Saturday, July 22, 2017

Summertime Blues

 As far as I can tell, the only good thing about summer is that it is followed by fall, that most glorious of all seasons. (Ironic, isn't it?)

Tell me again, what's so great about summer? Is it the bugs? The sweating? The sunburn? The bad hair? The itching? The not being able to sleep? The drone of the air conditioners? The slamming of the screen doors? The constant, deafening, brain-numbing sound of all the lawn mowers and weed whackers? Could it be the moths? Yes, I know I already said bugs but moths deserve their own sentence, there are simply so many of them everywhere.

Just two months to go.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Latest Plague

Something fun to think about is what would happen if all the cell phones stopped working, for reasons I cannot even postulate since I know nothing about how they work in the first place. But what I do know is that all of Western culture is in the grips of a terrible epidemic -- call it Morbus Cellphonicus -- that is destroying any possibility of nurturing interpersonal communication and leaving its hapless victims with poor posture, neck aches and, certainly among the older generation, arthritic fingers. It seems to gain strength daily, with willing victims lining up at all 498 Apple stores across 22 countries, eager to purchase the leading conduit of the disease.

Put another way, we're hooked on cell phones and they are ruining life for everyone. It's the new Plague, only minus the scurrying rats.

One of the most common symptoms is the act of  texting, which isn't even talking when you at least can hear the voice of a loved one, or even just another human. No, it's confined to writing messages in a kind of dumbed-down shorthand, precluding all feelings of warmth and most intelligence, sometimes with dire results. For example, 25% of all car accident in the US (per year) are caused by cell phone texting while driving. That translates into  330,000 accidents leading to severe injuries and in some cases, death, because someone wanted to say "😈😮🙏😎💔 lol" to someone else, often to someone they have never even met in person, and they just couldn't wait until the next red light. 

Bedtime scrolling through Facebook has replaced marital sex in many couples, leading to separation and divorce. Children and parents no longer speak to one anther with their mouths, instead texting even within the same household to say that "dinner's ready" or "time to go." Hugging is simply out of the question, replaced by 💋. Millions of husbands and wives afflicted with Morbus Cellphonicus quickly become addicted to their cell phones, unable to put them down, turn them off, or eventually live without them. "In the last few months, I must have seen thirty couples and families in which technology addiction was contributing to the psychological problems within the family system, " says Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Even worse, unprotected children who get hooked early get the sickest, with little hope for a cure. According to Dr. Granat, "A colleague of mine who is a guidance counselor in a middle school notes that when the teachers confiscate a cell phone, students show up in the guidance office and ask if they can visit their phones and hold their phones for just a few minutes."

So, as I said at the outset, think about what would happen if all the cell phones stopped working. (See, it is fun.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Some Old People Are Older Than Others

There are old ladies, who, by accident of birth and the failure to die, have reached a certain age but still think, look and act like normal people. And then there's that other kind of old lady, who collects doilies and takes castor oil and is totally off her rocker. I belong to the first group, thank God. This morning I had a run-in with one of the other kind.

For my one-year checkup after hip surgery, I knew an X-ray would be required to ensure the installed hardware hadn't moved. I wore a dress especially for the occasion, knowing for a fact that any metal on my clothing, like a zipper on a pair of jeans, meant I'd have to change into a pair of dorky paper shorts. So there I was, in a lightweight summer frock with no metal on me, ready to go.

The old lady whose job it is to assess one's readiness for an X-ray looked me over and decided I'd need to change into the paper shorts. I demurred, pointing out that I had no metal on me. She insisted, repeating that I had to put the shorts on underneath my dress. I replied that this was clearly nonsense, since an X-ray machine could see through my dress just as easily as through the shorts. She then lowered her voice to a whisper and explained that I needed to wear the shorts "so that nobody can see your undies."

Stunned, I asked, "Who would see my undies, and who cares?"

"The technician might see if your dress rides up," she replied, shoving the shorts at me. "I'm sure you wouldn't want that." Actually, what I wanted was to roll those damn paper shorts into a tight ball and shove it down her throat.  Instead I took the shorts and followed the old lady to a dressing room, where she instructed me to put them on. Sighing heavily, I did. It was just easier.

Once I got into the X-ray room I asked the young female technician if I needed to wear the shorts. She hooted, saying of course not, then added, "That's just Ethel -- she's so afraid someone will see something they shouldn't."

Now that's an old lady. I hope I'm never one of those.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Open Letter to the Fluid People

Dear They and Them,

Let me say right up front that I do not care what your gender is. I also do not care what genitals you have, or if you shave your face or get your period or pee standing up or sitting down, and certainly I literally could not care less what pronouns you prefer. Those things impact me not one bit so please don't tell me. But I do have one question: Why is it such a big deal to you that everyone else knows you like girls and not boys or boys and not girls, or that you have on pink lace panties underneath those heavyweight Duluth denim overalls? Or that maybe you don't like sex at all and are thus not in the game, a.k.a. non-gender or non-binary or genderqueer or just looking? Could you please just shut up about all that already and pay attention to the much bigger picture?

Are you aware that the world is in chaos and that our president doesn't really know what he's doing, which could take our country in a dangerous direction? Have you heard about Kim Jong-un? Did you read that yesterday in Arizona a flash flood killed at least nine vacationers, including an entire family, who were innocently playing in a swimming hole, sweeping them away in a torrent of mud and rocks without a moment's notice? And that babies are born every day missing half their brains or already dying of cancer on day one of their lives? That people are hungry, hopeless and homeless? But still you fret that somebody referred to you as "he" when you want to be called "they," and that's got you angry and feeling "unseen."

Read a book, go for a run, work in a soup kitchen, take a good look in the mirror, get some therapy. Do anything else. Just stop talking about it already.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tummy Tucking Through the Years

Ha ha ha ha ha! Excuse me, but I am cracking up. I just saw an ad online for a new kind of fabulous underwear called New You Slimming Underwear, shown above. As you can plainly see, a woman with a flabby tummy simply pulls on this miracle body suit (only $21.99), and suddenly her tummy is gone!

Oh how fabulous, you can wear it under a form-fitting dress and nobody will know you're actually a porker. It's the latest thing! Only it isn't. I wore one of those back in high school when it was called a girdle and it cost a whole lot less.

And that's why they're called "the good old days."

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Film Review: THE BIG SICK

The cast, with a stuffed giraffe.
 There are a few things you should know before seeing The Big Sick, an endearing and understated comedy that manages to be lighthearted and heavy-handed at the same time:

1. What starts out as a romantic comedy suddenly morphs into a lump-in-the-throat tearjerker, so if you hate that kind of thing, don't go.
2. The title isn't kidding -- somebody gets really sick, coming down with a horrible disease you might immediately worry that you also have. (I Googled it the minute I got home.)
3. It's a true story about a charming Muslim stand-up comic, played convincingly by charming Muslim stand-up comic Kumail Nanjiani, who is not a terrorist and who will make you fall in love with all Muslims, and that's the best thing about it.
4. In supporting roles as a married couple, two old pros -- Holly Hunter and Ray Romano -- show everyone else in the cast how it's done. They are a total hoot to watch.

Despite a handful of decent laughs and an earnest script packed with wise observations and lots of tender moments, this film won't be winning any awards. Still, it's a pleasant enough diversion that most people will enjoy. As my husband said about it afterwards, "I liked it, for a chick-flick."

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Stuck in a Russian Rut

Anderson Cooper holding court on the set of his nightly show "Anderson Cooper 360" (in case you forgot.)

The members of the liberal media suck out loud, and often on their very own nightly news shows. Leading the pack is Anderson Cooper, the handsome, rich, sartorially splendiferous gay boy who rules CNN with his smug self-confidence and designer suits. (Can you tell I dislike him?) Night after night he assembles his panel of "experts" to gab and gossip under the guise of reportage. For so long now the topic under discussion has been President Trump's ties to Russia, or Trump's colluding with Vladimir Putin, or Donald Trump Jr. secretly meeting with some Russians, or Melania Trump seen lunching at The Russian Tea Room. You get the picture -- Anderson is stuck in a Russian rut.

Meanwhile, other things have actually happened in the world! Like just last week, a 48-year old, 12-year veteran of the NYPD was shot in the head while sitting in her squad car, murdered execution style by a 34-year-old prison parolee who regularly posted anti-cop rants on Facebook. But was there rioting in the streets of the Bronx, scene of the murder? Not even a whisper. Did anyone set cars on fire like they do when a law-breaking person of color is killed by a cop just doing his job? No. Did the rabid dogs of Black Lives Matter matter speak out in protest? Not a peep. See, the slain cop was a Dominican so her life didn't really matter, except to her three children and her ailing mother who she cared for.

The funeral for the slain officer, Miosotis Familia, was held last week in Manhattan and attended by 4,000 mourners. That astonishing fact alone should have made Anderson and his bobbleheads sit up and take notice, and maybe even forego one night of bloviating about the imaginary Russian takeover of the White House and instead focus on the growing dangers facing our police.