Thursday, August 31, 2006

Emmy recap

Dear Jeremy Piven:

Dude. First off, big-time apologies -- I totally meant to write you earlier in the week when your Emmy was still as fresh and warm as a bronze-worthy Suri dump. But I've been busy -- not 16-hour shooting days busy like I'm sure you've been for maybe 20 weeks out of the last year; but solid 8- to 9-hour work day busy, followed by two-hour yoga class busy, followed by sit-down dinner prepared by my work-at-home-house-husband busy, followed by failed attempt to find a new job/career busy, followed by failed attempt to read a book to feel better about my failed job/career search busy, followed by escapist "Simpsons" or "Futurama" rerun on the couch busy. You know how it is. Well, no, actually, you totally don't, but we'll get to that.

So anyway. From 1987 to 1994 or so, I liked you quite a fair bit. Like most females, I was well familiar with the Cusack and Crow ouevres, and I appreciated your continued willingness to steal a scene long before Christopher Walken turned scene-stealing into a cottage industry. Also, I thought you were sort of hot. I'd long had a weird fetish for fit, prematurely balding men, which was embarassing because it meant admitting, for example, that I found the janitor in The Breakfast Club to be a lot hotter than Emilio Estevez or Judd Nelson; but then again, the character I most related to in that movie was Anthony Michael Hall's, so I had plenty to be embarrassed about back then.

But my interest was tentative, because I also long suspected that you were a royal ass, mostly because you usually played a royal ass. A royal-ass loser to be sure, but your assosity was plain nonetheless. Also, I heard from a friend in LA that you have a black woman fetish and used to demand that the "Ellen" casting agents cast black women in the extra roles so that you could hit on them, and that's kind of the dictionary definition of the word "asshole."

So by the time "Entourage" rolled around, I wasn't much interested in what you had to offer.

But then I watched the show and became intrigued again. I thought your whole coke-addled schtick was a clever take on the misplaced adreneline that drives so much of LA, and I admired you because it seemed like you were willing to appear more than a little pathetic as you zeroed in on the misplaced priorities of Hollywood.

Nope! Apparently I had it all wrong. If the viewing masses are to be believed, apparently Ari Gold is a totally cool, awesome guy whom everyone would love to work for because he's so outrageous and just tells it like it is. Meantime, you, Jeremy Piven, decided that TV and real life had gone all post-Cold War and torn down the wall that had once separated them, and so you were out every night actually BEING Ari Gold, picking up 15 women at a time and letting your chest hair dictate your wardrobe selections and playing Seven Minutes in Heaven with Lindsay Lohan at your birthday party and otherwise being an ego-driven dickhead.

That skinned muskrat thingy you wear atop your head is another matter entirely, but I'll leave discussions of said thingy to the PerezHilton Hairpiece Watch Patrol.

So when you won your Emmy on Sunday night, I know I was supposed be all, "Aw! Jeremy Piven finally got his long overdue due! It's about time! AND he brought his mom as his date! Aw!" Instead I was all, "Jesus, do we need ANOTHER posturing actor getting award smoke blown up his ass because he's playing a jacked-up version of himself and in turn is letting his TV character infuse his everyday persona?"

Sorry, JerPi, but I'm here to say that I think you are wildly, wildly overrated. And, I've finally decided, not at all hot to boot. Your head is too big.


P.S. By the way, since you think TV and real life are interchangeable, does that means you were actually sweating buckets over the fact that Bob Newhart could've died Sunday night if the show ran too long? If so, were you sweating even more buckets since you know that human sweat can loosen almost any glue, even the glue that keeps skinned muskrat thingys firmly atop shiny bald heads?

P.P.S. An ascot is not a chest sarong. An ascot is meant to add a foppish flair to an already complete suit ensemble; it's not meant to serve as a semi-sheer coverup of your hickies and chest hair plugs and Cleveland Steamer skid marks and whatever the hell else you've got going on under there. Clean it up, man.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beary worrisome

The hubby and I just finished watching Grizzly Man, that beautiful, odd, and affecting documentary about the renegade bear videographer Timothy Treadwell. At many points throughout his own footage, Timothy talks in an urgent, childish voice about how very very much he loves his bears -- bears such as Freckles and Mr. Chocolate -- and how very very much he wants to protect them. That footage is positioned as possible proof of Timothy's descent into a sort of seasonal madness driven by solitude and his semi-secret desire to actually become a bear.

Uhhhhhh.... That's how I talk about the dog. Like, all the time. Hmm.
Monday, August 28, 2006

A glimpse of my future parental self

I'm walking the dog one day when three cute girls run over and start petting him.

Oldest girl: I love dogs! I love him! He's so cute!

Me: Yup!

Youngest girl, with an existential innocence that would make Caitlin Flanagan weep tears of righteous joy: Why is the dog cute?

Me, after a long pause: I dunno.

Another pause.

Me: Well, we have to go! Watson has to poo!
Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Adventures of Pluto Bashing

When you're little, you feel compelled to designate your favorite things. Your favorite color. Your favorite number. Your favorite barnyard animal. Your favorite 1980 presidential candidate. Your favorite planet.

My personal favorites, in order: puce, a googleplex, a pig, John Anderson, and Pluto.

My reason for choosing Pluto was obvious: It was the only planet that shared its name with a cartoon dog. But I also admired its pluck in the face of its planetary shortcomings. Three moons? No rings? No problem.

We all woke up this morning and found out that, despite earlier rumors to the contrary, Pluto was being designated for assignment and is now sharing "dwarf planet" locker space with Xena and Ceres. I guess I can deal with that, just as I once dealt with losing an ice cream sundae bet with my dad that Anderson would pull out a miraculous upset win.

And yet. Pluto was the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of planets: Dry, meager, marginalized, lacking in any major selling points, but embraced by those of us who related to the downtrodden of this world. Pluto never meant us any harm; Pluto just sat there, waiting for its chance to shine, asking nothing more of us than a warm blanket around its base and a choral serenade or two. Pluto may have been borderline planet-unworthy, but Pluto always deserved our respect.

But the astronomers of this world showed their true colors today, throwing Pluto onto the celestial trash heap even as they publicly shed crocodile tears of apprehension and regret. They looked into the eyes of their planetary, 98-pound weakling counterpart, saw the chance to rise slightly in the social hierarchy, and yanked the football away at the last moment, leaving Pluto prone on its back, contemplating the sky it was never welcome in to begin with.

Man, nerds are meanies.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

More wishful thinking than I can handle, part II

In light of the home team's recent brain-popping failings, I've spent a bit of time today trying to find a wrathful, apocolyptic email I wrote to a friend in late July of 2004 explaining why the Red Sox wouldn't make the 2004 playoffs and how that season would go down as one of most disappointing years in recent Sox history. A fan can dream.

More wishful thinking than I can handle

Recently spotted bumper sticker: "I played Dungeons and Dragons before it was cool."
Friday, August 18, 2006

His brother Carl Clawford was also quite tasty

Is there something wrong with me that I've never had the slightest problem killing lobsters? That, knowing how delicious they'll soon become, I revel in it? That I've taken to naming them before I boil and eat them? And that I laugh a little bit as I do so?

Judging by the reactions of my peers, yes, apparently. But then again, those fools will never know the sweet, sweet pleasures of consuming a solid little two-pounder named Bronson Pinchyot.
Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tomorrow I blog about lobster

Right now I gots to go eat it.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Yay for grade inflation

Now I know why parents become fat alcoholics.

Watson "graduated" from obedience school last night, the same way I "graduated" from basketball camp the summer after seventh grade: I paid the tuition, therefore I graduated.

Here is what Watson did during the final class to "earn" his diploma:

-He peed in the store's entranceway

-He attacked his classmate Comet, a boxer puppy, a Jack Russell terrier and the store manager

-He failed to stay, wait, give paw, lie down, walk and come

-He licked a display of dried pig ears

-He shoplifted several more dog biscuits

-He belched in the middle of me trying to get him to lie down, causing the teacher to direct me toward some sensitive stomach dog food

-He bounced all around while I stood in line to buy the sensitive stomach food and about 25 bull penises, causing the cashier to laugh and ask sarcastically, "He just finished obedience school, huh?"

So as we were driving home -- Watson scrabbling all around on my lap, trying to stare out the front driver's side window -- all I could do was dream of the moment I'd get home, throw the dog in the bedroom, pop open a beer and order a huge mass of Chinese takeout.

And this morning, when he woke us up at 6:30 braying at the cat he'd cornered in the laundry room? I began to rethink the taboo of Kahlua in my morning coffee.

What would Richard Reeves Dawson say?

The fact that I'm having an email conversation this morning about "The Match Game" says a lot. The fact that I just referred to Charles Nelson Reilly as "Charles Gibson Reilly" says a lot more.
Monday, August 14, 2006

And the livin' is not so easy

I'd forgotten what end-of-summer panic feels like. That was one of the lovelier aspects of living in Southern California: Its perennial warmth allowed you to float through the year unencumbered by seasonal affective disorders. You'd lollygag through August knowing that the hottest month of the year was yet to come; then November and December would arrive and you'd chuckle over the ever-novel experience of celebrating the holidays in 70-degree weather (always ribbing the LA fools who insisted on wearing winter scarves and hats); then came the February rains, which you'd celebrate for their novelty; and then it would be spring again and you'd revel in the return of late-evening light, barely aware that you'd dodged any true loss in temperature during those winter months.

But this morning, as I walked the dog, the air felt crisp and my chest suddenly felt tight. For the first time in six years, I'm experiencing a magnified version of my usual Sunday evening "where in god's name did the weekend GO?" panic. Basically, I feel like I've blown it. Blown the chance to maximize my summertime downtime, to hike the hills and sail the seas and rent the summer home and bake the clambakes and otherwise emulate a J. Crew catalog spread as best I know how.

So I've begun backloading my summer with simple, nostalgic activities that I hope will stave off my feelings of unease. On the docket this weekend: lobster bake on Thursday, outdoor drinking on Friday, hiking and zooing on Saturday, sea kayaking on Sunday.

And if it rains? Um, Colecovision. The hubby downloaded all sorts of Activision games last night and I stayed up well past my bedtime playing "Burgertime." I forgot what a persistent dick that fried egg is.

Tonight is obedience class graduation night

And we have seven hours to teach the dog how to roll over. Good thing the hubby called in sick today.
Friday, August 11, 2006

Five more of the worst things ever said to me

“You look like the girl in Heavenly Creatures. No, not Kate Winslet, the other one.”

“Oh, you’ll hate her – she has one of those really strong jaw lines that I know you’re really jealous of.” (Said shortly after I had finished up three years’ worth of surgical jaw correction.)

“Your dorm room looks like a sitcom writer’s idea of what a college kid’s dorm room should look like.”

Some people’s breasts look better in a bra and some look better out of a bra. I think yours look better in a bra.”

“My mother’s the one who told me to ask you out in the first place. This is all her fault.”
Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Some thoughts on Lamont-Lieberman

Nah, just kidding.

I've been calling animal shelters this morning, trying to find one that will accept a little stray cat who needs to be taken off the streets before she gets gang-assaulted by the neighborhood riff-raff. Now, I know a lot of people dismiss animal nonprofits as doing lightweight outreach work, but I think said critics gravely underestimate the ambitions of some of these organizations. Witness the phone message I heard a few minutes ago at one local cat shelter:

"If you're calling the week of August 1, please note that we will be closed for reparations."

See? Some groups are working to compensate slave descendants AND save the kitties at the same time!

Don't tell David Horowitz though -- he may start taking out full-page attack ads in Cat Fancy.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Aw, crikey

I just remembered that come Saturday, I have to walk back and forth in front of another woman my age wearing nothing but my underwear. Gotta hit the gym. And buy some new underwear.

(Dare you to guess what the occasion is...)
Monday, August 07, 2006

Sunday bloody annoying Sunday

I woke up yesterday morning in considerable gastronomical pain. Scrolling back through my meals of the last 24 hours, I concluded the culprit was the big honking cheeseburger I'd eaten the night before. So I spent a couple of hours in bed suffering through rotten-cheeseburger labor pains before finally crawling into the living room.

Committed to a day of recuperating on the couch, I turned on VH1 just in time to catch my high school class president pontificating on the too-thin body trend in Hollywood. Annoyed that I'd been inadvertedly treated to yet another installment in Those I Once Knew Who Went On to Bigger and Better Things Than I, I turned off the TV and opened up a women's magazine, where I was treated to the bylines of two former coworkers and the wife of this guy who was once so astoundingly rude to me at a party that I felt deflated for days afterwards.

I tossed aside the magazine, flipped on the Sox game, and wasted three hours watching the fading home team blow a five-run lead to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

I crawled back into bed with the plan to catch up on my reading. Frustrated with Ron Suskind's excessive use of one-word sentences in The One Percent Docrine, I cracked open The Omnivore's Dilemma; 25 pages in, I felt like the biggest, honkingest fool for having ever eaten that rotten cheeseburger in the first place.

Monday never looked so sweet. Sweet, sweet Monday. Oh, except wait, I'm still food-poisoned. Sweet, sweet sick day. More tomorrow.
Friday, August 04, 2006

Your questions answered!

From easiest to most challenging:

How old are you?


What's your middle name?


What sort of siblings do you have, and where are you in the sibling order?

I have one sister, Zoe, who is two years and two days younger than me. Zoe is my best friend. We don’t look too much alike, but we share a brain. We have very similar senses of humor and the exact same laugh, and sometimes we creep people out with the intensity of our connection. And both of us are over-the-top crazy for dogs, hounds in particular.

Are you sad that Lance Bass isn't part of your team anymore?

On my personal Lust-O-Meter, Lace Bass rates somewhere between Jorge Cantu and an olive loaf. So no, not too sad. Also, my all-time favorite gossip site outed him five years ago as a “self-described power bottom,” so I can’t say I was surprised.

Now that Mel Gibson's career is a train-wreck and he's shown his true colors, can we have faith that he might disappear from popular culture forever?

I think he just might. Has anyone rallied to his defense in any real way? I don’t think so. (Where the hell is his wife in all this, by the way?) Besides, this incident can never be squeezed into the “he made a terrible mistake for which he’s sorry and P.S. now he's found God” category, which seems the only way celebs can emerge from scandal.

I gotta say though, amidst all this backlash, I’ve been disappointed that more attention hasn’t been paid to Mel’s deliciously anachronistic use of the term “sugar tits.” All I can hope for now is that “sugar tits” replaces “slut” as the go-to term of endearment among female friends. And that 10 years from now, the NY Times styles section writes a cutting-edge article about this “new” slang term.

When you stop at a highway gas station, what's something you often buy in the 'mart'?

One of my travel rules in that, en route, I eat and drink things I never would otherwise; it’s my stupid little way of marking the beginning of a voyage. So on airplane flights I drink Bloody Mary mix, and on long car rides I purchase and eat, um, corn nuts. I think I also bought a bag of fried pork rinds once.

What I always want to buy is one of those “Yes or Know” magic marker workbooks, but I never do. I don’t know why I deny myself -- I mean, I do still fall into the “for ages 8 to 88” range they specify on the front.

When was the last time you barfed and why?

At the risk of sounding like the most pretentious brat ever, it was at a hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 2005. It was the beginning of our 17-day family safari trip in honor of my dad’s 70th birthday. We’d just put in about 24 hours of flying time, including layovers, and had to get up very early the next morning for a flight to Botswana. So of course my sister and I thought it would be a grand idea to track down the hotel bar and have a glass of wine. One glass turned into five as we caught up on several months’ worth of conversation and gossip; eventually we staggered back to our respective rooms at around 2:30 am. Then I started feeling not so good and remembered that all I’d really had to eat in the last several hours was my malaria medication. And lo, up it came!

Name someone non-historical/political you wish had never been born.

The entire 25-man playoff roster of the 2003 New York Yankees.

Complete this sentence: "Wow, you thought that was Dan? No, that's just..."

the dog. He gets very gassy after he eats his bull penis treats.

It's a miracle neither one of them has scurvy

My sister had to vacate her apartment for an evening, so she went over to my dad's house and promptly made herself a bowl of popcorn for dinner. My father's outraged response:

"Popcorn, Zoe? Come on, let me make you a TV dinner."
Thursday, August 03, 2006

Everybody's got a special kind of story

I'm still working on the answers to all of your questions, but I thought I'd go ahead and tackle the one question that has been preoccupying me for most of this week:

Which was your favorite episode of "Diff'rent Strokes"?

At first, the answer seemed obvious: "The one where Dudley is molested by the bike shop owner, duh." But then I got to thinking. Did I actually enjoy this episode when it aired, or was I merely haunted by the image of a shirtless Dudley riding Western-style on Gordon Jump's back? Did I like watching Arnold freak out in front of the naked-mice porn cartoon, or was I confused and mildly titillated? Did I find all the talk about good touches and bad touches entertaining or disturbing? Was I happy at the end that Dudley was okay, or was I convinced to the core that Dudley would never really be okay again?

The short answer is no, I didn't actually enjoy this episode. But that's the way very special television worked back then. None of us actually enjoyed watching Alex P. talk to his dead friend on "Family Ties" or Rickie kill a deer on "Silver Spoons" or Geri the cerebral palsied cousin perform stand-up on "The Facts of Life," but lord knows we also couldn't tear ourselves away.

And so, on the basis of its indelibility, I'm going to go ahead and name the molestation episode as my all-time favorite episode of "Diff'rent Strokes." So what if I was never able to enjoy reruns of "WKRP" because the bike-shop molester was suddenly running a radio station? I never much liked that Herb guy anyway.

Runner-up: The one where Arnold finds out he's going to be really short for the rest of his life and so tries to stretch and eat himself tall, until Mr. Drummond invites Kathy the wheelchair girl over to talk to Arnold about his problem and Kathy informs him that she "would do anything to be a short black kid who could run."

Last place: Any episode in which Sam sang a country song.

P.S. The Museum of TV and Radio in Los Angeles lost my respect forever when the front desk woman admitted to me that they didn't have the Dudley-gets-bad-touched episode of DS in stock. Even worse: She didn't seem to care. Entertainment capital of the world, my eye....

When attack ads fail

There's a radio ad currently running in North Carolina that accuses Democratic Rep. Brad Miller of promoting "one big fiesta for illegal aliens and homosexuals."

I dunno -- sounds like a pretty fun party to me!
Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The family album

Growing up, I always felt different from the other kids. For starters, my parents were divorced at a time when divorce was unusual, and I was always self-conscious about having two homes. Also, I was born inside out, which meant that I had a giant skull where my face should have been.

It was really hard sometimes, having divorced parents. We were always shuttling back and forth between two houses, which meant packing a bag every Friday and remembering all your books and your Havok Staff for school on Monday. And when I needed to talk to someone about my problems, like how I was struggling in French and how this muscle-bound boy with a pageboy haircut kept bullying me, they weren’t always around to listen.

There were good things about it too though. My parents were always feeling guilty about what they’d put us kids through, which meant they were less inclined to punish us, even if we’d broken a vase or unlocked the powers of Grayskull without permission. And if we wanted a new bike or a shiny new purple codpiece, we could always convince one parent that the other had said it was okay.

Still, I don’t think I could have gotten through those early years without my sister. Next to my buddy Beast Man, she was my best friend back then; I would’ve taken a lightning bolt for her. Her only flaw was that she was kind of messy, always forgetting to tie her shoes and never remembering to brush her hair, although eventually she solved the second problem by wearing a newsboy cap all of the time. (I’d suggested an intimidating black cowl, but she didn’t want us looking too much alike.)

Here’s a nice picture of us. That's me in the middle:

No idea who that kid on the left is. She should really zip up her fly though.