Monday, October 16, 2017

Hillary's Foot


Another mystery surrounds the beleaguered almost-first-female-POTUS, as if losing to Trump wasn't enough. The way I heard it on the radio, Hillary Clinton was running down the stairs in high heels, carrying a cup of coffee and turning around to talk to someone behind her, when she slipped and fell backwards and broke her toe.

Then I arrived home and read online that she didn't break her toe, she twisted her ankle. Which makes more sense because I can't imagine Hillary Clinton running anywhere, unless it was to dodge sniper fire at an airport in Bosnia that turned out to be a little girl reading her a poem. (I know I always confuse those two things.) Oh how I miss Hillary and her madcap stories! Imagine what fun it would be if she had won. (Almost as good as what we got.)

Smiley Face

You know what? I am sick of bad news. Sick of it! The world is in flames, people are dying everywhere, and there is not one damn thing I can do about it, so why am I hearing about it and reading about it 24/7?

Rubbernecking, that's why. Nothing raises media ratings more than a bloody, gory sob story we hear about other people's lives, usually as we are sitting in our comfy living room with a cat on our lap or hunched over the morning paper and a delicious breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee. (It's a metaphor; I don't eat bacon, not since my heart attack two weeks ago which compared to the stories coming out of the California wildfires, like the one about the woman who ran back inside her burning house to rescue her blind dog and was later found by her son, her remains clutching the dog's remains, was a day at Disneyland.)

In the interest of self-preservation I will simply stop taking in the trash. No longer will the horror stories of how Trump did this and Harvey Weinstein did that, and 200 people died here and another 600 died there enter my soul's container, poisoning my organs and tainting my blood, accomplishing absolutely nothing of merit. Instead I will listen to lovely music and walk in nature's glory, counting how many different colors of red and orange I can find in the newly fallen leaves.

Have a nice day! 😄😄😄

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Film Review: BATTLE OF THE SEXES

King (Emma Stone) and Riggs (Steve Carrell) hold a press conference before the big match.

I went to see Battle of the Sexes, the story of the groundbreaking 1973 match (and most-watched televised sports event of all time) between superstars Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, expecting to see a lot of tennis. So I was surprised and dismayed that I had to sit through so much lesbian sex. Hey, don't get me wrong: lesbians are fine, they can be who they are and love who they want, I care not. But it's not my favorite thing to watch two women kissing and caressing and sighing deep sighs as they roll around in the sack. (Okay, we get it, Billie Jean King is gay; can we move on?)

At the time King was a 29-year-old rising star and Riggs was a 55-year old has-been. She was married to a man and having a clandestine affair with a woman; his marriage was crumbling because of his non-stop gambling addiction. Between all that mishegas, the pair managed to fit in some tennis matches, the underlying focus of which was assuring that women get the same pay as men when they win professional tournaments. (At the time, men received $12,000 and women got a mere $1,500.)

Besides all the weepy soap opera, the film features two sterling performances by co-stars Emma Stone and Steve Carrell. Each one bears an uncanny resemblance to the originals they portray, making it easy to buy into the tale of Man vs. Woman on the tennis court. Another of the film's noteworthy features is the depiction of an era: The Seventies, in all its tacky glory, shows up in hairstyles, clothing, interior design and most notably the sound track. (There's a lot of Elton John.)

Despite the many major flaws in the script that will have you whispering to your companion why this or that did or did not happen, Battle of the Sexes is a fun diversion. Definitely see it if you've got nothing else to do.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Beware of False Claims

Read any good fiction lately? I have. Recently I stumbled upon a new author while I was grocery shopping. Here's an excerpt from his “Box of Hot Cocoa” that was so compelling, I bought some:
“Stir up some instant decadence with this velvety-smooth Hot Cocoa and savor the rich chocolate taste you expect from Ghirardelli. This harmonious blend brings together quality ingredients, including premium cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Mix with milk for a more decadent hot cocoa!”

And just what goes into such a decadent brew? Turns out it's sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, coconut oil, corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, mono and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate (prevents caking), soy lecithin (an emulsifier), tetrasodium pyrophosphate, polysorbate 60, whey, nonfat dry milk, semi-sweet chocolate chips, salt, cellulose gum, natural and artificial flavor and silicon dioxide to prevent caking.

Somewhat disappointed, I forced myself to look beyond my lifelong prejudice against ingesting chemicals and reasoned that the true test of any food is taste. After carefully following the recipe (add hot water while stirring), I presented a cup to my neighbor’s visiting 5-year-old granddaughter. She sipped, grimaced, and said, "This stuff is gross. Don't you have any real hot chocolate?"

My point exactly.

One area where fiction runs rampant is the wild world of hair products. Just the other day I agonized over three conditioners, each promising results I pined for: Brand A offered, "Natural, organic herbs and botanicals that will leave your hair feeling luxuriously soft and silky, with radiant shine. Not tested on animals." Brand B extolled the virtues of, "Apple pectin and creamy-rich buttermilk blended to naturally thicken, moisturize and restore healthy shine. Leaves hair feeling luxurious, silky and manageable." Brand C claimed to be, "A polymerized electrolytic moisture potion that transports moisture into the innermost structure of the hair, leaving it pliable, smooth and velvety with a natural luster. Never tested on animals." What’s not to like about all of them?

After much deliberation I finally went with Brand B because the other two hadn't been tested on animals, making me wonder just who they are testing it on. Could it be me? (Sorry, but I'd rather have the bunny go blind.) FYI, my hair remained un-luxurious, un-silky and decidedly unmanageable despite their copywriter's soaring prose. I’m thinking after my next shampoo I might try dumping on some of that Ghirardelli cocoa which at the very least should prevent caking.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Come to Think of It, Harvey Weinstein Raped Me Too

Not really, but saying he did seems to be the "in thing" right now -- but for how long?

Punctuation for Dummie's!

Of all the bits of punctuation roaming the English language, surely the apostrophe is having the least amount of fun. I'm willing to bet it's downright depressed.

Exclamation points are out there having a blast, being used and abused by people of all ages, especially in texts by young people, and even more especially, my blog!!!!!! Quotation marks are also quite busy, what with everyone trying to avoid being sued for plagiarism. And of course the ubiquitous period reigns supreme, showing up everywhere. Like here. And here. And naturally, here too. (Even an idiot knows how to use a period. And, BTW, parentheses.)

Conversely, the apostrophe is completely misunderstood by even smart people!!!!!!!! This morning a woman who I know has a college education wrote on Facebook, under a photo of the California firefighters, "These are the real hero's!" The blatant misuse of the little upside-down comma made me sigh deeply, roll my eyes and wonder why. It most definitely did not make me roll my eye's!

Come on people, concentrate! It's easy (not its easy)! Here you go:
An apostrophe is a mark ' used to indicate the omission of letters or figures, the possessive case (as in "John's book"), or the plural of letters or figures, as in "the 1960's.

That's it! As in, that is it! (Not thats' it!)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Art of Being Human

I am not a violent person. On those rare occasions when I am forced to end the life of an insect because I feel unduly threatened and it's either him or me, I am deeply distressed for some time following the hateful event. I have never struck another person and can't imagine doing so. I certainly have never held a gun or entertained the possibility of owning one. Still, I completely understand the murderous rage of the deranged man in Las Vegas who rained down bullets on the defenseless attendees of a concert venue from his hotel room high above. Basically, he just didn't like people very much.

And who could blame him? Personally I have never been that big a fan of the species, far preferring cats and dogs. But still, I married one and gave birth to another, both of whom I treasure, and have become very close to a number of folks who are wonderful when you treat them right. Treating them right is the key, and it's a tricky art to master. (One longtime friend who recently lost her adult son quite unexpectedly was greatly angered by my asking "how she was doing," finding the question too invasive.) Suspecting all along that humans are highly overrated, I never quite had the clear proof I've gotten over the past two weeks.

This morning a woman who I thought was a friend but I guess is really only a neighbor -- someone who lives nearby and passes directly in front of my house several times a day walking her dogs, and who often stops by for a chat and some goodies from our garden in summer -- contacted me for the first time since my heart attack (an event that has deeply changed how I see the world) by writing on my Facebook page: "Are you feeling any better?" This saddened me as I had been telling myself that she likely had no idea I was ill, had been hospitalized, or any of it, and thus, probably being busy or out of town, or perhaps blinded in some horrible accident that prevented her from looking at Facebook over the last two weeks, had not contacted me. That myth was destroyed by her question.

She's not alone. People I have known for years who I considered "close friends" have also been completely silent. Okay, so what, you're thinking -- so you had a fucking heart attack. How does that compare to who's on "Dancing With the Stars" this season? Okay, I get it. It's not important to anyone but me and my family, in fact anyone who doesn't count on me for something. People are expendable. (Sigh.)

So what I think is that the Vegas killer must have been hurt pretty badly by lots of people during his 64 years on Earth. That's certainly no excuse, it's just a thought. But maybe today you could be nice to someone for no reason. Call a friend to say hello. Stop and chat with a neighbor and ask how they're doing. Hey, here's an idea: Give a homeless person ten bucks! You know, just to be human.