“We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.” ~ Tom Robbins

 

More Finger Pointing from the Countess on Real Housewives of NY

“Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.” ~ David Frost

Fierce migraine that began Wednesday night kept me from posting yesterday. Instead, I curled myself into a ball (I was going to say little ball, but who am I kidding?) and slapped an ice pack on my head, only to find that it wasn’t an ice headache; it was a heat headache. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? So switched out ice pack for heated thingy and ingested medicine. 

Mila's Boring Collection on Project Runway

Better by late last night, which allowed me to watch Project Runway and Real Housewives of New York.  

On PR, Jay and Mila duked it out with their scissors. No wait. That was what I was hoping. They duked it out by sewing some bizarre clothes. Mila’s were . . . wait for it . . . black and white. Jay didn’t do the exploding hip pants, and actually had some über-cool black gaiters on one model. Of the two, I liked Jay’s three pieces better, which meant, of course, that Mila won. 

Great, we get to see Mila put twelve (ten?) black and white retro outfits on the runway at Bryant Park. Can’t wait. No really. Can’t wait. Poor Jay. He’s such a sweetie, and he lost to the evil Mila. Even though Emilio has made some beautiful clothes, I just don’t like him. There. I said it. I mean, he’s nasty, the male version of Mila, which is probably why they can’t stand each other. Seth Aaron is funny and out there, so of course, I love him. 

Next week’s big finale should be interesting. I’m pulling for Seth Aaron. 

“Welcome to the wonderful world of jealousy . . . For the price of admission, you get a splitting headache, a nearly irresistable urge to commit murder, and an inferiority complex. Yippee.” ~ J. R. Ward, The Dark Lover

Ramona's Crazy-Eyed Runway Walk (RHNY)

On RHNY, more kvetching and bitching about  Bethenny and Jill. Bethenny popped positive on her in-home pregnancy test. Now that’s interesting. Seems the producers want to inject yet another woman into the show, probably because Bethenny is leaving to have her own show on Bravo. 

All of this leads me to take issue with the title of the show: Real. Housewives. First, let’s talk about the real part. Most of the OC housewives are plastic surgery retrofitted, which eliminates pretty much all of the real. Not sure how much of NY is plastic and silicone, but it looks to be a lot. So I vote for elimination of the word Real from the title. 

Next, the word housewives. If any of these women actually do housewifery things, then I’m a Rockette. I mean, pleez. Dusting? Vacuuming? Grocery shopping? Bills? Anything? Anything? I feel like the teacher on Ferris Beuller: “Anyone? Anyone?” 

Okay. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t mind the OC women so much when I had a job, a career, a nice wardrobe that fit. Then NY came along, and I almost liked them, all except for the Countess. And Ramona. Okay, I liked half of them. And then the introduction of Kelly last year—”I’m up here, and you’re down here”—so shy and retiring that one is.  

But this season has reached new heights of ridiculousness because these women (and I don’t watch Atlanta or New Jersey, only because I can somehow justify two of the four but not four of the four) are so far from real housewives that it just isn’t funny any more. Granted, the term housewife is antiquated and sexist, but it’s the show’s premise, so roll with it. 

But I digress . . . 

Back to the insanity of this season: For example, last night’s show featured Jill’s pact with Kodak. Not sure what the two will do for each other, but who am I to judge. Let’s leave judging to crazy-assed Ramona, who opens mouth and bleats, “They’re not relevant. I know. I’m a businesswoman.” Really Ramona? Relevant? Are you sure you want to choose that particular word? Especially after your eye-popping, alien catwalk (oh, yes, that was relevant . . . not). Nothing these women do is relevant, or understandable, or likable. And as far as being a businesswoman: You design ugly jewelry, so that gives you the right to make snarky remarks about Kodak? 

I’ll finish the NY season just because I’m already committed, and unlike half of the housewives on the show who are not married or in committed relationships (another contradiction), I try to honor my commitments to television shows. Don’t ask me why. But I’m fairly certain that this will be the last Housewives season for me. Once Bethenny leaves, I’m pretty sure that it will become doubly hard not to gag whenever the Countess or Kelly exude their self-proclaimed superiority. Besides, it’s the principle: They aren’t real (at least not in my world), and they aren’t housewives (at least not within the scope that traditionally encompasses the word). 

“Cocooned inside our private dramas we often don’t realize life is rolling by us like it should.” ~ Waiter Rant

In the Workroom with Seth, Emilio and Tim Gunn

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all of that out of my system . . . Corey worked 11 to 7 last night, which meant that the dogs were out of control. Three times during the night they converged on the front door, barking and yelping like there was no tomorrow. Of course, there was no one there. And when they weren’t having barking fests, they were waking me up to let them out—every single hour. Consequently, I slept in fits and starts and just feel numb. Corey got home around 8 this morning and crashed. He’ll be out for hours. 

I’m hoping that after I finish writing this post I’ll be able to get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Now that Corey is home, the dogs no longer feel it necessary to keen at unknown sounds and moving air. 

I wanted to take a minute to acknowledge you guys, the people who read my blog. You have been tremendously supportive during this health scare with Alexis, and a few of you have offered information about banks in light of my daughter’s desire to work in a bank. I am always heartened by the wonderful comments and e-mails that I receive. These gestures of support mean more than I can express. Thank you so much. 

That’s all for now. More later. Peace. 

Body Rockers, “I Like the Way You Move” 

“No one grows old by living only by losing interest in living.” ~ Marie Beynon Ray

 

 Winter 1936, LIFE Magazine*

 

“You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn’t need any more of that sound.” ~ Mary Oliver

Well, more mellow today. The day began inauspiciously: Our coffee maker died. Just died. No power button, no mellow gurgling, no sweet, sweet smell of the elixir. I was seriously put out. Luckily, I went online to cuisinart.com, found the number, and called customer service. Seems our coffee maker has a three-year limited warranty, and just dying for no reason seems to be covered.

Hooray . . . almost. That particular style, because it is so popular, is on backorder, and they won’t be able to ship it right away. I can live with that given the fact that I am getting my most favorite brewing system ever replaced at no charge. It’s a Cuisinart Coffee-on-Demand, which means that the coffee does not drip into a carafe; instead, it is stored in the double-insulated well until you push the little lever that delivers the tasty brew to your cup. The rest of the coffee remains very fresh until you are ready for more.

The very nice man on the other end of the telephone offered to send me a different model that could be shipped right away, but it was a model with a carafe. I explained ever-so-nicely to him that I am very rough on carafes, having broken at least a dozen of those suckers over the years. I know for a fact, in my heart of hearts, that all coffee carafes have a sweet spot somewhere on one of the curves so that if you happen to tap that precise spot on the bottom of the sink, the entire thing shatters. No more carafes for me.

“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” ~ Juan Ramon Jimenez 

Anyway, the lack of a fresh, hot cup of coffee threatened to make a very bad day, as did the realization that we do not have enough icicle lights to do the outside of the house. I like blue icicle lights. Blue lights remind me of my father for some reason, so for the past four or so years, we have put up blue outdoor lights. Brett saved the day by stringing plain blue lights along the rooftop.

I sat myself down and told myself to get over it, so I did. Good enough.

Corey’s cold isn’t getting better. In fact, I’m fairly certain that he feels much worse than he is letting on. With any luck, though, it won’t last too long. His colds don’t usually move into his chest the way that mine do, so here’s hoping.

We leave tomorrow afternoon for Ohio. Ironically, it’s supposed to snow here this weekend. Who knows what will happen. It is rather cold at the moment. We need to get the front tire fixed before we leave; it seems to have a slow leak. Other than that, I think that we will be good to go.

“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.” ~ Rumi

I was reading the news and came across the most outlandish article: Apparently, a four-year-old boy from Chattanooga, Tennessee was found “roaming his neighborhood in the night, drinking beer and wearing a little girl’s dress taken from under a neighbor’s Christmas tree.” The boy’s mothers claims that the boy wants to go to jail because that’s where his daddy is.

Okay. So many things wrong with this story. First, where was his mom when the four-year-old left the house? How did this small child manage to break into his neighbor’s house to steal the dress? What’s with the beer?

I could go off on one of my curmudgeonly rants about kids having kids, lack of parental control, bad role models, ya da ya da ya da, but something else here is really bothering me, and it’s not the dress: Someone at some point taught this child how to open a beer bottle. Look, I have problems with screw top caps, granted, that’s probably a reflection of my own ineptitude, but please, a beer bottle?

The story does not detail why the father is in jail. The parents of this young boy are apparently in the midst of a divorce, and the mother, after speaking with child protective services, is going to be able to keep her son. No judgements here. Children all over the place figure out how to elude child-proof locks all of the time. If the mother is a sound sleeper, it’s entirely possible she didn’t even know that her son was out.  I’m just hoping that someone gets this child some help, if for no other reason than to teach him that it’s illegal to enter other people’s houses and steal things from under a Christmas tree.

“We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” ~ Anais Nin 

Okay, one other bit of random news. I know that I have said that I don’t watch most reality television because it makes my brain freeze, and I want to scream at the participants, but I do admit to watching “Project Runway,” (fierce), and “Real Housewives of Orange County” and “RH of New York.” Yes, those shows have their share of cluelessness, cattiness, and backstabbing, but such nice homes, such good jewelry, Tim Gunn for gosh’s sake.

Anyway, I’m reading this story that says that the Real Housewives are feeling the money crunch just like other Americans. Let us pause here to let this statement sink in. The housewives of Orange County live in the gated community of Cota in million-dollar homes. One housewife just received a seven-carat diamond necklace just because. They shop at La Perla for lingerie.

So Tamra has to clean her own house. OMIGAWD. Stop the presses. Life is so hard for these women. Look, they are publicity whores. They get paid a minimal stipend for appearing on the show, nothing to cover the cost of those mortgages. But they back-stab each other at the drop of a hat, talk trash constantly, and to boot, have overbearing, possessive, controlling husbands (with the exception of Don, who is just so laid back). So forgive me if my heart does not weep that Tamra must dust her furniture or Vicki cannot buy a yacht or Lynn’s husband is not doing well with his construction company. It didn’t stop her from getting a facelift and treating her daughter to a nose job.

But will I keep watching? You betcha. It’s my vicarious pleasure, and hey, I have to take them where I can find them.

“I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen—I believe that people are perfectable, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkled lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women.” ~ Neil Gaiman

I need to stop now because I have to polish my furniture. Tamra’s plight made me feel so compassionate that in her honor, I am going to de-grime the piano and other various items. It does pain me to clean the cobwebs because they are rather splendid, and I have become so accustomed to seeing them there in the corners (kidding).

Actually, the deal was that if Brett put up the outside lights today, I would polish the furniture, which is usually his job. But I really don’t know how I can keep up this pace and still get my Botox (Tamra, Lynn, Alexis), fit in my spray tan (all of them), go to the gym five times a week (Lynn, Alexis), and still wear Jimmy Choo’s everywhere I go. And did I mention the diamond encrusted Rolexes? The Cristal?

In the meantime, those of us who are warming our tootsies with space heaters will continue to warm our cockles by watching our dogs sneak ornaments off the Christmas tree while enjoying a nice glass of Crystal Light.

More later. Peace.

And now, the weepiest, saddest Christmas song ever. I play it only to torture myself, and it seemed somehow appropriate in light of seven-carat necklaces: “Christmas Shoes”

 

 

*All pictures in post taken from 1936 issue of LIFE magazine.

A Matter of Style: Obama Has It and Well . . . McCain Doesn’t

Three Days to Go and So Much to Be Done

John McCain’s Twilight Zone Redo

Okay. I’ll admit it. I do watch a few reality shows. I know that I have claimed to abhor most of them, and I do. But I love “Project Runway,” and I’ve started to watch Tim Gunn’s “Guide to Style,” mostly because I love all things Tim Gunn. I watch “What Not to Wear” occasionally, not as much as I used to, but Tim Gunn is more fun right now, I suppose because of the novelty, that and because of the outrageous idea that a woman can get along with 10 basic items in her closet. What a hoot!

The other wonderful thing about Tim Gunn’s show is that he surprises every woman by taking her to some designer’s workshop just to give her an inkling of how fabulous she would look in a designer gown. Now, if someone did that to me, and then didn’t give me one of those designer’s gowns, I’d be spitting fire. I mean, really, that’s cold. But of course, the women get the gowns, and go off to their special events looking fabulous. And here I sit, looking like a sausage, bemoaning my fate.

So I turn to Corey, and I say, “I’d love to call the show and tell them I need a makeover to bring my look up to date.” To which he replies, “Are you out of your mind? You can’t let Tim Gunn come in our house.” Which is true, so there goes that idea . . .

I only mention this whole idea of new styles and makeovers because I’ve decided with three days to go in the campaign that John McCain needs a redo, a complete start over from the beginning and try again. I’m serious. I mean, it couldn’t hurt. Could it?

Work with me here. Let’s go back . . . Doo do do do . . . doo do do do (eerie music from the “Twilight Zone”). Voice over: “Imagine if you will a man, so completely overwhelmed by circumstances, that he would like nothing better than the chance to start again. Now imagine, that man goes through a door and finds himself exactly where he wants to be: August 1, 2008. He has entered (dramatic pause and music) the Twilight Zone.”

Why August 1? Well let’s see, that gives him a chance to reconsider his vice presidential candidate and to vet that person thoroughly (what a concept). It gives him a chance to redo the Republican National Convention without starting late and to make it more of the spectacle that his party wanted. It gives him a chance not to pseudo-suspend his campaign and threaten to hold his breath over the first debate. It gives him a chance to do a take back, or actually, never happened on the incredible statement, “the economy is fundamentally sound.” It gives him a chance to uphold his basic sense of decency and never let his handlers push him into the murky waters of mudslinging and chargers of “socialism, terrorism,” and all of that other malarkey.

It gives him a chance not to embarrass himself by hanging his hat on some incredibly ill-conceived idea of Joe the Plumber as an American everyman. It gives him a chance to distance himself from George Bush much, much sooner in his campaign. And if he had played all of it better, then he probably wouldn’t be defending traditionally red states right now, and this would be a much tighter race.

Not that that’s what I want. But a part of me really does want the old John McCain back. The man who wasn’t going off half-cocked at every turn. The man who wasn’t wandering around on stage looking for Mr. Puddles. The man who wasn’t calling on a Joe the Plumber who wasn’t even there. Hey, I’m human. I really do feel for the guy, even though I have grown to hate what his campaign stands for. But I attribute that more than anything to two things: Sarah “Alexander Haig I’m In Charge” Palin, and some really bad handlers who have given him some really bad advice.

So if wishes were fishes, and I had a few extra to give away, I’d give one to John McCain, and let him have that one. Maybe. I mean, I’d let him have his dignity at least. After all, November 4th is only three days away, and Obama is moving into Arizona, and one of my favorite songs is by Jamie O’Neal: “There is No Arizona.” Let’s hope not for John McCain, anyway.

Speaking of Style

I was watching Rachel Maddow’s interview with Barack Obama the other night, and I loved her comment about his personal style. She was simply amazed by how calm the man was. She said that if he were any calmer, he would “be on ambien.” She also commented on how calm the people around him were, surprisingly so.

It’s a presidential campaign, people. Why aren’t you running around like the firestorm that it’s supposed to be? I remember comments about the Clinton campaign and the subsequent administration, how everyone was adrenaline-filled and running around like crazy all of the time. What a contrast. It’s kind of like jazz, how it can be hyperkinetic and then really smooth. Doesn’t surprise me at all that Obama isn’t hyper. If you’ve ever seen him come on stage, he kind of lopes, very casually, like he hasn’t got a care in the world, or another three stops to make. I’ll bet he makes his Secret Service contingent crazy.

News From the Phone Banks

Unlike Barack Obama and his handlers, things at campaign headquarters are, shall we say, a bit frenzied. I think the junk food may have something to do with it—lots of leftover Halloween candy, homemade cakes, carbs, and a few veggies for good measure. We’re down to making calls for volunteers to come in on the last few days for door-to-door canvassing and for phone bank work, and we’re getting more answering machines than answers. Most people have heard from us at least two times by now, and they’re getting a little touchy, as in the woman who said, without grace, shall we say, “I wish you people would just leave me alone. I’m old!” All right. Point taken.

Granted, I hate to be on the other end of a rolling poll machine. I know how relentless they can be, which is why I like to be on the calling end and not the receiving end. But for those of you who are receiving the calls, just remember, it’s almost over. And if you really want to get rid of us, join us!

And I have to say, these Obama people are pretty relentless, they even have sign-up boards for ninja stealth canvassing during the night before polls open. No, no one is going to be knocking on doors, but they will be putting door hangers on door knobs so that it’s the first thing you see when you open you door in the morning to get the newspaper, if you still read a hard copy, that is. And guess what? I gently urged (hah!) Corey to sign up for one since he’s up all night anyway. I’m not sure, but I think that he may have been shooting daggers at me with his eyes, or maybe it was just a look of love. Who can tell these days . . .

Out of my calls today, I did manage to persuade one guy to come in after his shift at work to make telephone calls tomorrow, and another to come in to drive people to the polls after he drops his daughters off at school on election day. Me? On election day, we’re signed up for more phone work, and who knows what else we’ll be doing. Brett will be working, too, since school is closed that day. I’ve promised him his manna from heaven when all of this is over: His own dozen of Krispy Kreme donuts, hot off the racks. Mom knows how to bribe.

I was speaking with the phone bank coordinator, one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Turns out we have more in common than a belief in the visionary guy. She, too, has fibromyalgia and her share of pain problems, but she’s still working and volunteering. I’m in awe, truly. I know that I couldn’t do what she’s doing, by half. A sincere, big shoutout to her (and I would do the windshield wiper wave, but I refuse to take my Palin impersonation that far).

Finally, a Word from the Mighty Cleese

The word is berk, b-e-r-k. It’s a wonderful British word that means in general, fool. But its derivation comes from the Berkeley Hunt. In Cockney rhyming slang, hunt rhymes with c*nt, so berk takes on a much more derogatory meaning. Cockney, for those who might not be familiar with the term, is generally used to refer to slang from the East End of London, and rhyming slang is far more complicated, involving the dropping of a word with another word or phrase that rhymes with it.

Long story short, John Cleese appeared on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” last night and read another one of his poems, this one an homage to that twit, Bill O’Reilly. Cleese used the word berk in his description of O’Reilly, and when Olbermann asked him what the word meant, Cleese actually brought up the Berkeley Hunt definition. Priceless.

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually heard the word berk used, except once in a while on Masterpiece Theatre on mysteries, and I read it frequently in my British mysteries, but I used to hear it when I was a child, and my mother and I would travel around London, especially in the markets. Even as young as I was, I knew what a berk was, but I was never allowed to use the word. It’s a wonderful word, and Cleese’s use of it makes me want to reintroduce it into my personal patois. Think of the fun I could have . . . Oh stop being such a berk . . . That man is a complete and total berk . . . and so on. It really is too tempting. You do know that I’m going to have to go there.

On that note, more later. Peace.