Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Seeing that Awards season and the playoffs are just around the bend - here’s what I’d like to say:
God does not care if you won a football game. God does not have a stake in any professional contest (Super Bowl, Grammy, Oscar, Webby, MTV Moon Man, Plumber of the Year; okay, possibly the Tony. But only if Harry Connick, Jr. and Hugh Jackman both get nominated this year).
God cares that you play fair. God cares that you use the gifts that you have been given in a positive way (that is to say, to the benefit of your fellow children of God, not to buy a Bentley). God will help you show courage of your convictions. God may even send you inspiration when your creative well runs dry (but not if you are writing a song in which you praise smoking weed and abusing “bitches”). God is proud if you use your belief to help you be the best person that you can be, on the field, on the stage, in the recording studio, or under someone’s sink removing the Lego that fell down the drain.
So, quit thanking God. God does not give a rat’s ass.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Here’s what I decided somewhere in the second act (and a 3-hour show? Really, people? Butt numbing.), I’ll call it the Whitney/Dolly Transversal. I Will Always Love You is a terrific song – classic even. Dolly Parton is a helluva songwriter. Whitney Houston’s performance of this song is EPIC. Her vocal range and power is irrefutable. She could blow the paint off of a Buick when she hits that last chorus. I still prefer Dolly’s rendition. And it’s not about a country/R&B thing (I dig both). It’s a scale thing. Dolly’s version is fragile, and comes from a broken heart that still loves. Whitney’s is bombastic. It’s the same level that she put into the National Anthem. Too big. At least for me. I never really connect. (Come to think of it, now that Miss Whitney’s voice is showing a little wear and tear, I’d love to see her revisit this.) And I’d say 90% of Les Mis is at the Whitney end of the spectrum. I was just fatigued by the time the show ended. And not in a good way.
But, I know I’m in the minority on this one. And it was definitely not the production; they do what they do and they do it well. People just loved the show last night. Happy faces all around. And that’s really what’s important. They don’t program the Performing Arts Center just for me (if they did, they’d be running a production of White Christmas starring Hugh Jackman and Harry Connick Jr. – from my blog to God’s ears).
The best moment of the night for me was when the actors were doing their run-through of the fight scene. No costumes, just t-shirts and sweats. Then the Winspear techs brought down the chandelier like they do before nearly every show so that it’s lit when the guests come in. And they all just turned to watch the lights come down – “Hey, there it goes!” All their faces turned up to the blue light. Pulling out their cell phones to take pictures. This is a touring cast that has been in theaters all over the country. And they stopped to watch our chandelier. Even applauded. I love that. Happens nearly every time. When you work at the center, you get kind of used to what is actually a pretty glamorous venue. It’s nice when visitors remind you.
Friday, December 16, 2011
The funny thing is that she still wants to make things like cookies and cakes, because she knows other people like them. But she’ll be watching you to see what your reaction is, because she just can’t tell if what she made is any good or not. Now on the other side of the coin, if I want to make a dessert that she enjoys, it’s pretty easy. Lowball the sugar, and it’s virtually impossible to over-spice. If the cookie recipe calls for ¼ teaspoon of clove, double it and throw in some ginger too. Cayenne doesn’t hurt either.
And I get it. I’m no judge of vegetables, really. You’ll never hear me say, “man, those are some really good green beans.” One, because I wouldn’t know. Two, because somebody might offer me more. Shudder.
On the other hand, she could live quite healthily not ever having another cupcake in her entire life. There is no Recommended Daily Allowance for dessert (no matter how many letters I write to the FDA). Vegetables, however, are pretty much a must. I’m doing pretty well on my mission to up my vegetable consumption. I’m averaging 4.5 a day. Not my 5-a-day goal. But better than most Americans. And I can acknowledge that I do actually feel healthier. I think if I stick with it another year that it will actually be a habit. Not a pleasure, but a good habit.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The more I see that show though, the more I’m convinced I would make a lousy Scrooge. Not that I have all that much to repent for. But if I did - ghosts? Really? That’s what’s supposed to make me regret my wicked ways? What are you going to do? Howl at me? Bring it, spooky. Doesn’t work when my 5-year old nephew tries it either. Then you make me review my past mistakes? In detail? I call that a Tuesday night. What’s your big guns? Death. Yeah, I’m shaking. We all gotta go sometime, bubba. Turning all nicey-nicey ain't gonna stop that train.
Luckily for us all, my wicked ways in no way hinder my Christmas spirit. In point of fact, some of my wicked ways are Christmas spirits (mulled wine, anyone?). I feel for ol’ Scrooge. I’ve been in a holiday funk a time or two. But there’s not a darned thing anyone else can do about it when it happens. You get yourself out of the slough and into the spirit. Though mulled wine can help.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Not everybody needs grownup Garanimals. But some people do. A lot of people do. I’ve had far too many moments lately of walking past someone in public and thinking “Sweet Jesus, what are you wearing on your feet?” Yes, there are exceptions. Rules are made to be broken. Tilda Swinton, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, HBC. They are breaking all sorts of rules. I ain’t mad at them. But, most people don’t have that kind of eye. And, frankly, I don’t have the time to be schooling everyone I see. Lessons like – if you have a full posterior*, pleated and tapered crop pants with, lord-help-me, ankle booties? No. And I mean this most emphatically. No. Don’t make me come over there.
Anyone can learn. It’s about those things like proportion, knowing your body, working with color, adding the unexpected, harmony and dissonance. But not everyone has the time or inclination to explore the mysteries. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with just looking presentable. Classic is classic for a reason. The GAP was able to make people look just slightly more interesting that flat out boring. It was a gift. I miss it.
* True story. My eyes are still quivering in the back of my head and afraid to come out.
Monday, December 5, 2011
I may be old school, but my guess is one person or persons responsible is whoever is profiting from the out-of-control consumer culture. That’s one con that everybody seems to have bought in to. And none of us is better for it. And I have a pretty simple, non-legislative, easy to operate plan. Start really thinking about shit before you buy it. How does this benefit me? What exactly am I paying for?
Like a purse. You know what the difference between a $50 purse is and a $950 purse is? The $950 purse will hold your crap. The $50 purse will also hold your crap. And the $900 you saved. Yeah, I know. $900 is heavy. But you can do it. Yes, I absolutely agree that the $900 purse will still be holding up 20 years from now. But you don’t know if you’ll be alive 20 years from now, much less whether you’ll still like that damn purse. Trust me, that $50 purse will work just fine. And if you’re still around in a year, buy another purse. Go nuts. Spend another 50 bucks. Or don’t. Maybe by then you’ll have decided that you’ll see how a $30 purse will do. Or you’ll make your own purse or buy one at a resale shop. There’s a world of possibilities out there that don’t cost NINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS. But by then you’ll have experienced the joys of compound interest on that $900. And the even greater joy of having told the person who tried to sell you that over-priced bag to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Sticking it to the man? Priceless.
Okay, this kind of decision making process won’t always opt for the cheaper thing. Fresh baked bread is more expensive than a Twinkie. No doubt. Healthier too. So you may have to pony up sometimes. But you know what? I’ve been drinking jug wine from Gallo lately. Pretty damn tasty, my friends. Tastes even better when I’m jingling the coins I saved in my pocket and I’m doing my evil leprechaun dance.
If I need people to like me (yes, I’m that manipulative, judge away), lately I’ve been busting out the Texas drawl. You know, those moments when you just need that extra drop of goodwill out of somebody, so you just slide ‘em a little sugar. Or darlin’. Darlin’ works too. Hon will do it in a pinch. You just hit your short vowels little longer. Slide some of your long vowels around the side door. And drop those endin’ gees at will.
Generally speaking it doesn’t matter where the person is from. Alpine, Texas or Secaucus, New Jersey. If it’s somebody from around here, they’ll think you’re one of “us”, and of course you’re just a good ol’ gal at heart. And if they’re a Yankee, it doesn’t matter if they also think you’re dumb as a box of rocks to go with it. They’ll only mean it in the nicest way possible. Hell, it worked for W for at least 5 years. Course they may have caught on since it doesn’t seem to be doing Rick Perry any favors (good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Stay smart, America).
Most of the time it takes something less than a Sherlock Holmes level of sleuthing to catch my roots showing (“I deduce from the way that you pronounce “cement” that you’ve spent at least part of your childhood in coastal Texas. South of Houston if I’m not very much mistaken.”). And usually I have the good grace not to slop sugar on people just to get on their good side. But lately, I don’t know. I’ve been just hauling it out just to see if I can maybe get around somebody with it. Just for the heck of it really. I should be ashamed. And I am. I am. And if I was an honest sort, I’d keep my ersatz Western charms to myself and my intimates (who are very much on to me and ignore my bull crap). But it’s kind of like having a high IQ or blonde hair and big boobs. Just seems like a shame to let it go to waste.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Saw this on the Advanced Style blog. AS is one of my favorite pick-me-ups. I love that the women in the pictures are vibrant and expressing themselves with fashion and, most important, getting out there and mixing it up in their 70s, 80, 90s, and on into the century mark. It gives me a kick in the pants to at least try, ya know?
I went to the part of the review that Ari mentions about calling him out on using the word “ladies” to describe the women he photographs. Geez Louise. Some women really look for things to get their knickers in a twist about. Who uses the word ladies anymore? Me. I also say women, chicks, girls, gals, broads, babes, bitches, hoochies, squirrels (last one I picked up from someone else – and she’s right. Call your girls your squirrel friends and you’ll laugh every time). It’s all about context. There’s a big difference between somebody jabbing a finger in my face and saying “Listen, lady!” and a smiling person walking up and saying, “Hey, lady!” The same way there’s a difference between someone muttering “bitch” under their breath and someone laughing as they say “Wassup, bitch?”
What’s the difference between lady and woman? Woman is biological. It’s a particular configuration of body parts and chemical reactions. Not insignificant, of course, but not particular either. Lady is conduct. It is behavior. Specifically, good behavior. A lady is polite, a lady dresses appropriately, a lady considers the comfort of others. It doesn’t convey moral character. There are good ladies and bad ladies. But we all know what is expected of a lady. On Friday night I was ushering at A Christmas Carol, and 2 little girls ran past me. A little excitement on a night at the big people’s theater is expected, no? But not terribly safe when it leads to running. All I had to say, in my firm, adult voice, was “Ladies.” Heads go up. Shoulders go back. Running stops. At 6, they knew exactly what was expected. That’s the thing. You know.
And I get the idea of it being retrograde and a relic of an era when a woman could be put in her place by the threat of not being a true lady. Oh, my. The tyranny of being a “good little girl” and a “lady”. But the only way to deal with the past is to pick up the things you want and leave the rest behind. There are wonderful things about being a lady. Madeleine Albright is a lady. And one tough broad too.* All in context. I have contexts too. Sometimes I’m a bitch. Sometimes I’m one of the girls. And yes, even I can be a lady. I drink my beer with a pinky firmly out.
* If you've never heard her talk about sending messages to heads of state using her broaches, go look it up. Well, played, Madame Albright. Well played.
Friday, November 18, 2011
I resisted the tablet thing for awhile. I mean, I have a laptop and a phone. The iPad and its competitors looked fun, sure. But frankly, maybe too much fun. Ya know what I’m saying? You see those people just staring at their digital device. Poking at those angry birds, or scrolling through their 3 or 4 hundred closes friends on Facebook. Looking a little . . . disconnected, in a weird way. I mean, it connects you in the cyber way. But it really puts you inside a bubble in the real world. I’m not making judgments. Connected is connected. But I live inside my head too much already. I don’t need something that turns me even more socially challenged.
But I’d see the people on the train or at the airport – reading books. Oh, books. Oh, books. Especially the big giant books that I love, but don’t have the upper body strength or spare wheelbarrow to carry. I mean, The Passage is almost 800 pages in hardback. I don’t mind committing the time. It’s the risk of back injury that I’m concerned about.
So, the Kindle Fire comes out in color. I can load my knitting patterns on it from Ravelry (High Tech Gadget, meet my Low Tech Hobby). I could check my email if I was so inclined. Music and movies can be had. And books, oh, books. I downloaded Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Garden and The Wasteland all for free. I have them with me right now. It’s kind of a giddy feeling.
I’m still saying no to those Angry Birds, though.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
It appears that there are people who feel so snookered by this one that they are now set on destroying Kim Kardashian’s career. Wait. Is that “career”? I’m not sure. Anyway.
Evidently there are Facebook pages and petitions to get Kim K. off the E! network, and to get her out of Tyler Perry’s movie. Because she might destroy the high artistic integrity of those two endeavors. I’m going to leave Tyler Perry alone (other than to give you a topic – Tyler Perry’s Madea is to southern black people as Vickie Lawrence’s Mama Harper is to southern white people. Talk amongst yourselves.) But let’s face it, E! is the network that finds it appropriate to do the True Hollywood story of Justin Bieber’s rise to fame (and made an hour out of it) and has a successful spin-off based on a long running show about Hugh Hefner’s “girlfriends”. The Kardashians are by no means the bottom of that barrel.
But really, it’s more about people getting offended by the 72DM. Come on guys. Let’s review the record.
1: Kim Kardashian is not the first person to parlay notoriety into Hollywood success. Or at least a Playboy spread.
2: She’s not the first person in Hollywood to have a blink and you’ll miss it marriage. In fact, Americans, in general, suck at marriage. She’s just more efficient at it.
3: And I think this is most important. Kimmie did not waltz into your house and turn the TV on for you, pop your popcorn and sit you down to watch the 4 hour wedding extravaganza. If you lost that 4 hours of your life, that’s on you. She didn’t suddenly become a vapid, shallow, self-centered, conniving hustler when the ring came off. And in fact, isn’t that really what you loved about her in the first place?
Oh, I’m not saying that she should still be on TV. Ignore her and she WILL go away. That’s network TV. They’re ratings whores, plain and simple. And maybe if they get rid of her Ross Matthews will finally get his own show (I’m hoping for you, Rossie!). But there are just so many other reasons to stop her from sucking all the air out of the zeitgeist. The lack of talent, the slightly crossed eyes, the fact that you have to take her whole bat-sh** crazy family with her, the mean streak. Take your pick.
But getting all huffy and “Well, I never!” because her reality TV wedding/3-ring circus was, shall we say, disingenuous? Come on now.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I’ve read Gluten-Free Girl’s blog at different times. Sometimes. Because, though I do cook gluten-free fairly regularly for a friend, I find that most recipes that are jeririgged to be sans-gluten, often leave me just wishing that it really was what it’s pretending to be. And if you have gluten problems you pretty much have no choice but to love the one your with, as an only occasional consumer of gluten-free products, I’ve never really developed the taste for them. So I tend to go toward recipes that are not now, nor were they ever intended to be, made with gluten. Stick rice pudding or grilled veggies skirt the gluten issue quite effectively.
But I saw a couple of blogs referencing Gluten-Free Girl’s post about internet trolls, and I had to go take a look. I’ve been kind of curious about trolls for awhile now. I mean, who are they? If you ever look at comments sections on public sites out there, you really need to brace yourself. There appears to be a large contingent of people out there who read internet posts, then uncap a bottle of Haterade and just start chugging. And I only say large contingent because going by the number of places they turn up and the sheer volume of comments, it’s gotta be more than just one guy sitting in a bunker in Idaho with nothing but a can of pork and beans and an internet connection.
And they will strike at anything. You’re stupid, a bad writer, entitled, over-priveleged, elitist, fat, ugly, too young, too old, a bad parent, a bad American, the long-lost grandchild of Adolf Hitler, a redneck, a hippie, a monster, and basically what’s-wrong-with-the-world-today. Wow. And that’s not including the ad hominem comments that are simply racist or sexist. And the general tone is fantastically dismissive, and generally questioning of the original writer’s right to put something up for the rest of the world to see. Or breathe.
And it can range from misspelled, barely literate, rage-filled, profanity-laced blurts, to mini essays full of erudition and distain (also rage-filled). I can’t really get a picture in my head about what your typical troll would be like. Other than the fact that they all seem to have a need to get it out. So who are they in the real world? I don’t think I know anyone who I’d think is out there hurling word grenades at random bloggers. Are they getting out their hate in a fairly safe environment? Sort of like free therapy. Are they just the people who never seem to say much, and they just save it for the comments section? What did they do before they had an anonymous outlet for their inner troll? Maybe editors of newspapers from the old days have a better perspective on this. Maybe they had a bag of poison pen epistles that they had to plow through every week.
I’m not sure what I’d do if I ever picked up a troll here on this blog. I’m not sure I’d be willing to be someone’s punching bag. Luckily, I’ve been very fortunate to be pretty much a tiny voice in a very big choir. There’s a Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers song about how we’re all floating out in the middle of the ocean in leaky little boats, calling out to the other leaky little boats out there on the horizon. It would be nice if what we called wasn’t “You’re fat, you’re stupid, you’re ugly!”, but “Hi! How are you? I hope you’re doing well.”
Oh, and that warm rice salad looks hella good. I'm making me some of that.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
It seems so obvious. A forest for the trees sort of thing. But really, this is one of those scientific studies where I say “Yes! Thank you! That explains it.” Basically, the idea is that hardsell pickup lines work because they’re sexist. And they work to pickup women who are sexist too. Bam! The old matching theory at work. Like peanut butter and jelly. Like masochists and sadists. Actually, a lot like masochists and sadists.
But there’s also a corollary I think they missed. These books like The Game are written specifically to pickup beautiful women. That’s the limiter that make the whole thing work. One side of that would be, of course men want to pickup beautiful women. Why pickup ugly chicks? Granted.
But the other side of the coin is that, to a great extent, picking up beautiful women is like shooting fish in a barrel. They are easy marks. Especially for the notorious tactic of “negging”. That’s where a guy either gives a deliberately backhanded compliment or out-and-out criticizes a woman. Basically, it softens up her self-esteem so that she’s more open to being approached. The thing is, beautiful women have no resilience in this department. Me, you tell me that “Hey, I really like that you have the confidence to wear an ugly outfit” or “You know the natural look works for you. You can get away with not looking perfect,” and my little defenses go straight up. Zap! Zap! Jerk comments just bounce off like Wonder Woman’s bracelets. Beautiful women? They’re defenseless. They’ve never been attacked about their looks in their entire lives. They’ve never had to have a great personality.
Beautiful girls are also a lot easier to separate from their packs. When they get together, basically their selling point is all the same. So once their out, the further they get from the comparison set, the better off they are. When average girls go out, they usually go out with women they actually like. If I end up talking to a guy who turns out to be a jerkwad, I just go back to my crowd where I know I’m going to have a good time. AND I’ll have a new 5 minutes of material to regale my friends about the jerkwad who just tried to pick me up.
And lastly, beauty is malleable. Most men will accept what they are presented as beauty. They aren’t looking to see if someone is genetically beautiful. Flat ironed hair, tons of makeup, short skirt, breast implants, 6-inch heels. They’re done. A beautiful facade is plenty. Especially for a one-night hookup. And any woman who is willing to subject themselves to the kind of torture it takes to be club worthy is probably just masochistic enough to take whatever what of these bozos dish out.
So, I’m going to submit that “beautiful” is another self-selecting quality here. It is probably way easier to pick those girls up than one that’s just average. And if they were actually able to pickup pretty girls (naturally good looking, yet not acculturated to submit to the patriarchal ideal – see, researcher guys? I can use big words too), then I’d actually be impressed.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Oh, my god. It’s one of the “me”s.* I’ve always said I have one of those faces. People are always telling me I look like someone they know. Their cousin. Their college roommate. The girl who works in Building 1. Even my own family has seen these people, and almost walked up to one of them to start talking before they realized it wasn’t me. My own mother saw “me” in Amsterdam and was about 2 seconds from walking up and asking what the hell I was doing there.
And now I’ve seen one. It’s a “me.” Picture 3 of this photo essay (hopefully the link will take you straight there). Same coloring. Similar build. About the right haircut. And I’ll even be damned if I don’t own that outfit. Me. And if I was in Delhi, I’d probably be carrying that same travel book.
It’s kind of fucking with my sense of identity. I really prefer to think of myself as unique (aren’t we all?). I’m just contrary enough that I’ll head straight for red if everyone else is picking green. I LIVE for the words “only you would do that”. And that was just a bald and unattractive admission, so please don’t tell anyone else. It’s true enough though. An overweening, singular and slightly silly need to be different. Sad but true.
And there she is. Wearing my . . . me! I feel slightly peeved. Missy. I’ll admit that I fall in the general area of average female of mixed European descent. But really. Get your own face. Thank heavens for the skootch of Native American that gave me a bold nose, otherwise I’d be as interesting as a pile of potatoes. But still. There she is. But for the schnoz, my doppelganger. I’m perturbed. I admit it. Quite perturbed. I wonder if she knows about the rest of us.
* And I have to say, I have no idea how to appropriately punctuate that. Plural, with quotes, and an awkward 2 letter word that ends in a vowel. Punctuation nightmare. Just go with it.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I think my entire childhood was pretty much one long confusion. One more thing to be befuddled about would have been no big deal. Which pretty much describes the way the only child I’ve ever seen actually go through the explanation of “Annie has two daddies”. He went through about 30 seconds of “What? Really? You’re kidding me? That’s funny. Okay. Whatever.” At 5, he had way more trouble figuring out the ketchup bottle (he’d never encountered one that wasn’t squeezable - hilarious). And a whole lot more interest in the outcome.
So, unless you’re going to eliminate all of the “confusing” things in the world like shoelaces and glass ketchup bottles, parents are just going to have to add two adults who love each other very much to the list of things they’ll need to explain. For the most part, kids brains are still mushy enough that they can take in all sorts of new things, no problem. It’s only adults who seem to have a hard time with it. And, if you really run into a kid who just doesn’t get it, you can always fall back on my Mom’s all-purpose phrase for making awkward parent/child conversations go way: “It’s none of your business.”
Monday, August 22, 2011
And between the weather and the economy and politics and just some cycle of the moon that makes people seem to want to act like douchebag von assholes, I’m just kind of done. If life was a bully, I’d be handing over my lunch money. Enough already. Uncle. Every day you get up, and every day it’s like this. Son of a bucket. Even Anderson Cooper’s pretty mug won’t get me to turn on the news. Not that you can avoid it. Somehow, somewhere, the crap-a-thon will find you.
Now I like to think of myself as a plucky gal, piss and vinegar, spunky, the little engine that could. A Mary Tyler Moore in a room full of Rhodas. But even I’m getting tired. And I’m not falling for the 10th day promise. I’m just willing to concede misery for the foreseeable future. Peace. The summer will never end. You win.
Or maybe it’s just August. That’s possible too.
Friday, August 19, 2011
I don’t even go on vacation with out a plan. I don’t go to the grocery store without a plan. But evidently, there’s no plan about what we’re going to do if the entire northern hemisphere turns into an EZ Bake Oven.
And again, it may be because I live in Texas and it’s hotter than a $2 pistol out there that I’m thinking about this. And, evidently, we don’t have a plan. Cattle dropping dead in the fields. Cantaloupes the size of apricots. Towns turning off city water. Small children drying up and blowing away. Okay, not children. But definitely Chihuahuas. They dry up and their little ears catch a breeze – and whoosh! They’re gone like a paper airplane. And can I point out that Texas is not, in fact, land locked? There’s a gulf, like, right there. But do we have a plan on how to make that water usable and get it to the cows and the cantaloupes and the Chihuahuas? Nope. And can I point out that we can move oil around this place like a motherfucker, but water has to kind of stay where it’s at? The Hohokam Indians built canals in Phoenix 1,500 years ago (look it up) using stone shovels and sticks to irrigate a DESERT. No backhoes. No desalination plants. No government permits. But I guess maybe they had a PLAN.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I guess I was in my early 20s when my relationship with my parents changed from adult/child to adult/adult. I’ll always be their child, of course. My mom is always going to worry that I do the right thing. And I’ll always worry that she thinks I’m doing the right thing. My dad is always probably always going to blink a little when he suddenly looks at me and remembers that I’m not 3 feet tall. And to me he’s always going to be my big, strong Dad.
But there’s also the way that our relationship deepened when I could understand them as human beings. When I had faced some of the same challenges of adulthood on my own, and could understand more about how they had made decisions. And when they could relax more. Not worry about what they said, or having to take all the burden of situations themselves. There’s a way that you can laugh together, or discuss a problem, or even just talk about what was on the news, that’s just different; more comfortable. Not peers. But equals in a way. When I was a kid, my parents were always my parents. But now, as weird as it feels to say, they actually can be my friends too. It’s something they earned with years of parenting. Raising me to be an actual adult, and not an overgrown child. We can be easy around each other.
And that’s something that family that I saw on TV will never have. Another reason why murder is a crime that never ends.
Monday, August 15, 2011
I come from a similar conservative Christian background as Michelle Bachmann, and though I’m now a happily agnostic secular humanist, I still have enough contact with that world to know that there’s no way in hell we should be electing anyone from that realm to the highest job in the nation. Not that they can’t be perfectly lovely, honorable, upstanding citizens. But conservative Christianity comes with its own blind spots. Blind spots the size of a Buick. And you’re on a baseball team, you don’t make the blind guy your pitcher. Do we really want someone who is capable of rationalizing away evolution, the separation of church and state, slavery and civil rights running the country? What else is she capable of throwing under the evangelical bus?
Rick Perry has some similar traits with Bachmann (his big idea in the last year has been to pray for rain – we still have a record breaking drought by the way), but he’s also flogging his “success” record in Texas. And as a Texan, I believe I can say with some authority – horse shit. Yes, aside from the weather that is tearing us apart (which I’d love to be able to blame him for, but even I can’t manage that one), Texas has weathered the financial crisis better than some states. But it has no relation to any pretense of leadership from Governor Goodhair. Texas was actually harder hit in 2000 to 2002 than most other states. Two of our 4 biggest cities (Dallas and Austin) were devastated by the tech bubble bursting. And one city (Houston) was leveled by the Enron scandal (remember Enron? Ouch.). As a result, all three had to restructure their economies, and were able to do it before the worst of the mortgage and financial crisis hit. And Rick Perry had ZERO to do with it. No matter how much he’d like to take the credit.
For just a moment, I’d like all Americans to think what happened the last time we elected a good looking doofus to the Presidency . . . Yeah. That. Yes, it matters that we have someone capable of rational thought in that office. Someone who’d make a great piece of arm candy just won’t cut it. Though, if Mitt Romney wants to pick either one as a running mate, I’m all for it. Make them Vice President – where they’ll never be heard from again. And it might even work the miracle of turning me religious. I’d be on my knees praying for President Mitt’s health every day of his presidency.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
The Tempest is really a great example of why Shakespeare has lasted so long. There are so many ways that the story can be looked at that it can seem eerily appropriate to your time (no matter what that time might be). Where 50 years ago, The Tempest was seen as a story about the evils of colonialism and enslavement by The Man, today it could really ring true as a story of a dysfunctional family. Single dad (Prospero) loses his job (the dukedom) and has to move his daughter (Miranda) into a shelter (the island), where there’s a weird goth kid (Ariel) and a wild kid (Caliban). Another victim of downsizing.
There’s also the political element. Anyone who thinks that Hollywood invented getting all up in a politician's business has never seen King Lear (or Oedipus Rex for the matter). James Cameron’s got nothing on old Bill Shakes. Shakespeare is almost always making a point that when government is in chaos everyone suffers. Gee, why does that sound familiar? Kings who let their egos guide them rather than their conscience get into big trouble in Shakespeareland. You have to wonder if we might not be in the mess we are now if Congress had a summer reading list that included Macbeth, Les Miserables, Lysistrata and The Inferno.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Oh, but you say, “You have a voice in out democracy and you can vote your power and our government will rein things in and get this runaway pony back under control.” No, you don’t say that. You don’t believe that. Nobody believes that.
Because it used to be that if you were a fraidy cat you’d put your money in the bank and it would be there for your old age, quietly enjoying the magic of compound interest. Or if you could afford it you’d buy blue chip stocks and be able to outpace inflation by a bit and have a little cushier retirement. Then people decided that everyone needed to be in higher risk stocks – no guts, no glory. You’re smarter than the market and there are no losers on Wall Street. Then we decided that you can’t go fast if you use the brakes, in fact why do we need brakes in the first place? No brakes. Go, baby, go! And it was a stock market free-for-all – money flying everywhere and we’re all gonna get rich or die trying.
At the same time, companies became convinced that private ownership could not work. IPO is the way to go. Try and find a company that is responsible only to a small group of owners out there. Not many of them. They’re all publicly-owned. Faceless, nameless stockholders and investment groups who can’t walk up to the president of the company and say, “What they hell are you doing?” And stockholders who don’t care if the company is going to be there in 10 years, because they’ll have sold their stock by then. Dividends? What’s that? It’s all about what-did-you-buy-for and what-did-you-sell-for.
So, it all is dependent on Wall Street traders. And we all know what a bunch of level-headed, altruistic, far-thinking bunch they are. No worries letting them play a game of poker in which the pot is your 401k.
Basically we’ve created an economy in which our fiscal fates are at the mercy of the most venal, cowardly highway robbers in our society. Good plan.
I’m putting my money in a sock and hiding it in an old bust of Shakespeare that I bought at the flea market. I still have no idea what those dollars are actually worth. But I have some! And that I have control over. The rest of it? Not my worry. My problem. But not my worry.
Friday, August 5, 2011
To me, Ted Bundy still exists as the ultimate cautionary tale of our age. Nearly a fable in his story’s simplicity and clarity. The wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Not that whatever made him a monster was simple. I’m sure that was a perfect storm of genetics and environment, coincidence and design.
But the thing that he was. Handsome, charming, clever, and lethal. If you met him in a bar you’d give him a shot. And possibly you'd end up dead. Or if he was co-worker, you wouldn’t be averse to a little office appropriate flirtation. And years later you might read a story and think, “Oh, that was Ted from the 2nd floor.” And never get over the chill of knowing you’d smiled upon evil.
So, I think for many women, when a story gets added to the little mental file that you keep: things to remember. And when you’re out with your girls some night, and someone says, “Oh, he’s cute,” you find yourself thinking, “Yeah, so was Ted Bundy.”
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Okay, this is something I’ve really found to be true in my diet overhaul. A spoon full of sugar really does help the medicine go down. The easiest way to integrate veggies (ptooie!) into my meals is an easy formula [something I like (i.e., marinara) + something I don’t like (i.e., zucchini) = healthy compromise].
You know those moments when you look down into the jar and think, “I’d eat just about anything with Nutella on it.” Ding ding ding ding! And actually, whole wheat toast, which when eaten dry is pretty unpleasant, becomes a thing of toothsome glory with a schmear of choco-hazelnutty goodness. The roughness of the toast prolongs and enlivens the smooth, rich spread.
So, thank you, Mary Poppins and your delicious bottle of medicine. You may be sipping rum-raisin, but make mine Nutella.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I can attest to the appeal for women just on the face of things. Mostly the face (and leather framed behind) of Daniel Craig. There are good lookin’ manly men (Harrison Ford, Keith Carradine, Clancy Brown, Adam Beach, David O’Hara, and okay, Sam Rockwell isn’t all that manly, but he’s still good lookin’) in this movie. And the girls were out at the showing of the movie that I went to. I’d say almost half the audience was women. I bet you don’t see that kind of demographics at the latest Transformers brain shrinker. Now, admittedly, I do fall into a sweet spot here, as a girl who loves both westerns and sci-fi. But, guess what? I’m not alone.
Also, there were women in this movie. Not one of them ended up half naked. Or screaming uselessly and running in 5-inch heels. The only whore in the movie was reformed, and married, and her husband shot somebody for calling her a whore. Plus, Olivia Wilde, who is undoubtedly one hot babe, is a main protagonist who neither needs to be saved nor allows others to do the saving. And she does it fully clothed! Take that Megan Fox!
So, here was a movie that had plenty of explosions and disgusting monsters and guns and men saying pithy things and repressing their emotions – and yet there was plenty for women to look at (Daniel Craig’s pretty, pretty blue eyes leap to mind) and no creeping undertone of misogyny for them to have to tune out. Date movie! For god’s sake Hollywood. Catch up.
Monday, August 1, 2011
There is sort of a method to the madness. One, portability. This is not the tuba. Two, though there are actual ukulele virtuosos like Izrael Kamakawiwo’ole, let’s face it, the bar was set by Tiny Tim. And have you ever said, “He’s good, but he’s no Tiny Tim”? Three, picture it: me, campfire, a ukulele. Niiiiiiccceee. Okay, ignore the part of the picture where my friends are holding their ears and begging me to stop.
So, I’m going to start with Michael Row the Boat Ashore. Or something equally beginner. But really, the goal is something from the Holy Jim Trinity (Jimmy Buffett, Jim Croce, James Taylor). Or George Michael’s Faith. Or Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Oh, yeah.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Yes, there is an appalling list of performers who died young while battling their demons. But for every Lenny Bruce there is a George Burns. For every Heath Ledger there is a Tom Hanks. For every Toulouse Lautrec there is a Henri Matisse. For every Amy Winehouse there is a Dolly Parton. For that matter, for every Amy Winehouse there is a Jerry Garcia. Let’s face it, Jerry could probably have rolled up Amy and smoked her with an LSD chaser. And he lived to a semi-ripe old age. Johnny Cash fought years of addiction and lived to have a brilliantly productive end to his career. And for every Amy Winehouse there is an Adele. Who mines pain from her life and sings with aching soul. And yet appears to be, if not always happy, then at least healthy, and hopefully will be producing great music for many years to come.
So, please, can we see this death without the romantic haze of the tortured artist? The muse does not kill. Drug addiction does. You can have one without the other. And to survive both, you have to be very, very lucky. Poor Amy was not a lucky girl. Because of the undeniable power of her voice, we knew who she was. It is a measure of the strength of the monster she fought that even that voice could not save her.
Monday, July 25, 2011
And again, it seems to have all been instigated by a man who is so sure of his, I don’t know, do we call it a world view? So sure that he knows what is right and what is true, so sure of his will that he is able to detonate a bomb with no apparent concern of who he may harm, just that he will do harm. So sure that he will aim a gun at children, fire, and keep firing. How do you do that once? How do you do that for an hour and a half?
You and I will probably never understand. Not really. We may find out all the reasons, all the whys. But we’ll never understand the how. Are we looking at the face of evil in Norway? Quite possibly. Insanity? Is there any clearer way to define it than an action like this? For the family and countrymen of the victims, I’m sure there is not even cold comfort in that idea.
Maybe, in the end, it really is just pure selfishness. The idea that one man is the measure of all things and his rights take precedence over all others. Even another’s life. My truth and there is no room for any other. Maybe that is the true root of evil.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Okay, so Kim Kardashian is suing Old Navy because a look-alike in their commercials violates her “brand”. On the one hand, what exactly does this say about her “brand” that a person’s appearance is enough to violate it? Is that all you’ve got? It’s not like she can copy what you do, because you don’t actually do anything. Your main talent is getting dressed in the morning, then standing still. You ain’t Martha Stewart, cookie.
On the other hand, America appears to have bought exactly what it is that she’s selling. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a magazine or TV that isn’t displaying the Kardashian brand. It’s everywhere. I’m still not sure why. But there she is. Everywhere you look. Even to the extent that somebody gets famous for just looking like somebody who’s famous for doing nothing. And if America is willing to buy nothing, I suppose she’d be silly not to sell it. P.T. Barnum said there’s one born every minute. And Andy Warhol said everyone will get 15 minutes of fame. I think we probably need a recount.
So sue, away, Kim Kardashian. That woman is infringing upon your brand. And that’s your sisters’ job.
Given that my first three were nieces, little boys are quite an experience. For instance, I had no idea how hard it was to keep pants on a little boy. The first morning, the middle kid came inching down the stairs rubbing his eyes, and full on rocking the Pooh Bear look. Sponge Bob shirt. No pants. Then stood in the kitchen with no apparent sense of anything missing from the picture, with a “So, what’s up guys?” look on his face. Then we went out in the afternoon to splash in the blow up pool – whappah! Naked time. The oldest has his underpants off before I know what’s going on. Then Number 2 is right in the mix. Skinny dipping it is.
I also learned that for boys, physical caution is not really a factor. Girls will usually eyeball something to figure out if they’re going to get hurt. Boys? Not so much. Popping your brother in the kisser because he stole your toy, and not really putting any work into estimating if he’s strong enough to wrestle you to the ground and keep you there pretty much as long as he wants to. Hearing the words “ice cream” and charging down the stairs, full-tilt boogie, and missing the bottom stair to form a really impressive goose-egg on your forehead just in time for picture day (it took him a little while to forgive the ice cream for that incident). Standing on top of a barstool to see if you can . . . just . . . reach . . . the . . . cheese crack . . . ers, falling off, crying for 5 minutes, then getting right back up there because you still want the cheese crackers and it doesn’t occur to you that you could perhaps ask the adult who is standing right there. Did we not just do this? Remember, reach, fall, crash, ow? Apparently not.
Luckily, the baby is pretty much content with his favorite game – reach up, grab your necklace and pull your cheek down to plant a drooly kiss. I love that game too.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Yahoo today had these pictures of Jaclyn Smith and Linda Carter, citing how amazing they still look. Agreed. But they’re from a time when it was in fashion to have good bone structure. The It gals of the 70s and early 80s all had killer cheek bones and jaw lines that could cut glass. First, that always ages well. Second, if they do have work done, they’ve got something solid to stretch the old canvas over.
Lots of the popular girls today are either the soft and girlish look (what a friend of mine calls a bowl of oatmeal with 2 raisins for eyes) like Miley Cyrus or Emma Watson (or Lindsay Lohan to watch the process in fast forward) or they have a some bone structure and stay skinny enough for it too look prominent (Kristen Stewart or Katy Perry). Either way, once the collagen goes, they’re going to look like a balloon with all the air let out. Then the only thing you can do is plump things back up, which can be pretty dicey in results (hello, Meg Ryan Queen of the Trout Pout and the wax statue that once was Nicole Kidman).
Not that there’s much else they can do about it, other than enjoy the collagen while it lasts and then sand bag the River Styx as long as they can. Either the bone structure gods smiled on your cradle or they didn’t. It's also why some women who were really to harsh as young women to be truly pretty (like Glenn Close and Meryl Streep are aging better than their more conventional peers). Me, I was not blessed with much in the way of cheek bones and no jaw line to speak of. But I was blessed with a solid schnoz. So I’m relying on it to act like a tent pole to hold things up while what’s left of the sand trickles to the lower end of the hour glass.
Monday, July 11, 2011
And part of that has to be that if they actually love those liberties too, they’d find themselves agreeing with liberals – which, whoa, that would be freaky for them. Can’t have that. So, the debate is turning to freedoms that they can still get in an argument about. Like their right to smoke, eat junk food, drive gas guzzlers and use incandescent light bulbs. Yes, there’s a fight in Congress about the governments efforts to force tax-payers to phase out the use of incandescent lightbulbs. Halogens may last longer and cost less in electricity to use, but dang-it they’re weird. And possibly gay. And no hardcore conservative wants a cheap, queer light bulb in their house. And the damn liberals want to argue with them about it.
And it seems like the elements of government control they hate most are the ones that some people would say are just trying to stop them from doing stupid stuff. To themselves. And frankly, I’m having a hard time arguing with them. If they want to be fat, emphysemic, poor and sitting in the dark, that’s their choice. Frankly, some of the things that the government thought were a bad idea in the past (interracial marriage, abolition, women’s suffrage, suffering a witch to live among us), actually turned out to be pretty good things in the light of a more reasonable age. And somebody had to have the courage to speak up for them (“Hey, maybe we shouldn’t burn Goody Barlow for hexing the Wilson’s cow”) in order to change the world. So maybe the Tea Partiers are right to fight boldly for their right to eat and uplight as they choose. Maybe Twinkies and incandescent bulbs will be discovered to cure cancer. And you’ll have Michelle Bachman to thank for saving them from destruction.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
So Monday we had the big family cookout. Everybody is milling around, munching, talking, cooking, kibitzing about other peoples’ cooking, you know, a cookout. This left the kids with pretty much nothing to do but be kids. And one of the things that was laying around from the party box (yes, there’s a party box), was giant load of plastic leis, glow necklaces and mardi gras beads (What? That’s not what you have in your party box?). So, most of the kids have one or two decorations, and go about their business. The 12-year old proceeds to make elaborate outfits out of plastic flotsam, including off-the-shoulder tops, head pieces and roman sandals. And then starts a mini America’s Got Talent competition in the living room, where she was host, judge and contestant.
Now, I’ve always said, if the kid ever gets a taste of a real audience, that’s it. She’ll never willingly step off of a stage again. The only reason that she’s not experienced it yet is that she’s under the mistaken impression that she’s SHY. Huh-huh. I have politely refrained from disabusing her of this mad notion by not saying, “Sure, kid, pull the other one.” Eventually, it will happen. School play. Glee club. Amateur night at the Improv. Something. She’ll get one taste of the good stuff – applause. And it will be like heroin to her poor attention starved system. Because really, we’re just her family and there’s no way we can compete with an actual auditorium. Meryl Streep, watch your back. I hope she'll remember to thank Aunt Julie when she gets her first Oscar.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
And somewhere in the middle of the death scene, I realized how much differently I viewed this story as an adult compared to as a teenager. I remember loving the movie when I was a weepy teenager. Cyrano is quite the swashbuckler. I loved me a swashbuckler as a teen. (Still do.) And the Dallas Shakes Cyrano is a devilishly handsome son-of-a-gun with a way with a sword and a word. I was content. In spite of the fact that that the play is done outdoors. In the summer. On the surface of the sun.
The big thing that’s changed is that I loved the tragedy of the whole thing back then. The ever-so worthy Cyrano, brilliant, honorable, tres gentil, denied happiness with his beloved because of his horrible disfigurement (and can I just sidebar that quite obviously the French don’t share our proportional assumption based on a man and his nose? Otherwise C de B would be quite the popular boy). Yet he stays devoted to her, quietly in the background, selflessly assuring her happiness. I would have been reduced to a blubbering effluent mess when I was around 16. And then, as he dies at the hands of his enemies, the truth is finally revealed – boo hoo hoo hoo hoo! So romantic. The end.
What really? You deny yourself happiness because God didn’t give you the perfect little button nose of your dreams? That’s it? Dumbass. If she can’t see beyond the tip of your nose (ha!), then she’s not your girl. And she ain’t all that in the first place. Get off your damn knee, and go find yourself some happy. And Roxanne? I’d have been pretty effin’ pissed if I found out that he’d been basically lying to me all that time. And let me stay in a goddamn nunnery 10 freaking years! When he could have been writing me kickass sonnets and making like French bunnies? IDIOT! I don’t care if you’re dying. Slappity-slap-slap! Over a nose? Please.
In fact, my teenage self could probably have used a slappity-slap-slap too. Seriously. There are some things that are better left to the pubescent.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Though we’re treading into generalization land, there is a documented phenomenon of the straight woman/gay man friendship. The Will & Grace thing. Been there, and been the beneficiary of a very nice little symbiosis. I’m not sure what my gay boyfriends may have received for being friends with me (other than my kickass personality and superior disco bunny skills). But I do know what I get out of it; I get the benefit of the male perspective. From a totally disinterested party. There’s no hidden agenda designed to present the male of the species in the best light. Or the worst light either. They’ll call a dog a dog. But also explain why some behavior might not be quite as woofish as it appears in a man’s way of thinking. Sure, you can get the male perspective from a straight guy friend. But I don’t know. I always think there’s some varnish on it. Either there’s a “I don’t currently want to sleep with you, but you might get breast plants or we could both end up drunk together, so I don’t want to burn any bridges” element, or a guy doesn’t want to throw a bro under the bus by revealing the He-Man Secrets of the Universe. But with the gay guy, he knows and he’s willing to tell.
Straight guys just don’t have that kind of synergy with lesbians, for the most part. I don’t know why. They seem to like a lot of the same things. And if there’s anyone in this world who could use a window on the opposite sex, it’s straight guys. Take this friend of mine. He’s got woman problems. And I could tell him that she’s bananas and stringing him along. But somehow he never seems to hear that kind of thing for me. Maybe he’s busy wondering what I’d look like with breast implants and a bottle of Jack in my hand. But if he had a good lesbian in his life, she’d be able to tell him these things and he’d know that she’s just looking out for him. In the words of Henry Higgins, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" A lesbian could have explained it for him.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The big thing that makes me laugh about the current obsession with the super-platform shoes is that they always make me think one thing – drag queen. Cause really, the whole heel thing has gotten out of hand (foot?). Go back and look at pictures from the 80s at what you thought were slutty hooker heels on Tawny Kitaen or Lita Ford. 2-inches. Maybe 2 ½. Now a 5-inch heel is being sold at Payless. You don’t even have to go down the stripper store any more.
And here’s the thing, on drag queens, there’s a reason for the big heels. They have big feet. You put an inch high kitten heel on a size 12, and it’s just not going to look right. Not that they usually need the leg lengthening that you get from a heel (darn them and their low body fat), but a six-foot tall “dame” needs a shoe that’s in proportion.
Also, drag queens are performers. They wear those shoes when they are in drag and working. And sometimes that’s for a 4-minute lip synch to “Single Ladies”. Then they’re backstage sitting down like a sensible person. Yes, a good queen can strut and be fierce in a pair of killer heels. But they usually have the sense not to try wearing them to the Piggly Wiggly. When the wig comes off, so do the heels. It seems to be only women who don’t have the sense not to wear those ankle-breakers all day. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen some girl working it in to work on 4-inch stilettos and hobbling out the door at the end of the day.
The ladies could take a tip from the lady-boys on this one. All that fierceness? It’s drag, honey. Save the triple-platform, peep toe, stiletto, sky-high shoe for the moment you are in the spotlight. And save your feet with a pair of flats for real life.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
- You're a Medieval lord and she's good breeding stock
- One of you was born on February 29
- One of you has recently undergone a long space journey and experienced gravitational time dilation (Shout out to OG, Albert Einstein! Special relativity, yo!)
- You're first cousins and the age difference is really not the grossest thing about it
- You're Jerry Lee Lewis - oh, wait. That' didn't work either. Strike that. You're Woody Allen! Cross-reference to number 4.
This is a person who is intelligent. Sensitive in the sense that he is well able to understand others’ emotions. Healthy and able to support himself in an adequate to better-than-adequate manner. Empirically speaking, good looking. Charming to the unwary. And he is an absolute waste of skin. He breeds hate and discontent wherever he goes. Manipulates with glee. Is hurtful to others. And for no real reason other than it seems to make him chuckle.
He’s not Grand Wizard of the KKK evil. He’s just plain evil. Not destructive on a regional scale. Just destructive to anyone who might come in contact with him. I have been driving in a parking lot and seen him walking. The idea that a tap of the gas pedal, while not the right thing to do and not something that would happen, could rid the world of this scourge – well, it did bring me a small amount of hope. I actually believe it’s a moral imperative to hate someone this evil.
Yes, I know that I should release this hate. Surrender it to the universe with the knowledge that he had a horrible childhood, or a damaged brain, or was cursed by an evil fairy at birth. Could even be demon possession for all I know. To be honest, I don’t get up every morning and wish him ill. This weekend was probably the first time I’ve thought of him in years. But if you ask me if I hate anyone, this is the name that leaps to mind. The only name that leaps to mind, for that matter. I wouldn’t kill him. I would do whatever in my power to stop someone else from killing him.
But I would still be happy to hear that he was dead.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
For instance, here in Texas, if you were a mom who wanted to start a small business from you home baking fresh muffins and selling them to your family and friends on the side to make some extra cash – forget it. The requirements you’d have to meet in order to do it are beyond crazy. And that applies to church bake sales, 2nd graders’ lemonade stands, farmers’ market stalls and your friendly neighborhood tamale lady. Say the worst happened and the muffin mom made a bad batch, how many people could she really hurt? A dozen? Two dozen? On the other hand, a Texas company like Enron faced so little regulation that they were able to nearly bankrupt California by creating an energy crisis, and then bankrupt the retirement savings of thousands of Americans who were invested in Enron stock.
I can’t help but think the balance of the scales is somewhat off. In an age where Wal-Mart thrives, mom and pop stores crumble. But somehow, I’m supposed to feel sorry for Wal-Mart. We should all just leave Wal-Mart alone. Sorry. No. I think those bastards can take care of themselves. I like small businesses. I think America was a better place when there were more of them. We cut big business big slack, but make it nearly impossible for the little guy to get a break. It’s like walking past a homeless guy to hand Donald Trump a dollar.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The thing is comedy has an ability to illuminate peoples’ anxieties, hypocrisies and pre-conceptions. Many comedians work that line really closely, between discomfort and laughter. But comedy is also many bullies’ weapon of choice. Couching a putdown as “a joke” and if you can’t take being attacked, it’s your own fault. Many of the edgier comedians work a line of anger into their routines. When you combine that high volatility of anger and race or sexuality or gender, things can go wrong. It’s a risk you take when you’d rather be Richard Pryor than Jerry Seinfeld. I think that the fact that the audience was really uncomfortable is a measure that probably Tracy Morgan’s routine crossed the line. Sometimes it’s only a vibe, as hard as that is to define, that makes the difference between “I can’t believe I’m laughing at this” and “I want my money back.”
Hopefully, this will end up having a positive result. It looks like the LGBT community is standing up to this instance of bullying in an assertive manner. And for the most part, comedians are intelligent, reflective and sensitive (the ones who aren’t don’t usually make it very far). And if they are able to work with Tracy Morgan in a way that discusses the issues he was talking about in an open manner, it might have a positive influence on relations between the black community and the gay community. Something that years of people calling out black basketball players for using the word “faggot” has never been able to achieve.
And for Tracy’s sake I hope he’s able to get this figured out. My gay friends are some of the most rabid consumers of standup comedy I know. I mean they consistently go to comedy clubs and theaters to actually see standup comedians. I’ll just say it. The gays love the standup. And they are a pretty sophisticated audience who can tell the difference. If they can take the kind of s### that Lisa Lampanelli dishes, they do know how to take a joke. And when it’s just not funny.
Friday, June 10, 2011
The one thing I’ve come down to is – just about everybody has a Casey Anthony in their lives. She’s that person who will lie and lie, sometimes apparently just for the sake of lying, until she is absolutely cornered with bare, dead facts staring her in the face. They just seem to have little to know association with the truth or even reality, just sowing seeds of half-truths and bald-ass lies until they just can’t get away with it any more. Whether it’s to make themselves looks better, feel better, save someone else’s feelings, manipulate a situation, or it’s just how they’d like things to be and if I say it it’s true, the result is the same. They make the people around them nuts.
And I’m sure there are all sorts of psychological reasons: borderline personality disorder, magical ideation, psychotic break. Or maybe they’re just kind of fanciful. Or an asshole. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a way to fix them. No matter what they are nearly impossible to deal with on a routine basis. And the only sure cure for the effect on your life is to stay as far away from them as humanly possible. And that’s hoping they aren’t tied to you by blood.
But if you’ve ever felt the bizarre world that your life turns into when you have one of these people stringing a non-stop line of bull around every lamp post, then watching Casey Anthony’s load of crap get pulled apart, lie by lie, by a trial lawyer is incredibly . . . cathartic? Satisfying? Like cosmic justice. How many times have you wished you could line up a jury of peers and just present the case in a court of law of why you don’t believe a word that some fabricator says? To be able to tear down the house of cards like Perry Mason and have someone (other than you) say “Guilty!”
Most of us never get that satisfaction with a pathological liar that has firebombed our lives. And, actually, I think even if Casey Anthony is presented with irrefutable truth, she’s never going to admit what she did. But even so, there’s a feeling (shared by the cops, the prosecutors office, some of Casey’s family and former friends) of “get her!” Just for once. Just to have the truth revealed to the rest of the world.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I hate paying bills. And it’s not the handing over the money. I’m cheap, but I’m okay with paying my way. It’s just the whole act of writing the check and sticking it in the envelope. Or first remembering that I have to pay a bill, then finding my check book, then finding a pen. Then writing it out. Then finding a stamp. Paying bills on-line is marginally better. And god bless whoever invented automatic payment. Why everyone can’t just do that, I don’t know. I have one bill that charges an extra (get this) $25 a bill to do it one line. Pirates! Stupid pirates too, since having on-line bill pay like quadruples your chances of getting your money on-time and with a hint of a smile.I remember when I was a kid, and this shows what happy, innocent times the 60s were in suburban Texas, my Mom just had this little cup in the mailbox with change in it. Any time an envelope came with postage due or COD, the mailman would just take it out of the cup. Easy. He never took more than he needed. He never had to walk up to the door to get money from her. And nobody stole the cup out of the mailbox.
You know, life was a lot easier before they went and started to make things easier.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
A friend was talking about the Wal-Mart mirror yesterday. She says Wal-Mart must sell a special mirror that every time you look in it you think you look fantastic. It explains the “People of Wal-Mart” website. I also think it explains Britney Spears, uhm, fashion sense. Evidently Rep. Weiner has been looking in a Wal-Mart mirror and thinking that he’s too much man to waste on just one gorgeous, glamorous, smart and well-connected woman. He needs to spread a little of that jelly around. Welcome to Wal-Mart.
I’ve been watching this story develop on CNN. Basically, they’ve located a young man who underwent gender realignment therapy in the ‘60s at UCLA. Or, more to the point, his siblings. Because he committed suicide at age 38. Gender realignment therapy in those days was beating the sissy (or tomboy) out of you, and withholding affection until you conform to some artificial concept of gender identity.
I keep looking at the pictures of this small child, knowing what he’ll endure, wishing I could reach in there, grab him up and protect him.
I also know that though many things have changed, somewhere right now some little boy is getting smacked for acting like a girl. Or some little girl is getting taunted for acting like a boy.
And gay and gender non-conformant people can protest and stand up for their rights, but really this isn’t going to truly stop until straight people clean our own house. Until we call each other on bashing. Until we’re willing to stand up and say just because we’re both straight, you don’t speak for me. You can’t say it’s not right in society for someone to be sissy or butch. Because I am part of society to. And you don’t have any right to beat or intimidate someone so that they conform to some idea of masculinity or femininity you have in your head. Not on my account. Not ever.
It’s too late for this little boy who grew up with too much pain to bear. But there are other children who can be saved from a life of pain and fear. It’s not “none of our business” because we’re in the majority and not vulnerable. We’re human. And we have an obligation to one another to stop cruelty when we see it. If you see it, say something. Staying silent implies your approval. Say something.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Seriously, I may be old school, but to me there are only two kinds of vampires: evil, undead monsters who want to suck your blood and leave you a withered husk and who need to be staked straight through the heart in the firmest manner possible OR evil undead monsters who want to have sex with anything that moves and leave you a withered husk in severe need of Gatorade. It’s either “Find ‘em, feed on ‘em, forget ‘em” or “Find ‘em, f*** ‘em, forget ‘em.” That’s it. There are no other options. Fanged freak or freak in bed.
Have we come to this? Even vampires are non-threatening Justin Biebers? The sparkly, vegetarian vampires were bad enough (pardon me while my stomach heaves), but a vampire with a china pattern???? This I cannot forgive. Blech.
But really, you’d think that the only reason that the internet was invented would be so that guys could get pictures of their bait and tackle shops out there. It’s really second only to pictures of kittens in over all popularity.
Wait. There’s an idea. Combine pictures of cute kitties with the plethora of d*** pics on the interwebs. Now there’s a “hang in there” picture that you’d never forget. Brings a whole new meaning to stuff on my cat. There’s also the other joke here that I’m just going to let hang there . . . you know what I’m not saying. Even I have my limits. Yes, I do. Don't look at me like that.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
5. The “Best”: I’m so over the obsession with finding the “Best”. Best barbecue, best car, best handbag. Of all the subjective things in the world, “best” is probably the least informative and/or relevant. I want good. But my good may be different you’re your good, and while I’d like to hear your opinion on what’s good, I don’t want to argue about which is better. Anything over and above good is a popularity contest, and I’m just not playing that any more.
4. Sexy: We’ve got sexy octogenarians and pre-teens wearing push up bras. Enough already. Sexy is fine. Sexy can even be great. But it’s the parsley, not the meat and potatoes. There are 600 other things in the world that are more interesting, productive, more life affirming than sexy. Let’s start paying attention to one of them.
3. Conspiracy theories: I don’t care who you think is “responsible”: communists, oil companies, drug companies, radical Islam, radical anybodies, Skull and Bones, men in black, Dan Brown, little green men – if all you have is a theory, keep it to yourself. Unless you can come up with the Grand Unification Conspiracy Theory in which you blame EVERYONE. That I’d like to hear.
2. Rich People: I know this isn’t new. But I’m still over them. They still bug me. And until they stop, as a group, being douche bags, they stay on the list. Me. Eyes. You. Yeah, I see it.
1. Crazy Pants: I just need the world to take off it’s crazy pants for a few days. Hey, I love living in interesting times as much as anyone. But seriously. The entire world seems to be in need of 1) therapy, 2) mild sedatives, 3) a few hours of intense meditation/prayer/staring into the great vastness of space and contemplating how small we all really are. In other words: It’s called a grip, World. You should get one.
Now, I feel better. You may feel worse, but I definitely feel better.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
And as with any business, with strategic layoffs, the first thing you look for is redundancies. There are tons of actors who will come up at around the same time, get a lot of work, and then because you can’t tell them apart, eventually only one of them survives.
Elijah Wood, Tobey Magquire, Topher Grace.
Sorry, kids. We’re going to have to let 2 of you go. Young, square head, puppy eyes, big smile, angst prone. My vote is for Grace, but I know there’s a strong Maguire contingent. Whatevs. We’re cutting the celebrity budget by 66%.
Olivia Wilde, Megan Fox.
We don’t need 2 Angelina Jolie knock offs. Angie can’t carry all the load, but 2 backups is just obvious redundancy. I vote for Wilde. She’s seems like the nicer version. Megan Fox works the bitch face too often, and I’m concerned that she’s not sharpest tool in the shed.
This is one where the similarity has obviously hurt both of their careers. Not enough work to go around.
Mark-Paul Gosselar, Ryan Reynolds.
Tall, rectangular face, blond, hot bod, comedy background, but skewing towards dramatic work. I know Reynolds is kind of the popular choice right now, and has the pity vote (getting dumped for Sean Penn? That's gotta smart). But I’m going to have to boost for the Saved by the Bell alum. Zach Attack!
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
It’s one of those hormonal things. Where the normal, rational, reasonable, lovely person that you normally are is turned into a pile of dry straw and the world is aflame. One little spark and you’re going to turn into flash of light and a puff of smoke faster than a joint at a Snoop Dogg show. (And by you I do indeed mean me.) There are a million little things that might get under your skin in any given day, and usually you can just bat them aside. Rubber neckers, bap. 2 empty coffee pots, puuf. Having to say the same thing 6 times and still getting a stunned look the 7th time those words come out of your mouth, wha-pah! You just protect the plate and launch those little annoyances safely outside the base lines.
But when the hormone express is pulling through town, not only do you not have the capacity to suffer slings and arrows, you just don’t damn want to. You lookin’ at me? Cause it looks like you’re looking at me. Yeah, I dinn’t think so. Walk. A. Way.
And really, I don’t enjoy these little low points in the cycle. Never have. And I’m really not sad to see them tail off. I miss the happy bounce of a taught booty and my collagen every day. But once these little moments of spark and fury are gone, I won’t miss them a bit. Not at all.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
I’ve got three whole days! I could do this! And I could do this! And THEN I could do something else. But wait, I’ve been waiting to do this. But if I do that then I have to do this. And then I could clean my entire house! And build a bird sanctuary in my backyard. And then we’ll have a cookout!
Yeah. Crazy train.
This is why everyone drags their pathetic behinds in to work on Tuesday looking like the last 3 minutes of a George Romero movie. Brains! More brains!
And that’s it really. It’s my brain that really needs to be taken care of this weekend. I need to sit my happy ass down for about 3 hours and do nothing but drink glass after glass of cool water. Until my brain starts to rehydrate, and not resemble a delicious golden raisin. So, I’m already on zombie shuffle, even before I go into holiday hyper-drive.
Sit. Peace. Be still.
But there’s just this one thing I’ve gotta do.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I was trying to figure out, and I think it’s about the 5th or 6th time I’ve seen them live. I’m not their biggest fan (that would probably be some ex-frat boy with his hat turned backwards and a pair of baggy cargo shorts way past their expiration date; fer reals, what is it with me and dude bands? I’ve gotta start listening to Adele or something). But if you’re on a road trip with me, BTE is guaranteed to get a spin in the CD player at some point. And I will burn your ears singing along at the top of my lungs to Cry In the Sun or A Lifetime.
But the live shows are something in addition. Probably because they’ve been together so long, the band is obviously just trying to amuse themselves by going off on tangents and side trips through the annals of pop music. It doesn’t hurt that they’re certified pop monsters that can riff credibly on R&B, hard rock, folk and 80s dance, etc., at the drop of a pick. Really, they’re probably, in addition to being themselves, one of the better tribute bands you’ll ever see. Don’t be surprised if you’re in the middle of Extra Ordinary and suddenly find yourself asking “Did somebody just get the Led out?”
And just on my own little tangent (because I totally get trying to keep oneself amused – I’m always doing it for the chuckles), if you’re at an outdoor venue that does allow smoking, if you can’t have some respect for your fellow concert goers and step out of the crowd for your nic fix, could you at least have some pity on the performers? Seriously, blowing a cloud in a singer’s face is just hella tacky. I’d say Kevin Griffin was pretty restrained for not going all Patti Lupone on somebody’s ass. Respect, people.
But anyway. I kind of get it with the Rapture people. I mean, if you really believe that the world is coming to an end, and all people have to do is say “yes” to Jesus and they’ll be sitting pretty on May 24th, instead of burning in a fiery conflagration of hell on Earth – then it kind of would be a dick move to not tell the world about it. So, you put yourself out there. Say, “Hey, what up, party people? Get yourself right with God cause the fan gets hit on Saturday.” They risked looking a little dumb today (they would look less dumb if they hadn’t maxed out the charge plates, but whatever), but it was the nice thing to do to give us a heads up. They could have just kept quiet.
I’m not going to be the one to say “told ya so”. I’m just going to let them have their little re-calc to October 25. But I’m still going to be making plans for Halloween.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
But the way they are getting all huffé with us about him being some great “seducer” (please), and we don’t understand “flirtation”. If there is some sort of sketchy line in France between “Voulez vous couchez avec moi” and sex charges in which DNA has been collected (allegedly), cancel my trip to Paris.
And that’s the thing. They are entitled to their icky lack of sexual boundaries. Vive la difference. But he wasn’t there. He was here. And we’re pretty clear here about what’s a little light slap and tickle, and what’s stranger danger. And the hotel maid? That’s just wrong. Like it’s not bad enough that they have to clean your Frenchy body hair out of the drain. And I'm pretty sure that a hotel maid in NYC has seen it all, and can probably defend herself pretty well. If he got so handsy with her that she said something, he was WAY out of line.
So, with respect to what he ALLEGEDLY did (innocent until proven a cheese-eating lecher monkey), yes, he should have been arrested for those allegations if they had adequate evidence for an indictment. And made to do the perp walk in front of a squadron of photographers. It’s a quaint, old, American custom. You know. Customs. Those things that we’re supposed to respect when you do them in your country. Like spitting when one talks and avoiding personal hygiene products.