Monday, June 30, 2014

Old, Proud and On TV

With the exploding cacophony of TV shows about trailer park trash, rich bitches, hoarders, daters, naked daters, addicts, home buyers, fishermen, truckers, dress designers, entrepreneurs and whatever those guys are on Duck Dynasty, it's obvious that Reality TV is all the rage. Just on Maine's Craigslist alone, under the heading of, "tv/film/video," I regularly find ads seeking people who are willing to be humiliated for a fee in front of a nationwide audience.

This morning's crop includes ads for "pregnant women due after September 15th who are willing to give birth on TV to promote natural birthing" and "formerly incarcerated hot girls." (They will also consider you if you have merely been arrested but not jailed.)

Sadly, I fit neither category and so cannot apply and become the next Honey Boo Boo, which made me realize the gaping hole in the whole reality TV thing: senior citizens. There are plenty of them, quietly living their lives without so much as a peep out of them. An ad for that reality show might read something like this:
Are you 65 or older? Does it take you ten minutes or more to swallow all your medications each day? Is it harder and harder for you to get up the stairs every night? Do you have one or more fake body parts? Do you wear trifocals, dentures or a hearing aid and regularly forget where you put them? Does your wardrobe include a truss, compression stockings, wigs or a colostomy bag? Do you find eating annoying, young people extraneous and sex boring? Did you already forget what this ad is even about? If so, our producers are looking for you to star in our new reality TV show, "Don't Forget Me, I'm Still Here."

Now that's something I could get behind.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

We Keep Evolving

There's war in Iraq, a growing AIDS epidemic in New York State and a glut of illegal immigrants at the South Texas border, none of which seems to improve, causing us all to wonder just who's in charge here. I say forget the politicians; it's the bakers who will save the day. Just when things look really bleak, the deep thinkers at Nabisco have produced something to cheer about: Limeaid Oreos are in your supermarket now! Early reviews are positive, with consumers and food critics saying, "they taste like Skittles between two cookies," and how yummy does that sound?

Those people are always thinking; last summer they came up with a watermelon Oreo, and since then have experimented with lemon and berry flavors. At approximately 50 calories each, each cookie contains absolutely nothing beneficial to the human body, so you can eat them with abandon if you are into self-punishment. However, taken with a glass of milk they can be downright healthy, so go easy.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Real Life is Scary Enough

The worst are scary movies about real life things.
This morning I woke in a bad mood and with a slight headache. The fluffy cat cozily snoring in the crook of my arm suddenly turned and scratched my hand, the very one that was petting him. This drew blood and pissed me off. Throwing him to the floor I got up and grumpily started my day. Then I remembered: I'm still alive while others are not, so what the heck am I grousing about?

With the world in chaos everywhere you look, except on Facebook where everyone is having just the loveliest time (but for those brave souls who actually admit to being depressed), it's hard to stay happy, or even just not miserable. It takes constant vigilance and a clear plan, which a dear friend of mine has been teaching me. You've got to rescue yourself from those dark clouds hanging overhead, ready to drench you with the acid rain of envy, sadness, disappointment, boredom, resignation and even horror.

So I found it odd when I saw a TV ad for a new movie about to open claiming to be "the scariest movie you will ever see," like that's gonna get you into the theater. Among the bombardment of critic's blurbs splashed across the screen was the following boast: "DISTURBING ENOUGH TO UNSETTLE YOUR SLEEP FOR WEEKS!" Really, is that good thing?

Here's something else that can unsettle your sleep short-term, a true fact and not just my own experience: eating blue cheese. We had some for dinner last night and, as always, it made for a nutty dream involving my old friends Martha and Bill, two people who have never even met but there they were--packing for a trip together and without me! Which is why I woke up in that bad mood. Lord knows I am not going to see that scary movie, whatever it's called.

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Washington Star

Someone I used to know died yesterday. A former Washington Post writer-- her original title was gossip columnist but she far exceeded that--Diana McLellan and I worked at the same newspaper, the long-defunct Washington Star, in what now seems like another lifetime. She retired years ago but remained a vibrant presence until her last breath, brightening everyone in her path with her personal resilience and over-the-top candor.

I remember being wowed by her when she underwent a facelift many years ago, long before it became a rite of passage for aging starlets and rich suburban housewives. Diana wrote a first-person account, complete with gory details and accompanied by unflattering pictures, that was published in Washingtonian magazine. Over the ensuing years, whenever I bemoaned my sagging face in the mirror and considered having the procedure, I flashed on Diana's story and decided against it.

Now well beyond my facelift dreams, I consider her advice about writing when I am fortunate enough to get a paying gig: “Collect info sober, write drunk, and edit after coffee. Also, keep expenses as high as possible or they won’t respect you.” 

The fact that this whirlwind of energy and creativity was felled by disease is another (bleak) reminder that we too shall die, including the best among us. So however you can, make today count.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Happiness Is Not for Everyone

If I read just one more article about How to Be Happy I shall run screaming into the night, never to be heard from again. There's one of those online today, originally published in Psychology Today, the magazine aimed at all those wildly neurotic people who become shrinks to try and make themselves feel less crazy and the people who pay them to listen to their problems, but that's another story.

This particular article says things like "Happy people take risks and are adventurous." For example, they go out for Ethiopian food even if they've never had it before instead of opting for the safety of the same old pizzas or burgers, and apparently that just makes their day. Or they get off on other people's successes instead of that making them feel like a piece of shit failure, like when their friend gets into Cornell Medical School and they can't even get wait-listed at a crappy community college, still they send the friend a congratulatory dozen roses.

The truth is that happy people are born with blinders on that block out a lot of the negative stuff of life and thus are happier to begin with which is how they got into Cornell in the first place. Those articles never say that.

Hands Off My Teeth

Like everyone, we get a lot of junk mail at our house. Some days that's all there is, which accounts for the four giant recycling bins inside our tiny post office. Yesterday it was all junk except for one little newsletter from our local water department. Printed on a single sheet of legal-sized paper folded three times, it purported to be the 2013 Water Quality Report for the South Freeport Water District. I figured I'd better have a look, just in case they're poisoning us.

It turned out to be almost too boring to read, and incomprehensible to anyone lacking a degree in chemistry, but one thing jumped out at me that I could understand: they put fluoride in our water "to promote dental health." Despite being all for dental health,  and who isn't, that bothered me. How come "they" worry about my teeth but nothing else? Why not add a few vitamins and maybe a little fish oil to help with my arthritis? Besides, my teeth are not the issue but my high blood pressure is--maybe they've got something for that.

My husband is all for fluoride even though he doesn't like Common Core. Nobody seems to like Common Core, whereby the federal government decides what our kids should learn in school and when. (Funny how some government intervention is applauded but some is not.) If you ask me, a nice smile won't help you all that much if you can't read or do simple arithmetic.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

No More Ads

Everybody wants my email address. By "everybody" I mean total strangers with something to sell, usually on the Internet. Just now I clicked on a photograph of an intriguing piece of furniture painted in an unusual way that I wanted to learn more about, but before I could, a message box came up that demanded my email address or I could go no further. (I went no further.)

What all these strangers don't know about me is that I have Reverse Advertising Syndrome (RAS), which results in my totally ignoring and actually blackballing any product I see in a commercial or a print ad. That one and only symptom of RAS pops up when someone insists that something I never heard of is really great, and then I don't want it. Consequently I am on my own when it comes to purchasing. This makes it all quite exciting to get something back home and see if it works, or tastes good, or whatever.

If everyone else contracted RAS, perhaps all those annoying ads would stop and that horrible Flo from the insurance company would finally go away.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

God Bless the Daily News

                                Gordon Studer
Despite having invented the sitcom laugh track, the clearest evidence of man's stupidity (as if hearing other people fake-laughing will make one think something that is not funny actually is), he is a marvel. He is now growing leather in laboratories, using tissue taken from animals in a painless biopsy procedure that doesn't seem to upset the animal one bit. This is good news for people who like leather but don't like killing animals so they can get a new handbag or pair of loafers, although I think that's still still quite a long way off. Still, it's in the works.

This random fact concerning an advancement in science was tucked well inside my daily paper. It was not on the front page, still it was there. I only had to walk to the end of my driveway to retrieve my copy, delivered each morning for a reasonable fee, and I got to learn about an amazing array of things taking place here and abroad that I would never know otherwise, all while I was still in my jammies. I also learned that Safra Catz, the CEO of a company named Oracle, was paid $43.6 million last year. That sounds like a lot, but actually it was down from the $51.7 million she earned the year before. Poor Safra. (Oracle declined to comment.)

Anyway, read a newspaper today and get smarter.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Latest Craze

According to my independent research, not funded by any government and taken directly from my blog stats, more people want to read about fat women in bikinis or fat people in general than dead folks sitting up, or even lying down, or being dead in any position. This is odd since we will all die but we will not all become fat. In fact, many people would rather die than be fat, yet death is still quite an unpopular subject. What is way more popular is gluten.

Or actually, gluten-free. While hard evidence suggest that the whole gluten thing is a relatively meaningless hoax except for those few unlucky souls who are actually allergic to it, pretty much everything for sale these days claims to be "gluten-free," even products that never had gluten in the first place and couldn't even use it if it tried. There is even a gluten-free dating website, ensuring that God forbid a million times, your partner should also never eat gluten.

I am wondering if I should get a gluten-free car when my current Saab lease ends.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dead Party Animals

This lady is not much of a conversationalist.
There is an article in today's Times about the growing practice among some lunatics of having their dead loved ones embalmed sitting up, thus allowing them to be present at the wake or whatever kind of service is held in their honor. After all, it's their party--why should they be stuck in a box and miss out on all the festivities? To be honest, I did not read this article but had parts of it read to me by my husband, who found it fascinating. In fact, based on Mitch's enthusiastic interest in the whole thing I'm hoping he goes before me, that's all I can say.

Included in the story is a photo (see above) of a dead woman sitting up at a table with a pack of smokes and a glass of wine in front her, and wearing sunglasses to boot, perhaps to block out that "white light" we hear so much about.  If nothing else, the article makes one thing perfectly clear: A lot of people are just plain nuts.

I think it's bad enough to have to tolerate so many people who are talking nonsense most of the time while they live and breathe, we certainly should be able to be rid of them once they stop. I say burn everyone, not like Hitler did it but one at a time, and with a nice ceremony, and maybe a pretty box or vase for the ashes if somebody wants to keep them. (I know from personal experience that they often return from the crematorium in a paint can, or perhaps a plastic bag.) Or you might spread them anywhere you like, that's your business. But please, let's have no sitting corpses at funeral homes mingling with the mourners, or next thing you know people will be using them to get onto those high-speed HOV lanes on the freeway.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Film Review: JERSEY BOYS

Although the running time of "Jersey Boys" is two hours and 14 minutes, still it's over too soon, which says a lot. Despite its numerous flaws, this film adaptation of the smash Broadway hit about the rise of a 1960's rock and roll superstar gets under your skin and stays there, at least until the next day; I saw it last night and woke up with a smile just remembering it.

Besides the infectious and unmistakeable sound of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, the young "boys" of the title who recorded a ridiculous number (29) of chart-toppers back when I was a teenager, the film has two old pros lending it gravitas: actor Christopher Walken delights as a local mob boss with a soft spot for Frankie, as does director Clint Eastwood's unerring eye for detail. Added to their talents are the seemingly endless musical numbers featuring an endearing lead actor who can't really act but sure can sing. (His name escapes me, but unless you saw the Broadway version you never heard of him, or any of the others either.)

As for the whole Walk-Down-Memory-Lane thing that Eastwood does so well: The cars, the clothes, the hair and the lingo are all perfect, and if you were born too late to experience that era for real, this will give you the chance.

Friday, June 20, 2014

I Pledge Allegiance... or Do I?

I read today that the median income for the American household is $44,500, which translates into 19th worldwide as compared to all the other countries where they have houses and incomes. Let's face it: 19th place is not good by any stretch of the imagination. We rate 17th and 26th in math and science scores for our high-schoolers, and we're the second-fattest nation which is not as good as it sounds, and we have really high rates of suicide and heart disease and crime. So I ask you--what is so damn great about us that we keep running around touting America as the greatest country on the world? (This may be the only point where I agree with Obama, who tells everyone he meets that America sucks.)

Anyway, while being an American has been fine so far, I would love to live in another country at least for the experience, but where? Of all the places I have been, the most appealing is Italy, but I'm afraid I would turn into a raging alcoholic with all the wine drinking. They start at lunch. Also, the pasta. No, Italy is simply too fattening. Haiti was fun and interesting, and there is no end to all the do-good opportunities, but cholera is a definite turn off. Israel could be illuminating, except for the bombs and being right next door to crazy people. Mexico you might end up really retired.

I guess I'll stay in Maine for awhile, since it's sort of its own little country. Better, even, than the rest of the States. Still, America seems to be going downhill. One can only hope our next president will turn things around.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Once You Go Black, You Never Go Back"

Oh come on, that is not racist of me to say. Everyone knows that expression, everyone says that expression all the time, and we all know it's true. In fact, it's true for me: I am hooked on having a black president making us all feel so egalitarian, I just want a better one, not a dummy like-- you know.

So who might it be? While there are many fine black leaders who spring to mind, my all-time dream candidate would be Juan Williams, the incredibly articulate and fair-minded news analyst often seen doing battle on FOX News. But surely he's not about to give up his lucrative career in broadcasting for the miasma known as politics. Of course there's Condi who could certainly ace the job, and she's a woman just like Hillary alleges to be, so that would level the playing field. But Condi also wants to have a nice life and I hear she likes to play the piano and is heavy into sports. Therefore, The Daily Droid endorses Dr. Ben Carson for president in 2016. As for his campaign slogan, see the title of this post.

Cereal Murderers

Today's Wall Street Journal reports that cereal makers are worried because consumers are eating less of their stupid products, instead choosing healthier options. (The nerve of some people!) With sales remaining flat or falling every year since 2000, manufacturers are turning their backs on little kids and instead focusing their attention on the market share that seems most promising: Big kids. Apparently, 20- and 30-somethings who play video games late into the night are keeping their scores --and themselves--up by chomping on the likes of Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

This is alarming in light of the fact that ours is the second-fattest nation in the world after Mexico, and suggests that tomorrow's leaders are puffing up and dumbing down on empty calories packaged inside of waxed paper inside of cardboard boxes, adding insult to injury if you get my point. Following are just a few of the cereals crowding the marketplace. Their names say it all: good nutrition is not an option.

Special K Chocolate Almond
Special K Chocolatey Delight
Frosted Mini-Wheats
Kellogg's Honey Smacks (55.6% sugar, originally called Sugar Smacks)
Froot Loops Marshmallow (also responsible for poor spelling)
Kellogg's Smorz
Cocoa Pebbles
Cocoa Krispies
Cocoa Puffs
Count Chocula
Cookie Crisp
Chocolate Crunchfuls
Chocolate Krave
Chocolate Lucky Charms
Berry Lucky Charms
Golden Grahams
Peanut Butter Crunch
Waffle Crisp
Rice Krispies Treats

Do your part and don't buy any cereal you don't have to cook before eating. Oatmeal is a particularly wise choice.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fat Women in Bikinis

Fat women in bikinis, sitting down and eating.
Recently a friend suggested that this blog might be a good venue for a critique of a YouTube video he saw about fat women wearing bikinis at the beach. He sent me the link and I watched it, and indeed there was a fat woman in a bikini. She claimed the reason she wears one in public is because she has just as much right as anyone else to do so, and that "she doesn't give a shit," and "if you don't like it, fuck you." Her potty-mouth reminded me of my husband's cousin who is also fat and foul-mouthed, making me think that being overweight causes distress.

As for my fat people phobia: I don't care how they look, which is bad, and I don't care how they talk, even when they curse a lot; who doesn't? What I dislike about the obese, besides the obvious threat to their health, is what they had to do to get that way and how hard they have to work to stay that way. Keeping your weight up doesn't come easy: you've got to spend a lot of time eating, and sitting, and sitting down and eating some more, and then lying down and maybe even eating more, and that just seems like a terrible waste of time, and life, and an insult to God.

They can dress how they like, although I must say that fat women in bikinis, while grossly unattractive, perform a valuable service for mankind, helping the rest of us to eat better lest we end up looking like that.

Monday, June 16, 2014

'Memba Him?

You don't have to look very far for evidence of man's inferiority. In fact, this morning all I had to do was peer over the top of my coffee cup at today's paper and read the following: "Bill Clinton is by far the most admired president of the past quarter century, according to a new poll."

Who would trust this guy?
Lest you've forgotten, since now he's an older, thinner, white-haired second banana to his enabling wife, here are just a few of his accomplishments back in his prime:
Paula Jones (sued him for sexual harassment)
Gennifer Flowers (nude model with whom he had sex)
Monica Lewinsky (he ruined her life, she was 21, the blue dress)
Katherine Willey (sexual harassment charges)
Juanita Broaddrick (claimed he raped her)
Invaded Grenada on the day of his impeachment
"Don't Ask Don't Tell" (told gays in the military to just shut up)
Redefined the word "is"

The fact that he is admired by anyone for anything speaks volumes about our values as a nation and as a species.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

President Goofball

It must be great to be Barack Obama. He's goofy but it doesn't seem to matter. He still gets to live in luxury, fly around in his own plane, hobnob with celebrities, take lots of vacations at posh resorts and basically do whatever he wants as long as he shows up to read his prepared statements concerning current events, about which he doesn't even need to keep up, since his staff will fill in the blanks. But the best part, besides all the golf, is that he can blame every bad thing that happens during his term of office on the guy who had the job before him, even though he's had the job himself for the past six years. Is this a great country or what?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Look Beyond Surgery

I have recently started, or actually re-started since I did it about six years ago back in D.C. but then we moved, to work with a Feldenkrais practitioner. Instead of getting a new hip installed by a surgeon, costing me and the health care system many thousands of dollars and losing out on several months of my normal life, I'm working with a woman to enhance the function of the bones I was born with. She charges a whole lot less and it seems to be working: I have no pain and I won't set off any alarms at airport security. I'm also taller.

Surgery is so popular with my generation, mostly because it's the easy way out, except for all the horror. I just don't get it, when there are other options. Learn about Feldenkrais. Getting in touch with your inner skeleton just might work for you.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Blue Hair Special

The practice of dining out early has always been seen as something old people do. Jerry Seinfeld had a field day with that on his sitcom, frequently mocking his Floridian parents and their cronies who went out for the Early Bird Special. The implication was that the old coots were eager to get home and take their teeth out.

This despite sound nutritional evidence that stopping eating by 7:30 at night helps you lose weight, sleep more soundly and digest your food better. Scientific findings have proven that after eating your body converts those calories it doesn't burn immediately into triglycerides, and so plopping into bed leaves you with high levels that actually increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. And indigestion, the feeling that your entire dinner is hanging out at the bottom of your esophagus just waiting for you to make one wrong move before it comes marauding back, makes you regret you ate that much, so late.

But still, late dinners are so much more sophisticated, or so it's been said by those people who make up The Rules of Conduct. Until now, that is. Suddenly Manhattan restaurateurs, tired of all those unsold 5:30 reservations, have begun spinning it as "cool" to eat dinner early, avoiding a long wait for a table and combining happy hour with dining. To entice people stuck in their safe ruts (and who isn't) to give it a try, restaurants are promising special attention from the staff and first crack at the evening's specials.

Pretty soon only dummies out of the loop will eat dinner late.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Film Review: CHEF

The chef and his boy take to the road, tweeting all the way.
Yes, this is one of those "feel good" movies, but is that so bad? At times it seems shallow, but shallow means you won't drown-- in the overwritten script, overwrought plot, or over-the-top shenanigans typical of most Hollywood movies these days. The fact is, "Chef" is understated fun. Not a rollicking good time, but happy. Nothing bad happens to anyone. Life is quirky and interesting and full of iPhones and tweeting, so you're never alone.

Certainly a movie titled "Chef" is likely to be about cooking, but this is extreme; there was so much luscious-looking food being prepared and eaten that I nearly took a chunk out of the padded armrest of my theater seat. Popcorn or candy would have helped, but my friend and I left the theater craving something more substantial--like meat, maybe because it was missing from the movie. (Whatever you do, eat something before you see this.)

Writer-director-star Jon Favreau is a natural. He's so convincing as the star chef at a trendy California restaurant who reinvents himself as a purveyor of street food that I'm guessing he wasn't acting but just showed up on the set and started saying stuff. His two sidekicks (John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale) and the adorable 10-year-old son he bonds with for the first time are equally adept. Except for Dustin Hoffman in a cameo as a mean asshole, a role we don't buy this late in his long career of lovable characters, there's not a sour note anywhere.

A great salsa beat underscores everything, and the foodie road trip--with stops in Miami's hip South Beach, the French Quarter in New Orleans, and somewhere in Texas--keeps you from drifting off. Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson are minor characters who look pretty but not much else, but then again, when you're that pretty you don't really need to be much else. The same might be said of this film.

No Wonder I'm Not Famous

Celebrity Kim Kardashian without makeup.
I have often wondered what sets celebrities apart from normal people, because surely they are not normal. I'm not talking about those with innate talent that awes us, like a Judy Garland or a Keith Jarrett or a Steven Spielberg or a Michael Jackson--or any of the hundreds of superstars who have rightly risen to the top--but of those dummies, many of whom have their own TV reality shows as if their lives are so important, who have done nothing of value to merit their fame. How do they get there?

Then today, reading that Kim Kardashian underwent a $5,000 toe liposuction procedure so that she could fit into a pair of stylish stilettos for her recent wedding to rapper Kanye West, I finally understood: They are mentally ill, brain-damaged, narcissistic morons lacking common sense or self-respect who will do anything to appear better than they are. Now I get it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Value of a College Education, Part Two

Reprinted verbatim from Maine Craigslist, Writing gigs, June 6:
Finish My Class
I have unfinished work in an English class. I landed a full-time job for the summer and have little free time in my future, so I am probably not going to finish the work. I paid for the class, and I don't want to end up with an 'F' on my transcript.
Must be proficient at reading, analyzing text and writing a coherent response.

If your work is competent enough to pass the class with a 'C', you get $100. If you earn a 'B', you get $200, and an 'A' is worth $300.

Keeping Current

Edgar Degas self-portrait.
I might have to stop reading for awhile. My brain is awash in
gibberish and horror culled from a combination of today's paper, some magazines lying around the house and trivia from the Internet that seeps in when I log on to check my email. Once it's all inside my head, who knows how it impacts me; it can't be good. Here are some random facts I ingested this morning along with my spinach omelet:

The French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas once said, "The most beautiful things in art come from renunciation."

According to a survey of 600 college students, and who cares what they think since probably most of them were high on something at the time, there are differences between "dog people" and "cat people." Dog lovers are more outgoing and energetic while cat owners are more neurotic, but more intelligent.

Hillary Clinton wrote a book with a "team of book people" who she said "made sense of my scribbles." The reviewer says it could be used as a doorstop but don't try reading it. Clinton got a $14 million advance from the publisher.

One hour of less sleep per night raises the risk for obesity.

In Las Vegas, a husband and wife walked into a pizza parlor, shot two policemen dead, then went over to a Wal-Mart and killed someone else. They then both committed suicide.

Actress and model Brooke Shields has gained ten pounds and she says she doesn't care, she just wants to be a good mother.

A former Olympic swimmer was in an ATV accident and severed her spinal cord. Despite that, her husband says she awoke in "great spirits" and is "her usual ebullient self," and is busy entertaining everyone in the ICU. (Who knew spinal cord injuries were so funny?)

I am going to renounce the news and hope to make some great art.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cold-hearted Cooking

Recently I learned something new. This was quite exciting as most days I don't, giving lie to the old saying, "You learn something new every day." What I learned was a new word--spatchcock--and a new method of preparing a chicken for grilling.

Who knows, maybe everyone else already knows about it, but Mitch and I did not and so we undertook the whole procedure with a mixture of fear, awe and a tiny bit of nausea, since we would be required to remove the backbone from the chicken with scissors, then flip the bird over, and crack the breastbone, and finally flatten the poor guy by pressing down hard with a large spatula so that he is splayed out like a puppy just learning to walk. (There is a video of the process on YouTube I wish we had seen.)

Spatchcocking is kind of gruesome, but the result is the chicken is cooked to perfection and all the skin is fabulously crispy. Try it, but make sure the chicken is dead before you start.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hide Your Daughters

According to today's New York Times, the absolute only person fit to run our country, after the current person who was deemed fit finally (mercifully, thankfully) leaves office in 2016, is Hillary Clinton. Apparently she's "iconic." (Don't get me started, but suffice it to say that I am among those who still wonder why she sent her assistant, Maggie Williams, into her office to retrieve papers the night her pal Vince Foster was found dead in a muddy park of an apparent suicide except there was no dirt on the bottom of his shoes and the gun was still in his hand.)

Call me madcap, but I can't believe that we, as a people, cannot come up with anybody to occupy the White House who doesn't come with a whole lot of baggage full of dirty laundry, a.k.a. her husband Bill.

The older he gets, the younger he likes them.
I asked my husband, quite well-versed in these matters, who he thinks would be a good leader, and he said without missing a beat, "Certainly not a politician--they are all scum." Then he rattled off his presidential wish list: Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Howard Buffett (Warren's son) and Ray Romano. And yes, he is quite serious, in fact he's been talking up Oprah since the last election. Mitch explains that Oprah "could rally the troops," and that she "has her finger on the pulse of the nation," and that "people look up to her." He says that Gates and Buffett both "have business sense and horse sense," and that Romano "is funny."

I think Mitch should run because he is funny. He frequently takes his own pulse, has often been given the finger, and troops around the country for his job. Just shy of six feet, many people look up to him. But best of all, his spouse is not a known sexual predator. (Or unknown.)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cancer and Popcorn Don't Mix

Tearjerkers are more jerky than teary if you ask me. I go to the movies to learn something new or forget my troubles, and in either case I hope the experience will improve my mood, not dampen my spirits. Of course there are exceptions, like Bette Davis in the 1939 melodrama, "Dark Victory." (She's dying the whole time, but it's pretty funny how it finally happens.) Movies have come a long way since then, but death never goes out of style.

Here's Bette--gardening just moments before her death!

The hot movie of the moment, "The Fault in Our Stars," is showing at my favorite theater, the one that's always empty and has those comfy rocking chairs with built-in cup holders. Although I try to see what people are buzzing about just to stay current, I won't see this one; it's about two teens dying of cancer, and how entertaining is that? I know--there are lessons to be learned: Cancer patients gain the insight to appreciate life in a deeper way! We're awed by their strength! We can learn from their brave struggle! We must live every moment to the fullest!

The grim truth is that while they all have my deepest sympathy, cancer patients are not admirable. I'm cheering for them every second, and when granted permission I do everything I can to ease their burden. Still, watching a friend or family member deal with it sucks, so I'll be damned if I'm going to pay one dime to cry for fake cancer patients who are actually perfectly healthy and surrounded by cameramen, wardrobe people and a catering crew, chomping on popcorn while they're having make-believe chemo.

I did read a few reviews and it seems the two young leads in this particular film are quite good and very attractive. Spoiler alert: She lives but not everyone else does. (Boo-hoo.)

The Value of a College Education

This version uses the broad noodle.
A few nights ago I had dinner with my niece who is home for the summer after her freshman year at college. She is very smart and attends a small, elite school full of other very smart young people. Interested in her take--and thus the pulse of our youth--on the current state of affairs in our nation, and especially the recent flap regarding Obama's handing over five really bad Taliban terrorists in exchange for one loser American deserter, she said she did not want to talk about it, explaining, "I don't think politics is appropriate dinner conversation."

My pulse-taking hopes dashed, instead we discussed the merits of the "drunken noodles" at the Thai restaurant where we were dining. Who knew that some places use the wide noodles while others use the thinner ones? I didn't, so I guess I am smarter now. And now you know.

This version uses thinner noodles, like spaghetti.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Birthday Dreams

Today is my birthday and I did not get what I wanted. It's still early in the day, but I'm pretty sure I won't. Here's what's on my list:

World peace
No weapons exist anywhere
Everybody's happy
Politicians have scruples
Veal is outlawed
Kent State never happened
All babies are born healthy
Pets never die (until we do)
No more laugh tracks on TV
Mitt Romney won

Martin Luther King wasn't the only one with a dream.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes

World news has always been pretty serious stuff. It's full of wars and natural disasters and random shootings and unemployment and starving masses and Congress failing and Obama in way over his head. Growing up in the 60's, I saw the nightly news delivered by serious men in suits who made me feel safe: Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid, John Chancellor, Ted Koppel, and the great reporting team of Huntley & Brinkley. What they said was important. It mattered. It must have--they all looked so somber.

Not anymore! These days, hot young women in spike heels rule the "profession" of broadcast journalism, and many of them look more like hookers than TV reporters. Even the weather forecasters are sexy, as if hearing about an F-5 tornado bearing down on Kansas from a blonde chick showing a lot of cleavage will make the devastation more palatable. They all make me ache for Jane Pauley, who was attractive without being distracting. You could trust her. She was your friend. I'm not so sure about these gals:

She's got breasts, just in case you didn't notice.
She also has breasts.
She's got legs, you idiot!

She's a nice girl but still there's a lot of skin showing.

Push-up bras can help breast augmentation too!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Going in Circles

Needing to hang a sign outside my new art gallery or else nobody will know it's in there, I designed one. The next step is having it made by a sign manufacturer, who I know for a fact will definitely ask me how big I want it. Since  getting up on a really tall ladder myself and fooling around with a yardstick is not in this particular deck of cards, I had to ask someone else what size it should be. (I hate that.)

The landlord of the building said I could get the dimensions for the sign, which would hang in the space above the door, the only reasonable spot, from the Freeport Town Clerk. "She'll have to approve the sign anyway," he added. So first thing this morning I called the Town Clerk and over the next few hours left several messages, to no avail.

Finally, the day more than half gone, I called again and talked to someone who works for someone, and she said she got all my messages and was looking for the records of the last sign that was up there, but she needs to know the dimensions in order to find the paper work. "But I was calling to get the dimensions from you people," I said.

"Okay, well then just tell me how big it is," she replied.

The Opposite of Anti-Semitism

Okay, I admit it: I am prejudiced. I'm not sure what you call it, but I obviously suffer from the opposite of anti-Semitism. Whenever I meet a Jew I immediately and always assume several things even before he (or she) utters a word.

I figure he's smarter than the average yokel, with a wry sense of humor and a deep understanding of the absurdities of life. He's attached to his family, be they good or bad, and places a high value on friendship, decency and hard work. He is not a rapist or pervert or thief or petty criminal of any kind, and likely has never sat slumped by the side of the road holding a sign that says, "Homeless, please help." And even if he drives a VW, deep down inside he does not like Germans all that much.

Sorry, but I can't help it.