Friday, November 12, 2010

Oh, Gwynnie

There’s an article on Slate.com about how hating Gwyneth Paltrow is hitting an all-time high. For the record, I don’t hate her. I think she’s a fairly decent actress. I’d say in the beginning she was over-praised for her English accent, but I haven’t heard her Eliza Dolittle it up since she married the genuine article, so maybe she’s improved. I will say her funniest movie (and my favorite of her oeuvre by far) is Sliding Doors. When she gets hit by the bus – I. Laugh. Every. Time.

So maybe I hate her a smidge. Nope. Hate’s a strong word. I . . . oh, let’s just go with hate. A smidge.

Why? Is it the marshmallow head on the toothpick body? Is it the Breck girl hair? The oh, that’s my husband, the rockstar, marriage? Is it that she burps and gets an Oscar for it? It’s kind of all that. Combined with the fact that she seems to have little to no awareness of her fortunate one status. It’s like she just accepts it all as her due.

It’s just statistical. Luck runs on a wide bell curve. There are going to be sad-sack motherf***ers out there who never seem to get a break. And there are going to be people who fall in horse crap and come out smelling like Chanel No. 5. The 99.8% rest of us just muddle around in the middle. But if you are one of the Fortunate Ones, the truly, truly lucky, it really does behoove you to at least have the grace to act like you’re deeply grateful, abashed, or even just a little surprised that you have it easier than 99.9% of the population (BTW – Taylor Swift? Master of the art.).

And that’s why every time Gwyneth Paltrow shows up at a red carpet wearing yet another dress that makes her look distinctly saggy-boobed, I smile just a little bit.

Goodbye, Old Schepps

Well, another old name has fallen. There used to be a dairy company called Schepps that I could get here locally. They’ve changed their named to Oak Farms. How . . . pleasant. I’m sure it’s all part of growing the business, and moving into markets where nobody grew up with Schepps. And, okay, it’s not the most euphonious name ever. I get it. Global domination doesn’t come without breaking a few eggs.

But I kind of like a gross name for yummy stuff. With a name like “Smucker’s” . . . There’s just something about the ugly name that just makes me happy. Like Van’s Pig Stand. It’s a place to get BBQ in Oklahoma. My Dad took my Mom to Van’s when they were dating. We went to Van’s when we visited the old hometown. Yes, it sounds like a place where they serve pigs. But damn the food is good. And once you’ve had their chocolate pie, you’ll regret ever having to waste stomach space on any other type of food.

Maybe it’s my English roots. Nobody names things disgusting like a Brit. Toad in the hole. Bubble and squeak. Spotted dick. Drowned baby. Mmmm. That’s gotta be some good eatin’.

But, as the world get’s more and more tame (weep, my friends), marketing people (the bastards) look at something with a name like “Schepps” and say, “That sounds like an old dog! Who wants to drink milk when they’re thinking about an old dog? Let’s name it something with a nice ring to it!” And another good, old-fashioned, raunchy name sails into the sunset. And our world becomes just that much more boring.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Something to chew on

On the way to Branson for vacation we stopped at this great diner in Salisaw, Oklahoma called “Emma B’s”. My Moms always laments that there’s no good place near Fort Smith to have a good meal, since it’s just about the right time to stop for lunch on the way to Branson from Dallas. So we pulled off the highway to go to the Braum’s (the best of a bad lot), and we spotted the Emma B’s sign. Diner? Yeah, let’s go for it. It had that sort-of-50s d├ęcor with pics from Happy Days and Grease on the walls and candy colored accessories.

The menu was kind of impressive, in an unexpected way (okay, my small city snobbery is showing). They had the usual diner fare(pot roast, BLT, country breakfast). But it was dotted with things like a homemade veggie burger, tortilla soup with New Mexico chiles and something very intriguing called Chunky Monkey Pancakes. I was feeling self-righteous and adventurous, so I took a flier at the veggie burger.

While we were waiting, I kind of people watched. The clientele was mainly your average Okies. Think of any “report from the Heartland” segment you’ve seen on the evening news and you’ll pretty much have it. Men in plaid shirts, women in the decorated sweatshirt. The kind of place where nobody blinks if a man is wearing overalls. Mixed in were a few bikers and truckers.

And this one fellow (in overalls and a completely un-ironic trucker hat), is having the breakfast bar with a friend. Two old guys talking over eggs and sausage and coffee. Overalls says in a loud voice “That’s a real man! That’s a real man right there!” My friend looks uncomfortable. Redneck could be going down not 10 feet away. What sort of he-man, hillbilly chest beating are we about to be witness to? Of course, she hadn’t been eavesdropping the way I had, and only heard the loud part of that statement. I love listening to the music of everyday conversation, and this place was a symphony. What I heard was “He ain’t afraid to just say it. He’ll say “I love you” right out. That’s a real man! That’s a real man right there! If you can’t be honest and open and just say what you feel, what the hell are you doing?” How ‘bout that?

And, for the record, the veggie burger was outstanding. And we stopped on the way back for those Chunky Monkey Pancakes – fluffy pancakes with sliced banana, pecan and chocolate chips, whipped cream on the side. Like heaven on a plate with a side of bacon. If you’re ever in Salisaw, Emma B’s is quite obviously the place to be.

TIME: Quotes of the Day