Friday, October 31, 2014

End of the Road


Don't freak out, I am not going to commit suicide, although wow, that would sure up my stats. If I were to do so I would announce it on Facebook where it could be appropriately mocked, not here where only a handful of loyal readers would see it. Besides, suicide is stupid since death will surely come without my intervention, and I'm kind of curious to see how it does.  No, I am simply out of gas, out of jokes, and out of perspective, which are three things you need to write a blog.

In addition, I lack relevance, if I ever had any, being as old as I am and thus unable to contribute in any meaningful way to the economy, which is what really matters after all. I barely shop, do not own earbuds, and watch reruns of old sitcoms from the the last century. I am not gay, which is what you have to be these days to matter. In fact, even being a run-of-the-mill gay is over; now you have to be a hermaphrodite and have sex with yourself to be considered interesting.

I am neither pierced nor tattooed, unless you count those holes in my ears I got when I was 17. They are symmetrical, with only one in each ear, and you cannot see daylight through them.

I speak English correctly, still write in cursive and only read books on paper. I hate texting; why bother? What could I have to say that possibly matters to anyone? I shall now go for a long walk and mull over this odd turn of events. (Thank God I can still walk and mull.)

I leave you with one final observation: Cats are crazy. This morning I gave Daisy half a can of Fancy Feast Flaked Tuna. She sniffed it and walked away without so much as a lick. Then a few hours later she started wailing for food. Rather than strangle her to silence that awful sound, I gave her the other half of the same can of Fancy Feast Flaked Tuna. She fairly attacked the dish, consuming every last morsel with gusto.

I no longer want to be a cat. Instead, I choose to be Recreations Director on a Carnival Cruise ship.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I Read the News Today. Oh Boy.

You never know what's growing in there.
Yesterday I saw a movie about a marriage that was truly a horror story, wherein neither partner trusted the other or even liked them a little. She was scary and possibly could murder him in his sleep, and he was cheating on her and sort of scary himself. "It's just fiction," I told myself, laughing it off.

Then this morning over coffee I read the news about the decapitated woman whose dismembered body--not just the head but the shoulders and legs too -- was found in a small town in New York, and it turned out her own son was the one who did the deed. And after he did it he kicked her head around the street like a soccer ball, then jumped in front of an oncoming train. (I guess life without his mommy was not all that appealing.)

I don't know about you, but I'd rather have my head cut off by those ISIS folks than the babe I birthed, suckled and raised. But hey, that just might be the coffee talking.




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FILM REVIEW: "Gone Girl"

Perry counsels Affleck, with a Starbucks latte for good measure.
This film should have been titled "Gone Boy," the boy being Ben Affleck, Oscar winner for the fabulous "ARGO" a few years back. In his place we have that other Ben, the one who looks like a frat boy past his prime and turns in lackluster performances one mercifully soon forgets. (I'm looking forward to that.) But since he neither directed nor wrote this one he is to be congratulated and remains in my good graces.

Simply stated, "Gone Girl" is not a date movie. In fact, if you are already considering marriage this will surely talk you out of it. A close look at the hellish relationship between a beautiful nutcase and her philandering husband, there is little to recommend it other than some solid performances from people you've never heard of before and likely won't ever again. It's grisly, creepy and suspenseful, with plenty of Hitchcockian twists and questions to keep you guessing: Did he kill his wife, is she dead or just missing, and why did any of them sign on to this film are just a few. And then there's gay actor Neil Patrick Harris playing a straight guy, which is always fun to watch. To say he's memorable in his one very explicit sex scene is an understatement; in fact if you're the sensitive type, you may never have sex again. Let's just say it rivals the horse-head scene in "The Godfather" and leave it at that.

The roller-coaster plot is demanding, so you'd best go to the bathroom beforehand. Even paying strict attention, there are a few loopholes you could justifiably slip through and wonder what the heck is happening. The eponymous gone girl might give a great performance but I hated her guts from the get-go and never did learn her real name. Also of note was the appearance of the Magical Negro, a ploy we haven't seen for a few years. Played by the newly slimmed-down Tyler Perry as a respected and lovable celebrity lawyer who saves Affleck's ass, it was quite refreshing. By the way, Mr. Perry now looks quite smashing and if you ask me should be the new spokesperson for Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or however he did it.

Turn Off the Porch Light

A quick read on Wikipedia about the origin of Halloween tells you that here in America, we don't do it justice by half. It's really a day to celebrate the dead, not gorge on candy and run around in store-bought costumes. Who knew jack-o-lanterns were supposed to represent souls of dead people? Not me, and I went to school in America, from kindergarten  through college, and never heard a thing about it. Further proof of my conjecture can be found in today's Wall Street Journal, where an article therein discusses the candy aspect but nothing else.

Fretting over obesity and sugar and how to keep the little ones from over-indulging, there is not so much as a whisper of anything else to do with the holiday, which dates back to Celtic Christianity in about 1745. These days all we think about is how much candy is too much and what a shame that "Breaking Bad" costume is.

Here's my advice to modern-day parents: Just say no to the whole damn business, unless you are a witch or a pagan and you really celebrate the way you should. Otherwise it's making a mockery of an authentic religion, sort of like if Christian kids ran around dressed like matzohs on Passover.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's Pretty Funny, When You Think About It

 

Sure you’re crazy, I tell myself, but who isn’t? I mean, look at the terms: You’re born, you’re the center of attention, everyone makes a big fuss, takes care of your every need. You eat, sleep, grow, get excited about things, like the snow and the circus coming and Halloween. Life is great. In fact, you struggle against sleep each night because it’s so much fun just being awake. 

 

Then one day-- one second--you don’t know (although I can’t remember not knowing, there must have been a time) and the next one you do: Everything ends! The whole shebang! And not just for yourself, but for everyone you know. So you say, Okay, I can handle it, just tell me when. And they say, The funny thing is, nobody knows, it could be any day now. Of course, some people have been known to last a hundred years or more. 

 

You go on, but it’s not the same, and life becomes the daily sweepstakes: Gee, I wonder who died today? Hey, here’s a list in the newspaper, these people think of everything. There’s even something called life insurance for after you go, except then it’s too late to do you any good. It’s enough to make anyone crazy. So they started having doctors for this sort of thing, this Awareness of Truth Syndrome that could cut you down in your prime. Psychiatrists, psychologists, witch doctors, priests, call them what you will, it all boils down to the same thing: Here’s my life, Doc, what should I do with it? And what if I die before I do anything at all? 

 

The only trouble is, Doc doesn’t know the answers any more than you do. He’s got the same terms, you see, there is no other plan available. There is only Plan A: Birth, Life, and Death, details varied and unspecified. So really, the shrinks just act like they know. But what a performance, people even pay to see it.

Does Mars Have Two Sexes Like We Do?

Today's world is so confusing it's hard to keep up, especially if you have a concussion, which I do, and things are somewhat jumbled already. What's got me stymied is how many places to set at my Thanksgiving table if I have several genderqueer guests coming. Do "they" each get one place setting or two?

Let me be clear---not queer, but clear: I could not care less if you want to have sex with a lamp or be called an It or wear spike heels with a codpiece, that is your damn business. It has no impact on my life, and in fact bores me. Be queer or not -- my blood pressure numbers will stay the same. What bothers me is messing with the English language. As far as I am concerned, "they" means more than one, and if you are one person, even with warring sexual personae roiling within, you are still only one person in my book. And FYI, that means no extra dessert.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Canada, Here I Come

One of the best things about Maine is its close proximity to Canada, which means that if the horrible circumstance of Hillary Clinton becoming our next president comes to pass, I can hightail it over the border before she has a chance to slither into her inaugural pantsuit and bend the oath of office. That's quite comforting, especially in light of what she said a few days ago at a Massachusetts Democratic rally: "Corporations and businesses do not create jobs." Huh, Hillary? Well then who does--the gub'ment?

Just to take one person at random, of the 40-plus jobs I have held in my lengthy career, every single one had me working for either a large corporation or a small business. After all, unless you are working for a pimp or a drug dealer, it seems to me the boss is an entrepreneur of some sort.

I wonder what Hillary meant. Maybe it's that old Day-of-the-Benghazi-Hearing brain injury talking. I sure hope she gets better before she's elected.

The Best Medicine?

Because of my abnormally high blood pressure readings that began two weeks ago, I now find myself adrift in a sea world of doctors and diagnostic tests and dosages, and it's no fun. It's certainly not funny, and so I should probably stop right now and choose another topic since this is ostensibly a humor blog. But what? Politics? That's worse. The sad truth is that we as a society are running out of funny things, unless you think that peeing into a jar for 24 hours is a laugh riot.

When all is bleak and nothing seems humorous, I turn to my Prairie Home Companion Pretty Good Joke Book for some help. I figure if it's good enough for Garrison Keillor, it's good enough for me. Besides, a recent University of Maryland study found that a sense of humor actually can protect against heart disease. Who knows--maybe one of the following jokes will save your life.

"Doctor, something's wrong! I'm shrinking!"
"Take it easy sir, you'll just have to be a little patient."

How many performance artists does it take to change a light bulb?
I don't know, I left at intermission.

This duck walks into a drugstore and says, "Gimme some Chapstick-- and put it on my bill."

What do you say to a hitchhiker with one leg?
"Hop in."

Did you hear about the two antennas that got married? The wedding was terrible but the reception was great.

What has four legs and one arm?
A Rottweiler.

If the black box survives a plane crash, why isn't the whole plane made out of the stuff?

Two penguins are standing on an iceberg. One penguin says to the other, "You look like you're wearing a tuxedo." The other penguin replies, "So who says I'm not?"

What do you call a boomerang that doesn't work?
A stick.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I'm a Girl and That's a Fact

I have recently heard from a transgender fan on the Internet who says that all transgenders are better than me, and that my anti-tranny ideology will eventually land me in some kind of global Communist hot water, or something like that.

Now, I admit I am no better than many people, of that I am certain. However I stand firm in my belief that the fact that I--and anyone else for that matter-- accept my own reproductive organs as the correct ones, the ones I had on me at birth and which have served me well since then, qualify me as not a lunatic. My mood disorders may land me in the loony bin someday, but when I go I am certainly taking my vagina with me.

BTW, if I go through with my feline reassignment surgery as previously discussed in this space, I intend to be a female cat.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Transitioning

Daisy teaching me her napping skills.
TODAY IS the first day of my trans-species treatment, and it's coming none too soon.  This morning, before I knew better, I had the TV on and heard Chris Wallace, one of those news guys who analyze what's happening for the rest of us dummies, say darkly, "This is a whole new threat that we have to be terribly worried about!" 

He may have been talking about Ebola, or ISIS, or the guy who attacked some NYC cops with an axe, or perhaps the recent shootings in Canada, I wasn't really sure. In any event, instantly my already high blood pressure shot up. My head started pounding, and I could hear a loud thumping in my chest. I looked over at my two cats stretched out on the bed; neither one of them seemed the slightest bit alarmed. "That's it," I thought to myself.

I scurried to the kitchen and opened a can of Fancy Feast, had a few laps of water, and curled up on the sofa. After my nap I chased a ball of tin foil around the living room, stared out the window for a while, and did my nails. I feel much better, especially after the catnip.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Humans Are So Last Week

Will I still need glasses?
It's late 2014 and things are awry. Young people who lack nothing but something to rebel against have chosen themselves. That would explain the whole transgender movement, in which people decide they don't like the container in which they arrived on planet Earth. I admit to being stymied by this. However since it seems to be politically correct, in fact all the way to admirable, to reject one's own reproductive organs and secondary sex characteristics and live life as a He-She, I figure it might be okay to go one step further. Therefore, I have decided to become a cat.

I am sick of being human. In fact, I have never been 100% comfortable as a human and identify much more closely with felines. My husband is a great guy for a man, but my heart really belongs to Lurch, my Maine Coon. He really gets me. We share so much. I just wish I could go out with him at night and kill mice, or whatever he does, and not feel stuck in my role as a person, going out to dinner and the movies when all I want to do is roll around in the grass and climb trees. I love napping and bright, shiny objects. I enjoy having my tummy rubbed. Fish is my favorite food, and lately those cat treats are starting to look damn good. Then, too, there are those nine lives, no small perk if you ask me.

I am currently seeking an open-minded surgeon who will begin this exciting journey with me. Until then, while I am transitioning, I would like to be called Puddy Tat.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When Doughnuts Kill

Now that's more like it!
Maine voters have an issue they can really sink their teeth into this election year: Just how fat can we get our bears before we kill them?

Bear-hunting around these parts currently allows recreational hunters three methods of entrapment that many people, myself among them, consider to be hideous and obscene: chase them down with dogs, mine the woods with painful bear traps, and bait them with jelly doughnuts. God must be cracking up over this. Jelly doughnuts? How about German Chocolate Cake? Or maybe a nice Linzer Torte? Personally I can resist a doughnut whereas I am powerless over pumpkin cheesecake with a dollop of whipped cream. I mean, do they want to catch bears or not?

Governor LePage
In a test of the quality of the doughnuts being used to attract the bears, all three gubernatorial candidates have been stuffing themselves with various kinds to see which is the most effective. Last night they gathered onstage--the candidates not the bears -- for a political debate, and showed the results of their scientific studies. The incumbent Paul LePage was by far the fattest, and so he will probably win re-election. Next fattest was Independent Eliot Cutler, who has doubled in size since he lost last time, coming in third. I guess he heard that obesity wins in Maine. And the Democrat, Mike Michaud, while tubby still looks like he could fit into an airplane seat, so he will likely lose.

Anyway, all three of the candidates look like bears, which I guess is only fitting when you are running for office in Maine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Sign from Above


Last week I was hit on the head by a heavy wooden placard (see photo) that was an integral part of the signage at both my first and second, now-defunct, art galleries. Perched on a transom over a doorway in my home, it fell when a slamming door dislodged it. (I was calling the cat in from the rain.)  The flying object cracked me on the bean with such force that I was sure my head had been split in two. It had not, thank God, because that would have been a mess, but the blow did cause a concussion.

The only fix is rest and less computer time, like none. So The Daily Droid is likely to be MIA for a few days -- or weeks. On the positive side, since the injury I have no sense of taste or appetite and have already lost a few pounds. Who knows, I may even fit into a pair of skinny jeans before this is all over.

I am left wondering whether the pursuit of FINE ART is for me anymore. I mean really, talk about a sign from above....

Monday, October 20, 2014

Still Searching

There are so many sad things in this life, it's hard to stay upbeat. One way to do it is to watch funny movies, read funny books, and see comedians perform. Last week I saw the comic Kevin James in concert at Portland's Merrill Auditorium, Maine's only link to the real world. He was so funny that my face hurt from laughing afterwards.

After 90 minutes of side-splitting humor the show ended. The funny man exited the stage to wild applause, and within seconds I realized that my regular life was waiting for me in the parking lot. I forget what we paid to see Kevin James, but whatever it was, he earned it. We got our money's worth, which is more than I can say about so many experiences.

At this stage of my life, certainly Act Three, former thrills no longer cut it. I have eaten all the pizza I need to eat. Shoe shopping seems redundant, foreign travel is a pain in the ass, and jewelry seems just plain silly. So for something new and different I'm finally going to try some of those things that supposedly will calm my roiling insides, like meditation and yoga. I'm not looking forward to it, but it's worth a shot. I just hope they won't make me do that stupid Downward Dog thing.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Guess What I Think

My son recently posted a flattering photograph of himself on Facebook, and one of the comments it received from a good friend of his was "creepin." Now I don't know about you, but creepin sounds like a negative to me. I guess it was meant as a compliment, not sure. I looked it up in the Urban Dictionary and read several definitions and I'm still not sure, which is in itself creepy.

Our language has been and continues to be destroyed by today's youth. Nothing means what you think it means, or what it meant in the past. "Sick" and "ill" are both good. "Chill" has nothing to do with temperature. Don't even get me started on the word "word." I could go on but I don't know enough. It's funny how they still use "love" as a positive condition. (I think, maybe not.)

It's bad enough that different cultures and countries use different languages, adding to the confusion of a world full of problems, but when our very own citizens of different generations do the same, successfully communicating what one thinks about anything to anyone is nothing short of a miracle.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Root of All Evil


When I opened my recently closed art gallery last June, I spent about $1,000 on three signs, two out on the road and one over my front door. I paid to have them made and the manufacturer installed them as part of the fee. Now that I have gone belly up, they'll have to come down.

Today the landlord's representative called to say that if I wanted my signs back I would have to pay to have them taken down. Otherwise, they would take them down (anyway) and throw them in the trash.

Me: You mean you will take them down either way, but if I want them back, since I own them, I will have to pay you for them?
Them: Well, someone has to pay for the cost of the labor to take them down.
Me: But if I won't pay then you will take them down anyway, right?
Them: Yes, but we will discard them.

I believe this is the root of all evil.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Baaaa!

Nonconformist sheep

Why is everyone so afraid of being different, when everyone obviously is unique? Those few people who dare to be different always start a trend, and pretty soon all the others copy him or her, defeating the purpose. Like tattoos and piercings and crazy hair color that started out as bold and innovative and have ended up being mundane, everyday, and worst of all, suburban. It's a sad state of affairs without any answers.

One very sad example is a letter printed in today's Wall Street Journal, written by a reader to their fashion columnist. The poor woman attended a wedding and was mortified that she was the only woman there not wearing a black cocktail dress. She was so upset that she refused to take her coat off during the ceremony and did not attend the reception. How could she: Her dress was lavender!!! What a dumb cluck, and what I mean rhymes with cluck but since I am giving up cursing for Lent I wrote cluck. (I have no idea what Lent is or when, but if it's now that's what I'm giving up.)

People need to stop being afraid of standing out from the crowd, and fearing anyone who does. Face it: The crowd is never right.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Don't Call Us and We Won't Call You

It seems to me I have plenty to worry about, including but not limited to receding gums, Ebola, war, stroke, spider bites, food poisoning and my diverticulosis turning into diverticulitis or is it the other way around, without adding my edgy, New York personality to the list, but apparently that's the one that will do me in as long as I live in Maine.

Yesterday I went for an interview -- for what it matters not but suffice it to say I had to pass muster with three people, all of whom talked that funny way they do here -- and even though it went swimmingly, today the head honcho called to say I was not "the right fit." Aha! The L.L. Bean excuse!

I asked him to elaborate saying it would help me understand why I can't get hired as dog catcher here but had upwards of 25 wonderful jobs in the regular United States in the past, and he could come up with nothing more than that my "background" was not quite right.

I really hope he wasn't talking about my celebrating Passover.


Life Imitates Art


A second health worker in that Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola. If you have not read "The Plague" by Albert Camus, now might be a good time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

Normal men in suits watch the holy men in whatever those are.

Ebola is spreading and nobody knows what to do about it. A nurse in Dallas who did all the right things (She must have broken protocol!) came down with the disease. So far blame has not been placed, but it probably will be as it always is. It's already being whispered that Obama has not done enough to stop the virus, as if he could do anything. The thought that the virus is to blame has not yet been considered.

The Catholic Church is easing its historic repugnance of gays and divorce. How nice of them, considering their pederastic tendencies. No word on their fall fashions, but if you ask me their current outfits sure are disturbing.

According to most Americans, Obama is basically good for nothing.

Russia and China are getting to be the best of friends, ganging up against the US. That promises to be bad news somewhere down the line.

A major earthquake is set to go off in California, somewhere around San Francisco. One expert says the fault below that city is "locked and loaded, but no telling when Mother Nature will pull the trigger." I say let's not plan to hold any Olympics there.

Studies have shown that more teens are successful at multi-tasking than ever before, doing their homework while texting, listening to music and watching TV. Ha! My kid did that when he was back in high school, so big whoop. (He's 26 now and turned out fine, except for math.)

Syria had a big bomb dropped on it, and refugees are fleeing the Ukraine.

Have a nice day! (Smiley face)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dine Here at Your Own Risk

I rarely write restaurant reviews since it's a genre I don't understand. It seems crazy to try and evaluate a food experience, unless of course the food nearly kills you and then you might be so motivated. Night before last I gave in to my husband on our 28th anniversary and dined at a restaurant in downtown Portland that we had never tried. I say "gave in" because if it were up to me I would eat at the same three restaurants I love for eternity. But Mitch craves new experiences and so there we were at Vignola Cinque Terre, a trendy spot in a neighborhood called the Old Port, which really should be called The Gateway to AA considering the number of bars in the area.

It being a Saturday night the place was jammed, which would explain the sluggish service. But hey, we were out for a good time so I tried to relax while waiting the half-an-eon for the waiter to notice us. Finally he did, and he looked just like Justin Timberlake who I have never liked, so that was a definite negative. The menu was appropriately nouveau, with every bit of food you might normally want to eat ruined by the addition of something unexpected like pork belly or maple glaze or octopus tendrils. I opted for a pasta dish which sounded safe enough.

We started with zucchini fritters that looked good but turned out to be mushy, under-fried and salty.  My entree was called trenette, referring to the type of pasta, and it was advertised as having tomato sauce, capers, mussels and oysters. The mussels were tiny, the oysters were even smaller, I never saw a caper and the tomato sauce was quite acidic. The whole thing was exceedingly salty. In fact, the bread was salty, the butter was salty and the olive oil was salty. Every damn morsel was salty including the lettuce in Mitch's salad. I only ate half of what they served, the portions being very generous, but it was enough so that the next morning I woke up feeling dizzy and with a blood pressure reading of over 200/103. I had a really bad day.

The best thing about eating at Vignola is that it is located directly across the street from a cool looking bar that is very Edward Hopper-ish, so if you are seated in the front room you can do as I did and take arty pictures of the people going in and out of that place. (See photo above.) Anyway, when in Portland, Maine, I would suggest going elsewhere, maybe even to that Central Provisions which seemed to be doing a bang-up business.



Sunday, October 12, 2014

When Doctors Did Good

Speaking of healthcare, and who isn't these days, whatever happened to house calls? I remember a time when if someone in my family became sick and was unable to go out, the doctor came to us. That seems to make a lot of sense, even more so in light of the Ebola virus which is set to sweep the country now that a second victim has been identified in Dallas. Surely people would pay a premium for such service.

This morning I awoke and sensed that the Grim Reaper was hiding somewhere in my bedroom, possibly the closet. I got out of bed and went downstairs but did not last very long as my dizziness worsened. Returning upstairs, I caught a glimpse of a black robe sticking out from under the bed. Obviously things were bad.

Despite ingesting a double dose of blood pressure pills, some celery stalks and lots of water, I ony felt worse. Finally I gathered the courage to check my blood pressure: 197/100. Uh-oh. I took more pills and went to bed. I started to feel worse and worse. The next reading was 188/103. They say the bottom number is the one to worry about, so of course I did.

Finally I called my doc's hotline, it being early on a Sunday morning, and the lady who answered told me to get to the closest ER immediately. Naturally hearing that made my blood pressure worsen. I could hardly leave my bed, but I was supposed to get up, get dressed, and drive six miles?  How about sending some on-call physician my way?

Mitch and I headed out but on the way my pills kicked in and so I went back home and collapsed into a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts and blueberries, all good for lowering BP. But really, house calls. Those were nice.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Seen on today's Maine Craigslist, under "writing gigs":

Call For Submissions-Adult Themed

Compensation: royalties

I also am looking for women writers to write a piece for a book called Stacked. The book is under contract with BearManorBare.

It pays five percent royalties. The story has to be 2,500 words or so, it has to have something to do with breasts, and it must be sexual in nature. It can be true, it can be fiction, it can be soft core or hardcore. You can be previously published, or this can be your first time. As I said the book is under contract. I need submissions by December 1. Reply to this email with questions.
 
You don't have to be Hemingway, but we like good writing.

Friday, October 10, 2014

On Human Nature

I closed another art gallery today and now shall go quietly into the night, never again to interact with anyone who could remotely be called a "customer." People can be nice, but customers truly suck. Even nice people start sucking the minute they become customers.

Case in point: A sales clerk in the shop adjacent to my gallery came in quite often to chat and admire a certain painting. In fact, she liked several of the paintings on display that were all done by the same artist, and one in particular caught her fancy. The $200 price tag was far out of her range, or so she said. "After all, I am just a poor shopgirl," she once said with a laugh. But she sure liked that painting and might even save up to buy it one day.

Since every art dealer marks up the price of the art to help pay for the rent, advertising and utility bills associated with running a gallery, and since the artist in question, a lovely woman I really liked, was coming in to the gallery to pick up her work, and knowing she would rather sell it than stick it in the trunk of her car and take it back home, I suggested to Poor Shopgirl that she could have the painting minus my markup for $100. I mean, big deal, at least let someone have a good day, right? This plan thrilled and delighted Poor Shopgirl, prompting her to look at some of the other paintings with a fresh eye.

Fast forward to Poor Shopgirl who had never been able to afford one painting for $200 walking away with two paintings for $320. The Lovely Woman I Really Liked left with $120 in cash and a check for the balance. The good news is that I, the Schmuck Who Made It Happen, was not holding my breath waiting for either one of them to suggest I get even one thin dime.


A Delicate Balance

Roy Horn and his cash cow, Montecore, in better days.
I guess domesticated animals are only domesticated until they've had enough. Last night, for no apparent reason, my sweet, fluffy former soul mate bit me on the arm! Okay, so it wasn't as bad as when Montecore bit Roy in Las Vegas, but still, Kleenex, Band-aids and Neosporin were involved.

Besides bleeding, I was stunned. The attack had come out of nowhere. We weren't even playing; I had simply picked Lurch up and moved him out of my spot in bed so I could get in, and I guess he was sick of feeling like a second-class citizen and let me know it in no uncertain terms.

Despite their cute names, Cupcake, Fluffy, Kitty, Panda, Missy, Mittens, Muffin, Pumpkin, Tigger, Snowflake and Oreo are not just our playthings.  According to Wikipedia, all cats are descendants of the African wildcat, and some remain wilder than others: "Several intermediate stages occur between domestic pet and pedigree cats on one hand and those entirely wild animals on the other. The semi-feral cat, a mostly outdoor cat, is not owned by any one individual, but is generally friendly to people and may be fed by several households." 

Added to the wild ancestry of our fluffy kitties is the barbaric practice, indulged in by most humans, of eating former pets. This is something they surely notice. For example, when we have chicken for dinner, are my cats aware that the very same chicken was having a grand old time clucking around our neighbor's yard just last week? Or that those adorable cows I stop to photograph down the road are actually next year's hamburgers? Maybe Lurch, a semi-feral cat if I ever saw one, finally put two and two together and vented his inner rage on me.

This morning my arm is perfectly fine, although an unsightly scab bears testament to last night's violence. From now on I'm locking the bathroom door when I take a shower.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Other Virus

I am trying to understand how someone's personal experience ends up as news on the Internet. Is there a hotline for the Huffington Post?

Take this morning. I made myself a piece of toast and then haphazardly covered it with almond butter. Then, as I usually do, I topped it off with a healthy handful of blueberries. Pouring a cup of coffee, I carried my breakfast into the dining room. When I looked down at it to take a bite, I saw that the blueberries had landed in a pattern that looked exactly like either Mickey Mouse or the Virgin Mary!

Home alone, I considered calling someone to share in my amazement, but it seemed too early and I wouldn't want to wake anyone. Then I wondered if I should I take a picture--maybe it could go viral? Would I be famous for a minute? What might come of it--my own talk show? A line of handbags? But I was hungry, having had dinner really early last night, so I just ate it.

You people are the only ones who know.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Time Marches On

Mick, then and now.

Last night my sister called and asked if I had any baby pictures of her, as she has none. That got me dragging out my old photo albums, those three-ringed drugstore dinosaurs with the plastic pages, of which I have way too many. Once again I see the Internet as a good thing, unless of course the power goes out forever and completely erases the past. But then, who would be looking at old photos if it did? (Chances are we'd all be pretty busy trying to fix dinner.)

Walking down memory lane can be fun without the pictures, but seeing what you once were is a shocking reminder of the fact that time marches on, and one of the things it marches on most obviously is your face. Then there are all the dead people, and ex-best friends and former pets. It can be downright depressing.

I am going to go vacuum the bedroom while I still can. Then I am going to read "The Picture of Dorian Gray," which I never have, but I think it's about all of this. My advice: Do whatever you haven't done yet, because you're not getting any younger either.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Take 2 Clowns and Call Me in the Morning

"This won't hurt a bit!"
You really do learn something new every day, just like the saying goes. At least you might if you read, listen and look. This morning I did all those things and found out about a career path I never knew existed, and while it's too late for me to follow it, it's not too late for me to enjoy its benefits. I am considering hiring a Medical Clown to help me deal with my anxiety over Ebola, beheadings, cataracts, high blood pressure, the war in Syria, the situation in Gaza, the closing of my art gallery and my arthritic hip. Who knew a clown could help?

I've tried therapy and it's certainly effective, but when you've got a list as long as mine it's just too slow to slog through it. But a Medical Clown apparently offers instant relief, unless of course you suffer from coulrophobia, which is a fear of clowns. Otherwise, as an article in today's Wall Street Journal discusses, they have proven to be very helpful with children undergoing stressful physical exams. In a recent study involving 91 children in Tel Aviv, "Skin wheals for milk allergy were significantly larger in control groups than in the children with clowns." The parents also felt better with the clowns around.

So I researched it and found out there is a whole world of professional guys and gals out clowning around in nursing homes, hospitals and wherever frowns abound. Now the next time my husband says I need a shrink, I'll just tell him to get me a clown. (Not him -- a different one.)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

FILM REVIEW: "The Skeleton Twins"


There must be some some sort of pact between paid movie reviewers and Hollywood film producers to make sure audiences will flock to the box office, which would explain all the lying. How else could the critic at Rolling Stone describe "The Skeleton Twins" as "hilarious"? It is not only not hilarious, it is not even plain ordinary funny. In fact it is downright bleak and depressing, so don't go in a bad mood. Just so you know, it's about Suicide (with a capital S), although it touches peripherally on pederasty, sexual addiction and estranged families as well.

The story revolves around a pair of fraternal twins--they are not skeletons but they do have skeleton tattoos, which matters not one iota to the plot-- who are totally screwed up and hate their mother, as well as themselves. Offspring of a suicidal father, one of them is gay and was molested as a teen and the other is trapped in a loveless marriage and engages in random, meaningless sex at every opportunity. They both try and fail at suicide which is really a drag -- for them and for the audience.

The fact that the sick siblings are played by Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, two former "Saturday Night Live" comics, is the only reason to see the movie. They are great fun to watch together and obviously have a lot of fun being together. That's nice for them, but meanwhile, what are we supposed to do?

To be fair, there are other cast members who act their hearts out too. But the tale told is a thin one, literally full of sound and fury signifying nothing. There is one memorable scene where the twins lip-sync an 80s song like they did back in happier times, and that's surely fun to watch. But it only lasts like a minute and a half and then you're back to Kristen Wiig mopping up dead goldfish from the kitchen floor.

It Must Be Ebola


A former Ebola patient who was supposedly "cured" more than a week ago went to the ER in Boston yesterday with a cough and a fever. He is now under observation in Worcester, Massachusetts. Worcestor is only two hours from where I live!

I wish I had known about the coughing man yesterday morning when I went for my flu shot. Last night I started feeling sick and today my arm hurts a lot and is hot to the touch. I have a headache. I did not want any dinner last night and I'm still not hungry. When I got my shot at the doctor's office, there was a black man in the waiting room. For all I know he just came back from Liberia. I hope I don't have Ebola.

Today my cat is sleeping more than usual. She is curled up on the couch in a little ball. She may have Ebola, I can't be sure. Maybe it's anthrax.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Here's to a Long Life


Death has always been just around the corner, but these days it seems to be mid-block as well. The possibilities are endless, of course, but added to the usual drownings, falls, car crashes, plane crashes, train derailments, bombings, illness, drive-by shootings and rabid dog attacks, we now have to contend with Ebola and a possible beheading. Fortunately the last two are highly unlikely here in Maine, with only a million residents and almost all of them related.

Still, since you never know, to be on the safe side I got a flu shot this morning. I always hold the hand rail while going down a flight of stairs. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I take probiotics, fish oil and wheat grass, get daily exercise, and sleep not too much and not too little every night. Despite those measures I will surely die, I just don't know when. Of course that bugs me, since I'm not confident about which big projects I can or can't finish. But then, modern life being a marvel, I found a website that predicts when I will die!

All I had to do was truthfully answer a few questions. I did so, and found out I have 29 years left. There's another online test that predicts how you will die, but I figure if I live to be 97 there won't be too many options open to me by then; lying in a bed or sitting in a chair seems of little importance. Anyway, I guess neither ISIS nor Ebola will get me this go-round. Good to know.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Catching the Sundown Train

I received an email today from a self-described Author, Thinker and Life Enthusiast who purports to know how to find one's purpose in life. For starters, you should read his stuff. I tried and did not have any flash of insight, other than this: Nobody knows what the heck any of us are supposed to do here.

If anyone did know they would rule the world, or at the very least have their own TV show. Ditto anyone who knows what happens when we die, of if there is a God, or how the Universe began, or answers to any of the questions we all have, because we do all have them -- even the dummies who are happy to watch reality TV and join book clubs for the snacks but never read the books. They too have those unsettled feelings and odd longings roiling within, which they quell by shoving another slice of pizza down their gullets. If you are not of the pizza-shoving-down-gullet crowd, you might want to pay attention to the fact that tonight at sundown, the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur begins.

When I was a college student at NYU, my grandmother always worried that I would not get home in time for the big dinner she prepared before the fasting period began, cautioning me year after year to "catch the sundown train." If, after shoring up with a surfeit of calories as dusk falls, you fast for 25 hours and pray a lot and atone for all of your sins committed during  the last year, you can start out with a clean slate and have your name entered into God's Book of Life, where it will remain until next Yom Kippur. Such a deal!

Generously, you don't even have to be Jewish for this to work. Read up about it and consider taking the Yom Kippur Challenge; at the very least you will lose a couple of pounds. I plan on doing it in conjunction with the month-long Wheat Grass Challenge I have embarked upon with a friend, whereby a glass a day of the foul-tasting stuff will allegedly reverse my cataracts. We shall see---no pun intended.

Cure Ebola for Pennies a Day!

Things are going from bad to worse. Turns out the Ebola patient currently being treated in Texas may have come in contact with 100 people, not five or 18 as first reported. He vomited outside his apartment building, which besides being disgusting is alarming. And now another person with Ebola is coming to America for treatment, and Lord knows how many people he has come in contact with. But take heart: I saw a product advertised online just moments ago that will kill the Ebola virus, or at least 99.99% of it. It's an antibacterial foam, and you just spray it on, and it only costs $7.99 for a 30-day supply!

But seriously folks, just Google "Ebola protection" and you'll be all set. You'll find face masks and gloves and pills and all sorts of creams for sale. If only the doctors at that hospital in Texas would go online, this whole damn thing could be over.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Is This Racist?

I read this morning about "the hot new salad being served in trendy New York City restaurants." I can't help but wonder what Al Sharpton has to say about it. Is a watermelon salad less offensive or more offensive than watermelon flavored toothpaste? Would they serve it in the White House? What's the deal with watermelon and racism anyway? Is it worse than saying "Redskins"? Anyway, the recipe is below; try it if you dare.

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Vinaigrette Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salad:
  • 6 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 (6-lb) seedless watermelon, rind removed, flesh cut into 1'' cubes
  • 2 (4-oz) bags watercress
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Preparation:

  1. To prepare the dressing, add the vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil to a blender and blend until completely smooth. Add the chopped basil and pulse 3 times.
  2. To prepare the salad, combine the watermelon, watercress, and onion in a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Sprinkle with feta cheese before serving.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wash Your Hands, Stay Inside, Don't Go to Texas

Well, just as we predicted, Ebola is here! Journalists everywhere are licking their chops over this latest tasty morsel. To hell with ISIS, that is soooo last week -- today every Art Director of every magazine knows exactly what the next cover subject is, and take it from one who knows, that's a load off!

Since Call Me Madcap! has often been at the forefront of the Next Big Thing, check for directions here daily. Until then, here's what to do to stay safe right now:
1. Wash your hands.
2. Do not touch any bats, monkeys or other small primates.
3. Do not harbor guests arriving from West Africa, East Africa, South Africa or Texas.
4. If, when you are out in public, which by the way is a big mistake and should be avoided at all costs, anyone near you coughs, sneezes, spits or hiccups in your direction, return home immediately and take a hot shower in Lysol.
5. Pray, kneel and genuflect often.