Monday, March 31, 2014

Modern Family


My husband travels a lot for business. Always has. When we were first married, I would on occasion call the hotel where he would be staying and pretend I was from the mayor's office of whatever city and alert them to a visiting dignitary, asking them to put wine and mints and maybe flowers in his room. I always knew exactly where he was, on what particular flight, and would track his progress. He always called when he landed to allay my fears, since back then I assumed that any and every plane would crash.

Now we have been married for 28 years. Today he went somewhere--your guess is as good as mine but I think it's Chicago or Philadelphia-- and I know he didn't crash because there's been nothing on the news. Besides, according to my Chat list he was online just four minutes ago. Ahh, marriage! Or rather, ahh Facebook!

What Hath God Wrought?

In a shocking turn of events, a group of angry Malaysians demonstrated outside of God's pearly-gated community yesterday. Demanding He "tell the truth" and promising no retaliation, relatives of the passengers on the missing airline MH370 swore, in several languages, that there were "no strings attached." Neither God nor any of his disciples were available for comment, and thus far calls to His office have not been returned as the whole lot of them are out seeing "Noah."


Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Non-Bucket List

Lots of people have bucket lists. The term refers to the expression "to kick the bucket," meaning to die. What bucket, I wondered, and so did some sleuthing and learned of its gruesome origins, having to do either with a method of suicide or the slaughter of pigs. Despite that, and despite the belief that one should embrace new experiences and keep an open mind, there are a few things I've never done and plan to continue not doing until I die.

Following is my Non-Bucket List in no particular order, although if pressed I might try the last one but certainly never the first. What's on your "no thanks" list?

Read the Bible
Play poker
Take a cruise
Visit Graceland
Go fishing
Watch football
Read "Harry Potter"
Speak Russian
Have cosmetic surgery
Ride a horse
Wear a bikini
Drink Coke
Climb Mt. Everest
Eat snails
Be in a TV audience
Milk a cow
Try heroin
Go ballooning
Watch "The Cosby Show"


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Earth Hour's Dim Wits

Let's see--just how much do you care about the planet? Apparently the organizers of something called Earth Hour have decided you should care about it for about 60 minutes, or 1/24th of a day. That's how long they want you to "sit in the dark" and consider life without electricity, or something like that.

The event, held worldwide towards the end of March annually since 2007, was started in Sydney, Australia. It caught on, and soon enough other countries wanted to turn their lights out too. But let's not go crazy, after all it is a Saturday night. Thus you are encouraged to turn off your "non-essential" lights for one hour (at 8:30PM EST) to symbolize your commitment to Mother Earth. Best of all, you get to decide what is non-essential. I'm guessing that night-light in the bathroom and the one in the hall closet will go. After all, it's a whole hour and we wouldn't want to be too inconvenienced. It's only the planet.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Wanted

I read the following ad on Craigslist a little too close to dinner time and now I've spoiled my appetite: "I am an up and coming TV Host & Personality seeking interns to support & grow my social media, branding & blogging objectives. I am seeking someone who is fun, creative & fashionable." Oh well, they say that beef stew tastes better the second day.

Anyway, the preceding desperate cry for help was listed under "Writing Jobs" in New York City, making me think maybe it's not so bad living in Maine after all. Just thinking of all those gigantic egos jostling for position in one place gives me the willies. Imagine thinking of yourself as an "up and coming TV host and Personality," but not knowing that "up-and-coming" needs hyphens and "personality" should not be capitalized.

The perfect applicant.
Meanwhile, it's all I can do to keep up with the laundry and litter boxes. Perhaps I should advertise for an intern to help. My ad might read: "Future Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist seeks intern to support and grow my media, publishing and financial objectives, while allowing me to finish another damn chapter. I am seeking someone who is intelligent, loves cat shit and is not above taking out the garbage, doing the laundry, taking stuff to the dry cleaners, shopping for groceries, cleaning the toilets, paying bills, shoveling snow when necessary, painting the occasional room, laying a wood floor and attending to all postal needs. You should be proficient in Twitter, and all the other ones they use these days. Only serious candidates need apply. Compensation will be in the form of experience, a byline, the pleasure of helping someone else, a letter of recommendation and use of the facilities."

Thinking Outside the Box

In a rut? Just for today:

wear two different shoes
eat lunch for breakfast, dinner for lunch and breakfast for dinner
call someone for no reason
have your coffee from a bowl with a spoon
have a bath instead of a shower or a shower instead of a bath
mail someone a real letter, with a stamp and envelope
walk someone's dog  
 get all the ingredients for key lime pie
 make a key lime pie
paint a self-portrait from memory
don't check your email
put pink light bulbs in all your lamps
send someone flowers
cover the mirrors in your house
read the whole first page of "A Tale of Two Cities" 
leave a comment on this blog

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Say What You Mean, People

                   Gordon Studer
An anonymous reader has paid me the biggest compliment. I'm sure this news will upset her, since she claims to despise me and everything I stand for-- or against, which is more often the case. Anyway, what she wrote today in one of her venomous messages was that she came across my blog "by accident and since then I have to look at it over and over as I've never seen someone like you before." Ha! And doubtless will ever again, I might add.

And isn't that the way it should be? After all, we are each one-of-a-kind, and so certainly must have some unique ideas. Which reminds me about one of the oddest things you see on Facebook: People posting esoteric thoughts on their pages that were THOUGHT BY SOMEBODY ELSE, like a famous writer or great thinker or Groucho Marx or Ghandi or whoever. Like we will all then consider the person who is merely quoting the great person to be great himself (or herself), which is simply not the case in many instances.

Perhaps if more people said what they themselves think instead of what they think they should be thinking, or what other people have thought before that they agree with, we'd all have a better time and the world would be in better shape. Right now, only a handful, relatively speaking, of people are actually doing any original thinking at all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gummies in Neverland

It's official: Grown-ups are over. I'm guessing that after the last baby boomer fades into dotage, America will be comprised of little kids and bigger kids. (President Peter Pan in 2028?) The proof is all around us: Grown men and women with children of their own play games on their portable toys all day long, just like my toddler did with his first Game Boy at age seven. But what really alerted me to the coming end of adulthood was the introduction of vitamins and fiber supplements that look and taste like candy.  

When I first saw a TV commercial for gummy vitamins I thought it was a spoof, until I saw it again and realized it was all too real. "Get the nutritional support you want in the gummy you crave with One A Day VitaCraves," their ads boast. "A healthy lifestyle never tasted better," with vitamins that "support your immunity in a delicious, fun-to-take gummy."

If you’re looking to go gummy but want a more natural choice, there's SmartyPants Gummy Multivitamins. (See photo above.)They're smart because they contain only organic cane sugar, tapioca syrup, gelatin, pectin, citric acid, and natural flavors and colors, and eating anything organic means you are intelligent, concerned about your health and also looking out for the environment. And there's more good news for women: If you're low on calcium, several supplements are available in both gummies and chewy caramels--just like candy, only better for you. Maybe, but who cares if it tastes good. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Talent Search!

This notice goes out to any and all artists, writers and inventors, in fact anyone who has any ideas at all and is still breathing. Have you been waiting for an opportunity to have a solo art exhibit/have your manuscript published/ make money off your great idea? Well, that day has arrived, the time is nigh, it's happening here and now.

Just enter our Emerging Artists/ New Writers/ Inventive Inventors 2014 Competition and you might just be the lucky winner. Send your $50.00 entry fee (check, PayPal or credit card) today, along with this completed entry form:

Name_________________________________________

Address_______________________________________

Bank Account #_________________________________

Credit Card Information___________________________

Check off highest grade completed:
____Kindergarten
____ First Grade
____ Second Grade
____ Third Grade
____ Fourth Grade

Choose which word best describes you:
____ Moron
____ Idiot
____ Cretin
____ Bumpkin
____ Innocent

Now go sit by the mailbox and wait to hear back from us. (Be sure to bring a comfortable chair.)

Monday, March 24, 2014

High Hopes

Last night I had dinner at The Corner Room, a popular Portland restaurant. Naturally we checked it out first on Yelp; everyone loved it, so off we went. But despite trying really hard, I did not love it. I found the place much too noisy, with a lot of clinking and clattering amplified by hard surfaces and an open-style kitchen, and the food incredibly bland and boring even though it looked glossy and magazine-pretty when it arrived. But maybe that's just me.

I have no idea how or why I got this way, since I grew up in a middle-class family where my mother's cooking ran to opening a can of tuna and chopping up some celery, and her decorating flair included two of those porcelain lamps comprised of figurines, one of a shepherdess with a baby lamb nestled against her billowing skirts, the other a horn-blowing shepherd holding a staff, both topped with fringed silk shades. Still, my taste runs high and I can't help it; the slightest false note sends me plummeting into a funk. (Sadly, my son has inherited this trait and he too has ultra-high standards for every single thing he encounters, including me.)

Rather than finding fault with my fault-finding, I ask for your pity. Trust me, it sucks to find most things in life below par. I'm hoping that wherever I go next, everything will be a lot nicer.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Death Happens

Gloria Steinem turns 80 this week, and to celebrate she is going to Botswana to ride elephants. Somehow that news cheers me. Compared to her, I am a mere girl. And I don't have to go to Botswana, another plus, or ride an elephant, which honestly sounds like a good time but not worth the long flight.

Anyway, an article about Gloria getting old enough to be dead from natural causes is in today's New York Times, and it's clear that she's happy with who she is--even joyful, even now.  Best of all, she's had no plastic surgery, a commendable decision in anyone but even more so in a celebrity. (I do have one friend who shall remain nameless who had a facelift and looks gorgeous and much younger, etc., but that's rare.) Sadly, the article does not have a current photo, just an illustration and a picture of a young Gloria, so maybe at 80 she doesn't look all that great, even though she's so upbeat.

In the interest of embracing old age, which beckons, I am considering enrolling in a 40-hour hospice training course, after which I will become a hospice volunteer. That seems like a more valuable way to spend time than filling chocolate Easter baskets with jelly beans, we can all agree. My one and only fear is that immersing myself in death will be depressing. But hey, if we could all just not think as death and/or dying as a negative, our lives would improve 100%, and instantly! So I'm going for it. Bring it on: bereavement, terminal illness, mourning, grief, end-of-life care, advance directives, dementia, pain management, funeral arrangements, blah, blah, blah. I can take it.


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Gap

Things got ugly towards the end, as civilization slowly ground to a halt. Those few who could afford it drank and drugged themselves to excess, finding solace in whatever combination of chemicals and remaining fruits they could gather, be they toxic or not. Others gorged themselves on the dwindling stock of animals and vegetation. Since electricity was long gone, putting an end to passive entertainment like movies and television and the Internet, the people passed the time recounting stories of what it had been like in the last of the old days, when the poor were relegated to ghettos where they lacked access to basic needs while the rich had incredible luxuries, more than they could use in three lifetimes. For them, life was glorious!

Back then, a popular pastime among the downtrodden masses was reading about the rich--drooling over glossy picture books full of details about their incredible homes, their unfathomably expensive clothing, their fantastic vacations in distant lands, and the jewels and animal skins with which they adorned themselves.

Oh wait....I just remembered....that's today.

The Ethics of Pornography

There's an online interview going around with a skinny little girl with a huge nose who attends Duke University and stars in porn movies. She is appalled and hurt that her fellow students "don't respect her sex work" and treat her badly on campus when they find out what she does for a living. Apparently she is also quite the budding feminist, insisting that she "sets her own boundaries" and will not do anything she doesn't want to do. For example, thus far she has only done "girl-on-girl, girl-on-guy, one-to-one stuff, no anal or gang-bangs."

Obviously her parents raised her right. They must be so proud.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Start the Revolution

It's time for humans to go, it's as simple as that. I know that sounds eccentric, fantastic and insane, but you know me: I'm a kook, at least according to Google. Thus, as a kook, I suggest a revolution. In fact I can't believe we haven't had one yet. That "Occupy" thing last year got the ball rolling, but it fizzled out fast and netted nothing. I'm talking about a full-fledged, bottle-throwing, burning overturned cars, storm-the-rich kind of thing. Preferably it will begin in Beverly Hills.

Let me say right now that I personally will not participate but will instead cower under the bed inside my house because I abhor violence. But I also abhor the wealthy who literally burn their money while poor people go wanting for the basics.

An article in today's Wall Street Journal details the rich on vacation (like they need one), and it is downright sickening, appalling and beyond comprehension. They have private beaches! One hotel writes a personal message in the sand every day for the guest who is in that particular suite. Suites cost $24,900 per night, and are equipped with personal chefs, maids, butlers and masseuses! Many have private swimming pools and movie theaters! Luxurious furnishings and original artwork!

Where will it end? What will it take for the masses to rebel in this country? Come on people, get angry! But don't bother coming to Maine, we have nothing. A few lobsters, some lighthouses, crummy rocky beaches. Okay, a couple of rich people here and there, Glenn Close has a beach house here, big deal. But no masses, so I guess we're safe.

Looking to Shake Things Up

It's odd that absolutely nothing interesting has happened to me since moving to Maine. I wonder why that is. It might have to do with the simple fact that I don't get out much, and when I do there's nowhere to go, and there are only a million people in the whole state anyway. I'm not complaining, since I have sworn off complaining as I recently learned that is one of the 22 things unhappy people do and I want to be a happy person, I am merely observing.

It also might have to do with my age, since in our culture interesting things seem to happen mostly to younger people. But Janet Yellen is my age and she just became the head of the Federal Reserve, something I surely don't want to do but you must admit it's interesting. And Hillary Clinton is also my age and she will likely run for president, again something I would hate, but again, not boring.

Some of the more interesting things that involved me in years gone by include being kidnapped, finding dead people who committed suicide, attending Woodstock, meeting the Beatles, going to a happening in New York City where a live pig was slaughtered onstage, living in Salt Lake City, having natural childbirth, tripping on LSD, meeting Dustin Hoffman in a coffee shop in Greenwich Village before he was famous, driving across Canada from Quebec to Vancouver in the dead of winter, sliding down the emergency chute of an airplane because they got a bomb report, meeting Muhammed Ali, hiking in Bryce Canyon, having solo art exhibits and being diagnosed with lung cancer that turned out not to be lung cancer (thank God) but was quite an interesting experience anyway.

So now, on the docket for today: nothing. Later tonight my husband and I are going to a local club to see Los Lonely Boys, a rock band we really like, and I am sure to be the oldest person there, so that might be interesting. (Not complaining, just saying.) I might have to take up golf.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Maybe They Meant "Cook"

I have to admit that one of the things of which I remain proudest is the fact that the Daily Kos, a website with scads of radical lefty followers, actually mentioned me several years back. But since the Internet is the gift that keeps on giving, whenever you Google me there it is, the first or second thing you see. Personally I think the guy running things over there, Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga, is pretty damn kooky himself, and with a name like that, who knows what he's got going on. He might even know the whereabouts of that missing Malaysian jet. Anyway, the guy is only 42 and his blog is the largest mouthpiece for radical libs, so you have to hand it to him. The point is, he clearly makes some mistakes sometimes, since several years ago he labeled me a kook, and as anyone who knows me can attest, I am simply too boring to qualify for kookiness. As my grandmother would say, I should live so long.

In fact, a lot of what appears in print is wrong, wrong, wrong. For example, in our teeny-weeny, little local paper, an article that mentions one of my former business partners is completely distorted, making her ethics seem on the up and up when in reality she bent the rules to such a degree that Elton John looks straight by comparison. So I got out, not being "kooky" enough to lie to our customers.

To be honest, I wish I were a kook, which is defined as "one whose ideas or actions are eccentric, fantastic, or insane." Ha! If only, then I'd be a famous artist by now, like Damien Hirst, a cutting-edge New York artist who's 20 years younger than me and worth a fortune. Now he's a kook. He became famous for a series of artworks in which dead animals (including a shark, a sheep and a cow) are preserved—sometimes having been dissected—in formaldehyde and floating in big glass containers.

Come to think of it, Daily Kos must have meant "cook." That I am, and a damn good one too.

What to Do With a Dead Body

My friend Sue is into death. By that I mean she is a professional expert in hospice and palliative care, a subject most people would rather not think about, let alone talk about. But Sue soldiers on, comforting people at the end of their lives, and for that she will definitely enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Posting articles on Facebook about dying and death that make it impossible to ignore the inevitable, today Sue shared a cartoon about the difficulty of getting aging parents to discuss what they want done with their dead bodies.

Nobody likes to talk about this stuff. One exception was another old friend of mine, Nancy, who made me promise that I would stop by her casket before the memorial service to make sure her bangs were pulled down over her forehead, which she always believed was too big. Anyway, she's not dead yet but we are no longer friends, and it wasn't her gigantic forehead that drove me away. I trust Nancy has found someone else for forehead duty at her funeral, since I won't be attending.


As for me, I'm hoping not to leave a body behind. How embarrassing--to be dead and have people touching you and dressing you in clothes you didn't choose and laying you out like a giant whitefish in a deli case. The lack of a dead body is one of the things that an airplane crash has going for it, which is a morbid thought, but on those trans-Atlantic flights any comforting thought helps, especially since recent findings suggest that consuming alcohol while flying is bad for you. Explosions and drowning at sea also take care of the body, so I'm hoping to meet my maker in one of those ways. Otherwise, good old-fashioned cremation works for me, continuing a family tradition including my parents, several dogs and cats and a couple of very endearing parakeets.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Creativity and Colonoscopy

The endless supply of advertisements making us worry about all sorts of things leads me to believe that worrying is just about the most popular activity in America. There are ads for the usual, run-of-the-mill sources of anxiety, like erectile dysfunction, migraine headaches, the heartbreak of psoriasis, the itch of eczema, adult acne, loose dentures, rheumatoid arthritis, wetting your pants, depression, flood, car accidents, home invasions, the devaluation of the dollar, falling and not being able to get back up, finding love and being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Fortunately all of these problems have solutions you can buy, so you can relax and get back to your TV show. But the thing I worry about most is never mentioned, and that makes me think there's no cure, which is troubling.

Simply stated, my fear is running out of ideas that won't bum people out. Not only am I running low on optimistic thoughts, I'm almost completely out of previously un-thought thoughts. That's why I'm down to writing about it on my blog, instead of writing about something--because I could just not think of one other topic that isn't a total bummer. Like why are there so many more suicides among seemingly successful and wealthy people lately? And why can't they come up with a less nauseating prep for a colonoscopy? Are the two things related? And so on.

I hope by tomorrow I can think of something. And I hope they find that new colonoscopy prep soon, like in the next few weeks, because I'm having one next month and worrying about it is cramping my creativity, no pun intended. (Today I made a painting that looks, in a certain light, like my gastroenterologist, and believe me, he's not much to look at.)

Monday, March 17, 2014

FILM REVIEW: Tim's Vermeer

The Vermeer
A very cool documentary tackles the subject of art and what is it in a new and unusually entertaining way. Tim's Vermeer debuted to appreciative audiences at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival but was snubbed by the Oscars. Now it's playing in local theaters but not for long, so run out and see it before it's gone.

The Tim of the title is Tim Jenison, a real person who's got money to burn from several brilliant inventions he brought to market, especially something called Video Toaster which I never heard of but apparently lots of other people have. With a wild and wacky imagination running his life, he spent about five years trying to understand how painter Johannes Vermeer made those stunningly accurate, photographic-like paintings back in Holland in the 17th Century. This involved traveling to England where he met with the Queen and chatted with artist David Hockney, then on to Holland to check out the light where Vermeer did his work. It's all very amusing and droll, making you wish you had unlimited funds with which to indulge your own esoteric fantasies.

Tim
Among the things this movie lacks are a dumb script, loud special effects and famous celebrities, unless you count comedian Martin Mull, now old and serious, and magician Penn Jillette, fatter than you remember him, famous. Instead we are privy to the obsession of this one middle-aged man who, with the help of a team of professionals in their fields, reconstructs the room in a Vermeer painting called The Music Lesson so he can do a painting of it from real life. This happens inside an empty San Antonio warehouse, using a technique involving mirrors and teeny, tiny binoculars. Tim is not the first to suspect Vermeer of using more than his hand and eye to create his paintings; two books have taken up the subject in the recent past, and both authors are interviewed on screen.

A good deal of the 80-minute film focuses on Tim's careful application of paint, so if you're looking for action and adventure, look elsewhere. But Tim is witty and engaging, as is Jillette who serves as narrator, so it's a good time. In the end you're left to decide for yourself whether or not Vermeer cheated his way into history. As for me, I'm getting myself some mirrors to try it myself.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Serendipity

Five years ago when we bought our current home, one of the occupants at the time was a wire-haired dachshund named Louie. Visible through the front window, he was guarding the place when we arrived with the real estate agent. A sign on the front door suggested we give him a dog treat when we got inside to assure us of being welcomed warmly. I promptly fell in love with the house, and the dog.

We came back to see the house twice more, and each time there was Louie, stretched out on the couch looking out the front window. More treats, more hugs. We bought the house but Louie did not convey, and so he was gone from our lives forever. Still, whenever we saw a dog like him, either Mitch or I would exclaim, "Look, there's a Louie dog!"

Yesterday as we were walking in downtown Portland sipping our lattes we saw one and said it. The lady walking him overheard us, slowed down, and said, "His name is Louie!" We then asked her name, and she turned out to be the former owner of our home who we had never met. It was the real Louie, and he was just as lovable, although admittedly a tad grayer around the muzzle.

Truly LOST?

Sand artist in India pays homage to the missing plane.
It's shocking that those investigating the disappearance of Maylasia's Flight 370 have totally overlooked the obvious. As anyone who watched the TV series "LOST"--and by the way that's everyone--knows, it is quite likely that a zealous fan of the show simply wanted to make the fictional tale a reality. Yes, the plane was diverted, to some unknown island off the coast of Australia, or maybe Jakarta. The 239 people on board are probably right now making huts for shelter, catching fish for dinner, and figuring out who's the hottest. At least I like to pretend.

And why not? All the real news is so bad these days, it seems like we could at least try to imagine some cheerier scenarios. Otherwise the little children who are still happy in their innocence will soon enough learn to read the paper, and what will they find? Military showdowns, political scandals, murder and mayhem, death, disease and destruction. So try to think positive for just one day: Those people on the missing plane are all alive and likely having quite an adventure. I feel better.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Beware the Ides of March

Better get to it, whatever it is.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Today's Your Birthday

Happy Birthday, Debby Robertson! There, I said it. And I mean it too, but thanks to the birthday feature on Facebook, these days every "Happy Birthday" wish is now hollow. You don't even have to write the words yourself anymore, you just click where it says "wish so-and-so a Happy Birthday." I've stopped doing it; it's my own little rebellion against the abhorrent practice of getting credit for doing nothing at all. (Recently a friend of mine got 157 "happy birthdays" on Facebook, but mine wasn't one of them. Did he care?)

What does that mean anyway? Why wish a friend just one day a year to be happy? And why that particular day, as if the fact that you were born was your doing or resulted in anything worthy of celebration by every damn person who knows you, unless you have found a cure for cancer, ended homelessness, saved our forests, closed the hole in the ozone or figured out how to feed the world? What if you are some ordinary shlub who has done nothing of value to anyone, or worse, hurt people? Should you still be wished a happy birthday?

Every country has its own birthday customs. The oddest one occurs in Great Britain, where the Royal Family sends greeting cards to those celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday, and every year thereafter. How cheap can you get?

Debby's always ready for a party!
In China, we're all a year older, since they count age without a zero. A newborn's age is one, a 12-month-old is two, and so on.

My mother always said the same thing on my birthday, how it was really a day to celebrate her since she was the one who went through the pain of childbirth. Supposedly she was in the movies when she went into labor and was sorry she had to miss the ending. That might explain things.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cat Fight in 2016?

Jan announces retirement...
Today I did something I almost never do. I actually read the newspaper. And this is what I learned:

Authorities in Vietnam and China are pissed off at Malaysia and venting their anger because nobody can find that missing airliner that went off the radar five days ago. All that fighting should help.

Israel has voted to make the ultraorthodox weirdos, I mean Jewish men who live there join the army just like all the other Israeli citizens who turn 18. Until now they were allowed to skip it because they're so busy reading the Torah all day, and that's a whole lot cushier job. Naturally the law is being challenged by the Torah-readers.

The Republican Governor of Arizona has announced she will not run for re-election, despite being very popular in her state. Nobody knows what Jan Brewer is planning to do next, although many say it will be in politics. Perhaps run for president in 2016? (Cat fight!)

The 19-year-old mall shooter in Maryland who killed several people in January had no apparent motive, and so naturally he has been deemed mentally ill. He did say he had been hearing voices and was fixated on the Columbine shootings.

An explosion yesterday that caused two buildings to collapse in East Harlem killed three people and injured dozens more, yet I have not seen anything about it on TV or online. Paging Al Sharpton...

....and Hillary reacts to the news.
Some researchers at the University of California and Yale University with nothing much on their plates have studied Facebook posts and decided that "moods are contagious" on that website. If seems that if your friends post upbeat messages, then you'll feel better too. Happiness is more contagious than depression, thank goodness.

Another politician turns out to be a scumbag. The former Utah Attorney General traded political favors for campaign contributions during his time at the State house, back in 2009.

A young teen who died nine months after being hit in the head with a teargas canister during anti-government demonstrations in Turkey has got the masses up in arms again.

There was more, none of it good. I may have to go read Facebook just to pick up my spirits.

Whatever Gets You Through the Night

Sleeping late.
Since the beginning of recorded time, or at least 1986 when I married Mitch, man has traveled to support his family. In my husband's case, he's gone pretty much every week, sometimes for a day or two, sometimes for three or four, leaving me home alone, bereft and unprotected. Back when we lived in a crime-ridden urban environment, his absence cost me sleep, seeing as how I had to sit up all night with a baseball bat to protect my young from all the drug-crazed home invaders. But now that we live in Maine, and it's just me, and there are no nighttime invaders, I actually can fall asleep. Still, it gets lonely.

I am not a teddy bear person. Yes, they are cute, but it's just not my thing. So it was surprising when I fell for one several years ago. He was on display in the hunting department at L. L. Bean. I'm certain he called out to me, and despite my protests, weak ones I'm guessing, Mitch bought him.

At first I sort of tolerated the bear. Not wanting Mitch to feel slighted, I stuck him on a rocker in the corner of our  bedroom where he pretty much lives to this day. But over the past few years he has taken on a more important role. When Mitch is out of town, he sleeps with me, in the marital bed. Then when morning comes, it's back to the rocker. (Today, since it's snowing, he's sleeping in.)

Second-class citizen.
In the tradition of our family, the bear has no name. I think it's better that way; after all, we don't want to get too attached. (When my son was little, all his little bears were nameless, known simply as "blue bear" or "green bear," etc.) Truth be told, there's another teddy bear of undetermined ancestry in the house. This one lives on the top shelf of the guest room closet, but sometimes I bring him out to "cute things up" when we have an appropriate visitor who goes for that sort of thing. Believe me, those folks are out there.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Who's Up for a Partial Lobotomy?

                                                Gordon Studer
I recently read that some scientists believe memory loss in older people is not due to naturally aging cells, but is really because our heads are crammed full of so much stuff by a certain age, we're simply out of storage space. This makes sense and is the main reason I have refused to learn the rules of football, never memorized all the states and their capitols, and flunked calculus. If this hypothesis is indeed true, the task at hand is to unload all useless information and thus be able to remember why you went into the kitchen, where you put your car keys or who just called. What would you lose?

I know right off the bat that my husband, who is forever forgetting where he left his reading glasses, could greatly benefit by dumping those inane TV sitcom jingles from his youth, which he has retained flawlessly, including the ones for "Flipper," "Mr. Ed," "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Gilligan's Island." As for me, I am confident I will never again need to use any of the following:

The words to "Jabberwocky"
The details of the OJ trial
The Long Island Railroad stops between New York and Babylon (Just think what I could remember in place of "Rockville Centre, Freeport, Bellmore, Wantaugh, Seaford, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, Amityville, Copiague, Lyndenhurst and Babylon, all others change at Jamaica.")
All those piano lessons
The Pledge of Allegiance
My first marriage
The plot of "In Cold Blood"
General Burgoyne, "The Three-Pronged Attack," and Pocahontas
Certain scenes in "Silence of the Lambs"
That summer I went to day camp
The Holocaust
The lyrics to every Elvis song (except "Are You Lonesome Tonight?")
The recipes for Rice Krispy treats and Lipton's Onion Soup dip
My former home addresses and phone numbers


Rising Unemployment

Cute, but no cigar.
I recently took a job at a local chocolate shop that's sort of a big deal around here. This decision was borne of frustration rather than need. I certainly don't need candy--who does?-- and the hourly rate proffered would piss off Norma Rae. But I figured, hey, it will get me out of the house, and I'll be meeting new people, and I might even learn something.

So far I have learned that although you have to wear a hairnet when you are making chocolates, you don't have to wear rubber gloves even though you are forming little balls of peanut butter goop with your actual bare fingers. They explained why, and while it made sense at the time, still it seems wrong, and I don't get the hairnet thing at all. Is that in case you have head lice? Because if it is, you should not even be on the premises, you should be in quarantine.

The other thing I have learned is that you can buy big blocks of chocolate from another purveyor, then melt it down and pour it into molds shaped like bunnies or Bean Boots or moose or little baskets or wheelbarrows, then slap your own label on it and call it yours. Who knew?

The last and most important thing I learned is that working in a chocolate shop, especially when I don't really like chocolate, is not for me. Which is why I am quitting that job today. I may start a painting of a big chocolate bunny instead.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Can You Keep a Secret?

Everyone loves a secret. Some people can keep it to themselves, while others find someone to tell right away. For me it has to do with the origin of the secret. If it's first-generation my lips are sealed. But if it's second-generation, as in, "I promised so-and-so not to tell, so swear you won't tell anyone else," naturally I then tell everyone I know, and maybe even a couple of strangers.

The Internet is full of secrets. Which is odd, since if they are so secret, how did they get on the Internet? Yet, hundreds of "secrets" are disclosed every day, to anyone looking for them. Just a fraction of the secrets out there for the taking include:
7 Life Secrets of Centenarians (Forbes magazine)
Important Sushi Secrets
Food Industry Secrets
12 Secrets of Being Happy
The Secrets of Happiness (Psychology Today)
Seven Secrets to Happiness (Cosmopolitan)
All the Secrets of Happiness Explained (WebMD)
Free Secret Eating Habits (www.foodbabe.com)
50 Weight Loss Secrets (Reader's Digest)
19 Weight Loss Secrets from Around the World (www.health.com)
10 Diet Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss Success (WebMD)
13 Secrets the Weight Loss Pros Don't Tell You (www.abcnews.go.com)
8 Secret-Weapon Foods for Weight Loss
Dr. Oz Weight Loss Secrets (www.womansday.com/health)
Top 10 Secret Dating Rules (www.askmen.com)
Secrets of the Online Dating Industry
The Top 13 Dating Secrets of Men
5 Female Sex Secrets
Sex Secrets Every COSMO Girl Must Know (Cosmopolitan)
Never Before Told Elvis Secrets
Princess Diana's Secret Love (New York Post)
Diana's Butler Tells Some Secrets (TIME)
Secrets of the Michael Jackson Trial
Secrets of the O.J. Trial Revealed
Jackie Kennedy's Secret Love Life
Secrets of Making Money (PBS)
The Two Greatest Secrets of Investing
Emergency Medicine Secrets
10 Dirty Secrets About the Blood Pressure Drug Industry (youtube.com)
2 Easy Secrets for Lowering Your Blood Pressure
41 Secrets for Your Next Doctor Visit (Reader's Digest)
10 Cooking Secrets from Great Restaurant Chefs (www.kitchendaily.com)
Cooking School Secrets (www.esquire.com)
and my personal favorite....Secrets of the Obama Marriage.

The Other F-Word

What is the driving force behind the decision to become a celebrity? Fame seems like such an unhappy state of affairs, with so many drug addicts and alcoholics crawling into rehab many times over, and yet so many people chase after it, some in horrific ways, others finding it through no fault of their own. Once arrived at the top of the heap and securely ensconced in the public eye, different people handle fame differently.

Author J. D. Salinger became a recluse, as did the painter Georgia O'Keefe, and for that we can never thank them enough. Then there's Whoopi Goldberg, who is quite famous these days for nothing much, unless you count being ugly, having bad hair and wearing silly outfits reason enough. This morning, barely able to face the world yet glad to be alive considering a string of misfortunes I have suffered of late, I logged on to my computer and was slammed in the face with Whoopi being interviewed by Marlo Thomas and her new face.

Marlo asked Whoopi how she got her stage name, since she was born Karen Johnson. "I'm a farter," she answered, a habit which garnered comparisons to a whoopee cushion, that popular rubber toy used in "flatulence humor" that makes the sound of a fart when you sit on it. There's more to the story but that's really all you need to know, except maybe that she almost went with the name Whoopi Cushion but instead used "a family name" suggested by her mother. I can't be sure, but if I were famous and I were also, as Whoopi so brazenly put it, "a farter," I would not want that to be part of my legend. But hey, that's just me.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Obma's a Jrk

Go ahead, just try to spell it wrong....
Come on, this is just between us. I promise I will not tell a soul. But honestly, aren't you just a teensy bit sorry you voted for Obama? Okay, sure, anyone can misspell a word and omit a letter, but R-E-S-P-E-C-T? I mean who among us hasn't had that song drilled into their head so that spelling has nothing to do with it, it just comes tumbling out like those old Beatles lyrics or the words to "Earth Angel?" Of course, that's just people of a certain age. And too, so he made that silly mistake saying he has visited all 57 states, also no biggie. He was probably thinking of having a burger with ketchup after his speech, and you know, Heinz 57 or something. Everyone knows there are 50 states, and he just forgot on that one day.

But besides that, don't you think he's been a tad ineffective? I mean on the world stage? And maybe had too many big parties at the White House with Kanye and Beyonce and Paul and Elton? Really, what is that all about? How do those parties help us, the little guy? (Putin is obviously not impressed.)

So I'm having all these negative thoughts as I'm sitting here getting started on this year's taxes, and for the first time I really do not want to pay them. I mean really. Like is our money going to buy champagne for his next party or what? I just think of all those Obamaphones and how he's such a jerk and it irks me. My husband says we have to, but I'm not happy.

No Wonder They Call Them UGGS

A popular myth purports that the Eskimos have 40, or 50, or even 100 words for "snow." In fact, according to some scientists at the Smithsonian, this is actually true, depending. Central Siberian Yupik has 40 such terms, while the Inuit dialect spoken in Nunavik, Quebec, has at least 53, including matsaaruti, which means "wet snow that can be used to ice a sleigh's runners," and pukak, for "the crystalline powder snow that looks like salt." 

The English language also has a lot of words for snow. The most common ones are wintry mix, powder, sleet, flurry, flake, frost, blizzard, freezing rain, drift, whiteout and Nor'easter. But here in Maine there are even more, most of which are used primarily in March and a few in April. This morning, hearing from my neighbor Polly that we will be getting more of it every single day this week, and that on Wednesday and Thursday it may produce significant accumulations up to 8 inches, the following words for snow popped into my mind:
shit
fuck
dammit
crap
ugh
enough 
already
give 
me
a
break
you've
got
to
be
kidding
why
me
shovel
this
that's
bullshit
get 
me
out 
of
here
call
my
travel
agent
Florida 
here
I
come


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Blog Post Ideas

These donuts look great but taste potato-y.
1. I once dated a guy while he was on parole for dealing heroin. On our first date I unknowingly helped him steal 150 bicycles from a Sears warehouse. (He told me to wait in the truck, which he left idling, and then we'd go to dinner.)

2. Five minutes after they said "I do," my best friend's new husband followed me into the bathroom at the wedding venue and declared his love for me.

3. Online quizzes are so dumb. Today I took one that told me what cut of steak I would be, if I were a cut of steak.

4. Bizarre roommates you find on Craigslist can completely ruin your life.

5. Taking a menial job for $9 an hour when you are my age and don't need the money is just plain stupid.

6. If I could just come up with enough cupcake recipes, I might make money at this blog.

7. Maine is potato-happy. Potatoes are northern Maine's primary agricultural product, and have gotten a lot of bad press for being fattening and devoid of enough nutrition to warrant the eating of them. Two things they do with all these potatoes here are make candy, called needhams (after a man named Reverend Needham), and donuts, which are sold at a popular chain called The Holy Donut.  These items are unpalatable at best, unless you grew up eating them.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Another Little Bird Tweets

My husband and I are approaching our five-year anniversary of moving to Maine. This event will not spawn any celebrations with any friends, since we haven't made any friends here. We do have plenty of acquaintances, and that's always nice. People who say "Hi," and some who even lift a hand in a wave or stop for a chat on the road. But friendship is simply not something extended to people like us. According to several reliable sources, Mitch and I talk too fast and use big words, two things that are just not done around these parts. (There's simply no good reason to say "distribute" when you could say "hand out.") Also, we are originally from New York, and compounded the problem by living in Washington, D.C. for many years. Like the septic guy said as he was pumping out our sewage, "D.C.--now that's a hellish place to live."

The Bean Boot: Right for any occasion, all year long!
But we'll stay here, for so many reasons. Clearly, with so few people--the state's population is 1.329 million--there's virtually no crime and literally no traffic. The only bumper-to-bumper situation you encounter here is on a car dealership lot, except in summer when the "out-of-statahs" come, and then it's damn annoying. Our house is twice the size for half the cost of the one we sold in order to move here, and roughly a thousand times prettier. The hospitals are great, and in fact much better than in a crowded city. Here in Maine, the doctors actually know why you're in there.

Still, when recently an old friend of mine began working on a website about fashion in D.C., I felt more than a few pangs of jealousy. It's called mylittlebird, and you'll want to check it out if you live anywhere near there, or in fact anywhere. (www.mylittlebird.com) The plain truth is I wish I could participate. It's a start-up covering the world of fashion, home design, culture and more, in and around the nation's capitol, and it's sure to be an instant hit.

The first time I read it I laughed out loud thinking of a similar website for the ladies of Freeport, Maine. Fashion here is on an as-needed basis. Boots, wool socks, long underwear, heavy sweaters, puffy hooded parkas from November to April 1. After that, bug netting, yellow rain slickers, Tevas, backpacks and vests from L.L. Bean take the ladies through the summer. And then it's time for those sweaters again. Of course there are choices to be made, certainly boot-wise: Uggs vs. Bean Boot, Keene vs. Merrill, etc.

Truth is, I would rather be surrounded by a gaggle of dowdy, gray-haired ladies in sensible shoes than a crowd of well-coiffed, sophisticated fashionistas if it means I can always park right in front of the CVS when I pick up my blood pressure meds. Still, the thought of working with a bunch of talented, witty, sharp and creative women on a new venture is appealing. It's something that simply can't happen here, and that's kind of sad.



Friday, March 7, 2014

Do Your Heart a Favor

There is no end to the excuses people give for being fat and out of shape. Just now I heard a new one, and this is a hoot: "Chronic debilitating migraines" is the reason given by one woman for her excess girth. (Not to go too deep into it, but when I was a youngster, and until age 23, I had those. They sucked, and one thing they caused for sure is a lack of appetite. Somehow this lady got fat despite those headaches. Go figure.)

I'm pretty sure getting fat is caused by eating too much and not exercising. I'm not a doctor or a scientist, but I am a person who, one month ago, fractured a couple of ribs. That caused me to give up my daily fitness walks and lay about the house weeping, interspersed with sobbing, and of course, eating. I gained five pounds, and I don't like them one bit. But I'm still recovering, I tell myself. I am much better, and the sobbing and the weeping have stopped, so in one sense I'm getting even less exercise than ever.

Then today a friend told me about a friend of hers who suffered a massive heart attack. The woman, almost my age exactly, is now on life support. She's a fattie, about 60 pounds overweight. I went for a walk.

 

Man's Inhumanity to Chicken

Thank God for those touchy-feely Californians. Lawmakers out there correctly believe that an egg-laying hen should be allowed to lie down, stand up, turn around and fully spread its wings whenever the heck it wants to. After all, as anyone with a desk job knows, sitting down all day can cause leg cramps, backaches and worse. So they passed a law back in 2010 that will go into effect next year --what's taking so long is anybody's guess--that requires anyone keeping chickens to house them in an area that's big enough to allow a little exercise.

Well guess what: the creeps in six nearby states (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, Alabama and Oklahoma) that sell eggs in California are challenging that law, saying "building larger enclosures would mean hefty costs for producers," according to an article in today's Wall Street Journal.

                                                                              Erika LeBarre
This makes me mad. Here in Maine, where practically everyone you meet keeps chickens in their own backyard and sells their fresh eggs at the local farmers' market, or just at the end of the driveway, chickens have a great life. (Much better than the lobsters, certainly.) They are forever crossing the road willy-nilly, which we all know they love to do. Traffic stops for them, pictures are usually taken, and to thank us they deliver eggs that taste sublime, much better than the kind you get in the supermarket.

How mean can people be that they want the eggs but they don't give a hoot about the chickens? If you agree, don't buy any eggs unless they say "cage free" on the package. They cost a bit more but they taste a lot better, and doing so might just get you into Heaven when you die.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why See NON-STOP?

Liam Neeson as a brooding, alcoholic Air Marshal.
"NON-STOP," a new movie in all-caps about bombs and terrorists and scary stuff in airplanes is just about played out in most cities, but it's still showing here in Freeport. So, it being in the single digits despite this being solidly March already, I went to see it with my favorite movie friend. It was instantly forgettable, but if you're a movie buff with few requirements, see it for the following reasons:

1. For the ladies, it's non-stop Liam Neeson. I am pretty sure he is never off-screen, and if it's not his face we see, it's his hands or his fingers, which are surprisingly stubby for such a tall man. Most women love this Irish actor, who at 61 is definitely still hot. Plus we feel for him, since his real-life wife, actress Natasha Richardson, died in such a shocking and horrible way in 2009. Since then he has fairly reeked of sadness, and he's pretty sad in this movie, this time owing to another death in his pretend family. (Poor Liam, boo-hoo--no wonder he drinks!)

2. Then it's non-stop confusion, as in what the heck is going on, who was that guy, how was he involved, did that even happen, and what are they whispering about? So if you are trying to keep your mind sharp, like to stave off Alzheimer's, this is decent brain exercise. It's like playing Clue without having to move any pieces or write anything down. First you think it's this guy, then you know for sure it's that guy. Surprise, it turns out to be the other guy after all!

3. You get to see an Academy Award winning actress in a film she made before she won the award have almost no lines and be completely invisible. This year's Best Supporting Actress, Lupita Nyong'o, plays a stewardess who adds nothing to the story whatsoever. But then again, neither do any of the other women, including another invisible stewardess I never heard of and Julianne Moore, the big star sitting in Business Class, plus a smattering of extras in Coach. Among them they have like six lines.
Two NON-STOP ladies.

4. If you are recovering from minor surgery, are worried about an upcoming colonoscopy, or just had a big fight with someone, it's a great way to forget about all that for awhile. This is Hollywood at its best!

5. It's the first movie (I've seen) where texting plays such a major role. In fact, the actual Texts were onscreen more than Julianne Moore, who mostly walked around aimlessly, sort of like she had wandered onto the set by mistake and the director said, "Hey, let's keep her in, she's cute." Don't miss the final moments, when after surviving a horrifying, terrifying and traumatizing experience, Julianne bats her eyes at Liam and the two of them act like they just met on Match.com.

People We Love to Hate


Members of the middle class who hate the rich, blaming them for their own failures, mask their jealousy with concern for the poor. They call the rich mean-spirited and evil, despite secretly wanting what they've got. They beseech the government to strip them of their wealth, no matter if it was hard-earned. At the same time, they see the poor as generous and loving folk, the salt of the earth, scraping their fingers to the bone to feed their families while the heartless rich party til dawn at bacchanalian champagne soirees. 

They do this without actually knowing any rich or any poor, but instead blindly accepting media reports and commentary by the likes of TV personalities Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher, all three of them millionaires from selling that particular schtick.

I was born into America's lower middle class. Like all babies, I had nothing to do with my station in life at birth. I am fortunate enough, after college and years of working, to now occupy a higher rung of the middle class. That's where I met and married a smart and driven type-A workaholic who thrives on productivity and has been rewarded for his innate drive and ambition by generous employers who rightly regard him as a valuable asset.

Because of that, I get to drive a brand new Saab instead of a beater, and my husband drives an SUV that drinks gas like there's no tomorrow. Should we feel guilty for this? Should we do more than give to various charities and engage in occasional volunteerism? Perhaps my husband should do his job for less pay, or give all his earnings to those we label "poor," but that doesn't seem fair. Besides, he'd probably work less. Just what can we do that would assuage all the bleeding hearts?
Oh, wait a minute, I know what. We could put up a lawn sign that says, “Tax the rich!” And get a couple of Obama bumper stickers for our cars.
And about those cars, it might behoove us to get a Prius or two, or maybe a Jetta or a Subaru, I'm not sure what's in liberal driveways these days.

Paul Simon's American Tune

                                Erik Johansson

I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered.
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease. 
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered, 
or driven to its knees. 
But it’s all right, it’s all right--
I've lived so well so long. 
Still, when I think of the road we’re traveling on, 
I wonder what went wrong. 
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Brain Injury = Sean Hannity

I have never kept my disdain for the media a secret. Basically, I think they are all evil, with a few exceptions (Brian Rooney, Alex Hagan, Mike Emanuel, Candy Crowley).  But Sean Hannity actually looks like the Devil, and he is surely one to be disdained, at the very least. I never watch his TV show, but I do hear him on my car radio from time to time, usually by accident when it's already tuned to the station that carries his show when I start the engine. That was the case today when I heard him say just about the dumbest thing ever.

In case you don't know, Sean lives to criticize President Obama. He must lie awake nights trying to come up with bad things to say about him. When there are legitimate issues that's understandable, since Hannity is a rabid, rabble-rousing Republican. (He loves Sarah Palin, so that shows you where his head is.) But still, today he came up with something so shockingly irresponsible, my jaw dropped open.

Apparently there is a photo circulating on the Web of President Obama riding a bike and wearing a bike helmet "like a little girl," contrasted with a photo of President Putin looking manly, swimming in the icy waters of a lake in Northern Ireland. Sean complained about how emasculated Obama appeared, thus bringing shame to all Americans. He further explained that he personally had never worn a helmet-- not ever-- even when he was a kid, and neither had any of his friends, and he rode his bike a lot, don't kid yourself, and is just fine today. Finally, he stressed that he would never wear one now because they look so silly.

Here are some pertinent facts:
1. There are 2 million Traumatic Brain Injuries annually, or one every 15 seconds.
2. About 75% of all bicyclists who die each year die of head injuries.
3. 85% of head injuries in bicycle accidents can be prevented by wearing a helmet.
4. As America's second highest paid radio host, Sean's annual income is between 22 and 25 million.

You do the math.

The Plowman Cometh (Again)

It's snowing here, as usual. It is winter after all, and in Maine, in winter, it snows. Whenever it snows, it's difficult to get the cars out. Still, it can be done--unless you wait too long, like you get dressed or have breakfast, and the town plow comes by and clears the main road in front of your house by pushing the snow into a big hill at the foot of your driveway. Then you're stuck.

It's ironic, since the only reason the town plow comes along is to make the roads passable for the people who live on them, which they then can't use because of the giant moguls at the end of their driveways. It's one of those Catch-22 situations. We all see them all the time, and we all say they are examples of Catch-22, which was the title of a novel by Joseph Heller, but here is something that almost no one knows about me: Unlike just about everyone else on the planet, from all walks of life (see photo), I never read that book. I started it many times, but then it never grabbed me, especially being about war which I avoid at all costs, so I stopped. Still, I get the concept.

That's just one teeny loophole in my education. There are many others, yet I still think I'm pretty smart. Things like not knowing the exact location of Darfur or North Dakota on a map might seem important to some, but I consider those recreational activities rather than examples of native intelligence. But the fact that the plow guy clears the road for people to drive on while making it impossible for them to get on it: that's dumb.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Catty Oscars Redux

It's funny that people always chide me for being too outspoken, for saying what I think, when really I'm just saying what they think but won't say because they want people to like them. (Me, I just want to be liked by the people who like people who say what they think.) My proof is that today's earlier post about the Oscars has gotten more readers than almost any other post I have ever written. In fact, I have received several requests to keep going. People love to read the very trash they won't say themselves. So here's some trash you already know but won't say out loud:

The Winners
I did not see "12 Years a Slave" because why the heck would I? It's about slaves. Who wants to pay good money to see enslaved people being whipped, raped and humiliated? Slavery was outlawed for being an abomination, so why make a movie about it? Just to make black people feel even more entitled to sympathy, reparations and Obamaphones? And if it was the Best Picture, how come it didn't have performances by the Best Actor or Best Actress in it, and the Best Director didn't direct it? An obvious ploy to keep racial tensions at bay, I'll skip it thanks. Besides, hasn't that story been told? Didn't they already do everything in "The Help" and "Django Unchained"? Just how many of these Slavery Was Horrible movies do we need to sit through?

Some guy, I think, named Jared Leto with very long hair is now all the rage. I had never seen him until on TV last night, and I must say that I was underwhelmed. But apparently he is very popular and won Best Supporting Actor for playing a person with AIDS who also was a transsexual, or cross-dresser, or something along those lines. This is also another cool thing to be today: gender mysterious.

Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor also for pretending to have AIDS. Again, I did not see the movie because it's about AIDS, which I don't have and thank God, and my leisure time is not going to be spent watching people dying. Matthew made a nice speech that went on way too long and became embarrassing when he named himself as his own hero.

A young Kenyan actress, Lupita Nyong'o, won Best Supporting Actress for the slave movie. She was very sweet and said things like "follow your heart and your dreams can come true," which was a veiled way of saying, "Not only can someone from Kenya become President of the United States, but she can also become a movie star."

I already mentioned Cate Blanchett winning Best Actress for "Blue Jasmine." Her performance was riveting and made me cry; I saw it twice in a theater, just for her final monologue, but now I think she is a fool because she doesn't know the meaning of "exacerbate," and yet she used it in a sentence in front of millions of people on TV. I think it's best to test unknown words out in a smaller group before going global.

The Host
Whoopie, push up your damn glasses.
Ellen De Generes is cute and funny. She was almost the only good thing in the whole show, although the ordering of three pizzas was beyond dumb. What kind of a hotshot celebrity is going to eat pizza on his or her lap when they are dressed up in fancy silk dresses and tuxedos with starched white shirts? And why too, when they are all going to big parties afterwards where they will be eating truffle mousse and caviar quiche and gravlax tortes and filet mignon and the like? Were we all supposed to feel closer to them because they eat pizza just like us regular folks?

The Hangers-On
Harrison Ford was either drunk or stoned, or both, which is fortunate for him as he likely does not remember how badly he butchered his few lines. Naomi Watts sported a brand new face, that one all the young actresses seem to be getting out there. Kate Hudson had on the very same face, and so did Charlize Theron. All three looked like statues, apparently afraid to move in case their skimpy dresses slid off of their breasts, which were also skimpy and looked like pancakes. Pancake breasts are very big in Hollywood these days--there was not a decent boob in the place unless you count John Travolta who didn't know the name of the woman he was introducing. And by the way, I think his hair was painted on. Among the living but certainly looking dead, Bill Murray is only 63 but looked decades older. He seemed to be up way past his bedtime, actually yawning on camera. Whoopie Goldberg as usual looked like a damn fool with those glasses sliding down her nose. I guess that's her shtick, and she certainly has perfected it over the years.

The Talent
Pink singing "Over the Rainbow" was the only talent in evidence, aided by Judy Garland on the screen behind her in scenes from "The Wizard of Oz." (I miss Judy.) That "Happy" Pharrell guy with the big forest ranger hat and the red hi-tops looked like he was off his meds, and his song was insulting to anyone who has any real problems. Hey, just be happy! Like us, we are all millionaires and beautiful with swimming pools and big houses and we are all happy! I suppose Bette Midler was okay, except I was so distracted by her cheek implants, which seemed to have a life of their own, that I missed her whole act.

Saddest Thing
Bruce Dern has been a fabulous actor all his life, is now 77, and has never gotten an Oscar. He should have been named Best Actor for "Nebraska."  But I guess dying of AIDS trumps being old and cantankerous.