Friday, October 29, 2010

Why I'm Pissed at Project Runway

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this if you don't know the outcome of last night's show.
(Also maybe don't read this if you don't watch Project Runway, because you'll be confused, and probably bored.)

I'm mad, guys.

I'm mad that Mondo didn't win.

Or maybe I'm sad. Maybe this is anger covering up for sadness.

No, fuck that, I'm pissed.

I'm upset, obviously, because he was my favorite. I felt like he was more talented than Gretchen and that his final collection was better. I liked him more as a person. I may or may not want to keep him in my pocket like a little Jiminy Cricket and have him help me pick out eyeliner and learn to tap dance. For all of these reasons I wanted Mondo to win. But I'm not pissed just because he lost. I will grant that Gretchen's collection did not suck so much that there was no room for argument, and that she's probably not a horrible human being, and I realize that some people have opinions that differ from mine (in this case, clearly, Michael and Nina.) No, I'm pissed because I feel manipulated.

Hear me out.

I have watched a lot of reality television in my day. Before I drop my ridiculous knowledge on you, it must be said that there are many different kinds of reality shows, all of which have their own unspoken rules in determining the winner. Let's dispense quickly with the following:

SHOWS WON BASED ON MEASURABLE FACTORS, i.e. The Biggest Loser (pounds lost), The Amazing Race (er... a literal race), Beauty and the Geek (correct answers to inane questions), Wipe Out or I Survived a Japanese Game Show (ability to leap over obstacles without hilariously face-planting...or willingness to wear giant diaper while pedaling a child's bicycle through a sand pit), American Idol (based on votes, although you could argue that the voting process is corrupt), So You Think You Can Dance (ditto) and their ilk. These shows choose winners based on cold, hard math (or purport to, anyway). If you are an asshat on Idol or SYTYCD, people might not vote for you, so personality does count, but I'm MUCH more interested in shows where the producers have a heavy hand.

Also not counted are DATING SHOWS i.e. The Bachelor/ette, Rock of Love, Tila Tequila and all of the other, even shittier, iterations. These shows pick winners based on the taste and opinion of the person looking for love coupled with (I'm certain) input from producers. But for the purposes of this rant, I'm focusing on my experience watching week-by-week elimination-based shows that judge an unmeasurable talent and do not count on public voting.

Like, for instance, Project Runway.

Having watched ProjRun since the very first episode, I feel like I know the formula. We all do. That's why it's so hard to stay interested after eight seasons--it starts to feel like you've seen everything before.

Mondo's story arc this season was the stuff that great underdog movies are made of. He started off the weird outcast, he gained his footing, he started to prove himself, week after week, and then, as if we weren't already rooting for him enough, he revealed his very personal struggle with hiding his HIV-positive status from his family. WE HAD EVERY REASON TO WANT HIM TO WIN.

Then, we had Gretchen. Gretchen started off strong, winning the first two challenges, but even from episode 2, we started to get the message that she was kind of a bitch--a message, that, in my opinion, the editors made even louder than it needed to be. Every show needs a villain, and Gretchen, with her oblivious narcissism and superiority complex, fit the bill perfectly. As the weeks went by, she got more and more insufferable. We wanted her to fail. She almost did, landing twice in the bottom two, but made it to Fashion Week anyway.

To lose to Mondo.

I mean, that's how the story was supposed to end.

 Oh, Mondo, we'll always have Santa Cruz... and your Janelle Monae hair.

And before you accuse me of just being biased, let me ask you this: Have you seen the movie Hoosiers? OK, so first imagine that Hoosiers gets stretched out to 21 hours (say, about the length of 13 hour-and-a-half episodes plus a two-hour finale). The tiny, underdog Hoosiers still, against all odds, make the state championship, but in the final minutes of the game they lose to the tall, athletic team from South Bend. And the end credits roll.

You see what I'm saying? Storytelling matters. Reality television is still a story, crafted by producers and editors. This season, the story had a hero and a villain. We might have liked Mondo and disliked Gretchen without the guiding hand of editing, but that certainly helped us along. I'm sure that the producers could have cast Gretchen in a more favorable light, and I'm surprised that they didn't, considering that she won. A television franchise needs its audience to be satisfied with the show in order to keep coming back. I trusted Project Runway, and it let me down.

Unlike a show with recurring characters and continuous plot lines that can count on your interest to see what happens next (i.e. you might have hated the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, but you're coming back to see how the characters cope with the trauma of having some dude come in and kill half the staff--and also whether maybe they think about installing a metal detector, because Seattle Grace is dangerous, yo), a show like ProjRun needs the audience to trust its judgment from season to season. Mondo's not coming back next year, so in order to keep watching we need to trust that whoever is most deserving of next season's cast will win. And I don't. I don't trust ProjRun anymore. I had my doubts back when Jeffrey Sebelia won at the end of Season 3, but he was also a recovering drug addict AND had an adorable son whose name he had tattooed on his neck, so I let it slide. Then "Meana" Irina Shabayeva took it home in Season 6, but that season was the first after the network change, so I told myself it was just part of a rocky transition. But now, I'm done. Project Runway, we're over*.

*Except for my final recap. Shit.

Oh, and it's not me--it's you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'M FAMOUS!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to Sister Zoe for the screen grab.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Should Morons Get a Voice (Even in a Shitty C-List Magazine?)

Much has been written about on the vast Internet over the last 48 hours about a Marie Claire blog post, “Should Fatties Get a Room? (Even on TV?),”* in which an admitted former anorexic expresses her disgust at watching obese people kiss each other, among other startlingly hateful, obtuse, and uninformed statements (sample: “I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over.”)

She ends the piece (which, to add insult to injury, isn’t even well-written—it’s just a stream of rambling Carrie Bradshaw-lite drivel) by asking, What do you guys think? Fat people making out on TV — are you cool with it? Do you think I'm being an insensitive jerk?

I realize I’m a day or two late, but I’d like to add my voice to the millions by saying: Yes, asshole, on both counts.

*I’m not linking to it, because it’s gotten enough traffic without my help.

But this is much bigger than one woman’s misguided judgment and self-hating prejudices.

Women’s magazines have been telling us to hate ourselves for years—they’ve just never been this blatant about it. Usually the message gets disseminated through more benign fare, like vapid guidelines to getting “Your Best Bikini Body Ever!” or lists of “Foods That Are Secretly Ruining Your Diet.” We also get the message through endless photo spreads featuring stick-thin models and flat-stomached celebrities (who, if we’re lucky, aren’t airbrushed beyond recognition and haven’t had any ribs digitally removed).

Ultimately I can forgive the writer, Maura Kelly. Not because she’s troubled—which she clearly is, having at one point starved herself down 70 pounds, which suggests to me that her fat hatred comes from a very troubling and personal place—but because she is not the reason this message of ignorance and hate got such a wide audience. Yes, she wrote it, and yes, it’s horrible, but for a piece to get published on the site of a national magazine, it must at the very least be vetted by an editor.

So, really, I blame Marie Claire.

I blame them for allowing the piece to be published and for giving Kelly a national platform.

I blame them for neglecting to respond to the situation—which, surely, they must have been made aware of—for a full 24 hours.

I blame them for sacrificing their brand’s dignity by ignoring the overwhelming outrage of its readers in exchange for site traffic.

I blame them for not taking the post down and replacing it with an apology, or at the very least prefacing it with one.

I blame them for—finally—responding by saying, obliquely, that Maura Kelly “is a very provocative blogger,” and that the author was “excited and moved by the responses.” (First of all, Marie Claire, that is not an apology. An apology would have included the word “sorry.” An apology would not have excused her disgusting prose by calling it “provocative.” In other poor word choices, I’m confused as to why Ms. Kelly was “excited” by the response to her piece. The comments pilloried her—is she excited about being called a “horrible human being” and “fucking bitch”? Thousands of people said they would cancel their subscriptions —is she excited about saving some trees?)

And, lastly, I blame them for being a shitty excuse for a magazine even before this idiot came along.

Obviously I’ll never buy a copy of MC or visit the site again. But while this article is the symptom, it’s not, in and of itself, the disease. That’s a much, much longer post, and a much, much larger issue. All I can do is make the choice not to read any publication, whether in print or online, that tells me—explicitly or implicitly—that I’m not good enough.

The truth is, they’re not good enough. They’re not worth our while. They’re what’s disgusting about society, not a couple of tummy rolls on a television actress.

So, what do you guys think? Magazines telling us to hate ourselves — are you cool with it? Or do you think I’m being an insensitive jerk?

Defending My Ditz

I stayed up very late finishing my penultimate Project Runway recap, so please forgive today's repost from the archives (June of 2008, to be exact):

Last night, exhausted from a whirlwind two-day business trip, I put on my robe and curled up with Jeff to watch Season 3 of Weeds. It was awesome until I realized that I smelled like Canola oil. And humbling when I remembered why.

I am a smart girl. I think that there is general consensus on this. But I do and say a lot of stupid things, and perhaps the stupidest was the Canola oil incident of 2005. I had just moved into my first solo apartment in Park Slope and, true to form and credit history, had purchased a lot of things to celebrate the occasion. From the Container Store I bought two large plastic storage bins to hold my “off-season wardrobe,” otherwise known as “ratty sweaters and shoes I never wear but refuse to throw away.” (I even have a softball mitt that I have hauled with me to every place I have ever lived, as if one day I will be gripped by an irresistible urge to play the sport that haunted me throughout elementary school—and, in which case, I will need to procure a softball—but I digress. The plastic bins are the focus here.)

They arrived stacked together, tightly. I did my best to pull them apart, but to no avail – they were wedged together but good. Let me preface this by saying that I was never good at science and never took physics. Not that this absolves me of idiocy, but still—I just want to put it out there. So I did what I thought needed to be done with stuck-together things: I greased ‘em. I poured an entire bottle of Canola oil in between the bins, essentially coating the outside of one and filling the other. I was kneeling on the kitchen floor, elbow-deep in oil, when common sense kicked in. Somehow I remembered something about water pressure. I hauled the greasy bins into the tub and turned on the tap, and within seconds they had popped free. At which point I was faced with the task of cleaning them.

I gave up after about an hour. The bins were relatively dry but still had a faint sheen of lube on them, as if I had applied a coat of butter in order to bake a giant pound cake. I packed my clothes into them anyway, and stored them in a closet. My robe was one of the items I packed away, and now, still, after many washings, it always smells faintly of Crisco.

The incident always reminds me of that scene in Defending Your Life (awesome movie; see it) when Albert Brooks is forced to watch a montage of his worst decisions. I like to think I’m pretty smart, but then again … the evidence is murky.

SMART: Member of Phi Beta Kappa
BUT THEN AGAIN: Once mixed Moutain Dew, Cherry Kool-Aid, and vodka

SMART: High SAT score
BUT THEN AGAIN: Has confused Elia Kazan (distinguished director) with Elian Gonzales (seven year-old Cuban refugee)

Strong writing skills
BUT THEN AGAIN: Once snorted Pixie Sticks just to see what would happen

SMART: Good vocabulary
BUT THEN AGAIN: Still has to hold up hands to tell right from left

Is it possible to be both smart and stupid at the same time? Is that why I so love both The New York Times and Star Magazine? Are the forces of genius and dunce at war in my brain, and will one win out as time goes by? I hope not. I know, Canola-covered hands down, which one would emerge victorious.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Give Me Bluetooth or Give Me Death

Every few years I read something that convinces me I am about to die.

Like how the front page of the New York Times' Science section is always nonchalantly announcing that a meteor is probably going to collide with earth in ten years—it’s not even the lead story, it’s a helpless little sigh below the fold that basically says, Hey Justin Bieber, I hope you don’t mind if your testicles never distend because GUESS WHAT? They’re never going to. Deep Impact was a documentary, son!

Or how CNN reminds me daily that I will probably get shot any second, if not by a gang member or Osama bin Laden then probably by some pissed-off girl with chronic hiccups.

Or how women’s magazines are constantly finding some new food that causes cancer, usually something delicious like Twinkies or hot dogs, and devote entire articles to making me aware that every second I am not washing down a tray of kale chips with fermented yeast tea I am essentially injecting moonshine directly into my ovaries.

Food I can deal with, though -- I mean, it’s easy enough to avoid Cheez Whiz (unless, obviously, there is a special on happy hour nachos). But what if what’s giving you cancer is something you have to use every single day? Like deodorant... or your phone?

I was reading Women's Health yesterday, flipping past recipes I'll never use (Greek yogurt is many things--hell, it's thick enough that you could probably use it to spackle your living room--but it is not a substitute for oil in brownies) when I happened upon a frightening article informing me that by using my cell phone as a bedside alarm clock I am microwaving both Jeff's and my brains as we sleep. "ALWAYS KEEP YOUR CELL PHONE AT LEAST SIX INCHES FROM YOUR BODY!!!" the author warned as I felt the vibrations signaling a new text message course through my hip bone. I know there's some truth to these warnings, but I don't know how frightened to be. Are smartphones the cigarettes of the 21st century? Will we someday laugh and tell our kids, "Oh, honey, I was texting constantly when I was pregnant with you, and you turned out just fine."

Or will this scare pass like the meteor that never quite manages to make an honest woman out of the Science Times?

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Sassy Curmudgeon's Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1: I Felt Up Jeff Bridges

Hey everyone, it's almost the most wonderful time of the year (a.k.a Christmas, one special morning for Christians and/or pagans--or Hannukah, eight special/historically frightening nights for Jews--or Kwanzaa, seven special days for Africans, as I sang about in my racist glee club). Last year I did a gift guide of things I made fun of, but this year I'm only posting things I secretly want.

Like a mini felt version of Jeff Bridges from The Big Lebowski:

This felt Dude abides... on the finger of your choice!

I'm pretty sure his left hand is supposed to be a bowling ball, but I will also accept: Black Power fist.

Now I all I need is a pipe cleaner Walter Sobchak...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Curmudgeon of the Week: Odessa

I know I've been letting Curmudgeon of the Week slide a bit since I've been on vacation. But I'm only about three weeks behind reading on emails, so if I haven't replied to you I promise I will before the Mayan calendar ends and the Earth explodes.

In the meantime, meet Odessa. She blogs at Book Eater and was kind enough to send me a fully-formed COTW list so that I didn't have to repeat the same old questionnaire (hint: anything you can do to allow me to be as lazy as possible will expedite your COTW post. You can even make up your own questions. Yes, I am that lazy!)

Here is Odessa. Her photo may be tiny but her misanthropy is massive.

I hid behind Shakespeare (how typical of an English major).

There are many things that annoy me. Life's not easy when you're and English major in a world of text speak. However, one thing that would not annoy me is being curmudgeon of the week.

I participate in one of the nerdiest competitions on earth -- Forensic Speech -- and as a way of finding a topic to present in a humorous and persuasive way our coach asked me to create a list over the course of 24 hours of things that annoy me. Here it is:

Cell phones
People that don't use their turn signals [Ed note: OMG, me too!]
Typographical errors
Not having time between classes to pee
Not having time to do laundry
Poor grammar
Text speak outside of text messages
Unrequited love (or listening to people talk about it)
Suze Orman
Stupid questions
People who hate books
Matching mono-chromatic mother-daughter outfits
Artificial sweeteners
My brother
Bad listeners
3-D movies
Bra straps
Reality shows [Ed note: I will allow on the condition that this does not include The Greatest Show of Our Time, America's Next Top Model]

This list encompasses but one day of annoyance.
I thank you for your consideration.

Want to be a Curmudgeon of the Week? As Dylan McKay's answering machine message said, you know the drill.

Friday, October 22, 2010

TGI...WTF? Le Chapeau de Jimmy

File this under another product that shouldn't exist.

Listen, France. You have Champagne, okay? You get to say that no sparkling white is Champagne unless it comes from your Champagne region. It's pretentious but it's okay because I prefer Prosecco. Anyway, you may have a monopoly on Dom Perignon but you do not get to claim all Trojans just because you have a town named "Condom." You don't see Dildo, Newfoundland peddling strap-ons, now, do you?


No. Because the Dildoans are classy.

Also, "the original condom" suggests age, which may make wine better but probably shouldn't be used in reference to prophylactics. No girl wants to hear, "Baby, this one dates back to 1310. Get ready, 'cause I'm about to get medieval on your ass, pun intended." ("Original condom" is also false advertising unless your product is made from lamb intestines or animal horn, just FYI. Our ancestors were pretty desperate, and gross.)

And for two bucks a pop (ew, sorry), I think I'll stick to embarrassing myself at the Duane Reade.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Texts From My Sister: Zoe at The Bat

Hello from my sickbed, where I will likely perish, seeing as I substitute candy corn for chicken soup at every opportunity. (What? It's in the shape of a vegetable. Plus, our can opener is broken and I'm not strong enough for the MacGyver-like operation required to access my Campbell's.)

Anyway, while I am busy ingesting high fructose corn syrup and coughing up my internal organs, please enjoy a new installment from my pithy, tech-savvy sibling:
So I have to write this paper on a fungal disease that grows on bats. Why does every article include a picture? Is it really necessary? No one wants to see that shit.
Also I have to write about how sad this is. Bats are gross, I am having a hard time pretending I am upset by this. 
Word, bats are evil. Plus, the last time I posted about bats on this blog I was also home sick. Coincidence?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Scene From A Marriage: If I Should Die Before I Wake

Jeff woke me up in the middle of the night on Saturday. I was sick, so had fallen asleep spooning my laptop, re-watching episodes of My So-Called Life. (Of course, the only thing that would have been different had I not been sick would have been a wine glass on the nightstand and the purple sheen on my un-brushed teeth, but I didn't even want wine which is how you know I was basically dying. Anyway.)

Jeff: Hey. It smells like burning plastic.
Me: Unnnnnnnhhhhhhhhhh.
Jeff: Do you smell that?
Me: Unnnnnnnnnnhhhhhhhhhh?

As he pried me from my drooly, pixelated Catalano embrace, I realized I did smell something. Something that reminded me of the time I set my hair on fire in my office bathroom.

Jeff: Can you just check and see if anything is touching the radiator?

I was already stopped and dropped, so I rolled over to peer behind the cobwebs linking our headboard to the radiator. A large plastic bag full of my secret shame dry cleaning was wedged behind the chair that I use to hold my wadded-up laundry, but as far as I could tell it was not aflame.

Me: Are you sure it's coming from our apartment?
Jeff: I don't know, but it's pretty strong.
Jeff: It's not gas. Gas has no smell.
Me: [High-pitched shriek]
Jeff: I'm going to go outside and see if it's coming from the street. Where are our sweatpants?

It is worth noting that at this point Jeff was wearing only the David boxer shorts I brought him back from Florence:

They've totally already paid for themselves.

A few minutes later...

Jeff: I could smell it outside and there were sirens, so it must be a fire somewhere else.
Me: Now I'm freaked out, though. What if we die in our sleep?
Jeff: Oh, baby. Come here.

I crawled into his arms, nestling my head on his shoulder.

Jeff: The only way you'll die in your sleep is if I kill you.

P.S. It's our third anniversary today. Magic = still there.

Monday, October 18, 2010

When (I Was) (Often Drunk) in Rome (and Florence)

Oh, the pressure of writing a vacation roundup post. It’s like telling a friend about the dream you had last night, or sharing passages from your diary: fun for you, boring for everyone else. Since I’m already fucked, I’ll start with a dream I had my first night in Rome, as told through my dairy (which took the form of a letter to Jeff):
Dear Jeff,
Last night I was awakened twice, first by boisterous, drunken group singing and second by a flock of seagulls (the birds, not the synth-heavy, hairspray-happy 80s band). The seagulls here sound like small children screaming through throats full of mucus, so that was fun. But when I slept, I dreamt of making out with circa-1991 Jason Priestley*. So it evened out.
*Don’t worry, I’m sure he was just you in disguise.
Love, Una
I arrived in Rome on Thursday morning after a long flight, and managed to buy a ticket and get myself to the Stazione Trastevere to meet Momma C. She brought me back to her apartment, on a cute little street in the heart of Trastevere (literally, “across the river”), which is not just a clever name as it’s across the river from the old city of Rome where all the ruins are. We ate gnocchi for lunch since, apparently, all Romans eat gnocchi on Thursdays. We took the "when in Rome" thing super seriously, which meant we also ordered a half-liter of red wine (actually, mom says that Romans don't drink that much, but shit, we were on vacation).

Mom's street in Rome -- maximum quaintness!

I was so busy before I left that I barely thought about the fact that I would be in a foreign country among people who speak a different language. As a result, my Mom talked to everyone - vendors, shopkeepers, people on the street - and I generally stood there, nodding dumbly, her mute, slightly stricken-looking companion, like Beaker from Sesame Street. People might have thought I was simple, but at least I was polite - I said hello, thank you, and, occasionally, “yes.” Mom even gave me a piece of paper with her name, address, and phone number on it to keep in my wallet if I got lost, but at least she didn’t make me wear it pinned to my chest.

Jeff lent me his SLR for the trip, which I used to take portraits of myself looking like a paparazzo.

Normal days went like so: We'd get up, drink rich, delicious espresso brewed in a little double-boiler pot on the stove, shower (which I'll get to in a moment, as it deserves special mention), and head to the Piazza del Campidoglio's open-air market to pick up fruits, vegetables, and flowers if we were feeling whimsical. Then we'd stop at the forno (literally, "the oven," a generic term for any shop selling oven-baked bread, pizza, and the like) and get squares of pizza wrapped in oily wax paper, which we'd eat as a late breakfast. We'd spend the afternoon walking around, seeing sights and stopping occasionally for cappuccino or wine, and then head home, stopping to pick up fresh pasta and prosciutto, which we'd eat (with more wine) up on the terrace. It was a rough life.

P.S. Behold the aforementioned “shower”:

No, MTV, this is what happens when things stop being polite and start getting real.

That there is a shower head over a sink and toilet in a room the size of an airplane bathroom (with a wooden - and not waterproof - door). It requires both flexibility and creativity, and it’s hard to un-learn behaviors like “don’t spray water all over the toilet like you're inside a one-woman naked car wash.”

Artsy photo interlude!

On Saturday we took a Eurostar to Florence. Momma C. lived in Florence for a year in 1972 while on a Fulbright scholarship for painting, so it's a special place for her. We stayed in the Palazzo Guadagni Hotel in the Piazza Santo Spirito, which dates back to 1505! Our room had 20-foot ceilings and a grand fireplace. The street door downstairs was huge and opens automatically but verrrry slowly. (Not a place to duck inside if you are being chased.)

The church in the Piazza Santo Spirito, where we stayed in Florence. It also kind of looks like Teresa's house from Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Ok, so are you ready to have your minds blown? Krista, one of the employees at the Palazzo Guadagni, READS THIS BLOG. On our first night, she was at the front desk, and she was all, "Can I ask where you're from?" And I was jet-lagged and kind of drunk, and all but slurred "New York," and she goes, "Because I read your blog, and I thought you were going to Rome." I have never been recognized by a reader before, and the fact that this happened in Italy made it all the more surreal. Seriously, what are the odds? Krista is an American, from California, but snagged herself a Florentine husband and so now lives there full time. She was lovely, and I'm not just saying that because she made me feel, if only for a moment, like a celebrity. Girl, I'm sorry you got peed on by a homeless person (see above note about that slow-moving door).

In Florence, we went to museums (saw the David, Boticelli's Venus, and lots of baby Jesuses... or Jesi*), took the bus up to Fiesole, the hillside town where Momma C. lived in '72, and ate dinner at Club Paradiso (sadly, not the Club Paradise run by Peter O'Toole), a restaurant owned by mom's old friend Andrea and his wife Manuela. Mom says she met Andrea when he showed up at her door in Fiesole along with another Italian, Roberto, and an American woman also named Ellen. She claims that they showed up for no reason, but that she let them in anyway. This, apparently, is how my mom made friends in the 1970s. She also, I learned, hitchhiked across France in 1966 with two Norwegians and yet another Ellen. I need to get my mom into StoryCorps with a bottle of wine.

*You can only see so many Madonna and Child paintings before you have to start giving them nicknames to differentiate. At the Uffizi Gallery alone I saw Baby Jesus With a Spray Tan, Baby Jesus With Down Syndrome, and a Mary who looked like Mr. Bean wrapped in a Slanket. 

Hey, did you know that in addition to his slingshot skills, David owns and operates a leather factory?

Little-known fact: He also celebrated his victory over Goliath with some hits of amyl nitrite.

Or that the famous Hotel California that the Eagles made such a big deal about is actually in Italy?

The paper sign calls into question the four-star rating.

On Sunday, in between museums, mom and I made sure to stop at the statue of the boar in the Mercato Nuovo. People rub the boar's snout for luck, and I wanted to recreate a photo of myself (doing just that) from 1982. 

God, I've gained so much weight.

The boar remained, as ever, unmoved by my pilgrimage.

Then, on Monday, before we left Florence, I climbed up to the top of the Duomo... which involved inching sardine-like in a pack of tourists through comically small stone passageways, including a final ascent that recalled The Princess Bride's Cliffs of Insanity:

Momma C. and I then made our way back to Rome, where we spent the final days of my stay eating incredible amounts of cheese and bread and watching the Chilean miners get rescued on BBC World News.

It was pretty great.

I was sad to leave, but I missed Jeff somethin' terrible, so there was a bright spot as I boarded my 9 1/2 hour flight back to JFK. En route, unable to sleep, I watched four full-length movies. Delta's selection was limited, but luckily being on an airplane gives me entertainment beer goggles, so I was able to sit back, relax, and watch Death At A Funeral, Grownups, Just Wright, and Valentine's Day without shame*.

*Okay, actually, I am ashamed about Valentine's Day. But it was either that or The Bounty Hunter, and I just couldn't bring myself to look directly at Jennifer Aniston's melty plastic surgery nose for that long.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Guest Post: Hovercraft

I met Kari of My Inflammatory Writ when we were both drafted to write short plays for a company called Effable Arts. Kari is an actual playwright. I am not. But we bonded because we were the old married ladies in a group of nubile, sexually adventurous twentysomethings. (Okay, so technically Kari is still in her twenties, but she's married and admits to spending Saturday nights curled up with Daria and a bottle of wine, so we'll forgive her).

Another thing Kari and I bonded over? Not peeing on toilet seats. You'd think this was a no-brainer, but you'd be wrong. Take it away, Kari:

Dear Ladies of New York City-

Hear me out.

So, normally I have no issues with you gals. Sure, some of you could stand to eat a burger and some of you could stop dressing like old grannies to be cute and ironic (because by the time you're about 35, you just start looking like a granny, which is no longer cute or ironic), but you know... I get it. We're all just trying to be cute. We're all just trying to get by on the daily.

You know what's not cute? Pissing all over the toilet seat.

I know, I know. Public toilets are gross. You don't want to sit on them. I get it. I personally am a very big fan of the tissue paper sanitary covers. They're awesome. Everywhere should have them. It gives you that extra sense of security that there is a semi-permeable membrane between your ass and surface that many a lady (or gent!) has placed their ass on. I completely understand. I get the idea of hovering. I do. But you know what? You guys aren't any good at it. I cannot tell you how many times I have entered a stall to do my business and found a veritable Nile of piss all over the damn place. It's really selfish, truth be told. What's the point of hovering when the next gal to go in and relieve herself is confronted with a situation that forces her to hover in a situation where perhaps she would have preferred not to hover (including but not limited to: pleather pants, tights, or emergency number two. Emergency number two happens sometimes in public bathrooms, which is humiliating enough without having to sit in a pile of urine while doing it. Honestly)? There are also some of us who acknowledge that they are not good at hovering and, if inebriated, have a VERY difficult time in doing so. I never claimed to be agile. I fall easily and have the core strength of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Hovering ain't gonna happen for me, okay? Any time I have tried to hover, it has ended badly for everyone involved.

I went to see Toy Story 3 over the summer after having two beers. Because I have a pea sized bladder, two beers means that I really needed to pee, and I could not find one toilet seat that had not been peed on. Worse? EVERY STALL HAD THE PAPER TOILET SEAT COVERS! Would it kill you to use them, ladies? Honestly? Is there some sort of boycott of sanitary toilet seat covers I am unaware of? Does BP own them, or something?

Here's the deal - I personally have nothing against hovering. You feel comfortable hovering while you pee? Fine. I do think it's a bit silly, though. You're more likely to get a disease from that guy you're thinking of going home with or that subway bench you're sitting on while waiting for the train (did you know that bedbugs live in those benches?)...but I digress. Either way, it would not kill you to take a hefty wad of toilet paper and wipe down the seat so that other people at least have the illusion that they are not sitting directly in someone else's pee. It's about appearances. No one wants to sit on a wet toilet seat. It's fucking gross, and frankly, I'm getting a little tired of it.

I will repeat a common phrase as closing. It's an oldie, but it's tried and true -

If you should sprinkle when you tinkle, please be neat and wipe the seat.

Commit that to memory. You can even remember that one when you're drunk.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Guest Post: Me : STD Testing :: Weezy : Music

I met Meghan of Blackberries to Apples when she was hired as an editorial intern at my former job. Relatively fresh out of Alabama, Meghan looked like your standard, entry-level sweet young thang, all apple-cheeked and eager to please. Little did I know, there was so much more to this Southern girl than good manners, great style, and a taste for gin and juice.

For instance she's obsessed with Lil Wayne*, aka Weezy. And also she's not afraid to talk about her vagina.

In related news, this guest post is for adult eyes only. Enjoy!

*For those not in the know, think L'il Abner but short and black and currently incarcerated.



I’ve been tested for STDs three times in my life. Two of those times were in 2008, as precautionary measures at the beginning of new relationships. The third time was this week, after my gaynocologist* did a routine exam and found a “sore inside the vagina.” Now, on a list of things I do not want in my vagina, a “sore” is really near the top – so when my doc delivered the news from behind the purple sheet separating me from the stirrups, I freaked out.

*I’m 93% sure my OB/GYN is gay, based entirely on eyewear, shoe and career choices.

After I was moderately clothed again, he told me the cause could be a number of STDs and that he wanted to test me for everything to make sure. It might also be the result of “trauma.”

He crossed his legs and raised his eyebrow at me. “Could you have injured yourself in some way?” I paused for a long time, cocking my head to the side and running down a list of all the things I had recently inserted into my vagina. There was a somewhat relevant incident recently – some pain when there definitely shouldn’t have been any – but I decided to withhold that information for two reasons: 1. It was embarrassing and 2. I doubted seriously that said incident could have caused any permanent damage.

I clasped my hands together and said, “Um, nothing comes to mind?”

He then explained that they would draw blood and test for all the biggies: HIV, Herpes, Syphillis. He said he wasn’t worried since I hadn’t had unprotected sex, but he just wanted to make sure. I smiled meekly. I was terrified. He told me to come back in a week for my results. New York City: the only place where you can get Chinese food, strippers, and any number of illegal substances instantly, but have to wait a week to find out if you’re terminally ill.

The days passed. I Googled “sore inside the vagina” more times than I’d like to confess. I did some research on HIV support groups. I painted a doomsday scenario in my mind, beginning to end. Then something crucial happened.

On Tuesday, the day I was scheduled to go get my results, Lil’ Wayne (AKA Weezy) released his album I Am Not A Human Being. The first song title: “Gonerrhea.” His misspelling, not mine.

Being a hardcore Weezy fan (I may or may not have sent a letter to him in prison within the past month), I saw this as a bit more than coincidence. This was fortuitous. Weezy is probably the only popular artist alive who can release an album about being a non-human that includes a song named after an STD in which he references the baldness of Solange Knowles, India Arie and Britney Spears – all, it should be emphasized, from Rikers Island. The album was number one on iTunes within 12 hours of its release. Weezy will be a free man on November 5, the same day his next album, the fourth in the Carter “trilogy,” is scheduled to come out. I would argue that, at the very least, no one else has quite that much hustle.

All these things run through my mind on Tuesday as I listen to “Gonerrhea” on repeat and ponder my STD test results. The song isn’t actually about getting an STD. It’s about all the people Wayne hates, the people who hate him, and his accusation that they probably have gonorrhea. Or diarrhea. Or some horrific combination of the two.

At its base, the song is a childish way to insult someone – on par with the classic “I am rubber you are glue” retort – and yet, I’m inclined to believe that the song is actually a brilliant commentary on what people never want to talk about: the consequences of our sexual choices.

Gonorrhea is not the most horrific disease one can get from sexual relations. It’s a bacterial infection, easily treated with antibiotics, with no long-term effects. But it has, like most STDs, a horrible stigma attached that outweighs the severity of the infection. In popular rap culture especially, which arguably encourages women to be as sexual as possible for the benefit of men, a stamp of gonorrhea is essentially a death sentence. It makes a person untouchable, unwanted, disgusting. And even though it’s implied in the song that Weezy is talking about other men, he treats them the same way he would a woman diagnosed with the infection: “Yeah, I call it how I see ya/I wish I never met ya, I wouldn’t wanna be ya/P***y ass n***a, I don’t want your gonorrhea.”
He speaks against his haters as if they were women scarred by an STD – but in the same song he describes, in detail, a woman performing unprotected oral sex on him in a club. He wants to have his cake and eat it too, painting a grim picture for anyone in his life who doesn’t fit a certain prototype – you have to like him, you have to come up to his standards, and you have to be disease-free. This method will ultimately leave him isolated, as if he were the one with the STD, further driving home his point that he doesn’t feel like he belongs. He doesn’t feel like a “human being” – he feels other, alien, like no one can relate to him – not unlike how people must feel when they get a less than perfect result on an STD test.

Sitting in the exam room waiting for my doctor to come in and give me my results, I hear his voice in the hallway.

“Whatever you do, don’t scratch it. I know it itches, but don’t scratch.”

A female patient responds. “OK, doc. But it’s so hard!”

“I know, I know. Do what you gotta do. Have a beer. Get drunk. Just don’t scratch.”

I can’t help but laugh, even though I’m scared shitless. Did he really just encourage his patient to get drunk? He comes in and tells me all my tests are negative, which is good because otherwise this would have been a completely different sort of blog post. He looks at my sore and tells me it’s getting better, that it was probably some sort of trauma that caused it. He sighs and tells me he needs a cup of coffee, then asks me if I have any questions.

Just one: know any single dudes? Cuz this lady is STD-free, single and ready to mingle. My want ad has only three words: must love Weezy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Back in the U.S.A.


The clapping worked!

I didn't even get on a plane, you guys, seriously, I just heard these faint golf claps and I was transported back to New York on my Samsonite suitcase, like Mary Poppins but ever so slightly less graceful (and not as efficient a packer).

I have much to share, but since Jeff fell horribly ill without me here to take care of him he neglected to post a few of the guest posts I had scheduled. I feel it's only fair to give them the spotlight before I grab the mic back to resume the never-ending Napoleon Dynamite dance solo that is this blog. Normal posting will resume in a few days.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hubby Curmudgeon: Clap if you believe in Unas

Hi, all.  Jeff here.  I know that you have all been missing my little spaz with the tinkerbell tattoo.  I miss her too.  This is the longest Una and I have been apart for over five years, and so Una made me a series of videos to keep me company.  (Awww).  She never meant for me to share these, but then again, she shares everything else, so why not?

There's my little angel/Liz Lemon/Cathy.  I believe in Unas.  And if we all clap loud enough, maybe she'll jet back from Europe.  Are you clapping?  Or just pitying me?


Curmudgeon of the Week: Cake Betch

Would I pass up the opportunity to crown someone who calls herself "Cake Betch" as COTW?

Betch, please.


Name: Cake Betch

Age: 26

Provenance: Ohio

Occupation: Government Drone

Blog: The Hot Mess Chronicles

When did you first self-identify as a curmudgeon?
I believe around the time my parents started calling me “Princess.” It probably was not what they really wanted to call me.

Who’s the curmudgeon (living or dead, historical or contemporary) you most identify with and why?
1. My grandpa – He had curmudgeon nailed. His ability to complain and be dissatisfied with everything he encountered was truly inspiring.

2. My 6th grade gym teacher – He was a burly giant of a man, and there was nothing I could do to please him, so of course I clung to him like a spider monkey. His mom must have been an amazing curmudgeon too, because she named him Chick. True story.

3. My best friend “J” – I’m nowhere near the curmudgeon that she is. She doesn’t like anyone or any thing. I’m pretty sure it hurts her to say something nice, and I would bet she goes home at the end of the day and screams for 20 minutes to balance the stress of having to be polite and professional while at work.

What do you hate that other people inexplicably love?
Twilight. Harry Potter. Babies, small children – they terrify me. All sports except football and hockey. Monkeys. Lobster or any protein source with visible veins or bones. Poetry. Country music. Talk radio and morning radio shows.

You are Dante. What, in order from least to most excruciating, are your nine circles of hell?
1. Rush hour traffic - This is easily when I am most curmudgeonly
2. Pointless meetings… and they all are
3. Aliens - People who are always nice, never have anything bad to say, and blush when you scratch yourself in public
4. Job hunting - Great way to kill self esteem.
5. Wedding or baby showers – All those happy polite dressed up people.
6. Winter – And anything that goes with it; the exception being Christmas
7. Trying to be healthy - Working out, eating healthy food, (attempting) not to drink
8. Cooking - The last thing I want to do when I get home is make a mess in the kitchen that I have to clean up to make food that isn’t going to be very good anyway.
9. Math – I can’t do it.

If you had the power to sign into law an amendment prohibiting a specific human behavior (i.e. using a Bluetooth or singing karaoke), what would you outlaw?
I would prohibit people from using the fast lane if they’re not doing at a minimum 6 miles per hour over the speed limit. This is ESPECIALLY true during morning and evening rush hour. I would also sanction the use of explosives and/or firearms on law violators.

Let's lighten up. What makes you all warm and fuzzy inside? (Your heart can’t be COMPLETELY charred.)
Diabetes-inducing lattes. Shopping for books. Spring. Puppies get me every time, and almost every other baby animal (except for frickin monkeys…). Anything pumpkin flavored. Lolrus and his missing buhket.

What's your favorite curse word/phrase?
I like to keep it old school and go with the very versatile “fuck”.

Essay Question: Please write a 100 word open letter to an object, person, or other entity that has recently incurred your wrath.

Deaaaaaaar C, whom we not-so-affectionately will refer to as Cunty, as was your nickname:

You are a remarkable bitch. Did you know you have the honor of being the only coworker whose fat ass I wanted to nominate should there ever be a Salem-style witch trial in Columbus? I’m pretty sure that I intimidated you, considering I could easily have done your job twice as good in half the time, am 1/3 your size, and am less troll-like in appearance and personality.

My favorite part of working with you had to be when you made me walk to the other end of the business complex to get the mail (since you were too good for that shit now that you had a peon), then open YOURS for you! I especially LOL’ed when I decided that you were a traitorous brown nosing bitch and stopped opening your mail for you.

“What, are you too lazy to open my mail now?” followed by fake laugh ~ amazing. Hopefully you laughed because the irony dawned on you, even if it was too late.

Despite my intense dislike of you, I didn’t want to part on bad terms, so a friend of mine and I left you a nice invisible present on your office chair. I don’t know if you enjoyed it, but we sure as fuck did!

<3 Cake Betch.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Guest Post: Not All Bug Bites Are Bed Bug Bites (But Seriously, Does This Look Like A Bed Bug Bite To You?)

I met Owen of While Not Making Other Plans in college, where we were both theater nerds. In 2001, Owen cast me in his production of "Runaways," a musical about a bunch of latch-key kids who sing about being child prostitutes and shooting heroin. Good times.

I played the gender-neutral "A.J.," who runs away from home after his/her parents have one too many violent fights. I was really good at playing a pre-pubescent street urchin--they didn't even have to give me a costume! (Except for the jacket I wore my own clothes.)

Note my slack-jawed expression of confusion and hunger.

I am basically Pacino.

But this blog is supposed to be about Owen. Sorry. I need to butt out and get back to singing "Volare" at the top of my lungs while taking off my pants in the Trevi fountain (predicting my Italian adventures is fun!)

Over the years, O's become a close friend and trusted pop culture ally (we often G-Chat about Gossip Girl, ANTM, and, of course, Project Runway, which Owen is recapping this week while I'm away). He's also a cutie:

Try not to be frightened by my crow's feet. They can't hurt you from there.

So please give it up for Owen The Man, aka OTM, as he sounds off on one of the most frightening pests to hit New York since the Olsen twins: Bed bugs.

“Now I lay me down to sleep
And ask the lord my soul to keep
And if I die before I wake
At least that’s better than bed bugs.” 
                           Leviticus, 18:22 (I think…)

For me, Fall in New York is preferable to summer for many reasons, and as time goes on, the list only gets longer. Fall has cool breezes anddelicious harvest smells. By comparison, this past summer was way too hot, WAY too humid and the rotting/baking garbage smell that usually is restricted to August started well early in July. Unpleasant, it was.

Additionally, Fall has my birthday, and Halloween and the NYC Marathon. Summer has none of that going for it. I guess it has swimming (BIG DEAL). But beyond those things that have been true for years, presently Summer Nights in the City bring with them much dread and uncertainty. In much simpler times, if you woke up on a summer morning and realized your skin was itchy and welty, you’d think “Oh, there was a mosquito in my room.” Or possibly, “Oh, maybe there was a spider in bed with me.” Or even quite possibly “Well, I don’t really live by the water, but maybe this is the work of a greenfly?” But now, if you’re living in NYC and upon waking notice any kind of bite at all, immediately you must jump to the conclusion that it’s bed bugs. What used to be just a normal part of living – hey, bites happen, especially if you're one of the tastier humans like me! - has now turned into an occasion for extreme unease and panic.

If you’re not from New York City, you might not know what an epidemic bed bugs is for us here. They are everywhere. It’s not just in frat boy apartments and high end hotels anymore. Recently they’ve popped up
in our local corner store establishments like Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Victoria’s Secret, the AMC 25 Movie Theater on 42nd St and even the 5th Ave New York Public Library. New York City already has
its signature plagues in rats and roaches and ridiculous rents! We didn’t need anything else!! Bed bugs are a horrible nuisance and very difficult to get rid of once they set up shop somewhere. The bizarre
thing is that even though they look gross and suck your blood at night, they don’t actually spread disease. That means the city doesn’t consider them a public health threat and won’t clean up after them. Everybody is on their own to hire bed bug extermination companies to get rid of the problem. Man, if that bed-bug sniffing dog Roscoe ever dies, we are all so screwed.

 All hope lies with him…

I find it inevitable that I will one day get bed bugs. I partake in several high risk activities. These include:
  • Riding the subway
  • Shopping in stores
  • Shoving my way through crowds on the sidewalk
  • Eating in restaurants
  • Attending movies & theater
  • Visiting friends at their homes
  • Having people over to my home
  • Occasionally sleeping in a bed that is not my own
  • Living in an apartment building with many other tenants leading high-risk lives
  • Sitting in public anywhere.
So you see, it’s rather unavoidable and with a sizable minority of the population already infected (infested?), it seems like just a matter of time before it gets to me. I’ve kind of resigned myself to this fate and I’m not always so worried about it. You know who is always so worried about it? People who have already had bed bugs. I’ve had several friends go through it and they all exhibit a certain PTSD afterwards. Apparently experiencing it once is more than enough and they will go to extreme lengths not to go back there again. Such
lengths can include:
  • Crossing the street to avoid discarded furniture left on the sidewalk. It’s like the Scarlet A for infected apartment buildings to them.
  • The swearing off of thrift stores and flea markets and hand-me-downs in general.
  • Living so there is not so much to throw out/replace next time bed bugs come for them.
  • Regularly replacing their mattresses even though they cover them with bed bug resistant covers because one can never be too sure.
  • Being celibate and avoiding Frottage.
  • Constantly warning all their friends and neighbors about the dangers of bed bugs. I mean they’ll never shut up about it. Can we not talk about anything else?
  • Becoming a shut-in.
But back to my initial point about the seasons. Be happy for the colder weather as it envelops us. I figure if you get eaten alive in the night right now, at least you’re sure what you’re dealing with and can respond quickly and appropriately. There’s no big question as to what it could be, As GI Joe always told us, knowing is half the battle. The other half of the battle involves a bed bug sniffing dog named Roscoe.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Guest Post: Husbands and Sister-Wives

Meet Annie of [clever title]. I've actually known Annie since I was eight years old. Her older brother went to elementary school with me and I was secretly in love with him even though I mostly publicly shunned him, except for this one time I let him kiss my ear (he was going for the face but I turned at the last second, giving him a mouthful of hair. Playing hard to get <---I rock at it.)


I'm in Italy right now, probably drunk and breaking Jeff's camera trying to take photos of bidets, so I should stop cock-blocking other people's guest posts with my yammering. Andiamo!

It feels weird to write a silly post when real events like births are happening around me. But I’m sure Sassy and her readers don’t want a mushy, confused, rambly post about how emotional it is to have a new baby in my family and to see how incredibly intensely this is changing my cousin and her husband each minute.

So, instead, I will wax poetic on a new trend of which I’m becoming aware.

Let me introduce myself. I’m Annie. And I know how to use possessive pronouns correctly.

I also like watching TV on my computer in bed, red wine, and wearing hoop earrings and Converse sneakers. I have a Master’s degree, a multisyllabic vocabulary, and a love of modern fiction novels. I am totally open to being set up. And I live in Boston.


Let’s get down to business.

Have you guys heard?! Lauren Graham and Peter Krause are DATING?

But here’s the weird thing. Or kind of weird thing.

They play siblings on their TV show Parenthood.

Can you just...smell the sexual tension?

Now, I don't watch Parenthood, so I can't expound on the quality of their ability to keep it in their pants, but I want to explore this phenomenon of siblings on-screen becoming real-life couples.

There's these two from the ABC drama Brothers and Sisters.

Now, when I watched this show, and they introduced the plot that the characters might be related just as they were trying to figure out if they were in love, I thought to myself, their chemistry is so good they've GOT to be banging in real life!

Lucky for them, their characters (SPOILER!) ended up not actually sharing a baby-daddy, so they were free to knock boots without any potential urpiness, onscreen and off. That is, until they broke up and he knocked someone up in real life and then decided to marry her.

I stopped watching the show, so I don't know if the characters are still in love. I always feel bad for actors who date off-screen but still have to work together when they break up.


These two play brother and sister on Dexter, and they have such intense chemistry, I found myself watching the first season and expecting them to spontaneously make out.

Seriously. And I wouldn't even have thought it was THAT gross.

And every time Dexter tells Deb how amazing she is and how she, like, totally makes him human, I think, DUDE'S SO NOT ACTING RIGHT NOW!

OK, don't freak out. But did you know that THESE two were totally dating during filming of Ferris Bueller's Day Off??

Crazy, right?

Today, one of them's married to Carrie Bradshaw and the other one is unrecognizable and competing on this season of Dancing With the Stars!

And while you may say that means Broderick wins in life, I say, Jennifer Grey will TOTALLY snag that mirror ball trophy.

Finally, it is public knowledge that these two totally made out off-screen back in the day.

And that THESE two went on a date slash MAY have had an affair. Prepare yourself for the perviest picture ever.

Greg is TOTALLY looking down Mom's SHIRT!

Don't vomit.

Incidentally, there’s a new show on TLC called Sister Wives, which I’m sure I would be obsessed with if I could watch that channel on my dinky TV with my basic cable connection. Maybe I’ll watch it on my computer like I do the 800 other shows I watch every week.

I’ve become hooked on so many in my unemployment that I actually wrote out a weekly viewing schedule.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Guest Post: Here's A Stupid-Ass Blog For You, Una LaMarche (By Robin Plemmons)

The inimitable Robin Plemmons of balls to the wall, y'all is a blog friend that I made, our bond cemented when she put my face in her hole.

Wait, that sounds wrong. I mean this.

Anyway, even though Robin and I have never met, I'm in love with her and I'm leaving Jeff to go live in Asheville with Robin, her husband, her two year-old daughter, and her John Krasinski shrine. I'm not really in Italy, Jeff. I'm sorry you had to find out this way.

Hey y'all! Greetings & salutations from the great city of Asheville, NC! A city so great, it'll make your asshole fall off.

Una asked me to guest blog for her lazy, shrimp colored ass while she's on a vacay or something. I didn't quite know what to blog about exactly so I decided to just go with what I know & what is dear to my heart. You can't go wrong with that, right? But then I couldn't narrow it down, so I created this list:

Topics I considered blogging about, but didn't:

  1. The time I mooned an elementary school bus.
  2. Una's secret balloon fetish. (Shh. Don't tell her I know).
  3. The importance of good crotchal hygiene. (scrub that shit, yo).
  4. How when I see a picture of Lenny Kravitz, my vagina blooms a little.
  5. The time I whipped my large boob out on a table & pretended to eat it with a knife & fork.
  6. Una's ass tattoo of a bird pulling a worm out of her butthole.
  7. The contents of my purse: wallet, phone, keys, pacifiers, stray M&Ms, sex dice.
  8. Una's husband's tendency to get drunk on Wild Turkey & hump the ottoman.
  9. A vlog of me lip syncing to LLCoolJ's "Doin It."
  10. America's addiction to all things Jersey. I predcit a Jersey Wedding Midget show next.
  11. My husband's Christmas song about dirty lady parts. "Jingle bells, your clam smells..."
  12. Una's obsession with poot-cupping strangers.
  13. That episode of The Cosby Show where they hang out with Stevie Wonder & Rudy makes that weird giraffe sound.
  14. The time when I was pregnant & I farted & my water broke.
  15. Nipple lasers.

I know you're heartbroken that I didn't go into detail. One things for sure though, you more than likely got a little aroused just reading through the list.

It's ok. Don't deny it. Just go with it. It's natural.

And because I am one of those bloggers who deems it necessary to inundate you with a plethora of photos & multimedia, here is an assortment of applicable pictures & such for you to gaze upon. Let them sink in & bless your soul.


Here's a snapshot of Lenny for ya! (oh--the blooming started). It looks like he is hanging out with a special friend who is brave & dumb enough to get that tattoo. She also looks like she just sharted real bad in her Victoria's Secret 5 for $25 panties.


It's sound advice for everyone, really. It's important to keep our private areas fresh just in case it goes public (like, in someone's face).

Jeff taught these dudes everything they know about air humping inanimate objects & walls.


Turned on again aren't you?


& last but not least, here is the greatest picture of all time. She has perfect hair & laser nipples?! Lucky!

P.S. Go buy hilarious and amazing crafts at Robin's Etsy store

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Guest Post: The List

TB of Year 31 has become one of my best blog friends since she started commenting here a year or so ago. I never had pen pals as a child (although I did write letters to imaginary pen pals, which is, um, telling) and I've never gone on a blind date, so making human connections via the Internet still seems novel and exciting. Every time I start a real correspondence with a fellow blogger or reader, I get that pee-in-my-pants thrill I associate with the 1992 Puppy Surprise doll, which came stuffed with 3--or 4!--or 5! puppies in its vagina belly. HOW MANY WOULD IT BE OMIGAH?

But TB doesn't have any puppies in her (that I know of), and I'm still totally excited. So she's clearly awesome. But, as the wise Levar Burton famously said, you don't have to take my word for it...

Does anyone remember that episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel had a list of five celebrities they would allow one another to sleep with, if the opportunity should arise? Well, fresh off of watching the rerun of this episode, sometime in 1999, the hubby and I got to thinking what a great idea this was. The conversation went something like this:

Him: You know, I wouldn’t consider it cheating if you slept with, say, Brad Pitt, because I would probably even sleep with Brad Pitt if I had the opportunity.
Me: I know what you mean. Let’s do this!
Him: Awesome!

High fives ensued.

We pondered our choices for a while, discussing the finer points of Nicole Kidman’s skin and Taye Diggs’s abs. When it was all settled, each of our lists looked something like this (keep in mind this was 1999):

Nicole Kidman
Alyssa Milano
Cameron Diaz
Milla Jovovich
Keri Russell


Chris Klein
Jerry O’Connell
Brad Pitt
Taye Diggs
Mark Wahlberg


We were very excited about our choices! I mean, we didn’t write out lists and laminate them or anything, but every time we saw one of these celebrities on TV or in movies, we would be sure to remind the other that he or she was on “the list”.

Fast forward one year to 2000, when we moved to Los Angeles. I was going half-assed about becoming an actress and the hubby was working at Sports Club/LA, where we got a free membership.

So, apparently these “celebrities” are, like, real people. Who knew, right? A free-pass-for-sex list is really only fun when you don’t ever encounter the people on it. Or, at least, that was the case for the hubby. Everywhere we went, we seemed to run into someone on my list. Chris Klein jogged past me one night as I was waiting for the hubby to get off work. Jerry O’Connell lifted weights while I cross-trained on the elliptical. I struck up a conversation with Mark Wahlberg one evening about his Bob Marley tattoo.

The hubby got fed up seeing all these “list guys” everywhere and declared our lists invalid:

Him: I declare our lists invalid!
Me: What? You can’t do that! That’s not fair!
Him: Jerry O’Connell walked by me in the gym today and I bumped into him on purpose, just to see if he’d be pissed off so I could start a fight with him. It’s driving me crazy.
Me: So, just because these guys are around now, I can’t have my list anymore?
Him: Yes.
Me: That’s not fair! You may run into one of the girls on your list too.
Him: Yes, but what I didn’t realize when we made these lists is that YOU could actually get one of these guys. I, on the other hand, could never get any of the girls on my list.
Me: You don’t know that. Plus, it’s your own fault if you chose girls who were out of your league.
Him: That was the whole point of the LIST! Plus, it’s way harder for a guy to get a girl to have sex with him than it is for a girl to get a guy to have sex with her.

He had a point. So, out of respect for our marriage, the list was then and there declared null and void (even though it really wasn’t fair).

So, I never got to have sex with Jerry O’Connell. Sad, I know. I guess the moral of this story is that you shouldn’t really have a list like this if it could ever come to fruition for only one of you.


A few years ago, the hubby was called out of town (we live in Kansas now) to work at the NBA All-Stars game. As the event was going on, he called me, all in a tizzy:

Him: Oh my GOD! Alyssa Milano is here and she’s sitting like fifteen feet from me right now.
Me: Oh!! She’s so pretty!! How does she look?
Him: She looks great—she’s hardly aged since Who’s the Boss. Wow.
Me: Wait…wasn’t she on your list?
Him: Oh yeah…she WAS on my list! Boy, it’s a good thing for you that I declared those things null and void.
Me: Psh. You would never have the balls to talk to her anyway. Why don’t you go ahead? You have my permission. I hear she likes guys with tattoos, so you’re in! Find out what she’s doing afterward.
Him: I have to go work.


Benito Mussolini! Dov'e il Vaticano? Spaghetti Carbonara!

Hi guys! As I mentioned last month, I am off to Rome for a week-long vacation with Momma C.

I'll totally miss you, but guess who's taking over the blog?


Mostly he'll be posting guest blogs by some of my favorite blog friends, but I've invited him to post a few himself, and I encourage you to bully him (lovingly) in the comments.

Also please send him food and make sure he's not cheating on me with our whore pillow.

Ciao bellas! I'll see you 10/15.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

If I Had a Hammer...

For the past few days someone has been hammering on the other side of the wall.

Now, I am a native New Yorker, and have gotten to the point where I won't even look up from my Us Weekly when someone screams on the subway,* but this? Is getting to me.

Obviously the noise is annoying, but the creepy part is that it's always in the exact same spot. Seriously, it sounds like someone's tunneling into the back of our bookcase like in The Shawshank Redemption.

I almost want to go ring the neighbor's doorbell and tell them that if they want my collection of Janice Dickinson autobiographies so bad, they can just ask. Or I can always bury them under a rock in some stone wall out in the middle of nowhere if that makes it more poignant. Then opera music will swell and we can reunite on some faraway island where I spend my days building boats... except that A) I'm not a very good builder and B) I don't really want to hang out with someone who HAMMERS IN MY FUCKING WALL EVERY NIGHT while I am trying to recap reality TV shows and do half-assed squats at the same time.

*It is almost always a thirteen to fifteen year-old girl, but apparently the MTA does not care. Apparently the 'something' in "When you see something, say something" does not apply to 'assholes.'

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Multimedia Madness

First, my appearance on Abiola Abrams' Kiss and Tell report is up. Here's the link; hopefully I'll have an embeddable video soon. I'm on from about 8:40 to 24:00, but you should also watch the rest of the show, in which writers and performers Leah King and Tracy Renee Jones talk about respect and, specifically, street harassment. They're hilarious and poignant and whip-smart, whereas I mostly make uninformed assessments of Ashton Kutcher's fidelity and put on these glasses:

"Twat? Twat did you say? I cunt hear you. I think I have an ear infucktion."
(There's a reason I don't call this site The Classy Curmudgeon)

Despite the penis nose, I don't think I look like too much of an ass, although my lopsided Shannen Doherty syndrome is on full display.

Next in Monday Multimedia Madness: My sister sent me some audio files a week ago in an email with the title "Instant blog post?"

(The fact that it's now a week later is a perfect example of how quickly I get things done. But in my defense, seven days can go by in an instant when you have to work full-time, go on Internet talk shows to fondle dildos, and catch up on two weeks' worth of Glee and Dexter--two shows that just cry out for a cross-over episode, in my opinion. Maybe when New Directions tackles Sweeney Todd?)

Anyway. While cleaning her apartment, she found audio files recorded when I was nine and she was three. Last week Annah commented that I should post audio of me singing. Well, apparently that's all I did for the entirety of 1989. If these tapes are to be believed, I wandered around the house warbling into a Walkman and ignoring my baby sister's cries.

Warning: Keep the volume low unless you want your eardrums to rupture from my earnest belting. I also can't be held responsible for any adverse reactions pets may experience upon hearing the high notes.

Not that I didn't have skills: I managed to yell at her while staying on key during Madonna's "Like A Prayer" (a track that factored heavily in my prepubescent fantasy life):

And who can forget the Bel Biv Devoe classic "Poison?" (You may want to, after hearing this.)

There's also an ad-libbed musical about the life of Gumby, but I'll save that for another blog. Even I've reached my daily quota for over-sharing.

I'll leave you with the reminder that you should never trust a big butt and a smile... or a stranger bearing glow-in-the-dark dildo glasses... or a nine year-old with a flair for the dramatic and a tape recorder.

P.S. I know I didn't have a Curmudgeon of the Week this weekend. I was too crazed to pick one, but I won't let it slide again, promise. 
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