Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hide and Seek

Cleo says: "I
don't care."
Have you heard that an archeologist in Greece recently found the bones of Cleopatra's murdered half sister?

I had no idea they were missing but am very happy for him.

Unfortunately, while he was making a name for himself in Greece, I could find neither a bottle opener nor a pencil sharpener back here at home.

I had to resort to what my great aunt Margaret used to do for me when I was very little and needed my pencil sharpened.
If only.

C'mon, you remember. We all had a great aunt who did this...with a weird little knife pulled from a pocket she would savagely carve away the wood around the point thus creating a hideous atrocity that no longer looked like a pencil, much less had a usable or sharp point.

Only cavemen would have used that pencil, yet Margaret would hand it to me and then go back to washing clothes on a washboard in the sink.

The poor pencil, mangled by Margaret's knife, had been transformed into a freak and would eventually languish -- a relic of madness -- in the bottom of the kitchen junk drawer never to be heard from again.

Disfiguring a pencil was easier than opening my Mike's Hard Lemonade (flavor of berry) later that same day.

I tried the edge of a spoon, then the edge of the counter, and then a butter knife. I tried yelling at the cap but that got me nowhere and even tried my teeth, immediately grasping the certainty that thousands of dollars of dental work awaited if I didn't stop.
The best flavor, no?

I never got the Mike's open and it sits, abandoned and skunky, on the coffee table by the TV.

Wouldn't you agree that there are certain items that, no matter how many one hoards, can never be found when needed?

These include scissors, nail clippers, flash lights and those awful lighter thingies that will only work if you twirl a wheel with one finger while reciting a page from the Bhagavad Gita (in the original sanskrit) in addition to simultaneously squeezing a button as well as your own sphincter muscle....on a noon.

Designed by Satan

Somewhere in this house, if I live long enough, I will find roughly 25 pairs of scissors, 75 flashlights, dozens of pencil sharpeners, several lighter thingies and over one million nail clippers.
None of us can find a nail clipper.

By then I won't be trusted to handle a scissor, won't remember what a flashlight is for, will have forgotten how to write, will have no need to light a grill because my only sustenance is Ensure sipped  through a bendy straw and will not give a damn about keeping my fingernails tidy since the day we find all these items will be the day the men in white will be coming to truss me up and take me to the home.
Thank goodness this has a flip top.
And the Mike's Hard Lemonade (flavor of berry) will still be unopened on the table by the TV.
Aunt Margaret could not do this.

Hello, Friends....if you enjoyed reading this, why not check out today's post? Just click on the title (in grey) and you'll be there in a snap...."Why Women are Better Off than Men."

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Oscars 2013: Yep, it Really was that Bad.

I never knew how much I dislike Seth MacFarlane until I endured last night's marathon 85th Academy Awards.
This face is
begging for a good slap...

Admittedly, I own a huge cardboard cut-out of one of his many original cartoon characters, Stewie, from "Family Guy" but stopped watching the show when Lois, the mom had sex with Brian, the dog. This proved too much for even me.

As for Seth, himself, MacFarlane's weirdly flat affect, despite an acceptable singing voice, lends itself more to the one dimensional universe of voice-overs as opposed to hosting a high-profile show anticipated and watched by so many.

His endless barbed jokes, aimed at the things like race, weight, and domestic violence fell flat a) because they simply were not funny at all and b) he lacks the credentials to poke fun at A-list Hollywood because, despite his successes, he's not an A-lister, himself.

He was unable to make me laugh even though, as is my personal Oscar night tradtion, I was hopped up on Chinese food and sugar and ready to be amused. 

Willing to give him a chance, he quickly lost me during the worst opening of an Academy Awards show in memory. He also proved, that, despite the century between Abe Lincoln's actual assassination and today, it's always too soon for a joke about a murdered president. 

I love watching the Academy Awards and have a long history of making it a special night with, originally, my movie-loving mama and then whichever of my sons I could successfully bribe so it's all the more disturbing when an evening is as awful as it was last night.
Richard Gere, The Joker, Queen Latifah
Movies aside, I am always gleeful to report o the plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures which are often unveiled on the Oscars' stage. Last night was no exception: Poor Renee Zellweger was the most memorable. Clearly unable to accept a shift from her already extended ingenue status to the more mature segment of her career, she won for the evening's most unfortunate face.

Of course I know there are fewer roles for the aging actress but there comes a moment when it must be self-acknowledged. Renee, once a lovely woman, has descended into botox madness to become a shiny faced robot who can display absolutely no emotion. Last night, she appeared to be suffering from some sort of mental paralysis as well. During an award presentation, Richard Gere was both feeling her up and preventing her from falling, face first, to the floor.
There comes
a time in the career of
all beautiful women...

Catherine Zeta Jones, while eternally gorgeous, has had some recent tweaking based on my personal criteria: if you no longer look like yourself, you have been messed with. There also comes an age when women need to refrain from wearing bustiers and fishnets in public.

For those who are about to attack me, I readily admit that I reached that age about one hundred years ago yesterday and get winded while chopping onions for soup so I don't begrudge even her out-of synch lip-synching while reviving the most boring number from the musical "Chicago."

Shirley Bassey, for those of you who do not remember her smoldering recording of "Goldfinger back in the 60's, not only looked -- though definitely botoxed-out -- and sounded good while Barbra Streisand (the best surprise of the evening) appeared to have come directly from the plastic surgeon's recovery chambers.
Babsie, looking

Having recently seen her, there were definitely renovations around the under-chin area. Her fashion choice of a choker-style necklace hid the bolts in her neck and called attention to her age-inappropriate tightness. I forgive Barbra (and Cher) just about anything and was very happy to see -- and hear -- her.
What does
R-Pat see in this zombie?

What the apparently dead and disheveled Kristin Stewart lacked in energy, the anorexic and dangerously over-stimulated Kristin Chenoweth made up for in both her manic red carpet appearance as well as her song for the "losers" at the show's finale.
Anne in her apron.

Ann Hathaway dressed in a satin apron with oddly placed darts sickened me to the point where I had to hold my egg roll to my temples when, cradling her (deserved) award, she cooed, "It came true." It was a rehearsed vomit-inducing moment that almost negated her fabulous performance In Les Miserables.
The most graceful
fall ever.

As far as young actresses are concerned, I was very impressed by Jennifer Lawrence's graceful recovery from her fall as she attempted to take the stage to receive her best actress prize.

One of my own great fears is falling in public and, if that had been me, I would rolled back down the stairs and continued rolling until I crashed through the doors of the theater, out into the Hollywood twilight, never to be seen again as my momentum carried me to distant lands.

As for other highlights of the evening, there was Daniel Day Lewis' traditionally humble acceptance of his third (and record-breaking) award for best actor, Meryl Streep's matriarchal dignity and Helen Hunt's expression as the camera revealed her unabashed disgust during Seth MacFarlane's unbearable opening act. I felt your pain, Helen...and you were great in "The Sessions."

You know it's a terrible night when the abrasive and creepy Quentin Tarantino comes across, comparatively, as good-natured and likable.

My only hope is that the talented Melissa McCarthy and the post-baby Adele cornered that smartass MacFarlane in the alley behind the theater and taught him a painful lesson about about making a fat joke at the Academy Awards.
This photo is not relevant but it's just so pretty.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It Will Take You Two Minutes to Read This

Things simply do not take as long as you think they do....

Case in point: My most despised household chore, bar none, is emptying the dishwasher.

I'm not really sure why this is. It's a relatively innocuous event--mundane and stultifying but not more so than pulling clothes out of a dryer, de-mildewing tiles in the shower or, even, filling the dishwasher yet it fills me with ennui and despair intense enough to cause me to ignore it for days.

I am famous, within certain (very small) circles for hand washing dishes just to avoid unloading what's already in there.

Maybe it's because it involves bending. I've never been a fan of bending. Or reaching, for that matter and unloading the dishwasher involves lots of bending and reaching...also nesting crockery, handling flatware, opening and closing cabinet doors. In other words, it's a unbearable nightmare.

When Charlie still lived here, it was his job, poor thing. Once he escaped left, I would beg Seth to do it but even I cannot justify asking a man who drives the hours he does and works as hard as he does to take over a simple kitchen chore.

The good news is that after forcing myself to do it this morning, I timed it and it only took 4 minutes. I can power through 4 minutes of almost anything*, yes?

Timing things has become a new habit. Perhaps it's a sign of encroaching psychological issues, maybe even a touch of OCD but I now know that the red light I flip out about about on North Street is only 14 seconds (literally) in duration...that I only stood on line at Shop Rite yesterday for a mere 6 minutes (giving me time to thumb through the National Enquirer and carefully monitor the cellulite of the stars) and the time it took to bundle the papers for recycling was a mere 3 minutes, 17 seconds.
Speeding through such torture gives me more time to sit -- blood pooling in my lower extremities and increasing the likelihood of stroke -- yet laughing gleefully at such web sites as** and 

Please don't tell people this about me. It's embarrassing.

*except waterboarding
**Thanks to Stajie for recently introducing me to this brilliant site.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Means Do Not Eat the Fried Butter Balls!

Hey, if you enjoyed this post, you might want to read what I wrote this morning...just click the title (in grey) and you shall be magically transported to my most recent post: "Why Women are Better off than Men."

It's Mardi Gras and I am out raising hell, so please accept this timely archived post in honor of today's traditional festivities...

I used to think I had already come face to face with the killer sandwich of all time.

used to think of it as the widowmaker, the equalizer, the King of the Sandwich World that would clog your arteries in record time but allow you to die with a smile.

I was wrong.

Ironically, since today is Mardi Gras, it was in the French Quarter of New Orleans where I was lucky enough to be introduced to the muffaletta. I can feel my rings getting tight at the mere mention of its name.....

The muffaletta, a delicious and exotic creation invented by people far greater than ourselves, sounds like what it is: a combination of something to be eaten and something to wear -- in this case, a blood pressure cuff and a heart monitor.

Imagine several layers of succulent Italian meats and cheeses piled atop a thick, salty layer of olive salad and packed under the sheltering dome of a huge round loaf, cut into quarters and intended for four. Whew!

Four? I think not.

My son Charlie and I, legendary aficionados of all things intended for four but only enough for two, stared at one another in disbelief as the oil trickled down our chins and the sodium infused our blood streams. "Does something this good really exist or are we dreaming?"

I thought this sandwich was the grand daddy of all heart-stoppers until clicking around on the Food Channel yesterday and coming face to face with Paula Deen, the white-maned grande dame of death by food, and a sandwich she'd made to share with people she wants to kill lady friends at brunch.

Someone should look for those women because, if still alive, they are in immediate need of  defibrulators.
Happy or homicidal?

Innocently dubbed the "Brunch Burger," picture a juicy hamburger topped by a fried egg and bacon and squeezed between two Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. If you are still able to stand without leaning on the shoulder of a paramedic for support, then you have not actually visualized this tower of calories, fat and cholesterol. There is risk in even gazing upon its image in a photograph.

Honestly, is Paula kidding?

No one loves salty and sweet more than I. I sniff PayDay candy bars like fine cigars at the check-out counter and dip pretzel rods into chocolate, pretending to give them as gifts at holiday time. I even loved the recent duet between Shakira and Beyonce but this sandwich made me tremble...and not in a good way.

Paula's brunch menu was topped off by a yogurt and fruit parfait meant solely to distract us from the fact that a Cardiovascular SWAT team, armed with pacemakers and led by Doctor OZ, was surrounding her home in Savannah just as the credits were starting to roll.

Apparently Paula has decided to cut to the chase. Why bother sneaking a pound of butter into a recipe when you can simply kill us with a sandwich?

It gets worse.

Paula also offers a recipe for deep fried butter balls.

The reviews for recipes on the Food Network's website is one of the last bastion's of civility on the internet. Cooks and foodies convene in cyber space to cheerfully discuss their pursuits in the kitchen.Or, so I thought.

This time there was in-fighting and hostility among the reviewers.The comments swung from accusations that attempted to re-polarize the northern and southern portions of the United States as well as some barely coherent rants which I blame on the effect of the butter balls, themselves.

How could anyone think straight after popping a few of those babies?

Since it's Mardi Gras today, I want to send a special shout-out to my Louisiana family and friends who all have Ph.D.s in  personality, charisma and hospitality. Not to mention good looks. We miss you and hope to see you before the muffalettas get us.  

To all my readers: Go out and eat something you might not normally enjoy on a regular day. If you're not lucky enough to be down in New Orleans today, buy the ingredients for a muffaletta and make one yourself. Or, head to Krispy Kreme but don't tell me what you do with the doughnuts you buy. 

Afterwards, in honor of the traditions of the Crescent City, stand by your front window and expose yourselves to the neighborhood. When the police show up, simply remind them that it's Mardi Gras today.

But stay away from fried butter balls. Or Dr. Oz and the SWAT team may show up at your door and I've heard that he never, ever changes those scrubs he we

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Grammys 2013....Disappointingly Good.

I was all ready to write yet another snarky review of yet another award show after watching the Grammys last night.

I sat down, made a lap for Buzzy and kept a legal pad by my side to jot down my usually free-flowing barbed commentary and nasty-isms about obvious cosmetic procedures, fashion mishaps and terrible performances but, this morning, when I looked at what I'd scrawled, it was all "that was great" or "they were amazing," and even, "I better buy that album!"

On one hand, I was deeply disappointed to have so enjoyed the three and a half hour show yet how bad can it be listening to good music with a warm cat on your lap?

While it's possible that everyone was in a great mood because this year no one had drowned in a bathtub upstairs, the mood was festive from the start.  Although I have no idea why Taylor Swift was dressed as Alice in Wonderland to sing her extremely over-exposed song about never, ever getting back together with some hapless victim guy. 

I thoroughly hated her gawky prancing and smug expression and, therefore was gleefully expecting the evening to only get worse. But Taylor proved to be my final moment of discontent until someone named Frank Ocean sang a weird,off-key ramble about Forrest Gump. Of all people.

Having previously bonded with Mr. Ocean because, during an earlier acceptance speech, he thanked his mother, I was shocked at his later performance. Judging by the confused applause, so was the audience. But any man who acknowledges his mommy so sincerely can't possibly be bad so I attribute his lack of melody to nerves and assume that, as a child, he so enjoyed the movie with Tom Hanks that he vowed to "write a really weird song about it someday."
Looking, and sounding, great!

As for the other performances, I thought that Mumford and Sons' rousing "I Will Wait" was going to the the best performance of the night until Justin Timberlake slithered out and, in black and white, reminded us why microphone stands and tuxedos are so damn sexy.

Justin was fabulous and I thought that, surely, this had to be the best performance of the evening until The Black Keys popped out and sang "Lonely Boy" which made me want to grab the sleeping Buzzy and bust a move across the indoor/outdoor carpeting. Then my secret crush, the elfin Bruno Mars, blew the crowd away proving that short men with no facial hair can rock it with the best of them. Fun. (the punctuation is their's not mine) was tons of fun, too.

What a night!

Not to mention, the women all looked good, damn it.
Miranda Lambert
Alexis Carrington
Well, almost all the women. 

Country star Miranda Lambert must have lost a bet because she was crammed into a 1980's Alexis Carrington reject that was way too short, too sparkly and about six sizes too small.

Plus, Adele was decked out in a brocade housing project pretending to be a dress. She, however was so adorable and happy that I was able to get past it and focus on Kelly Clarkson who, with her unfortunate bleached hair and ill-fitting frock, looked like the crazy woman I used to see ranting at Grand Central every morning when I worked in the city. I do, however, love me some Kelly Clarkson and she was in excellent voice last night.

The predatoryTaylor Swift was prominently featured in the front row. As each celebrity passed her to take the stage, rumor has it that she offered to sleep with them then write a song about it. The only one who accepted her offer was Ellen Degeneres.
His Royal Highness

I enjoyed the tribute to the recently late and ever great Levon Helm but still don't understand who the heck "Fanny" is and why she must "take a load off" and was surprised at how happy I was to see Prince in his wardrobe choice of black cowl, Joan Rivers classic's collection necklace and extreme lip gloss. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who shops at QVC, Prince.

The Grammys had put out a statement about not wearing dresses that exposed "bare fleshy curves, buttock crack" or mysterious "puffy" skin so I dressed accordingly at home but worried that Rihanna's skimpy top would fly up and scare me or that Alicia Key's underboob would soon become a wardrobe malfunction. 
Dangerous underboob
Fabulous leg

I was also entranced by J-Lo's enviably smooth leg, traumatized by Katy Perry's bottomless cleavage and genuinely alarmed by Florence and the Machine's reptilian green shoulder spikes. I assume she did not want to be hugged by anyone and went home alone.

I also want to try and understand why Johnny Depp insists on tying all kinds of scarves, rags, dipstick-wiping clothes, spit-up bibs and used paper towels to himself whenever he makes a public appearance. If anyone has a theory, please contact me.
All in all, the Grammys were great fun, full of good music and excellent performances and, for the most part, I find myself strangely de-snarkified. There's always next year....
Florence and her spikes.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Redemption (Ladies Only)

Am I the only one out there who looks on certain days as redemptive? As in today, I am going to be redeemed!

How does this work, you may wonder. And, I'll bet those of you wondering are mostly men who (sorry, boys) rarely think deeply enough to realize that they even require redemption or those of you who are perfect. Any hands up for that last one?

As for the ladies, your approach to redemption may be different but I suspect many of you will relate to the experience.

I have regularly sought redemption for years. It's simple, to the point, totally non-religious and multi-dimensional.

First, for me, it typically involves cleaning the kitchen. For some, it may mean purging a closet, a garage, or tidying a bedroom. I plow through the stack of dishes and pots left to soak in the sink, wipe down smudged surfaces and wash the floor with a real mop as opposed to my Swiffer Wet Jet.

As great as this is, sometimes it just has to be a real mop.

I will then toss out all the tiny foil-wrapped packets in the fridge without even checking to see what's in them and, occasionally, I'll start a soup on the now-sparkling stove. This may seem contradictory since cooking = mess but this is to redeem myself in the eyes of Seth who adores soup and is very disappointed that I ate the last bagel.

Next, on Redemption Day, comes the pledge to eat better.

I write a shopping list containing lots of colorful, anti-oxidant laden crucifers, whole grains and absolutely NO DIET COKE (because I can feel it killing me with each swig) and promise my very soul that I will take my vitamins and get on that goddam exercise bike every single day.

By now I am starting to feel like Mother Teresa in elastic pants so I throw in a laundry (discovering a wet load in there from yesterday, so I pledge never to let that happen again, too), collect recyclables, answer email and pay bills.

Ahhhh, the house work is done. Litter boxes are clean, the cat's water is freshened, I can already feel the toxins flushing from my system and the aroma of Seth's soup is filling the house as it simmers.

Now for the personal grooming -- and most psychologically restorative --  portion of Redemption....

This involves a spa-like shower experience (unlike the quick -- but thorough -- morning dailies) with exfoliation, hair conditioning and lots of cleansing steam. I will focus on my aging face: checking for stray brow hairs, using my homemade sugar scrub, moisturizing thoroughly after which I will floss my teeth--telling myself, and the cats (who have witnessed more than a few Redemption Days over the years) that I will floss every day from this moment on.

I will then straighten out all toiletries and cosmetics, returning some to drawers and slots, lining the rest up on my counter like the good soldiers they are, tossing towels into the hamper and, finally, attacking my feet with both a vengeance and a variety of Dr. Scholl's products.

then dress in my finest sweat pants and feel like the Queen of England until the next morning when I find a forgotten can of Diet Coke in the fridge, forget to floss and ignore my vitamins.

Redemption only lasts so long in an imperfect world.