Thursday, April 28, 2005

Don't Tell Bill Frist

Had a brilliant birthday Tuesday, even if it was on a Tuesday and we couldn't go to dinner because Child Two had to attend something called Jesus Day at church. We'd been instructed to drop her off at 6:00 and return at 7:45 for a play about The Last Supper. Peter and I thought that trying to squeeze in a restaurant meal in an hour and forty-five minutes would be pushing it.

Peter picked the kid up while I walked away the pounds in front of the TV with Leslie Sansone. When he came home, he reported that a girl (a female!) played Jesus in The Last Supper play. I wonder what Bill Frist would make of that.

Speaking of religion, I tried watching that NBC "event," Revelations a couple of times and couldn't make heads or tails of it. It was so boring I kept falling asleep. It did occur to me, though, that it would be funny if Jesus showed up for the Second Coming as a girl. And why wouldn't he? If God is a spirit and has no sex, if S/he is all-powerful, then what would be the harm of showing up as a woman? That would wipe the smirks off the faces of the Christian Right, eh?

About the Christian Right and their recent "Justice Sunday:" They freak me out. Some of us came to this country for religious freedom, and now these clowns are foisting their wacko views on the rest of us. If you don't support George Bush's nominees for the Supreme Court, you are not with Jesus, they say. They're nuts.

Back to my birthday: Earlier in the day I went to my friend V's house for lunch. She'd brought in Indian food (korma, samosas, nan, vindaloo; oh, yes!) and gave me a gift of green tea and a book called The Maker's Diet. Last night we went to a natural health lecture, where an audience member kept slapping her copy of The Maker's Diet and quoting from it. I'd rather not read the book if I'll turn into a person like that.

Couldn't miss The Enquirer front page in the supermarket the other day, which claims that Matt Lauer is cheating on his wife, and that she's thrown him out. They looked pretty happy to me when I saw them on the street last month.

My goal today is to order the food for the Communion party. I also have to order tables, linens, china, and that sort of thing. I put in calls to two babysitters, so that Peter and I can go out to dinner tomorrow night, but I haven't heard back from either of them. I'm hopeful.

Friday, April 22, 2005

She's Not a Trollop!

It's amazing what passes for comedy these days. On The Tonight Show last night, Jay Leno featured some jug-eared comic who did a bit about a real-life Armenian family, whose hospitality he accepted and lampooned for the benefit of Americans coast-to-coast.

Jug Ears introduced the bit by botching the family's name, quipping something like "or whatever it is" because it was just too much of an effort to remember it. Then he rolled a clip, in which he presented the Armenians and made fun of their food, their jobs, the knicknacks on their mantle, and so on. It was a poor excuse for comedy.

Instead of possessing the talent to tell jokes that actually make people laugh, many late-night "comedians" resort to meanness. Take Conan O'Brien: We all know that Ruben Studdard has a weight problem, Conan. We don't need you to remind us every night.

And what fodder Camilla Parker Bowles made for these idiots. For the past three weeks, I've heard her called a whore and a trollop more times than I could possibly count. I've been told how ugly she is (um, have you looked at her? She's really not quite as bad as some of the characters you see in the mall these days).

I never had strong feelings about Camilla one way or the other. I liked Diana and confess to getting up with my mother at 5AM to watch her wedding (I was young, okay?). But let's face it: Camilla didn't ruin Diana's life. The Royal Family did. They plucked a young virgin (whose virginity was, humiliatingly, confirmed by the royal gynecologist) to marry Charles, who they prevented from marrying Camilla years earlier. Diana's own family was complicit in this victimization. Charles was no peach, but he was performing his royal duty. Somebody, no doubt, perhaps an elder male, encouraged him to wed Diana and continue seeing Camilla.

The day after Camilla married Charles, The New York Times ran the most sexist, ageist, nasty piece about her. Sadly, it was written by a woman, and most of the people who contributed nasty quotes were also women, and professional women at that (one of them likened Camilla to an old sofa).

I really can't sympathize with women who cry about double standards in sex and in business when they knock other women. They have nobody to blame but themselves.

Neighborhood Pigs Strike Again

Note to pigs: It's been two days. Your garbage cans are not likely to grow legs and walk themselves back into your garage.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Little Bakers Visit the Zoo

Child One had a friend sleep over last night, and I'm still recovering, even though the two of them left for the Bronx Zoo at eleven this morning.

Yesterday they ran a bake sale, ostensibly to raise money for something called "Spring Fling" at school, but I'm pretty sure the real objective was to just raise money.

They made the usual confections. Although I was too lazy to help them make batter from scratch, I did manage to purchase mixes without evil partially hydrogenated oils. No point in killing the customers, or else what do you do for repeat business?

The girls set up on the corner, which can be busy at times, but I hardly expected anybody to stop and buy anything. Whenever I see a bake sale, whether it's in front of some kid's house or a PTA dealie at school, I keep walking.

I'm skittish about food preparation. Was a cat traipsing along the counter while the egg was being beaten into the cookie batter, for instance? Did the baker wash her hands? Was her hair tied up?

But Offspring and Friend pulled in $22.00 in 90 minutes. Amazing! One rather cute 22-year-old guy actually stopped and got out of his jeep to purchase a whole wheat chocolate brownie (don't ask) and let the girls keep the change for a tip.

But all this baking and taking takes its toll. I must've cleaned the kitchen forty times yesterday. I swept and mopped and swept and mopped. This morning, after some bright light spilled soda all over the floor, I couldn't walk from the stove to the sink because the floor was so sticky. So I mopped again.

Then I took a nap.

But now the chili's on the stove. Husband's on the train home. Got a new bottle of Cabernet on the counter.

Life is good.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Miracle on Tulip Lane

The offspring are off from school this week; I don't know how I'll ever get to my writing. I did manage to clean and reorganize the linen closet, though. What a miracle.

I'm already losing sleep over Child Two's Communion party. It's not for a couple of weeks, and usually I'd be in full-on planning mode because there's nothing I love more than a party, but my mother is sick. It's dampened my enthusiasm. When Child One made her First Communion, Mom came to the store with us to help pick out the dress, and she helped me choose the flowers for the tables.

Yesterday we took her to the park in her wheelchair. The nurse's aide slipped out at 11:20 to attend 12:00 Mass two blocks away, so I was left to get Mom dressed. I have absolutely no training in lifting a person who can't help herself, but I managed it.

You couldn't ask for more beautiful weather, but it was tragic sitting on a bench watching my poor mother struggle to eat the stale sandwich my brother-in-law picked up at the supermarket (D'Agostino's on 1st and 53rd, if you'd like to avoid stale sandwiches). Ten months ago, Mom was driving my father and his empties to the bottle return at Stop & Shop.

On the way down to the park, I caught sight of myself in the full-length mirror next to my parents' elevator. Even though I exercise regularly, my legs looked strange, narrow on the bottom and wide on top. I looked like a dreidel.

My sister later informed me that the cut of my jeans was passe, and that nobody is wearing them nipped at the ankle anymore. She also said I should wear jeans with a lower waist.

So I took the low-waist jeans I bought last year out of my drawer this morning and put them on. I suppose I do look better, even if I've been fighting carpenter's crack most of the day.

Friday, April 15, 2005

She Wouldn't Commit

So, S and F had been dating for nearly four years, and by all accounts, they were in love. People kept asking when they'd get married. They kept answering, "We're happy as we are."

Of course nobody believed this. They assumed F wouldn't commit because men never want to commit, or at least what the blurbs say on the magazines at the supermarket checkout.

Anyway, S and F blocked out the background noise and went on with life. They booked a trip to Hawaii -- for three weeks.

They were soaking up the sun, sucking up tropical drinks, when ol' F dropped to his knees and presented S with a ring. No thanks, she said (in the kindest way possible).

They went home and continued seeing each other every chance they got, until he appeared at her door one night to go to dinner. S said, "F, we have to talk."

"Okay," said F.

"We need to break up," she said.

He told her he loved her and wanted her to be happy. He sent her on her way. He went home and cried, and then he called his friends and ate dinner at their house. And cried.

This is the second story I've heard in recent weeks about a guy being dumped by a woman who didn't want to commit. Don't believe that men are always the villains, that they're heartless, and have no feelings.

They do.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

24 Hour Party Person

Rented 24 Hour Party People last night and loved it. I'm stuck in the Eighties musically, so it was right up my alley. I'd never seen Steve Coogan before, although my friend in Manchester, England tried to send me some of his videos a couple of years ago, but they somehow ended up erased in transit. Steve Coogan is highly attractive.

The movie, based on the experiences of New Order manager Tony Wilson, takes place in Manchester. I'm interested in Manchester because my mother's family parked themselves there for a generation or two on their way to New York from Ireland. The New York Times claims it's a great place to visit. Good nightlife, supposedly, and I'm definitely a creature of the night.

24 Hour featured a scene where Tony (named for St. Anthony of Padua) accepts oral activity from a hooker in the back of a van and his wife busts him. She turns around and bangs some guy in a restroom. I suspect that's how Hillary Clinton got through the Lewinsky ordeal, but I'm just speculating.

Speaking of the Clintons, Bill did an interview with Katie Couric the other morning. Man, I miss Bill Clinton.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Single Guys Destined for Loneliness

My brother and I were walking along First Avenue on Saturday, when along came these two nebbishy-looking guys.

The little guy, swinging his coffee cup, remarked to the other one, "Yeah, but you gotta remember, women are like children."

Poor bastards will never get laid.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Single Woman's Nightmare

Last night we watched Bridget Jones and the Edge of Reason. It would be more accurate to say we cringed through it. I don't even know where to begin, it was so horrible. Peter and I enjoyed the first one, so much that we used to stop to watch it whenever we discovered it while flipping around with the remote.

But this thing: Terrible! The first one managed to be funny and clever and made a few good points. It also entertained. This one, The Edge of Reason, was utterly desperate in its attempt to be funny and clever, and it made no good points. The subtext is, Girls, if you're not married, you're a loser. Poor Bridget even envisions her tombstone: "Bridget Jones, Spinster."

Being an unmarried woman in the real world carries a stigma only to the uneducated and ignorant. Renee Zellweger is unmarried, as are Marisa Tomei, Laura Linney, Nicole Kidman, and Angelina Jolie. Some women like being single. But in movies, the single female is a complete loser.

As for the performances, Zellweger, despite the weight she'd put on for the role both times, was more attractive in the first installment. Seemed smarter, too. This time, her Bridget came off cloying and desperate. Peter couldn't stand the pain and left the room. But I couldn't stop watching it, even as I clutched my stomach in revulsion for two hours.

The fetching Colin Firth (who unfetched me as the selfish bastard in Girl with a Pearl Earring) fetched again, although Sir Lawrence Olivier wouldn't convince me that a character like Mark Darcy would stay enamored of this pathetic broad. You'd think he'd want to take a long bath.

Hugh Grant let his face bronzer do the acting for him. I had a strong feeling he appeared on set and told the director, "This'll only take a minute. Make sure somebody's cutting my check."

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Dating and the Pope

Just sent out the dating tips newsletter. It's always a relief to have that done. Spent the morning with Val, solving the world's problems over coffee at the Huntington Street Cafe. They played a lot of Dead in there this morning, which was a good thing. I can deal with the Dead at 9:30 in the morning.

Didn't get much revision done on the novel today. It's been a slow week for novel revision, actually. Had to do a major virus scan yesterday, which took two hours, and then I had to print the invitations for Child 2's First Communion party. It took forever to find a typeface that conveyed "this is a serious occasion, but let's not take it too seriously." If I used a cursive font, I feared I'd end up with people coming in suits. I'm hoping for collared-shirts and chinos.

So, the Pope has been dead for nearly a week now, and the pilgrims keep coming. I feel sorry for Jimmy Carter that he was shut out of the events. The Pope opposed the War in Iraq, yet the Vatican waved those war-monging Bushes in. The peace-loving Carter, a champion of the poor, was turned away at the gate. I do not get it.

And what is wrong with me that all I can think about is how hot the Pope was as a young guy. What a waste!

I won't cook tonight; I've dispatched the husband to get a pizza.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Et Tu, Girl Scouts of America?

My Boy Scout of a husband bought four boxes of Girl Scout cookies, only to discover upon delivery that they are riddled with partially hydrogenated oil! Are the little green gremlins out to kill us?

Fie on you, Girl Scouts of America! Next year, peddle your confections elsewhere. We'll not open our door to the likes of you!

Are Camilla and Charles Jinxed?

According to the late Princess Diana's friend, Andrew Morton, they are. He cites the Queen's refusal to attend the wedding, the mix-up over whether Camilla will be made Princess of Wales, and now the Pope's funeral, which is scheduled to take place on Friday, the same day as the royal wedding.

I don't know whether to feel sorry for Charles or to hate him. He was a 32-year-old man when he allowed himself to be pressed into marrying a girl he didn't love. He made her miserable every day of her short life.

On the other hand, in an age when celebrity couples like Donald and Melania and Catherine and Michael are prevalent, it's heartening to see an old coot like Charles marry an old coot like Camilla.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Sex and the City: Wrong About Dating

"I don't want to have sex for the sake of having sex. I'm looking for an emotional connection."

Okay, who said it? A lovelorn woman who can't find the right guy?

Nope. It was a guy -- a physically fit, blond, educated, good-looking, well-employed straight guy who happens to own a co-op in Manhattan. He told me this last night and, no, he wasn't hitting on me. I'm married, for one thing, and I've known this man most of my life.

So much for the crap they're selling on Sex and the City, eh?

In recent weeks, I've read reviews of the recent crop of dating manuals, whose authors seem to agree that men and women are different species. Some of the authors purport that men are little more than sex-crazed animals who must be manipulated.

Maureen Dowd (and I usually love Maureen Dowd; she's my favorite thing in The New York Times) published a column about how XYs are a lower life form than XXs and quoted some guy (I don't remember his name) who also claims that we are different species.

Get over it! Men are not from Mars. Women are not from Venus.

You want to succeed at dating? You want to achieve a fun, healthy, angst-free relationship? You want to get married?

Stop treating people of the opposite sex like science experiments. Treat a person as you would have him or her treat you. If the schmuck doesn't treat you as you would treat him or her, hit the highway. Don't try to to force a circle into a square. Move on, Darling.

Dear Abby used to publish a column (or perhaps it was her sister, Ann Landers) that started with "Love is friendship that has caught fire..."

Go for the friendship first. Then worry about the fire.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Online Dating Success!

I get frequently get letters asking me what I think of online dating. People, especially women, wonder if they're going to meet a lot of jokers that way. My feeling is, you can meet a joker anywhere; since online dating deepens your pool of prospective new friends, you're definitely likely to meet more of them.

But that's no reason not to go for it. If you're stuck in an office all day with the same suits walking in and out, you must expand your horizons. Online dating is the way to do it.

Does it work?

Hell, yeah. I hear stories all the time about married couples who met via online dating (and not just in those eHarmony ads, either). Case in point: The engagement announcement in this week's New York Observer of Entertainment Weekly writer Kristen Baldwin to the very fetching Joe Holmgren, a -- wait for it, Girls -- psychiatry resident at The NYU School of Medicine. Kristen and Joe met through match.com.

But you'll never meet the guy or girl of your dreams when you're still smarting over a lost love, so head to marrysmart for my take on what to do when you've been dumped.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Putting Neighborhood Pigs on Notice

It's time for you to get the ancient metal chairs off your lawn and move the trailer and six minivans from your driveway. You are ruining the freaking neighborhood.

In case you didn't notice, other inhabitants of the area whisk their empty trash cans back into the garage; they don't leave them rolling around the street for the citizenry to dodge whenever a good wind picks up. They resist propping old mattresses along the curb for pick-up on Saturday evening when it isn't scheduled until Thursday.

Did it ever strike you, as you are driving toward your house in one of your numerous beat-up vehicles, how everybody else's yard is cared-for, while yours looks like the county dump? And what the hell is the purpose of those electric blue tarps that have been lying along the side of your house since August?