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Mustache lust can only end in frustration

10 May

My son is nine and for the last couple of years he has been talking about how cool it’s going to be when he is old enough to grow a mustache.  Huh?  I don’t even really know how he found out about them.  Sure, when I was a kid it was the seventies and all the best leading men had tricked out upper lips.  The most iconic ‘stache of the era probably belonged to Burt Reynolds.

Burt's Chevron moustache made every 1970s house wife swoon

Currently, mustaches seem to be relegated to rapists, hoods and Arabs.  How on earth does my child develop a desire for mouth hair based on that cross-section???  In the nineties there was a brief groover fascination with goatees, but I think it’s over now.  After many cleanly shaven years there has been a slight facial hair renaissance.  But it’s not mustaches and it’s not good.  There is the whole douche baggy facescaping thing that seems to be favored by steroid enthusiasts, Mexicans and shitty R&B vocalists…

Dork from Color Me Badd

And just very recently I have been noticing a ridiculous number of hipsters in their early twenties rocking the Zach Galifianakis look.  At first, because it’s spring, I thought there were just a lot of dudes growing out their Old South beards.

So, when the boy and I were talking about his future mustache I asked him what kind he would have.  In complete sincerity he said he wanted one that he could put wax in and curl.  I got a mental picture of Husker Du bassist Greg Norton, who rocked what I considered a serious ‘stache in the early eighties.

Totally punk rock

But that’s not what HotTub has in mind.  He wants to grow something more like this… Whaaa?  A true handlebar is going to be a problem.  The boy is blonde.  A good handlebar has got to be black.  At best he may be able to eek out a scum ‘stache like former Atlanta mayor turned ex-con, Bill Campbell.

The mustache that molested city government

Thank you Jesus, that he will never be able to grow one of these flavor savers…

I am the Walrus, koo koo kachoo

It’s called a Walrus and has served as a soup strainer for Albert Einstein, Ted Nugent, Ned Flanders and Wilford Brimley.  I’d actually be thrilled if the boy could grow one of these by the time he’s thirteen.  It would insure against any kind of sexual activity.  No one would want to go near something like that.

Of course the toothbrush mustache is also out, for obvious reasons…

Hitler exterminated the Toothbrush

After reviewing the possibilities and knowing his capability, I think that the boy’s mustache desire will only be a source of future frustration.  I can’t imagine the disappointment that will come with never being able to wear this t-shirt without it seeming ironic.

Elusive

The best bets for mustache fulfilment are going to be either this…

or this…

Recycled fashion: cool couture or haute mess?

9 May

Remember this dress?

It was made by and worn by costume designer Lizzy Gardiner when she won an Academy Award way back in 1994.  It was fashioned from 254 American Express gold cards.  It was pretty bad-ass, and ended up being a great marketing device for the credit card company.  And for better or worse, it also became an inspiration for people to start crapping out their own get-ups crafted out of everyday items.

Sweet date, nutty mom

Did you hear about Wisconsinite Tara Frey’s prom dress this year?  Her mother spent six years collecting Starburst candy wrappers and folding them with tweezers.  Once she had a mound of them, they were then woven into a dress, shoes, and clutch bag.  Mom even assembled a matching vest for Tara’s date.  Do you really want your daughter’s prom date to look at her like she’s a sweet piece of chewy candy???  I know Tara’s pain.  When I was in the sixth grade my mother made me a sweat suit to dress out in for PE.  She made it out of maroon terry cloth with white trim.  The fitted elastic waist pants were boot cut and the top was v-necked with an embroidered bouquet of white flowers off to the side.  It. Was. Awful.  And I had to wear it, just like Tara had to wear that candy trash dress.  At least my Mom didn’t alert the media outlets and there were no camera phones for snarky middle school girls to take pictures of me failing middle school fashion rules and the Presidential Fitness Test.

The Sexual Revolution convinced women to be creative and to, uh, think outside of the box with every thing from their societal roles to what they wear.  This sort of thinking led to the likes of Wendy O’Williams electrical tape fetish…

The movie Fried Green Tomatoes even poked fun of the notion when Kathy Bates’ character festooned herself in Saran Wrap to get her husband’s motor running.  Btw, it didn’t work.  Can you imagine why not?

The best way to preserve left overs

Slutty girls love to make non-traditional choices with their clothes.  But the ones that eschew tube tops and hot pants for belted trash bags or beer can bustiers send the message that they are more creative than other slutty girls.  And more creative slutty girls are more…creative?

Don't say you weren't warned to stay out

But it isn’t just over-sexed co-eds who love to turn old items into new fashion.  Hippies and proponents of the green movement have been making itchy sweaters out of hemp, shoes out of old tires and parachutes plus purses out of bastardized blue jeans for, like, ever.  Ugh.  I’m not even inserting a picture here.  If you’ve been to a Whole Foods or a Farmer’s Market recently you already have the visual.

And every season on Project Runway there is a challenge to make an outfit out of something like plants or house wares.  Edgy.  Nothing says take me out to a nice restaurant like a ball gown made of forks and cinnimon cans.

But hipsters, crazy moms, high school hookers and pot farmers ain’t got nothing on hobos.  When you live in a newspaper tent at an underpass, you’ve risked it all already and your fashion choices are merely child’s play.  You feel free to experiment with texture, structure and material.  The homeless folks wardrobe inventions are infinitely more wearable and useable than most crappy craft creations.  Take this guy, for instance…

Bag lady's husband

This dude is always dry when it rains.  And if he’s near by when your dog drops and unexpected deuce on the sidewalk, you can get a bag from him.   And what about this milliner…

New twist on a Box Top

his chapeau (that’s fancy French for hat) not only shields his eyes from the sun and keeps his head warm, but when that pesky sun goes down he can crawl inside of it.  Essentially, he has transformed himself into a snail.  Speaking of transforming, check out this mass-produced hobo inspired look…

This is called the Selk Suit and it is a sleeping bag suit.  It picks up where the Snuggie left off.  It has soles so you can walk behind a shopping cart all day long and not tear up your feet.  It has sleeves so your arms are mobile and your hands are free to hold a bottle of Night Train in one and a short in the other.  Genius.  This is where form follows function.  This is fashion with a purpose, not like this…

The Wonderful World of Sid & Marty Krofft: a craptacular fail

18 Apr

Not too long ago I was listening to the Adam Carolla podcast with guest Dana Gould.  Apparently, Dana had been working on a screenplay for Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.  Mercifully, it got canned.  I mean, bad for Dana and all that, but it’s for the greater good.  Most likely last summer’s turd blossom, the big screen adaptation of Land of the Lost, can take the lion’s share of credit for ruining the chances of Gould’s work ever seeing light.  However, hearing about that crapfest got me to thinking about an obscure footnote in Atlanta history and in my own childhood.

One of a kind in Atlantas Omni

When I was five I discovered the magic of shows like the above mentioned in addition to Dr. Shrinker, H.R. Pufnstuf, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.  They are all “from the creative minds” of puppeteer brothers, Sid and Marty Krofft.  Having my own children now, I know all too well that kids will watch anything that’s on TV.  Five year olds have neither taste nor discrimination.  Because of that whole “lots of brothers and the one television” situation at my house, I had these beloved Krofft shows put on ice.  Those boys usurped my getting to the TV first by simply telling my mother that all of the Krofft shows were drug culture propaganda disguised as childrens programming.  Maybe so.  I was crushed.  In retrospect, it was a brilliant ploy by the brothers.  But, I was going to be getting an opportunity to expose my parents to, and thus persuade them of, the awesomeness of all that was Krofft.  I’d make them see and then they would know!

A complex map

The year of 1976 is not only notable in U.S. history as the bicentennial of our great country; it also marks the year that The Wonderful World of Sid & Marty Krofft came to Atlanta and took up residence inside of downtown’s Omni International.   It was an indoor, vertical, psychedelic theme park that was dreamed up and designed by the brothers Krofft after their great success with creating and implementing shows and rides at Six Flags Over Georgia.  I spent weeks begging, performing perfunctory chores and dutifully brown nosing until my keepers agreed to take me to my Mecca as a birthday outing.  I would have done anything and given anything up to go.

Harlequin head

It was beyond anything that I could have expected…because it sucked!  Hard! Aside from listening to Mom and Dad chant “waste of money” over and over, it was not good…and at six, even I knew it.  It started out pretty great, riding a huge, world-record-breakingly tall escalator to the top of the park and being greeted by a pair of giant clown heads…and then it fell apart.

There was no shortage of weird talking trees and character people walking around and dancing like they were at a Dead show looking for a miracle, which only gelled my mother’s belief that everyone associated with the Kroffts was “on pot or glue”.

"Clearly on drugs," according to my mother

I was most looking forward to the crystal carousel.  It was a transparent, three-story merry-go-round made of imagined beasts, crystal trees and it was going to change my life.   Yeah, it was closed for repair.  Not only was it not operating, but also there was a barrier around it, so you couldn’t even get that close to it to see all of the wonder.  “I can’t believe we paid for this; what a waste of money.”

Pinball ride...Im sure it was a metaphor...for DRUGS

Even though the carousel was a bust, at least we could go on the pinball ride that was down a level or two.  Think of a huge pinball machine and you are in an orb bouncing from side to side and against big bumpers.  That’s totally cool, right?  It’s not especially cool when that ride breaks about 15ft. into it and gets shut down and you have to crawl out of the ball and walk off of the platform.  “What a waste of money”.  Again.

A family ejecting from the pinball

We did see a “show” that at least gave my folks a chance to sit down and tag a butt or two.  That worked out okay for me.  Things were starting to look up and I was pretty sure that I’d be watching Wonderbug at home again in no time.  Not so fast.

Our next station was the bottom level of the park and I was really excited.  This was where all the H.R. Pufnstuf stuff was going to be.  It was called “The Living Island”.  It was purported to be the real meat and potatoes of the whole experience and we were saving it for last.  To get there, you got on a big freight elevator that was meant to simulate being in a mineshaft.  Did you know that my birthday is the last day of August?  That means it’s hot.  Seasonally, this is not a time when you want to get stuck on an elevator.  For about ninety minutes I got to listen to lots of grown-ups muttering my parents mantra, “Such a waste of money.  I want my money back.”  And for the duration, between the bellyaching of bitching parents and disgruntled guests, I could hear the cackle of Witchiepoo and the sounds of shipwrecked Jimmy and his flute Freddy having adventures.

They haunt my daydreams

And I was stuck in a fucking fake mineshaft.  Once we were finally freed from the elevator we were given vouchers to return to the park as an apology.  We never made it into “The Living Island”.  My parents were pissed and it was over.  They practically dislocated my shoulder jerking me out of there.  I like to daydream in my head that it would have been just like Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’ rendition that you can see here.

In a cruel twist, the brothers that came with us and ditched us the moment we got there…had a blast.

And, on a side note, and this will surprise you…The Wonderful World of Sid & Marty Krofft closed within six months of opening.  In 20/20 hindsight it was a bad idea to open a theme park with four rides that don’t operate reliably in the middle of what used to be the scariest city ever.  The space is now part of the CNN complex and all that remains is that tall-assed escalator.  People were so pissed by that debacle that next to nothing has survived.  When the doors were shut they stayed that way and eventually it was all just demo.ed and put in the trash.  Where it belonged.

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.

Googler

6 Apr

Do you Google?  I do.  I Google everything.  Unless you are an aspiring door-to-door encyclopedia salesman or a licensed private investigator, you love Google.  What can I make for dinner using seasoned rice vinegar?  When did Prussia fall?  Where can I buy a cat-of-nine-tails?  Can a body really be dissolved in a tub acid?  There are so many questions and I don’t so much care whether the myriad of answers available on the internet are completely accurate or not; I just need them to sound about right enough.  And volume speaks volumes to me.

Googling isn’t just useful for planning trips and tracking your ancestry, it is my go-to stalking tool.  Oh, don’t be so shocked.  Besides, stalkers aren’t sad and lonely.  They are informed and safe.  Who hasn’t been curious about their neighbor, the new teacher at school or wondered what ever happened to that special crush from fifth grade?  Back when I was dating, Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet.  I had to do all of my investigative journalism through old-fashioned gumshoe work.  There was *69 (which could only tell you the last number that called you), asking friends, the white pages, alumni directories, drive-bys and the occasional hide-out in the bushes if you wanted to dig deep.  Luckily, I found my fella at a college friend’s wedding, so it was pretty easy to tease apart the story of his life before the first official date.  Forewarned is forearmed.  And luckily, in his early twenties there just wasn’t time to do much more than finish school, have an internship or two and a job.  Nothing too juicy had happened yet: no kids, no dog-fight organizing, or bankruptcy.

My hero...Google

But  if I was dating now?  Years later, it’s a whole new gig.  You can believe that if I made a dinner date on Monday for Thursday, by Tuesday I would know everything.  And I do mean everything.  It is just about impossible to keep anything private anymore.  Maybe that’s why I blog…I can beat anyone else to the punch.  Seriously though.  As much as you think that you are keeping things close to the vest by not having a Facebook account, published phone numbers or using a fake name on your youporn.com account, you will be exposed.  Other people will post a picture of you from a college mixer with hunch-punch stains on your t-shirt, your elementary school is slowly scanning and publishing their archived yearbooks, your gold-level sponsorship of a local special interest militia group has been noted and celebrated in their on-line newsletter.  But better yet, there could be that wedding announcement in the community paper or maybe a piece in The Blotter about your “repeat offender” status.

I am actually more concerned when my search engine comes up empty than when it is full of underlined and bold-lettered text.  Why can’t I find you?  How did you scrub Google?  Some of my girlfriends have never married, or they have recently become single again.  I have watched enough Lifetime movies to know that if my friend tells me about a great guy whose parents have pre-deceased their meeting and his only brother just succumbed to cancer…well?  Stay away.  Or the dreamboat who always meets her at the restaurant and only uses cash?  Check, please!  What about the dude who works in Atlanta during the week, but has to fly out to “trade shows” every weekend.  Really?  Really?  With the miracle of Google, I am almost thinking that a gal legally assumes the risk of being Chloroformed, ball-gagged, bound and stuffed in a 55 gallon drum if she doesn’t Google any potential suitor, coworker or handyman.  Take a cue from town harlot, Kim Zolciak, and let your fingers do the research and click them keys.

Footnote:  After I wrote today’s blog, I decided to google myself.  Buried within my own feedback is an apparently well-known and lauded Black Panther activist and poet whose maiden name is just one vowel off from mine and we have the same last name, too.  FYI: I am not moonlighting in Tanzania under the nickname “Mama C”.  I just wanted to clear up that confusion.

Skylarking

5 Apr

Get packing!

This past Saturday, Big Daddy decided that we needed to get prepared for our upcoming family trip.  That is happening in June.  Whatever.  The first bullet on the list was luggage.  What do we have?  Who’s taking what?  What are we checking?  Carrying on?  And yadda, yaddda, yadda.  This type of minutia is beyond tedious for me, especially double-digit weeks out from departure.  Oh, well.  In marriage, we humor one another and compromise all the way to the finish line.

Who knew that the luggage inventory would make Snakebite cry instead of me?  Apparently, we are raising a new-millennium Veruca Salt.  She began weeping that she thought the cruise was only twelve days, and WTH is this business about packing for eighteen days.  And then the statement that rocked our Saturday got vomited out between gulps and gasps…, “But, I don’t want to go to Europe, again.”  Where. Have. We. Gone. Wrong?  Am I raising a “me-me-me monster” by giving kick ass opportunities, or am I just dragging my poor kids into my own wanderlust and expecting them to be thrilled at how lucky they are and how they won the parental jackpot?  Is that so hard to get on board with???

Da plane! Da plane!

In earlier blogs, I have discussed how we stuffed a juvenile militia in a ‘wagon and rolled our happy asses down to Daytona Beach.  Granted, I did get to go on some pretty great trips before I ever got a high school diploma, but I also got left home.  A lot.  My Mom and Step-dad, Carolyn and Tom to you, belonged to this group called The Skylarks, here in Atlanta.  Basically, it was like having a part-share in a Boeing-720.   It was better than any country club.  For parents.  The Skylarks flew to Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda at least a couple of times a month.  This group, would never be allowed today, because you just showed up and went.  Sometimes they would have “mystery” trips.  You’d call in a couple of days ahead of time and get the packing list.  It was on your descent that the captain would announce where you were landing.

My first trip out of the country was a Skylark’s trip Curacao.  The plane was like having a secret access pass to a nightclub.  Everyone knew each other and was loaded by the time we landed.  My brother, Chris, and I still talk about that trip and what we did.  Chris was allowed to “casino” and won enough money to buy some YSL cologne at the duty-free shop.  On another Skylarks trip to the Bahamas, the brothers gave me Jim Carroll’s The Basket Ball Diaries and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye to read while they ditched me at night and went to the resort clubs.  I was almost twelve.  The one time mom checked in at our room, she was pissed.  I later majored in Literature.  Who knew that being abandoned by skirt-chasing brothers would shape my academic future and influence me into a major that makes no money.

Vacation inclusion was not the norm.  Usually, us kids were secured at my Grandparent’s house.  It wasn’t the sort of multi-generational fantasy camp that most people think about when you say “Grandparent’s house”.  We didn’t bake cookies, go to the circus or play games together.  I don’t think they really liked kids all that much.  I always felt a bit jipped when we got picked up late Sunday afternoon by a couple of giddy, sunburned parents.  While my folks were swigging margaritas and dancing in a conga line on a beach, I was white knuckling it through episodes of Lawrence Welk, back-to-back Wild Kingdom and low-sodium meals.  So, now, as a parent, I take those kids everywhere!  I think that I’m doing the right thing, but… is this one of  t h o s e  things?

Will the real Veruca Salt please stand up?

One of those things is giving your kids something that you fantasized about growing up, only to have the shit disappointed out of them once they are out of college and off the parental dole.  I think it is probably a natural instinct to want to give your kids beyond what you think you had, be it material things, “quality time”, or just showering them with opportunities.  Give them too little; they’ll resent me.  Give them too much; they’ll still resent me.  Do nothing= still resentment.  I can’t win either in any scenario.  So we’re doing what I want to do. Because, really, it’s all about me.   And they’ll learn to get through it.

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.

Fitting in a Thursday night

1 Apr

Where do I fit in?

Do you ever have those big existential questions that loom over you?  You know the ones about: “Who am I” or “Where do I fit it?”  Every time that I feel confident and sure-footed about the answers, something twists.  I get older, they get younger.  Last night was a pretty succinct real life illustration of what I’m talking about.

I started out at the opening party for the new Jonathan Adler retail showroom in Atlanta.  If you don’t know who he is or aren’t familiar with what he does, just give it a little time.  Jonathan started out as a pot dealer…let me explain.

Pot candles make an excellent hostess gift

He makes pots and things out of bisque clay, like vases covered in boobies, menorahs, bongs and canisters for Quaaludes.  He has branched into funky textiles, lighting, furniture and purveying his “happy chic” lifestyle.  It’s all bright, graphic and tongue-in-cheek.

The party was clogged exclusively by Atlanta’s forty-something fabulous crowd.  Do not mistake this group with the Jezebel clique.  That’s a totally different vibe.  These are largely the natives and private-school hipsters of the 1980s and late 1970s who still have it going on in a big way.  There were waiters with plates of little fluffy yummies to munch, vodka drinks, white wine and sparkling water.  All the best-dressed industry and artsy gays were mixing with swanky couples, bohemian socialites, old-school preps and Hot Damn.  It was all very glam.

But it was Thursday and that means that I had to scoot out of Jonathan’s and get myself over to The Laughing Skull Lounge to check out this week’s offerings.

Who doesn't want to look pretty for their close-up?

This month there isn’t any one host comic.  With the Comedy Festival starting next week, everyone is just pitching where needed.  Tonight Trey Toler primed the room with new uses for Crest Whitestrips.  I had actually heard about “off label” uses before, but dismissed it.  Who would need to bleach THAT to make it sparkle?  But now that Trey has clarified that a certain sector comes from the womb on a rainbow burst and has an expectation for things to just be shiny.  If Trey said it, it must be true.  He reads a lot of blogs, so he knows about these things.

Poor, poor Paul Gallois, at age thirty, he still can’t seem to pick out his own clothes.  That might be why he kinda looks like he’s got his own militia OTP.  It’s not a look that is conducive to being able to actually use a whole box of condoms before they expire, especially with foxy black chicks.  But Paul is well aware of his exploits looking more like hate crimes than just a simple man trying to get a little lovin’.

Renaissance gal Emily Fleming

New-to-the Skull Emily Fleming came in from Tennessee.  She is young, adorable, energetic and has a sort of stoner goofability about her…except that I am certain that she was completely sober.   Emily is a creative sort; she makes jewelry, designs jeans for specific body types, can do dead on impressions and brings visual aids!  I love a visual aid.  She’s a cool chick who felt comfortable enough to share her religious beliefs with us.  She had a good point about people needing to experience bouts of extreme atheism and unwavering faith before they are able to reconcile themselves to a God-like figure they can believe in and be respectful of.  God, like a kick-ass pair of jeans, is not a one-size-fits-all.  He can take on many forms…like a Kittycorn…

Thou shalt meow!

Headliner Sean Patton is recording a new comedy CD at the Laughing Skull this weekend.  Do you know what that means for you?  It means he’s got his thing totally fleshed out and it is ready to go, that’s what.  This CD is going to need to be run through Tipper Gore’s PMRC, because dude loves to say “FUCK!”

Sean Patton and Hot Damn

Sean currently lives in NYC and we all know what kind of homeless crazy just walks around up there.  It’s pretty much the same kind we have here at the downtown bus station, but more.  Sean’s had to develop a line of demarcation to figure out what kind of bat-shit nut can benefit from his $1 to spare and who will just do something weird with it.  It ran off on an interesting tangent where I began wondering what my own psychotic split with reality would look like should it ever come to pass that I’m out on the street.  Luckily, it’s just a thing to muse about, like having a county jail cavity search.  Except, that thanks to Sean I have a pretty good idea of exactly how that goes down.  Growing up misunderstood in a safe, white upper-middle class neighborhood with supportive parents can really give you a case of the teen angst and rage.  The best way to deal with this is probably to take up Mom and Dad’s offer to send you to a great liberal arts college and narrow your focus to application essays and not spend your creative energy taking a stand against The Man with a rousing nine innings of Mailbox Baseball.  Turns out that is a criminal, arrestable offense.  And sometimes, when you are funny, hilarious things just come out of your mouth.  Word to the wise: shut your mouth when the deputy wants to know if you have a gun stuffed up your butt.  Just hold still and be quite.  Listening to Sean talk about having an inner-loser voice, hanging out with friends who are professional potheads, getting your heart macerated in messy breakups, and pregnancy scares made me think that maybe I’m glad to have moved on and be able to look back and laugh at my twenties and be glad that those years are someone else’s problem now.

Speak up!

The night ended with sitting in the Skull’s green room, that is red, stuffed full of really young people and recording a pod-cast.  We talked a lot about music, middle-school zero tolerance policies that did not exist when I was in sixth grade…or even in college, award shows, parents and Jesus! did I feel old.  It was such a flip-flop to start out tonight with one group who is well underway and end with another that’s just starting to stretch.  I am somewhere solidly in the middle.  Too old to be hip or care about bleaching my b-hole, too young to be hiring a caterer or decorating a lake house.

Piercing high

28 Mar

This is a stick-up

My daughter, you know her as Snakebite, waited until she was thirteen to get her ears pierced.  The day we went to Merle Norman last December to pay a woman to shoot her in the ear lobes with an earring pistol was fraught with trepidation and second-guessing.  By the age of eleven almost all of her friends and classmates were wearing dangly plastic ice-cream cones and the like or super sparkly fishhook earrings.   Her similarly aged cousins would swoon just passing by Claire’s at the mall.  For the uninitiated, Claire’s is a chain of “accessory boutiques” that targets the notoriously sophisticated, stylish, and discriminating 7-12 demographic.  Think Noah Cyrus.  Their specialty is Cadmium laden baubles for junior wanna-be-hookers.  It all looks like the crap that you would “pay for” with skee ball tickets at a boardwalk arcade.  It’s catnip for little girls, but not mine.

Tween Mecca

Why all the anxiety surrounding what boils down to body mutilation?  Seven years ago, Snakebite’s bff in pre-first got her ears pierced and one of them got infected.  Long after the friend’s crusty ear lobe healed, Margaret remained scarred.  But teenage peer awareness is pretty powerful stuff though and can, like, lead you into doing stuff outside of your comfort zone.

The instigator

Margret has been thrilled with her bedazzled ears.  And the child who literally can’t remember if she’s eaten lunch or whether she’s ever broken anything, has really stayed on top of caring for her newly pierced ear lobes.  She always seems to be swabbing with an alcohol soaked Q-tip and turning the posts.  And when she switched over to her special, fancy earrings two weeks ago she made sure to tighten the backs so that she wouldn’t lose one.  There’s good news and bad news here.  The good news is that Snakebite has been so fastidious that she has managed to stave off the infection that should have alerted us that her ear lobes had swallowed the earring backs.  Yeah, the securing of the earring backs surpassed being an act of responsibility and veered off towards pathological tightening and resulted in them getting embedded.  In both ears.  Double friggin’ yikes!

Since ear lobes don’t have a mini-uterus in them to contract and push big things out of their little pierce holes, they have to be cut to make way…like an episiotomy.  For your ears.  Gross!  This revelation was not handled with grace and calm.  It was received with a lot of “Blaaah, why me?  This is the worst day ever!  Blaaah!”  More than anything else, she was worried and totally worked up over getting shots.  The kind doctor decided to give her an oxycodone to address future pain and help her chill.  Because we aren’t hillbillies, I’d never seen my teen on oxy before.  We don’t roll that way.  Aside from the initial bitchiness, and a brief episode of nodding off, it was hilarious.

I learned a lot about Snakebite’s hopes and dreams.  I found out that she is really looking forward to going to Daytona Beach this summer so that she can get a bucket of water from the ocean, evaporate it on our deck and make her own sea salt.  Which reminds her that she would like to go float in the Dead Sea because it’s the saltiest and so you are super buoyant there.  Oh, and banana popsicles and banana pudding are, like the best.  She likes opals.  She likes moonstones.  She likes opals AND moonstones!  Did you know that people in Africa wear lip-disks?  She would never do that.  And she never wants for us to take a family trip to Djibouti because it has a weird name.

After we left the hospital, I took her to Menchie’s for some froyo.  She got a huge tub of cake batter flavored yogurt, added cookie dough, sprinkles, about four other toppings and buried it under liquidy marshmallow squirts.  And for the first time ever, she offered to share her yogurt with me because she said it was such awesomeness and I had to try it.  I politely declined, because like I said: we are not hillbillies.  Or Lohans.  Mothers and daughters do not need to eat stoner food together while one is flying high on the good shit.

Waxing celebrity

16 Mar

Sculpting in wax has been around since the Medieval times.  Way back then, it was creating a cool dimensional and flesh colored effigy of old world celebrities.  Think of it as chain maille CGI.  Without our modern transportation and photo-mats, this was most likely the only way the masses could ever catch a glimpse of what sort of calf Charlemagne cut.  It was an elevated and niche art form.   Even Leonardo da Vinci practiced in the medium from time to time.  I don’t know exactly when it’s integrity fell, but it’s now on par with velvet Elvis portraits and sad clown art.

Justin Bieber has just been “done” in wax recently.  What do you think?

Giving himself a reach-around

In 2005, Paris Hilton was in a movie called House of Wax.

Frozen in time

The gist of the movie revolves around a wax museum in an abandoned town that has especially life-like wax replications.  Spoiler alert: they look so real because they are cast from people who used to be, gasp, alive!!!  Aaag!  As novel as this story-line is, it wouldn’t work if the wax figures weren’t convincing.  Do you think Paris could have mustered tears and fright if she had bumped into the wax likeness of, say…

Why is she posed as a Ninja?

Drew Barrymore?  What about…

Clammy b-baller

Zac Efron?  Oh, those dreamy eyebrows.  Or maybe…

Smyrna's own

Julia Roberts?  I doubt that Paris would even recognize her old cohort…

Fellow ex-con

Lindsay Lohan.

These figures almost always  look like pallid corpses.  The “artist” pretty much takes a characteristic and just runs with it, like the character artists that drew your cartoon picture next to the log flumes at Six Flags in 1978…

From Madame Tussaud's in Vegas

Going by the hair and purple necklace, I think this is Liz Taylor.  In drag.

I had a bad dream

Well, it’s blackish and in a suit and that’s about all this thing has to do with Martin Luther King, Jr.  Where is the likeness?

Think it would "burn like a candle in the wind"?

Is this a fabulous, disco Friar or Elton John?  Take away the zany, trademark glasses and what are you left with?

Just frightening

Poor Sarah Jessica Parker.  Grab a feed sack and cue the whinny sound effect.

Yo!

Sylvester Stallone’s wax figure looks like it may actually be decaying.

East of Never

It took me a minute to be certain that this one is of James Dean.  It could also be Martin Sheen.

The Hollywood Wax Museum had a big historic auction in May 2009 to clean out their coffers and make way for new statues of Ke$hit and Dane Cook.  But look at what got sold…

Sold!

Couldn’t you just die?  Think of all of the good times that could be had with a wax figure of Granny Clampett.  I would have loved to have bought this, just to drive it around strapped to a chair in the back of my pick-up truck.  Luckily, she is wearing a shawl, ’cause to avoid melting she could only go out on the cold days.

Spring broken

15 Mar

At least we didn't have to pack

Do you know what a Staycation is?  It’s new-millennium-speak for “Hell no, we ain’t going anywhere for Spring Break!”  It is also a code word that means, “I’m exhausted”.  Last week was “Private School Spring Break” in Atlanta.  It is the second week in March and way too cold for the beach, but just right for the ritzy slopes out West.  We aren’t skiers.  Luckily we learned that with relatively little expense last year in North Carolina.  Both kids acted like complete jackasses and the little one ended up making snow angels of fury off to the side.

There is no short supply of self inflicted guilt from not giving the kids an amazing, and by amazing, I mean $$$, Spring Break.  So, I planned all sorts of activities to fill the days.  Why are we so afraid, as parents, to let our children experience boredom?  I’ll tell you why.  It’s because we have to listen to them whine about it, which then escalates into a full out spar in the living room.  It is much better to just suck it up and get out of the house.

Laser tag

Monday morning saw the inaugural opening of the wallet.  For $12.50 a pop we went to play laser tag and run around in some indoor place that was akin to a Chuck E. Cheese with out the foul pizza or the weird band of animatronic rats.  I sat out on the actual laser tag, not flinching at all when a pimply, twenty-something year old kid took about nine children into a dark, windowless room alone for about 20 minutes and brought them back slightly glazed with sweat and out of breath.  I mean, we’re on vacation, right?  Everyone’s “no-no places” appeared to be in tact.

Naps like an F-18

The tone was set for the week.  Like Charlie Sheen, we had one speed: GO.  There was fro-yo for lunch, hiking by the river, a tour of the Fabulous Fox Theater given by the worst docent ever, going to see Rango (two thumbs up!), pizza in Little 5 Points, Dave and Busters, Peter Pan in the 360, painting a bedroom, a “field trip” to Ikea, bookstore loafing, hanging out with friends, dinner with grandparents and an aunt all capped off by the riveting footage from Japan.

And there were several things that we didn’t get around to, like getting my closet organized, trail riding or going to look for unicorns at Fernbank.  Oh, well.  They’re probably fakes anyway.  I feel like I need three solid days with my snuggie and some Tracy Gold Lifetime movies to recover from this Spring Break-with-Reality.

From "For the Love of Nancy", where Tracy plays hungry

Potty paradise

8 Mar

A proctologist can tell you pretty much anything you would want to know about your potty puddin’.  But what does your actual potty say about you?  The range of toilets and the, dare I say, luxury of some, let me know that we humans have really conquered pretty much everything.  I mean, let’s just be clear for a minute.  I’m talking about a glorified bucket for keeping waste off the floors.  But that doesn’t keep us from bedazzling it anyway we can with finishes, bells and whistles.  That sparkly number above?  You, too, can soil it in the comfort of your home for a mere $75,000.00  Break out the bean-dip, ’cause you’re gonna get your money’s worth!

Ancient Romans are credited with inventing a sewage system thousands of years ago.  King Minos of Crete may have had the first flushing potty more than 2800 years ago.  The Old World history lover might pay homage to the cradle of civilization by installing this…

Of course, you may be a little less interested in the Mediterranean way of living.  Perhaps you see yourself as more of an Anglophile.  If not a King, you could be a Duke…

Or do you have the Midas touch, where everything that you touch turns to gold?

If your crapper ever looks like this, I am going to bet that your co-workers whisper the words “crazy cat lady” the moment you walk out of the break room…

But not everyone is so concerned about how their toilet looks, it’s all about what it does.  The Japanese are masters at integrating technology into everyday living…

Now, I have actually had the opportunity to become acquainted with something very similar to this little ditty.  My friends, Stacy and Nat, have one.  It has a built in bidet feature that will spritz your no-no place with water, at a temperature of your choice.  If something more thorough is required, it will also pulse.  A-hem.  Then it will blow-dry the freshly cleansed area.  And when everything is done, a poof of air freshener is emitted.  And see that control panel?  It’s actually a removable remote control wand.  WTF?!  I don’t know why it is needed, but at a party girlfriends Dorsey and Sydney had a big time convincing me that I had to pee in this particular bathroom and then stood on the other side of the door giggling and remotely squirting me.

If you aren’t in Japan or don’t have access to online ordering, you might happen to live in Appalchia.  In that case, cue the banjos because your potty may look more like this…

Haven’t had enough?  Check out this blog from Christ Church, New Zealand.  Remember that awful earthquake they had?  Well people lost their sewage and plumbing and have had to get awfully creative with their homemade “long drops”.

Camp counselor

7 Mar

Getting back to basics

Warmer weather is the cue for area nature-enthusiasts to dust off their tents, check their matches and start blending their own g.o.r.p.  It’s down to just a matter of about three weeks before we start seeing small SUVs clad with those coexist bumper stickers and dream catchers straining under the weight of all manner of outdoor gear.

Peking Man family bonding during a camping weekend

What would Peking Man think of us if he were transported to present times in a Bill and Ted’s excellent time machine?  I suspect that if he were capable of thoughts beyond grunting for “good” and scratching for “itchy”, he would be completely jaw-dropped that there is a large segment of society who eat raw food on purpose and sleep outside for shits and giggles.  Evolution is mocked when we forego indoor plumbing, TempurPedic mattresses and climate control in the name of leisure.  Oh, I get the notion of enjoying the great outdoors and bonding with the night sky, but I value waking up well-rested and not covered in skeeter bites, too.  Personally, I take my role at the tip-top of evolution and the food chain very seriously.  I eat meat, wear fur, use evil Western medicine and crank up my ac in the summer.  I do it because I can.  I do it because it is right…and it would be rude to be so dismissive of the advances made by those who came before us.  Never forget your manners.

Recreating the barefoot experience

Who are we kidding about getting back to nature and simplifying?  Real “camping” would be sleeping curled up in some scrub brush, hoping it doesn’t rain then foraging for green stems and woodland insects for a midnight snack.  It wouldn’t be a $300 tent from REI, inflatable camp mattress, insulated mummy sleeping bag, Coleman camp stove and a pair of Five Fingers.  Spending the weekend au natural is expensive as hell, and there’s nothing natural about that.

Urban tent city

I have camped, though I wouldn’t call myself “outdoorsy”, so I feel qualified in my opinion about this matter.  We have a big backyard, which does so count, and have hosted Girl Scout troops and families from Church to come play hippie and mitigate any “privilege guilt”.  It’s fun, we have music, running water and burn cords of wood bought at the hardware store in our copper Smith and Hawken fire pit.  But we definitely sleep and eat outside, just like in olden times.  That’s roughing it, right?

The next big thing

24 Feb

I am suspicious when anyone tells me that something is going to be The Next Big Thing. Especially when the decree comes from any sort of industry insider.  Did you know that being a prognosticator of trends is a job?  It is.  However, they have the success-fail ration of a new millennium condo-developer.  Let’s discuss some past fails:

Once box office gold, now just a footnote

In 1988 the nation was assaulted by the persona known as Yahoo Serious.  Out of nowhere he was everywhere.  D’ya remember the scrawny ginge who looked like a sanitized Johnny Rotten?  Yahoo’s popularity was catapulted by a crapfest called Young Einstein.  It was based on a fantasy of Albert Einstein as a cool dude who was into rock n’ roll, surfing and beer.  While it made crazy money, thanks to a magical PR team, it is not ranked on Rotten Tomatoes, nor has anyone submitted a plot summary on imdb.  It has slipped into cinematic obscurity.  He was on the cover of Time Magazine.  Seriously? Yahoo actually made two more movies that no one has ever heard of.  His trail runs cold in 2000, after he sued Yahoo! for trademark infringement.  His coffin was nailed shut when his suit was tossed out of court because he was unable to prove that he had damages or harm from no longer being able to promote or sell his “product” under the name Yahoo due to confusion with the search engine.

No really, it totally works!

Did anyone else’s Mom fall into Pyramid Power in the 1970s?  Mine was all into it.  The idea was that the great pyramids of Egypt hold supernatural properties that can be channeled to preserve food, keep razor blades sharp and amp up your sex drive.  It doesn’t stop there.  Pyramid Power was touted to harmonize your environment, charge crystals, give you spiritual enhancement, personal empowerment and mitigate tooth pain.  It had something to do with the mystical, geometric shape of the pyramid.  People would sleep in special pyramid tents and would have little blocks of pyramid clusters that they would put in the pantry, knife drawer or the dog bed.  My mother usually kept a pack of ciggies on top of her pyramid block.  I’m not sure what kind of power that imbibed; she died of cancer.

Odds are pretty strong that if you were into Pyramid Power, you were also a practitioner of Biorhythm hocus pocus.   The idea here is that people are affected by their biochronometry.  If you can track your rhythms and cycles you can optimize your peak times for performance of tasks.  Huh?  It must be noted that women were known to be on a 28 day cycle.  Perhaps this knowledge could be helpful to dumbass men to know when to not annoy the women in their lives.

Betamax, so long

Betamax was poised to revolutionize making and watching movies at home.  It got its ass kicked by VHS.  And the CD squashed them both.  The end.

Bastard son of car and truck

Banking on the notion that there are people who like the look of a truck, but the fuel economy and shock absorption of a car, Small Trucks were created.  It started with the El Camino, but everyone knew it was just a car that had been given a Frankenstein once-over.  Nissan, Toyota and Mazda came out with tiny, compact pick-up trucks.  I still don’t understand it.  Every time I see one I think that Godzilla is going to come from behind a strip mall and pluck it from the road.

Honeysuckle

Each year color guru Pantone releases its Color of the Year.  It’s a big deal in any kind of industry that is attached to the design world.  Major purchasing decisions are based on the color forecast. Last year’s color was turquoise, which they described as a protective talisman.  This year’s color is Honeysuckle.  This color is going to change your life, according to their press release.  It’s bullshit.  It’s Pyramid Power in Technicolor.  How is a color going to change my life?  What’s weird about this is that I have honeysuckle vines in my yard and this color doesn’t grow on any of them.  It’s more of a trumpet vine hue.

But you know what?  I would love, love, love to have the job of forecasting the next big thing.  How cool would it be to be the puppet master of pop-culture?  Failing that, I’d like to work for J.Crew coming up with new names for old colors.  If anyone knows Jenna Lyons, feel free to give her my digits.  I have some thoughts on new ways to describe “green”.

What’ll ya drink?

21 Feb

A-choo

There is some sort of funky bug working its way through our house.  Last week my people were sputtering, honking and hacking.  Of course, a garden variety cold is just fine for the family, but it’s too common for me.  I had to go and get myself a MRSA infection in the shoulder with a side of hernia.  I digress.  See, even when I am trying to talk about my ailing family, I make it about me.  Me! Me! Me! I! I! I!

Bad week to quit sniffing glue?

So the other day I am at my vacation home, CVS Pharmacy, stocking up on antibiotics, Tefla bandages and Hiba cleanse.  It occurs to me that we are low on cough syrup so I heave some of that on the counter too.  I got carded.  For Robo.  Miley Cyrus can publicly celebrate her eighteenth birthday at a bar, but I’m getting carded for decongestant?  Apparently the kids will turn just about anything into an illicit drug these days.  You can’t give them anything nice.  Jeesh.  What happened to good ol’ sniffing glue and smoking pot?  I felt like I was adopting a child the last time I bought Sudafed.  I had to ask for permission, fork over my identification and then sign a waiver.  And of course they already had my address in their system.

Make mine a double

This shakedown by the man for a little cough syrup can be traced to the likes of L’il Wayne and JaMarcus Russel.  You know, JaMarcus Russel’s famous Purple Drank that got him in all sorts of trouble?  It’s a mixture of codeine syrup with soda or Hawaiin Punch.  The kids call it Sizzup and it goes awesome with a blunt or some sherm.

However…there’s always a however, isn’t there?  I did log a little time at boarding school back in the day and am somewhat familiar with the concept of cough syrup served straight up or on the rocks.  Yes, by white kids from good families.  Spoiler, I know.  If you were on the cross country team, you made a point to run past, and inside of, this small pharmacy just off campus.  I am convinced their biggest money makers were Marlboro Lights and Robotussin DM.  Eventually, the school caught on and arranged for the pharmacy to not sell anything stronger than bubble gum to students.  And that’s when things got interesting.

 

A young wine with hints of feet

Many a prep school graduate develops a taste for fine wine.  That’s likely because they started out decanting and drinking Pruno, later swearing to only drink the good stuff after graduation.  Pruno is also known by the names Boarding School Bordeaux or Jail Juice.  This situation is this.  You get a glass jug of grape juice, tie up a bunch of saltines, or a pilfered roll from dinner, in an old pair of pantyhose and dunk it into the jar.  Some people also like to add a bit of sugar, fruit cocktail or even a pack of ketchup to their “blend”.  Push the jug to the back of your dark, cool closet next to some other food items so that it goes unnoticed during room inspections.  In about three weeks you will strain the mix through another pair of panty hose and presto!  You’re a vinter!  Um, but don’t pat yourself on the back until you’ve had a whiff and a swig.  I suspect that you could strip furniture and ward off evil spirits with this stuff.

Drop a dime on me

3 Feb

Times are tough, people.  Duh, you know.  Last week we had our annual meeting with our financial planner.  From the time I woke up until I tagged a Xanax, I thought I was going to soil myself from the aggregate anxiety.  I guess that the upside is that there is still something to plan with, but God, was it painful.  Luckily, it turns out, there is a fail-safe formula for clawing out of this hole.  And wouldn’t you know that it is the exact polar formula for dropping weight.  The goal is to bring in more money than you spend; eat fewer calories than you burn.  This actually explains a lot.  I have been doing it all backwards.  If I can make the switch, my bank account and waist to hip ratio will respectively be fatter and leaner instead of vice versa.  Sounds super easy.

There’s always a hitch though, right?  Unless anyone wants to make it rain for me, I’m going to have to adjust that whole spend part.  So, I looked over my expenditures today, and they haven’t been that unreasonable.  The bulk of my money is spent at grocery stores, gas stations and the pharmacy.  I feel like with the amount of dollars being exchanged, I should be wearing a cocktail dress with a martini glass in my hand instead of slinkin’ around in jeans n’ Uggs on the weekly rounds.

When I was in college, my roommate, Lisa, and I made a sport out living on the cheap.  Now make no mistake, we were by no means a couple of spend-thrifts, but there were certain things that it just made no sense to spend your drinking or wardrobe money on.   For instance, we spent nary a dime on toilet paper…we just snagged it from the campus janitor’s closet in between classes.  Sure, it had the same texture as a cat’s tongue, but it was free.  And we kept our thermostat low.  Really low.  Not only did that save money, but we deducted that it also forced our bodies to work harder to stay warm; we were actually fat burning and saving at the same time.  On a side note here:  We caught a ton of shit for this reasoning, but guess what study recently came out.  Uh-huh.  Right here.  And if we had a keg on the front porch?  We’d drive to a no-tell motel and get all of the ice we needed from the ice machine under the stairs.  Brilliant, no?

Thurston and Lovey weathering the storm

I’m now slightly above petty pilfering and taking advantage of courtesy samples in bulk.  But, I do need to cut the bleeding a bit.  Heck, if these two could live off of banana pies and coconut batteries from 1963 to 1967 while they were stuck on that island, I can tweak the output without too much of a gaping hole in my lifestyle.  The Howells never had a shortage of silk pajamas, boas and smoking jackets, and I aim to say the same for myself and mine.

I am welcoming any suggestions from the peanut gallery that don’t involve web-cameras and setting up a Pay-pal account on where to start?

You like this?

1 Feb

Really, I just need to get over it and move on.  I don’t “get” tattoos in the same way that my Grandparents couldn’t get on board with that “niggra rock n’ roll music”.  I don’t ever even recall them listening to anything even as modern as the Cole Porter songbook.  They couldn’t wrap their minds around the thud of drums nor the vocal stylings of Mick Jagger.

The music scared my Grandparents, the album cover scarred me

It’s the same for me with “body art”.  Is it because my body is a temple?  Well, considering the kind of shape I’m in, that’s likely not it.  It could be that I change outfits three times before I go out.  I can’t commit to what I want to put over my body for an evening, much less on it for the rest of my life.  Having a tattoo on my ankle would be like wearing the same theme sock for the rest of my life.  The sock I would have picked out at age 17 is very different from the sock I’d wear today.

I think that most people who get tattooed have it done to commemorate something that holds an exclusive sentiment, to honor a special event or to memorialize a favorite parent.  Or, they really think it’s beautiful art.  Jews are the exception to this, by the way.  I buy t-shirts and jewelry as my life-experience souvenirs.  But I swear, I think there is a growing segment of the tattoo community that forego sporting a straight-jacket in public and just get shit inked on them so they can wear their mental health on the outside, as a sleeve.  Recently, we discussed Atlantan Gucci Mane’s triple scoop of face crazy here.  Well,  Atlanta’s own T. Pain must have drank some of Gucci’s water because he got some new “art” on a recent trip to Hawaii.

T-Pain loves FaceBook. I guess I just think it's okay.

I wonder if Auto-tune’s biggest fan made sure that he could get licensing on this bad-boy.  Maybe it’s a moot idea since it doesn’t really look all that much like what I know it’s supposed to be.  Did Mr. Pain and the hack with the tattoo needle light up some sherm before he got going?  This thing is not only dumb, it’s awful…it looks like a poorly lettered, grammatically incorrect (hello, don’t they have apostrophes in our 50th state?) black keloid with a rendering of some sort of pipe fitting or industrial faucet.  At least it’s not on his forehead, right?

Truth is, I’ve actually seen some pretty interesting tattoos.  And I have seen some that are very tongue in cheek.  What’s the best tattoo that you’ve ever seen?

Who’d a thunk it?

27 Jan

Since I’ve been busy with being out of town and the ensuing laundry avalanche that follows, I haven’t really been all that up on what’s new in the world.  I took a cursory glance just a bit ago and about choked on my own tongue.  Geri Jewell is on the cusp of a book release set for this April.  Geri effing Jewell.  Let’s just take a minute and make sure we’re on the same page here.

Identical cousins Geri and Blair

Yep, that’s the one; Blair’s cousin with Cerebral Palsy on The Facts of Life.  It’s called I’m Walking As Straight As I Can.  It capitalizes on Geri’s medical condition and, spoiler alert, being a lesbian.  Of course it does.  All poised to open up my can of sarcastic whoop-ass, I of course did my due diligence to back up my rant.  Folks, I have a motto that colors my life and it is this: Rumor is just as good as fact.  With that in mind, I use Wikipedia for all of my best fact checking.  You can’t imagine my disappointment upon discovering that Geri actually has a pretty dope resume.  Her IMDB stuff is legit and she’s had some consulting gigs with some pretty bad-ass agencies, like the C.I.A., U.S. Army et. al.  Go figure.

Okay, so Geri, it turns out, may actually have a few facets to her story, but I can still gripe about the cheap shot of exploiting being gay for the sake of a sensational double entendre book title.  And all that other stuff she’s done…who knew about it?  She is still Blair’s cousin to me.  End of story.

But there has certainly been no shortage of vapid, do nothings who’ve gotten published, which is all the more astonishing when you pause to consider that John Kennedy Toole actually killed himself because his oeuvre, A Confederacy of Dunces, was continually rejected.  Can you imagine?

Geri isn’t the only Facts of Lifer who has cashed in on a past glory.  Geri’s cousin, Blair, whose real name is Lisa Whelchel, has penned a load of books about parenting and playing nice as a grown-up friend.  Blair Lisa writes about being a crunchy Christian, the joy of home-schooling (I’d rather die) and hot saucing toddler tongues.  I would have preferred a tell all about bat-shit Ms. Garrett, Jo’s butch tension and what she thinks was The Facts of Life jump-the-shark episode.  Blair’s Lisa’s books are available in Spanish and are past their first editions.  WTF?

Author Stephanie Tanner, er, Jodie Sweetin

You know who else got a published?  Jodie Sweetin.  Not ringing a bell?  She was the middle sister with the bulldog under-bite on Full House.  Her tagline was “How Rude!”  In her manifesto, unSweetined: a Memoir, Jodie says that she got bored and became a meth-head, had a baby friend and a couple of marriages.  She was also the season 2 host of Pants Off Dance Off.  It’s a competition show for strippers.  How very.  I’m fruitless in finding any free way of tracking book sales, but I am jaw-dropped to learn that her book is ranked in 24, 987th in Amazon book sales, while literary masterpiece, How To Be Famous: Our Guide To Looking The Part, Playing The Press and Becoming a Tabloid Fixture, by intelligentsia Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag languishes in 823,792nd place .

Washed up has-been book pile

Full House co-star Candace Cameron wrote a book about her voluntary throw-ups.  Saved By The Bell’s Screech, pen named Dustin Diamond, wrote Behind The Bell.  Apparently he thinks that Fred Savage is a tool and Dustin has since gotten laid.  The list of TV show authors is exhausting: Danny Bonaduce, pretty much everyone from Little House on the Prairie, lots of Brady Bunch folks, Todd Bridges, Kirk Cameron, Mackenzie Phillips, and so on and so forth.  Then there are the reality celebrities who’ve gotten published, too.   And children of celebrities.  And books written from a famous person’s dog’s point of view.  Or a bod part’s point of view.

Why, God, why?  Is it because I laughed at The Facts of Life reunion spoof clip?

Buckets

26 Jan

 

Lordy, Lordy, guess who’s forty.  Well, in the last couple of years, pretty much everyone I know.  Forty is a funny thing.  When I was a kid it just seemed so far away, when I was a teenager it seemed so lame.  I think about my mom and her contemporaries at that age and they all came off as so uninteresting, dull and unfashionable.  They were slaves to their schedules, slaves to their children and spouses, the house, the Club, the volunteer “jobs” and with bad hair to boot.  There was nothing at all appealing about this except, maybe, that you could smoke ciggies whenever and wherever you wanted to.  (Side note: the guv’ment has now removed this golden carrot, and I no longer smoke anyway) I thought I’d die if that forty thing ever happened to me.  So, here I am, forty, and I’m not dead.  I swear my generation does forty like a pack of rock stars.  There have been lawn parties with tents and bands, toga parties, surprise trips, out-of-town couples’ weekends, intimate dinner parties, unbridled throw downs…it runs the gamut.  And every one looks fabulous from all the Pilates, advances in hair color technology, Botox, the invention of Spanx shape-wear and the denim monopoly being busted up.  Every one is celebrating like it’s the victory of surviving middle school, graduating from college, not being pregnant, not doing jail time and a thousand Christmases all at once.  And in a way it is.  I can be forty and still go out, not have a “sensible hairstyle”, wear thigh-high boots and do all of those volunteer good deeds, too.  It’s not one or the other.  I feel like at forty I have lived up to being a Charlie Girl.  But, by far the very best thing about hitting the halfway mark is realizing that I am old enough to not have to put up with anyone else’s crap.  It’s liberating.

This past weekend, we went to Las Vegas to celebrate another one.  Remember Tracy from Maria Bamford weekend?  The birthday party is still going…you can do that when you hit forty.  No one is done celebrating until you are good and damn ready for the party to end.  One of the down-time things that Tracy wanted to do while we were out-of-town was for everyone to compose their Bucket Lists.  Now, I had never even really heard that phrase until that Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson movie came out a few years ago.  It was actually a decent flick.  The gist is that you come up with a list of stuff that you want to do before you kick it and fly to the pearly gates.  Do you make your list indulgent, or doable?  Is it reaching for the stars or simply setting unattainable goals that will later fuel a big, fat depression centering on all of your failures and shortcomings.  Are these bucket items universal, micro-specific or a marriage of the two?  These are heady questions, readers.

Gag

Several years ago I was out on a G.N.O. celebrating someone’s birthday, shocker, and it casually came up that I had never seen The Sound of Music.  A collective gasp ensued as though I had admitted to never having been held as a baby; it was like looking into a sea of sad puppy eyes.  For my next birthday, girlfriend Susan gave me the DVD.  When I watched it I was shocked that I knew all the songs and so much of the story line based on cultural references.  Two weeks ago I revealed to a friend that I have never eaten a Twinkie.  That one always slays people.  It’s just that a) I don’t like anything with a creamy surprise inside and b) I don’t eat food that you can stock a bomb shelter with.  If my living body can decay before the snack in question, I want no part of it.  But should I just woof one down to say I did it? Put it on the Bucket List to have at least one thing that I’m pretty sure I’d be able to accomplish?

So, I am now working on the aforementioned Bucket List like it means something; like it’s my mission statement.  We decided that the list needed to be ten items long.  So far, I have four.  I decided against going with the universal things “you must do”, or including things that are supposed to be part of our cultural experience.  This is harder than I thought because I don’t want to be locked in, and I’m looking for line items that don’t have “win the lottery” as a prerequisite.

What’s on your Bucket List?

Ho! Ho! Hol!day

16 Dec

There is a “new” Charlie Brown Christmas special and it is awful.  Okay, truthfully, I had to tap out once I heard the wonky voices and I didn’t actually watch more than five minutes.  Only the Charlie Brown voice even sounded remotely like what I was expecting and that was just too weird for me.  I’m a purist.  But my children, who have very low standards, have watched it twice.  From what I can tell, it’s so bad that Snoopy’s brother, Spike, and Linus’ brother, ReRun, have key roles.  It’s like Cousin Oliver all over again.

It's actually for sale

But, it made me think about the original, beloved Peanuts Christmas Special.  It came on once a year and had me craving Dolly Madison pies and wanting to get MetLife the next day.  In the event that your brain fog is that thick and needs a refresher, Charlie Brown is in a funk because he feels like the real meaning of Christmas is so engulfed by commercialism that it has been lost under tinsel, social engagements and frivolous spending.  Check, check and check.

There is a whole lot of pressure associated with getting “in the spirit” of Christmas.

What does that electric bill look like?

To begin, you have to re-decorate your house inside and out, lest you be called out as being Scroogy.  This irritates me because I have everything where I want it already and the blood red/kelly green color combo. doesn’t match any of it.  I do it though.  Boxes upon boxes of themey crap get moved around between the attic and the rest of the house.  And I cuss all the way through until I am still vacuuming pine needles out of the rug fringe in April and discovering a looked-over snowflake hand towel in the powder room.  Outside, I do the bare minimum.  Different wreath, balls in a tree and some light up presents.  Oh, and the blow-up Snoopy as the Red Baron.  That’s it.  That’s where I absolutely draw the line.  There is a nameless house, not too far from mine, that actually has a forest of blow up creations staked to the yard.  It’s weird.  I may have to drop a note in their mailbox this year.  Scroogy.

Guess who!

Yesterday afternoon in the carpool line at my children’s school I was wedged between two SUVs that were masquerading as reindeer.  I was not fooled, by the way.  Why are people dressing up their cars?  WTF is up with this?

Say cheese!

Then there is the garish theme dressing that people feel obligated to participate in during any holiday season.  Christmas gets the worst of it and the Christmas Sweater has actually spawned parties devoted exclusively to it.  Because of this campy attention, many have smugly eschewed the sweaters in favor of Ho!Ho! Ho! ties, socks festooned with garlands, necklaces with blinking lights and headbands with soft antlers attached, to name a few of the available options.  I don’t care how subtle your theme-wear is.  If you aren’t a pre-school teacher, a pre-pubescent child or working at the Santa photo stall at the mall, I implore you give it up and move on.

Why can’t Christmas just be about wearing pajamas and eating breakfast casseroles all day long?  I wish it could be about watching a marathon of favorite t.v. episodes, napping (hey, you’d already be in pajamas), playing games and looking through new books without anyone hassling you.  And then at some point, maybe around, 9pm, getting dressed and going to someone else’s house to loaf around and spread cheer.  The next day,when it has passed, all you have to do is just put away the pillows, fold up all the blankets from the indoor fort, run the dishwasher and hit the sales.  What a gift!

Shame on me

13 Dec

I have been to Family and Friends weekends at rehab places for people three separate times.  I like the introductions, trust exercises and the craft services at these kumbaya affairs.   Wherever there is a group of people trying to kick something you will find a bottomless coffee pot and sweet, sweet, sugary snacks.  Me:  “Oh, that is awful that your Crank addiction stems from Grandpa locking you in the closet and diddling the family dog while you listened.  Do y’all have anything salty?”  A feature of the therapy is the “shame talk”.  It yawns on about how our loved ones get into their predicament because of their fear of exposure and great shame over (insert issue here).  This is where I zone out.  The gist is to out yourself with your hang-ups.  You know, let your freak flag fly, so you can gain accountability in your life.  Remember Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is Good” speech from Wall Street, inspired by Adam Smith’s 18th Century bestseller, The Wealth of Nations?  The guiding notion is that seeking out self-interests spurs creativity and independence, which benefits everyone from the butcher, the baker to the candlestick maker.  I feel the same way about shame.  Shame is good!  Keeping some things concealed beneath cloak and dagger benefit mankind.  When is the last time you were cornered at a cocktail party by someone telling you about his “thing” for plush animals and huffing gold spray paint?  Where is the shame???  Or the client that wants to tell you about their “wrongful arrests”?  Don’t they see that I have fashioned earmuffs with my hands and am rocking?  Quit making my ears bleed!

Shame and fear have kept me from a lot of mischievous behavior.  I never tried cocaine in college or ever.  There was the fear that if I liked it, I’d blow all my money on the snorty stuff, my parents would have to get involved and be all disappointed.  I don’t wear bikini tops with hot pants to Wal-Mart because I would be horror stricken to end up on that Ugly People of Wal-Mart website.  I don’t berate the kids at the Grocery store because I don’t want people to see what kind of mother I really am.  See, my shame is good for everyone around me.  But I can’t help wondering that if I could ease up on my iron curtain, every day would be like a Summer’s Eve commercial.  Maybe it would be restorative for me to expose some of my secret shames.

imgres

1.  The Blue Lagoon – The acting is 100% awful, the story has holes all in it, but I just can’t quit this movie.  Christopher Atkins in that ridiculous muslin diaper is a-okay with me.  The rumor, at the time, was that Brooke Shields’ mother wouldn’t even let her see the movie because it was rated R.  I actually have several other secret shame movies.  Anyone seen Mandingo?

2. Carnival Food – Funnel cakes, mini-fried donuts, apple dumplings, roasted turkey legs; I could go on and on.  I should know better than to gnaw something that has been deep-fried in a cheap camper by a warty old man with green, blurry tattoos. It’s all wrong on every level.  But one whiff of a fried dough turd under a mound of powdered sugar makes me loose all reason.  Of course I am only good for about three bites before my secum begins to spasm.

3. Granny Panties or, as I often call then, “turtleneck underwear”.  They couple best with flannel pajamas, greasy hair and a Lifetime movie.  It’s like a cotton hug for your fanny and bloated stomach.

4. Ross Perot I can neither justify nor explain this.  I am on record as wanting to go on a bear hunt with Sarah Palin, so maybe I just have affection for tiny politicos who like to speak in odd metaphors.

5. Prop Comedy That’s right, I said it.  I could go highbrow and drone on about Harpo Marx and the genius of Vaudevillian comedy, but that’s not my truth.  Carrot Top and his big trunk, Gallagher with the Sledge-o-Matic, Joel Hodgson of Mystery Science Theater 3,000 or Steve Martin being a wild and crazy guy with an arrow through his head.  I can’t help it.  I’ll most likely be shunned by many over this.  I AM the lowest common denominator.

So, now that I’m out about a few things, to be honest…I’m not feeling all that liberated or integrated into a greater community.  Maybe a better list would be the things that I secretly hate, but keep hidden because I know that people will think I’m a monster.  Things like Christmas caroling (shoot me, please) and theme dressing.

Anyone have a shame they want to talk about?

I so already came up with that!

2 Dec

You know how you sometimes have an idea that is so brilliant and so obvious that you can’t believe that no one else has already produced, manufactured or published it?  You tell your friends about it and how much moolah is going to pour into your coffers once it gets unleashed to the public.  Then you order another beer, snarf down a bag a Cheetos and don’t really revisit it too much until years later when you see it in an infomercial and exclaim with pride “I so already came up with that”.  Because I am an unsung inventor and arbiter of good taste, this has happened to me at least a dozen times.  Most recently with this:

When this idea first came to me I was in college.  It was the late 1980s and the cultural landscape wasn’t quite the snuggly Benetton ad that it is now.  I laughed myself silly over the untapped possibilities for the Chia brand.  Some of these gems are now dead in the water due to metrosexual manscaping practices that are currently en vogue.  But, the crown jewel of my theoretical collection was a Chia Brother.  Having formed the majority of my pop-culture identity in the 1970s, my muses were The Harlem Globe Trotters and Lamont Sandford.  Oh, the glory that could be of that sienna colored bust sprouting a beautiful, thick flora afro made my heart flutter.   I even envisioned a tiny Black Panther pick for keeping it tidy.

Ultimately, I kept this top-secret vision under wraps because I knew the world couldn’t handle it yet…and it was last call.  To express it openly would have suggested I was racist and subversive.  Kids, times were just different then.

But now, some (ahem) twenty years later , we have a sorta black President of the United States and there has been a sea change.  Joseph Enterprises, the company that makes the Chia line, has said, “Yes we can!”.  The irony is that the ‘fro is no longer in style.  The Obama Chia will have to be clipped twice a week to stay true to its namesake’s hairdo, or lack thereof.  Bummer.

What product have you created that some Johnny-Come-Lately is raking it in with?