Saturday, March 14, 2009


I've had my Oprah moment - my "I get it! I get uuuuht!" It was like all the sudden - Pop! Like when I suddenly understood the term invagination in biology class. One minute I did not get it. The very next second I did. Suddenly I get Tilda Swinton's style.

I have seen her look like a nightmare. I have seen her look edgy. I've seen her look frumpy. Even once or twice, I have seen her look phenomenal. But that's the thing. She changes it up. She's like the Napoleon Dynamite of fashion - What are you wearing tonight Tilda? "Whatever I feel like. Gawd!"

It's never with apology. And it's never with a "look at me". She wears what she wears. After a certain amount of time, with every whackadoodle outfit, she's rope-a-doped you into submission. She walks the red carpet, pops a pose and it's "I'm freaking Tilda Swinton. I wear whatever the f--- I want. Suck it." And if you don't like it, too bad. It's not like she's following anyone else. You can't say she's doing it wrong. She's doing Tilda. It's absolute genius.

My other fashion realization for the week is: I give up. Uggs will never die. I keep thinking, they've had their moment. They'll just slip away. Like high top Reeboks and hammer pants. Off into the mists of time.

But no. Year after year. There they are. Everywhere you look. They're like cockroaches. Ugly, ubiquitous and indestructable. But obviously, you have a power that is beyond my understanding. And I bow to superior strength. I submit. Uggs, I do not hate you any more. I surrender.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Something Missing

So, I’m approximately half-way through Lent. The no-meat thing has been a completely different thing than the no-coffee thing last year. Where coffee is a daily ritual, where I could expect the same feeling every morning when I didn’t do something that I normally did, meat for me was more free-form. Maybe every day. But maybe not. So the effects have been more random. I’ve compared it to a shock collar on a dog. I’ll be at a fast food joint about to order and – ZAP! – no, can’t order a burger. Or I pick up a package of my favorite cup-o-soup – ZAP! It’s split pea (vegetable), but there’s ham (not a vegetable) in it. Rats.

And I’ve also found that there’s a real trust issue involved. Of course, I can’t go to my favorite taco joint for a bean burrito, because lord knows what’s in those things. But, even at a real restaurant, with a server, I have to really give up some faith. Like on Sunday, I was at a Rockfish restaurant (small seafood chain, somewhere between Red Lobster and Joe’s Crabshack in feel). I figured I could cobble something together from the sides and salads menu. But our waitress was, mmmmm, less than stellar. She’d already goofed about 3 times by the time she came to take our meal orders. I started out saying, “I’m trying to not eat meat. So, if I order anything that has meat in it, just tell me.” Like it may say, spinach, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have bacon crumbles on the top, or it’s cooked in chicken broth. But, I had to really trust that this fairly scatty waitress would get that. And just looking in her face, I didn’t have a lot of hope. I think I ordered pretty well. Because nothing tasted that good, so I’m pretty sure no animal fat was involved. If I don’t automatically go “yuuummmm” it’s a pretty good indicator that nothing with a face gave up its life for my consumption.

So far it’s been pretty awkward and weird. And I don’t know if I’m as satisfied with this “give up” as I was with last years. All I really feel is kind of petulant, rather than challenged. We’ll see. Maybe by Easter I’ll feel different. Maybe.

Which Mountain?

I was so excited about the new Witch Mountain movie. I loooooved the originals. I saw both of them at the drive-in when I was a kid. You may start envying me now. To me that’s an “I say the Beatles at the Cavern Club” level of cultural experience. Okay, not quite that. But still.

So when I hear they’re remaking WM, I was very stoked. And that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was going to be in it was just icing. Cause he’s kin’a cute. To make the understatement of the century.

But seeing the commercials, I just feel a bit deflated. It’s obvious that they haven’t just updated the story. They’ve rejiggered the whole dang thing. Not cool, man. Not cool. Invading aliens? No. They are friendly, refugee aliens looking for a quiet home in the mountains. And they don’t have creepy, drooly faces. They have pretty blond hair and pretty purses. And ESP. Stupid. Invading aliens my sweet ass.

It’s like when you were a kid, and just to goof on you, an adult would totally go off book on a story they’d read to you about 3 million times. Like they’d skip 5 or 6 pages, or add a fire breathing dragon to the Gingerbread Man. “No, Grampa! That’s not how it goes!” Because you’ve read the story to me 3 bazillion times for a reason. I like it. Just the way it is. You can do the Gingerbread Man’s lines in a funny voice. Or add a silly chicken in the middle. But you can’t just screw it up totally. I'm onto that trick.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Look! Out in the street! It's . . .

I’m thinking that I may need to develop another secret, superhero identity. I already have the Ponytail Avenger who has been a very effective for me. But yesterday, I discovered that there is an even more invincible feeling than wielding silver scissors in the pursuit of 50-year-old balding men with scraggly ponytails that need to be removed. I discovered


Able to leap wide puddles in a single bound! But why should she? She can tromp through ginormous puddles without any risk to her feet. She can stride the city streets without any fear that her pants legs will be soggy all day, since they are safely tucked inside her wellies. Her socks unsodden. Her feet warm and dry.

She’s Galoshes Girl! Rain on, you darkened skies. I shall not fear you. I laugh in the face of showers. Oh, gutter where is thy victory? Oh, puddle wear is thy sting?

Nuts or just a little Nutella?

Because I know you think of me and Martha Stewart in the same breath, I wanted to share my domestic diva discovery of the week with you.

I’ve been trying to work down my pantry. You know how you’ll buy something thinking, “Oh, that’s a good sale. I’ll buy three of those to put in the pantry.” And then you end up with one or two (or in my case three) of them that you’ve forgotten about in there. And eventually, you end up with a pantry stuffed with weird ass junk that you wonder why you have it.

This whole no-meat thing seemed like a good opportunity to make a dent in the squirrel stash I’ve got going on. So for a few weeks, I’ve been trying to throw at least one thing from the pantry into every meal I fix. Beans and rice. Pasta and frozen vegetables. Faux tuna noodle casserole substituting fake Krab for tuna (Don’t try this at home. Not a domestic diva triumph.)

It’s been kind of hit and miss. But what I did discover is that, even if you run out of cookies, you can make remarkable cookie facsimiles using peanut butter crackers and a jar of Nutella. As I was snarfing down PB&Ns, I started thinking that perhaps Nutella could make just about any snack food into a dessert. Pretzels, popcorn, trail mix, potato chips. And that’s about where I snapped back to reality. Man that Nutella can really go to your head. Lucky, too. Because I’d been eyeballing the half bag of carrots in the crisper. What? I need to use them before they go bad. Stop judging me!

But seriously – Nutella, people. It’s the little black dress of the pantry.


So, Bernie Madoff fessed up. Here’s the thing I find interesting: not only did he come up with a very elaborate plan, it was also a big plan. "Big" as in ballsy. Because basically it hinged on anyone who was considering investing with him and had any doubts thinking, “Nah, of course it can’t be a giant ponzi scheme. It looks like a giant ponzi scheme. But who would do that?”

And that’s the big question. Who would do that? Who is this guy? What would drive him to do something that appears to be so flagrantly financially depraved?

Most of his victims would say he’s pure evil. I guess that’s a possibility. Though I really prefer to save the “pure evil” designation for Hitler level atrocities. And there are some psychology terms that the masses have latched onto that could get thrown at him. Narcissistic personality disorder gets a lot of traction these days. And borderline personality disorder. Anti-social personality disorder. Lots of disorders.

Or it could just boil down to that he’s an arrogant asshole. Why did he do it? Because he could. He’s probably got a lifetime of staring down anyone who dares to question him. And if he’s also charming, very few people would think to question him. I think maybe he thought he could get away with until he died with the most toys. And so what if he left somebody else holding the bag?

Or he just thought he could figure it all out. Make it work. Find some way to get the cash to make everybody happy in the end. Smart people have thought themselves into very nasty corners before.

In the end, Bernie Madoff is the only one who could possibly really know why. And maybe not even him.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And another thing . . .

Speaking of things whose time may have come again. . .

We find ourselves on the verge of Hard Times (thank you, Richard Pryor), and it seems like all sorts of things are coming back. I saw a thing on Shine that said the, lord help us all, scrunchy is coming back. And the news seems to be telling me that going “postal” is making a return. Why not bring back something good? How about cheap TV shows? Specifically, The Gong Show.

Ah, yes. The Gong Show. Chuck Barris barely able to make it through a one-liner without cracking himself up. Z-list celebrities armed with a mallet. And people with a tiny talent, and a dream.

That’s what really made The Gong Show work. The prize was $515.32. People weren’t on the show for the dough. They were there because maybe what they could do wouldn’t ever make them rich and famous. But maybe it could get them 15 minutes. Just about anybody will make a fool of themselves for a million dollars. But it takes somebody special to make a fool of themselves for 500 bucks. Dog trainers. Chicken trainers. Jugglers. People who could make their belly buttons look like they could whistle. Comics with paper bags over their heads. Mimes (Forget it, mime boy. Not even on the Gong Show). And maybe, just maybe, somebody with something special might just sneak in. But there’s no guarantee that the lady with the trained chicken won’t beat them.

And of course it also worked because of . . . Gene Gene the Dancing Machine! [pause to visualize happy guy in green polyester track jacket boogeying across the stage – go, Gene, go!] Those bits of cheerful mayhem, benevolent anarchy and random celebration. Why stop in the middle of the show for a dance break? Cause you can. Cause it’s fun. Just to feel good.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Coming Around Again

Talking about the (despised, must-die, perish the thought) Clue remake that’s getting floated, I started think about what movies I would like to see re-made. Some flicks have so much potential that you love them in spite of their flaws, but a remake could actually fix the original problems and take it to the next level. Or sometimes it’s just time. A perfectly good movie just seems dated to the point that it’s painful to watch. A new coat of paint could bring it to a whole new generation. And if they’re going to remake movies, ad nauseum, there are plenty to pick from without sacrificing any of my personal sacred cows. Here’s my top 5 list of movies that deserve a second look.

Meatballs: I mentioned this in the comments of the Clue post, and it just seems like the time is ripe for this. Watching the original is kind of painful. The clothes, the acting, the dialogue – it’s just so 1979. And not in the good way. This movie would be dead cheap to film. Rent a YMCA camp and print up 200 Camp North Start t-shirts. And whatever happened to Chris Makepeace? It’s time for Rudy the Rabbit to make a comeback. I can see on IMDb that there may be some remake in pre-production. But if it doesn’t star Dane Cook, I can say right now – don’t even bother. He was born to play Tripper. And in these times of recession, we need a pep talk to get us through. A rallying cry, if you will. Say it with me kids, “It just doesn’t matter! It just doesn’t matter!”

African Queen: Don’t get me wrong. I love the original – sappy, sanctimonious, ethnically insensitive and deeply manipulative though it is. But the story of 2 people finding each other, after they’d given up all hope – ahhhhg, get’s me right here, sniff, sniff. And it’s really Hepburn and Bogart who sell that movie. But if you shaped up the script, there are definitely stars of a high enough caliber that could pull this off once again, possibly even better than before. My personal dream team would be Glenn Close and Christopher Walken. But I could compromise to George Clooney and Julia Roberts. That’s how much I’d like to see this movie made.

Some Like It Hot: I’ve actually put a lot of thought into that one. The original is great. Jack Lemmon is hilarious. But the idea of 2 guys in drag is just not that funny any more on it’s own. There has been a lot of gender issues water under the bridge since this movie was made. And that’s what makes this remake so intriguing to me. Masculinity, femininity, sexual attraction – we’re still all messed up about this stuff. And it’s what comedy is made of. I’m not sure about the Lemmon and Curtis parts, but Scarlet Johansson could really pull off the MM role. Honestly. I like this idea so much, I’ve come thisclose to trying to write the script myself.

Philadelphia Story: Actually, this one isn’t painful to watch the original. It’s still grand. Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart – wuh-wow. But this is material that’s so good it could be remade with virtually no risk to the classic original. Cate Blanchett would be my pick for the Hepburn role, bien sur. Cary Grant? Nobody leaps to mind. Those are some suave shoes to fill. Clooney? Maybe. But for Jimmy Stewart, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, Jim Carey. I know. That’s kind of out of left field. But look at him in The Truman Shoe. I think he could pull it off.

The Odd Couple: You know, the more the economy crumbles, the more the idea of two guys having to share an apartment after a divorce makes sense. And let’s fact it, everybody loves a slob and a clean freak battling it out. That stuff never gets old. I think maybe Paul Giamatti and William H. Macy would be my top picks. And actually, I think either guy could play either role.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Yours forever, or just until whenever

I don’t watch the Bachelor. It’s pretty much the antithesis of everything that I am. And if I’m going to watch 20 girls fight over for the twoo wuv of an eligible fella, I’d rather opt for the forthright skankiness of Rock of Love. If girls are going to air their dirty laundry in public, I expect them to have some good ho gear to show off.

But I have to admit that I was mildly intrigued by the “shocker” ending that was getting played up last week. What could be left to shock about this concept? Unless the latest bachelor showed up at the reunion show with a bucket full of roses, saying “I’m moving to a compound in El Dorado, TX. Who’s with me? You get a rose! And you get a rose! And you get a rose!” Polygamy had to be the final frontier.

But no. The big news was that he dumped is “The One” for “The Two”. On national television. I was neither shocked that a man who’d date in the public eye would dump in the public eye. Nor was I shocked that The Two would jump right back on the crazy train. Nor was I shocked that “the most likable bachelor in show history” would show is slimy underbelly at the last minute. Normal people aren’t liked by everybody. Normal people have some traits that some people don’t like. If a person is liked by everybody – watch out. They are keeping their nasty side under wraps. And whatever eventually comes out of their skeleton closet is going to be scare-eee. Like dropping your butt like a dirty bomb on national TV and making out with another woman, on national TV, less than an hour later.

So actually, how many marriages have come out of this show? One? Somehow, this doesn’t sound like any better results than people get meeting people in bars or on the internet. At least with Brett Michaels, all he really promises is to rock a girl’s world. He may not be anyone's Mr. Right, but he can definitely manage Mr. Right Now. And if he ever really did find twoo wuv on the show, that really would merit the title “shocker”.

TIME: Quotes of the Day