Monday, February 28, 2011

Fashion Week? FASHION WEEK?? I'll give you Fashion Week....

Epic or just scary?
Since I am such a fashion icon among my peers (peers, stop laughing), I have been keeping an eye on some of the developments of the recent Fashion Week in New York as well as what's been happening on the run way. 

I have learned, among other things, that lace is back (never knew it left), high-waisted pants for women will be popular again (I hear this was met with groans),the trench coat has been "reinvented" in dressy fabrics (the trench was actually developed by Burberry to wear in trenches during WWI)) and that "nearly every girl will spend her last spare hundred dollars on a pair of gorgeous shoes." 

Well, okay!

What woman doesn't love shoes? But, oddly, I can't seem to locate a "spare" hundred dollars.

And, despite my lingering status as a female, (strongly disputed by those who have heard me sneeze), if  I could, it wouldn't go toward shoes. It would go toward flea medication for the cats---spring is coming and we can't go through what we did last year, now can we?

An article from the snotty Wall Street Journal (which recently referred to Baskin Robbins ice cream as "low end," can you believe it?) also said that certain colors should make us feel "lyrical."

After I mopped up the coffee that shot out of my nose upon reading that, I looked up "lyrical" just to reinforce my annoyance.

Lyrical, these days, is being defined as "having the fluid substance of music and possessing the character of a songlike outpouring of the poet's own thoughts and feelings, as distinguished from the epic or dramatic."

What if I prefer feeling "epic" to "lyrical." In fact, I assure you that epic would mean more to me at this point in my life.

Lyrical is for Taylor Swift. Epic is for women who wear metal bras in German operas. Not that I wear a metal bra---yet. But, at this point--I would rather intimidate you than enchant you. Is that wrong?

It was also suggested that we forget about "kitten heels" and just "accept that it's time to master the art" of walking in stilettos . 

I have yet to, personally, find anyone who has truly mastered the art.

I could make more money than Michael Vick made with the dogs by pitting women against each other in stilettos. Wagers would be made on who could walk the farthest without turning an  ankle, extra points offered--of course--for snapping a bone or knocking out one's teeth. I sense there's a lot of money to be made here and, quite frankly, am very excited at the prospect.

I read also that Yacht club chic is all the rage and it was suggested that it would be wonderful to appear as if we had just stepped off a yacht at all times.

My friends would drop a net over me if I tried this...and I'll return the favor if any one of them ever shows up with gold buttons on their shoulders and wearing a jaunty cap. Consider yourselves warned, Ladies.

I've been sick since Friday and have been modeling a rotating set of sweats in a grey that is neither lyrical or epic. 

Wearing socks with grippy bottoms, I have still managed to turn my ankle and nearly plunge down the stairs, carrying hot tea and a toasted bialy, no less.

I have nothing in lace--unless you count that tattered tee I love to sleep in and if I have high-waisted anything it's because I kept a pair of jeans from the 70's to prove to total strangers (Hey, buddy, wanna see something unbelievable??) that this tuchas could once squeeze into something so small.

The idea of a satin trench coat is as preposterous to me as if Buzzy demanded a top, scratch that--Buzzy actually has demanded a top hat but you know what I mean.

Of course there are sour grapes on the menu as I sit here-- indulging in one of my favorite pastimes,reverse snobbery--in my mismatched regalia with tissues stuffed into my sleeves for future use. I look at the well-coordinated and trendy with admiration and am in awe of certain friends and relatives who take this stuff to heart and usually look great, as a result.

But Fashion Week is a figment for to read about but not nearly epic--or lyrical-- enough for most.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Beer Pong in the Oval Office

I read that President Obama, Vice President Biden and a select group of Democratic governors are scheduled to convene today in the White house to discuss ways to stimulate the economy and encourage job growth.

Yeah, right.

The article went on to pointedly emphasize that it was a "democrats only" event. Come on, guys, we all know what that means.

Beer Pong.

It's been a tough couple of weeks. The middle east, and with it our oil and security interests, is toppling like dominoes in a corn flakes commercial. State pensions are under siege. Somali pirates are killing Americans. The government may have to temporarily shut down and Hilary, that stubborn bitch, still refuses to cut her hair.

If the president runs off to Camp David for the weekend, even if he brings a big briefcase stuffed with what appear to be important papers (but are really copies of Mad magazine and xeroxed word searches) he will be lambasted by the media.

Michele is constantly yapping about her "guns," and buying belts, Sasha won't stop leaping in front of the camera and waving whenever there's a camera crew within ten feet and Bill O'Reilly keeps calling and hanging up........the man needs a break.
Michele: Good nutrition and belts! That is my platform as first lady!
So, the word goes out: Democrats only.

That is code for PAR-TAY

They arrive in dark suits, American flag pins securely anchored to their pin-striped lapels. They shake hands and pose for pictures, kicking Sasha out of the way with their wing-tips as she attempts, yet again, to jump into the photo. They answer a few questions and shuffle into the oval office.

Once inside, the fun begins. High fives are exchanged as they draw the drapes and change into cotton lounge pants and tee shirts. Bowls are filled with Laffy Taffy and Joe Biden slips a copy of "Super Troopers" into the blu-ray player.

He has trouble with the remote and is relieved of his duties. Later, after too much Laffy Taffy, he must be coaxed out of the bathroom where he has gone to sulk.

Red cups and ping pong balls are lined up on the president's desk which has been covered by a bed sheet taken from the Lincoln bedroom. The darts are laid out as a poster of Sarah Palin, in a red, white and blue bikini, is taped to the wall. The festivities begin with a game of Mad Libs using Glen Beck's name to fill in all the blanks.

Whoever wins beer pong later gets to drunk dial John Boehner. It's definitely going to be a fun night.

Do not be fooled, America-- this is what's going on in Washington, today. Your tax dollar paid for the jalapeno poppers.

Though you can't possibly have as much fun as President Obama will today, have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Thanks for reading and signing up this week. Stay dry and warm and see you on Monday morning!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cinderblocks, and Many Other Things, Scare the Hell Out Of Me

My son Charlie writes a morning news letter that is dependably in people's email in-boxes between 8 and 9 a.m.

This morning, it's late.

Instead of thinking rational thoughts first like a) perhaps his computer fizzled out or b) the internet is down because he, in his carefree and wanton college lifestyle, neglected to pay the bill, I immediately jump to the conclusion that something has happened to him.


There is no slow elevation from a small ember of fear. It's a four alarm blaze right away.

I have always been like this.

Since I was a tiny girl, any aberration in routine or unexpected deviation meant that disaster had occured. Needless to say, this has exhausted those to whom I am close enough to reveal these fears.

If Seth doesn't call from the car on his way home, he is most certainly on the side of the road, hurled from his vehicle, unable to see because his glasses have been thrown from his face, one grasping claw outstretched to call me from the phone that is just inches beyond his reach. Oh, God.

When I was a little girl, if my mother was not where I thought she should be the minute I thought she should be there, I was absolutely positive that she'd fallen into some unseen crack in the earth or had been abducted by aliens....or, at the very worst, stepped through some portal leading into another dimension and would now exist only in a parallel universe.

I am not kidding. 

I read endless fairy tales and science fiction as a kid. I watched the Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits and occasionally got my hands on one of the then  popular--and not intended for impressionable minds--paperbacks with titles like "Stranger Than Fiction." I was a mess.

As I got older, while the fear of alien abduction remains (most specifically, I'm worried that I am an alien), my other fears have become more realistic--terrorism, random violence, nuclear melt-downs,car jackings and accidents, illness and, of course, wait for it.....Justin Bieber*.

Seth has told me thousands of times that I should be more afraid of small unexpected stuff, thereby hoping to quell my more grandiose terrors.

His favorite example: I shouldn't fear flying because I could be puttering in the garden or prancing down a city street and a cinder block could fall on my head and kill me.

I have learned two things from this: Seth has an obsession with cinderblocks. He seems to believe that they are everywhere, waiting to fall on people's heads. The other thing this has taught me is to be terribly afraid of them. So, I've simply added cinderblocks to my list of things to fear.

What I experienced when the boys were late for dinner or missed their curfew, was so immense that it cannot be put into words. As was my gratitude and relief when they showed up with an excuse or reason for their tardiness.

It's a fact that women's brains have a larger portion devoted to anxiety and worry. I think I must have gotten in line twice when this was being distributed yet, somehow, entirely missed the "long legs and small nose" line.

So, Charlie just overslept this morning. I called him a minute ago and, upon picking up the phone, he didn't say hello, but simply said, "You thought I was dead, didn't you?"

Well, yes. But I'm very glad you're not, you sleepy smart ass.

*Are you not impressed that I managed to negatively insert Justin Bieber into a post again?
I have no fear of Hannibal.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bed Etiquette

Just do not wake me....
I'm not talking about the naughty stuff, people.

There are plenty of web sources for that sort of thing and, frankly, I'm shocked that you would even think that this was on the agenda--this is not that sort of blog (yet). 

Here at "Susan Says..." we deal almost exclusively with dysfunction and hostility, proudly offering no solutions other than the creative use of profanity and unreasonable criticism for all. 

Today, I'm talking about civil and acceptable sleep behavior which, I fear, is often over-looked  in favor of racier avenues of thought..

I began thinking about this recently when I crept up to bed after Seth--who is up very early every morning--had already said goodnight and fallen asleep. 

Preparing to get into the bed, I took off my robe and tossing it onto what I hoped would be the edge of the dresser, accidentally knocked over several picture frames, a few bottles of assorted girlie stuff and a small lamp--all of which clattered about, rousing but not waking Seth from his slumber.

Instead of cutting my losses and slipping meekly under the covers, I straightened up the mess on the dresser--in the dark--and, seeking warmth in the chilly room, dove into bed jostling poor Seth who bounced skyward and, still without waking, mumbled somethig about Beyonce...or, was it Nancy Pelosi? I couldn't quite tell.

Ashamed, I vowed internally to be nice and quiet and not wake him up to chat as I occasionally do when the eleven o'clock news has been jarring and I need to talk it out. This is point one of your bed-iquette lesson:  Do not clatter, bounce or seek conversation.

Point two is that when the person with whom you share your mattress is emitting snores indistinguishable from an entire herd of terrified wildebeests upon realizing that they are about to be eaten by lions, do not smash bring your hand, palm down, on their face. Yes, it's very tempting but it can cause hard feelings that transcend the mystery of night and enter the arena of the following day. 

Instead, gently caress his/her shoulder and murmur into the sleeper's ear, "You are snoring like an entire herd of terrified wildebeests upon realizing that they are about to be eaten by lions. Please stop."  This, friends, is point two of lesson one: Be polite despite your impulses.

Part three and the last portion of your first day of Bed-iquette Class is simply to not become annoyed at your spouse's choice of sleep position....

If you walk into the bedroom after he or she has fallen asleep and the light is still on and their copy of "Great Speeches of the Twentieth Century" is left open on their stomach, just look away and turn off the light.

Do not be bothered that they sleep on their back, hands clasped behind their heads, a small smile upon their lips as they dream that they are Douglas MacArthur reassuring the Phillipines that he will, indeed, be back soon.

Simply get into bed and assume your own, much more normal, pose---that of a middle-aged, extremely short Scotty Pippin about to either sink a hook shot or hail a cab, depending on your frame of reference.
I'm sleeping right now--at the U.N.

Just calmly accept that your partner sleeps in the same position once favored by Muammar Qadaffi  who despite his current bravado now sleeps in the fetal position sucking his thumb....that is, if he sleeps at all these days. So, part three: Sleep and let sleep. What's it to you, anyway?

So, let's recap lesson one---no clattering and bouncing, face palming or resentment over the goddam arrogance of a subconsciously chosen position.

Stay tuned for Bed Ettiquette Part Deux in the coming days.

Until then, remember, although you don't really care about anyone else getting a good night's sleep, they feel the same exact way.
Oh, Seth, come back to bed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Give Me Electricity or Give Me Death--Almost Literally.

This morning, just as I was about to start making the magical elixir of life, aka a pot of coffee, I heard it.

The click.

Then the beep of my carbon monoxide detector as it lost power. Then the silence. The power was out.

Those who know me are familiar with what happens next. I, literally, flip out. 

When the kids were little and my mother was around, I would control my irrational behavior to a point--participating in the family activities of lighting candles, telling stories in the dark and passing out whatever ice cream treat was in the freezer before it melted.

I could take this up to a point but would soon punctuate the festivities with bursts of hysteria, "What if the power never comes back on?" was a favorite refrain. Sometimes I would actually burst into tears as I suffered almost immediate withdrawal from the busy whirring of appliances. I'd hover by the television, trying to will it back to life like Uri Geller used to bend a fork.

I'd threaten to check into a motel. Run away. Put the house up for sale. Return to the city where this only happens once a decade. When the kids got older, we'd manually heave open the garage door and drive all over the neighborhood, curious to see where the line of darkness ended and blessed normalcy began again.

Today, upon hearing the dreaded click of disconnection and then the ensuing silence that settled about the house like a heavy blanket, I stood and blinked in disbelief. My cable box, dead and unlit, stared back.

The sun is brightly shining. There is no ice storm. No gale force winds. No lightening. Why, I asked the universe, WHY????

Since the phone goes dead when the power is off, I must resort to using my cell to call the power company. Since I forgot to recharge it, the cell is also dead. I do more staring. What to do?

I tear out into the garage and--get this--turn on the engine of the car to plug in the phone and make the call with the motor running. I never said I was smart, remember?

Of course, I have opened the small door (can't open the big doors since they are electrically operated) but by the time I get through to the cheerful automated whore on the other end, I have used up every combination of foul word mathematically possible and am, literally, starting to get nauseous from the carbon monoxide.

Usually it's a simple phone call.

Years ago, a caller would receive a little good-natured sympathy from a human at the end of the line but, lately, it's an electronic voice.

Today the voice has all the info wrong---address, phone number--so I wonder if I have been turned off as a result of mistaken identity. But I can't stay on the phone much longer. If there had been a parakeet in the garage, he would have already been feet up.

As the fumes build, I call Seth and ask him to make the phone call from work, running out to the driveway where I breathe fresh air to clear my lungs. I realize that I won't be able to post my blog, flush the toilet or wash my face (the water pumps are all electric) or brew coffee. I feel the old hysteria rising as I head back inside.

Just as I am about to start chewing on coffee beans and sniffing Sharpies, I start to feel calmer.

Suddenly the quiet of the house is less a threat than a tangible peacefulness. I am confused by this as rarely do I react to anything with calmness. My personal immaturity is legendary.

But the rage continues to dissipate and I pick up a book that I've been reading half-heartedly since last week.

Buzzy climbs into my lap and we sit for about an hour. The book transports me as Buzzy makes little running motions in his sleep (he is chasing a mouse-sized Justin Bieber in a dream, no doubt).

When the electricity clicks back on, I am startled. Back to my routine now, the enforced dreaminess of the power-outage is over....

Thank God. It wasn't as bad as I thought but this ain't Little House on the friggin' Praire, now is it?? Time for Cash Cab and coffee.

What? Did you think I was going soft on you, people? Not likely.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Today's Agenda: Hold Up Godiva Store With Banana

For some reason, I receive regular emails from Godiva chocolate.
Could it be that I signed up for it when in the Godiva store at the mall?

It's true that I often just pop in to stare at the strawberries. They hate it when I fog up the glass cases with my breath.

Perhaps, one of their smocked employees wheedled my email address from me but I have no conscious memory of it.

While I consistently refuse to give out my email address to retailers, once over the thresh hold of the Godiva store and under the spell of the sights and smells of the chocolate, I'd give them my ATM card password if they asked for it.

God, I hope they never asked for it. That could explain.........never mind.

I never buy Godiva for myself. While it is unspeakably luscious, it is also unspeakably expensive so I purchase it only for special people's special occasions (inaugurations, coronations, papal installations, stays of execution, etc.).

Today's email, however, combined the words peanut, pretzel and bark in the same sentence and now I cannot think of anything else. Midde East imploding, ah well. Give me sweet, salty, chocolaty......
This comes up right away in Google images when you type in "banana gun."

I asked Seth to restrain me with Bungee cords to keep me from driving to the mall and holding up the Godiva store with a banana but I managed to break free.

Then, before he left for a haircut, he tried duct tape but that is easily chewed through. I think he may have taken my car keys with him so it seems I'll be walking (which means I'll probably eat my weapon, the banana, along the way.....or, if I can hold out, I could force them to dip it in chocolate).

See you later, everyone...have a wonderful weekend!  Thanks to my readers and followers (sign up to the right), old and new. I appreciate your visiting this blog and I will try save some peanut, pretzel bark for all of you...but it's a long walk home from the mall so I'm not making any promises.

See you all after the holiday weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Here Comes the Sun!

Must they insult us as well?
I've been feeling a little blue lately.

Shuffling around the house glumly, I haven't been myself for a while.

I didn't realize how down I've been until Seth suggested that we go to a local Indian restaurant for dinner.

Seth does not like Indian food...therefore we do not go. I have to wait until a friend is available or I visit the boys in DC where Seth, out-numbered and physically intimidated, will resentfully agree.

Once there, he will grudgingly push lamb curry through the tiny button hole he makes his mouth into when he doesn't like his food. Admitting tiny pieces one by one, he watches us clapping our Nan about joyfully, chomping vindaloos, biryanis and tikas to our hearts content.

Seth only invites me out for Indian if he is worried about me. Usually, I am in the car and waiting, tail a-wag, before he's finished speaking but this time I declined. Going out would have meant putting on shoes, for God sake. Too much work.

The two rooms in which I spend most of my time, the family room  (euphemism for dungeon basement) and the kitchen, are both very dark, allowing in minimal natural light. Plus it's been a difficult winter with lots of enforced indoor time if you are a delicate flower such as myself. I realized that I may have a touch of "seasonal affective disorder."

Scientifically speaking, SAD (clever bastards) is a syndrome in which your brain doesn't produce enough "happy juice." Since there is naturally less sunshine in the winter and we spend more time indoors unless we are lumberjacks (who have other problems--sharpening axes, finding a flattering plaid,etc), many of us experience this disorder.

So, a few days ago I decided to do something to increase the happy juice production in my brain....but what?

God forbid I should take a walk--that would involve the actual movement of limbs and might improve my general health, stimulate my metabolism and lower my blood pressure. No walk.

Instead, I shoveled off a small spot on the back deck, wrapped myself in a series of sweatshirt jackets, slapped sunscreen on my age spots, put bags from Target over my shoes, said, "See ya, wouldn't want to be be ya" to Buzzy (he hates it when I say that) and went to sit in the sunshine for a half hour.

 I wore no hat so the sun could shine directly upon my happy gland. Again, sorry for being so technical.

I did this for three days in a row. And I'll be damned if I haven't been feeling a little better.

Combining this strategy with putting a firm limit on how much news I watch during the day and how many books about the holocaust I read (who knew there were so many), I may be back to normal..... just in time for my spring blues.

Spring blues are very tricky because they are a result of the joy at watching the earth naturally renew itself after months of dormancy. First one feels almost unbearably happy but then remembering that happiness is both fleeting and unsustainable, plunges into total despair. Summer blues, based almost entirely upon how one's legs look in a skort*, can be problematic, as well.

I think I'm heading back to the basement.

* I just received not one but two phonecalls from men telling me that I misspelled "skirt." All the women know that I meant to write skort. I have included a link so that men can learn what a skort is.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Illegal Tobacco, Legal Marijuana and Mail Order Urine....A Rare Political Statement from Our Board of Directors.

I may have to take up smoking cigarettes.

I have always been very anti-smoking. I hated the smoke-saturated smells of my home as a child, choked on second-hand smoke in public places and drove my older son insane, during his brief stint as a cool high school smoker, by going through his pockets daily and viciously mangling any tobacco products I found. 

Yet, I acknowledge, in the growing police state that this country is apparently becoming, that as bad a decision as it may be to smoke, it is your right to do so.

Hospitals in Florida, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, to name a few, will no longer hire you, despite your qualifications for a job, if you are a smoker. Please read that again because it sounds unbelievable.......but it's true. Treating tobacco as an illegal narcotic, they will also perform urine testing and fire you if nicotine is detected.

If this happens, don't worry, I promise to immediately set up shop selling my own nicotine-free urine, at competitive rates for smokers to present to employers on testing days.

I am a prolific pee-er so there will be plenty for everyone. I will set up mail-order using Pay-Pal and provide micro-wave safe containers with clearly written instructions for warming to body temperature. I will name this enterprise "Susan Pees..." Finally an opportunity to make the millions of which I dream!! You can contact me through this blog or check for groupons daily.

What the heck is happening? While smoking is a destructive and damaging habit, is it not a personal choice? Who among us, who can read or has ever watched television, hasn't been barraged with increasingly disturbing visuals about the dangers of smoking. We get it! We really do.

And hey, Tobacco companies---I am not defending you. We know you put stuff in the cigarettes to hook people quickly, that you were aware very early on that your product was bad for our health and that you shamelessly market to kids. But I am worried about state governments getting crazy...and you just happen to be the issue of the moment.

What's next? If they see you sniffing your Sharpie in your cubicle, you're out? If you include something delicious but non-nutritive like a slice of bologna in your sandwich, you're gone? Soon salting our food will be a no-no or listening to Kenny G. music will be against the law. Or eating chocolate or having too many cats.....Oh-oh.

I am, personally, very grateful that people are no longer allowed to smoke in theaters and restaurants but the Dictator of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has made it illegal to smoke, outdoors, in public parks or on beaches!

This, of course, after changing the law that prevented a mayoral candidate from seeking a third term in office so he, himself, could run again. It must be good to be king.

Honestly, I can't imagine New York police enforcing this craziness but come end-of-month-revenue frenzies, cops will ticket their grandmas, so who knows?*

In a country that demands racial and gender equality, why is it acceptable to mandate discriminatory laws against the obese or smokers? And, if you're an obese smoker, don't even bother getting out of bed this morning. Just light up right there and I'll bring you a bologna sandwich later.

All this in a country where states (including some where hospitals will no longer hire smokers) are pushing for the right to legalize marijuana. Go figure.

Once it's legalized there will be no place to smoke it.

So, I suggest writing to your congressmen and ask them where you can smoke your legalized pot. Blast your Kenny G music,'s still a free country. Isn't it?

*My son (pictured below) just informed me that Bloomberg has specifically stated that the NYPD will not be enforcing this law but that it will left to park rangers, etc. I really like the line about cops ticketing their grandmas so I'm leaving it in.....what are they gonna do, arrest me?
My son in high school.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Extremely Nasty Review of the Grammy Awards

Did anyone see the Grammys the other night?

The funkiest and most unpredictable of all the mainstream award extravaganzas, Sunday's show--though interminably long--did not disappoint.

As I watched the red carpet festivities, I was taken, as always, with how handsome Ricky Martin is. Gay, straight---who cares. He was a feast for the eyes in a dark jacket and narrow tie. Suddenly, the camera pulled away revealing skin tight silver pants with untied combat boots. Space aliens tend to tie their shoes lest they trip leaving their Scientology meetings but my sources also tell me that space chic is always a fashion mistake unless you actually are a space alien (like the Kardashians).

Those pants might have been more appropriate had he arrived in the "egg" that transported Lady Gaga (whose greatest contribution to actual music is the rhyming of the syllables "ga" and "ra") to the evening's event. 

Carried by a small army of latex-wrapped zombies, Gaga arrived encased in a womb-like pod that, literally, required piped-in oxygen to prevent her from suffocating (although word on the street is that she doesn't actually need oxygen to survive). I have no choice but to assume that her earth parents gave her absolutely no attention,whatsoever, as a child

And, why is Eminem so angry all the time? I know nothing of his personal life but he seems like the type who, if witnessing someone choking in a restaurant, wouldn't give them the Heimlich despite knowing how. Then he'd write some mean rap song about it with the chorus:
"What were you thinkin'
with that giant bite of chicken
Now you gonna die, bitch, die!!"

Barbra Streisand, wearing something salvaged from an Atlanta attic before Sherman and his troops marched through, proved to America that women really shouldn't wear their hair long after 60, that Dr. Frankenstein must have performed her recent neck-tightening because I swear, I could see the bolts and, most unfortunately, that she is losing her voice. Lea Michele of Glee is probably behind all of this.

That spooky little chimpanzee, Justin Bieber, wore a cream-colored velvet suit, two sizes too big. When my boys were little, I'd buy them winter jackets with plenty of extra room so they'd get more than just one season out of them. Someone should remind Justin's parents that he's rich now--they don't have to do that anymore.

He lost "best new artist" to someone no one's ever heard of  and, apparently, enraged and technically savvy Bieber-ists vandalized the newcomer's Wikipedia page in pre-adolescent vengeance.

Bob Dylan who hasn't sounded like a human being for many years now no longer looks like one. He keeps popping up at these events and no one dares turn him away because it's too scary to actually look at him directly. Before anyone can run to fetch an exorcist, he's up on stage performing with the one acoustic band on the bill. 

Cee-Lo Green's record label clearly wants to destroy his career because they dressed him like a giant chicken and made him sing with puppets. There's a rumor circulating that one of those puppets (probably the anorexic one singing off-key) was actually Gywneth Paltrow. Frank Perdue reportedly loved the performance.

Mick Jagger was my favorite. The man is nearly 70 years old and, though a little stiff, pouted and strutted across the stage just like he did 40 years ago. The only difference is that, upon completing his performance, he was immediately placed in Lady Gaga's egg which they'd filled with ice and Tiger Balm.

To her credit, Gaga was honored to allow them to transform it into Mick's recovery pod in which, I'm sure he's resting still, monitored by his 65 year old groupies and crunching on Advil like potato chips until he feels better.

To my alarm, I have discovered that I like Katy Perry, wish I had hair and tiny hands like Bruno Mars and while I love Will Smith, am very afraid of his wife and children. P. Diddy has reclaimed his former identity of Puff Daddy for reasons inexplicable to mere mortals, Jennifer Hudson thinks she's the next Aretha and Christina Aguilera is going to, single handedly, play the part of all the munchkins in a new 3-D slasher version of the Wizard of Oz.

My indie-loving sons were very happy with Arcade Fire's win for album of the year but when I called them, specifically to discuss Ricky Martin's pants, we compared notes on many of the evening's performances. 

While I had their attention, I took the opportunity to warn them that if they ever find themselves eating in the same restaurant as Eminem to chew their food very carefully or they'd be sorry.....

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Funny Valentine

 Our wedding day.
For Valentine’s Day this year, Seth and I decided that, as our gift to one another, we would refrain from trying to kill each other for a 24 hour period.

Don’t be shocked.This is a generous and affectionate gift after 29 years of togetherness.

Lately, we’ve become like the Pink Panther and Cato—never sure when the other will leap from behind a pile of laundry to engage in mortal combat, spiraling like aging pinwheels through the house until, exhausted, one of us gives up—until next time.
Being married for a long time is both a blessing and well, another kind of blessing. I can read Seth’s mind. Literally. I’ve proven it many times. It’s as if his thoughts travel across his rapidly enlarging forehead in the same digitalized font as news travels around the tickers in Times Square.

I can also tell you exactly what he is going to say before he says it. Depending upon location, specific landmarks provoke pre-recorded comments like “Who the hell would paint their house that color”? Or, upon passing a tag sale, “Why would I want to buy someone else’s crap-- I have my own damn crap!”

 I realize that I have pre-recorded comments of my own that he anticipates but he will never read my mind.

I remain an enigma whose thought process is encased in a lead shield of mystery. This is also known as being a woman. We may be predictable on certain levels but, even after years of trying to crack the code, our thoughts remain our own. 

It occurred to me, with a enormous degree of shock, that I might annoy him as much as he annoys me. It’s true that he’s the one who falls asleep in front of the TV with his mouth open wide enough to swallow our bedroom set. But am I not the one who staggers to the kitchen in the morning to greet him with a post-sleep hairdo (a vortex whose varying shape, he claims, I use to communicate with my home planet) so frightening that any sane man would gag and hurry towards an exit? Yet he does not…he kisses me hello and says something pleasant. The bastard.

Previous Valentine’s Days would find us scrambling to get a table at a cozy restaurant or acting surprised when a dozen roses appeared.

As the years progressed, I’d had enough with the roses as well as being rushed through a meal. I think being together a long time makes you a realist—about your partner as well as yourself.

In a long-term marriage, realism is usually tempered by enough compassion and friendship to soften the edges of that hard-won realism. For example, I should probably have removed the previous comment about Seth’s forehead….
One of my favorite Valentines was received as a little girl from my mother. It may have been my first conscious Valentine, because I remember expressing surprise when I was presented with a lovely bouquet of Charms lollipops for no apparent reason.

My mother explained that, one day, there might be a special someone who would be my Valentine but until then I was hers and she was mine. I remember saying the same to my sons when they were little.

I still tell them that, not just on Valentine’s Day but until Seth is able to get the net over my head and my world, temporarily, goes black. Back then little boy kisses were offered with home made cards. Nothing could have made me happier. 
Sometimes I wonder about future generations of Valentine givers.

Kids have come to expect instantaneous gratification at the click of a mouse or the flourish of a Wii wand. Will they expect that same immediacy from their relationships with humans?

Marriage is about compromise and patience, things not widely taught in tech class. The divorce rate was already high before all this began so who knows. What I do know is that it’s definitely worth the pay-off if you can hang in there.
So, what do you do with a man who is so good and kind that he robs you daily of your normal vitriol, tries diligently to diffuse your natural negativity and does not leave you because of your morning hairdo? You marry him.

Happy Valentine's Day to all with love.

Friday, February 11, 2011

An Open Letter to Chris Lee, Yet Another Idiot Congressman

Nope. Not sexy.
Dear Congressman Lee,

Sometimes I feel as if things happen just for me.

Earlier this week, I thought it was the news that Charles Manson had managed to procure yet another cell phone to use in prison. I was planning to go to town with this but then you, sir--the latest stupidest congressman ever, fulfilled a nasty blogger's dream. Thank you, Congressman, you unbelievable idiot, you.

For those who may not have all the facts, I hope you won't mind if I fill them in. It seems that you, a married man of 47, conducted a cringe-worthy online flirtation with a 34 year old woman (no genius, herself, I venture) seeking an eligible man through Craigslist.

During the course of this exchange, you sent her a picture of yourself, bare chested and flexing, with a really, really dopey look on your face.
You told her you were 39 instead of your true age, and that you're divorced with one child. I bet this came as a surprise to your wife and son.

And thanks, Congressman Lee, for using your real name. This makes me think that your former constituents in western NY are doubting their own intelligence for electing you. It also makes me wonder how someone like you was able to operate a computer....or a can opener, for that matter.

I am also kind of moved, in some grotesque way, that you decided the silly picture you took was good enough to send her. I assume you thought it was "sexy" and that she would, too. It's not sexy at all, you poor bastard. But in addition to further confirming your stupidity (and making me a tiny bit sad), it makes you very human, doesn't it?

Don't get me wrong, Congressman Lee, you still make me sick.

And thanks for reminding us how desensitized we have all become to the smarmy behavior of public figures. In one account I read of your antics, they were referred to as "comparatively innocent."

No doubt, had she agreed to more, you would have quickly ramped up from "mild flirtation" to intensely gross but, as it stands, America seems relieved that you consider yourself a "fit, fun, classy guy" as opposed to some freak who immediately announced your plans to put your penis in her ear.

It reminds me of what we used to say when three of our cars were stolen, one by one, or I was mugged in the subway: "At least no one got killed, thank God."

We would justify miserable events with the comfort that they could have been a lot worse. In your case, it's, "Well, at least he didn't send sexually explicit emails to teenage boys like Florida Congressman, Mark Foley...or, play naughty feet in a bathroom stall like Senator Larry Craig from Idaho.

See, Congressman Lee, you're a veritable prince among perverts. There's something to put on your resume!

According to the brilliant political pundit, Sharon Osbourne on "The Talk" yesterday (I swear on Buzzy that I was clicking around for cable coverage of what was happening in Egypt), you were "begging to get caught." I disagree. You were part of the club of men who still believe they are above common rules of propriety--despite the fact that many of your colleagues are already disgraced jackasses who didn't think they'd get caught either.

It was also suggested that your behavior indicates a problem within your marriage. Well, yes, it does---you're an idiot. That's the problem.Your wife can do a lot better.

Congressman Lee, is it at all possible that if we check your phone, we might find that you have been calling Charles Manson? That would really make my day.

Love, Me

Thursday, February 10, 2011

And the Award for the Worst Plastic Surgery Goes To....

The only faces that haven't had work done...
 I am starting to prepare for the Academy Awards. 

Traditionally televised toward the end of February, the Oscars are the most prestigious acting award passed around by the self-aggrandizing/congratulatory entertainment industry which, apparently, loves little more than appearing in public wearing designer dresses and borrowed diamonds.

They exchange air kisses on the red carpet and eat sushi at after-parties while the rest of us keep Tide-to-Go instant stain removal pens in our pocketbooks and wait for their movies to come to DVD because we can't afford gas for the car much less a ten dollar movie ticket.

My mother and I used to enjoy award shows together. She'd pop on a new snap coat for the occasion and we'd snuggle on the couch with a blankie across our knees.

We used to gleefully sharpen our claws long before Joan Rivers became a style guru with a mean post-game show. Our evening included a critique of the clothing (since we, of course, were such fashion icons), bad-mouth the winners (since we, of course, were such talented actresses) and make sure we had our sunglasses at the ready so to shield our retinas from the glow of Susan Sarandon's annual display of snowy white busom.

We gasped together when both Cher and Barbara Streisand showed their asses in revealing outfits as well as when a "streaker" ran naked across the stage in the seventies. If my mother were here, we'd be watching it together still--only our focus would now be the wave of plastic surgery that has swept over the face of the industry.

Plastic surgery has been around for ages. It's documented that even the face of Greta Garbo saw a surgeon's knife and Clark Gable's ears were pinned back--paid for by Loretta Young, after years of the studios using surgical tape to keep them from flapping-- in the 1940's. Facelifts have been around forever, too.

But these days, there doesn't seem to be a pair of lips that hasn't been pumped full of something. Faces are either unnaturally smooth or stiff thanks to a variety of injectables. Chins can be been lengthened, jaw lines widened or narrowed. Cheekbones are created with implants and surprised looks are permanently bestowed with a surgical hike of the brows. While noses used to have bumps smoothed now they can be thinned and reshaped. It's a whole new world.

It's not just facial work. It's teeth. The academies love to honor life-time achievers which means rousing decrepit Hollywood royalty who totter out for perfunctory standing ovations. Wrinkled and deflated beyond the help of any surgical filler or lift, withered lips are parted to reveal sets of perfect, dazzlingly white choppers that would appear unnatural in the mouth of a teenager.

I am all for making yourself look good. Who among us wouldn't profit from a little tweak or trim? I will soon, no doubt, be able to hide spare change or smuggle documents in the folds of my neck and dare not put my shoes on in the dark, lest something other than my feet end up in my sneakers, but I am far too scared to take action. Not to mention, your average--insert your line of work, here--cannot afford such medical frivolities.

What the women (men, too) don't seem to realize is twofold. First, they are all starting to look the same....eyes, foreheads, teeth, lips. The look is becoming uniform. 

Plus, they still look old. But instead of looking like an older version of themselves, they become unrecognizable...or just look weird.

Did anyone see Katey Sagal at the Golden Globes? She was there but unless you caught her name during the intros, you might have wondered who the woman who sounded just like Peg Bundy was. Even the gorgeous Michele Pfeiffer (whose distinctive features were a gift from her surgeon way back when) had major changes made recently. Remember when Courtney Cox still looked like herself? I do.

I recently saw Suzanne Somers on television defending her credo that women can remain sexy at any age. I've had trouble sleeping ever since. 
Suzanne Somers. Really.

I wonder to whom she is referring. Now in her mid sixties, she has become a desperate vestige of her former self. With new cheeks and chin, her mouth barely moved as she talked about her regimen of eating freeze-dried transgender dolphin embryos for breakfast followed by a chaser of the urine of the last undiscovered tribe living in the rain forests of Beverly Hills.

It's easy for me to say as I dig for bus fare in my neck folds, but ladies, you're not looking so good. Growing older is terrifying. It's the last frontier as we baby boomers stumble towards our aging selves. But it's inevitable.

Let's hold our heads up, buy really good support bras (men, too) and watch the Academy Awards together. Don't forget your sunglasses, I think Susan Sarandon is planning on being there again this year.
Oh God, my retinas....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Riding in Cars With (Baby) Boys

Hat by Grandma.
Twenty six years ago tonight, I was standing on the frozen steps of a small apartment building in Brooklyn. The snow-covered streets were empty and my mother stood beside me. Her cotton candy hair blew about in the wind, as we waited for the car service to take us to the hospital.

The evening that preceded the night included a massive bread baking session in my tiny kitchen as a result of the hormonal madness inspired by the fact that the baby I was waiting for was nine days late.

So, I baked.

Kneading bread with my hands, proofing dough and shoveling the loaves into my ancient oven kept me busy. But, in my craziness, I had forgotten to grease the pans and none of the perfectly domed, yeastily aromatic loaves could be freed from their pans. 

I tried running a knife around their golden edges and rapping strategically with a knuckle on the bottom of the pans. Nothing worked. So, totally in character, I flung them, one by one, against the kitchen wall. This did not loosen the bread from the loaf pans but it did cause my water to break. So, off we went.

Seth--a merchant marine at the time--was in Florida, waiting to head out on a cable layer for AT&T. Dispatched just days before and, in a world before cell phones, he had to be tracked down by a marine operator. Due to a miraculously timed postponement of the ship's departure, he was able to fly home and attend the birth of his first son.

Labor was painful. And long. And it worked it's way, fruitlessly, through several shifts of nurses. My doctor, a fabulous Russian, with a mane of hair more magnificent than that of the MGM lion's, stayed through it all, waiting with me...soothing me with corny jokes told in a deep, rumbly, heavily accented voice.

Ultimately a C-section became necessary and I was trundled, delirious, into an antiseptically austere surgical delivery room. Back then husbands were not invited in for anything other than natural births, so Seth and I parted at the door. He was able to see Tommy as he was lifted onto the table and examined. I caught a glimpse of him, too. His mouth was huge and open. I fell in love at first sight.

There were some benefits to the old days. One of them was that, if you had a C-section, you stayed in the hospital for no less than five days. Can you imagine? Tommy and I lived the good life....he was whisked away at night while I slept, visitors brought balloons and stuffed animals....but I did have to say goodbye to Seth whose ship was ready to sail for Okinawa.

My little mother and I were on our own with "the baby." On the day we were to leave, we had to call another car to bring us home. As those familiar with the questionable fleets of privately owned car services in 1980's New York know, some of the cars were pretty icky.

The one that arrived for us was a battered two-door but having just had a section, I was limited physically. The driver stuffed my mother into the back and settled me in the front, holding the baby as I backed my tuchas into the passenger seat. To my surprise, the seat had no springs and I sank down so low that my knees almost touched my chin. Did I mention there were no seat belts?

The driver then handed me the baby and off we holding a baby in my arms, unbelted. And no one thought a thing of it. There were fewer laws, restrictions,, I would be arrested for child endangerment.

When we arrived at the house, the super happened to be outside having a cigarette on the front steps. He held the baby while my mother and the driver, each holding one of my hands, pulled me out of the car and set me on my feet.

Then, the driver refused to take a penny. He told us, in beautiful broken English, that it had been his honor to drive us home. I will never forget him. Or anything about that day.

So, twenty-six years have sped by. Raising Tom meant screaming and laughing and shrieking and singing and crying and laughing and ranting and roaring and laughing some more. It meant running through the house to close the windows before a fight so the neighbors wouldn't hear and it meant laughing so hard or singing so loud that the neighbors must have wondered if we were all certifiably insane. Or been damn jealous.

So, Tom, both our lives began on the day you were born. Yours in the literal sense. Mine, in the sense that you fulfilled my destiny. I am so very glad that you are exactly who you are. Happy birthday. Many more. Love, Mom

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Tale of the Unintentionally Stolen Hair Dryer

This started it all.
 Yesterday, as I was unpacking my overstuffed suitcase after our weekend in Washington, I discovered, amidst the extra underwear and socks, an unfamiliar which I had not packed. An item that did not belong in my house.

As I realized exactly what it was, my beady eyes lit up. Closing my fingers over its smooth handle, pausing to savor the moment, I pulled out the hotel's hair dryer that I never use, preferring instead to bring my own. But here, discovered on an otherwise uneventful evening, was something I could use against Seth....a glorious and unexpected manifestation of a spouse's stupidity. More precious than gold, here was something I could use as fodder against him forever. FOREVER.

Who could have dreamed the evening would turn out so well?

He was sitting innocently in his recliner, dressed in his innocent robe and wearing his innocent face as I approached....a fake smile, constructed to deceive, upon my lips....

Evil: "Wow, where did this come from?" My voice gave away nothing.
Innocence: (happily) "Well, it's your hair dryer. I packed it for you when I saw you'd forgotten it."
Evil: This isn't my hair dryer. My hairdryer is already unpacked. It's upstairs. I would never forget to pack my hair dryer. Never. Ever. Not ever."

Innocence freezes. His smile fades as I morph from the sneering Scar of the Lion King into the deranged Ursula from the Little Mermaid, growing larger and larger until I explode: "You took the hotel's hairdryer!!!!  What were you thinking? Why would you ever think I would forget mine? Oh, noooooooooooooo!"
Honesty Beacon Under Wraps.

To appreciate the horror of this, you must understand that my husband is the most honest, clear-headed do-er of good on earth. He actually has a bright beacon of honesty light that shines out of the top of his head which, on cloudy days or at night, must be covered by a hat so it won't attract attention. Taking anything that isn't his, even unintentionally, is a terrible thing. For people such as yours truly, not so much.

How the issue was resolved was no surprise. He made me call the front desk and explain what had happened lest one of of the hotel maids be accused of trafficking in black market hair blowers and be fired. Told to simply bring it back with us next time we visit, I began phase two....the use of this to make the other spouse look and feel stupid.

Unfortunately, Mr. Innocence had some surprises up his sleeve. Like bringing up the time I gave a ten dollar bill to the well-dressed pan handler who convinced me that he really had locked his keys in his car and had to get on a train because his wife was dying...or the time I put the EZ Pass into a "safe spot" and we couldn't find it for weeks or the time I video-taped my own eye ball instead of Tom's school play.

I fought back with a variety of his most frequent catalogued mispronunciations, his inability to find his way around town even though we've lived here for seventeen years and his refusal to learn how to properly operate the DVR.

This went on far a while and I realized I was on the ropes. How had this happened? This had been my fight to win. 

Then, I heard his breathing change. He was coming in for the kill.  I could only brace for what I knew was next...something he only brings out every several years, something he saves for when he really needs it....something about the time I let parking tickets build up while we still lived in New York City but, since I had out-of-state plates, decided would never catch up with me....something about my car being impounded and having to go to court.

It was over. I had lost.

That one act of arrogant stupidity trumped all others. I hadn't thought he'd use it. Apparently Mr. Innocence has learned to defend himself.

As we settled down, he handed me the clicker with a smile. I meekly programmed the DVR but my thoughts were not dwelling on this unexpected defeat. Somewhere, sometime in the future, he will committ an act so unbelievably stupid that I will surely win the next round. He better.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Buzzy's Bad Weekend.

Forced to drink from toilet to survive
The observant Buzzy watchers among you may have noticed that, for the first time, the picture of Buzzy did not change this past Friday.

The reason for this is that Seth and I were engaged in our usual tornado of pre-departure insanity before we left for a brief two day visit to see our boys.

Leaving the house, for us, is extremely complicated.

I've always envied friends who nonchalantly toss an item or two into a bag, announcing that "if we forget something, we can always buy it when we get there!" I don't understand this concept at all even though there's a CVS right down the street from where we stay in Washington, DC. But why would I buy it when I have it here? I will pack it, by God. I WILL PACK IT!

So, we stuff just about everything we own into our rolling Costco suitcases. Plenty of socks and underwear is a must, isn't it?  An extra top or two in case I dribble--which is a given. Jeans, dressier pants, pajamas,vitamins, giant vats of Advil and Alleve, bandaids, my own hair blower because the one in the hotel has no oomph, my own alarm clock because I trust it, jackets of varying weights in case the weather shifts, a variety of shoes. We don't want our feet to touch the carpet in the hotel so slippers must be crammed in as well as several novels, a notebook, pens, extra eyeglasses and the pillow from my bed at home.

I bring lotions and deodorant, balms and emollients, unguents and salves. I bring the sunscreen I've taken to wearing all year as well as a tweezer in case of splinters and even a tiny scissor for Seth's eyebrows which have been known to grow several feet in one night.

In the years before the internet, I remember once packing a dictionary and thesaurus because you never know when you'll need reference material in order to make someone feel stupid and inadequate.

Once we've packed, we put lots of food and water out for the cats in case we die in an accident and no one gets in for a few days during the confusion. We also provide extra litter boxes for their pooping comfort and prop doors open so they can't get closed in anywhere.

At this point, we are rapidly becoming exhausted because we've been at this since before dawn. A trip to Starbucks is made for reinforcements since we have already checked and rechecked that every appliance in the house, including the televisions, are unplugged.

All this action is punctuated by several small episodes of battle. Someone pisses someone off and yelling will ensue followed by mandatory periods of huffing, puffing and glaring...then silence until the next conflagration. Somewhere during all of this mayhem, I forgot to change the Buzzy photo.

The additional irony of all this is that, somehow, Buzzy managed to get locked into my mother's old room whose door we keep shut because in it exists evidence that we are budding hoarders. He spent two days with no food, no litter box and only toilet bowl water to ease his pussycat thirst. By the time we arrived home, Buzz Buzz was hoarse from crying. 

We are usually very careful about determining that all  cats are accounted for and neither Seth nor I can figure out how this happened. Once liberated, Buzzy required affection and soothing before he ran off to crunch furiously at his bowl. This further elevated his status in my mind. Would Tom or Charlie, after having been trapped in a room for two days, require hugs from their mother before tearing open the refrigerator door and inhaling everything on the shelves? I think not.

So, Buzzy had a tough weekend. The other cats must also have been agitated due to his apparent incarceration ("What could he have done? Are we next?") and Seth and I will have to rethink our pre-departure routines. Maybe we'll bring the cats with us next time.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Origins of Football: It Started, Like Most Things, With Testosterone and Fur Bikinis...

Early football players, consulting with a Cheerleader.

Let's begin at the beginning.

Back in prehistoric times, tribes of warring savages used to get bored and hungry and had even more testosterone than warring tribes do now.

They'd all dress in the same fur uniforms and attack each other, pillage a bit and go home to celebrate their victory or bitch about their loss. These macho, rowdy groups (who, based on hours of tireless googling, appear to have not yet invented the high five or the end zone dance) were trailed faithfully by groups of energetic, perky women (mostly blonde) wearing fur bikinis exactly like the one worn by Raquel Welch in One Million Years BC. Exactly. Their hair and make-up was like hers, too. These women would jump around and climb on each others shoulders and chant.

This is the very beginning of football. Obviously.

I did a little bit of research on the origins of the game which harkens back as far as ancient Rome and Greece. The Chinese and Japanese played forms of what we now call football, as well and it has progressed right up to today and the addition of specialty-themed ice cream cakes and six foot sandwiches ("Hey, could you please leave out the mortadella...") with dressing on the side.

It remains clear, however, that it has always been an excuse for men to wear very tight pants and touch each other's tushies in public without any negative repercussions. 

I really wish I liked football…I wish I liked it in the same way that I sometimes wish I were part of a large group with a shared interest in order to enjoy fellowship and comraderie. Kind of like Scientology but that would mean I'm totally crazy.

If I were a football fan, maybe I, too, might shave my chest hair, paint myself black and gold and stand in the bitter cold for hours, bonding with other lunatics (I wonder if scientologists even like football...) in the process… sharing symptoms of hypothermia in the local ER later.

If I were a fan, my life might be more like a commercial on TV which is, obviously, what we all strive for. I’d be sitting around with a bunch of jolly people wearing jerseys, squeezing cheese from a can onto everything in sight, tossing popcorn into the air and hugging when a run scores (just kidding, even I know that scoring in football is based on goals, silly!). Everyone looks so happy as they take an annual break from scouring the want ads for jobs or trawling porn sites on the internet.   

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the actual action on the field, I do sincerely hope that all who follow the game enjoy the big event this Sunday. May your get-togethers be festive, your guacamole fresh and may the team of your choosing win big!

Have a great weekend, everyone---thanks for reading and signing up to follow the blog this week. I look forward to seeing all of you on Monday!

I told you to save me some guacamole, you bitch!!!