Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bravo, how I’ve missed you

Used to be, the Bravo channel would put something on the air, and I’d watch it. They could film someone in Manhattan (surely someone svelte and well-styled) rearranging his or her linen closet and I’d tune in religiously. Of course it wouldn’t hurt that the linen closet was probably stocked with Frette and Pratesi worth more than my car and that the person was fabulous.

Bravo has a rhythym and a style and it works. From the Fab Five to Top Design to Real Housewives of Atlanta – I was in.

But after Project Runway moved to Lifetime (a move I still don’t entirely approve of), the Bravo channel and I had a cooling off period. Plus, Top Chef has been hiatus seemingly forever and My Life on the D List was sadly cancelled.

But at least they are still showing Kathy Griffin’s stand-up specials, and last night I caught “50 and Not Pregnant,” She looks fabulous, especially for a 50-year old. I know cosmetic surgery is involved, I know, but still. She is owning it and she is rockin’ it.

After the Griffin special, I got sucked into chef Rocco DiSpirito’s latest endeavor, the reality show “Rocco’s Dinner Party.” In the show, Rocco invites a mélange of b-list actors, chefs, business people, food writers, etc. to an awkward dinner party catered by two competing chefs. For example, this week’s guests included Raven Symone and the guy that stands out in my mind for playing the jerk Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore.

Aside from the laziness factor of not changing the channel, there were two reasons I stayed tuned for part of the Rocco show:

1. I’m trying to figure out what the deal is with Rocco DiSpirito. He seems to have bounced around from reality show, to restaurant, to web series (is that the Siberia of Hollywood or totally legit nowadays?) and of course multiple cookbooks – but yet it feels like he has never quite broken through to the big time. Is he not living up to his potential or is he just overrated?

Did we all get together as a society and decide that we’re willing to keep giving Rocco vehicles because he’s tall and good-looking and has some cooking talent? I’m ok with that, I just want to know if that’s what was agreed to.

2. Second reason for watching, in the promo clips and the show bumps, it looked like one of Rocco’s guests was a Liza Minelli impersonator. 45 goram minutes into the episode, and no Liza. Disappointing.

I will say a highlight of the show was the décor and the design of the dining rooms. Is Rocco like a nice-looking piece of furniture? He’s handsome, but I don’t know if he’s got the personality to carry this. Maybe throw Padma in there to liven things up.

But Bravo, I’m glad we kissed and made up. Smooch smooch.

P.S. the new season of Project Runway debuted tonight on Lifetime. Since I think Bravo and Lifetime are owned by the same parent company, I don’t feel like it’s really cheating for me to watch. I wanted to let the new season wash over me and enjoy the experience, and in a few days I’ll be ready to talk about it – possibly in an obsessive manner.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Train Wreck That is Toddlers & Tiaras

This blog post is inspired by the fresh madness brought to me each week courtesy of the TLC program Toddlers & Tiaras.

According to a Wikipedia page devoted to the show, it’s described as:
“Toddlers & Tiaras is an American reality series that debuted on TLC in 2009. The show follows the controversial world of child beauty pageants, looking closely at the pageant contestants and their families as the children prepare for their pageant shows. The show airs without any narration to avoid passing judgment.”

Not so sure about the not “passing judgment” comment – it’s amazing how much judgment can be passed through strategic editing. Anyway, even if you haven’t watched the show, suffice it to say it provides a television platform for a unique genre of parent known as a “pageant mom,” and in some cases, pageant dads. Think ‘stage mother’ but far more twisted. It’s a train wreck that I can’t help but watch.

This week I caught the episode that chronicles the inaugural “Miss Georgia Spirit” pageant in North Georgia, and the story of a child inexplicably named, Story.

In addition to Story’s story, other highlights of this episode include:

• A mother who claims her 2-year old “loves her tanning sessions” (if you have to ask why a 2-year old needs a tan, tune in)

• This pageant has a swimsuit competition – why oh why do we need a swimsuit category for babies and toddlers?

• One of the judges was some poor man described as a “local businessman” who must have been duped into the experience of being a beauty pageant judge – the look on his face can only be described as “kill me now”

• One of the pageant director’s thoughts on diversity: “the kids all come from different homes, and different families (really??) and even – from different parts of the state of Georgia!” Ok …

• Now when I think formalwear, I think 0-24 month-olds.

I don’t like to think about it much, but there are people making a lot of money like the pageant directors, the stylists, the coaches, dressmakers. (One dress. For a child. Can cost upwards of $1000.) Seems like it could be a lucrative endeavour – have you ever seen the movie “Happy, Texas”?

Love me some Steve Zahn, a poor man’s Bill Macy.

Incidentally, if you are looking for unusual baby names, look no further than T&T, which is thick with kids with names like Story, Paisley, Paris, Sterling, Destiny, Essence (kind of literal, dontcha think?), Makynli, Sparkal, Yrvana, Daylee, Kianna, Dianely… c’mon, people!!

Recommended watching is Tom Hanks’s send-up of Toddlers & Tiaras on the Jimmy Kimmel show? A funny six and half minutes, even if you’re not a Hanks fan.

If you have the stomach for this, in this heart-warming clip my friend Will kindly posted on my wall, Paisley shows her skill at nose picking.

Toddlers & Tiaras: Booger Snack : Video : TLC

Oooh, the Universal Royal Grand Nationals episode is on right now – with the doting dad who intends to use the prize money to put a lift on a truck, and thinks of spending money on his daughters as being akin to performing maintenance on a car – and the mom who keeps her child’s energy up with the use of “dance candies,” also known as sugar cubes. Gotta go.

Bonus link, check out my previous post on the show for more info -

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Running zombies change everything. What’s your zombie apocalypse plan?

Let’s talk about Bruce Campbell, zombie attacks and distilled water.

The world rejoiced this week when Bruce Campbell confirmed there would be a fourth Evil Dead movie. Bring it! I hope this does come to fruition. Someday I hope that you too will have the chance to see Evil Dead: the Musical performed live on the stage. I saw this a few years ago in Toronto, and it was funny and entertaining – think of a campy musical with lots and lots of fake blood. The dance numbers and songs about the Necronomicon are worth the price of admission alone. If you sit too close to the stage, they give you rain ponchos to wear to protect you from the spewing blood. That wasn’t an issue in Toronto, where it was a good-sized, nice theater, the kind where you sit at a little table instead of a row of seats, and a nice waitress brings you booze during the show – my kind of theater.

The point was moot when I later saw the show performed at the aptly named Landless theater company in DC, where the performance area is actually smaller than my living room. Every seat placed you squarely in the splash zone for the fake blood (they kindly sold big hefty bags in the “lobby” to protect your clothes, but my white Chuck Taylors still have pink stains on them). Upon close examination, because there could be no other kind, the blood appeared to be primarily composed of red Kool-aid.

Anyway, here’s some info on Evil Dead: The Musical and the new flick.

But that’s not even what I wanted to talk about today. A friend of mine recently dated this guy who as it turned out has given a lot of thought toward his plan for what he would do if the zombie apocalypse came.

His plan includes steps such as:

• Purchase a Vespa or scooter, which will be easier to get around on and require less gasoline than a car

• Know the locations of all the nearest big box and/or sporting goods stores, where one can go and stock up on supplies and weapons in the event of an emergency. This is a key element of his plan, why bother stocking up on things when you can just go and help yourself, plus you could probably live comfortably inside an REI for quite a while.

• Have your girlfriend get lasix surgery so that she would not require eyeglasses or contacts, which could only slow you down. Supplies could be hard to come by, and what if you broke or lost your glasses?

I was impressed, if slightly worried, about how much thought he was putting into his planning. Naturally it got me thinking about what my own plan would be, because I am a gal that loves a plan. I forced my spouse (who does not share my love of planning) to sit down and think about this with me. He hates it when I make him do stuff like this, but he’ll thank me when the zombies are a-comin’.

So here are the basic components of our plan – so far -

Decide on a meeting place - In our case, Frederick, Maryland. [This is the part my husband gave the most thought.] We looked at the scenario of a disaster occurring while we were at work and studied a map – he works in Virginia, I work in Maryland. In looking at the atlas, he determined it would be wise to meet somewhere a little out of the way of large city centers and would not require too much time on the Beltway/major highways to get to. Where exactly in Frederick remains to be determined. But I hope the good people of Frederick will welcome us with open arms.

You never know when a nuclear apocalypse and a zombie attack might go hand in hand, so knowing the location of the nearest fallout shelter can’t hurt. I know our bank downtown has a fallout shelter sign on the side of the building – are those signs valid forever? If a building was designated a fallout shelter 50 or 60 years ago, is it always a viable fallout shelter? I have a feeling that whatever government bureaucrat was tasked with monitoring the status of the nation’s shelters probably died years ago …

Access to information – I’ll grab my car phone charger on the way out the door, but assuming that cell coverage will be affected by the marauding un-dead, we should have an alternate means of getting information. Now I know what those hand-crank radios are for – thanks, Sharper Image catalog. Too bad you went out of business, people will be sorry. Tho that is only a one-way information source, I’m hoping it doesn’t come to this but perhaps CB radio is the way to go. I’ll have to come up with a good name for the airwaves (a “handle” in CB-speak, or so I’m told).
Make sure you’ve got gasoline – We talked about the dangers of storing quantities of gas in our garage. Well, I talked about it. In a pinch, apparently I can steal some gas from the lawnmower, and I’m considering practicing siphoning techniques just in case.

Assess your H2O supplies – This admittedly is a weak part of the plan. Right now I guess we’re relying on the several gallons of distilled water that are somewhere in the basement and were purchased for a clothing steamer that has never been used. Snacks are also a weak part of the plan – frankly any stores I lay in will just get eaten the next time we’re bored or hungry, so we’ll probably have to rely on hitting a 7-11 on our way out of Dodge.

Gotta have an appropriate vehicle – I don’t think I’m comfortable with going the scooter route. Especially with the distilled water, clothes steamer, cat, etc. that we’ll have to tote with us. Recently we purchased an SUV and I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a certain relief in having a vehicle that might actually be able to mow down a zombie or two. There are probably some accessories I can buy like bull bars that would be useful for this.

Supplies – Clearly, a trip to a local military surplus store is in order, preferably one owned by an old eccentric guy who has basically been planning for a zombie attack his entire life without even knowing it.

Am also thinking about taking up krav maga or similar bad-ass self defense/martial arts training.

I love that the Centers for Disease Control has addressed this issue (zombie invasion) on their blog, cleverly disguising emergency preparedness tips with zombie talk. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed, it is well-written and useful information in the event of a zombie attack, or other type of emergency or natural disaster.

As always, it’s entertaining to read the comments, such as:

I might suggest adding a baseball bat, preferably aluminum, to your emergency kit as well. It doesn’t require ammunition and can be highly effective at clearing a path through hordes of zombies whilst trying to make good your escape.


It really depends on the zombies. If they’re Romero/Brooks, slow, lumbering zombies, a baseball bat will work just fine. Not so if they’re the Zack Snyder fast zombies. Running zombies change everything.

And this gem from a woman who calls herself “ReadyMom” – are these people fun at parties, or what?

Yes. We are a prepping household. We also send our college students to school prepared with a ‘Two-week Emergency Food Box’, A Flu Kit/Medical Kit and a 72 hour Kit is in each vehicle.

For High School graduation, we are now giving a Medical Kit and a Tool bag as gifts.

Helpful stuff, right? If I’ve learned anything from zombie movies, it’s that sure there are heroes, but in the end we can only survive when we band together. Plus it doesn’t hurt to have a good boom stick.

So share your wisdom with your fellow man and tell me what you would add to the zombie apocalypse survival plan. And remember, always double-tap.

A related PS – If you haven’t already seen it, rush to your local video store (which doesn’t exist anymore, but you know what I mean) and rent Shaun of the Dead. Do not wait.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Casey Anthony blah blah blah

My hubby had received a jury duty notice and when he checked in the other night found out he wasn’t called up. He was relieved, and rejoiced that he wouldn’t have to worry about it for another two years. I am one of those people who has never been called to serve, and it kinda bums me out. I think I would enjoy the experience and lord knows I have watched enough crime shows in preparation …. But I’m probably just feeling this way precisely because I haven’t been on a jury, and if I did have to sit around a smelly municipal building all day I might want to hurt somebody.

Speaking of which – has the world tired of the Casey Anthony trial yet? (which reminds me, what has Charlie Sheen been up to lately?) After the night the Anthony verdict was read and the following day, I’ll admit that even I had to turn off the coverage. There is only so much Nancy Grace a body can take, even with my high threshold for tv-overload.
Just a few follow-up notes tho that I wanted to share and get your thoughts on.
1. Since when do they put producers on the air? Many eons ago, I studied broadcasting. At the time, producers were strictly behind the scenes people. Now in watching this trial coverage I see many producers being put in front of a camera to report on the goings-on. Did they just run out of people to provide their ‘gavel to gavel’ coverage?
2. With my almost total ignorance of the legal system, and the Florida legal system, I have to ask – after opening statements had been read, and the defense stated the death was an accident and a cover-up ensued, at that time could the prosecution have added more charges – for example, abuse of a dead body – or had the ship already sailed by then?
3. You may have heard by now that a porn production company, Vivid Video, had made Casey A an offer to star in one or more adult films…within 24 hours they had rescinded their offer, saying they made a mistake in thinking anyone would want to see a porno with Anthony in it. No offense meant to the adult entertainment industry, but it’s telling when even they shun you.
4. Much speculation on how long it will take before a Lifetime movie-of-the-week gets made about this case. You may recall after the Amy Fisher debacle, the world ended up with no less than three versions of a made-for-tv movie – one from the ‘neutral’ point of view, one from Amy’s POV and one from the Buttafuoco family’s POV (my personal fave). I think one of them even starred Drew Barrymore. For me, the first person that jumps to mind to cast to play the lead role in this tawdry melodrama is Kat Von Deen. They’d spend a fortune on that make-up to cover tattoos tho. Who would you cast?
4.a. On a related note, my husband suggested a potential mate for Casey: Jon Gosselin.
5. Further speculation about an eventual book deal. People bought OJ’s book (I’m assuming) so we can only assume people will buy books about and presumably by Anthony. As much as Nancy Grace will decry an eventual book deal, how many copies do you think will be purchased by tv producers, reporters, etc? They are all going to have to buy the book to report on it and hold it up for the camera!
6. Saw something about Florida considering legislation to bar jurors from benefiting from having served on a trial. We'll see if that goes anywhere, along with "Caylee's Law," which would make it a felony for a parent to not report a child missing within 24 hours. Reportedly, George Anthony has signed on in favor of the bill.
In the last Nancy Grace broadcast I could bring myself to watch, the Devil, aka Lampshade Head, said, “…in our way, we seek justice for Caley.” You keep telling yourself that, Nance.

BTW how many hours before Grace’s book on the case hits the stand??

I’d advise that she should donate any proceeds from a book to a children’s charity but I’m sure that would fall on deaf ears – or at least ears that are blocked by a helmet of hair, a ginormous ego, and a seemingly bulletproof sense of self righteousness.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Casey Anthony Verdict

So it took the stupid Casey Anthony trial to get me back on the blog, but I have to say I’m glad to be back. I will try to avoid the hyperbole that I’ve engaged in all afternoon on Facebook and Twitter regarding the Casey Anthony trial and today’s not-guilty verdicts that apparently stunned a lot of people …

Feel free to post your comments and thoughts.

The statement issued by Casey’s parents, George and Cindy, was probably the most reasonable thing I’ve heard during the entire trial.

And good for the jury for refusing to speak to the media. (at least for now)

What’s next for Casey?
Apply for job at Universal Studios … Move back in with parents…eHarmony?
Not trying to be flip about it but really where do you go from here. It does worry me to think she will profit from this situation – even if she is innocent, doesn’t seem right to gain celebrity status, fame and money as a result. But this is the society in which we live. (Did you watch any of the footage of the jailhouse visits between Casey and her parents in which she weaves the elaborate tapestry of lies about the fictitious nanny? CREEP-EEE. In my opinion the whole family is not right in the head.)
Jane Velez Mitchell, aka Lady Mullet, looks at the camera and laments the fact that Casey Anthony has become a celebrity figure, yet she sat outside that courthouse for six weeks focusing the media’s white-hot spotlight directly on Anthony and her family. I lament the situation and find myself glued to the tube.
But can we all agree that Nancy Grace, aka Lampshade Head, is the devil? I commented that her panel of ‘experts’ is starting to look like a grotesque Hollywood squares. Three choice quotes from today’s coverage:
“Just claim there’s a Zanny nanny and it will save your fanny.”
“Somewhere out there, the devil is dancing tonight.”
“The American flag is not flying today.”
Not sure which is worse, the people who call in to comment on the case, or the people they interviewed in front of the courthouse. Now I’m not saying I was explicitly taught this in journalism school, but it seems like when it comes time to interview the “man on the street,” the camera always seems to be trained on the most toothless, inbred looking mofo out there. [my apologies to those who work in the news media, or if you are indeed a toothless inbred mofo]
Nancy Grace interviewing Jane Velez Mitchell interviewing Dr. Drew – this may be the definition of a circle jerk.
Doesn’t seem fair to blame the jury – I’ve never sat on a jury but it can’t be easy. They had to know the pressure that was on them. Twelve people sat there for 6 weeks and weighed all the evidence and rendered a verdict – that’s how our system works, whether we like the verdict or not. Do we agree the judge handled himself well, too? Seemed pretty no nonsense.
Did the prosecution get too over-confident about their case? Maybe. Felt bad for them as they sat there as the verdicts were read, looking like they had just been spanked by the defense, which they had been.
I do think the defense acted in an unseemly manner by (literally) jumping up and down with joy outside the courtroom and going for champagne across the street from the courthouse (per Headline News). Granted they did their jobs and did them well in the sense they clearly created doubt in the minds of jurors. But keep the celebration on the DL, people, a child is still dead. This was all about Caylee Anthony, but yet it wasn’t. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, NANCY GRACE.
Lampshade Head needs to get over the “champagne party.” And retire the term “Tot Mom,” for the love of god.
RIP Caylee.
PS – one positive about this case, it prompted my husband to remember that he received a jury summons recently and that he better find it pronto.