Monday, January 31, 2011

True Crime – What Kind of Juror Would You Be?

Blame the snow but I was watching Court TV (TruTV, whatever) and their coverage of a trial in session of a doctor accused of poisoning his wife and fleeing the country. From what I gather the husband spiked calcium pills with cyanide and gave them to his wife – and I couldn’t help but notice that he used the store-brand of calcium pills. Not that I don’t love CVS, but I say if you’re going to poison your spouse, at least spring for the brand name goods, not generic.

Incidentally, it appears to be pretty easy to buy cyanide online. Who says TV isn’t educational?
Other than that, the reality in this reality TV is that court cases tend to be tedious, drawn-out and frankly boring affairs. Very procedural and the questioning is always awkward to watch. It’s not at all like Law & Order. I base this opinion on watching televised cases and from a couple of cases I observed in high school out of curiosity, since one of my friend’s dad was a personal injury lawyer.

Myself, I have never served jury duty. The only time I’ve ever even been called was when I was in college and living out of state, so my mom returned the form stating I was unavailable and that was that. I am amazed that this civic duty has never come knocking at my door since then … I think that I would be interested to serve on a jury because of my semi-obsession with ‘true crime,’ but at the same time I might go insane with the tedium and dealing with my fellow jurors – not known for my patience.

Have any of you served on a jury, and what was your experience? Did you feel like you were performing a valuable civic service and experiencing first-hand a world-class judicial system in action – or is it as bad as everyone says it is?

I am curious to know if you think that serving on jury duty deserves the reputation that it has, of making people run in the other direction.

And I don’t even want to think what would be going through my head if I were ever to have the misfortunate to be on trial for something, and facing the prospect of being judged by a jury of my peers.

In other true crime news, I think a lot of people are a little too excited about the upcoming Casey Anthony death penalty trial. Court TV/TruTV is already hyping their coverage, even though it’s January and the trial doesn’t start until MAY.

You may recall she is the young mother in Florida accused of killing her two-year old daughter Caylee a few years ago. My obsession with “true crime” drama notwithstanding, I had not followed the initial coverage much but I watched a show about it the other night and all I can say is I understand now why the mother has been charged with murder.

Note – the main reason I didn’t follow the coverage of this salacious crime initially is because Nancy Grace was beating that horse night and day, night and day – and Nancy Grace is THE DEVIL.

Anyway, this mother Casey who has been charged seems suspect as all hell. From the word go, she has been lying to everyone. She even started by telling an ex boyfriend the baby was his when she was pregnant, even though they had stopped dating months before. A paternity test confirmed that the math didn’t add up. He was still willing to be there for her and the baby, and he proposed, she backed out 5 months later.

She (Casey) was living with her parents with her daughter (Caylee). The grandparents seem to have been a bit obsessed with the grandchild Caylee. So then one day Casey just up and takes off with Caylee. For a month she evaded her parents, who did not see their grandchild at all during that time.

Finally, pressed by her parents, Casey told them that Caylee had been missing for that entire time, and had been supposedly kidnapped by a nanny. The parents called the police, and trust me from here it only gets more confusing. The police couldn’t find this supposed nanny and there was no evidence she had ever watched the child; the car that Casey had been driving was found abandoned with evidence of decomposition in the trunk …

Meanwhile, during this month when her child was supposedly missing, rather than calling the police or telling her parents, Casey was apparently out drinking and partying up a storm based on what seems to be a lot of photographic evidence. Thanks Flickr. No reason was given as to why she didn’t report the alleged kidnapping in the first place. There are also some weird/gruesome details related to when the body of Caylee was eventually found that I won’t talk about here.

It’s exhausting to keep up with that much crazy.

Not that the creep factor is exclusive to Casey Anthony. Most of the show I watched involved interviewing her parents (no actual interviews with the accused, who has been sitting in jail this whole time) and I can see that the crazy apple didn’t fall far from the wacko tree. The dead child’s grandparents came across as drama queens with their own issues and have given some conflicting stories. They made it clear that Caylee was not Casey’s child, she was their child too. It all smacked of weird.

We’ll see how it all shakes out at the trial, don’t see how she won’t be found guilty, but you never know with a jury.

Gotta go, watching a show about the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted, got to keep an eye out for these people …

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Where were you … when the Challenger exploded?

Challenger tragedy – I was 12, in 6th grade at PS 26. My best friend Vicky and I had volunteered to help out at school by going out to the parking lot at lunchtime to collect the kindergarten kids who came in for the afternoon half day program, since it was a long walk from the bus to their classroom – like little ducklings they’d follow behind us and we’d escort them safely to class.

I had just come back from doing that on this particular day and my classmate John stopped me in the hallway and said – “Did you hear? The rocket blew up!” or words to that effect. I didn’t know what he was talking about at first, thought it might be some kind of joke. Then I walked into my class and Mrs. Ryan was giving us the sad news. Then we all trooped in to the library to watch the grim coverage on the old TV on its rickety metal stand with wheels. It’s still so vivid in my memory.

Later, in college I found out that my astronomy professor had been on the panel that chose Christa McAuliffe to be a part of the program and he still seemed sad about it. Was still one of the best classes I ever took.

This poem has always given me chills:

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

According to Wikipedia, the author was a pilot who died in a mid-air collision during WW2 and gained posthumous fame for the poem.

“John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (June 9, 1922 – December 11, 1941)[1][2][3] was an American[4] aviator and poet who died as a result of a mid-air collision over Lincolnshire during World War II. He was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he joined before the United States officially entered the war. He is most famous for his poem High Flight.”

This poem was sweetly illustrated by Berke Breathed in his amazing, melancholy comic strip Bloom County, featuring the hopes and desires of a flightless bird, Opus, and his friends. I miss that comic strip. (click on the image to see a full size view of this comic)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Join me in embracing a microwave-free lifestyle

A few years ago my husband and I moved from Arizona to the east coast. As part of the big move we evaluated our belongings to decide what to bring, what to toss, what to donate. You really don’t know how much stuff you have until you have to schlep it cross country. I have found that you make tougher decisions based on whether you’re having professionals pack and ship your stuff versus doing it yourself.

Anyway, tens of trips to the Goodwill later, one item still remained unresolved – the microwave. I made the executive decision to leave our microwave behind since it was getting on in years, and I figured we’d get a new one for the new place.

Fast forward to a teensy tiny outdated kitchen in our new suburban pied-a-terre, and the microwave dilemma. Until we get around to remodeling the kitchen, the best option is a countertop model. However, it would appear that kitchens built in the early 1950s didn’t take microwave counter space, or any counter space at all really, into consideration. I looked around and couldn’t find a decent, small, reasonably priced microwave that I liked. I didn’t want to pay too much for a microwave, knowing that at some point in the not too distant future, we’d be swapping it out with an under-counter/above stove model. You can see my dilemma. Oh, the challenges of the modern world. In the meantime, some months passed.

And during that time, I had an epiphany. We didn’t need a microwave!

Eureka. We could live a new and exciting, microwave-free life. No more snacking on processed foods because they were easy to nuke. Less of a reliance on frozen stuff. More of an incentive to eat fresh foods. Healthier, I told myself.

Now I find myself in year two of the great microwave free experiment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally against microwaves. I’m not like a vegetarian for whom meat-eating is not situational. I take full advantage of the microwave at the office. Does that make me a hypocrite? I don’t know. I just know this is about as close to roughing it as I get.

I was happy to see in my pre-snowstorm raid of the grocery store yesterday, that they still make Jiffy Pop, that popcorn you can make on the stovetop that blows up to a lovely aluminum zeppelin. Is that a regional thing? I’ll try making it and let you know if it’s as fun to make as it was when I was 8 years old.

I do know there are definitely some downsides to not having a microwave, namely:
• No microwave popcorn
• No instant way to reheat leftovers
• No fast way to make baked potatoes
• I guess my gas bill might be higher since I use the stove more?
• People think you’re strange when you tell them you have no microwave

I wonder if there is paperwork involved to start a cult. In the meantime, please send a check to me for membership dues and a self-addressed-stamped envelope for an eventual newsletter.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

There’s an app for that

The sheer volume of interesting, unique - and many free - apps that are out there is a little overwhelming, yet intriguing. There really is a lot of creativity involved, and some apps out there that are very useful and practical, not to mention entertaining.

But as with anything else, there’s a lot of junk and clearly some weirdos out there. In a recent quick scan of the Droid app marketplace, I found the following free apps:

• Indonesian bible
• Smoker statistics
• Sexy snake (don’t want to know)
• Pocketbudda (sic)
• Mayan clock (useful)
• Binary option calculator (now with more binary!)

And if you don’t mind springing for 99 cents per, you can also install:

• Douche meter
• Awesome Fart
• Nose Art clocks
• Massager pro

I really have no idea what these are about but if you dare me I might download one of them.

The IRS recently came out with an app to check the status of your return and such, but would you ever file your taxes by app? We do banking by phone now, so I guess it’s not that much of a stretch.

A lot of apps are tied to revenue generation somewhere along the line, but whether it’s an app or content/information on the Internet, I’m also intrigued by what compels someone to provide stuff for free online? It seems unusually generous of our society.

I know in many cases the act is monetized somewhere along the way, or the hope is that putting information out there may lead to money, job offers etc. down the line , etc… but I think a lot of the information that’s out there (take Wikipedia, for example), is just people wanting to share their knowledge and experience. It’s sort of an interesting byproduct of the digital world and how we interact in it. (side note - Is there such a thing as a ‘zine anymore?)

The downside of course is people who share WAAAY too much, like this guy. And lest you get any ideas ladies, he’s married. And lives in Florida, natch.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Warning: Adult content (or not)

I was looking at the settings on this blog site a few days ago, and one of the options is to add an adult content warning for the site. Yesss. So now anyone who comes to the site gets a nice warning and has to click “I agree” and disavowing anyone from being responsible for any emotional damage you’ll experience from reading my ramblings.

Of course, since you’re here, you already know that. Honestly, I don’t intend to post pornographic content (yet) but I did want the right to curse with impunity and talk about things that might not be considered good dinner table conversation by everyone so I figured I should warn the kiddies.

Sorry Kevin, I know it sounds saucier than it really is. But I guess it is sort of liberating in a way. Frees me up for future naughty posts.

On a related note, the big hotel company Marriott recently announced that it will be phasing pay-per-view adult movies out of their hotels, citing economic realities. Studies show that fewer and fewer people order these movies every year, no doubt a factor of technology – technology that allows people to download content to their own devices, and the technology that allows for very detailed hotel receipts.

My take on this is that no one wants to turn in an expense report showing the naughty movies they ordered. Plus with the proliferation of channels like Cinemax maybe there’s plenty of skin available for viewing for free. I’m usually content to watch East Bound and Down on HBO.

So the question is, have you ever ordered an erotic movie on hotel pay per view? Ok, you don’t have to answer that. Let’s just leave it as ‘what happens at the Comfort Inn stays at the Comfort Inn.’

As hotels phase some things out like pay-per-view movies, concierges and in some cases tubs (again, studies show less and less people use them at hotels), new and interesting things are being added like check-in kiosks and the ability to unlock your room door with a smartphone.

What amenity would you like to experience during your next hotel stay?

Monday, January 24, 2011

What would your mob name be?

The news has been rampant with stories about late last week’s historic FBI bust of more than 125 accused mobsters. But what has captured the public’s (or the reporters’) attention has been that along with the list of names released of those arrested, their nicknames were also listed.

Some of my favorites:

• Burgers
• Lumpy
• Johnny Pizza
• The Bull (Sammy?)
• Baby Fat (seems self explanatory)
• Mush (hmm)
• Jello (maybe he’s jiggly, or really likes gelatin)
• Meatball (okay)
• Vinnie Carwash
• Junior Lollipops (stripper name?)
• Baby Shacks (no clue)
• Tony Bagels (who doesn’t love a bagel)
• The Claw
• Marbles (maybe as in ‘lost his’?)

I can only imagine what my mob name would be. I could pick one for myself, sure, but I get the feeling that these names are assigned to you by your mob colleagues, and like a good roast or hazing name it plays up qualities that aren’t your best.

Perhaps not quite as entertaining as choosing your porn star name, stripper name, drag queen name or soap opera star name, but I’m humbly open to your suggestions.
Ten Cups of Coffee? Never on Time Tania?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Around the world girl – and the merits of paper underpants

A friend at work was telling me how her mother had just embarked on a three-month cruise around the world. The mother and her sister were traveling together and the itinerary sounded great – Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean/Central America, through the Panama Canal, Fiji, Australia, Asia up to the Mediterranean, through the Strait of Gibraltar, ending up in London and flying back to the U.S. from there.

I’m sure there are many advantages to doing this sort of trip as a cruise, namely that you don’t have to continually schlep bags around. But you’d still have to pack for three months and for a wide variety of occasions and climates.

I have a hard enough time packing for a three day trip let alone for three months. (I have issues with being able to pack light but I’m in a 12-step program)

Are you looking for packing tips for your trip around the world? Lonely Planet posted a short article recently with some thoughts and considerations for extended travel from a true road warrior, like the type of person who can live out of a backpack for extended periods of time and is a blackbelt in hostel survival.

I don’t have a lot of experience with that kind of hard-core travel, but I could relate to the question of what category do you fall into when it comes to packing:

The Boy Scout: prepared for anything
Lifeboat Survivor: one who packs only enough to forestall death, or at least social ostracism

I definitely fall into the first category and have had to learn the hard way not to drag everything and the kitchen sink with me on trips. (blame my parents – someday I’ll tell the story of a fateful road trip to Florida with my packrat Dad and a filled to the brim Ford Gran Torino station wagon)

Disposable undernancies: my Mom and her sister Clara have some good stories about traveling to Europe in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s as young carefree lasses. Coming from a pretty strict religious upbringing in South America, I can only imagine how it felt for them to experience the freedom of travel and wonders like the Eiffel Tower, the ski slopes of Switzerland. They were not backpacking, it wouldn’t have really been that mainstream at the time I don’t think and it doesn’t fit their personalities – but in a nod toward convenience and packing lightly, they apparently hit upon the seemingly genius product of paper underwear.

Designed to be disposable, you could have a new, clean pair every day and not have to worry about packing a bunch of skivvies, let alone lugging funky dirty laundry around with you or having to deal with washing clothes on the road. Sounds like a good idea, but I have to wonder about the structural integrity of a pair of paper briefs. I can’t help but think of a hospital gown, crinkly, ill-fitting and tearing easily. And no word on whether this sort of thing was common at the time or just a quirk of the Hernandez girls. I guess it might cut down on the temptation to get involved with romantic encounters while on the road.

I have not come across such a product in my own travels, nor have I really looked, but I’m sure a quick online search would yield something (maybe a company like Magellan’s). Frankly I’m a little afraid to look. These might be sold alongside those plastic jars that are to be used for peeing in when you’re in the car for a long time and can’t get to a bathroom, let alone Depends type products. What would you call them? Paper Pants. Or Underpaper. Maybe Disposa-brief. But I digress.

Aside from the option of disposable clothes, some small packing revelations gleaned over the years: pack outfits, not clothes. Chances are, I don’t need that many pairs of shoes. Risk of needing formalwear – low. And don’t take hardcover books.

What are your tips or thoughts on paper undies? Here’s the link to the Lonely Planet piece:
How to pack for a round-the-world trip

Friday, January 21, 2011

What lessons can we learn today from the leaders of yesterday?

Short blog post today, on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s inaugural address. Check out the info in today’s Post recalling the event and some great photos.

Hard not to take Kennedy’s words in the context of today and current events, and the natural question is can we learn anything about discourse and civility from his words on that fateful day five decades ago.

Here is an example of some of Kennedy’s lines from the speech called out by WaPo:

So let us begin anew – remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Twitterers were also invited to comment and share favorite Kennedy quotes using the hashtag #jfkquotes. Gotta wonder how Kennedy would have used social media? Try to imagine what the JFK Facebook page would have looked like, or how the scandals (think Marilyn) might have played out on E! Online. I like to think he would have embraced the technology.

Regarding the photos, love seeing JFK in a top hat and don’t miss the gallery with inaugural pix such as Jackie O’s gown. We will always see this family and this time in the country’s history through a veil of nostalgia and glamour but it’s not hard to see why.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

She Blogged Lazily, Like a Dog Scratching Its Ear on a Hot Day

I don’t know the source for this (and was not able to find one on a cursory search of Google – let me know if you know the origin), but a friend sent this to me and I have to share, because frankly these are awesome. To be fair, I think many of them are technically similes. My entry is at the end.

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners...

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

My submission for honorable mention:
He rolled over and demanded a cup of coffee loudly, calling to mind a Pier 39 sea lion.

Vote for your favorite!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I don’t like Mondays (repeat)

Yesterday thanks to the wonders of social media I learned about the concept of “Blue Monday.” Apparently yesterday (and I’ll admit I’m fuzzy on the details – is it Jan 17 or MLK day specifically/the 3rd Monday in January?) was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.

I don’t recall feeling particularly depressed yesterday but just in case anyone needs a pick-me-up, here are some current events that may bring a smile to your face.

Woman recreates da Vinci's 'Last Supper' with lint
If you can overlook the dementedness of spending so much time on this pursuit and buying towels in specific colors just to get the right shade of lint for Judas, it’s actually not a bad rendition of a painting. In dryer lint.

Naked tourist, self-proclaimed ‘King of the World’ arrested
You know, I think we’ve all been there at one time or another. The Florida Keys, I mean.

Monk nabbed with nun's skeleton at airport
This story honestly left me wanting more. I thought the dude would be a serial killer caught with a body that he tried to pass off as some religious thing. Turns out it is a suspected scam … which is intriguing in its own right, but I don’t know. Ending was disappointing. But just for funsies, this one did not take place on Florida.

The ending of this last story, however, will not disappoint. But you have to promise to read the last line:

His loins still burn for her
Florida man sticking with girlfriend even after she torches. His crotch. With gasoline. The dating scene is ugly.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kickin’ Off Awards Season – the Golden Globes

It has been a while since I've watched an awards show, let alone the red carpet coverage. But last night I sat down with a couple of girlfriends and a magnum of bubbly to soak up the kickoff awards show of the 2011 season, the Golden Globes. It was a solid if not groundbreaking start to the season.

Host Ricky Gervais was a naughty monkey. Started out with a bang with roast-like jokes about A-list celebrities, including several that were in the room. Think he did a good job of walking the line between mean and funny. Liked his patterned tux. I would guess that he might not be invited back next year, and who knows, perhaps that was his end game.

Many highlight moments during the show, like Jane Lynch’s well-deserved win and Chris Colfer from Glee’s sweet acceptance speech. De Niro’s offputting speech and Colin Firth’s humility. The Dude-arino. Melissa Leo’s delight at being kissed by Jeremy Irons.

Many comments made about how this awards show is more relaxed and the guests get to sit around eating and drinking … saw many bottles of Moet and ballotins of Godiva but other than that couldn’t glimpse what they were eating – is it snacky food or a full dinner? Do they get to pick what they want to eat or is it “chicken or fish” like at a wedding? I didn’t notice waiters during the broadcast so they did a good job of hiding the service part of the evening. Room looked sparkly and elegant.

But let’s get down to brass tacks: the clothes. For sparkly, overall favorite dress was worn by Olivia Wilde, who presented. While not groundbreaking, it was a show-stopper dress in a sea of ho-hum gowns. She looked like evening dress Barbie but in a nice way.

Pink was a charming color on many, like Natalie Portman and the Lea woman from Glee. Sofia Vergara was red hot in shiny red that accentuated her significant curves. Christina Hendricks from Mad Men also red hot, curves for days. Weeks even.

Torn on January Jones’ dress – she’s gorgeous and the dress was hot – lots of skin and fringe, but I’m just not sure it struck quite the right note.

Emerald green was the token color of the evening, evoking Scarlett O’Hara’s infamous curtain gown (but not in a bad way) : Elisabeth Moss (from Mad Men, so cute), Mila Kunis, Angelina Jolie, Catherine Zeta Jones (gorgeous).

Tina Fey – lovely in deep blue velvet (calling David Lynch). Kyra Sedgwick looked great in orange. Soft and pretty. Katy Sagal (go Peg Bundy!) also looked fantastic in orange.

The dominant and disappointing theme though was the boring pablum color spectrum favored by so many: taupe, silver, blush, greige. Washed out, uninspiring. YAWN. Like Michelle Williams. She’s a cute gal but that beige dress with daisy appliqués? Yawn.

Other observations:
Justin Beiber is growing up to be a lovely lesbian.

Halle Berre. She looks great, let’s say that up front. She hasn’t aged a minute it seems. But her dress left me confused – bustier top with mini dress with a longer sheer skirt overlay. It screamed 1980s and not in a good way. I swear a celebrity wore this dress on the red carpet in a previous life but I can’t put my finger on it yet – Madonna maybe?

What is up with the Dynasty/Falcon Crest throwbacks? Big puffy shoulders and covered necklines and lots of sequins. See Leighton Meester, Anne Hathaway.

Sandra Bullock is a lovely woman but the dress left me wanting more and her choppy hairdo with the blunt bangs was a miss.

Nicole Kidman – big ol lollipop head on a stick body.

Scarlett Johanssen – bride of Frankenstein.

Julianne Moore – someone stopped halfway while making the top of her dress.

Claire Danes - loved the color of her dress and its simplicity but she needs to eat a sandwich, STAT.

Sexy: Alec Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm, LL Cool J, Trent Reznor (he cleans up real nice).

Angelina Jolie looked like she was falling asleep thru the whole event. Needed a Red Bull and a disco nap.

Christian Bale, I hope you are playing Jesus in an upcoming role, nothing else could excuse that ‘do and facial hair.

Tilda Swinton. You scare me a little, in a good way. Were you channeling Bowie’s Thin White Duke? Or preparing for an alien movie? That could explain your washed out face and weird hair and lack of jewelry maybe and pale color choices …. But why were your button down shirt and yellow skirt so ill fitting? You’ve earned the right to wear whatever the hell you want and you’re not timid when it comes to sartorial choices, so while I didn’t like this one I’ll give you a pass.

Helena Bonham Carter, thank you. Thank you for not being afraid to let your freak flag fly. On the red carpet, you looked a bit tipsy, I hope you enjoyed a few glasses of bubbly in the limo on the way over, to complement that wackadoo print dress with big tulle pieces, nicely balanced with your big frowsy hair and uneven eye make-up. And yes, you weren’t shy about wearing one red shoe and one green shoe, even tho I didn’t even detect any green in the dress. Punky Brewster would be proud. The only accessory missing was Tim Burton.

I only wish Cher had been there.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Your Genius is Showing

Was listening to Pandora the other day and it occurred to me that Mozart died when he was about 35 years old. I’ve officially outlived Mozart … I imagine my genius will be showing itself any day now. I remember a friend of mine telling me once how when she turned 25, she was struck with the realization that she would never be an Olympic figure skater. No matter that she had never strapped a set of skates on her feet in her entire life, it was just the acceptance that there was a dream, an ideal, that would never be realized.

But I think it was Oscar Wilde who said genius is born, not paid, so there you have it.

Someone with a streak of genius who is just looking to get paid is this guy: Steve Madonna. I don’t know anything about his current or backstory, but the “resume” he posted on Craigslist was snort-inducing. Hopefully you won’t be offended by the cursing (a lot) and the rage (oh yeah), but it is pretty funny.

If you don’t read it, I’ll summarize it for you – a man who appears to be in his 20’s is frustrated by his inability to find an entry level, low-paying job in today’s workforce, so he lashes out on Craigslist with a nonsensical, angry and yet entertaining diatribe against employers. While extreme, I’m sure he represents the frustration of a great number of people who are under-employed or unemployed, and I wish everyone luck if they are looking for work or looking to change jobs.

This Monday, the U.S. commemorates Martin Luther King day, who worked tirelessly to advance the cause of civil rights in a nonviolent manner and was tragically taken from the world too early in a very violent way. (P.S. why is it called MLK Day if he was a Junior?) I had the good fortunate to visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis a few years ago, which was created on the site of the old Lorraine motel, where MLK was shot. They even kept the hotel room intact, as it was on that fateful day. It is a very moving place, and if you’ll be in Memphis any time I encourage you to spend a few hours there. I also feel like the occasion of MLK day calls for some sort of volunteer activity so I’ll report back on what that turns out to be – am intrigued by virtual volunteering and/or microvolunteering opportunities. Would be nice to do something to recognize the best dream of all. BTW here is an interesting story from an advisor who helped write the “I Have a Dream” speech.

MLK Day has been designated a day of service, and this year is the 25th anniversary of the holiday. If you’d like more info or want to get involved, check it out -


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Are you a Goofus or a Gallant?

I watched a corporate training video the other day and the extreme scenarios presented (think about any sexual harassment video you’ve ever had to watch, or the suicide warning films they played in Health class in Middle School) reminded me of the “Goofus and Gallant” series in Highlights magazine. Was Highlights a regional thing or did most people in the U.S. grow up with it, or at least flipping through it at the dentist’s office?

If you didn’t read it, or don’t remember them, here is a good description of Goofus and Gallant I found online and some examples of the cartoons from the 1950s and 60s –

As an uptight child, I hated Goofus and his errant ways, and related to goody good Gallant – now I think Gallant had a stick up his butt and didn’t know how to have fun. Sure, Goofus was a future serial killer or college football coach, but at least he let loose a little. And frankly, all that repression couldn’t have been good for Gallant’s psyche either.

I’m sure there’s a happy middle ground or balance, like Goofant … or Gallus? Maybe a ‘Good Enough’ character. I’ll work on that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Presidents, Prosciutto and Paula

So I didn’t get a snow day today. It was so close I could taste it, but instead I was a contributing member of society and did my work duty and then went grocery shopping to stock up on food just in case some more snow decides to come our way. It has been pointed out that I shop for a storm like I shop for a party. If I think we’ll be snowed in for a few days I’ll buy cheeses, prosciutto, booze, pastries know where to come if you run out of canapés.

Was flipping through the channels tonite and accidentally landed on the President’s closing remarks at the Tucson Memorial service for the people attacked with Congresswoman Giffords. Damn you Mr. President for making me cry with your remarks about the 9 year old girl who was killed. But could this be a shining comeback moment for the Prez? Let’s look at this as a turning point for the country.

Also thanks to the wonders of CBS, the President speaking at a somber occasion was followed by Live to Dance, aka the Paula show. Oh thank you jaysus for another episode.

Paula believes that she is a gift to the world, and this is a great vanity project. All the dance candidates coincidentally talk about her and what an inspiration she is, tho I’m guessing half those kids don’t know who the hell she is, I don’t care if she was on Idol. Gotta love how the crowd ‘spontaneously’ chants “Paula, Paula, Paula” as she walks out on stage .. .and how she ‘mentors’ the dancers in the semi finals (finals? Hard to follow) which appears to involve Paula making an appearance at a hotel ballroom and criticizing them and then taking credit for them being good. Love that Paula gets to be the good guy and say nice things about everyone.

And who are these people who join dance troupes and give themselves funny names like White Tree Fine Art, Jittin Genius and Theatrix. Clearly I wasted my youth.

Paula tried to make a funny at the top of the show by making a crazy comment on purpose about how she was “Floating down a cotton candy river and arriving at a maple syrup brown beach.” You may be a good dancer, P, but you need to work on your comedic timing.

What have we learned tonight? Have self discovery with your dance.
Goodnight, America.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Cape

Ok I like Summer Glau and I'd like her to get on a TV show that can actually stay on the air. But based on the first 10 minutes of the pilot for The Cape, it's not looking good.

Snow what

It is snowing in earnest here in the DC metro region. So far this winter we've only had one snowfall, which happened over a weekend and barely dusted the ground. In contrast, it seems like every other state to the north, south and west of us has been walloped lately. We've been waiting with bated breath for our snow this year, and now - permission to freak out, sir?

Our experience last year was like that which Icelanta and the New York area have right now, during our Snowmaggedon, or Snowpocalypse, if you prefer. In an area that gets on average 7 inches of snow a year, last winter we got more than 70 inches. Also like so many other metropolitan areas, we don't have the equipment or know how to deal with real snow, so everything shuts down. In the 2009-2010 winter, there was an entire week straight when our office didn't open and other onesy twosy days that we couldn't go to work.

Of course, the wonders of telecommuting meant I could work from the comfort of my home, tho I will say that plenty of my coworkers were noticably absent online and stil refer to that point in time as the "big vacation," I'm just saying ... and now at the mere rumor of a flurry, people are halfway out the door and ready to close the office early. it's an interesting phenomenom.

Don't get me wrong, it was fun in its own way to be stuck in our snug little house for a week last year surrounded by big beautiful piles of snow. I cleaned the oven twice for the heck of it. The dogs on the other hand were not so enamored. when we finally got dug out enough to get to a grocery store, the shelves were bare. But we never lost power, our heat worked fine and we had supplies enough to see us through. We fared better than a lot of others. In retrospect, I should have worried less about trying to get work done and just enjoyed everything as it was happening. In retrospect, we also should have done all the things we said we were going to do last year, like buy a second shovel, stock up on salt for the sidewalk, and get a sled.

Remains to be seen whether they will call tomorrow a snow day. And if so, how long it will take to clear our walks and coax our dogs out. I wonder what the penalty is for trespassing on federal land ... the FDA campus near us has some pretty good hills.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Seen any good movies lately?

I haven’t. The last thing I saw in the theaters was Despicable Me, which I wholeheartedly enjoyed. I’m not counting going to see The Little Fockers, which I saw with my brother over the holidays, it was his choice and out of respect for his feelings I won’t say anything else except that I wish I didn’t have to admit that I gave money to that franchise. I read something recently in which someone posited that Robert De Niro’s new year’s resolutions should include deleting Ben Stiller’s number from his cell phone, and I’d have to agree. I should watch Raging Bull as a palate cleanser.

But I digress. I actually love going to the movie theater, in large part for the popcorn and snacks. But I am hampered by two things: my significant other dislikes going to the cinema, and being somewhere, anywhere, on time is not one of my strong suits. And the movies is something you don’t want to be late to, not only do you have to try and find a decent seat in the dark, but you have to give yourself time to get the aforementioned snacks, and you don’t want to miss the previews. That’s part of the fun.

So I have to rely on cable TV for a lot of my movie watching. We had a Netflix thing going for a while (Blockbuster Online, same thing), but as it turns out not only does my husband not like going to the movies, he doesn’t even like the structure of sitting down to watch a movie at home. I guess he’s more of a freeform, catch something when it comes on the telly kind of person, I still don’t know really what his beef is. He also has something against coffee tables, but we’ll take that up in another post.

Anyway, since we had any movie we wanted at our fingertips (via the mail), I let our pay movie channels lapse, so no more HBO etc. I didn’t really miss it much save for the documentary film channel and East Bound and Down. Love me some Kenny Powers and a good documentary. (Note – if you haven’t seen Fistful of Quarters, rent it. Stream it. Whatever.) The whole movies through the mail thing was also convenient for our lifestyle because as it turns out, not only are we not good at being on time for things, but we are also AWFUL at returning movies on time.

But what was happening instead was we’d receive a perfectly good movie in the mail, and it would sit around the house for WEEKS AND WEEKS AND WEEKS. I was paying perfectly good money for a monthly subscription that was never getting used; cancellation ensued.

Red Box. At first I didn’t really get the appeal of this. But then when visiting my cousin I was introduced to the simplicity of this arrangement - $1. Lots of choices, easy to use vending machine. Cool machine that sucks the movie back in when you’re done with it. Want to keep the movie longer? No problem – they’ve got your credit card on file so they’ll conveniently charge you. I can understand why people queue up for these outside Walgreen’s or what have you, and why the franchise has become popular. So you’d think this could be an alternative for us, but nay nay, hubby has something against the nice Red Boxes too. (is this post turning into a rant against a particular someone?)

Movie channels. So we’ve come full circle, my friends. I gave up and added some nice pay movie channels back to our cable line-up and I’m trying to catch up on what’s been in the theaters. In a matter of about a day, I watched part of The Invention of Lying (intriguing), Clash of the Titans (disappointingly disappointing) and caught all of Primal Fear (why do I waste time watching movies I’ve already seen several times?) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (satisfying). Plus, there was a Firefly marathon on the Ovation channel. Huzzah.

The Golden Globe awards are this Sunday, too bad I will have seen none of the movies they will be talking about. Maybe by the time the Oscars roll around I can drag a certain someone to the local Cineplex.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Easy $

They have been running a lot of Publishers Clearinghouse commercials lately. I can't help but think they choose the winners based on who has the funniest outfit.

Speaking of easy money, aka the American Dream, I'd like to invent some crappy product that nobody needs but feels compelled to buy anyway. It will be manufactured from inferior plastic and be destined to clog up landfills for generations to come, and ideally it should have no real practical or intrinsic value.

I will sell millions of units via a cheesy infomercial with an Australian or British announcer. Somehow that makes the offer seem better.

But wait! Of course, if you act now you'll get two for the price of one, and a gift of something else made of plastic. Just pay separate shipping and handling, makes a great gift.

Consumer Reports is asking for ideas for new products and gadgets that haven't been invented yet. Send yours to

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Year of the What?

I am sick, and this makes me cranky. In fact, so far I’m dubbing 2011 The Year of the Crab, as in I’m feeling really crabby. Call me Lucy Van Pelt, but so far the new year feels a lot like the old year, and over the holidays it appears that a lot of the people around me lost half their brainpower.

This could just be my OCD talking, but I feel like I need to have a name or a theme for my year, and that is what will be manifested in the months to come. An acquaintance on Facebook posted recently that she had declared 2010 to be her Year of Professional Success, and lots of good things happened. So she’s naming 2011 her Year of Romantic Success, and I wish her all good things. I know that it’s not a matter of sitting back and waiting for things to happen, but maybe having a theme or a vision will help focus my intentions and actions in the direction in which I want to go.

In which case maybe I don’t want something as negative as crankiness to define the year, but the crabbiness factor could actually end up having a good effect on my sanity at work, because I tend to be overly diplomatic and give people the benefit of the doubt and extend myself to others … Lucy, on the other hand, does not have these traits. She is going to tell you what she thinks whether you like it or not, and will suffer no fools gladly.

Good motto to live by, maybe this year is The Year of Not Suffering Fools.

My friend Heather, who is a calorie counting queen, has declared this The Year of Spit it Out (as in don’t eat it, whatever it is).

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oh Paula Part 2 - Why We Love Abdul

So wouldn't you know it the tv columnist in the Washington Post agrees with my review of Paula's new show. teaser on the front page said: "Like a little train wreck with your dance show?"

she goes on to echo my comment about the judge who knew Michael Jackson, saying she's betting he talks about 'his dear friend Michael Jackson at least once per episode.'

sing it, sister. catch the column here:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Oh Paula

Tonight I watched a few minutes of the new reality show/dance competition called "Live to Dance." Paula Abdul is a judge and two other cheesy people, one of whom is said to have been Michael Jackson's choreographer.

I don't know who decided to put Paula back on the air but it is like a little gift for us for the new year. Did you ever watch her reality show on Bravo, "Hey, Paula"? If you ever had any question from watching her behavior on American Idol as to whether she was a wackjob, the Bravo program but any doubts to rest. Not surprisingly, the show was only on one short season, probably because she figured out that instead of being a showcase for her it only served as a great big spotlight on her craziness. My theory is that her craziness is derived in large part from the fact that she NEVER SLEEPS coupled with the pain pills she takes from an injury incurred years ago. And, she's a narcissist.

Anyway, she seemed sedated on Live to Dance - bleary eyed and mostly coherent but barely holding it together. she did manage to bleat out some of her usual Idol nonsense like " You... are. a gift. from heaven." and that's about it. For all we know, she may still think she's on Idol.

The show itself is blatant claptrap designed to tug at the lowest common denominator heartstrings - to wit, the 90 year old tap dancing grandma who could barely move her feet but was heartwarming - if you get the thumbs up (a gold star) from at least two out of three judges you get to move forward in the competition. Of course there was no way she was going to move forward in the competition, and therefore no reason for her to be shown at all, and predictably she got two thumbs down (red stars) from the two no-name judges, but not from Paula. she got to be the angel who gave the old lady a gold star and got to mumble something about her dancing to live and living to dance, blah blah.

The other performance I watched was a group of young New Jerseyites who had some bizarre routine involving ghosts and a mausoleum, but it was performed to a Michael Jackson song, therefore the MJ choreographer got to get all choked up and talk about his 'close personal friend, Michael Jackson.' I have a feeling he uses that phrase a lot.

I think I'll watch next week.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Random thoughts for the first Monday of the New Year

So far, the new year feels a lot like the new year. I arrived late at work today, covered in dog hair.

Needed some Pandora tunes to get the day going, thank god for 80's music.

My friend Jamie reminded me of three important Colombian New Year's Eve traditions:
  • wear yellow underpants on NYE, to bring you luck in the new year
  • at the stroke of midnite, swallow a grape - swallow one grape for each toll of the bell for a total of 12. if you choke on any of them, that number grape corresponds to the month in the year in which you will have trouble.
  • after you're done downing grapes, grab a suitcase or two (they can be empty) and run around the block. this will help ensure you take a trip in the new year.
I hope Jamie remembers the New Year's eve in which we drank ouzo and danced on tables at a Greek restaurant. No word on what color underpants were worn.

Watched part of the Craigslist killer movie on Lifetime tonite. Hope you did too so we can discuss.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I love tee vee part 2

Ok, the murder defendant Lawrencia Bembenek, aka Bambi Bembenek, was a beautiful woman but has not aged so great, I guess prison will do that to you. anyway, she is looking and sounding a lot like Mac's mom on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Season of gratitude

This year I feel like the winter holidays kind of snuck up on me and passed me by. In an attempt to embrace the spirit of the season, I tried to tweet daily about something I was grateful for that day. Some days were harder than others. But there are some little things that make me smile in general that never made it into the Twitterverse:

  • Gummy bears (Haribo)
  • Tide stain pen
  • Golden Girl reruns
  • the Harriet Carter catalogue (f*#%ing hilarious)
  • Infomercials, an underrapreciated genre
  • the Natty Bo guy
  • "Fresh Air" on NPR
  • Trader Joe's
Well, that's a start.

I love tee vee

Intriguing show name: Sex in World War II.

Still going to watch a true crime show on Bambi Bembenek instead. Lesson learned so far is don't try and flush a wig down the toilet.

New Year's Resolutions

This year, I resolve to make resolutions for others, starting with my pets.

Dog resolutions:

  • Pass less gas.

  • Make peace with the bunny rabbit that frequents the yard.

  • Eat more slowly and enjoy my food.

  • Be nicer to the cat.

  • Stop fighting over the dog beds.

  • Take more walks.

  • Enjoy bathtime.

  • Send the vet a Christmas card.

  • Moderate my cheese and rawhide intake.

  • Show appreciation for my masters.

Cat resolutions:

  • Go to anger management class.

  • Try tai chi.

  • Investigage different heat vents in which to lay in front of. There's more to life than the kitchen.

  • Be more appreciative of the dogs.

  • Keep closer eye on squirrels in the yard.

Ok, so I guess I did make one resolution for myself this year, to use the blog site that I set up a while ago. We are on day 2 of the year. Peace out.