Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rooney Mara Is Annoying Me

No, I'm not sucking on a lemon. Why do you ask?
Dear Rooney Mara,

I'm sure you are a perfectly nice person who is perhaps a bit timid. Watching interviews with you is excruciating. I bet it's painful to be so socially awkward during this time when people want to snap photos of you and ask you questions on camera. So when I refer to you in this letter, I don't really mean you. I mean your public persona.

Are you ready?

I cannot stand you. I'm sick to death of your sour face and your black clothes. Here you are at The Golden Globes looking uncomfortable. Oh, look at your edgy, black dress.

Here you are at some other event. Wearing black. Again.

I'm so serious, you guys.
Here you are at a premiere for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Can you tell how deep I am?
Excuse me, but who died?

We get it. Your entire role this awards season is to play The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Who Goes to The Academy Awards. It's all about promoting a dark, miserable movie. "Hey, you guys, go see my movie. It's full of murder and anal rape. That's right. Anal. That's why I look like I have a stick up my ass."

Stop it already. I'm so sick of you.

Now here you are on the cover of Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue (also known as the Lots of White Women on the Cover Issue).

Well, at least you're not wearing black. But there you are looking all serious and miserable, as usual.

Perhaps no one told you that you were only playing the part of a woman who had horrible things happen to her. You, in fact, did not have horrible things happen to you. You grew up in an extremely wealthy family and you have had a life full of opportunities and comforts.

Right now, you are having more wonderful things happen to you. You have starred in a critically-acclaimed film. You are being nominated for awards. People are recognizing your work and saying, "Hey, good job!" Most people never get rewarded for their work. They never get praised and celebrated.

So fucking smile!

If you hate being at awards shows this much, then don't freaking go to them, honey. Stay home. Allow Glenn Close or Salma Hayek or some other person whose boobs are about to fall out of her dress to accept on your behalf any awards you might win (I hope you don't win any). I'm quite certain the Academy will be happy to ship you your little statue.

Stay home and try to remember that you are not Lisbeth Salandar. You are an actress. You are making a lot of money to act like a miserable person in movies. When you're on the red carpet, it wouldn't kill you to smile. You do have teeth. I found this photo of you that proves it.
You're really quite lovely.

If you do decide to attend The Academy Awards, think about wearing a dress in a color other than black. Think about enjoying all the excitement and the fact that you get to be on the same red carpet with George Clooney, for God's sake!

If you can't do that, then stay home. Nobody wants to see Madame Buzzkillington on the red carpet.


The Girl with the Dolphin Tattoo

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Classics and Cocktails Book Club (February)

Fitzgerald (1896-1940) and his wife Zelda, January 1921.
Time Life Pictures/Mansell/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
I'm so happy to put Anna Karenina behind me. I keep thinking about how I've always wanted to run a marathon just so I could say I'd done it. That's how reading Anna Karenina felt except that I think running the marathon would have been less painful.

The 12 in 2012 book for February is F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned. I have no doubt Mr. Fitzgerald will show us a better time than Mr. Tolstoy. And it certainly won't take an entire month to read it. The Beautiful and Damned is 370 pages long. WAY less than that damn Anna Karenina. (Sorry, I may have a bit of PTAKSS - Post Traumatic Anna Karenina Stress Syndrome.)

The Beautiful and Damned is about Anthony Patch and his beautiful wife Gloria. They are newly married and living a life far beyond their means. The book chronicles their moral, physical, and financial decline, a fictional take on the stories that came out of Fitzgerald's real-life marriage to Zelda, a marriage marked by drunken revelry, debt, and scandalous behavior during the Jazz Age in New York.

Yes, hell yes, bring on the drunken revelry, please. 

A Letter to Tolstoy

Dear Leo,

Can I call you Leo? Or should I call you Lev? You Russians and your multiple names, so wacky.

I think after spending most of January together, we should be on a first-name basis.

Matthew Arnold said your book was not to be taken as "a work of art" but as "a piece of life."

As in, I have wasted a piece of my life reading it. Maybe I shouldn't say that. I'm going to be grateful that I read it, that I now know what all the fuss is about. I'm not going to devote too much space to analyzing my dislike for your book. But here are a few thoughts:

I don't understand why the title of the book is Anna Karenina. Come on, you know the book should have been called Konstantin Levin. Funny how no one ever talks about how more than half of this excruciatingly long book is about a man named Levin. I haven't seen any movies based on the book but I'd bet that all the annoying, long-winded Levin stuff gets cut out.

I read that you based the character of Levin on yourself. So allow me to apologize before I say that I hated him. What a mopey, self-involved, boring-ass man. If he blushed one more time, I thought I might step into the book and smack him. Reading portions of the book in which Levin discusses farming and peasants and whatever else felt like being at a really long, awful dinner party with the most boring people in the world.

By the end of the book, when Levin has this big revelation about faith, I couldn't have been less invested. I was just glad it was over. I had my own little faithful moment and I thanked God I was finished reading this.

OK, let's talk about Anna. Everyone acts as if the book is only about the love affair between Anna and Count Vronsky. Unfortunately, I didn't care about these characters at all. Here's another Count to show you how much I cared:
I read on the back of my book that Nabakov said this was "one of the greatest love stories in world literature." I'm afraid I just don't get it.

Why do they love one another? What is it about either of them that is so fantastic? They're good looking?

What I saw was one of the greatest stories of codependence in world literature.

If you think you cannot live without someone else, if you are willing to kill yourself (as both Vronsky and Anna are willing to attempt, one successfully) then you are codependent. Your love isn't any greater than anyone else's. Your CODEPENDENCE is greater. That is all.

People make this mistake all the time. They buy into the bull shit of Romeo and Juliet, this idea that the greatest love stories involve someone dying by their own hand, by their own misery.

I have had someone tell me he could not live without me. I never want to hear someone say this to me again. I will never say this to someone. We are not meant to put so much weight on another human being.

Does this mean that when I love my love isn't as strong or true or romantic?

If love is measured by how much you are willing to destroy yourself, then it is a sad thing. It is an addiction.

There is nothing that I could not do without. Life must be adjustable in this way. We must accept what life brings us or what life takes away. Acceptance is the only way to find peace in this harsh world.

After Anna's death, "It showed him (Vronsky) the eternal error men make in imagining that happiness consists in the realization of their desires."

I guess I just wish people would quit calling it a great love story. It seems obvious to me that you weren't saying, "Ooh, look how romantic this is."

Leo, I can appreciate that Levin (and you) gave so much thought to life, to its meaning, to humanity, to farming. I can appreciate that Levin wants to live his live, striving for goodness. I can appreciate that, with his realization that other religions besides Christianity also speak of goodness, maybe Levin will be more accepting and less of a judgmental douchebag. Levin, Pozdravlyayu! (Congratulations!)

Honestly, I just wish it hadn't taken 700 pages for Levin to get there.

I began to dread picking it up. I was thrilled to put it down. At night, while I lay in bed and read Anna Karenina, I looked longingly at other books. I was the Anna Karenina of reading. I was in bed with this one, but I wanted to be in bed with that one.

I sincerely hope that I can shake off this horrible feeling of dread by December, when I have pledged to read your other doorstop of a novel, War and Peace. 

Maybe I  will write you another letter then, Leo. In your honor, I will now sign off with all my various names.

Amy/Amy B./Becky Bickers Girl Detective/LBG/George Clooney's Girlfriend/Amushka Bickerskaya

Friday, January 27, 2012

Colbert Love (Friday Randomness Continued)

Today I found this photo online of Stephen Colbert taken when he was in college in the late '80s.

I showed it to Jacob. Then we had this conversation:

Jacob: He looks good. When was that taken?
Me: When he was in college, I think.
Jacob: Does he look like someone you would have dated in college?
Me: He looks like someone I would date NOW!
Jacob: Well, of course. He's awesome.

This concludes today's random expression of love for someone I do not actually know in real life.

Friday's Random Thoughts

I'm thinking about making this a weekly thing. On Fridays, I'll just share whatever comes to me. Maybe I'll piss off some people. (Fingers crossed.) I certainly did last Friday. Oops.

Suicide Jokes

Can we begin with something serious?

After Charles died, I started noticing the number of times people make a suicidal gesture to express boredom or distaste for something. This happens in sitcoms and movies all the time. The actors on Cougartown were especially fond of this gesture. I know this because, for awhile, I wrote down in my journal all the places I saw these suicidal gestures. Is that sick? Well, let's be honest, I was sick for awhile. I was trapped in a maze and I had to find my way out.

I noticed that my good friends didn't make that gesture anymore. We all became very aware of it, I think. If a friend did say something like "I'd shoot myself", I'd hope they wouldn't realize, just keep going, not stop mid-sentence and apologize to me. God, that was the worst.

I absolutely understand the joke. I get it. I don't think people should stop doing it because it offends me. It actually doesn't offend me at all. Maybe it makes me think about something unpleasant, but, trust me, nothing anyone says or does can make me think about it less or more. It's just a fact that lives in my brain. It's in a nice little cage, like a monkey you can always see and hear. You can usually ignore it so it becomes little more than white noise. Sometimes the monkey throws its own shit at you. When someone makes that suicide joke, all it does is make the monkey a little louder for a second. Don't worry. I know how to get that little asshole to shut up.

I love humor so the thing that is really sad is that the suicide gesture joke is insanely unoriginal. Come up with something new, people. Make your suicide joke original, at least.

You're bored. I get it. Oh my God, you're so bored you could DIE! Yep, when Charles killed himself it was because there wasn't a damn thing on television that night. He was SO bored. That certainly livened things up!

Sorry. See, I can joke about it. I have a very dark sense of humor.

No, here's when I'm bothered by the joke. When it might not be a joke. People sometimes post things on Facebook about what an awful day they've had, how life is treating them with cruelty, how they can't take it anymore. Someone I don't know but who I'm friends with on Facebook posted something the other day about "putting the gun back in the drawer."

OK, listen, that's not funny. Are you asking for help? Are you serious? Are you joking? Because a lot of people will assume it's a joke. Then, down the road, when someone else says to them, in total seriousness, "I'm going to kill myself," those people will think, "This isn't real. This is overly dramatic bull shit. Whatever."

I was one of these people once. It's a hard thing to live with.

I guess what I'm asking is that you think before you make a hyperbolic statement about how you had the worst day ever and you're giving up.

If you truly are having a horrible day, if you truly do want to give up, call someone. Anyone! Write someone an email. Anyone! Ask for help. Use very serious words and say what you are feeling. Breathe in and breathe out. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

If you're just having a typical day, try to avoid using unnecessarily strong words to express yourself on Facebook. Using these words when they aren't even close to true only weakens a very serious message. But you already know this. You've heard the story about the boy who cried wolf.

The story hits home a little more once you've actually come face to face with the wolf.

"When we are alarmed with imaginary dangers in respect of the public, till the cry grows quite stale and threadbare, how can it be expected we should know when to guard ourselves against real ones?" - Samuel Croxall

A Suicide Joke That Makes Me Laugh

Stephen Colbert told this joke on The Colbert Report. If you know me, you know I adore Stephen Colbert. I record the show every night and Jacob and I usually watch it together. Colbert told this joke to Father Jim Martin, author of Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life.

So a guy commits suicide and he goes to heaven.

God greets him there, and the guy says, "I'm so surprised I'm here. First of all, I thought there was no God. Second of all, I thought if you killed yourself, you know, you were damned forever."

God says, "You know, that's a complicated issue. Everybody at least thinks about ending it, you know, killing themselves at some point."

God says, "Even I've thought of it."

The guy says, "Can I ask, why didn't you do it?"

And God says, "What if this is all there is?"

One day, Jacob and I saw this video and we both busted out laughing. Not so long ago, Jacob had to gather aphorisms that we say in our family. An aphorism is a saying that embodies a general truth. One of the aphorisms I say often is this: Comedy is tragedy plus time.

I guess I'm sharing this because I want you to know I laugh at inappropriate stuff all the time and it's absolutely OK. One of my favorite quotes is this: "If I ever stop laughing, I'm dead." - Tom Knapp. 

But I also want you to know that if you're struggling in a real way, your life is not a joke. Log off of Facebook and seek help immediately. There are people willing to listen. I am absolutely one of those people.

And if you're just telling a joke, well, try to make it funny. 

The Most Important Meal of the Day

Taco Bell has introduced a breakfast menu for what it is calling "First Meal."

Listen, this has gone too far. This is just wrong. Taco Bell should not be your first meal of the day. I'm not against Taco Bell later in the day. I love a steak soft taco. (OK, I love two of them.)

And I was totally on board with "Fourth Meal."

But that's because I was drunk.

Full Disclosure

Last week, I angered someone because I used something he said to me in my blog. He told me I had a lot of pet peeves. I went off on a little rant about it. I'm a writer. That's what I do. Writing is my outlet. Hell, I've spent more than a year writing a book about the things I need to get out. A lot of you might be in it.

Don't be scared. Everyone who is in the book already knows they're in it. I will change the names of anyone who requests I do so. If you want your name changed to something fabulous like "Princess Consuela Banana Hammock" or "Crap Bag - first name Crap, last name Bag," you best let me know now.

If you want me to refrain from expressing myself through my writing, well, you best think again.

Leo Tolstoy Can Suck It

I'm almost finished with the first book in my 12 in 2012 reading challenge. Anna Karenina is in the top ten worst books I've ever read (And I've read Twilight.) So if you haven't read it and you want to know if you should, here's my answer:

It's so boring it makes me want to throw myself under a train.

See what I did there?

Full circle, my friends. Full circle.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cranberry Red Tuesday Playlist

Today, the fourth Tuesday of January, is Cranberry Red Tuesday. Why? Because I said so. On this Tuesday, we're all going to be happy as opposed to yesterday when you were supposed to be depressed. And, when you're in a good mood, what's better than singing loudly in the car?

These are all songs I cannot resist singing along with in the car.

1. "Mr Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra
If Kate, Jacob and I had a family theme song, this would be it. On car trips, we always sing this really loudly at least once, usually more than once, sometimes three times (depends on how long the trip is).

2. "Closer to Fine" by The Indigo Girls
I have no singing talent. That's the magic of The Indigo Girls. Somehow I sound incredible when I'm accompanied by a guitar and two lesbians.

3. "Get Back" by Ludacris
OK, so this song sounds a little more angry than happy, but it sure feels good to sing it in the car.
"Beep, beep, woot, woot, why you all in my ear?"

4. "Freedom! '90" by George Michael
As the young folks say now, THIS IS MY JAM. Back about a million years ago, or maybe just 20, I used to play this as often as possible on the jukebox at BJ Country in Bossier City. Even 20 years later, this song is still excellent. Plus, the video reminds us of a better time when supermodels were actually super.
"When I knew which side my bread was buttered, I took the knife as well."

5. "100 Days, 100 Nights" by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
When you're singing in the car and fantasizing about how you're up on stage performing before a crowd that includes all your ex-boyfriends and all their girlfriends or wives who aren't as awesome as you (don't pretend you don't do this), it helps if you sound like Sharon Jones. And it's your fantasy so, hell yes, you totally sound like Sharon Jones.

6. "Paris (Ooh La La)" by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
When I'm not pretending to be Sharon Jones, I'm pretending to be Grace Potter.
 7. "Rockstar" by Miley Cyrus 
OK. Sometimes I'm Hannah Montana. Oh, shut up.

8. "Drive My Car" by The Beatles
Rubber Soul is my favorite Beatles album. And "Drive My Car" is one of the world's most perfect pop songs. Period.
"I got no car and it's breaking my heart
But I've found a driver and that's a start"

9. "Linger" by The Cranberries
Best friend and my personal blog consultant Tina Rollman pointed out that any decent Cranberry Red Tuesday playlist should include a song by The Cranberries. Unlike when I sing along with an Indigo Girls song, when I sing along with The Cranberries, I still sound like crap. But who cares? It's my car and I'll sing if I want to!
10. "Forever in Blue Jeans" by Neil Diamond
Not only is today Cranberry Red Tuesday, it's also the 70th birthday of the amazing Neil Diamond. I love his songs. They take me back to childhood and make me think of my wonderful grandparents.

Bonus: "Elmo wants a lemonade" 
No, this isn't a song, but this video cracks me up. Doesn't matter how many times I see it. "That video is so old, Mom," Jacob said. IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW OLD IT IS, SON! Elmo ordering Taco Bell is AWESOME. It always makes me giggle and everyone knows giggling makes any day of the week better. And Elmo is red, so there's that.

If none of these work for you, here's something cranberry red that will make you happy. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blue Monday Playlist

Have you heard? Today is the most depressing day of the year. Some psychologist said this in 2005 so that a travel agency could use it as part of a publicity campaign. According to the press release this agency sent out, the third Monday in January  is the "perfect storm" of Christmas bills, hideous winter weather, and failed New Year's resolutions.

Hello, Amy? I'm blue without you.
Important Note: The Perfect Storm isn't perfect without my boyfriend George.

Much like Valentine's Day, Blue Monday is total bull shit. Nevertheless, the media likes to report on it each year as if it's not total bull shit. The theory that this is the most depressing day of the year is based on a mathematical equation that makes as much sense as this one I just made up:

(Amy Bickers + George Clooney) x Numerous tropical vacations - Stacy Keibler = World Peace and Happiness for Everyone in the Whole Wide World

Never mind. My equation makes total sense.
Side note: Psych returns in February. Set your DVR, fools.
But who cares if it's all pseudoscience? Let's celebrate this wonderful, made up, fakey-fake day of psychological pain by bemoaning our fates whilst listening to a moody playlist (and using old-fashioned words like "whilst").

In honor of Blue Monday, I'm going to share with you my "Sorry for Myself" playlist. I created it more than two years ago. According to iTunes, I have listened to the songs on this playlist more than 100 times during the last two years. I honestly thought it would have been more.

The only song that rivals the songs on this playlist for most plays is "Get Back" by Ludacris. "Get Back" is like the other side of a heavy coin called Grief. I carry this coin in my pocket. Sometimes I take it out and flip it into the air. Heads? Pouty-mouth, pity music. Tails? Potty-mouth, "bitch, please" music.

On this Blue Monday, do you want to feel all moody and down? Do you want to spend the day hatin' on shit? Then this is the soundtrack for you, my friend.

Hit "play" and let's get to boo-hooing.

Just remember that tomorrow is Cranberry Red Tuesday. Yes, I just made that up. I can do that because I once took a psychology class. Also, cranberry red matches the color on this excellent image of Ludacris.

On Cranberry Red Tuesday, you must get the hell out of bed and get busy living. Then order a copy of my book: Get Busy Livin' or Get Busy Dying: Your Guide to Being Blissfully Happy While Stealing Quotes From Morgan Freeman Movies.

Today is still Blue Monday, though, so feel free to moan and groan and harmonize with Joni Mitchell to your pitiful heart's delight. Enjoy!

1. "Sideways" by Citizen Cope

2. "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell

3. "Let It Be Me" by Ray LaMontagne

4. "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime" by Beck

5. "Just Breathe" by Pearl Jam

6. "Beautiful" by Steve Conn

7. "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles

8. "Breathe Me" by Sia

9. "Today's the Day" by Aimee Mann

10. "Half Life" by Duncan Sheik

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Making Peace with Hemingway

The death of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has prompted a lot of vitriol, jokes, and expressions of grief on the Internet today. It was sort of exhausting to read it, the attempts at humor, the defensiveness, the cursing. Oh, lawd, the cursing. Some funny folks and not-so-funny folks lost Twitter followers today because of it.

I'm not here to express my feelings about Joe Paterno. I laughed at some of the jokes. I understood why a friend was saddened by his death. I felt empathy for his family the way I do for anyone who has lost someone they love.

Life is complicated. People are complicated. Nothing is black and white, though we all wish it was. It'd be so much easier then, if the bad guys wore black hats and the good guys wore white hats, wouldn't it?

No, what this made me think about was how angry I used to be with Ernest Hemingway.

Yep. I was angry with a man who has been dead since 1961.

Why? Because he committed suicide.

If you think about it, it's not so hard to figure out why. It was easier to be angry at someone I never knew and never loved.

Sometimes, in the midst of mourning, you can become fixated on something or someone and, each time that person or thing comes up, you see it with eyes that are really seeing something else.

I read The Paris Wife, a novel about Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, earlier this year. While I read it, I railed against him and what a jerk he was. But I thought, too, that he was exactly the sort of person to whom I'd have been drawn. Larger than life, adventurous, hunting and fishing, drinking too much, strong and yet weak. I went to see Midnight in Paris (a movie I absolutely adored), and I watched the character of Hemingway and I thought, "Shit, I think I dated that guy."

I read a magazine story titled "Ernest Hemingway's Suicide Gun." The story was about a book someone had written about Hemingway and his guns. I got pissed as hell and raged against the idea of this, the romance people affix to something so horrific.

On the surface, it might seem to be a story for people who like guns, for people who collect them and are fascinated by the craftsmanship that goes into them. But it seems to me that a story about Hemingway's guns is, beneath the surface, always going to be about the frightening truth: That one's grip on life is rather precarious. That one's "favorite shotgun" may prove to be his undoing. Perhaps it sends a thrill up one's spine, makes a person shiver with horror, to consider this dramatic way that a life can end.

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry." - Ernest Hemingway

The magazine ran a photo of Hemingway holding a shotgun.  In it, he stood shirtless, a gold watch on his left wrist, his expression serious.

It made my heart race and my throat close up, as often happens when I see photos of people holding guns, and I thought, "Screw you, people."

But I looked closely at the photograph. I looked for answers. I was always looking for answers like some forlorn little detective. Becky Bickers, girl detective. My friend Lane and I had once joked that, had my mother called me by my middle name of Rebecca, had people given me the nickname "Becky," my life would have been entirely different. I would have been a cheerleader or a girl detective, someone relentlessly perky and wearing a plaid skirt and knee socks like Nancy Drew.

Now, here I was, trying to solve a mystery, filling my moleskin notebook with clues. Truthfully, I was like that poor bastard in Memento who tattooed meaningless clues onto his skin. I tattooed meaningless clues onto my psyche.

Hemingway felt familiar to me. He looked like someone I might know. Had known. Someone bold and brash and looking for a fight. And, dammit, I was pissed at him.

How ridiculous is that? I would come across his name in random places, and I would think, "You suck. You big jerk."

People don't want you to be angry at the dead man you knew. The human inclination is to praise the dead. Leave the hatred for the living. (Sometimes you leave the hatred for yourself.) It is deemed uncool to speak ill of the dead.

I connected Hemingway and his work to his manner of death because there was someone else who was important to me whose life I had also inextricably connected to his manner of death.

I think there is something to be said for misdirected anger. I think there are plenty of people out there who speak ill of Joe Paterno, not because they knew him, but exactly because they didn't know him. For those who knew him, who loved him and will now grieve him, it's all going to be way more complicated. 

Over time, I have found that my feelings toward Ernest Hemingway have softened. I watched a tour of his home in Cuba, which has been perfectly preserved. I listened as his granddaughter, Mariel, said that he stood up at his Royal typewriter while he wrote his novels. I like picturing a writer who cannot sit down to write. I find this idiosyncrasy endearing. 

I like how he didn't use a lot of commas, because I have a real problem figuring out where the hell commas are supposed to go. 

I pulled my copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls off the bookshelf and I opened it and looked at my grandmother's maiden name written inside it - Virginia Boyd San Francisco 1940.  It is so old that it makes my nose itch. I reread a bit of it. I collected his quotes. 

One weekend, I found these photos online of Hemingway wearing sweaters from Etsy.com and I laughed. I love them. Hemingway in a unicorn sweater? Yes, please. 

The thing is that you can hate something that someone did. You can know all too well the damage that was done. And you can be a fan, too.

There is no black and there is no white.

"I know now that there is no one thing that is true - it is all true."- Ernest Hemingway

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday's Random Thoughts

Random Product Review
According to me and Kate, this stuff tastes awful. According to Jacob, "It's not that bad."

Random Fox News Ridiculousness

This column by Dr. Kenneth Ablow a-blows. I'm not sure I've read anything quite so silly before. Dr. Ablow, Newt Gingrich's history as an asshole is not indicative of what a great president he could be. The fact that three women have wanted to marry him and that women have been willing to commit adultery with him is not impressive in the least. You know who else gets a lot of women wanting to marry them? Convicts. That's right, there are women who write letters to convicted felons and want to marry them. Three women wanting to marry Newt Gingrich speaks to nothing other than that Newt knows where to troll for women who are attracted to racist, condescending pricks.

What Newt's history as an asshole really does is speak to just what a hypocrite he is. It highlights the hypocrisy of a major representative of a party that claims to be the party of "family values" and wants to define what the word "family" means for everyone, a party that wants to use the phrase "sanctity of marriage" so often that it loses its meaning. It's not your political opinions that bother me so much, IT'S YOUR HYPOCRISY, STUPID! (OK, it's your political opinions, too.) You're suddenly saying that this doesn't matter? Really? I'm not saying it does or doesn't. What I'm saying is that if you actually BELIEVE the crap you're trying to sell the American people, then you shouldn't change your mind now just because the candidate you like is a horrifying excuse for a human being. Oh my God, never mind, why even bother?

In related news, Chuck Norris has endorsed Newt Gingrich. Are there people who truly care who Chuck Norris endorses?

If you are the sort of person who makes voting decisions based on who Chuck Norris endorses...

Random Kardashian Bull Shit

I am 100 percent certain this rumor was generated by the Kardashian family themselves. When it comes to famewhoring, they are geniuses. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite stories of today. I mean, how awesome would it be if O.J. really was her dad?! That's some nighttime-soap-opera-level drama right there.

Random OJ Simpson Sighting

I once saw O.J. Simpson in person. Charles and I had driven to a Ford dealership just outside Shreveport. We were thinking of buying an Expedition or some other stupid SUV we couldn't really afford at the time. When we pulled into a parking space, I looked up and saw a tall, handsome man talking on the phone on the pavement right in front of the spot. He looked familiar, I thought maybe we'd met before, and I automatically smiled and he smiled back, and then, BOOM, it hit me who it was. My heart started racing and I said, "Holy shit, that's O.J. Simpson."

O.J. kept talking on the phone. He walked along the pavement back toward something red and sporty, a Mustang or a Thunderbird. We went inside the dealership and everyone in the place was losing their minds. The place was buzzing with whispered conversations. Everyone was trying to stare out the plate glass windows without seeming like they were staring out the plate glass windows.

Word was that O.J. was good friends with the man who owned that dealership. This man had once owned a dealership in L.A., everyone was saying, and HE was the one who sold O.J. the white Bronco. I have no idea if this is true.

Honestly, it freaked me out. Charles, of course, was cool as could be and walked outside and introduced himself to O.J. and shook his hand, just so he could say he had, I think.

At the time this happened, I was working at The Times newspaper in Shreveport. Not once did it occur to me to approach O.J. and ask why he was in town, to pull out my little reporter's notebook and try to get some information for some lame news story about O.J. being in town for a family reunion (this story ran in the paper once a year, I swear, because the reunion happened once a year).

I don't want to call family members of crime victims. I don't want to ask the mayor if he's having an affair. I don't want to approach a guy in a parking lot just because he was accused of brutally murdering his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. Ick.

This was one of the times (not the first) that I realized I was not made for news reporting. I'm a features girl.

In Other OJ News

Not that long ago, I went on a date with a guy and somehow the topic of O.J. Simpson came up. This guy said to me that he thought O.J. was innocent. Here was my reaction:

Random Video About Iowa

I saw this video today. It is awesome. Someone should make a video like this about every state that's not New York or California. Every time someone makes an assumption about the places they've never been and the people who live in those places, I think about how that person is unknowingly revealing just how woefully ignorant they are. 

When I still worked at a very popular regional magazine, the powers-that-be started sending lots of New York folks (and one British woman) down to tell us what a Southern magazine should look like. We had to battle all their assumptions about the people and places that make up our part of the country. One day, I made up a little ditty that went like this: "We're not all racist and we do wear shooooooes." I never made a video of it, though. 

Random Pet Peeve: Someone Telling Me I Have a Lot of Pet Peeves

The other night, a male friend called to suggest something I should blog about. During the conversation, something I'd posted on Facebook came up. I said, "That is one of my pet peeves-" and he interrupted me and said, "You have a lot of pet peeves." 

Um, OK. 

Then he said, "I just don't get worked up about what shows I don't like or what celebrities are doing." 

Well, thank you for your condescension. You're so right. I talk about stupid things. 

From now on, I shall only post the most important and meaningful things to Facebook. I will post status updates about how I know that addiction runs in families and that I am deathly afraid that one of my children will become an addict. My status is that I sometimes see horrible things in my dreams and they are nothing compared to the things I have seen in real life. Update: I sometimes think that if I was dead my life insurance policy could take care of all the things I can't currently take care of and, bonus, I'd never have to get out of bed again. You making me feel like a bitch who complains about stuff adds to my very real worries that I am a bad person.

How's that? Important enough to get worked up about? Good fodder for a fucking Facebook status update? 

Or maybe I'll stick to talking about how Are You There, Chelsea? is a shitty sitcom and how I love Community, and we'll leave it at that. Yeah, that's what I thought. 

This seems like something some men do. They like to accuse women of "getting worked up" and they like to imply that whatever they are "getting worked up" about is superficial. What I'm doing is expressing an opinion. 

There are plenty of people who go on Facebook and lurk and never say a word. When they do occasionally deign to type a comment, they always begin with, "I try to avoid commenting on Facebook, but..." My wonderful friend, the genius Todd Childs, said, "What you're really saying is 'I usually just creep around, but I'm about to say something sanctimonious and douchey now. I just thought I should tell you how beneath me it is first.'"

I like to post stuff that I think is funny. I'm not sure what's so wrong about that. Maybe you don't think it's funny. That's OK. Maybe you think I have "a lot of pet peeves." Maybe I do. But if it wasn't for people like me, you Facebook lurkers wouldn't have jack shit to look at on there.

I like to make jokes and do funny bits about the things that don't really matter because I spend every minute of every day thinking about the things that do matter.

And, yes, maybe my "shit list" is too long. In fact, it just got a bit longer. 

Thanks for giving me something to blog about.

Now, please allow Mr. Grant to show you the door.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

20 Impossible Things for People Under 18

OK, so they can't vote yet. They can't run for office. They can't join the military. They can't fathom what the hell you were thinking when you permed your hair in the '80s. They can't understand the pleasure of a Michael McDonald song. They can't name all four Beatles. They think you're insane when they ask you what's for dinner and you say, in your best Peter Brady doing his worst Humphrey Bogart, "Pork chops and applesauce."

What the hell good are these kids?

During my nearly 16 years so far of living with people younger than 18, I have observed that they also are absolutely incapable of doing any of the following:

1. Brushing one's teeth without being reminded.

2. Brushing one's teeth without spraying foamy toothpaste all over the mirror.

3. Brushing one's teeth for more than 30 seconds.

4. Fully closing the peanut butter jar.

"But why does it matter?" "I don't know, kid. Bitches be crazy."
5. Fully closing the kitchen cabinets. There's just no excuse for this unless you are the kid from The Sixth Sense and dead people are trying to get your attention.

6. Fully closing the kitchen drawers.

7. Fully closing bedroom dresser drawers.

8. Fully appreciating everything their mothers do for them.

9. Tossing out the empty milk or orange juice carton instead of putting it back in the fridge.

But they'll hang the towels like this.
10. Finding things that are in plain sight without first yelling for the nearest adult with a uterus.

11. Cleaning one's bedroom without acting as if it is the most unreasonable request in the history of the world.

12. Hanging up wet towels. However, if you ask them, they will hang the towels but only after sighing very heavily.

13. Putting away the pile of clean clothes you just folded. Instead they will rummage through the pile until every last item is no longer folded and they can no longer distinguish between the dirty clothes pile and the clean clothes pile.

My mom is losing it over a hoodie. LOL. Send.
14. Dressing appropriately for winter weather. Why do you want to be cold? Why? I don't get it. Look how nice you look in this lovely pea coat and scarf. Why do you insist on wearing only a hoodie?! Fine! Go ahead! If you silly dumb asses want to freeze at the bus stop, Be. My. Guest.

15. Dropping a backpack anywhere other than right inside the front door so that everyone who arrives at or leaves the house might have the pleasure of tripping over it.

16. Emptying one's cereal bowl rather than leaving it in the sink to congeal into nasty, artificial cocoa-flavored sludge.

17. Scraping one's plate into the trash can without covering the lid of said trash can with half the contents of one's plate.

18. Resisting the urge to call one's brother an idiot.

19. Resisting the urge to tell one's sister she is ugly.

20. Resisting the urge to tell one's mother that she is lame. I am not lame! I just love a good Michael McDonald song.

Come on, kids, groove with me now. And, for the love of God, could you please close the cabinet doors?!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Crazy Talk (Drink Lattes, Not Poison)

There is power in saying aloud the crazy things we think.

Trust me on this. Over the past two and a half years, I have thought plenty of crazy thoughts and, sometimes, the only way I truly recognize how insane/nuts/irrational/unfair-to-myself these thoughts are is to say them out loud to a friend.

Thankfully, today, my friend Erin was there to listen. Honestly, I couldn't tell you a day when she hasn't been willing to listen. If I text her something slightly dark, she immediately responds: What can I do? Can we meet for coffee?

When I have fallen down the rabbit hole and I'm about to suck down a bottle of poison (mean thoughts that will make me feel small or ugly words that will make even my smallest problem seem as big as a giant), Erin will say, "Hey, want to meet for coffee?" Then, instead of being like poor Alice, tiny and wishing she hadn't cried quite so much because now she is drowning in her own sea of tears, I am saying out loud each awful thing and recognizing how illogical it is.

Earlier today I was having a serious case of "What's the point?" There are millions of blogs and millions of books already written and what is the point of me adding my voice to all that white noise?

Lately, I tell myself that maybe I'll finish the last few chapters of my book and then I'll hide it away in a drawer.

Inspirational stories about the author of The Help getting rejected by 60 agents - "And look at her now!"- don't really help. Rejection does a number on a person. After awhile, you realize you're trying to win the lottery. Except, instead of choosing random numbers, you are writing hundreds of pages of soul-baring truth.

It would be a hell of a lot easier to drive to a nearby state where the lottery is legal, grab a No. 2 pencil and fill in the bubbles on a Powerball form.

I often slip into the belief that I don't deserve good things because, once upon a time, someone I loved died in front of me and I did not save him. Whatever I should have said, I did not say.

“'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' says the White Queen to Alice.”

Frankly, this is the hardest truth of my life, that sometimes this fact will attack me again, that my memory will work backwards. I told Erin it is like I have an autoimmune disease of some kind. It's usually in remission. Then I'll get a tiny cold or an infection - in the form of doubt or an unexpected disappointment or a reminder of something that I do not have - and the disease will roar back to life. And even if I know that IT'S JUST A SMALL COLD, I will experience all the symptoms of the disease that is always within me. I will drink the poison.

“If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison' it is certain to disagree with you sooner or later.”
Lewis Carroll

It hurts to believe the worst about yourself and to believe it on a regular basis, to have once been much more muchier and to have lost your muchness.

“Who am I then? Tell me that first, and then, if I like being that person, I'll come up; if not, I'll stay down here till I'm someone else.” 
― Lewis Carroll

Here's what helps:

Today, I said these things out loud and Erin helped me shine a light on them.

It was not your fault, she said.

Keep writing, she said. 

Keep putting your voice out there, she said. 

Here is what is true in a sea of salty tears and bitter regrets:

We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.
When you get off the sofa and get dressed, when you get out of the house and drive to the coffee shop, when you sip something warm from a cup, when you laugh at your own silly joke that you've made a thousand times (Barista: "What name can I put on this for you?" Me: "Mrs. Clooney, thanks."), when you share your insecurities and doubts and worries with one friend, a friend who is listening, you feel better.

The Duchess: You're thinking about something, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk. I can't tell you just now what the moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit.

Alice: Perhaps it hasn't one. 

The Duchess: Tut, tut, child! Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Latest search term that led someone to my blog:

"Hotties doing the Tebow pose."

Once again, please allow Cary Grant to show you the door.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thoughts on Tebowing (or Why Jesus Thinks You're a Douchebag)

When my clock radio alarm went off this morning, the DJs were discussing yetsterday's 11 am Eastern edition of ESPN's Sportscenter which was dedicated to Tim Tebow. During the show, the word "Tebow" was mentioned 160 times.

In 48 minutes.

The Web site Deadspin figured out this is one "Tebow" mention every 18 seconds. Go here to watch a clip. Warning: It's the most obnoxious thing you'll ever hear.

Then the DJs played a clip.

"Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tim Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebowing..."

You get the drift.

Does it go without saying that this was an extremely annoying way to wake up at 5:30 am?

I hit the snooze button and immediately started plotting the murder of Tim Tebow.

Just kidding. I'm sure the man is perfectly nice. I don't want him to die. But I do want one thing to die:


This is in the top ten list of things pissing me off lately.


Because it's so hypocritical.

To take the act of praying and name it for a man seems to me to speak against all the things you "Tebowing" idiots claim to believe.

I'm not saying I live by the bible. If I did, I'd have been stoned to death more than 20 years ago.

"But if ... evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones..." (Deuteronomy 22:20, 21)

My son would not be allowed in church.

"One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the congregation of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 23:2)

And I'm not easily offended by anything, but, for some reason, "Tebowing" offends me greatly. Perhaps it's the hypocrisy on full display.

When you have a friend take a photo of you "Tebowing", when you pose and then say, "Did you get it? Does it look good?", when you rush to post it online, do you even recognize what you are doing? You are worshipping the actions of a man. In all that posing and boasting about your faith and documenting your love for a football player, you have left absolutely no room for this guy named Jesus who you claim to worship.

All I hear is you glorifying a quarterback. All I see is you posing for the camera so you can show off.

Celebratory prayer? No.

Celebrating yourself? Yep.

Celebrating a football player? Yep. 

Matthew 6:1 "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."

Matthew 6:5 "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on the street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will get."

In other words, your reward is here on earth and that reward is a playoff win by the Broncos. Wow, your God sure is a good God to give you that win. That sure makes me want to go to church. 

It reminds me of one of Shakespeare's sonnets in which he claims to make the subject of the poem immortal through this "living record of your memory." Marble will not outlast his words of praise for his love who will "live in this."

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death, and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.

Did you hear one word about his lover? One descriptive word that would bring her alive in your mind?  Has Shakespeare done anything other than boast about the power of his own words?

While you are busy "Tebowing" and pretending that you are praising Jesus, your Lord and Savior, you are sending a message about what you really love, too. The message is coming through loud and clear. 

Note: The word "Tebow" was mentioned 16 times in this blog post.