it’s really been the crassest form of commercialism. Which is fine. Just try to be good at it. Have some pride, man. There can be a lot forgiven if you show that you’re willing to put yourself out there every once in a while.

And then there’s the intersection where these two concepts meet. Rarely is Ewan McGregor the top name in a big budget, paycheck movie. And when those flop, it’s not because he didn’t hold up his end of the workload. Where Will Ferrell has been the star of (and in some cases the creative force behind) several big budget turkeys. And when they go down it is pretty squarely in his dish. When it comes right down to it, Ferrell has become a big goldbrick. He’s the Barry Bonds of Hollywood.

So, I guess what I’m saying is, maybe there’s something that is missing in the analysis on the Forbes list. Sometimes a “by the numbers” look just doesn’t see the whole picture.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Among the changes that I will not be approving

See? See? The regime changes and people think that they can just slip things by you.

As we made our contingency plans for the New World Order Thanksgiving, a "friend" suggested, as we assigned out dessert, that we could just get canned whipped cream. Not Cool Whip. But the aerosol stuff that's real cream. . .

Oh, sure. Then we can put bones through our noses and boil up a missionary for dinner. Maybe paint our bodies with river mud and wear loincloths to the table. No need to be so formal.


There will be whipped cream. Period. We are not savages.

Last Christmas

I kind of get the feeling that I missed something. The stirring in the force. The flash before the boom. I think last year may have been the last of the Christmas Past holidays. Maybe if I'd been paying attention, I'd have put the dots together. My brother already one and a half kids. And my sister was planning parenthood.

But things hadn't quite reached the tipping point. There was still the ability to manage a Christmas that was like Christmas. My Christmas. Where the tree is at Mom & Dad's house. Everybody will make it there some time in the morning, but somebody is late. Somebody is always late. Should we just go ahead and open presents? No. Of course not. Then we're all present (ha!) and accounted for. And the littlest is Santa and hands out gifts. Then a buffet (it's just so hard to pass) lunch. Cake or pie? Yes. Tea's on the sideboard.

But the Thanksgiving plans are already scuttled because of extended family concerns. We've made contingency plans. But, ow ow ow. And Christmas is looking pretty shakey. There are kids and in-laws and travel time to accomodate. The things that are "well, of course, we always do it that way" are just not going to get done.

And it's okay. Things change. Families change. We'll be together when we can. And the "always" things may just have to wait until next time. It really is okay. You sometimes have to poke yourself in the arm and remind yourself that just because it's new doesn't mean it's worse. There can be new traditions.

I just wish I'd known at the time that last year was the last one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Levi Stress

I don’t know about Ms. Palin’s lovely state of Alaska. But in the great state of Texas, an unsolicited “I’ll pray for him,” in this particular context, would mean “I hope he chokes on his own vomit.” In the kindest way possible. The same way in “bless his heart” means, “poor thing doesn’t have the brains God gave a goose; don’t give him anything sharp to play with.”

Friday, November 13, 2009

Going down in flames

Okay, it’s time for a currency check. Last week, Nicolas Cage revealed that he doesn’t have two nickels to rub together because of things like buying islands, haunted mansions and dinosaur skulls (What does one do with a dinosaur skull? Put it on the coffee table?). This week John Cusack is in 2012, and stinker movie you could smell coming from a mile off. Have these two guys finally run out of the unlimited cache that movie audiences have seemed to want to cut them?

Personally, I’ve always been of the opinion that Nic Cage doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together. And as of last week, most entertainment writers seemed to be moving en masse towards a “Cage is a ridiculous douchebag” assessment. Please do. Mi bandwagon es su bandwagon. Been riding this baby since Peggy Sue got married. And whatever cultural coin he earned from Leaving Las Vegas (none with me, by the way, overrated piece of macho fantasia claptrap) should have been cashed long ago. But regardless. If it’s his fiscal irresponsibility that opens America’s eyes, so be it. Maybe it will stop Ghost Rider 2: Hell on Wheels.

Then there’s John Cusack. What to make of him? He doesn’t seem to be an idiot; longstanding friendship with Jeremy Piven notwithstanding. He can act. He’s handsome enough to attract, yet doughy enough to not intimidate. He was Lloyd freaking Dobbler for crissakes (though Better Off Dead is my preferred seminal work). And yet . . . if we’re all honest, we all look at movie trailers with him in it and think “It might not suck.” But the fact that he’s been in so movies that just barely miss suckitude by virtue of his presence kind of indicates that there’s going to be a whole lot of suckage going on around him. Do you really want to drop $9.50 on that? He’s the king of popcorn movies with intellectual pretensions, and the flaccid semi-art house tearjerker. Enough already.

Sad to see the mighty fall. In their own way, they both used to own their own particular part of the field. And give them credit for a good ride. 20+ years is gold watch territory by Hollywood standards. Hopefully Cusack was a little smarter with his money.

This is who we are

I was thinking that my family has certain articles of faith. Things we believe that make us who we are. We believe:

In real whipped cream, not Cool Whip. Life is too short to not lick the beaters. And if you are asked to, consider it an honor.

That though Elvis was a giant of music, Bob Wills is still the King.

That there’s always room for one more at the table.

You can never be too close to the fireworks display.

If you play a practical joke on someone else, you’re not allowed to get mad when they do it back to you. But don’t let that stop you.

Holiday crackers are part of any Christmas dinner or New Years brunch. And anyone who refuses to put on the paper crown, even for a minute or two, is suspect. We suspect that you don’t know how to have a good time.

No matter how bad things are, we will make it better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fire and brimstone

I saw the pictures from the protest in front of Sidwell Friends in DC this morning. I wasn’t really surprised that it got some attention with the Obama girls going to school there. What did make me blink was the picture of the protester in front of the Sidwell lower school who was holding a sign that said “God hates you.” I mean actually blink. Like my brain just couldn’t process the image. I’m a bad old agnostic, and even I think God might be upset about somebody putting those words in his mouth.

What place does that come from?

The ancient Mesopotamian gods were complete assholes. No lie. They were mean, vindictive and more often than not indifferent to the happiness of humanity. And if you lived in ancient Mesopotamia, with the droughts, and the sandstorms and the catastrophic floods, and the occasional earthquake, and virulent plagues and famine, you might think your god was a hateful bastard too.

So who are these people for whom hate is a holy attribute? Who is the church that thinks “” is the message that they want to send to the world? Do they think that's the "good news" they are supposed to spread? What kind of existence do they lead, that makes a god who hates school children the deity that speaks to them? How often does their holy of holies throw thunderbolts their way and laugh at their pain?

Don’t tell me. I don’t think I want to know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2009 Holiday Goals: No fa-la-la-la-la-fatalities

As Black Friday approaches, I’d like to make a brief public service announcement to the American People:

Hello, America! It’s almost here. Christmas shopping season. And I’m hoping that we can all just stop here before the hustle-bustle starts and . . . whooooeeeeww . . . take a deep breath . . . whooooooffff . . . let it out. Roll the head. Shrug the shoulders. Shake it out. That’s it. Relaxed? Good.

Now. Look me in the eyes. No. In the eyes. Got me? Excellent.

There is nothing in the Wal-Mart worth dying over. There is nothing in the Wal-Mart worth killing over. There is nothing in the Wal-Mart worth getting upset about. There is nothing in the Wal-Mart that you need bad enough to harsh your overall holiday mellow.

Shoulders still relaxed? Good.

Ditto any other store. Also any product. Not $25 big screen TVs. Not the last Bakugan in the state. Not anything. If you find what you’re looking for, that’s great. If you get a good deal on it, even better. If you can’t afford to buy it unless there is a Black Friday ad in which only 6 of them are offered for a ridiculously low price, you probably don’t need it. Wait. Let me check. No. There are no kidneys or livers on the Wal-Mart Black Friday ad. So, no, there’s no chance you actually need anything there.

How we doing? Okay? Still feeling loose? Breathing okay?

Yes. I know it’s mass consumer heresy. By the day after Thanksgiving we should all be amped up to such a state of frenzy that we’ll line up at 4:00 am to get a shot at a $1.99 laptop. But I just want to offer, it’s okay. Relax. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Get up the next morning, and read the ads over a nice hot beverage. Maybe mosey out and pick up a few presents to stimulate the old economy. Put some mental effort into it and buy a thoughtful gift for each of your loved ones that is within your budget. What you can afford is good enough. And if someone complains because you did get them an extravagant enough gift . . . Well, I don’t really need to complete that thought, do I? Give smiles, kisses and hugs liberally. Make a potholder. Bake a pan of brownies. Walk somebody’s dog for them. And if you luck out and find that $1.99 laptop? Well, consider it a Christmas miracle.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Side effects may vary,2933,573620,00.html

I'm sorry, but this just makes me want to go out and buy an iPhone. That suddenly I should look at my wireless device and think, "Hey. Is that Rick Astley?" What a wonderous and benevolent place the world would suddenly seem.

If all computer viruses were this nice, hackers would be known as lovable and merry pranksters. Kindly folk heroes even. Spreading joy like Johnny Appleseed in a techno-sterile world.

Instead of being known as douchebags and jerkwads who live to Eff up the collective day. Take a lesson, jerkwads.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Big Slice of MYOB Pie

I saw this in the NY Times. And I started to wonder why principals and teachers don't use one key phrase to diffuse all of this dress code nonsense: "Keep your eyes on your own paper."

Here's what I mean - if each student is concentrating on their own education and personal development, it doesn't matter how any other student is dressed. Just like the only way you know that Billy is cheating on a test is if your eyes strayed from your own test, the only way that you even notice somebody else's business is if you aren't paying attention to your own.

It works for are outside the gender norm. It works for kids who are outside the financial norm (rich or poor). It works for the weird kid, the short kid, the fat kid, the religious kid, the ethnic kid. And if you have enough time to comment on anything about another student, perhaps we need to look at elevating the amount of schoolwork you are involved in, because you obviously have too much time on your hands.

Acting as if being different will affect classroom discipline just feeds into the worst of teenage peer pressure. Over-reacting just affirms their over-inflated sense of self-importance. If body parts are covered, nothing makes noise or smells ungodly and the student is able to breathe and move adequately, there's nothing they can wear that a dose of MYOB won't cure. And in the case of gender bending, if the kid is only doing it to get attention, you know what the quickest way to get him to stop is? That's right. Ignore him.

If I was a principal, unless Jimmy has a gun or a drug stash, I don't want to hear about it from you. You keep your eyes on your paper, and Jimmy's gone keep his eyes on his paper. Whether he's wearing nail polish, speaking Japanese or praying. It's none of your business. You don't have to talk to each other. You don't have to look at each other. You do your thing. He'll do his. School is for academics. Period.

In fact the entire world would be a nicer place if more people kept their eyes on their own papers.

Judgy much?

You know that thing about books and covers?

I went to see that production of Talk Radio on Sunday afternoon. My play buddy and I simultaneously had the “Thank heaven it’s in the daylight” moment as we drove into the area where the show was. Not the sort of area you want to be driving around while female at night. During weekdays, I’m sure it’s a bustling warehouse area. On the weekends? Mildly post-apocalyptic.

We finally found the place. Luckily, they called themselves the Green Zone. And it’s quite apropos. It’s this giant detached garage with three loading doors, painted a kicky shade of Kelly green. Also apropos because the neighborhood looked mildly Baghdad-ish, complete with the Iraq Museum of Antiquities next door. It was this giant, fenced-in parking lot with all of these big brass and iron statues in different states of disintegration. The kind of pieces you’d buy for your garden, if you’ve got a modest acre plot. Big horses in mid-gallop. Weeping Greek ladies. Longhorn cattle. A large male torso that has rather unfortunate bits missing (head, limbs, other accessories). Well. Unfortunate for him. Anatomically correct it would be a rather intimidating bit of bric-a-brac to have around the manse. It was very large. The parking lot for the theater was also fenced. Chain link is never a good sign for your personal security.

We went in, past the grindingly institutional lobby, the size of a bathroom stall, and right into a really well built theater. Blink, blink. Did we just teleport? Because this isn’t the theater that was inside the building we just entered. That theater was 20 folding chairs and Ikea track lighting used for spotlights. This TARDIS of a theater was spacious, well equipped, and adequately seated (though at the 80 minute mark, I started to get a raging case of church pew butt – wiggle, wiggle, wiggle). Huh. Who knew? I’ve had several experiences here in Dallas where the plucky, let’s put on a show chutzpah is supposed to make up for crap surroundings. And that’s, frankly, what I was expecting here. Not so, Doubting Thomasina. Not so.

Happily, the show was up to snuff too. I can tolerate a bad show in a good space, but bear grudges about a good show in a bad space. (Arbitrary, but I’m okay with that.) But this was a good show in a good place. Nothing to complain about. I’d recommend going to this or any other play at the Green Zone. Though I, myself, won’t be doing a night show. Unless I make friends with a new play buddy who’s a green beret.

Friday, November 6, 2009

That girl really is a chameleon

It's probably a measure of her fashion bag of tricks that I glanced at this picture that was tagged "Lady Gaga" and thought "Geezis, what is she wearing? Oh. That's the podium."

And I don't mean that as a smack, really. I like the Gaga. She makes interesting use of proportion and has a very cohesive fashion vision. Yeah. She's nuts. But, for me, not in a bad way.

I'm just saying that if she showed up dressed as a silver cork screw with an MTV logo sticking out of her head, I wouldn't be surprised. She could probably pull it off.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not the Eureka moment I was hoping for

[Cross-posted to Facebook]

So, I went to the Master of Liberal Studies information session tonight. And everybody that spoke was pretty gung ho. But any snake oil salesman will tell you, you don't send doubters out as recruiters - you send the true believers. Okay that's cynical. But there was a lot of happy clappy about how the world is changing, and organizations need the kind of integrative, imaginative thinking that they teach in an MLS program. The world will open it's doors for the wonderful brain you will possess after successfully navigating their course. I'll be competitively positioned. Finally.

Funnily enough, I heard much the same thing 20 years ago when I decided to change from an education program to liberal studies 20 years ago. And I can tell you, in the 20 years since, I've never once heard anyone say "You're an English major? Thank God you're here!" I've had to beg borrow or steal every job I've ever had. And it hasn't exactly been a steady climb up the ziggurat of success.

They also talked about how they'll teach us to be "outside the box" thinkers.

I've been an outside the box thinker my entire life. Sometimes I'm so far outside the box that I have trouble remembering exactly where the box was. I also have trouble understanding why people want to live inside a box in the first place. And for their part, box dwellers usually like their box, and really wish I'd quit trying to kick the sides in.

Career-wise, I've come to realize that I'm a square peg. And you can try to jam a square peg into a round hole, but mostly you'll just end up bruising the pegs corners and pissing off the hole. I've also come to realize that career-wise, the holes pretty much own the playing field. Not their fault. They're good at running organizations.

It's a problem. And one that I'm not sure an advanced degree will fix for me.

I'm going to need to find something that I can do for the next 30 years or so. I think it's a basic human need: to be useful. I must be good for something. I just can't seem to figure out what that is. There are other square pegs out there. Some of them just seem to be much better at it than I am. I need to figure this out. I just have this nagging feeling that I need to do it soon, before it's too late.


You know what? While I’m ranting. Let me say something about this article. “Mariah Carey shows her ugly side”.

Beg pardon?

That really pisses me off. I look at that picture of her as a social worker in a movie, and I don’t see ugly. I see dozens of women that I know. Women who have real lives. Women who get up every morning and try to look presentable so that they can go do their jobs. ESPECIALLY women in caring professions (and men too, thank you kindly) who put up with a lot, in bad light and no time to eat, let alone reapply lipstick and fluff their hair. She doesn’t look like Mariah Carey. She looks real.

Not all of us get paid to be air-brushed to perfection. Not all of us are ornamental. We have purpose. We have lives. And just because we only get to spruce up on the odd special occasion, and most days we’re lucky to have our hair combed and most of our buttons done right that doesn't make us less. And it sure does not make us ugly.

And for the ones who are out there every day, on top of everything else, trying to make a difference in people’s lives - the social workers, medical professionals, soldiers, cops, firefighters, teachers - they aren’t just not “ugly”, they are beautiful.

The Shoe-Bootie Conspiracy

This is one of those instances where I suspect there’s an international conspiracy of “fashion writers” and clothing sellers. It really is a campaign of misinformation designed only to sell clothing. Even if it makes buyers look like fools.

Look at this article:

It’s mostly blah-blah-blather, common sense (color on what you want to emphasize, black on what you don’t) and benign fashion babble (a chunky bracelet will distract from a big butt – Well, no. But nice try). It’s a big internet and they have to write something to fill up all that blank space.

But then you get down to the shoe-booties. No. AAAAANNNNGGGHHH. Wrong. Shoe-booties are the most heinously wrong fashion mistake perpetrated on the female population since pink spandex bicycle shorts. They don’t look good on ANYONE. They foreshorten the leg, which always, always, but always makes you look chunky and dumpy. Always. No exceptions. They make Rhianna look like she’s got tree stump legs. They make boney Gwyneth Paltrow look like she’s got tree stump legs. And they will make you (no matter who you are) look like you have tree stump legs. The only time they don’t make your legs look like pig trotters or a cloven-hoofed spawn of Satan are when you wear them under pants. Where you can’t see them! It's a shoe that looks good on a shelf. Bad on your body.

The only reason they are hot right now is because you don’t have them already. Shoe designers are trying to trap you into a fashion mistake that you will suddenly, one year from now, think “Dear God, what was I thinking??!?!!?!?” And will need to go out and buy an entirely new shoe wardrobe to replace all those hideous shoe-booties that you bought. They get you coming (Shoe-booties are hot! Buy 8 pairs! In every color!) and going (Shoe-booties are stank! Get rid of them!). They are loathesome.

And this so called “Style Caster” is telling us that they will slim our figures! Lies. Lies. And more lies. Shame on you, you shill. You patsy! You betrayer! Fie on you!

And don't get me started on OPEN-TOED shoe-booties. Gah!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pictures in Evidence

So, I was at Mom & Dad’s on Sunday. My niece asked about the 2 pictures on the living room wall. Mom explained that they were both done by her grandmother. One is a needlepoint of 2 pheasants. The other is a folk art picture of a farm boy feeding pigs in front of a farm house. My great-grandmother had used a picture of my grandfather as a boy to draw on a piece of wood. She probably found other pictures of the tree, the house and the pigs in magazines. Because my Grandpa swears they never had pigs when he was a boy. Then Grandma D. took a pen knife and cut a relief of the drawing into the wood, and painted in the picture in.

Who knows where she got the idea. Or how she decided to do it. But Mom says she always signed and dated these little projects of hers.

It’s kind of nice to know. This impulse to do a little project. To see something, or just dream it up, and think “Oh, I could do that.” The little pleasures of working out details. Overcoming the little hitches that come. That tiny, secret grin and the feeling of “aren’t I clever” when you’ve made something from nothing. It’s all genetic. All carried down in blood and bone.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thanks for switching on that light bulb

So, this congress member says that the health care bill is more dangerous to Americans than any terrorist threat from any country.

Let's clarify. The health care issue has ALWAYS been more critical to the savety of the average American than terrorism. ALWAYS. Even on September 11, 2001, a bad health care was a threat to a larger number of Americans that all the terrorists in the world, put together.

Terrorism is bad. Terrorists are dangerous people. But I'm more likely to get jacked by a germ than by a wild-eyed fanatic any day of the week.

We should have always been dedicating more resources to solving this problem that affected every American with a pulse. Unilaterally, from all sides of the issue, from all political parties, from all walks of life. Terrorism is a threat to our way of life, but it's probably at least 3rd or 4th on the list. Behind health care, energy and ecological decay. Not saying we shouldn't have spent money or time on the issue. But don't you really wish that we'd spent the last 10 years and gazillions of dollars that have been spent chasing boogie men on something that might actually make a difference to 99.9% of Americans?

So, thanks Rep. Foxx. Glad to see you're finally on board. Could you be a love and maybe pass the word to the rest of your colleagues? Thanks.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Free Bird

Okay, so Dallas’s Free Night of Theater program is this month. They did it a little different this year, rolling out a week’s worth of tickets at a time. So I’d pull up a week at a time and see if anything clicked. But between vacation and teenager-sitting and Halloween and RCPM and family stuff and friends stuff, I just never seemed to be able to make any of the shows that I was really interested in work. So a couple of weeks ago, I decided “Oh, well, maybe next year.”

But it was making me nuts. There was free stuff. And none of it was mine. Part of it is the hangover the poor college student mentality, in which any free food, alcohol or entertainment is irresistible. Pay for dinner theater where you’re served hot dogs, Miller Lite and watch drunk circus clowns hit each other over the head with tire irons? No. Of course not. But if it’s free . . . Well, that’s different. Why didn’t you say so? Two please.

Part of it is my heritage. I come from a frugal people. And what’s more frugal than free?

And there was free stuff going on at FNoT. And none of it was mine. I snapped. Come to me, free stuff. You must be mine.

So I found a one-day window that I could make work for a show. And low-and-behold, there was one show that fit. Hallelujah. Two for Talk Radio, please. Of course, I’m not really sure what the point of Talk Radio is without Eric Bogosian. [Sidebar: I have this total thing for Bogosian ever since they had the sub-plot on Law & Order: CI where he was dating the female medical examiner who is significantly older than 21. He always had that bad boy anti-charm. But playing alpha male with an age appropriate female? Mrowr. Works for me.] But, in the words of the poet, that which is free is necessarily good. Or something like that.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Not Another Scary Movie

Okay, I think I get the premise of the movie “The Box”. Guy comes to your house and says, “Push the button. You get a fat wad of cash. Somebody dies.” How do you get a feature film out of that? The automatic response should be “Get the hell out of my house, you giant freak.” Roll credits. That’s a short film, at best.

And even is you were a little on the sociopathic narcissist side and inclined to accept such offers, you’d say it any way in this movie, cause the guy with the box (ahem, smutty contradiction duly noted) is Frank Langella. When has any offer ever made by Frank Langella ever in the history of filmdom ever, ever turned out well? He’s the new Peter Cushing. Dracula. Boris Balkan. Nixon. Any of this ringing bells? He’s not playing a kindly old gentleman. If he offers you a piece of butterscotch candy, you say “No, thank you, Frank Langella. Believe I’ll pass on the hard candy and keep my soul, if it’s all the same to you. Get out of my house, you giant freak.” It’s a cinematic given.

The only thing that I can see that would stretch that plot to even a half hour is the chance to stare at the pretty, pretty James Marsden. But if he doesn’t sing, it would be a long half hour.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not necessarily full disclosure,198530

So, Andre Agassi used meth back in the day.

You know, I'm lookin' at the light bouncing off that chrome-domed fivehead of yours, Andy, and mees a thinkin' maybe there might have been another controlled substance that you might have forgot to mention. Looks like you've got a serious case of the Hulkster Hairline, buddy. Juice shrinks the winkie. But less acknowledged is the devastating consequences of performance enhancing drugs to a mack-daddy fro-mullett like the one Agassi was sporting back then.

I'm thinking anabolic steroids could also explain the hairline erosion experienced by Michael Bolton. Another magnificent fro-mullett sporter of yesteryear. I haven't actually seen anything that relates juicing to power vocals. But 'roid rage would certainly explain "When a Man Loves a Woman."

You know, Barbara Streisand is the missling degree of separation between Michael Bolton and Andre Agassi. Hmmmmm. I'm not implying anything there. I'm just saying. Hmmmmm.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Definitely not my Family Guy

I’m just going to throw this out there. I don’t get The Family Guy. Not my thing. Not anywhere near my thing. And I can say with a lot of certainty, I wouldn’t want Seth MacFarlane anywhere near my thing either. But since Microsoft got in the news for distancing themselves from the

I’m just going by the show. I can’t tell if he’s a complete misanthrope. Or just a raging misogynist. Or, actually, is that a misogynist or just a misanthrope? I don’t know whether hating one part of a group or the whole group is the lesser of two evils. Hating just women is discriminatory. But hating all humans is just a whole lot of hate. I’m not sure which end of that calculation is loaded.

Anyway, women or the whole of humanity, I qualify on both counts. And I actually don’t think being a big old hater is actually wrong. Per se. His choice. I'm not actually that much in love with the human race sometimes either, collectively speaking. But I don’t actively dislike them either. Much less hate. The only thing worse than being stuck on this crowded planet would be being here completely alone.

But if Seth MacFarlane can sell his mean spiritedness and his flaming mommy issues on TV, that’s the open market. As we’ve all learned, if you don’t have anything nice to say, get paid to do it at Fox. I just don’t really feel the need to let some stranger vent their spleen at me. I’m not saying he’s not funny. I’m just saying that he’s not funny enough to quite cover up the air of bile that floats around that show. Just cause you have a cartoon dog pee on my leg doesn’t mean I believe you when you tell me it’s raining.

Vampires, Skeletons and Jung, Oh My!

So, I’m talking to my niece last night about Jung. No, really.

I'm playing Auntie Dearest and staying with her while her mom's off on a business trip. So we were sitting around chewing the fat after work. It started with talking about her being excited about New Moon coming out. I know, I know. I there’s nothing I can do about the Twilight thing. But anyway. She said something about every culture having some sort of vampire myth. And I asked her if she had heard of Karl Jung and archetypes? She thought a bit and came up with “Is he that guy who came after Freud? The collective conscious guy?” And we talked about mother images and heroes and how most people have the same basic concept of those. I suggested that there may be something in the vampire that responds to one of those iconic images that we have rattling around in our heads. And she really seemed to think about that.

That’s one of the things that I like about the kid. On any old Monday night, I might find myself scratching through the mental attic to dig up my old textbooks and find that chapter I once read about archetypes. And tonight we’re going to attempt pan de muerte for Dia de los Meurtos. I think we’ll attempt the wreath with the crossed bones. I’d really like to try for a skull. But I’m not at all sure that would come off.

Good stuff for late October.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Branson Rundown

Well, back from Branson. And when it comes to a travelogue, I quote Inigo Montoya, “Let me essplain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up.” We may not have done Branson from the rooter to the tooter, but we did get around. Here’s a quick look at the highlights reel.

Silver Dollar City: SDC is Disney for hillbillies. And I say that with love in my heart. It’s rides and music and a liberal dose of shopping in the hills of MO. The best part of any trip to SDC for my parents is the live music (mostly bluegrass, country, western swing and gospel that would make Mother Theresa turn atheist, IMHO) and you can do 5 shows in a day, easy. The best show of the day for me was a band called Big Smith (after the overalls brand), who did new-grass country, with a few swing tunes and some funny songs like “Ten-inch, three-speed, oscillating fan.” I’m not a big new-grass fan, but I’d pay to see them again.

Shopping: We lucked into the War Eagle Mills craft festival, which is one of the biggest craft fairs in Missouri. And it was amazing. Dozens of huge tents filled with artisans selling handmade wares. I went a little nutty buying hand-carved wood toys for my nephews. But what are nephews for if you can’t buy them a hand-carved cricket pull toy? And it was nice to see so much genuine craft work. Too much of what sells at Branson’s “craft” malls (which I started to call crap malls) is imported country/cutesie crap that you could get anywhere. I prefer my crafts made by real people, thank you kindly.

I also found a real candy store in old town Branson. AH-ah-AHHHH! Candy heaven and a sugar freak’s dream. They had taffy in a bout 50 flavors (popcorn, butter rum, pomegranate, cappuccino). And they had genuine Squirrel Nut Zippers. I had heard of them because of the band by that name, but never seen them in real life before. If you haven’t had them, get you some. They’re kind of like a cross between a Bit-O-Honey or a Mary Jane and a caramel. Mmmmm. They’re my Pop’s new favorite. Of course he calls them Squirrely Nuts.

The Big Shows: On Wednesday we went to the Oakridge Boys. And they put on a big show. I had forgotten how many of their old songs I really like. I used to love “Y’all Come Back Saloon” when I was a kid. And darned if I didn’t still know most of the lyrics – “She played tambourine, with a sliver jingle, and she must have know the worlds to at least a million tunes . . .” Love it. And in the second half they did a bunch of songs from their new album, before segueing into Elvira and Bobbie Sue and American Made. The first new song they did had me saying “Oh, no, they di-n’t!” But damned if they didn’t cover 7 Nation Army. For real. And it was dang good. The bass singer did the “bahm, buh, bahm-bahm, buh, bahm-BOM” part. And he can still get wwwwwwaaaaaaayyyy down there. What a kick.

Then on Thursday, it was Roy Clark. Roy is in his 70s, and his voice isn’t what it was. But he can still pick the hell out of a banjo and a guitar. And he surrounds himself with a truly talented backing band who can step up and sing a few songs so that Roy can sit and play back-up for a tune or two. The real stand out was Justin David, who was apparently the 4th place finisher on Nashville Star. And if he came in 4th, I’m scared of whoever was first, because he was just amazing. A demon on mandolin, fierce on the fiddle, and he could play the guitar and write his own songs. And he was right purdy too. If he doesn’t make it big after apprenticing with Roy Clark, country music can just shut up about appreciating talent, cause it’s all talk. Kid deserves to be a big star.

Then, back home, it was another Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers show at the Dallas House of Blues (and by the way, kudos, HOB for adding Guiness to the fine, fine libations you offer). Ahhhh. Sweet. They are brave, brave men for opening up the show to all requests. Peace Corps fans are a vociferous bunch. But, as always, an immensely satisfying show. [On a sidebar note, when you carry a big bag to a show, and like to dance, after the 10th time your purse slaps me in the ass, you should at least tell me “good game”.] It was like that final shot of tequila that you raise with your friends to cap a great night. And finished my vacation just right.

Sigh. Back to the salt mines.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The most fun you can have for a dime

Well, forgot to mention that I'm up in Branson this week enjoying some Mom & Dad time. So blogging will be a little catch as catch can.

But here's today's catch: The horsey ride outside Dick's 5 & Time in Branson. And the sign above the horsey.
I'm torn between "I don't really want to think about why that's there" and "I would have paid good money to see what made them think the sign was needed."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hate to bust your balloon

Well, there’s a kid that’s going to be known as Balloon Boy for the rest of his life. Balloon Boy Graduates High School. Balloon Boy Marries. Balloon Boy Wins Nobel Prize. Here Lies Balloon Boy. Shut up, Balloon Boy. Kids probably would do things differently in their lives if they knew how hard a bad nickname can stick.

The funny thing is that when it came out that the Balloon Boy’s family had been on Wife Swap, I knew instantly which family it was. No doubt. And I’ve seen maybe a half dozen episodes of that show. And on the great bell curve of insanity that is Wife Swap, I don’t remember this family being especially wingnutty. The premise of the show is to take two families that aren’t real tightly wound, that live opposing lifestyles, expose them to each other in a minimum ratio of 3:1, and see what happens. They don’t pick normal people to be on this show. People with standard homelives and a high tolerance for opposing viewpoints would just be bad television (boring equaling bad). The explosion is guaranteed. The only variable will be whether there will be warm, cuddly, people-are-people resolution full of peace, love and understanding between the two families, or a virulent final smackdown fueled by a week of living in close proximity to your polar opposite. I think the producers are fine with it either way it goes. I remember the Heene family mainly for having 2 settings. Off and 11. And for not having a really clear distinction between science-science and Johnny Quest comic book-science. Still, on the Wife Swap continuum, they were fairly normal.

I feel bad for Balloon Boy. Any time you end up on the national news for something this goofy, and yet costly to taxpayers, it’s gonna stick. Whether he was playing a prank that got out of hand, got caught up in some sort of attention-getting ploy cooked up by his parents, or if it was just an honest mistake, anything that involves several Sherriff’s departments, Air National Guard, helicopters and CNN is just going to make you “that kid, you know, Balloon Boy” for the rest of your natural life. Ask Baby Jessica.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Freeze! NCIS

Okay, my latest obsession? NCIS. Loving that show. I don’t know why. In theory, I should be totally uninterested. And considering how long it’s been on, I was totally uninterested for a very long time. It’s military related. Not really my thing. It has a heavy forensic element. And I’m not so wild about those autopsy/bone saw scenes. And it has the quirky goth chick. And frankly, I think that’s a sign of trying to hard. But then, I kind of did one of those leave it on while I’m folding laundry things. And whammo. Fished in.

Okay, let’s get the first reason I’m digging it out of the way. Mark Harmon. So yummy you could eat him on toast points. He was hot in the 80s. And now the silver fox thing is working like gangbusters for him. You could do a reality TV show of him, just following him around all day. He wouldn’t need to have any crazy ass psycho-drama to be must see. Mark Harmon eating scrambled eggs for breakfast. Mark Harmon on the treadmill. Mark Harmon opening mail.

Second, I’m completely into throwback to the 80s shows right now. Basically, character-driven formula drama with a sense of humor. Think Simon & Simon or The Scarecrow & Mrs. King. You know what to expect every episode. You just tune in to see these characters do their thing. If you do it well, these shows are sustainable for years. Lately, every new show thinks it has to have twists, turns, surprises, cliff hangers, jaw droppers. And they burn out way too fast. Look at Heroes. It was “What will they do next?” every episode. Then by the second season, you really just didn’t care any more. You can get bored by constant fireworks. Psych, Monk, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight. All of them have a modern gloss. But at their roots, they could all have been on TV with Miami Vice. And USA is the king of comfort food TV right now. They don’t really surprise me often. They don’t really have to.

Don’t ask me what’s going on in the current season. I’m just kind of contentedly wandering around somewhere in the middle, where I came in. And that’s the really cool thing. Because I’m late to the party, there are all these back episodes to catch up on. It’s all new to me. Nice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Big Girls Don't Buy (Ralph Lauren)

Well, when rocks get lifted, you never know what's gonna crawl out into the light of day. Looks like Ralph Lauren had already fired the poor model they'd turned into a scarecrow, prior to the bungled PhotoShop pic from their ad making the news. Cause she was too fat. At 5'10" and 120 lbs.

A quick check of the CDC's BMI calculator shows that at a BMI of 17.2, she would be in the underweight category. Not really badly underweight. Not scarecrow/stick girl underweight. But underweight nonetheless. And Ralph Lauren passed on her, and went to look for somebody skinnier - e.g., more underweight. This seems to be a concept that the fashion industry has a problem with, if you want a tall girl, being super slim isn't going to be very healthy. You can have a skinny girl. She's just going to be short. If you want the girl to wear a size 0 sample, go out and find somebody 4'11". Tall or tiny. Pick. Your choice.

And at 5'7" and considerably more than 120 lbs, I'm obviously way too fat for Ralph Lauren's clothes too. So I'm just gonna mosey on over to the big gals' department, and spend my money over there. And you go ahead and sell your clothes to those tall and skinny freaks of nature. I'm sure there's a lot of them out there. And first thing in the morning, after they've had their black coffee and half a Triscuit for the day, they probably have enough energy to go out and by your glad rags. Sounds like a hell of a sales strategy. Good luck with it.

Whip It Good

Kind of a delayed movie review, but I went to see Whip It last Friday (October is shaping up to be a very full month for me for some reason; lots to chat about). It’s a coming-of-age movie about roller derby in Austin. There were a few faults that any movie snob worth their salt would pick out. But, like Erin Grey’s nose, they were flaws that added to the overall charm. And without them, it would have been just any other cute chick flick, instead of the quirky chick who’s a little rough around the edged but nobody puts in a corner. Movie snobs might be disappointed. But a movie fan would find a lot to like.

So, here’s my usual 3 things:

  1. This is one of the few movies I’ve taken my teenage niece to that was about women where I didn’t feel like I was betraying a hundred years of feminism. These aren’t overly primped, primed and spackled women that have been molded into something not-quite-human and are little more than mannequins. The roller girls of Whip It look like rough and tumble, real women: inch-thick eyeliner, torn fishnets and highlights that you had your girlfriend do for you. Gals not girls. Not to say they aren’t glamorous. They are. But it’s an empowered, self-confident glamour that comes from knowing what you’re capable of. Not from what shoes you mortgaged your house to buy. And the roller derby scenes featuring the gals cutting loose, throwing elbows and face planting, are about as thrilling as anything I’ve seen on the screen this year.
  2. Andrew Wilson is the missing link of the Wilson brothers. If you’ve ever looked at Owen and Luke and tried to figure out how you get from there to there, Andrew is the missing piece of that puzzle. He’s the Wilsonopithicus. The Ardi of the Wilson family. And a brave, brave man to wear cutoff jean shorts through an entire movie.
  3. I loved Marcia Gay Harden and Daniel Stern as the parents. Stern got the Texas dad look down like a circus clown, but he missed the accent by a long chalk. Marcia Gay Harden on the other hand? Nailed it. She had the accent, and the former small town beauty queen thing knocked. But the really nice thing was the two of them together. Two married adults, over 40, flirting. With each other! What a concept. And they were just too cute together.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trying to get off the bottle (or at least get on to an environmentally friendly one)

For some reason I’m having a hard time finding a water bottle. No, actually not “some reason.” It’s because I’m picky. I want to do the right thing and reduce the amount of plastic bottles in landfill, yet I like my portable water. I’ve been shopping for one for about 3 months, and have yet to find one that’s up to scratch.

The whole BPA-free issue is just the starting point of decision factors. I can’t really do the travel mug style water bottles because, well, I have a nose. And I hate it when my nose bumps the lid. And for some reason, they all seem to have a weird, thick rim, and they all turn into dribble glasses for me. I’m not crazy about aluminum bottles, either, even though they’re uniformly the prettiest. There’s something about drinking out of aluminum that creeps me out. I think it’s bad Boy Scout canteen flashbacks. Then there’s size conundrum. I prefer a 1 pint size. Anything more water than that can get pretty heavy to drag around. But in that size, everything I’ve found is a kids’ model. Not really looking for a Hello Kitty water bottle. And on the juvenile side, don’t get me started about the nipples. I hate the ones that have the delivery mechanism that you more or less have to suck on. I’m 40 years old. I do not need to be in public slurping on a ba-ba. Grew out of my oral fixation, thanks.

You wouldn’t think it would be this difficult, would you? What I really want is a reusable 1 pint Dasani bottle. Nothing fancy. If anybody spots anything out there, let me know.

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