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Wanted: dead or alive

28 Jul

The final good-bye?

I don’t want to go all Morbid Molly on every one, but what’s with all of the unusual or unexpected deaths these past few weeks?  I already covered the lady marinating in the pool in Massachusetts (still giving me the willies),  there was my beloved Sherwood Schwartz, America’s snuggle rocker Dan Peek, reformed boozer Betty Ford and the marriage between Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.  Then last weekend crooner Amy Winehouse passed out for the last time.   A lot of people seemed shocked by this news, but is anyone really surprised?  Really?  Death is imminent for us all, but for 70-pound crack-heads it just seems entirely more likely that it’s going to happen sooner than later.

Because vampires and zombies are just things in teenage chick-lit, us grown-ups sort of expect that when you die, you die.  But this hasn’t always been the case.  In earlier times people lived in mortal fear of being buried alive.  Writers like Edgar Allen Poe did nothing to quell these notions.  Or you can gaze into Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus, to be terrified that your body could be snatched from its resting place to be chopped up and sewn together with other not quite dead pieces to make a new, animated creature.  This seems ghastly and fictional, but these ideas took root in a shade of reality.  Being mistaken as dead and not just boring wasn’t all that uncommon.  It was for that very reason, the whole embalming and getting you into the ground lickity-split wasn’t always so.  Our first president, George Washington, was so terrified of not really being expired that he requested to not be buried until he was proven “dead” for at least twelve days.

Because it's better to be safe than sorry

In olden times coffins had glass panes so you could watch your decedent for feint signs of life and not have to catch a whiff if the movement turned out to be decay or just “escaping gases”.  Yuck.  There were also coffin patents for tricked out numbers fitted with little bells that would hang above ground attached to a string that went through the dirt and was placed in the dearly departed’s cold fingers.  You know, just in case.  Others had periscopes, for air supply and flags that would salute via underground pulley system.  At night, graveyard watchmen weren’t only trolling the cemetery to chase away grave-robbers and medical students who were moonlight cadaver shopping, they were also listening out for the cries of  “get me the hell outta here!”

The practice of waiting around is considered antiquated and a bit silly these days.  Most people even by-pass the morgue and head straight to the funeral home, where they get their pipes flushed and someone airbrushes their skin to look like they’ve been dipped in QT, slips them into something that’s never been worn and then fits them with an acrylic wig.  But guess what happened this week that has me thinking: “Not so fast”.

Like, zoinks!

An 80-year old dude in Johannesburg, South Africa had an asthma attack and his family figured he was dead.  Or maybe they hoped.  Either way.  At any rate, the authorities were notified and a freezer truck came and carted him away to the local morgue.  He got his toe tag, a sheet and then was nestled in the big refrigerator for safe keeping until funeral arrangements were made.  Roughly twenty-one hours later morgue employees were frightened when they heard cries for help, naturally assuming that a ghost was haunting the refrigerated compartment.  Morgue owner Ayanda Maqolo had to set an example and be brave in front of his workers, but he was scared too, so he called the police.  Once the po-po arrived they went in together.  Said Maqolo, “I was glad they had their firearms, in case something wanted to fight with us.”  At first I laughed at this.  Something?   But the sad truth is that I would have probably fled the building and ran into the woods yelling, “Chupacabra!!!” at the top of my lungs.

South African officials have contacted health officials and mandated that they make sure their relatives are really dead.  Um, wow.

Swimming through some pool issues

19 Jul

 

I love to swim at the pool.  Any pool.  And by swimming, I mean that I like to lube up with pure Mexican coconut oil, or baby oil and iodine, and read trashy gossip rags in a chase lounge while a radio d.j. reminds me to flip every 30 minutes.  Aaah.  When the heat gets too much I will slip in and eek out a few laps to keep up appearances.  My love of hanging poolside comes from both my mother and proximity.  We had a pool in our backyard and that woman knew how to soak sun like a champ.  Compared to Carolyn, The Girl from Ipanema and the Ban de Soleil chick, with her San Tropez Tan, were hacks.  From some point in May through some point in September, we were poolside daily.  And nighttime sharks and minnows is the best!  Even as I got older, passed through college and single times, I still spent my weekend days at my parent’s house in a pool that was safe and free of E. coli, weirdoes and screaming children in saggy diapers.

There was a time; however, when I wasn’t so keen to jump in.  The year was probably 1982 and watching the movie Jaws on HBO did a complete number on me.  I no longer was emotionally safe to be alone in the pool and I sure as hell wasn’t going into the deep end.  Who knew if a shark could somehow find it’s way from the ocean, through a maze of pipes and come ripping through the base drain of our Georgia pool.  NO chances were to be taken.  It was a long while before I was able to shake the scene in the movie when that giant rubber robot shark flew outta the water at Robert Shaw. 

Years passed and I forgot all about a chlorine loving Jaws and then something else jarred me from the pool.  My parents died, the pool was closed and eventually their house was sold.  While my yard is plenty big to have a pool, we don’t.  That’s a whole ‘nother rant.  I was forced to go to, hand to throat with a gasp, our neighborhood public pool!  I had never been to a public pool before, but by July of 2000 I couldn’t take it anymore.  There were scant lounge chairs (all with busted straps), lifeguards that looked like they just got done serving 7-10, weeds growing from the pool’s coping edge and it was the coldest water I had ever felt.  I sat on the edge of the shallow end (interpret that any way you wish) with a foot in the water as big crocodile tears came and I sucked in my bottom lip.  I missed my parents and damnit, I missed our pool.  When I left, my flip-flop slipped in a turd on the sidewalk.

Another time I was doing a water aerobics class at the indoor pool in my health club and snake cut through the water past me.  A snake in an indoor pool?  I almost gave up.

Fast-forward and our grody public wet-hole has become a veritable neighborhood jewel.   The cracks in the plaster have been fixed so the water isn’t two degrees above freezing, there’s lots of tables and chaises, good music, real mirrors in the bath house, a snack bar and even grills for Friday night member cookouts.  I have been totally comfortable there until this story broke a few weeks ago and it is like the lurking horror of Jaws and everything I thought was sketchy about “public pools” or ever worried about have conspired to freak me out.

Did you hear about this story?  Here’s a re-cap: A woman was found dead in a public swimming pool in the Boston area.  Some teens who hopped the fence for a moon-light swim noticed the body floating in the pool at about 10pm.  It was a Tuesday evening and she had been in there since going down the water slide on Sunday.  Three days!!!  A dead body was in the pool for three days…through a weekend…and no one noticed.  How?  How?  How?  Health Inspectors had been by to test the water twice during this time period and only noted that it was “cloudy”.  Cloudy dead lady water.  Argh!  This makes me want to pass out.  This has sent me in a tailspin.  Now when I swim laps, I am scanning the other lanes for bloated bodies.  I walk to my chaise lounge and check that no fingers are sticking up from the overflow drains.  I notice when a toweled chair hasn’t been visited in a while.  In an ironic twist, the decedent, thirty-six year old­­­­­­­­­­ Marie Joseph, had a tattoo on her hand that said “friends and family” in that fancy greenish-black tattoo cursive.  Where were the friends and family when she didn’t come home from the pool?

So, here I am…fortyish and I’m back to being terrified of the pool.  I swear if something brushes up against me underwater I could easily create a code brown and force the whole pool down for a day.

Eden Wood has been there, done that and is retiring…at six.

14 Jul

This week the country has been introduced to newly crowned Miss South Carolina cutie, Bree Boyce.  Bree isn’t like other beauty queens; she’s like us.  Well, she was like us.  Over a span of three years, Bree kicked her own butt and dropped a whopping 112 pounds before deciding to give the scholarship circuit a try.  I’d say it worked out.  We like Bree.  She’s been fat and now she is thin, pretty and poised.  We feel inspired by Bree in her bathing suit.

Just days after some of us might be thinking that maybe, just maybe this pageant gig may not be so damaging after all, our world is now officially rocked.  News broke this that Toddlers and Tiaras staple, Eden Wood, will be hanging up her glitz gowns, folding her sashes, tucking away her flipper and retiring at the advanced age of…six.  But don’t put away the spray tan and hair falls just yet.

Did I say retire?  Well, that’s the word the news used.  Eden is really just transitioning into the next, natural phase of her life and career.  After receiving death threats in Australia while “on tour”, momager, Micki Wood, feels that it is time for Eden to point her talent in another direction.  And I quote, “Why not see if we can’t have a Hollywood contract, a reality show, a whatever; you know, a spot on a Disney program.  Why not?  It’s the American Dream.  It’s almost like her destiny.”  Mama went on to say that lots of really important people got their starts in pageants, like Oprah Winfrey.

I had always thought that the American Dream was to immigrate here, start a business, become a homeowner and not fear unwarranted police searches or seizures.  The American Dream is now having a reality show.  I feel like such a fool for not knowing this. Maybe Eden could get a show on OWN?

Looking at Eden’s legal dreamland for pedophiles website www.littleedenwood.com certainly shows that someone is working hard toward her goal.  In fact, Eden has been so busy, that I am feeling like a hack.  By the time I was six I hadn’t done squat.  But Eden is the sole subject of the book Eden Wood; From Cradle to Crown, and she has four singles available on iTunes and as ringtones.  And if that alone isn’t enough, Eden also has a special doll called the “Eden Wood Showgirl Doll”.  It has boobs and is dressed like a blonde Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls.  After shipping and handling, the darling doll only costs $30.95 and Eden will sign the next 50 orders of the limited edition effigy/MacKenzie’s voodoo doll personally.  Did you know how to sign your name when you were six?  Me neither.

The most bizarre of Little Eden’s business ventures is her affiliation with a company called Princess Canopy Beds.  Now, I don’t want to be catty, but PCB has a very poorly edited website and the blog is beyond awful.  However, I suspect that no one is going there to be amazed with explanations of powder coating and sub-strata mattress platforms technology.  They are clicking in to see creepy pictures of a gussied up Eden lounging on a trundle bed.  It’s a bit much.

Eden is available for appearances, book signings and performances.  No lie.  As described in her press releases, Eden in an internationally known pageant superstar and a rising star in the entertainment industry.  So whatever is on the horizon for Eden, I’m sure she’ll dazzle and it will be spectacular.  While you are waiting for her to headline at the Pink Pony South in twelve years, you can watch the train wreck on her website or on her Facebook page.  I know you are supposed to be thirteen to have a page, but regular rules just don’t apply to Eden.  You go girl!

It’s finally over

11 Jul

Top Mom, Casey Anthony

So, that damn Casey Anthony trial finally got all wrapped up last week.  Thank God!  I was just on the verge of not being able to take it anymore.  I didn’t want to watch it or get involved, but I had no choice.  Nancy Grace was attached like a snapping turtle, it was splashed across magazines, was on the news non-stop and on all of my gossip sites.  How could I have avoided it?  What did you think of the verdict?

Well, thanks to Twitter I know that Kim Kardashian was “speechless”, sister Khloe was “disgusted”, while LeAnn Rimes was “shocked” and Aubrey O’Day was “tense” and needed her “bikini, beach and sis” stat for some “therapy”.  Oh, my.  That does sound serious.  I mean these are girls who have sex tapes, gold digging, husband snatching, and fame-whoring reality shows on their resumes.  That’s a dearth of good judgement right there.  Does anyone know how Trace Cyrus has weighed in?

The truth of the matter here boils down to that whole thing about “if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.”  Except that in our judicial system, you still have to prove that it is a duck.  This makes people really angry.  Except for when it’s Rodney King.  Then you set fires in the street and loot.  The only thing that has been proven about Casey Anthony beyond a reasonable doubt is that she is trashy, has no soul and pathologically makes bad decisions.  And that is not illegal; it’s just poor form.  Like wearing stone-washed jorts to play golf.

Never do this

Now there is a petition circulating to create a new two part federal law to quell public outrage.  It will be called “Caylee’s Law”.  Don’t confuse this with another one called “Kaylee’s Law”.  This probably isn’t the time for me to rant about how people spell their names, is it?  The first component is that a parent must report a missing child within 24 hours.  The second is that you must report the death of a child within the hour of discovery.  Um, duh, right?  Has it really come to this, that we are demanding legislation for common sense and taking care of business?  I am so going to run for the position of Tastefulness Risk Management Czar.

Like, gag me with a coke spoon

1 Jul

When I was in fifth grade, my school began to teach us about drugs.  They are bad.  Drugs; not school.  In 1980, drug education was boiled down to scare tactics via weird stories about what happens when you sniff glue or take angel dust.  I still don’t really know what angel dust is, but I know that if I ever got a hold of some, it would make me stand on a tall building and think I could fly.  If you are too young, or too old, to remember the glory days of educational anti-drug reel-to-reels, this is a great introduction:

I learned that “dropping” LSD made people think that they were oranges and then they would try to peel themselves.   LSD, or acid, was probably the scariest drug that we were warned about.  It would make you see things that weren’t there, like beautiful flowers in gas stove flames that you would want to touch.  Acid would make you hear voices and if you took it more than three times you would be declared legally insane and you could never give sworn testimony in court.  Hippies took acid.  I was terrified of it.  Filmstrips like this didn’t dissuade me that LSD was the worst thing that could ever happen to a person.

Of course heroine is really bad too, but it was also just plain trashy.  “Junkies” always had gross teeth and just nodded and drooled.  When you were done being a junkie, you’d have to get on methadone.  To get methadone you have to stand in a line every day with other people trying not to be junkies anymore.  The whole needle thing rattled me, too.  I saw an ABC After School Special one time about a cute high-school girl who started doing heroine.  It messed up her life and brought shame to her family.  I would never want to drool on myself or stand in a line every day.

It was during this time when we were finishing up our drug education that cocaine started being a thing.  There weren’t any outdated filmstrips or pamphlets available yet and from everything on TV, it seemed like you had to be a stockbroker, a starlet or South American to get any.  It looked too expensive for ten year-olds to ever get their hands on it.  We skipped learning about cocaine.

And marijuana?  Total gateway to ruining your life.  My parents and teachers would tell me horrible stories about people “on pot”.  Once you tried pot, it was only a matter of days before you were in a straight-jacket on the way to re-hab after being busted for trying to pawn stolen goods to support your habit. When I was in middle-school all of the thuggy kids with divorced parents wore Adidas, because the logo was suggestive of a marijuana leaf.
My main take-away from my elementary school anti-drug unit was that you should never mix uppers and downers together.

Drug education in the new millenium is a bit more sophisticated, reality based and graphic.  Who hasn’t been totally freaked watching one of those meth-morphing clips on Dateline?  Or hearing about the not too far fetched rumor that Alice In Chains front-man Layne Staley had to have his hand amputated due to gangrene from a heroine abcess.  He soon after died of an overdose at age 34.  Eeew.  And just suffering through any jam band is enough to keep kids away from pot.  Or how about this latest thing with flesh eating cocaine?  Apparently, the booger sugar is now cut with some veterinary de-worming drug for livestock that attacks your skin after you partake.  It turns all purple and black.  Gross.

There are a lot more drugs out there now.  Crack, meth, ice, crank, ketamine, oxyanything and bath salts are all new on the scene.  And then there’s astounding invented stuff that people will smoke, snort, huff and inject to figure out if it’s “good”.  I once read an interview with Marilyn Manson, who was talking about smoking sherm with Leif Garret.  Sherm?  It’s a joint dipped in formaldehyde.  How bored do you have to be to give that a try?

I think that my tactic for keeping my own kids off drugs will probably just be this:

Don't do drugs

Hot Prom Queen: menopause edition

23 May

Do you mind if we dance with yo' dates?

Last week I read something that made my blood run cold.  Apparently, there is a growing faction of sad, sad people who are participating in “adult proms”.   The idea is that grown, married women and men have somehow realized that they missed something meaningful in their teen years and it’s high time they rewrite history and relive prom.  It’s known as a second chance dance.  I’d rather stab myself in the eye with a rusty fork.  Inspired by their own children’s high school dances, these middle aged desperatos are shining in a community center strewn with crepe paper garlands, balloon arches, pin lights and lime sherbet ginger-ale punch.   This movement will be translated into an unscripted show on TLC in five…four…three…two…

So why do I care?  Have I mentioned my day job?  I work at the apparel market in a wholesale showroom that specializes in Prom, Bridal, Pageant and Special Occasion costume jewelry.  Yes, I sell tiaras and scepters coated in crystals.  The entire complex is just known as “The Mart” and it is only open to the trade.  Our wholesale clients are generally focused, professional and easy to work with.  They know what they like, what sells and are pretty low maintenance.  They are in and out.  However, there are about five showrooms in The Mart that will notoriously call in passes for any jack wagon that wants to come in and sniff around.  These are people who want a retail shopping experience and think nothing of trashing displays, trying to negotiate prices and demanding your full attention.  In our showroom, we call these people Brides.  When they are under seventeen we call them prom-dates.  Mon Dieu!  What is going to happen when these two personalities meld?  You put your wedding in my prom!  You put your prom in my wedding!  Two great tastes?  Me thinks not.

Hey Dan!

The boy I was dating towards the end of my senior year in high school went to a different school than me, so I went to two different proms in 1988.  I don’t remember it being such a BFD back then.  I bought my dress off the rack less than a week before hand, a pair of died to match satin pumps at Fayva (oh yes, I did!), got my jewelry at a vintage shop in Little 5 Points and we had dinner at home.  The whole notion of a professional up-do and make-up, combined with chauffeured limousines and a dinner reservation made by someone’s mom just seemed manufactured and goofy.  But times have changed…

Prom season 2011 saw girls spending upward of a thousand of Daddy’s dollars on dress, jewelry, hair, tanning and hopefully, birth control.   And wedding garb?  I regularly talk to brides who spend between seven and ten thousand dollars just on the dress and veil.  So what happens when you have a grown woman who wants to recreate an imaginary hallmark event that has been gnawing at her for years?  She never went to her prom and her wedding was a quickie shotgun affair.  This is going to be THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF HER LIFE again!  This is keeping me up at night.  Can you imagine helping a grown woman shop for her prom jewelry?

Enraptured with Brendan Walsh

20 May


There’s been a lot of chatter this past week about the end of days.  If I have to hear that damn REM song, “It’s The End of The World As We Know It” again, my ear holes are gonna bleed, scab over and call it quits.  All sorts of doomsday theorist and Bible enthusiast (ie. Nut-jobs) have predicted that Rapture will take place on Saturday evening at 6pm, sharp.  Now, is that Eastern Standard Time or Pacific?  And I am guessing that since our Lord is all knowing, he is aware that since 1972, we no longer use the Greenwich Mean Time zone.  And it probably doesn’t really make a huge difference that not all countries observe day-light savings time either.  I just want to make sure that I am dressed in my purple cape and have my quarter rolls ready to go at the right time.  Oh, wait.  Wrong ride.

So do you believe it?  I mean, there has been some spooky stuff happening this past year: major earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, dead fish, missing bees, another Kennedy marriage on the skids and remember all of those birds dropping dead out of the sky?  It’s got to mean something, right?

Me?  I’m good either way.  I feel pretty confident with what I’ve been up to and the choices I’ve been making.  Like last night, I went to see Brendan Walsh at the Laughing Skull Lounge.  It was a banner decision and I’ll stand by it if I have to make like Albert Brooks in Defending Your Life later.

I’m not sure how Brendan feels about being whisked away for all of eternity, but I know how he feels about facial hair.  And it’s good to have a stand on that.  Currently, Brendon is rocking the full beard look, but he’s got big plans for starting his own style that can be named The Swoop.  I think my son could be interested in this, as I just covered his mustache envy recently.  Clearly, a lot of thought has been poured into this manscaping passion of Brendan’s and I think that I know why.

Guess who just got his medical marijuana card.  Well, it wasn’t me.  Look, Brendan lives in California and it’s just something you do there.  It doesn’t mean he’s packing a bong 24/7.  At least, that’s what he says.  Mainly, he’s just not too worried about his name ending up on a government list.  He’d rather be out in the open about the very rare times he lights up.  He’s chalant about the weed.  What’s chalant?  It’s the opposite of non-chalant.  Look it up.

But for someone who swears he smokes pot “only a little bit”, Brendan sure does have a heap of stories that start out with, “So, when I get really high…” And he revealed several things about his habits and proclivities that would suggest otherwise.  For instance, who runs out of Visine?  Who still watches Maury Povich?  What other adult rejoices at the prospect of having a birthday cake any time he wants one?  Who???

What if the Rapture really does happen this weekend and I’m not part of the estimated 2% that grow wings and get to sit on fluffy clouds stroking a harp?  What if I am ordered to that other place?  What could hell really be like?  Maybe it’s like sitting in a karaoke bar listening to Brendan singing the Cranberries’ “Zombie” over and over with my ear holes never being able to seal off.  Or what if it’s like being stuck in an airport terminal, trying to get around the scooters of people too fat to walk?  Or I could just be stuck on an eternally taxiing plane with Brendan and a pack of not fun flight attendants, all wearing Nancy Grace scowls.  Truth is, it might be fun if I was with Brendan to crack funny.  I’m not going to spend too much time with worry about the end of the world business just yet though.  According to the Mayans we’ve got until December 12, 2012 before it really hits the fan.  But, I’m good either way.

Baby can’t work. Baby needs him check.

19 May

In the mid to late 90s, girlfriend Laurel’s husband, Mark, had the best job ever.  While taking a year to study for the MCAT and apply to schools, he had a part time gig working for an insurance company.  Not as a paper pusher.  Nor was he adjusting, estimating or cold calling for sales.  Mark had a “rape van”, a notebook and a camera with a telephoto lens.  He would stake out people who were making fraudulent disability claims and snap pictures of them mowing the lawn, lifting 55 gallon drums and working at roadside veggie stands.  He was a detective.  I love that shit!

Now a days, with the internets and all, being a disability detective isn’t quite as sneaky or invasive as it once was.  Dishonest, lazy people are usually not so smart, and a lot of them are creepy.  And are proud of it.  They will pretty much just hand you any damning evidence of what losers they are on a silver platter.  Or a TV show.

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn saw an unusual video clip from the National Geographic show, Taboo, that made the viral rounds recently.

It chronicles Stanley Thornton’s home life, where he lives with his caretaker/roommate Sandra Dias.  Stanley spends half of his day wearing a footed fleece onesie, drinking apple juice from a bottle, playing with Legos and listening to nursery rhymes.  Miss Sandra soothes him when he is cranky and makes sure that his diaper is always dry and that he gets plenty to eat.  Stanley is in the hundredth percentile on his growth chart.  At over three hundred and fifty pounds, him is such a big boy!  Stanley is an adult baby.  No.  I did not say that he is an adult, baby.  An adult baby.  Huh?

In the video you can catch a glimpse of how Stanley lives as an adult baby.  He sleeps in a scale size custom crib that he built himself.  Stanley spends play-time in a special converted play pen that can support his chubby, wittle thighs.  He carried out the modifications on his own.  Currently, Stanley is putting together a scale size high-chair where Miss Sandra can feed him mashed bananas and rice cereal.  Thank God the film crew skipped changing time.

Here comes the choo-choo train. Where's the tunnel? And OMG...are those Miss Sandra's breasts?

But wait, babies can’t build furniture, can they?  I mean you have to go to the Home Depot to pick out and buy the materials.  There’s measuring, sawing, drilling and screwing involved.  How can Baby Stanley do this?   Well, Stanley can put on his big boy pants and do all sorts of big-kid stuff too.  He can drive, design and build furniture and he even runs his own website, www.bedwettingabdl.com  The only thing he can’t seem to do is work at a j-o-b.  Baby Stanley and his caretaker, Miss Sandra, a former nurse, both receive Supplemental Security Income benefits in addition to support from the great state of California.  Both claim to be disabled and unable to work.  Whaaa!

Sen. Coburn has questioned why benefits are being paid to these two.  In a letter to Inspector General Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr., he asserted that Stanley and Miss Sandra’s benefit collection just might be improper.  In response via email to The Washington Times, Stanley threw a little temper tantrum…clearly he is in his “terrible twos” phase.  Stanley did the written equivalent of holding his breath until his face turns blue:

“You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food. Try it. See how serious I am. I don’t care…I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.”

Oh, Stanley.  It sounds like someone needs a nappy-wappy.

"Hush little baby, don't say a word..."

Get fired up for work

16 May

Just say "No, thank you"

Just when I began middle school, First Lady Nancy Reagan began her “Just Say No” campaign.  It was a movement directed at young children to teach them about the dangers of drug use and to emotionally inoculate them from ever getting into a situation where they learned about shake, aqua pipes or felt any desire to sway in the PhilZone.  To hammer in her point, Mrs. Reagan even appeared in a “very special episode” of Diff’rent Strokes, during season 5, to tell America’s youngsters how to decline invitations for the evil weed, PCP, LSD and anything else stronger than a St. Joseph’s baby aspirin.

Up until this point I don’t ever really recall there being any sort of anti-drug message out there other than my Grandfather loading us into his Cadillac to drive down 10th Street and then past Pershing Point to look at the hippies and scoff.   That all soon changed when The Partnership for a Drug Free America got together and rolled out the “This is your brain on drugs…” series of p.s.a. commercials.

Big Daddy and I still make fun of another one where the militant dad is demanding to know where his surly teen learned about marijuana and how he came to have a cigar box full of purple kush in his closet.  The kid finally snaps and says; “You, alright.  I learned it by watching you!!!”  Oooh, burn.

But my favorite was one with a couple of burners in their twenties hanging out in a basement playing Sega and toking on a fatty while talking about how cool things have turned out for them.  Then the voice of a disappointed mother is heard calling down the stairs asking if they had looked for a job while she was at work.  The message is that hanging out and getting high will get you nowhere good.  You will forever live in your parents’ basement and won’t get a job.  Well, not so fast…

Will there be a drug test for this job?

Potheads can now officially tell The Man to “suck it”, because their discerning skills and marginal talents are now in demand. That’s right.  It’s payday for anyone with a Ph.D in THC.   For every uptight parent who told their kids that “businesses don’t hire burn-outs and stoners”…suck it.  For every coach who said “losers can’t be winners in the game of life”…suck it.  And for every fast food assistant manager who said “you can’t get by, while you’re getting high”…suck it.  Arizona has legalized marijuana use for people living with illness, chronic pain, discomfort or the Cheech and Chong box set.  That actually covers a lot of folks and they are going to need some guidance as they navigate this new world of medicinal marijuana.  Enter the Tucson Weekly, who has posted a job opening ad for a freelance marijuana critic.  Dude!!!  Paper editor Jimmy Boegle said:

“A lot of sick people are going to be using medical marijuana and they’re going to want to know things like how is it to park, how good is the stuff they’re selling in terms of helping them with their symptoms.  What are the prices, what kinds of things are offered”

I am thinking readers will also need to know other pertinent information like which pizza delivery pairs best with Kentucky Gold, what movie to watch on mute while listening to Pink Floyd’s Darkside of the Moon or whether it’s cool to answer the phone.

Not to write too stoned an article

Applicants have until June 1st to motivate out of the La-Z-Boy and send in a resume and application.

Can I get change from my Big Mac?

12 May

Guess who’s getting a face-lift and a whole body tuck?  No, this isn’t about Chaz Bono’s appearance on Oprah this week.  It’s bigger.

Everything is changing!

Give up?  It’s McDonalds.  That’s right, the fast food Godfather is ditching the red tile roofs and its iconic golden arches in favor of a more upscale, contemporary look.  I remember years ago hearing about a “study” that discovered that the McDonald’s arches were the third most recognizable symbol in the world, after the Christian cross and the Coca-Cola logo.  I don’t recall which came in first.  Um, wow.

The universal sign for fast food

But the transformation isn’t just on the exterior.  Mickey D’s has been doing some serious soul searching and some “inside work”, too.  That therapy bill is going to invoice for around a cool billion dollars and change.  That grody rust colored tile floor with the mildew concealing black grout is being replaced by wood floors or travertine look tiles.  Buh-bye laminate everything and hello to lounge chairs, coffee tables, farm tables and faux leather seats.  The alarming primary scheme of red and yellow is being replaced by calming neutrals with punches of color here and there.  Think Starbucks with burgers.  They even offer free Wi-Fi.

McDonald’s has gotten a tough rap in the past few years.  Ever read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser?  Not a great marketing tool.  Ditto Martin Spurlock’s eye opening documentary, Super Size Me.  The public reaction was akin to the aftermath of Upton Sinclair’s explosive novel, The Jungle, which lifted the curtain on the unregulated meat packing industry at the beginning of the twentieth century.  So, the muckety-mucks at the tippity-top have made menu changes, too.  The salad offerings are more, there are grilled chicken options, apple wedges and even oatmeal.  Their coffee ain’t bad neither.

I gotta say, my neighborhood McDonald’s has already been retooled and…I’m lovin’ it.  Starbuck’s can be fucked out for me.  I like being able to go in there and write my blog, have a coffee and maybe a nibble.  But my coffee is $4 and the muffin offerings are high fat and high calorie.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re great tasting, but I need to eat that kind of thing while shackled to a treadmill, not sitting in a comfy chair.  At McDonald’s I can get a drink and a low-fat yogurt for about $2.  And I can always find a seat or a table to spread out at.

Mimes in McDonald's?

The downside is that they play that new-age Musak replacement stuff that sounds like ambient yoga jazz.  Take your iPod lest you start thinking someone is going to offer you a glass of cucumber water and introduce your masseuse.  I am also a bit concerned that the higher-ups may get carried away with this rebranding and trade in Ronald McDonald for something more sophisticated, like a mime.  That would be bad.

I’d like to see the old guard make a come back.  Of course, they would need to be in sustainable hemp jumpers and TOMS shoes.

Nothing says “Guilty!” like a killer pair of eyeglasses

11 May

During the early months of our courting, Big Daddy would throw me the side-eye whenever we would be out and I would motion to some dude with my head and say, under my breath, “He looks like a rapist”.  Or “He looks like a molester”.  Or worse, “He looks like a serial killer”.   I know that a lot of people, especially the ultra-bed-wetting liberal sort, think that profiling is somehow bad or wrong.  They are wrong.  I am right.  Always.  Well, most of the time.

Nightly news

Growing up in Atlanta, one of the hallmarks of my childhood was the acute awareness of Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered Children.  Kids, mostly black boys, started disappearing in the summer before fourth grade.  They would later turn up dead, their bodies dumped in the Chattahoochee River.  The community was paralyzed by fear and uncertainty.  Curfews were issued.  Every afternoon and into the evening there would be an announcement on the television or radio that would ask something like, “It’s seven o’clock.  Do you know where your kids are?”  Terrifying.  I would shake like a chihuahua when anyone I didn’t know spoke to me on the street.  By the next summer there had been thirty victims that were linked in one way or another to a single killer.  Police and psychologists gathered information about victims and meshed it with geographic, demographic and psychological features they believed would be significant markers in revealing who this sadist was.  We now call this criminal profiling, and it is good.  Using the profile, Wayne Williams was arrested and convicted.   This particular case was the first well-publicized instance of criminal profiling being used successfully.

A lot of naysayers out there think that the fix was in.  There’s all sorts of conspiracy theories about how The Man used Williams to alleviate public pressure, that the decedents were actually victims of satanic rituals performed by local covens or that the killings were carried out by area Ku Klux Klansmen to initiate a race war.  Gimme a break.  Every thing that I need to know about Williams’ guilt is in this picture.

It’s the glasses.  All the creepy dudes have them.   If I were a judge and a defendant came into court with a pair of these on I’d dismiss the jury and just move on to sentencing.  Check out my evidence:

BTK Killer Dennis Rader

Boy eater Jeffrey Dahmer

Why, is that Kim Jong Il behind those Foster Grants?

Even Hollywood knows that to authenticate a seriously warped character, the props department has to make a run to Lens Crafters.  Did you see Robin Williams in One Hour Photo?  Two words.  Heebie.  Jeebies.

Character development with eye wear

You know how there’s that Sex Offender Registry?  You can go online and type in your zip code and get a map of your neighborhood that pinpoints where all the diddlers and freaks live so you can avoid letting your Cub Scout sell popcorn unchaperoned on that street.  This service was especially comforting when JonBenet Ramsey killer-wannabe, John Mark Karr, lived less that two miles down the road. If law enforcement were really serious about halting sex crimes they would start tracking the purchase of gold wire kinda aviator-ish specs.  There would be a Molester Glasses Registry.  And if the registrant had any sort of scant or patchy facial hair, they’d have to register twice.

Waco wacko David Koresh

That’s not Merlot, or how I’m a shoo-in for mother of the year

3 May

Ding-dong, the witch is dead.  In case you’ve missed it, Usama/Osama bin Laden has left the building.  I have a grab bag of emotions: elation, relief, justice, sadness, worry…I’m sure I’m not alone with this.  It has been bizarre watching news reports of the people frenzy in the streets and ball parks of the U.S., juxtaposed with pictures of blood soaked rugs and reading the constant crawl about exploded skulls.

Is it even appropriate to celebrate something like this?  I don’t know.  But it also seems a little weird not to celebrate in some way.  So, we cracked open a nice Pinot Noir with dinner and decided to pour a little splash for the kids.  Don’t judge.  People in Europe make their kids have a night-cap so they’ll go to bed.  Think of it as organic Benadryl.  But this post isn’t about that…it’s about a great story in Hot Damn’s family lore.

When Hot Tub (that’s the boy child) was about four or five months old we were spending Thanksgiving at the beach.  At supper one night, four-year old Snakebite was going out of her skin to have a nip of the wine we had ordered with dinner.  She was being a real pain in the ass about it.  I finally gave her a tiny swig, knowing that she would be grossed out and just hush.  Instead, her eyes got as big as saucers, she licked her chops and exclaimed, “It’s sooo good!  What is it?”  So, we told her it was called Merlot. She prolly would have been happy to dust off the bottle, but we are responsible parents who aren’t into sharing our hooch.  Instead, we told her that if she really liked the good stuff that maybe she might be ready to start having full Communion at Church.  Since we are Episcopalian, you can just do it whenever you’re ready.  All week our brows were furrowed with concern as our budding party girl yammered on and on about getting some of that delicious wine at Church on Sunday.  Uh-oh.  What have we started?

On Sunday morning, Snakebite practically skipped up to the altar.  We were all kneeling, me with a baby asleep on my shoulder, when the Cathedral’s Dean was before us with the wine chalice.  Margaret was in the ready, set, go position to receive and he kinda gave me the quizzical eye and I gave the go-ahead nod.  She put her little mouth on the rim, took a long sip, an awkward gulp and then bellowed, “THAT’S NOT MERLOT!”  She was furious and felt duped.  I thought the Dean was going to fall over.

So back to our celebratory wine with dinner tonight.  Snakebite wanted no part of it because now she only likes Taylor’s Tawny Port…the Church wine.  This, people, is how you get your children to Church without complaint.  Please feel free to submit my name for the Mother of the Year award in honor of Mother’s Day this coming weekend.

Grimm casting

2 May

I think that the call went a little something like this:

“Hello.  Is this Central Casting?”

“Yes.  How may I help you?”

“We’re putting on a wedding with a sort of fairy-tale theme going on.  We’ve got a handsome prince, a beautiful commoner becoming a princess, carriages with prancing horses, indoor trees…in other words, the dream.  We even have a step-mother.  However, we are looking to add in some evil step-sister types.  You know, something straight out a Brothers Grimm book.  Do you have anything to fit that?”

“I think that we have just the girls for the job.  I’ll send them right over.”

The Royal Wedding: Love American style?

27 Apr

I am “over the moon” about The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  I can’t help that I am in a constant state of “about to wet myself”.  I already know what I am going to wear and that I will be completely jacked up on Twinnings and scones by 9am on Friday morning.  I am slightly grieved that this is such a non-event to my family, but luckily, I have Anglophile girlfriends to watch it all unroll with.  When Charles and Diana were married in 1981, I was ten and at summer camp.  My mother recorded it for me on our VCR to watch when I got home.  Alone.  It wasn’t how that should have gone down.  Right now, silver is being polished, china saucers dusted off and fruitcakes are curing in the pantries of giddy women and gay men all over the world, anticipating the parade of fairy-tale love.  It’ll be a grand affair, to be certain.  But the details are still in a cloud.

Goober-smacks like me are all lathered up over who the guests are, and what they will be wearing.  Little bits and pieces have been released about what the wedding cake will be, what refreshments will and won’t be served at the reception, how the wedding party will arrive and then later exit from Westminster Abbey.  The greatest mystery surrounds the wedding gown of Kate Middleton and who its designer is.  However, for as much as I love the Royals and want them to be what I expect…which is highbrow…I am kinda fascinated with the idea of what if Kate Middleton is one of those trashy Brits who love all things American?  What if she has been watching shows like My Big Friggin’ Wedding and CMT’s My Big Redneck Wedding from her satellite to get some ceremony ideas?  (I wonder if Nia Vardalos had the forethought to trademark “My Big _________ Wedding”.)

How validated would the American proletariat be if the bridal party were festooned in camouflage silk…

Photographer to wedding party, "Smile bigger...I can't see you!"

If the “something borrowed” was K-Fed’s Pimp chalice…

The chalice fit for a King

Or, what if the vows were sealed with a fist bump…

"You're my Shawty forever"

The Mountbatten-Windsors will have their choice of some pretty plush digs for setting up house.  It is reported that they will start out in his rented farmhouse in North Wales.  Yawn.  Kate and William are all about being “green” and living modestly.  This is so completely wrong.  They should be in a castle…

The kitchen here is already staffed

Flav’s Fried Chicken: tastes like failure

26 Apr

Winner, winner? Not so much...

I’ve got some bad news for those of you who have been planning your summer vacation around a road trip to Clinton, Iowa to eat at the flagship Flav’s Fried Chicken.  Just four months after its grand opening, FCC has turned off the fryer and closed its front door.  Moment of silence.  And as for those hundreds more Flav’s Fried Chicken restaurants that were planned as franchising opportunities?  I know, I know.  Pour a little of your forty on the ground for respect.

You might ask, “How could a fried chicken joint in an old Long John Silver’s, helmed by this smart dude in the middle of nowhere, fail?”

Yeah boyeee!

A couple of months ago there were reports that employee’s paychecks were bouncing.  Flav said it wasn’t true and that those employees were just “haters” who were more or less just jealous that Flav was there.  Or they were hatin’ on him for being fired.  Either way.  One report said there was just a glitch in the credit software, or something.   Even the system was hatin’.  But not Flav.  He was keepin’ it real.

And certainly, it wasn’t the innovative concept of fried chicken that didn’t deliver.  According to Flavor Flav, his  business partner, Nick Cimino, may have not been entirely on the ball.  Say’s Flav, “Let me be straight up with you, I went up inside there on April 2nd and I found potato salad that expired on February 28.”  Yes, he said “went up inside there”, like he was conducting a cavity search for something rancid and scored.  Eew!

Tater salad

However, Cimino claims that Flavor Flav is a fraud.  I can’t imagine how on earth he could have misrepresented himself to be anything other than this…

Business man Flavor Flav

Gagging on Gaga

19 Apr

Stefani Germanotta Lady Gag(a) rolled into town last night to do her thang.  Hot Damn had better stuff to do, like staying at home to wash her hair.  Because I’m never far from some sort of communicating device, I saw lots of pictures and was pummeled by the play by play on Facebook and Twitter.  Of course Gaga continued her ridiculous banter where she lovingly called fans “her little monsters”.  Personally, I have always understood calling someone a monster to be unflattering.  Aileen Wuornos; that’s a monster.  Ten year old girls with bad musical taste and newly minted gays?  Not really.  But, a case could be made…

Gaga fan let the cat INTO the closet

Known for her outlandish get-ups and performance art styling, Stefani’s Gaga’s look is cutting edge.  Of what, I am uncertain.  Just days ago, adorable “little monster” fan Angela Barnes really went for it when choosing an unconventional standout look to wear to Gaga’s Oklahoma City concert.  Feeling the pressure to dress to impress, Angela got very creative and reigned in the family kitty to inspire her costume.  Oh, wait.  Maybe inspire isn’t the right word choice.  No, no.  I think it’s sacrifice.  Yes, that’s it.  Twenty-year-old Angela mutilated kitty and streaked her face and a long coat in kitty’s blood.  She also put kitty’s liver in a makeup compact…presumably for freshening up her face at the show.  “Little Monster”?  Perfect.

In the past couple of weeks Stefani has been in the media a lot.  There is the video of her busting ass at a concert…

And she’s releasing a new single.  It’s called “Judas”.  Just in time for Easter.

Gag(a) also did a photo shoot and interview for The May cover of Harper’s Bazaar.  I don’t think I have ever rolled my eyes as often or as forcefully as I did when I read it.  Because I have gone there, you don’t have to.  You’re welcome.  In summary, interviewer Derek Blasberg asked about the new pointy horns that “sprouted” from her head and shoulders when she incubated and was reborn on the Grammy Awards show.

Horned cover girl 

“Well, first of all,” she says, “they’re not prosthetics. They’re my bones.”

Okay, so when did the bones appear?

“They’ve always been inside of me, but I have been waiting for the right time to reveal to the universe who I truly am.”

Did she will them to come out for this album?

“They come out when I’m inspired.”

Is she worried that this new look will inspire other people to “grow” similar bones?

“We all have these bones!” she says tersely. “They’re the light from inside of us.”

Errant bones that grow and shrink at will?  We have light inside of us?  Oh, crap.  My doctor has said nothing to me about this, but it could explain so much.

Stefani continues to yawn on nonsensically when she turns her focus to slighting pretty Hollywood types…

“I have never had plastic surgery, and there are many pop singers who have. I think that promoting insecurity in the form of plastic surgery is infinitely more harmful than an artistic expression related to body modification.”

Gaga says, "No".

“And how many models and actresses do you see on magazine covers who have brand-new faces and have had plastic surgery, while I myself have never had any plastic surgery? I am an artist, and I have the ability and the free will to choose the way the world will envision me.”

Wait one hot minute.  So, she has the right to alter her appearance through body modification, but no one else can?  What. A. Bitch.  But then she qualifies her stance on traditional celebrity culture for celebrities and barfed out this gem:

“Am I going to try and embrace Hollywood and assimilate to that culture?  I put my toe in that water, and it was a Kegel-exercise vaginal reaction where I clenched and had to retract immediately.”

In her final attempt at sounding provocative and meaningful,

“I’ve always wanted to be an adjective.”

Object of thirteen year old sci-fi dork fantasies

I have an adjective:  fucking ridiculous.  There.

Get your goat: fun and games in Afghanistan

14 Apr

Holy cow! PETA and the Taliban may actually have something in common. Let me explain…

Who wants to come outside to play today?

Yesterday I was reading the Wall Street Journal and came across an article that was so strange that I thought it was surely the newspaper equivalent to a trap street. A trap street is a deliberately placed fictional roadway planted on a map or atlas that will protect the publisher from copyright violations and unauthorized reproductions by unseemly cartographers. In theory anyway.

For as much as we now know about Afghanistan’s government and their social tribulations, what do you really know about them culturally aside from women wear burqas, men wear bushy mustaches and they all throw rocks? Oh, like, for instance do you know what their national sport is? It’s called buzkashi. Well, it’s not exactly polo, but it’s eerily similar. That’s not true. Yes, both games are played on horseback. In polo, the goal is to get a small white ball through a goal using a mallet. In buzkashi, the player’s objective is to pick up and then heave a decapitated goat over a goal line and into “the circle of justice” without the aid of straps. Or something akin to that. See? Similar, but not the same.

Draw that circle wide

Polo can be traced as far back as 100 B.C. in Persia. While the rules of polo have been static since the first official club was formed in 1800s, buzkashi continues to evolve a bit. A long time ago it was played on camels. The game likely began as a way to train villagers to go repossess stolen livestock from marauding neighbors. Ride in, get your goat back, wreak some havoc and go home. Buzkashi tournaments can go on for days and a goat carcass can get pretty roughed up and start falling apart. That’s no fun! Typically, games are now played with a dead calf that’s been beheaded, kneecapped, drained of its cow juices, disemboweled, soaked in water for a day and then stuffed with sand. It toughens it up and then they can play with it longer that way. Can you imagine? I can’t even go there. Women are not allowed to attend games, but really, what woman would even want to? Gag.

They should make like King David and cut the thing in two

Oh, and “winner, winner chicken dinner”? Not so much. It’s a very tenderized goat or calf stew cooked up and served to poor people living near the buzkashi field. The winning horseman gets turbans, cash and rifles. Great. Just what I’m sure the community and world at large need for him to have.

Aaw, chicks DO dig buzshaki

When the Taliban was large and in charge, buzkashi was forbidden because they felt that it was an immoral game. I don’t know about immoral, but it sounds gross as hell. And here’s where the Taliban and PETA can agree to hold hands and do a little light petting. While the Afghan Buzkashi Federation desires to apply for buzkashi to become an Olympic sport, PETA…like the Taliban… wants it banned. They’ve taken care of fox hunting in England and are working on demonizing bullfighting in Spain.

Clearly, the Taliban didn’t succeed in squashing buzkashi for good. Could PETA really be more powerful and far reaching than the Taliban? In the immortal words of 80s super-group Asia, “Only time will tell”.

I’m just clownin’

13 Apr

If I want to make sure that Big Daddy stays up all night, there’s only one word that I need to whisper in his ear.  This same word will make the hair stand up on his head…and he rocks the bald look.  Clowns.

Pop goes the weasel

The faintest suggestion of floppy shoes, honking red noses or water squirting lapel flowers sends Greg into spasms.  But why?  Clowns are colorful, happy and funny…well, except for sad clowns painted on velvet.  They make me weep.  I have to wonder if the late 1960s and early 1970s was a time in which the culture was so saturated in all things clown that future grown men got way turned off and then eventually freaked out by them.  There was The Bozo the Clown Show, Barbara Streisand assaulting little ears with “Send in the Clowns”, Ronald McDonald hawking fast-food, jack-in-the-box toys and clown nursery themes.  There is even a DSM-IV (that’s lingo for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for mental disorders) word for the widespread phenomenon of being terror stricken by clowns: coulrophobia.

Molesting Mexi-clown

Turns out that clowns really are creepy.  Children’s party clown, Jose Guadalupe Jimenez, was recently arrested in California for abducting a twelve year old in 2002, raping her and then molesting her in his…black passenger van.  I know, it is shocking that a van could be a crime scene.  Jimenez, whose clown name is El Tin Larin (The Voice Box), was in full garb when he nabbed his victim at a Taco Bell.  Authorities have seized his masks, costumes, shoes, puppets and balloons looking for…gulp…evidence of other diddled victims.  I could make a Bill Clinton parallel here, but I won’t stoop that low.  After all, I’m a lady.

This totally creeps me out

Criminal clowns aren’t new.  Though Pogo the Clown was certainly the most prolific real-life bad clown.   Textbook serial killer John Wayne Gacy managed to rape and murder thirty-three teenage boys in just six years, all the while dressing as alter-ego harlequin, Pogo, and contorting balloons into animals at community functions.  In a super macabre twist, Gacy made thousands of dollars painting and selling self-portraits of his Pogo persona while on death row.

It is awful

For me personally, there is a particular clown that can make my toes curl.  When I was in college, I watched It with my roommate Lisa and the two of us got completely wigged out by Pennywise the Clown.  Holy crap!  A fang-toothed, old-timey, rabid clown that lures children down sewer gutters with big, shiny balloons?  “It floats.”  Quiver.

How to book a clown

But not all scary clowns have to be fleshy and real…The Simpson’s have given me Krusty the Clown to identify with.  Krusty is disturbing because he is sort of a representation of the burnt-out, tired cynical disappointment that lurks somewhere in my soul.  Deep.  Move on, shall we?

Then there are clowns that are just, well, you be the judge…

This is their job

…dumb.

The Insane Clown Posse is a hip-hop band, I know, made up of two dorks that dress up as “wicked clowns” and bust evil rhymes about a mythological dark carnival.  I don’t know if I am more concerned that they actually have fans, or that they call the boy ones Juggalos and the girl ones Juggalettes.  Seriously?  This is like something a couple of emo twelve-year-old boys would come up with.

The joke that's not a joke

By a landslide, the weirdest clown lifestyle, outside of burying boys in your crawl space, is called Krumpin’.  Krumpers are black freestyle break-dancers who dress up in clown garb and engage in street dance offs with rival dance gangs.  I could not make this shit up.  It’s described as being dark, aggressive and mind-blowing.

Consider my mind blown.

Charlie Sheen: winning at marketing

3 Apr

Hats off

A lot of you have asked me why I haven’t had much to say about the “Charlie Sheen” buzz. Honestly, it’s been so craptastic that I haven’t been able to really get a handle on it. At first I wanted to crack hardcore on it, and even lightly addressed it here. But then it started making me feel itchy and uncomfortable. I was kinda waiting to see if he showed up with the blue lips or not. You don’t want to bust on someone only to have him or her go over the rainbow two weeks later. Ya know? It’s bad karma. Now, as a news item, I consider it “still developing”.

Just like that!

Do you remember that thing a couple of years ago when Joaquin Phoenix started acting all cracky and publicly unraveling every chance he got? Ostensibly, he was ditching his acting gig for a lucrative career in hip-hop. Meanwhile, brother-in-law and seeming enabler, Casey Affleck, was always on hand with a camera to document the down spiral and final meltdown. All of the footage was eventually compiled and edited into the documentary I’m Still Here. It turned out to be an elaborate hoax, a gimmick. Joaquin was acting. And that’s what actors do; they act.

And...Action!

My professional opinion, because I have an imaginary advanced degree in counseling from the University of Celebrity Rehab, is that Mr. Sheen suffers from sex addiction, drug abuse induced dementia and an acute case of fame whoring. The fame whoring is compounded by the people on his payroll who just want to make sure that the booger sugar keeps coming, the private jets get fueled and the nannies get paid. How much trouble is he in, really? No custody has been revoked, he hasn’t been found guilty enough for incarceration, the bills have been paid and no one has pulled a 5150 on his ass.

Charlie does have a rich history of questionable behavior; however, earning him the coveted moniker “Bad Boy, Charlie Sheen”. Um, he’s not a boy though. Dude’s almost 50. Details, people, details. There was the likelihood that he shot Kelly Preston when they dated, he was one of Heidi Fleiss’ preferred clients (it was widely rumored that he met future ex-wife Denise Richards while she was on the payroll), there were overdoses, wife beating allegations and hotel trashing with a game of “hooker in the closet”. What a hot mess. But when you have this sort of reputation it’s hard to pull a Robert Downey, Jr. and reform. So what can you do? Sheen has, of late, created an empire of t-shirts and sold-out live performances. He’s been doing podcasts, interviews and tweeting like his life depends on it. What on earth Charlie is going to do on stage remains a mystery. What I do know is that just ordering t-shirts for manufacture takes some focus and effort. Muddling through the contracts to book venues is tedious and time consuming. I suspect it’s a matter of minutes before we discover that the catchphrases “Winning…duh”, “Tigerblood” and “Sheenuis” have all been trademarked.

Duh

And last week he recorded a song with Snoop Dogg, for Christsake. This has got to be the best coordinated and meticulously marketed free-fall since the dawn of Hollywood. So there. Unless the greasy one is discovered face down in the artificial grass next to the pool by one of his meth-head live-ins next week (Denise and Brooke: Girls, keep your fingers crossed!), my official position will be that it’s a calculated ploy. He is trying.  Hard.  And seems to be winning all the way to the bank.

Wrastlin’

30 Mar

This weekend the WWE is bringing WrestleMania to Atlanta.  It’s been a while since we’ve bounced against the ropes in this town.  In fact, it was Black Saturday in 1984 when we saw our last good elbow drop.  There are all sorts of events tied together in this spectacular…there’s a charity golf tournament, a fan “experience” and even an auction of wrestler art at our Fabulous Fox. That last one kinda threw me, too.  There is going to be a new round of wrestlers inducted into the Hall of Fame with Abdullah the Butcher making the cut. 

Hall of Famer Abdullah the Butcher

Abdullah “The Madman from Sudan” the Butcher, who was really from Canada, was a regular with the GCW here back in the day. Grandma Hot Damn can get a little wistful thinking back on the glory days of Georgia Championship Wrestling.  That was before the state of Ohio conspired to take over our city and when wrestling was pronounced “wrastlin’”.  If you have a spare couple of hours to listen to someone giddily detail an era, ask any Southern man of a certain age about Mr. Wrestler II, Midnight Express, Tony Atlas,  or Ole Anderson.

My brothers loved to watch GCW on Ted Turner’s WTBS Superstation when we were kids.  Because it was the 1970s and we had one tv for kids, I also watched a lot of wrestling.  I got just as excited as my brothers did when we saw and met “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, who kindly autographed every piece of paper we could dig out of my mother’s purse, while we were at a gate at the old Atlanta airport.  He had on light blue boot cut jeans, a tan leather jacket and stacked boots.  And of course, his hair was the color of maize.  He was larger than life, but not as large as he is now.

Champion Dusty Rhodes

You can’t talk about Dusty without having a conversation about “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.  Flair, later part of the evil Four Horsemen, dressed like a pimp from south Florida.  His bottle blonde locks were perfectly zipped and feathered, he always had on Foster Grants tuned to “sun”, some sort of suit and big gold jewelry, when he wasn’t in one of his fancy, custom robes.  For the Nature Boy though, it wasn’t just about looks, because “Whooooo!!!  To be The Man, you gotta beat The Man!!!”  Nature Boy was not modest.

Limousine ridin', jet flyin', kiss stealin', wheelin' dealin' son of a gun Ric Flair

I don’t know what the deal was with wrestlers and the peroxide, but “Wildfire” Tommy Rich must have gone to the same hair stylist as Ric and Dusty.  I like to think of them on an off day meeting up at the salon for a little process and trim then going out for a light lunch together afterward.

Breck model Tommy Rich

As a special treat, a love gift really, my mom took us to the GCW live taping a time or two.  Okay, I had to go because I wasn’t old enough to stay at home alone.  I don’t really know that this was the best place to take a child.  Forget what was going on in the ring with figure four leg locks, sleeper holds, bleeding, superplexes, and atomic drops.  The real action was the sideshow outside of the ring.  To this day, I am unsure whether the audience really thought the wrestling was real, but they sure were enthusiastic.  Fights regularly broke out ringside, with people attacking one another with metal folding chairs, shoes and belt buckles.  One time a guy next to us bawled my mom out for chuckling at the on stage antics.  Then there were certain wrestlers who were allegedly so hated that they needed police escort through the room to protect them from being pelted with cans of Billy Beer.  And an unforgettable sight was manager Jimmy Cornette, with his ever-present tennis racquet, getting into vein-popping shouting confrontations with the wrestlers, the refs, crowd members, girlfriends…whoever was within earshot.  And yet, Jimmy’s character was so upper-crust that we were supposed to believe that he only abandoned the clay courts at PDC for these matches.

This weekend’s WrestleMania is sparing no expense in making an impact in the town from which it sprouted.  It’s going to be hosted by The Rock, and Snooki is going to be here doing something for it, too.  What in the hell has happened to professional wrestling?  It’s not classy like it was in 1981, as seen here.

Play sexy

29 Mar

Everyone is in a tizzy over Abercrombie & Fitch’s new bikini for young girls.  It’s called the Ashley and the smallest size is for eight-year-old girls.  The big gripe isn’t so much that it’s on the skimpy side of things, but that the top has push up pads in it, so that young girls don’t feel self conscious about their chesticles.  It can really cause a lot of anxiety for a girl to not be able to fill out her swimsuit.  Especially in the second grade when she isn’t yet confident enough to tell her playmates at the sandcastle to “Suck it!”.  Really, I don’t see what the BFD is.  Parents buy baseball inspired outfits for their young boys that say “L’il Slugger” on the front, anticipating growing an NBL pitcher.  Daughters twirl in ballerina inspired dresses, dreaming of one day being a principle dancer of a famous ballet company.  Maybe the aspirations that some parents assign their daughters are a little less lofty and a bit more…pedestrian.  Now, doesn’t that bikini top start to make sense?  Because,  let’s make no mistake…eight year-olds aren’t driving themselves to the mall and throwing down the plastic for some new swimsuits to train in.  Mawma and Diddy need to get that money-maker out there early if they want their little precious to be successful in dancing, acting on an “unscripted set”, landing a pro-ball player in lieu of college or where ever she sets her sights.

There is a lot more to it than an A&F bikini to usher little girls along the twisted path of sexual dysmorphia and daddy issues that will lead to an early start on a fruitful career at Tattletales.  I’m not even going to talk about lucite shoes, degrading rap lyrics or Club Disney shows.  I’m a talk about toys.  For decades, feminists have ranted and raved about the unrealistic body image that Barbie dolls presented to young girls.   Mattel mitigated that by giving Barbie her choice in profession, ethnic friends and recently letting her divorce that eunuch husband of hers, Ken.  He was boring.  In more recent years, the Bratz dolls upped the ante by being soft and plush…a perfect snuggly slut baby doll for toddlers.  But just like Hollywood can’t come up with many new ideas, toy makers are now looking to the vamp up past victories for today’s market place.

Strawberry Shortcake works as a stage name

Strawberry Shortcake first came on the scene in the early 1980s.  Her acrylic hair was actually infused with the scent of fresh, wholesome strawberries.  Her friends Blueberry Muffin and Lemon Meringue smelled just as sweet.  What do you think their new-millennium effigies smells like?  I’m betting it’s a combination of cigarette smoke, stale beer and motor-court bedsheets.

Brushes teeth with a bottle Jack

Rainbow Brite now looks like an anime Ke$ha getting ready to dose up with some ecstasy and hit a rave.  I’ll bet she pays at the door with all $1 bills then grinds her jaw all night while giving Starlite the Catherine the Great “come hither” eye.  Shudder.

Pole ready

Dora the Explorer has been to see Dr. 90210 and also made friends with celebrity hair weaver, Ken Paves.  Dora has lost her pudge, injected a little Restylane in her lips, gotten Kardashian extensions and is just shy a pair of leggings and a trapeze top of the pole.  Last year, Nickelodeon teased audiences with her makeover by releasing a silhouette of Dora, before the “big reveal”.

Looks like a mudflap

Just like on Fox’s The Swan.  I wonder if Dora can say “Love you long time” in Spanish.

Hope Magic Milan has condoms in her purse

Not all little girls want to spend time with dolls, though.  They can be a little creepy at night when the full moon is shining through your bedroom window.  What is a parent to do if they want their daughter to have appropriate toys to model and role-play being flirty with???  Thank heavens for the toymaker Playmate (seriously) and their contribution of a line of fashionista whorses.  They are called Struts.  Rhymes with sluts.  Pictured here is Magic Milan.  She is wearing high-heeled horseshoes, dangly earrings and what appears to be a purple and black lace bustier.  Damn, that’s one hot filly!

Trollz...with a z

Even Troll dolls have been retooled.  Now they are called Trollz, because substituting a z for an s is kewl.  But these little figures have a powerful messsage for today’s wallflower little girls: just because you’re a troll, doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy.  Miley Cyrus has built an empire on that premise.  Oops, did I type that out loud?

Get yur freak on

22 Mar

There are certain natural events that catapult cities and regions into a state of preparation and then scampering for cover.  Most recently, we saw our west coast evacuate populations to higher grounds in anticipation of tsunami waves riffing off of the earthquake in Japan.  Or, closer to home, around late August our friends in the Carolinas and the Gulf region batten down the hatches and juice up their generators whenever tropical storms begin swirling into cyclones off the coast.  But these precaution-inducing events aren’t always of the “force majeur” variety.  Since the early 1990s there is an event that sends land-locked Atlantans into absolute hysteria.  People either run for the hills, or hit the grocery store and Home Depot like there’s snow flurries to stay at home to defend their land, or at the very least, get some projects done around the house.

My first year back in Atlanta after college was 1993 and I was living on Peachtree Street.  On a Thursday night in April my friend Katie called to say there was a group heading to the mountains to escape “Freaknik”.  I had no idea what she was talking about and dismissed the hype that I was spewing out of her mouth.  After all, I was living in a city “too busy to hate” and I had a lot of stuff to get done.  So what if there were going to be some extra folk in town for the weekend?  I would be staying in place and taking my chances.  I WAS SO UNPREPARED!!!  It began with driving home from work on Friday and the bass thump that shook everything on my bookshelves didn’t stop until about 11pm Sunday night.  No lie.  The next year was just as hectic, the year after that I feared for my life at the gas station when I was verbally assaulted by a group of women.  Because I was a white chick pumping my own gas.  It made no sense.  And from stories that I heard from other friends, I didn’t see all that much.  A friend’s sister couldn’t get her baby to the emergency room because of abandoned cars on the street and people dancing.  My friend Chris got in a fist fight after he was dragged out of his car.  If you weren’t part of the Freaknik, you were in for a problem.

Just chillin' in the middle of the road

For those who don’t know what Freaknik is, here’s a primer.  It started as “Black College Spring Break” in the 1980s.  It was a sweet little picnic hosted by Atlanta University on the third weekend in April.  By the 1990s, unbeknownst to me…living out of town, it snowballed into what can only be called a cultural cluster-fuck.  Think back on “white” Spring Breaks spent at the beach…the cruising, the redneck locals who weren’t on any kind of college break, but were there anyway, the hunch punch parties, wet-t-shirt contests, all the people passed out on the beach.  Oh, I cringe.  It was beyond trashy.  Now, transfer that scene times three, paint it dark and add a healthy dose of hoopty cars,

And for all of the work done on these cars, none of them seemed to have mufflers

pimped out whips, the dawn of cam-corders, no beach for people to congregate or pass out on,

Behold...the beachless bathing beauties of Freaknik

Atlantans trying to get home from work and the only good strip for cruising being I-75.  Oh and gratuitous, public sexy time.  You know what I mean by sexy time.  It is so legendary that T-Pain produced Freaknik: The Musical for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

I guess he flew in and didn't have a car

It must have been around 1999 when it finally fazizzled.  The city got involved and tried to inject positive, uplifting events and even went so far as to introduce a job fair into the mix.  A job fair?  For Spring Break?  Permits were issued.  It had the same effect as having your mother chaperone you and your friends to a Minor Threat show.  Um, not cool.  It moved to Daytona Beach and the local Volusia County government poured water on it and it died.

Must have t-shirt or 2011?

But…it’s almost April and that means that there are rumblings and suggestions that Freaknik is coming back.  A revival. Everything old can be new again.  Oh, Lawd! It has a new spelling, Freaknic, and there is buzz on Facebook and Twitter that it’s totally going to happen.   There’s even a website.  This happened last year, too.  Not much happened.  Atlanta City Officials are telling us to remain calm, however.  Freaknik/Freaknic organizers have not filed with the city for special event permits within the 30-day advance period, so we are safe.  ‘Cause everybody knows that mayhem, mellay and misdirection always asks permission first.  Whew!

Silicone sads

15 Mar

“Trying to be sexy” pretty much always works against you.  When I have tried to make the sexy face, it is about as compelling as the many faces of Weezy Jefferson after George paid for her to take some acting classes so she could keep out of Florence’s way:

"Oh, George! Come hither!"

Do you know who Orit Fox is?  No?  Known for having the most enormous fake ta-tas in Israel?  Still fuzzy?  Oh, okay, here’s a picture, if you need to see what she looks like…

Kiss me deadly

But Orit is more than just the keeper of the fun bags; she’s also a “model”.  Wink, wink.  Nudge, nudge.  Today at a super klassy photo shoot, that I am sure was for the house of Chanel, or perhaps a new Dior ad campaign, Orit was posing with a large boa constrictor.  No, not a dead one crafted into a smart pair of wedges or a fabulous slouchy hobo bag.  I’m talking about a live, mouse squeezing viper.  Orit, a professional, knew that she really needed to bring “it” if she wanted to keep getting bookings and bring sexy back.  (And really, who doesn’t?)  So she kissed the snake.  Because it’s all forbidden and phallic and…sexy?  Is snake kissing actually sexy in some cultures?  Personally, it just seems like a complicated way to get salmonella.  But not to worry, Orit was able to hypnotise the stunt snake…

Sssmitten by Orit's orbs

Unfortunately, the flashing of the bulbs must have broken the trance and confused the snake.  It sprung forth and “latched on” to one of Orit’s mams.  Once an assistant was able to successfully unhinge the snake from her breast, Orit was rushed to a nearby emergency room, where she received a tetnus shot and a smiley-face Band Aid. After all, boas aren’t venomous, they’re just dirty.  Dirty, dirty, sexy snakes.  However, this story has a sad ending.  No lie, the snake died.  Of…the suspense must be killing you…silicone poisoning.  If you don’t have trouble with night terrors or insomnia, you can see footage from the shoot here.

Gwyneth is special

9 Mar

Anyone who knows me for reals, knows how much time I like to dedicate to highlighting that style of parenting that is all about a child’s almighty self-esteem.  You know the parents that keep telling their kids, “You can do it!  You are special!”  Step off Mom.  Back away Dad.  Just because your precious can do something, doesn’t mean they do it well…doesn’t mean that they should continue doing it.  Thanks to them, I am stuck in a world where there is a whole segment of society that is convinced that they rock at everything, and they have no shortage of enablers out there clapping along like trained seals and nodding like heroine-kicking bobble heads.  Sometimes those enablers are Hollywood producers, media outlets and a lot of people who’ve just gone numb.

Concentrating on the chords

For the love of God, please make Gwyneth stop.  Tell her no.  I can’t take it anymore.  Yes, good job Blythe Danner and Bruce Paltrow with the whole encouraging of the acting.  That worked out just fine.  No qualms.  But then Daddy thought that Baby could sing real pretty and made a whole movie for her to sing in.  Remember Duets, with Huey Lewis?  The easy-listening stations loved their croon, “Cruisin’”.  I ‘spose it was serviceable.  I mean, I sing in the shower and at stoplights, and it’s so awful it jars even me.  I can appreciate that “Cruisin’” was inoffensive, but I won’t say that it was great. It was enough and that should have been the end of it.

Adult-contemporary Gwyneth

After failed relationships with Brad Pitt, remember their matching hair-don’ts during their brief engagement…

Wonder Twin powers...activate!

and Ben Affleck, she married the most boring front man ever, Chris Martin of Cold Play….

Bland

Lack of excitement and moving “across the pond” was the perfect storm of smugness  and boost in self-regard for Gwynie.  This is when she started name dropping “Madge” and witnessing about macrobiotic diets and cupping.

Looks like a nasty case of ringworm to me

There are a couple of years where there isn’t a picture of Gwyneth without that dumb yoga mat rolled up under her arm.  At some point her encouraging mother and ass-hat friends must have said, “Oh Gwyneth, please share your knowledge and wisdom with the world.  Pretty pleeeeease.  You can do it.”  And then she gave birth to something with a worse name than Apple or Moses:  Goop.  That’s her blog.

The "All Doing" Gwyneth

Gwyneth dispenses advice through her blog and directs her audience to things that are super accessible, that can only enhance their lives and make them feel better, smarter and superior, like colon detoxes that run about $1200 a week, the best French pharmacy beauty finds, planning a trip to Hong Kong or Stella McCartney’s must have workout pants.  It was when I read this particular entry that I started stitching my Gwyneth voodoo doll once I quit choking on my own tongue.  She recounts a day in her life from waking up and decorating and stuffing shoe boxes for a Toy-drive with her selfless children before taking them to school, to personal trainer time, fittings (which six outfits am I going to pick for someone to pack for my trip???), phone calls, baking cupcakes, giving foot massages and a girls night out.  At no time does she make mention of a nanny, assistant or troll, and yet the kids got home from school, someone cooked their dinner and we assume that she didn’t leave them home alone while she went out for a glass of organic ice wine.  Ughhhhhh!

Then there is this damn Glee situation.  I don’t watch that show.  Can’t stand it, actually.  But the rest of the country wets their collective pants every time there’s a new episode and I am besieged by whatever happened.  Damn Gwyneth, or as Dlisted’s Michael C calls her, Fishsticks, was on it again this week.  The last time she sang a sanitized version of Cee-Lo’s “F*ck You”.  It got replayed ad nauseum.  And as a further eff to my ears, she did it again for the Grammy’s.  To quote Cee-Lo, “Whyyyyyyy?”  This time around she tried Joan Jett.  Exactly.  Of course, that totally makes sense.

As if

I suffered silently through her live performance of her Country Strong song during the Academy Awards.  You know, the award show where, on the red carpet, she said that she really wants to work with Jay-Z.  I think that was just after she made a point of telling the reporter that earlier in the day she ate an entire turkey burger with the bun and drank a Guinness.  You don’t say?  But I must draw the line.  This week, Atlantic Records signed Fishsticks to a $900,000.00 deal for a full-length album, or whatever they’re called these days.  Again, Whyyyyyy?

How can we make this stop?  Why does America keep saying, “Yes” instead of “Shut the hell up and just act!”?  Do we really need to make Gwyneth feel good about her mediocre singing?  Does she really need our approval about colon cleansing and farming out the bake sale stuff to the help?  People, I am begging you to turn away and end this foolery now.  It’s what’s best for all of us.

Oscar high

28 Feb

The Oscars, or as I call it “Super bowl for chicks and gay dudes”, happened last night.  Much was made in the weeks preceding about it being co-hosted by oddly matched Ann Hathaway and James Franco.  WTF?  Like his character on Freaks and Geeks, Franco looked absolutely baked out of his mind the whole time.  He pretty much disappeared for a solid hour after the opening.  I imagine while Anne was out there going it alone and slamming jello shots during commercial breaks, James was in the green room looking for some Hot Pockets to scarf down.

The actual awards themselves are not really the point for me.  When in the hell would I have seen any of the Best Short Films?  And I have absolutely no opinion about sound editing outside of movies with talking dogs or babies and kung fu flicks from the 1970s.  It’s about the clothes, the faux pas and flubs.

There was no shortage of old women to make me feel badly about how little I’ve accomplished with my temple.  Sharon Stone, Helen Mirren, Annette Bening and Marisa Tomei all had it goin’ on.  And then Celine Dion just had twins; Penelope Cruz just dropped a baby friend too.  They looked amazing.  I’m just barely scraping forty and am 9 ½ years post partum.  What is my excuse?

My favorite dress is a multi-way tie between Hilary Swank’s silver and grey glittery, feathery confection.  She may have won if she had coughed up some jewels…

Cate Blanchett’s quirky dress that reminded me of a Victorian window made out of delicious candy…

Jennifer Hudson’s tangerine pouf…

and Nicole Kidman’s Art Deco column…

Of course everything Anne Hathaway wore was super fly.  But did anyone catch her with designer Valentino on the carpet?  It was like watching Weekend at Bernie’s with a spray tan.

The most quizzical choice (I’m being nice) would have been Natalie Portman in her garnet hued Mother of the Bride moo-moo, but she IS preggers, so I’m a give her a pass.  For the most part, no one was too out there.  That disappoints me.  Gone are the days of Cher in a Bob Macke engineered acid trip or Bjork in a swan dress.  Even stalwart fashion offender Helena Bonham Carter reined it in somewhat with her black velvet saloon madame costume.  ScarJo’s Banker’s Note circa 1992 dress made me want to go take a nap.

The weirdest quip of the night happened during the ABC Red Carpet pre-show.  Actually, it’s a toss up between two actresses.  First, Whitey McWhite Girl Gwyneth Paltrow said that it’s her “dream to do a duet with Jay-Z”.  Jigga Whaaa?  Make her stop.  Really.

Then there was Halle Berry, after pointing out that she is “a woman of color”, calling herself a “slave to fashion”.  That wouldn’t be so weird but for her recent dirty laundry airing with her Baby Daddy about racial stereotyping.  Of course, there was also Melissa Leo slipping back into character with a case of the potty mouth during her acceptance speech.

Um, and I don’t even know if I’m going to hell for talking about the Kirk Douglas situation.  When I could understand him, he was charming, but there are six words that sum up the whole vibe: Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years’ Eve.  Don’t hate on me.

Overall, I probably could have gone to bed earlier and been better for it.  It was kinda boring.  Okay, it was lame.  There has got to be a happy medium between well behaved, buttoned up celebrities taking themselves too seriously, gushing about the business and Charlie Sheen giving me the creeps by flying off of his rocker in public.