Thursday, January 31, 2013

Venomous Creatures - Dallas Premiere Episode 2

Lame-o Christopher is refinishing a crib, Elena shows up. Sure it's not at all weird for Christopher to be prepping a cradle for the babies that he fathered with another woman.

John Ross ruefully watches them. JR comments, "love, hate, jealousy - mix 'em up, they make a mean martini." The Martini and John Rossi?

Thank goodness Dr. Feelgood is on call to sedate hysterical wives like Ann when she needs her "shot."

Why do we care about the Emma Ryland kidnapping case? I'm sure there's more going on here that will be revealed later, but what's driving the timing ...

Sue Ellen lost the election, bummer. So she turns to her old pal, Chardonnay. A good long pour. But before she can imbibe it, John Ross and JR show up. I love seeing JR, John Ross and Sue Ellen together. JR admits that leaving him was the best decision Sue Ellen ever made. JR offers to "work" the state attorney on her behalf. Sue Ellen demurs. Again, nice Windows phone placement.

In another shocking instance of thinking of someone other than himself, JR tells Sue Ellen that Ann could really use a friend right now. Sue Ellen pours all the wine down the drain.

Pamela/FRebecca hijacks Frank's board meeting to announce the company is going away from the casino business and toward clean energy. Frank is clearly pissed off, which makes him a potential ally for the Ewings.

Cue the annulment hearing and a sassy lady judge. With the Real Rebecca's fake testimony, Christopher's hopes are dashed, and the judge rules against annulment. For all his lameness, Christopher has managed to make himself some serious enemies.

At the golf course, JR stares down the state attorney on behalf of Sue Ellen. Not clear yet what dirt he has on him.

Bobby has to defend his woman's womanhood too, so he confronts Ryland Harris Ryland. It's still unclear what the whole Emma story is.

Elena and Christopher are kissing or something. Who knew methane was so sexy and romantic?

Frank tells FRebecca that he knows she has been in touch with John Ross. He warns her not to disrespect him. JR shows up at Barnes Global HQ and lets FRebecca know that she's going into battle against him, and he's one for one in flushing out Pamelas. ha!

Bobby goes in search of this mysterious Emma, he uncovers some sort of London connection. He's got a lead. Maybe her father stole her lo those many years ago and hid her?

Real Rebecca is still insisting on finding her bro, who she doesn't know is dead. This of course will be leverage to be worked against FRebecca later.

God damm if JR wasn't able to dig up dirt on the state's attorney after all, go JR! "The first time in his life that JR was the lesser of two evils." 'Sometimes bad men drive us to be stronger ...'

John Ross has a teensy bit of a chip on his shoulder, of feeling like the outsider. But when Elena wants a bigger share of the company even John Ross offers to pony up - what's his game?

Each now has 25% - does that mean more for Elena to lose? My husband wisely explains to me that it's probably so that Christopher has less, so when his share gets carved up in the divorce settlement, it will be that much easier to get a majority share.

At any rate, Christopher asks his secretary to spy on other secretaries and other executives, because that's not awkward.

John Ross reveals more of the end game - Elena is in debt to his mother. Were Sue Ellen to claim Elena's share of the company and give control to John Ross then he could be in a dominant position.

Will John Ross also screw his daddy over? Almost certainly.

A mysterious package from the (dead) Tommy arrives for Christopher that includes a cell phone and a scrawled note.

Bobby continues to investigate Emma "Brown." He finds out she's been riding a horse for the past eight years that is owned by ... Harris Ryland. Bobby doesn't tell Ann yet that he's found anything out.

Christopher goes to Real Rebecca's hotel and tells her he needs to talk to her about her brother. They suspect that FRebecca has hurt Tommy in some way. Christopher now also has evidence (voice mails) that Real Rebecca was in on the con the whole time.

JR goes to see Sue Ellen, she thanks him for his help with strong arming the state's attorney. He's confident she'll bounce back "real fine." She invites him in for tea. (euphemism?)

John Ross goes to FRebecca's penthouse. He negotiates a kiss and a 70% share deal. As he's leaving, the elevator reverses and carries him back up to the penthouse and into FRebecca's pants. There's nothing sexier than seducing a man with your personal elevator.

Cut to a scene with Frank, in which it's revealed the mysterious package wasn't from Tommy after all, but from him. Go Frank.

And WHOOOOAA Judith Light!!  Could Dallas get any better? (Victoria Principal) But wait, Judith is supposed to be Harris's mom? She's not THAT old. At her house, Bobby sees photographic evidence that Harris had Emma all along ... he and crazy momma kidnapped her themselves and raised her in secret ...presumably with Tony Danza's help. Along the way, they also groomed her to hate Ann.

Can these people really be so rotten? Welcome back, Dallas.

PS are we supposed to believe that FRebecca is actually pregnant? There's not even room for a grape in those pencil skirts.
PPS I miss JR already.


It's back, baby! This past Monday the producers gave us not one but TWO episodes of the much-anticipated new season of Dallas. The first one was titled "Battle Lines." But before the episode even began there was a special message from the cast about the passing of actor Larry Hagman - "the legacy of JR will live on." I miss him already.

Sue Ellen was in the lead in her race for the governor's office. Her slogan, "honesty for a change." She rallies her supporters, probably already tasting her win.

Meanwhile, John Ross crashes a bachelorette party. "Oh you are trouble," says the bachelorette ... who is then promptly deflowered by John Ross. But this is no ordinary hook-up, this is strategic (wow John Ross is efficient in how he mixes business with pleasure) - John Ross then walks downstairs and makes the woman's father an offer he can't refuse ... threatening to blackmail his family with the sex tape he was just making upstairs whilst boffing his offspring. John Ross's line to the dad: "Love is for p*ssies. Now do we have a deal?"

Now that's how you start an episode.

Ewing Energies is sponsoring a methane-powered race car. I just can't help but think how bad that must smell. Christopher takes the car for a spin around the track to show the car's moxie. Even when driving a race car, Christopher just still comes across as kind of a lame-o.

Next scene, we see the fantastically chic offices of Ewing Energies, the really spiffed up the place. it's like a set designer's wet dream. Here's a corporate charge account and a copy of Dwell magazine, go!

JR drops by to say hi and offer John Ross advice on derailing Christopher's methane side of the business in order to pivot the business back to good ol' oil. So even tho John Ross, Christopher, Bobby and Elena are all ostensibly in business together, John Ross is just conspiring to crush them all. it's evident that it's not just about the money, the freakin' birthright, the oil ... it's personal.

Debating the merits of methane versus oil, someone says "This company needs to be vertically integrated." I need to find a way to work this phrase into a meeting at work.

The company breakdown (and this will be important later) is as follows: 60% Christopher/Bobby; 30% John Ross; 10% Elena.

Nice Nokia Windows phone placement with John Ross, who is ominously texting someone.

Will the real Rebecca Sutter please stand up?
We meet the real Rebecca Sutter, Tommy's actual sister, who is claiming to be the victim of identity theft. Could they make her character any more "aw shucks" hick-like? Laying it on thick.

Clearly they have not found Tommy's body yet, and Rebecca the Real is adamant about finding him ...

Cut to Ann in an art gallery looking at an ugly painting of oil derricks or something. She exclaims to the gallery owner/salesperson: "It's even more evocative than I thought it would be!" I need to find a way to work this phrase into a meeting at work.

Ann's slimy ex Ryland Harris or Harris Ryland shows up and reveals that he's found their long lost daughter, and in exchange for revealing her location, Ann has to give up the blackmail tape she has of Sue Ellen being blackmailed and him being blackmailed and blackmailing someone. And laundering money. This is at least triple blackmail, but I'm sure we're nowhere near done yet.

Why would Ann hide the secret of her daughter's disappearance from Bobby - does she blame herself for her daughter's kidnapping?

Ann's wearing a lovely Lucite Tory Burch cuff btw.

Somebody says something about an annulment hearing for Christopher (yawn) and FRebecca (Faux Rebecca). I'm sorry, but Elena and Christopher are lame. And does it bother anyone that he's marrying the help? "I want to be your partner, and not just in bed." Gag.

For a couple that is so fixated on getting an annulment so they can have a church wedding, they are acting pretty darn un-holy and unrepentantly frisky.

Mysterious swarthy man (Frank) is back and strategizing with FRebecca. They are fighting the annulment so that they can force a divorce, which would mean splitting up the marital assets, therefore she'd theoretically get a stake of Ewing Energies in a settlement.

Meanwhile, Elena is negotiating to buy old oil rigs. Christopher is summoned to an address for something related to the annulment, only to realize it's the address of Barnes Global HQ. There, Rebecca reveals her identity to be the daughter of Cliff Barnes and Afton ... duhn duhn duuuhhhn. And she's named after her aunt Pamela, Bobby's former wife.

Speaking of which, where the hell is Victoria Principal?

FRebecca claims money is not the issue, but she wants custody of dem babies. Are we sure she's actually preggers? Christopher basically says "bring it, beeyotch." He's feeling confident because he's got Real Rebecca in his corner.

Nothing brings family together like mutual hatred of their sworn enemy, Cliff Barnes. The fractured family gathers. Christopher opines that the end game is for Cliff to get his hands on the methane business, JR tells him it's personal, and he suggests murder as an option.

Gives me goose bumps to see them all working together.

Oh wait, John Ross is still very clearly in it for himself.

Ann in the meantime is waiting for the results of a DNA test to see if the found girl is actually her daughter. Helpfully, the caller ID on her phone says "DNA LAB." I'm glad I don't have to have that programmed into my phone.

So the results show this Emma is indeed her daughter. Ann goes to Sue Ellen's house to break the news to her that they need to get rid of the blackmail tape; when she arrives Ryland Harris Ryland is already there. They give him the tape.

I dig the Sue Ellen+Ann alliance.

Suddenly the medical examiner comes forward and confesses Sue Ellen bribed him to change the cause of death in the case in which John Ross was unjustly accused of murder ... clearly this is to sabotage the election but what else was is motivation? One day before the election, it effectively tanks her 12 point lead in the polls, causing her to lose, creating a media scandal and launching an inquiry on the part of the state attorney's office.

Ann's kid was apparently kidnapped by Richie Rich, because when they go see her she's practicing dressage on a gorgeous horse in an equestrian ring at a luxurious stable. She looks bitchy. She rejects Ann. Ann crumples.

I should have predicted that John Ross would try to align himself with Pamela/FRebecca, there is a certain villain logic to this. She however is still a little bitter about him having blackmailed her last season. What's a little blackmail between friends?

Real Rebecca shows up, seemingly willing to make a deal for her testimony. I knew her hick act was a little much!

PS- So are we supposed to believe that FRebecca did actually fall in love with Christopher? Yawn.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Vacation Rules

Woke up this morning to the sunrise over the beach and the sound of the surf. Later, a massage at the hotel spa. Don't squander your vacation time, use it wisely or hell use it unwisely, just use it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Ho Plane & Other Travel Observations

Pros and cons of a 7 a.m. Sunday flight: con- getting up at 4 in the freaking morning. Pros- no one on the road; whole row to myself on the plane, and sunrise at 10,000 feet.

If I ran an airline, all early morning flights would serve complimentary Gatorade. Virgin America could pioneer this.

Straight up, grey sweatpants to travel. Dude, unless you have a medical excuse or are going directly from the airport to a pick-up basketball game, this is a major fashion and life don't. Have a little pride, man.

I don't have a problem sitting next to kids on a flight, as long as you're not the nose picker. Shudder.

If you are ever traveling with me and I'm passed out asleep, head lolling, snoring, you have every right to jostle or nudge me into a different position.

Seen the movie Soul Plane? Me either, but I'm here to tell you about the Ho Plane. It could also be called the Ho & Stripper Plane, but for brevity's sake I call it the former. This is the Burbank-Vegas flight- on a Thursday or Friday afternoon it is chockablock with buxom women in Uggs and velvet jogging suits on their way to Sin City for the weekend to ply their trade as exotic dancers or escorts or perhaps both. On a Sunday, it's the Vegas-Burbank flight, full of slender, tired looking women still wearing last night's make-up. Think of it as a slatternly commute, and it's a phenomenon that fascinates me. Dying to ask one of them how much they make on average, and if they have other jobs during the week. Maybe one day I'll work up the courage, for now I'm content to observe and soak up the Vanillaroma aroma of sex and commerce, from a safe distance.

Ps - I know you want photographic evidence, until I get a proper spy cam (reason #783 to do so), you'll have to make do with the blurry snaps I tried to get on my phone and not get my ass kicked. You'll have to use your imagination to picture the chunky, balding Asian guy wearing an (ironic?) GTL t shirt (Gym-Tan-Laundry)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Trader Joe's Tuesdays

This stuff is so good that I buy it in multiples, so I always have a bottle on hand: TJ's Light Champagne Vinaigrette. Makes any salad better.

I like any of the TJ's bagged salad mixes (only $1.99 and up) but our favorite is the butter lettuce blend. Try it with the dressing and any combination of these toppings (all of which I have found at TJ's with the exception of garbanzos which they probably have):

Pomegranate seeds
Fried onions
Bacon bits
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Heirloom tomatoes
Brown tomatoes
Mini pearl grape tomatoes
Chopped carrots
Shredded Mexican blend cheese
Chopped nuts
Dried cranberries
Orange segments
Fresh English peas
Chopped apple
Crumbled bleu cheese
Crushed tortilla chips
Hard-boiled egg
Garbanzo beans (aka chick peas)
Prosciutto or salami strips
Flaked tuna or salmon

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trader Joe's Tuesdays

I'm a little obsessed with these Trader Joe's fresh English peas. They're delicious. Crunchy, sweet, good with lots of things. So far I've tried them with:

Spaghetti carbonara
Sprinkled on salads (raw)
Added to canned soup
Right out of the bag as a snack, like snow peas

Maybe I'll even try the recipe on the package.

Venice Beach, you don’t disappoint (but you sometimes scare a little)

What do you do when your flight is delayed and you have about 8 hours to kill at the L.A. airport?

You hop in a cab or Super Shuttle van and go to one of the nearby towns. I looked at a map on my phone and saw that LAX isn’t that far from Venice Beach. I had been once before, years ago, and remember the lovely homes on the canals, quirky shops. I wanted to see it again.

Super Shuttle dropped me and a confused Japanese tourist off in front of a hostel.  We were just steps away from the broadwalk that lines the beach, and the glorious beach itself. I wasn’t dressed for the occasion, I was dressed for a cross country flight back to the colder East Coast.

Walked a little on the sand but didn’t go down to the water, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist getting my feet wet, which would mean getting my jeans wet, which would mean stinking up my Virgin America flight with the not so subtle scent of seaweed and dead sea life.

There is a graffiti park and a skate park. I spent a while watching the impressive skaters zoom around the concrete waves. I am reminded of how easy it is to crush on skater boys.

I have lunch at a small restaurant with outdoor seating right on the broad walk, enjoy a stereotypically light and Mediterranean chicken and salad lunch. I’m inspired to sketch the guy sitting across from my table, in his skater clothes and big sunglasses. I guess that he pays a lot of money to dress like he doesn’t have a lot of money.

Lots of shirtless boys. I could eat this weather with a spoon.

One dorky guy rolls by on a Segway. Not a cop, there isn’t a police officer in sight for most of the day, unless they are mostly plainclothes. Finally, 4 mounted officers clop by on the broadwalk.

Surfers. Lots of surfers.

The beach is wide. Breeze is fantastic, classic palm trees.

This, this is world-class people watching.

Between the crazy shirtless homeless guy yelling random stuff, the tourists, the bodybuilders, the beachgoers, the skater boys, cyclists, hipsters, hula hoop hippies, bikini babes, vatos, sunglass hawkers, street performers, artists and folks dressed in scrubs trying to sell you a medical marijuana card, your head spins.

Incidentally, those medical marijuana “evaluations” seemed to range in price from $30 to $40. Don’t go to the first shop you come to off the main street, walk a few blocks away and the price drops. For the record, I did not go into any of them. Sketch-ola.

At one point, a guy whizzed by in a motorized wheelchair, pulling a midget in a smaller wheelchair.

There were lots of people with dogs, and 90% of the dogs were either Chihuahuas or pit bulls. If I lived in L.A. County, I’d need to make some changes. I’d need bigger sunglasses for one thing, and an agent. I’d need a pit bull, and abs.

Many people seem to live at the beach and have fairly elaborate tents or live-in vans arranged with their earthly belongings. Many of the vans are elaborately painted and have signs that say NO PHOTOS. Like many beach communities, the indigents are mixed in freely with the multi-million dollar homes and well-to-do residents. Beautiful, flower-lined homes are juxtaposed with what I can best describe as beach hovels. They all get roughly the same view.

Someone was selling frozen popcorn. There was lots of live music. Did I mention rollerblades? I thought that was a fad but it has lived on loud and proud in Venice Beach. There were lots of cool beach cruiser bikes and several not as cool recumbent bicycles.

Many artists selling wares ranging from bad paintings to not so bad paintings to windchimes to everything in between … there were several groups of homeless people selling a variety of hand-lettered cardboard signs that appeared to be made for other homeless people … which made me wonder about their business model.

I commend the vendors and performers for their creativity.

There are your usual spiritual advisors offering readings.

All of Venice Beach is a freak show, but there is a formal freak show that charges admission ($9). I didn’t go in, but it appeared to be family friendly. Tip: later in the day, the price drops to $5.

There is a guy who for a dollar will tell you why there is a pyramid on your dollar bill.

Guy selling advice, sign says “ask me any question.”

Further down, a man advertises “shitty advice” for $1.

Talk about diversity. I noted a group of guys with big bellies all wearing wife beaters, tucked in to their pants.

A man walks by wearing a Baby Bjorn (with a baby in it), shirtless. (the man, not the baby)

A guy who looked like Christopher Walken on his worst day walks by with his shirt wide open wearing breezy beach pants.

There was a group of young Asian breakdancers practicing on the Joe Wieder body building stage. People playing handball.

Dog in a bike basket. Endless blue sky. Tandem bikes. Shul on the beach.

I enjoyed a lovely lemon and olive oil gelato at Nice Cream.

I sit on a bench in the sun, rapidly licking gelato before it runs down my hand. I watch a man either doing tai chi or fighting with the grass. He is yelling and cursing, which would seem to rule out tai chi. I’m careful not to make eye contact with anyone.

Another guy madly revs a matchbox car.  Someone gets into a fight with a portrait artist.

I walk a couple of blocks off the beach and have some of the best ceviche of my life. Sadly, I catch a cab back to the airport to catch my red eye, and don’t even mind that I have sand in my shoes.

Later, friends will ask me, why the hell did you go to Venice Beach?

Check out my photo gallery here. I could have taken pictures for days, but phone battery life worked against me.

Trader Joe's Tuesdays

Apparently I can put Trader Joe's Soyaki on almost anything and it will taste good. Tonight I stir-fried TJ's firm organic tofu with TJ's Harvest Hodgepodge frozen vegetable blend. Simple and tasty.

Maybe tomorrow I'll try Soyaki on cardboard.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Impressions of New Mexico Part Dos

I got a brandy brand new rental car with five miles on the odometer.
“Wasted Years” was playing on the radio.

Before I got into the car tho, I had to stand in one of those interminable lines to get the rental car paperwork and I had to wonder (I had time to wonder), why is the rental car process in particular so tortured? Even airlines, train stations, movie theaters etc. have figured out how to make a check-in process at least somewhat easier. One of those instances in which it pays to be an elite member of a loyalty club.  

The food in New Mexico is very satisfying. First you get to know the difference between chili and chile very quickly. The former is a meaty, beany, stewy concoction commonly served over rice or noodles. The latter refers to peppers, the hotter the better. They smoke them in NM and serve them with just about everything … to good effect. There are lovely nuances from Mexican food and Tex Mex food. Suffice it to say I could eat my way through the state.

Back to driving. I had a pilgrimage to make, to Georgia O’Keeffe. I had a few hours to spare before a conference started, so I hightailed it over in my brand new rental car to Santa Fe from Albuquerque, pedal to the metal.

The route was pretty desolate. I kept thinking there were a lot of good places to dump a body.

I could see where New Mexico got its reputation for being quirky.

Signs along the way announced that New Mexico was celebrating its centennial of statehood in 2012, like Arizona, the Copper State. New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment, which I always like seeing on its license plates, it makes me smile. Enchantment is a strong word, a bold choice.

I was speeding. The sun was bright and plentiful, the air warm. ‘Breaking the Law’ came on the radio. It felt right.

Never slow down, never grow old.

Mary Jane’s Last Dance comes on the radio.

The variety of music on the radio was admirable.

I make it to Santa Fe in good time. It’s small but I wish I had more time to look around. I see a mission that looks interesting, and cute shops and restaurants. But I go directly to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum, do not pass go.

This has been on my list for years, and it’s smaller than I expected, but it doesn’t disappoint. It’s a nice, tight collection. They show two short videos/documentaries about her life and the homes /studios where she worked in the desert. They show photographs of her in action; camping gear from her many walkabouts. Scenes from her life with Stieglitz.

“It’s not where I’ve been or where I lived that matters, it’s what I’ve made of it.”

I grab a palmiere at an adorable little café and reluctantly get back in the rental car.

In the GOK gift shop, I had purchased a little notebook to keep on hand to record observations.


Those sound harsh, and I don’t mean them to.  NM just strikes me as not necessarily an easy place to live. Employment opportunities are probably hard to come by; the climate is unforgiving. I remember reading that education rates aren’t great, health an issue. The people are very friendly.

The light is sharp and somehow lovely. I can see why artists are attracted to and inspired by this part of the world.

My conference goes well. The hotel is done in Southwestern style, tastefully. I admire the wrought iron chandeliers and tiled floors.

I’d like to come back, bring my husband. Check out the ski areas (and their spas), Area 51, that mission in Santa Fe. Los Alamos, the Santa Fe Rail and the Rail Runner. Downtown Albuquerque. The Santa Fe Brewing Company. Georgia O’Keeffee’s home. More of that food. The light.

“I close my eyes, and think of home,
Another city goes by, in the night,
Ain't it funny how it is, you never miss it til it's gone away,
And my heart is lying there and will be til my dying day.

So understand
Don't waste your time always searching for those wasted years,
Face up... make your stand,
And realise you're living in the golden years.” 

Watching the Inauguration

I wonder if the President could sleep at all last night. What do you eat for breakfast on inauguration day? It’s a long time before the official luncheon. They don’t even let him go right to lunch, he has to do work first, signing proclamations and making nominations.

As I watch the inauguration coverage, I always wonder if others are feeling the same way that I am.

I couldn’t help the tears welling up in my eyes as I watched the President’s family take the inaugural stage. On a day like today you can’t help but feel swelling pride at being an American. When you hear the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing the Battle Hymn of the Republican, if that doesn’t touch your emotions, then you may need a little thawing …

As a crowd of hundreds of thousands waved flags and chanted OBAMA, OBAMA you couldn’t feel the excitement and dare I say the hope. I enjoy the ritual and ceremony, these things that make us feel united and make you feel the commonality of being an American.

As the President was walking in, he looked almost sad. Must be a bittersweet time. Sitting on the inaugural stage, the President looks thoughtful, contemplative, satisfied, meditative, prayerful … at peace? Joe Biden looked like he might cry.

Love that Myrlie Evers led the invocation. She did a great job with her speech, as did Chuck Schumer. I didn’t catch in the coverage how Dr King’s family was represented, and if any of the activities involved the MLK memorial? I should look that up.

A big shout out to all the production folks and crews who provided all the inauguration coverage, from the camera operators to the sound people to the people who labored to build the stages and more – when they do their jobs well, you don’t notice them, and they are usually out there for days at a time, in cold and dark, to bring you flawless live coverage of one of the biggest moments in our country’s history. Job well done.

And a shout out to the speechwriters, who help our leaders craft the poetic prose that inspires.

I appreciate the relatively recent addition of the inaugural poem (JFK). ‘Hope, a new constellation, waiting for us to map it.’

So is the nice-looking gay Hispanic poet single?

On an aesthetic note, the First Lady and the First Daughters looked fantastic. Those must be faux lashes on FLOTUS, she wears them well. Love the purple. Dr. Jill Biden is glowing in a beautiful blue satin coat with a large bow.

Some people I don’t recognize appear to be wearing fur, which seems like it could be controversial, tho it is pretty darn cold out and maybe it’s faux fur.

Beyonce’s emerald earrings and ring were worth the telecast alone, and she sounded DIVINE. She should always be accompanied by the Marine Corps band. Kelly Clarkson, while I may not be digging your new blonde ‘do and betrayal of your brunette roots, you brought it gurl. Job well done. And James Taylor sounded good too – not often you get to see those performers sharing a stage.

Sasha O could not sit still during the ceremony, gotta love it. I bet Grandma wanted to give her a little pinch. I’m waiting for the transcripts from the lip readers who will tell us what everyone was saying to each other up on stage.

Jay Z had to rescue wife Beyonce from some lady who looked like Margaret Thatcher who looked like she wanted to chat her up. Wonder how it feels for him that more people must know who she is than him .. .he kind of looked like her Secret Service agent.

Still a bit surreal to see Al Franken up on the inaugural stage, to me he will always kind of be the guy on SNL with the satellite on is head. And is Al Sharpton shrinking even more?

It is of course MLK Jr. day as well as inauguration day, and the themes of Dr King weighed in the air on a day of celebration, sometimes solemnly so. But I thought prez might address MLK more overtly. Too easy?

This year is the 50th anniversary of MLK’s historic ‘I Have a Dream Speech.’ If you ever find yourself in Memphis please visit the National Civil Rights museum, which is built on the remains of what was the Lorraine motel, where Dr. King was infamously assassinated.  It is an incredibly moving and important legacy to race in America, to how far we have come (and what we should never forget) and how far we can still go.

But I think my favorite moment of the inauguration ceremony was the President taking a few moments before leaving the inaugural stage to gaze at the crowd, it looked like he was soaking it all in, trying to burn it into his memory. It will stay in mine.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Betty White, American Treasure

Today is the birthday of Betty White, legendary comedienne, actress, performer of stage, screen and television. Probably best known for her ditzy Minnesota farmgirl character Rose Nylund on the Golden Girls and her bitchy character Sue Ann on the Mary Tyler Moore show, she has been bringing joy to audiences for more than 70 years.

The woman is still going strong, working in her 90s forpetesake. In the last decade, she’s worked on commercials (candy bars, laundry detergent), television shows (too many to name but she arguably steals the show in Hot for Cleveland) and movies (The Proposal)  … and she keeps going. They should make her the new Energizer Bunny.

Speaking of bunnies, she has long spoken out on the subject of animals, and has generously funded and been the face of numerous campaigns, fundraisers, shows etc. to bring attention to animals in need.
God bless her stamina and the example she has shown. I think the world should try a little harder to show their love of Betty, and why not cash in on it a little at the same time? 

For example, department stores could have “Betty White” sales instead of “white sales.”

Fashion stores could have promotions like, in honor of Betty’s Birthday, all white slacks are on sale for 50% off.

Flower shops could promote their rose arrangements in honor of Rose Nylund.

There are many possibilities. For my part, I won't attempt to make a traditional St Olaf Geflurkenflurken (I know my limits), but I will honor Ms. White by making a donation in her name to the Morris Animal Foundation (her goal is only $10k, surely America we can make this happen) and later tonight I’ll curl up and watch a few episodes of the Golden Girls, maybe with a slice of cheesecake, and think of the joy she’s brought to our lives.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Don't bother asking Y

Finally made it back to the gym after shall we say a brief (ahem) hiatus. I waited until late afternoon on Jan 6 thinking most of the resolutioneers would have cleared out by then. Of course never having been at the gym at 4 pm on a Sunday I have no real basis of comparison.

The cardio room was not full, which it often is on weekday evenings. It was comforting in a strange way that the room still smelled terrible and that the man who picks his nose was still there.

Am going to try a kickboxing class next. The last time I took kickboxing was many moons ago when I lived in South Florida and was a member of Gold's Gym. The instructor was a cappuccino skinned hunk of manhood who went by the name of Silk. A name that would seem silly for anyone else but he owned the moniker. And his classes were always full. Oversold even. You had to get there early to ensure a spot in the class and once in, there was jockeying for position to be in the front row. Not by me, mind you, I jockeyed to be in the very back of the room. But on the part of the scantily clad attractive women who vied for the attentions of Monsieur Silk. They all wore full make-up and were extra fake-tanned for the occasions.

Whatever the motivations for attending, Silk was a great instructor. Chose great music, charismatic, friendly and easy on the eyes. Taught me the difference that a good instructor can make, and I haven't found his equal yet. But I'll keep looking . And wherever he is, I hope Silk is still helping people master their uppercuts.

Incidentally, although I'd never guess that the outdoor pool at the Y would be open in January, I could have sworn I saw a cold, lonely lifeguard huddled by himself in the lifeguard stand..tho then again I do need my eyes checked...

Vagina Dentata

One of my new year's resolutions (well pretty much my only one) is to watch more movies. Resolutions shouldn't be difficult, should they?

The other night on IFC I caught an odd film from a few years ago called Teeth. Link below. Honestly I watched because it came on after Portlandia, and I'm not sure I'm glad I watched.

It was oddly compelling and haunting, I hope someone out there has seen it, because it's one of those movies that must be discussed. Talk therapy required.

The primary plot point involves a young girl who discovers she has a shall we say unusual gynecological condition that both serves her and proves dangerous. Can't shake it from my head does that mean it's a good movie?

Late to the Downton Party

I should like to have my own blend of tea named after me.
I should like to have long silk dresses dripping with beading.
I should like to have a houseful of servants.
In short, I'd like to live at Downton Abbey.

The social nuances, the strict code of conduct, the gossip and the intrigue. The crushed velvet!

The dialogue is snappy, crackling, tight and eminently quotable.

I can see why the show has caused such a fever. I deferred my invitation to the DA party for 2 seasons, afraid to accept another television show into my life. But when I heard that Shirley MacLaine was joining the cast I could no longer mount a resistance.

One episode in and I'm hooked, line and sinker. What a credit to the show's creators that they can so immediately draw viewers in to care about and be invested in the characters, from the lowliest scullery maid to the highest lady and lord.

Like the pull of the town that keeps pulling the residents back to Downton in their hearts and minds, so viewers have been genteelly sucked in to English country life in 1917.

I don't ever use Netflix but I'm going to have to. Such is the power of Downton Abbey. And let's not even get started on the hats.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Addendum to 2012 Accomplishments List

I count as one of my accomplishments of the past year that I saw the comedian Patton Oswalt perform a live set. He makes me laugh. Which I suppose is the point. As a bonus, the show was at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse, a place that still shows $1 movies on Mondays and where a nice person brings you a pitcher of beer and pizza and other snackies while you watch a movie or a show. All business establishments should involve pitchers of beer and at least freshly popped popcorn. Back in the day (aka when I was in college) you could also smoke while you enjoyed your pitcher of beer, but I digress.

What I appreciate the most about Oswalt's humor, aside from his snide wit and cutting but not unkind observations is that I can relate to his cultural touchstones. He grew up in the Mid Atlantic region of the US (Virginia) and we are roughly the same age. I can laugh knowingly when he pokes gentle fun at the low budget commercials for Carvel Ice Cream starring the gravelly throated Tom Carvel ... which reminds me one of these days we are going to have to discuss Fudgie the Whale, Cookie Puss and Cookie O'Puss. And what is comedy if not the ability to relate to one another? I just made that up but it sounds good.

In the stand-up routine that I experienced in person, the bit that stood out the most for me was his description of going to a tony LA department store to try on designer pants and how the chic and slender sales clerks treated him like a man who didn't know he was dying for his lack of awareness of his own body and how it appeared in the John Varvatos pants ... you had to be there. Which again is I suppose the point of live comedy.

I won't try and find the clip on You Tube or link to any clips out of fear for suggesting something that's a violation of copyright in any way - hey, I respect an artist's right to own his/her own content, to the extent that they can. But do check out his website,

And follow him on Twitter for pete's sake, you'll thank me later - @pattonoswalt. Following his live tweets during the recent political debates was a much better use of my time than actually watching the debates themselves.

If you still have a few minutes, read this post about voting, it's what a funny and thoughtful blog should sound like and even tho we're past the elections, the message resonates:

I didn't start this post to be a love letter to Patton Oswalt, but what the hell. Laughter is life and life is love and love is laughter. I made that up too but if you want to needlepoint it on something, let me know where I can buy it on Etsy.

Did I mention Oswalt is going to be on Portlandia next week? Swoon. @ifcportlandia

PS - oooh I thought of another accomplishment from 2012 - Ken Kercheval responded to one of my tweets. It's a marvelous time to be alive. New season of Dallas starts Jan 28 ... boom.

Test Blog

Technology is a wonderful thing, if you embrace it and know how to use it. I finally got a new phone and with it decided to move into the 21st century with an app that will let me blog on the fly. It's a wonderful time to be alive. Enjoy the gratuitous pic of one of my dogs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

You Have Your Bucket List, I Have Mine

2012 was a good year, by my measures. Had fun with my significant other, traveled and knocked some items off the bucket list. Here is a recap, and I'd love to hear about your year, your bucket lists and any resolutions you have? 

I made it to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum in Santa Fe – take that, bucket list!

We saw whales in the wild in Hawaii – being doused with blowhole water was an unforgettable experience. Being spit on by a whale is far cooler than it sounds. 

Went to the Pez Visitor Center (Orange CT) – so much delicious Pez. I never knew this should have been on my bucket list, lucky for me we drove past it on I-95.

Visited Martha’s Vineyard (ferry!)

Attended a Formula 1 race. Very cool. 

Tried Popeye’s chicken for the first time. Damn good. 

Went to Zoo Lights at the National Zoo. This may not seem like a big deal but I liked it. 

We were on TV (DIY Network). Look for us on the show "I Want That" trying out household items. I built a shelf. 

Finally saw GNR in concert. This is not easy, given Axl Rose's proclivities and likelihood to have shows cancelled. 

Toured Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio in Arizona. Highly recommend. 

Experienced a NASCAR race in Richmond. Not my first NASCAR rodeo but the Richmond track is singularly interesting - you can bring your own alcohol. Good people watching. 

2nd time around at the fun Gold cup races. 2013, will plan a proper tailgate party. 

Participated in the Washington Tennis Education Foundation auction (met Art Monk and Charles Mann, and only spent $100 on an auction item). But new rule, we are not allowed to go to charity auctions. 

Met Train (the band). Got my picture made with them. 

Threw a surprise bday party for bestie Af. I think she was truly surprised and if she wasn't, she'll never tell. 

Completed a 1,000 piece puzzle with no picture to go by. Again this may not seem like a big deal, but it can ruin relationships. 

Partied with pirates. Yup. 

Finally ate at the Peppermill in Las Vegas (hey you have your bucket list I have mine). 

Saw Poison & Def Leppard in concert for first time; saw Florence & the Machine; saw B-52s for 3rd time.

Celebrated 5th anniversary of going to Bethany Beach with family friends. 

Got to Dogfish Head Ale brewery restaurant (DE) and Stubb’s BBQ (TX) at last. 
Visited Paramount Ranch - now part of a National Park, it is a set that looks like an old Western town where scores of movies and tv shows have been filmed.

Took a sunset sail on a historic schooner in Baltimore harbor.

Flew Virgin America for first time – not bad.
Went to weddings in Maui, Martha’s Vineyard, Malibu mountains, St. Michael’s Eastern Shore Maryland, Delray Beach FL. NIce to celebrate that much love with people we care about - and fantastic venues.

Experienced Amoeba Records in LA- a fun, giant music store. 

Drove to top of Sandia Crest mountain, NM. Long story about trying to take a tram that was closed, but lovely view and drive. 

In sad news, we said goodbye this past spring to our beloved senior dog Java who went to canine heaven. For Thanksgiving, we welcomed rescue dog Cinder into our home. 

One door closes, another one opens. Sometimes a window. Here's looking forward to a great year in 2013 with my fur babies, my spouse, my friends and family - I'm a lucky gal and I wish nothing but the best and an upward trend for all of us. And Dallas is back on January 28 .... see y'all.