Thursday, May 25, 2017

I'm Not Pinterested

The ultimate catalog and bathroom reader!
This morning, as I was standing at the stove stirring walnuts into my oatmeal, my husband shared a story he was reading in the Wall Street Journal. It was about Snapchat, the online messaging app wherein sent photos and videos disappear seconds after they are seen by the recipient. Apparently teens and twenty-somethings are heavy into it. This has led to some of them "obsessively cultivating Snapstreaks," which occur when messages between two people are exchanged for three consecutive days, earning them a little flame emoji.

There are so many things wrong with the preceding paragraph, it's hard to know where to start. First of all, it's far better to add the walnuts after the oatmeal is done. If you add them during cooking, they invariably get too soft. I learned this today. Second, who the heck needs to have a message disappear besides Hillary Clinton and John Podesta and every other snarky politician who ever garnered votes, and surely they've got better methods? But for regular folks, if it's so damn secret or so damn important just say it in person, or at least on the phone.

And last and perhaps most important, what's with all the emojis? They are replacing normal conversation and turning us all into drooling automatons. On the plus side, after North Korea bombs us back to the Stone Age and we're surrounded by rubble and have lost all our vocabulary along with our hair and teeth, we'll still be able to communicate, sort of like those hieroglyphics the cavemen used. (Don't get me wrong; I use them frequently; that big yellow "thumbs up" is my go-to answer for everything these days.)

Another modern menace besides Twitter that I completely reject, misunderstand and just plain abhor is Pinterest, wherein you get yourself a page online and "pin" things you are interested onto it, so that everyone in the entire world can see just what floats your boat. Why anyone needs this remains a mystery to me, when you could just tell them about it. Why do strangers have to know that you like a particular bedspread or watermelon smoothie recipe or brand of diapers or, in fact, anything at all unless it's the answer to world peace or ending hunger or curing cancer? Now those would be worth pinning!

Pinterest calls itself "the world's catalog of ideas." What, they never heard of Hammacher Schlemmer?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Virginia Wolff's Meditation Class

1. Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor and your back straight, preferably in a hard chair like the little wooden ones back in grade school when your whole life stretched ahead of you and you never gave a thought to being here now, you just were, and pretty happy about it for the most part, especially on summer evenings out catching fireflies in jelly jars with holes punched in the lids, and barring toxic parents like my friend Eric had, causing him to "accidentally" hang himself from the bathroom shower rod when he was six, his final act of defiance against his overbearing mother who discovered him in her see-through negligee, still clutching her breakfast martini, its two little pearl onions and one olive bobbling as she ran shrieking out into the street, unsteady on her pink, feathered high-heeled bedroom slippers.

Try not to think about Eric's mother's bedroom slippers.

2. Breathe in as you normally do, without forcing it to be special or different in any way. Then breathe out, again doing it naturally. Now think only about your breath -- in and out, in and out -- paying attention only to the air as it enters your nostrils and fills your lungs or maybe even your belly, and if any thoughts come to mind, like of the 22 young people attending a musical concert whose innocence was stolen forever (along with their lives) by a misguided, impressionable home-grown terrorist in Manchester, England, with scores more suffering in area hospitals, each in various states of trauma and possibly near death themselves, just push them away and return to thinking only of your breathing, in and then out, in and then out, like a plant or an amoeba.

3. Continue sitting and keep breathing without thoughts of the time you were kidnapped, or rejected by Cornell and five other colleges and ended up going to a lesser school where you met that handsome scoundrel with so much promise you married who eventually became an alcoholic and told you about his tawdry affair (and aren't they always tawdry) with a 19-year-old waitress for as long as you can, until you have to go to the bathroom or answer a persistent knocking at the front door, or the cat jumps up onto your lap and starts that weird kneading thing that even all the animal experts don't fully understand, or perhaps you remember you've got a dental appointment where maybe today they will say that the tooth that's been a source of worry for years will have to go.

4. Do it all again tomorrow, and the day after and the day after that and the day after that, extending the length of time you do it each day so that ultimately you find you are wasting less of your precious mental energy on meaningless trivia like President Trump and whether or not his wife likes him or secretly finds him repugnant, as if the state of their marriage has anything at all to do with you or anyone else in the world but those two, or if the Russians actually caused Hillary to lose the election which of course she managed to do all by herself, being so repugnant not only to her own husband but even to many in her own party, and instead give your brain a free mental vacation every day for the rest of your life.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cher's Good Genes

Cher last year at 70 with her mother, age 90.
Cher turned 71 two days ago and she still looks fabulous. Okay, sure, she's had some help from plastic surgeons and she wears those crazy wigs and scanty costumes, but hey, could most average women wear those extremely revealing costumes without looking sad and pathetic? NO. And Cher does not look sad or pathetic, she looks fabulous. Admit it, she looks a whole lot better than you and your wife and all your girlfriends.

A few days ago Cher performed at the televised Billboard Music Awards where she received the Icon Award, surely nothing to sneeze at, and performed two of her biggest hits. She sounded great and looked even better, which is why it was shocking to see the hateful comments online, thousands of them, saying "the old granny should just go to the glue factory," and so many more with similarly crude sentiments.

The comments were of course posted by young people, most of whom were surely sitting in their underwear in their parents' basement taking a break from playing Game of Thrones to post their hateful screeds. Still, I was saddened to see how much this wonderful, funny, incredibly talented Oscar-winning actress (Best Actress, Moonstruck), singer, dancer, and graciously supportive mother to her daughter-turned-son (Chaz Bono), who gave us so much music that percolates throughout our culture every day, is openly despised by the maddening crowd.

Young people hate the old, that's for sure. I suppose fear is the fuel, since each and every one of them knows that's their future. Some people fear it so much they avoid it altogether with a bullet to the head sometime during middle age. Not me, I'm sort of looking forward to it. My paintings just keep getting better and better, and since the outside world keeps getting worse and worse, I won't mind staying inside all the time if it comes to that.

Until then, I will enjoy the fact that Cher is actually older than me and is still hot. And her mother isn't bad either, and she's 90!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Feed Me, Seymour

The Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post at today's morning news meeting.
Just in case you still think that following the "news" is a valuable pursuit, and that the people who get paid to report the "news" are worthy individuals deserving of our respect, let's take a look at one political story circulating around the web today, and even onto TV, as if that's any better but some older folks might find it more trustworthy.

Here's the scoop: When they got off the plane in Israel this morning and strode down the tarmac towards the waiting reporters, President Trump reached his hand out to the First Lady and she didn't take it. This was reported by the salivating media hounds, always as hungry as the Audrey Two in Little Shop of Horrors and growing just as wildly out of control, as Melania having "appeared to slap it away."

Okay, let's say she didn't take his hand for whatever reason, a reason nobody will ever know except maybe Melania's shrink if she has one, and good Lord I hope she does. What could this "slapping away" mean to each of us personally, and to the country as a whole, and to Donald Trump's presidency, or his effectiveness as an ambassador in Israel hoping to broker a peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, or even to their son Barron back home? 

This is important so I'll give you a few minutes to come up with an answer. Take your time.....

Another Unfriending Explained

I recently "unfriended" someone on Facebook who I have know in real life for 47 years. I do this unpleasant unfriending thing rarely but when it's needed, sort of like defrosting the freezer, only when I realize that there is absolutely never any communication between me and that particular person, either on or off Facebook. And can you blame me?

Picture it: Every day I post my blog, and a few of my friends read it and make some sort of comment every so often. I'm not asking for constantly (like those few who do and I treasure them), but at least spit out some sort of response once in a blue moon, or even just once, forget the blue moon.

I also use Facebook to post images of my latest paintings, hoping for feedback so I can improve, or God forbid a million times, feel good about myself! These too usually get a few comments from my true friends, but from those false friends -- nothing. Ever. (How mean can you be?) Well guess what: Screw you if you can't find the time to give me a pat on the back once a year but still manage to post snarky comments about Donald Trump and pictures of your own wonderful life, complete with your fussy dinner party table settings with their Martha Stewart centerpieces and your so-adorable grandchildren and all the rest of your whole yada, yada, fucking yada. You're fired!

In the most recent instance of this unpleasant but ultimately satisfying occurrence, the friend in question messaged my husband on Facebook to ask if he knew why I unfriended her. Ha! The very fact that she didn't pick up the damn phone or write an email and ask me herself is the very reason why. Come on people: try to be at least a little friendly with your so-called "friends."

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Maine is Made for Do-It-Yourselfers

Ever since we moved to Maine eight years ago, my husband and I have been increasingly amazed by the service professionals doing business here. They certainly set a new standard, one with no word I can think of but a few that come close: Abysmal, lamentable and laughable all give you an idea. Whatever you call it, the low level of professionalism gives lie to Governor LePage's new slogan, "Maine: Open for Business." The sad truth is it's pretty hard to get anything done around these parts unless you do it yourself.

For example, seeking to have the exterior of our home painted I called three house painters who ran ads in the pennysaver over a week ago. I left messages for two of them on their voicemail; neither has called back. The third one (Brett Hall of Hall Painting for you locals) actually answered his phone and was quite an agreeable chap. After a friendly conversation we agreed on this morning at eleven for Brett to come by and take a look-see. Having been burned before by other workmen -- we've gotten estimates, given the okay, and then never heard a peep ever again -- I attempted to pin down the parameters of his visit. "Rain or shine, I'll be there," he promised.

Fools that we are, we waited. We called his cell. We waited some more and called some more. Finally I left a plaintive message saying I was disappointed. He never called back. This is typical Maine behavior, honed to perfection by plumbers, electricians, carpenters, snow plow operators and lawn care companies. Really, the only things you can count on getting in Maine are bug bites, lobsters and sunburn in summer and snow in winter. So I guess we'll be painting our house.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Return of Will & Grace

What if the new Will and Grace simply Can't and Won't?
Rumor has it that Will & Grace, the popular TV sitcom that ran for eight seasons starting in 1998, is set to come back later this year. While this is delightful news for rabid fans of the show, this particular rabid fan wonders how it could possibly be at all funny today, since the two sources of laughs -- homosexuality (Will) and Jewishness (Grace) -- are no longer politically correct fodder for humor.

The original, obviously gay, Jack
Back in the days when the show was nominated for 83 Emmy Awards, winning 16 of them, being gay was still in the closet. It was edgy, shocking, and anything but mainstream. You could tell a gay man from a straight man by the way he walked or talked or if he showed up in pink sneakers or loved Judy Garland, whereas now everyone and their mother could be gay and you can't even tell a man from a woman, much less care. Once gays gave up their alternative lifestyle and opted for regular, boring old-fashioned marriage, they stopped being the slightest bit interesting. As for Jew jokes, oy, don't go there.

Another potential downer is the fact that the characters are all older now, and how funny is that? Aging has never been a laugh riot, unless it was Joan Rivers doing it. But with the four characters in their late forties and even late fifties, now what? Could they possibly all still be single? Could Will (54) and Grace (48) share an apartment? How can the lovely Karen (58) even be alive after so many years popping pills and downing bottles of gin and vodka? Will there be jokes about how "girlie" Jack (46) is? Will we watch Grace go on lots of boring dates with senior citizens, or will she just sit at home and bore the audience with her sophomoric, anti-Trump screeds?

I think I'll stick with the reruns.