A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

30 May 2006

Sweeps Week

I am not Suzy Homemaker by any means...my house looks lived in. Okay, it looks lived in by a bunch of bachelors, but it's not gross. The only food you'll find on the floor is the cats' fault. No, really, it is...why some cats have to take the morsel OUT of the bowl and put it on the floor I'll never know...but they do...then they leave half of it on the floor. So, if they don't want to eat off my kitchen floor, maybe you shouldn't either. And that brings me to why I haven't been writing as much as usual...I've been cleaning...but not because I want to. Does anyone actually WANT to clean? If they do...they should come here...they'd be in heaven.

The problem is I have a LOT of stuff. It's lying all over the place. You know those "How To Get Rid of Clutter" books? You got it...they are also adding to the clutter. But I must, quick like a bunny, clean up my house to "presentable" status by this weekend. My daughter is having her Birthday Pool Party/Sleepover...and after hearing one of her friends once comment that the inside of my van, in her words..."Looks like your house, Mrs. Simms". Why, thank you very much, you little twit. Okay, I didn't say I liked ALL kids. But I better get in gear.

Another problem that adds up more than you'd realize, is the fact that I am the only one in the house, apparently, with the ability to bend over and pick something up. I've done experiments...I have. I've specifically noted that if there is a piece of paper on the floor, regular 8 1/2 by 11 inch size, strategically knocked off the table by a cat, in the path of where a certain person walks past 87 times a day, it will take approximately 3 days before I get tired of it all and pick it up myself.

I am also the only one in the house who can put "dishwasher loader" and "clothes washer" on my resume. These skills, altho you'd figure were quite readily obtainable by anyone...are not. Next time I watch one of those late night "DeVry University"-type commercials on television, I'm going to see if they offer a degree in those. They should...perhaps that's what they mean by "Restaurant Management"...hmmm...probable. I bet Sally Struthers can't even load a dishwasher properly...and she's no stranger to food.

Don't get me wrong, I've cleaned the house up plenty of times...but we don't routinely have anyone popping over for me to actually make that "cleaning pilgrimage" that often. I'm just not that devoted. I'd love to entertain people...I'm very social...the only problem is that all my friends live "online"...and none of them live close to me. I've tried to mingle...I'm just not the quilting bee, garden club, Pampered Chef kinda person. I can't fit another kitchen gadget in my house...and I'm much too food snobby to purchase one via the likes of a Tupperware-ish party. Yes, I am...I admit it...I am a culinary queen...I turn up my nose to anyone who doesn't know what a shallot is. Arugula and I are on a first name basis...as are watercress and Kosher salt. What? You don't use Kosher salt? Tsk tsk. See what I mean? I'm such a food snob...Alton Brown (of Food Network's "Good Eats" fame) and I could spend half the day arguing over which garlic press is best...and why, scientifically, mine works better. He's always hanging in Atlanta...maybe he'd be willing to come over...hey, I'd even clean the house up!

But, I'm running out of places to put my stuff...and the stuff of my mother's...she liked stuff...I unfortunately inherited all her stuff. I say "unfortunately" only because I'd much prefer her to be alive than to have had it all since 1999. I can't get rid of her stuff...I'm way too sentimental. I have notes my girlfriend and I exchanged between classes from 8th grade and T-shirts from boyfriends saved...you don't think I'm going to eBay my mom's stuff anytime soon, do you? And I'm also running out of time. It might seem like I have scads of time...but I'm not the most motivated of cleaners. I am not the quicker-picker-upper...I clean in spurts and I think my spurts are brought upon some ancient celestial happenstance...and no stars are aligning anytime soon and the summer solstice isn't until mid-June. Oh, I have much better things to do mid-June than clean...at least I hope I do.

So, come Friday, I will do what people since the dawn of man entertaining man have done. I will become a hunter-gatherer. I will hunt down all the stuff I haven't picked up and I will gather it...and toss it into that one room that NO one is allowed to enter. I will keep a watchful vigil...my children will be briefed ahead of time...they know the routine...it's ingrained in them like Pavlov's dog salivating at the sound of a bell. It's like our "Plan B"...our contingency plan for emergencies. And if a bunch of kids dripping chlorinated water on my mom's old oriental rugs on their way to the hallway bathroom, countless times, isn't an emergency...I don't know what is.

25 May 2006

Summer Vaca...shun?

Well, they are doing it again...the last day of school is tomorrow and it's a half-day. If you've been reading my blogs, you know I have a major issue with half-days; if you haven't you do now...only I won't go into detail like I did last time. This time there's more of an issue. One-third of the kids won't even show up, and another third will just show up and leave after saying their "good-byes"...report cards are being sent home, so it's not like you even have to GO there to collect your report card and leave...there's really no reason TO GO to school...as everything's been turned in, all the stuff out of the lockers have been cleared out and did I mention it's a HALF-day? I doubt they'll even be taking attendance. But my daughter is determined to go - and stick it out the whole time...or I guess that would technically be "half time".

Then I have the whole summer to sit back and relax. And that brings me to the crux of this blog's matter: Babies, toddlers, kids and summer vacations, kids and college, kids turning 18...and what I've actually heard come out of some people's mouths.

Now, I like kids. Kids like me. They always have. I remember being very young and little children were somehow drawn to me...if they would have been puppies, I would have had quite a few of them follow me home. I don't know what it is...but even in a car this Pied Piper attraction (well, without the horrid ending) was, and still is, apparent to me. In a drive-thru line at the bank...pulled up next to a car at the light with them next to me...it's like some strange magnetic attraction. Now, I'm not stupid, I know kids will make faces, wave, and act downright silly to passing cars...they're kids...duh. But this is different...plus they AREN'T doing it to the car on the opposite side...they are focusing on me.

"Oh...you just wait, as soon as you have your baby, you'll be DYING to go back to work to get away from IT!" Wow, aren't I glad you weren't MY mom. Yes, this phrase and a few similar versions was actually uttered to me when I returned to New Jersey after living in Las Vegas for a while...and visited my old office to tell them all I was pregnant. So, I'm saying to them, "You know I plan to stay at home as long as I can and raise my child". "Oh...you just wait...you'll change your mind once you have IT." IT? Don't you love how people always call that "baby to be" an "it"? That always strikes me as if it's some alien out of an old black and white sci-fi B-movie..."IT!" I noticed someone saying that to my very pregnant friend at the end of season soccer party we had a couple weeks ago...even tho she told them a couple times that she knew her baby was going to be a boy.

I didn't go back to work...I stayed home and raised my son. My son, who learned to read right before his 3rd birthday. And when I say read, I mean like you or I read...not sounding out the word "C-A-T" with any hesitation...and all without the aid of me strapping him to his highchair and shoving flash cards in his face for hours on end. So, when we were at doctor's offices and he would start reading whatever was around, people's jaws would drop. It was rather fun to see their reactions, I must say. But a couple peoples' reactions just perplexed me...one was a teacher...who I never did get a straight answer from...but both told me, in not so many words that I'd "be sorry he can read that advanced later on". Why?? I still haven't a clue.

Fast forward a little and I come to find out that my son's birthday is 2 days after the cut-off for entrance into Kindergarten...but he's reading 80 books a night...has every dinosaur and their facts memorized and can already add and subtract. So, to make a long story short, I take him to my parents' house in New Jersey, where the cut-off is in October and he gets in...knowing all too well (yes, the secret's out...I did it on purpose) that the school here has to accept transfer students. Aha! A loophole. Not a week in school I'm approached by the teacher who tells me my son has no business being in Kindergarten. Uh oh... No...they want to test him as he's just kinda wasting his time sitting there. They administer the test and he reads at 8th grade level with comprehension and 4th grade overall. They advised against skipping that many grades but suggested we stick him in 1st...which we did. Now, all the while, I'm volunteering at school mainly at the lunchroom, where again, all the kids love me. Every day they'd all come over and hug me...oh you can't do that anymore in schools...heaven forbid anyone shows a child the least bit of affection...and they tell me all about their day and show me their lunches and give me pictures they drew for me. They didn't do that for the other people helping out...but they did for me.

I actually LISTEN to kids...and I talk to them...they can pick up on that. I used to watch a set of twins when my son was two years old...the twins were a little younger. Both parents worked. Now, I'm not ever saying this is bad...not at all...but I would hear from them, many, many times "I don't spend a lot of time with my kids, but the time I do spend is quality time". Uh...okay. You get out of the house as soon as you wake the kids up - you can barely muster up a kiss "good-bye" to them, one parent was long gone before they got up...you return home around 5:30...the kids eat dinner and you bathe them and pop them into bed all by 7:00-7:30. Wow...bowl me over, that's a whole lot of quality time. "Eat, hurry up and eat...drink your drink...time for bed"...5 days out of the week. My kids never went to bed that early...and if I would have worked like that couple did, you can bet they would have stayed up a tad longer. Oh, after working for them for a few months, they let me go as they stated that I "watched their kids too much"...I didn't let them run up and down the busy street without all of us holding hands...I didn't let them climb up and down the steps to the 2nd story wooden deck with the "fall thru" railing, and if they ran out of the room...I went after them. Oh, yes...they had an issue with all of this...especially since they cried their faces off each time I would go home...and each time they woke up they wanted to come to me instead. Honestly. "Oh, all kids go thru a phase where they don't want to come to their parents"... "All kids go thru a phase where they see a stranger, scream bloody murder and cling to you like a leech", "Oh, all kids..." they'd tell me. Um...no they don't. Oh...I didn't even mention...after a week, the kids stopped saying "buh buh" and pointing to everything they wanted...and actually talked. Yes, they were talking within a week. The parents were amazed. Hey...did you ever think maybe you needed to TELL them that everything they were pointing to had a name?

"Wow, I can't wait until my son turns 18 so he can get the hell outta the house"...or "I can't wait until my daughter goes off to college so I don't have to deal with her anymore"...yes, I've head them both...quite a few times. That's nice. So, let me get this straight...they didn't ask to be born...you had kids that you despise so much you want to kick them out as soon as humanly possible? Hmmmm. Okay...I'll not even get into this one...but the way I've always seen it, if you're not a real "people person" maybe you shouldn't take that job working with more of them.

So, as my daughter wraps up another school year we can commence staying up later at night making fun of movies on television, watch our two shows on the Cooking Channel, "Unwrapped" and our favourite, "Good Eats" with Alton Brown (oh he's silly and fun...we like him)...stay up and watch Craig Ferguson and sing the opening song, watch The History Channel (oh she likes documentaries), and generally wake up whenever we feel like and just hang out. Oh, I suppose we'll hang out with my 18-year-old son, too...since I haven't yet kicked his butt out. I better not mention that fact tomorrow as I run into all those parents huffing about how they "just can't wait until school begins again in the fall".

21 May 2006

Baseball's Been Barry Barry Good To Him...

I don't watch a lot of sports...I do watch the Olympics, that's about it. I've watched the last game in a World Series once or twice, but my fascination with sports ended when Bjorn Borg stopped winning tennis matches. I remember, in my youth, being glued to the set on Saturday afternoons watching "ABC's Wide World of Sports" with Roone Arledge.

I remember "the guy". Oh, you remember "the guy"...if you've ever seen the show, you just don't know his name. Vinko Bogataj who will live in infamy as the "agony of defeat" guy...the guy whose fall off the ski jump looks like death personified. He wasn't at all badly hurt, by the way...but regardless of that fact, he still managed to make us cringe each and every week.

Speaking of cringing...how about "the thrill of victory"...achieved under quite controversial allegations. I'm talking about Barry Bonds...who just tied Babe Ruth's 714th home run record...eclipsed only by Hank Aaron's phenomenal 755. Again, I reiterate that I'm not sports-conscious by any means, but...the guy has been under question for steroid use for some time now. With good reason a lot of them probably use or have used some type of performance enhancers...but as baseball's just recently started testing for them...and suspending players...how can you possibly allow "alleged past offenders" to set or match records? Where do you draw the line? Can a line be drawn after the fact?

Actually, when I really think about it...it would be much more entertaining if they all used steroids. All of them running around at warp speed...heart racing at double-time...hitting balls out of the stadium routinely...not realizing their arm just flew off with the bat...and none of them really needing protective athletic cups...oh, c'mon...you KNOW what steroids do, right? Hey, I'd actually WATCH those games. Talk about the agony of defeat...in the long run.

Granted Babe Ruth was like 98 when he retired in 1935...okay, so he was only 40...he looked older if you ask me...but Barry is almost 42. He's no spring chicken by any stretch...even a 7th inning one...and something tells me he's not going to surpass Hank's record. Something tells me he shouldn't. Something tells me Pete Rose should be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame...but...that's a whole other blog I'm not going to get into any time soon.

A little something to keep in mind...Bonds will pull in $20 million this year alone (the fourth highest salary in baseball...and the highest paid Yankees player), not including bonuses and endorsement deals. In 1932, Ruth's salary was $80,000 a year...adjusted to today's standards, that would be roughly $1,000,000. Steroids, incidentally, were invented in the 1930s.

16 May 2006

"Click It or Ticket"..."being held" for two weeks only

"Click It or Ticket." Sure it's cute and fun to say...but is it working? Are they really getting the right statistics when they tally those "Oh, seat belt use has increased by X amount since we've implemented this policy" figures up? Let's take a look, shall we?

A policeman pulls someone over for running a red light or speeding. What's the first thing they do...other than hide the gun if this is happening in LA? Well, if they're not wearing a seatbelt, you can bet they reach over and put it on. There's some kind of seatbelt or DUI check-point up ahead (which, I've only ever witnessed once in my life and it was in Herndon, Virginia)...uh oh...let's all put our seatbelts on. "Well, seems everyone's all buckled up in this vehicle...carry on." Oh, those tactics work so well don't they? Of COURSE seatbelt use is up if you go by those things. How about we consider a couple more stealthier ways to find out...and possibly save some lives plus get some revenue in for the towns while we're at it.

Cameras at toll booths. Case in point...we had recently gone over the toll bridge (or is it just a road really) that crosses from Prattville into Montgomery, and in front of us was a car with two adults in the two front seats and a child bopping around in the front between them and a couple more in the back, clearly all not restrained. The child's actions in the front made Britney Spears' "baby-holding" driving fiasco look totally innocuous by comparison. We mentioned something about it to the toll booth guy, and he commented that he had once casually suggested to someone passing thru that perhaps they should buckle their children in. They complained...and he was warned never to do it again or it was his job. So, here's a guy, trying to do the right thing and he gets read the riot act. I think he should be able to press a button, take a photo and then pass it along to the proper authorities. Of course, after a while...people who never buckle their kids in will hear there are cameras at the toll booths and they will "click-it...to avoid the ticket"...then their kids will just un-pop themselves after the "all clear" signal is given. But at least it might catch the ones who don't even have baby seats IN their cars.

Cameras at school parking lots. You can't count the number of times I've seen people driving thru the pick-up line with their babies on their laps...and how many kids I see get into the front seat where they aren't supposed to be sitting due to the airbag...and how many ride off without any seatbelts on at all. And airbags exploding with their extreme force, even at a low-speed impact, can lead to decapitation. I told this fact to a parent one day whose little girl was in the front seat of the car while they were about to pull out. Oh...if looks could kill, I would be long dead. She promptly told me where to get off...and to mind my own business as it was HER child. Well, ya know what? I don't think that being a parent gives you carte blanche to play God with your child's life. That whole "I brought you into this world...and I can take you out" mentality just isn't appropriate here. In a 'Cosby' sitcom when "Cliff Huxtable" is lecturing "Theo" about something up in his bedroom...it's funny and fits...in a real life-or-death situation, it just SHOULDN'T apply.

I should be able, as a concerned individual, to report this person. There should be some type of hotline that people could call...oh, I realize the Montgomery police are busy...but perhaps someone in authority pulling this woman (and all those other infractors) over and giving her the 3rd degree MIGHT sink in. I bet she wouldn't tell the cop to butt out. Did you guess by now that I have a major issue with this subject when it comes to children? I certainly do.

First off, a child cannot make rational decisions about their safety inside a motor vehicle...the adult in the car makes and enforces the rules...and as such, they should be held 100% accountable for their actions. Whenever I drive children on field trips...without fail, there is always one...sometimes two, who do not put their seatbelt on or on correctly...and when confronted, I'm told "my parents don't make me wear them". Well, they wear them in my van or we don't move.

Secondly, do these non-seatbelt-wearing people have any clue the guilt they'd inflict on another person in case an accident happened? I'll explain this concept a little: If I were to somehow be party to an accident, either my fault or another's...and someone went flying thru the windshield or got all smashed up inside the car due to their not wearing proper restraints, I don't even want to think how I'd deal with it. I ran over a squirrel once and saw it flopping around in my rear-view mirror...I can't imagine dealing with the death of a human being...especially a child. No one has the right to subject someone to that when it possibly could be avoided. No one has the right to subject their own child (or someone else's) to the possibility of an increased death risk each time they get into the car by not enforcing seatbelt usage.

A new report due out Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that more than 6 in 10 people between the ages of 8-44 who were killed inside a passenger vehicle were not restrained. (Okay, I have a little problem with that statement...if it's "more than 6 in 10"...is it 7? Is it 8? Or is it 6.25? You'd figure they'd be able to pinpoint it.) That's a whole lot of people not wearing a seatbelt if you ask me...much more than previously thought. The NHTSA figures 48 million people do not routinely use seatbelts when they are on the road.

The "Click It or Ticket" campaign kicks off May 22nd and runs thru June 4th...complete with roadside checks and their goal to boost seatbelt awareness. Well, maybe those advertisements need to show a little gore instead of a cutesy slogan...like those Meth ones do. Maybe a real accident-based commercial with a disturbing visual and the voiceover "I brought you into this world...and I can take you out" added...just might get the point across. Maybe.

13 May 2006

I'm Game

Someone hacked into Paris Hilton's cellphone again? No need to...she's coming out with a mobile game...featuring herself and a "likeness"...and you can download it to your very own cellphone. How hot is that? Uh...tepid? That means "lukewarm" for all you Paris Hilton fans. Oh...c'mon...this woman has made millions (and like she really needed to make MORE money) being almost as dimwitted as Jessica Simpson. Speaking of dimwitted, did anyone witness Britney Spears reading David Letterman's Top Ten List on his show the other night during her "it's official, I'm pregnant again" public disclosure? First off, she should really take the gum out of her mouth when she speaks...it's not exactly classy...oh wait...this is Britney...carry on. Secondly, what were the odds she couldn't pronounce the word "Tamiflu" (yes, she actually asked Dave for his help) but had absolutely NO problem with "Viagra". Kevin? Kevin Federline...your secret's out. But back to Paris...

Now, supposedly Paris walked in all late to the big game launching at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, and then botched up the name...introducing it as "Diamond Quest" instead of "Jewel Jam". Gameloft (the makers) covered it up later by saying the name they had plastered all over the place was just a "working title" and that Paris' announcement was indeed correct. See what money can do? She probably has enough money to download a ton of these to make it a best seller...and when things sell like crazy...crazy people buy them. Oh...c'mon again, it's a Paris Hilton cellphone game...I doubt people sitting in their astrophysics classes are going to be playing it. Anyway, she states they are coming out with a series of games, the first ones geared toward teens/t'weens and the later ones...people of all ages. Oh, great, she plans on being in the news for years to come.

Gameloft, ironically, is a Paris-based (that's Paris, France) gaming company. The French love Jerry Lewis. I thought that tidbit of information might help put this all into perspective.

I have a couple problems with all of this. My first being...WHY do companies make these people richer? Oh, I know celebrities sell things because everyone is all "Oooh Shaq shops at Radio Shack...I should, too". Michael Jordan eats Wheaties...I should, too. And these people get paid millions, especially in Japan (I bet they still love Tom Cruise there) to do these commercials. I think they'd make more money if they just put some regular guy in the ad and only paid him $400, but then they wouldn't be able to come up in the search when someone Googles "Michael Jordan".

My second problem is...why don't they make the celebrity video games that people would really like to play? Face it, who wants to play "Who can spend the most money while carting a ratdog in your Juicy Couture carrier?" when you could play "Smack Tom Cruise upside the head each time he mentions the words 'awesome' or 'Mission Impossible sequel'"? I woulda said "Scientology" but Tom might come here and jump up and down on my furniture in retaliation...not that he'd hit his head on my ceiling or anything...but I don't let my own kids jump on my sofa, I'm not about to let Tom. Oh...and while we're jumping...why not let David Blaine jump on the bandwagon as well and put out a game where you enclose him in something and then stick him in some ludicrous situation for a month. It would kinda be like a Tamagotchi...you have to turn the game on once in a while to make sure Blaine still is alive...but you don't have to worry about feeding him. Both sound like winners to me.

But until then...we'll always have Paris.

09 May 2006

To Sleep, Perchance to Drive...

"I don't remember...I don't recall...I got no memory of anything...anything at all." Three of you out there might recollect these lyrics from Peter Gabriel's "I Don't Remember" song...or maybe this will just be a prophetic legal defense in the future. And then a class-action lawsuit begins and I will never sleep again as "Sanofi-Aventis" goes out of business.

"Sanofi-Aventis" is a French-based pharmaceutical company, maker of 'the stuff that dreams are made of'...Ambien...altho I don't remember ever dreaming while ON Ambien. Hmmmmmm... Of the 26 million prescriptions that were filled last year in this country alone, a very small percentage claim they've done things like raided the refrigerator, had sex, and even driven around in their Ambien "coma", completely unaware...only to find out later on...usually when someone tells them. And once these lawsuits get going, you can bet that tons more people will suddenly "remember" that they've also done these things...and jump on the proverbial bandwagon.

My doctors tried to get me to try Ambien for a good four years before I finally consented...and only after I spoke with several people whose opinion I valued; I even perused the message boards before I started my nitely Ambien regimen. The commentary there read straight out of a Hitchcock film..."I only took half a tablet, I got up in the middle of the nite and hit my head on the sink and went back to bed...I didn't realize it until the next day when I woke up". "I had sex with my husband and he said it was the best ever...I don't remember it at all"...well, that's what we all say when we do things we ordinarily wouldn't...so I took that one rather skeptically. "I ate the raw chicken in my fridge...and I messed up the whole kitchen...this was the first time I took Ambien, too...maybe I should take a lower dosage because I must admit I slept quite well." The posts went on and on...even more entries than when I did a search for "transmission replacement for a '96 Dodge Grand Caravan". Reluctantly, I took my pill and got sleepy for the first time in my life...it was nearly heaven on Earth and I had met my maker...thank you...or should I say "merci am...bien", Sanofi-Aventis.

Now my prediction which I've been predicting for ages after reading all those comments years ago...which, because of all the hoopla going on lately...I'm figuring it's only a matter of days...Ambien daze...away, before someone kills someone and then blames it on the drug. Ambien is a hypnotic drug class...an amnesia-inducing effect if you will...that's why so many people who do wake up have no resulting memory of the events...you are in a trancelike state kinda like sleepwalking. A case which stands out in my mind, which I am sure is going to be found somewhat relevant in a future "homicide by Ambien" trial, is one I heard ages ago on one of those Dateline-type shows. A man, Kenneth Parks, got up in the middle of the nite, sleepwalked out to his car and sleepdrove to his in-laws, stabbed his mother-in-law to death and physically assaulted his father-in-law...then got back into his car, noticed blood and cuts on his hands and turned himself into the police stating he thought he "might have killed some people". He was later acquitted of all charges based on something known as "homicidal somnambulism". He's also not the only person who has killed and 'sleep'walked off scot-free.

So, while a goodly portion of people swallow down their pills tonite...I'm wondering if some legal team's dream jury will someday soon swallow an Ambien-induced murder.

06 May 2006

I'm Beginning to Sense a Theme Here...

The things we do when we are young...well, the way I see it...the more things you've done when you were young, the more you can tell your children "don't do what I did when I was your age". And then you can tell them what you did and they look at you and go "yeah, right...like YOU did THAT"...and that brings us to the prom. Well, it brings us to other things, but for now it's just the prom.

Oh...it's not that bad...it's really not. Okay...it is...I confess. I forgot all about it..and when I remembered, I was all "I cannot believe I DID THAT". More of that later...what really was the impetus of this whole blog was yet another article (I've read a few this year) which addressed the fact prom expenses are getting way out of hand. Tickets, dresses, tuxes, dinners, limo rentals, etc...the costs are nearly as much as that senior class trip. The article I read today regarding Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, stated that tickets to the prom...and I'm guessing for two...are $130. But it'll cost $0 for a limo as they are going to pile the attendees into buses to take them the 50-minute trip to the Long Beach Aquarium where it's being held. Oh yeah...that's awfully impressive..."C'mon honey, I'll let you sit by the window on the way back...and maybe we can get everyone to sing '9,999 Bottles of Beer On the Wall' on the way up so it won't seem like 50 minutes". Good luck...it'll seem like four hours.

I remember last year, watching a "Today Show" episode showing prom dresses. Prom dresses straight off the streets of New York...and I'm not talking about the ones on 5th Avenue. Who, I thought, would ever let their daughter dress like THAT??? They made J Lo's green Versace dress she wore to the Academy Awards that one year...oh you remember it...the one that was held on by Velcro or super-glue or something...look more like a Communion dress in comparison. These dresses were incredibly...oh what's the word I'm looking for...let's just say they looked like you'd be making more wearing it (or taking it off ) than what you paid for it. Now, I remember my prom...and all the proms before and since...every single guy there figures he's getting lucky that nite...well, except for the ones on that 50-minute bus ride...but to see your corsage taking up more space than the material itself, must have been a hormonal free-for-all. "Uh...I'd pin it on you, Mary Lou...but I'm afraid it would distract from your massive décolletage...plus there's nowhere TO pin it on to begin with." And the parents, gleefully taking photos and admonishing the daughter..."Now...don't you do anything I wouldn't do". "Hmmmm, okay, Mom...but remember, YOU let me buy this dress".

Well, I had those girls beat...in a way...I wore two nitegowns to my prom. I looked and looked for a dress...but they were all typical prom-looking frou-frou, bridesmaid-looking frosting-on-the-cake concoctions...so "look at me I'm a prom dress...you can't possibly wear me ever every again...yet you paid $$$ on me"...and I didn't want to do that...so I got creative. I had always loved Victorian dresses...and had an extremely pretty and ornately embroidered top to one of those bustle dresses that my mother had bought for me from an antique shop . One that evokes the pre-turn-of-the-century glamour of all those films Helena Bonham Carter starred in before she started going out with Tim Burton...rather "A Room With a View"-ish garb...but, my dilemma...I only had the top. What to do? What to do? Inspiration struck me as I was digging thru my stuff. I always loved negligees reminiscent of the type Jean Harlow wore in her films...and yes, I wore them from about the age of 15...I so liked the golden age of Hollywood as a child...therefore I had a few. So, with my black Victorian top and a long black slip of a nitegown under it...my prom dress began to take shape...but it still needed something. I ran out to the mall and found another...one which had yards and yards of sheer black fabric at the skirt...it would work perfectly...and it did...my black slip nitegown under the sheer one and the top over them both. And no one ever suspected I was wearing two nitegowns to the prom...and how many people can say they did that...and still got to wear them after?

Oh...I nearly forgot again. As for my horrible deed done at the prom...and I do think it was quite the 'not nice thing to do'...I attended the prom with one guy...and left with another. And for the life of me I can't remember the name of the guy I left with...and I've got a pretty good memory. Needless to say, my date didn't get "lucky" that nite (at least not with me) and neither did "what's his name".

04 May 2006

The State of the Reunion Show

"Catfights and Caviar"?? That's the best title they could come up with for the Dynasty reunion show they aired last nite? No wonder Aaron Spelling didn't have anything to do with it. Personally I was pulling for "Death Becomes Her II"...but I guess they put this together without thinking much...kinda like Linda Evans' plastic surgeon's technique.

Oh...did you NOT see her? Now I did some IMDb-ing last nite...Linda Evans was born in 1942, Joan Collins in 1933, and John Forsythe in 1918. Why Linda didn't ask Joan for a surgeon's name is beyond me. Now, even with a soft focus lens and miles of gauze to shoot it thru...Joan and John, almost 73 and 88, respectively, looked much better than she did. But, no...she had to ask Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett for a recommendation. And her and Joan were all kissy-kissy..."Oh I loved you, too...was there anything better than filming our scenes together??" all the while you could see Joan staring her down thinking how much better she's holding up for being nine years older.

I must say...when Dynasty was on...I rooted for Alexis...Joan's character. She had much more depth than Linda Evans...and she wore those clothes just so much better. Shoulder pads, when you are built like a linebacker...aren't flattering. I'm sure Nolan Miller saw a few Joan Crawford movies in his day...but hey, it was the 80s and clothes and big hair ruled. I had big hair...and I'm waiting for shoulder pads to come back into style. There IS no "style" anymore...it's just "whatever". Maybe there needs to be another Dynasty-type show on instead of all those reality ones. A little fantasy isn't a bad thing.

Who didn't want to trade their regular dysfunctional family in for a filthy-rich dysfunctional family? "You didn't unload the dishwasher...again???" surely pales with the antics the Carringtons and Colbys got into. We had no lily pond to push each other into...we had to just slam doors when we got mad...we had no priceless antique vases to fling...and no one ever bothered having plastic surgery to try to impersonate me a la that terrible Linda Evans aka Krystal Carrington thing they had for a while there. Come to think of it, I bet no one wants to impersonate her now. Ouch...meow...claws back in.

So...they had a few of the principal characters back for the reunion...the guy who played Adam Carrington, the guy who played Blake and Alexis' gay son, Pamela Sue Martin who was the spoiled daughter character, and Catherine Oxenberg, who was the focus of THE worst nite-time soap opera debacle rivalling that inane Dallas "Bobby was in the shower/just all a dream" season...I'm speaking of the "Moldavia wedding" carnage. And I think they had someone else on...I forgot who...maybe they didn't. Then, at the very end they paraded John Forsythe out like some living fossil trophy..."Oooh look at him...he's still alive...we managed to pull this thing off before they all died"...they even had the bad taste to have Joan and Linda say "I thought YOU died" whilst clinking their champagne glasses. Oh this was abysmally horrendous dialogue worthy of...um...oh...any reunion show, really.

Like going down the proverbial receiving line, one-by-one they all agreed they owed their fame and a huge debt of gratitude to John Forsythe...Joan Collins bit her tongue as she knew damned well they owed it all to her...John was the only one who admitted it...but, like Bette Davis when she made the talk-show circuit when she was very old, years after "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"...he could say whatever he wanted regardless of what anyone thought...he reached the celebrity age of reason. I admire that in a person.

Speaking of Bette Davis and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" did you ever notice her scary make-up in it? Oh, and did I mention Linda Evans?

02 May 2006

Another One Writes the Dust

The past few weeks have not been banner weeks for writers...well, at least a handful of them. First we had "The DaVinci Code" violation...Dan Brown was cleared for wrongdoing and sent on his merry way while the two other guys who wrote the other book...you know...the one that, henceforth, will be infamously known as "the other book"...will be destined to go down in history like the Walter Hunt/Elias Howe/Isaac Singer sewing machine patent fiasco. WHO is Walter Hunt you ask? Exactly.

Enter one Harvard University sophomore, 19-year-old Kaavya Viswanathan, whose two-book deal with Little, Brown and Co., got pulled off shelves faster than the average person can spell the word "plagiarism". Now, I'm no Harvard grad...but you can bet I knew from the 3rd grade that when you COPY something from the encyclopedia, like when you are doing that essay on Lincoln, you PARAPHRASE something...you rewrite it...you do everything but copy it verbatim. So, she lifts portions of Megan McCafferty's book and claims she musta, in essence, "just remembered them too well"...oh sorry, the legal term they used was "internalized"...she inadvertently "internalized" McCafferty's words and just went ahead and wrote them down as her own. Oh...sorry again...at least change the state from NEW JERSEY to something a little less obvious...maybe New Hampshire? Maybe I need to write a book about New Jersey, too...yes, about a girl from Jersey who reads about a girl half her age who gets a two-book deal who goes to Harvard and apparently doesn't have the sense to change the facts enough, all the while shopping while her boyfriend, if she woulda had one, would've pointed this all out to her...REPEATEDLY. "Hello...Little, Brown and Co....I'm definitely available...and I know how to 'Google'."

Exit one Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose job at the Los Angeles Times writing a column and Internet blog is now history. Michael Hiltzik was caught "self-blogging" on his "Golden State" blog. What I mean by that is that he surreptitiously "pretended" to be someone else commenting on his own blog. Now I didn't go TO his blog...IF it's even still there...but something tells me he knew all too well the comeback line for whatever quips he came up with. Hey, prize-toting dude...that's totally unethical...do you NOT have a conscience? Do you not have any morals...do you not have any sense to NOT get caught?? How the heck do you get caught on your OWN blog faking your own comments? Did you not have the forethought to maybe use a computer that wasn't AT your desk IN your office? Maybe like signing onto your kid's computer or something? Maybe use some guy's computer at Starbucks when he goes to the bathroom? Oh, he says he only did it once...at his blog...but admitted to commenting on other blogs about his blog and newspaper. Something tells me Mr. Hiltzik wasn't a Harvard grad...hmmm....or was he? Ironically, his Pulitzer came from a series of articles he co-wrote with reporter, Chuck Phillips, on exposing corruption in the entertainment industry. "Yo, Chuck...I got yer next Pulitzer right here!"

So, I anxiously await the next writer to go down...because that puts ME that much closer to getting that elusive book deal...or cushy newspaper job. "Hey, LA Times people...are you reading this?"

01 May 2006

Dog Day Afternoon

Seems Montgomery went to the dogs this weekend and no one even noticed.

There was a dog show this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Garrett Coliseum...and by the looks of it at the time that I went...no one got the word. And I went when they judged the dogs...you'd have figured the biggest turnout would have been then. It was the three of us and 7 other people...all the rest were associated with the contestants themselves it seems.

Is it any wonder? I didn't see it advertised in Petsmart, Pet Supplies Plus, the news channels...and I can't speak for the paper as I didn't look in it. How I found out about it was a banner strung up on the corner of Redland Road and Rte 231 at the gas station there. That's it...I didn't see it anywhere else...and I almost forgot about it, until today. Seems I wasn't alone...and it's a pity as it was free admission. Not too many things you can do that are out of the ordinary, legal and family-oriented that are free nowadays. And this was definitely one of them.

Okay, so it wasn't the Westminster Dog Show...CNN wasn't in attendance..."Rufus" the Bull Terrier wasn't in attendance...and if he were, no one would have known. You see...there was no announcer calling out information like "This is Grand Champion Master Snozzle of Arcadia Land of Pretoria...also known as Snozzy...he's a Hungarian Puli and is being handled by Kay Lemming...the proud owners being Dr. Tom Katzenberg and his wife, Missy". So...the dogs and their handlers went around the little arena while the side arena's tape was being pulled up. Distractions were noteworthy here...seeing as this was my first "show"...I'm not certain if they are in the larger shows. Something tells me the Department of Corrections guys walking around in their white uniforms are not standard at Westminster's show. The only standards you will see there are of the Poodle, et. al., variety. But this one wasn't that snobby.

No one balked as we came in during the presentation of the Working Group class of dogs...and we went up straight to the judging area to stand around to see the dogs. No one asked us for credentials...no one asked if we had a hidden cat in our pocket to disrupt the goings-on...no one from the media panned on us when we walked in thinking we "were someone". The only cameras I saw were more of the cell phone variety...and the "Best of Show" ribbon looked like it was chewed on by the previous winner.

But there were fancy dog breeds there...not just some guy and his Labrador mix and some woman who tried to look like Paris Hilton carting her ratdog around talking to it. Okay...there was this one woman who was talking baby-talk to her Chihuahua...but she was very nice and stopped to chat with us a while. And people were primping their Shih Tzu's and poofing out their Poodles...hairspray and combs were flying frantically as this was, by all accounts, a real dog show...and the people and dogs took it seriously. There were breeds of dogs as diverse as Schipperke, Saluki, and even a Hairless Chinese Crested...oh get your mind out of the gutter...it's a DOG. Maybe if they would have played that angle up...it would have had a bigger turnout. Perhaps next year they'll get a bit creative with the advertising and we'll see this: "Bitches galore and Mexican Hairlesses...all under ONE roof!" Now THAT might pack them in...even if they eventually find out they're just a bunch of "dogs".

But try explaining that one to the wife and see if you still don't end up in the doghouse.