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Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's all about keeping me entertained...

I knew someone once who actually thought that. She thought that was what the world was in existence for. She felt she was entitled. I've got $12.25 in my pocket right now says she still does.

Now, I don't have a real problem with that, I guess. It was her assertion that all such entertainment is supposed to come to her. Sort of like pizza. Except she doesn't want to tip. I figure that, like pizza, being entertained is something one should go on a quest for. If one wants pizza, one needs to decide on toppings, crust, how much one is willing to pay and then tip the delivery driver because they're probably making minimum wage and being treated like a Wisconsin teacher.

Being entertained is pretty much the same thing. One should figure out just WHAT will amuse, or entertain or interest you, then decide on how to get it, be it via television, books, Netflix or even going TO the entertainment as opposed to demanding it be dropped into one's lap. One should PAY for the entertainment, or at least tip the person who brings it to you.

I've been thinking of this because last Saturday I went into Hollywood and met one of my sons for dinner at a favorite pub. It's an Irish pub, which has nothing much to do with anything except that I can get Harp on tap and a really good shepherd's pie. BUT...said pub is about three doors down from the Pantages Theater. There was a big, new banner up..."Wicked" is coming for the holidays!

Just what I love to do for the holidays...spend a fortune seeing a show about a green witch and a blond bimbo who travels by bubble. WAY more fun than "The Nutcracker" or "It's A Wonderful Life" or "Twelfth Night". This, btw, is the ONLY entertainment said former friend is willing to actually go TO. She wants to BE Elphaba, the green witch. You know, the wicked one? The one who meddles, jumps to the wrong conclusions, wrecks havoc all over Oz and, in the world of the musical theater, ends up with the hot guy and living happily ever after. To that extent, my former friend is pretty much dead on. She meddles, jumps to conclusions, wrecks havoc wherever her perky green foot lands and is convinced that this will bring her peach, happiness and, I guess, a hot guy. She actually has a guy who always seemed pretty nice to me and frankly, I feel sorry for him. But then some guys get off on being whipped, or so I hear. I'm not a guy, so it's hard for me to be authoritative on that.

Well, in an effort to be entertained, I WENT to some entertainment last night. The hubster eschewed our plan to go see a high school musical and retreated to the sanctity of his club. The boys and I spent half a day on various forms of public transportation heading about 20 miles west and had a FINE time seeing a local high school perform "Barnum". Okay local if you're allowed to drive a car, which technically I am but the hubster, who doesn't drive, doesn't see the need to register the vehicle and the pounds of penalties piled up on the two years worth of unpaid registration bills, added to the hundreds of dollars he racked up in unpaid parking tickets during the time he DID drive don't interest him much. Did I say much? I meant at all.

I saw "Barnum" a million years ago, with Jim Dale. I saw it at least three times, I'm thinking it was 4 but I'm not positive about that. HELL of a show. No redeeming value, no witches defy gravity and trash Oz. It's about Barnum. There's a lot of circus and a lot of singing and a lot of dancing and juggling and tightrope walking and well, damn if it isn't just a wonderfully good time.

I was thinking about Jim Dale last night. He was such a dynamic Barnum that, for years, the show couldn't exist without him. Jim Dale moved on, the show? Not so much. But, oddly enough, this brought me full circle back to a couple of very trivial events that changed my life.

Back with Elphaba and I were "friends" I was heavily involved with an internet sight where the primary subject was Disney. The people on the chat boards were all Disney obsessed. And I DO mean obsessed. They would post where they had seen things called "Hidden Mickeys". Frequently they found them in their toilet bowls. Now, to get this straight, a "hidden Mickey" is an image of Mickey Mouse cleverly incorporated into something mundane. The image isn't readily visible, but it has been deliberately and thoughtfully worked in. See this? Look carefully at the store name.

THAT'S a "Hidden Mickey."

Anyway, these people who know everything about Disney would post pictures of a kid on Main Street at Disneyland wearing a Mickey Mouse hat and say 'LOOK! I found a hidden Mickey." And someone would point out that they were unclear on the concept and Elphaba's bestest friend in the whole world, who runs this board as the anarchy it is, would promptly suspend or ban the person who pointed OUT that the kid in the hat was not a "Hidden Mickey" in the interest of fair play in the coven. Or something like that, I never was really sure...

Anyway, back to Jim Dale. There was an entertainment thread and, a few years ago, some people were discussing the late, dear departed victim of the recent writers strike "Pushing Daisies." The narrator of that show was Jim Dale. One of the many "if it's Disney I know it" members posted that he had a great style but she couldn't find anyplace where he had done anything else, who was he?

Really? I mean, Ms. I know every thing Disney apparently had never heard of the Internet Movie Date Base. Because if she had used it she would have seen that, at the top of the list where notable roles are showcased, the #1 position is occupied by "Pete's Dragon". Yeah, that would be Disney. Also noted is his role in "Carry On, Doctor" but find me a British actor over 50 who hasn't appeared in a "Carry On" movie...

Anyway, I pointed this out and was immediately put on about 20 ignore lists as an insufferable prig and how was someone supposed to know about movies that were made before they were even born? Yeah, remember THAT the next time you turn on "Gone With The Wind," you twit.

This brought me to a recent event on said website, wherein someone posted something about "Annette" and several Disney geeks and experts then posted "Annette who?"


Not only that, but the several people who came to the defense of the poster who referred to Ms. Funicello by her first name only, assuming that a bunch of self-proclaimed Disney aficionados would KNOW who he was talking about was then publicly reprimanded by Elphaba's bestest friend EVAH...a thick, soulless woman who wears neither make up nor a pleasant countenance and pulls her bun so tight she can't blink her eyes, which only adds to harshness of her constant expression.

And this is what represents the "Happiest Place On Earth."

So...this is what keeps them entertained. Insulting people who call other people on being stupid. NO...not being stupid. There are legitimately stupid people who deserve respect. BEHAVING stupidly and then standing up defending your stupid behavior. That's what they LOVE. Makes them feel superior, I guess. Cole Porter once said "all people LOVE to teach" and I think this is true. There's is also a big part of the population who feel that learning is a sign of weakness. These are the people who seem to hang out on Internet message boards. And the Tea Party. And just how did all this change my life? Because they finally got so mean, petty and downright ridiculous I not only don't go there anymore, I have no desire to go there. And this make me very happy.

Anyway, they can entertain themselves their way. I COULD sit on my considerable azz and prowl the Internet for people to ridicule and insult but I don't really find that very amusing. I'll entertain myself my way. Last night, a bunch of fresh faced 15 to 18 year old high school kids had me on my feet, anxious to get in line and "Come Follow the Band" with them.

I'm good with that.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bombs away...


Okay, I said it. Actually, I wrote it. For some reason, no one wants to admit they use it. It's okay to say it but if you write it everyone will know you use it and that's then open to a LOT of people looking down their noses at you and opining that you shouldn't say that because other people might hear you.

One of the funniest scenes in "The King's Speech" involves repeated use of the F bomb. And a few others as well. That got it an "R" rating. "True Grit" showed someone getting shot in the head and having half a hand cut off. That, btw, is worth a PG-13. I've said it before...You can eviscerate someone in the movies but for God's sake, don't say "What the FUCK are you doing?" while they do it because THAT will get you an "R".

One of my kids recently posted something on that social networking site which was HUGE news and someone posted the normal "hey look I've gone through puberty and I can say stuff now" response of the day, which is "whoa, fuck!" She eliminated the "c", for what that's worth, internet shorthand, I guess.

Perhaps I'm immune. I've raised two sons and still carry the only estrogen in the place. Even the damn CAT is male. So perhaps it's just a survival, I'm not sure.

Anyway, back to The Social Network. Said "whoa..." response drew another comment from an out of state family member which said, in essence "Congratulations on your achievement. And please tell your friend to watch her language as your family can read this."

Say what? In the first place, the person who posted this is younger than I am and one would think she'd be a little looser. In the second place, she was chastising someone else's kid. Not even MY kid who, at least, is related. It's a stranger's kid. In the third place, she's used it herself. More than once.

But she recently turned 50 and to celebrate seems to be channeling her mother, who had a rather skewed view of manners. Drove me crazy. My MIL tolerated NO response to the phrase "Thank You" other than "You're Welcome." I found this out when I had done something for her that she was physically unable to do for herself, too short, not strong enough, something. Anyway, she said "Thank you" and I said "My pleasure."

BIG mistake.

This, btw, is the same woman who told me it was wrong to let my kids read in the bathroom. She read that reading in the bathroom was distracting and caused one to forget why one went in there in the first place. I can't even count the number of times I spent an hour sitting with my pants around my ankles on a cold, hard wooden seat with my ass hanging exposed over a bowl of cold water, came out and then said "Damn! I was so busy reading I forgot to pee." Not to mention the fact that she probably found this in a magazine that she was reading in the bathroom.

But back to the lecture. Okay, on The Social Network you can see everything anyone says to someone you know. Granted. But, technically, one can see everything your neighbors are doing through their windows if you choose to look. Does because you can see them does it give you the right to bitch that their consistent belching annoys you?

It's socially accepted voyeurism though. If it's on line, it's okay to butt in.

I've been thinking a lot about this ever since I saw that though. I've got one son who wouldn't say "shit" if he fell into a vat of it and another one who couldn't get through the day without saying "fuck" at least 17 times and in 4 different tenses. I didn't drill it into them. Okay, watch your language in public, definitely. But that was back when in public meant...well, in PUBLIC. Posting on Facebook is sort of like having a private conversation while your phone is being tapped.

So, common decency, of course. But where's the definition of decent? What's decent and what's the dirty word of the generation?

So I guess I blame myself because my kid swears, he comes by it honestly. I'm not bragging, it's just the way it is. But I can live with it. No, I never really taught them to never say "fuck". But as long they never say "fuck off" to a homeless person, as long as they never say "I'm busy" when a grandparent calls and asks for help, as long as they never lie about having no change when they have a pocket full of it and someone is in need, as long as they don't talk about Jews like Mel Gibson does or women like Charlie Sheen does, well, I'm okay with that.

Because, for my money, anyone who lives the biblical axiom "whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers you do unto ME," whether or not you consider it to be about a personal deity, mankind as a whole or just about yourself, well, you can tell me to go fuck myself in a public square for all I care. For my money, you've got your priorities straight.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring Cleaning.

If the road to hell is really paved with good intentions (which is something my grandmother was fond of saying) I assume it's paved with men. Their intentions, I'm sure, are good but, in the end, they're all pretty much pigs.

About two and a half years ago, we were forced to downsize. This, for some reason, doesn't seem to bother the hubster, who looks at me as if I'm some sort of mutant because yes, it's over two years later and yes, it altered my life to such a degree that I will never be the same. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, we're made up, to a large degree, of water and we all know what happens to water when it doesn't move.

I had to get rid of a LOT when we made this move and there were things that hurt something awful to leave behind. Now some of the stuff, while I didn't want to lose it I discovered I didn't really need and have done quite well without. God GOD, the crap I had in the kitchen! But, I sold my set of white dishes with the gold rims, thinking that I never used them except on special occasions and, while that's absolutely true, I have, on several occasions (Thanksgiving, Easter, birthdays...) regretted letting them go. Especially for 20 bucks although, to be honest, I only paid 40 for them to begin with. I did keep the gold flatware.

There's still a little empty spot where my piano used to be. It was music, and it was MY music. That piano was something that was mine and mine alone and it had been mine since the Christmas I was 10. I never had to compromise, never had to share, it never had to leave to make room for something that someone else brought to the party. It was probably the only thing I still had that wasn't influenced by someone else's opinion. It didn't even have to be played, it held the promise of sound, there's a place inside of me that knows I can make music and that makes everything bearable. No, it's not genius music, it's good but not great. It was uniquely mine and now it's gone. I feel it every single day and sometimes I even tear up over it. But it's spilled milk.

Moving after so long and into a completely different neighborhood, gave me a certain amount of enthusiasm. How nice is was going to be able to have a place that was COMPLETELY mine with no influences from previous family members (koffkoffmymotherkoffkoff) who could not keep their mouths shut when it came to anything I ever had or owned. You know, as in "you know what would be REALLY nice in here?" thus, in an oh so helpful way, managing to tell you that they think your taste sucks and getting their own way in how you decorate your home.

Now the very first thing I wanted was a new bed. Ours was broken down, and, I hesitate to say, it wasn't ours to begin with. It was fairly new, but it WAS my mother's. It's HUGE. For some reason, my mother, living alone, needed a California King size bed. She was 5'3" so, of course, needed a California King for the added length. The California, or Western King is longer than it is wide, in case you didn't know. You probably did.

We were moving into a bedroom considerable smaller than the one we were leaving. Less closet space, less square footage, less everything. The hubster argued and argued and argues and, as always and I do mean always, I ended up giving in. For the last two and a half years I've lived with wall to wall freaking bed. The frame is broken, we can't get a new one of those either, why should we when we can prop the damn thing up on these plastic "risers" which will not only fix the problem of the broken legs and missing casters but will raise the bed to such a level that we can shove half of our clothing UNDER the bed now? Not to mention the always entertaining show of watching me climb up on the damn thing. I'm not short, I'm 5'8" but I still have to hoist my left knee up on the bed and then haul the rest of me into it.

The hubster claims that this habit is why the almost 15 year old mattress is breaking down.

Now, as we have wall to wall bed, there's not much room for anything else. Like clothing. This doesn't stop the hubster though. See, his mother not only didn't mind, she pretty much encouraged her kids to just pile their clothes and possessions on every available flat space they could find, therefore negating the average persons visceral need for closet space. He continued this habit when he moved in with me. Over thirty years ago.

Over 30 years of screaming and folding and putting away, only to find that the instant some space was cleared he went out and bought more crap to stack on it. He saves everything, and I do mean everything. There are cabinets over the closet in the bedroom. These cabinets are full of magazines. Unread magazines. Magazines that are over three years old. Know how I know they're unread? Because they're still in their plastic wrap covers. We moved stacks and stacks of them. We've added two and a half years of them. About a year ago I finally decided to hell with it and started unwrapping and reading the monthly issue of "Vanity Fair." He'd been subscribing for years and there they were, all sealed in plastic, stacked on an end table. He describes this as being "acquisitive." I call him a borderline hoarder and, mark my words, three months after I'm dead and can no longer spend my week-ends trying to shovel out this kind of mess he'll be on TLC, crying, while the "got junk?" truck hauls his collection of 47 year old unread newspapers away.

You think I'm joking?

He's "going" to get around to them. Now he's decided to work from home and he's set up shop in the dining room, thus rendering the room unusable for anything else. Like, oh, eating. we can barely get through it anymore. Between the empty boxes, the empty mailing envelopes, the piles of DVDs he's "gonna" watch and the empty bottles, it's impassable. See, we can't put the recycling in a recycling container because if we take them to the recycling center they will pay us for them. I'm basically okay with that. takes two busses to get to the closest recycling center. The car, which STILL can't be driven because it's STILL not registered, is FULL of these bags. They're being stored in it. The rest of them are now being stored in the dining room.

Am I out of line here?

I mean, when we moved I thought, I REALLY thought that I was, by going backwards, enabling myself to move forward. Get rid of the baggage. Have a nice little place, done the way I liked, some place I could actually open the door and be hospitable. Sort of a one step back, three steps forward type of thing. Have you ANY idea what it's like the four times a year someone comes over? I spend a WEEK trying to clean the place up. By myself. Because no one else will get up off their butts until they know our guests have actually LEFT their house and are on the way to OURS.

The latest addition is the cat carrier. It now sits in the middle of the living room. Because the cat will have to go back to the vet eventually and the hubster has decided that, if we leave the carrier in the middle of the living room where he (the cat, not the hubster) can get used to being around it he'll get right in when the time comes.

Really? He's a CAT. You do the math.

It's been here for two weeks now. I finally tucked it into an empty space next to a chair and use it for a footstool. I'm hoping maybe I can call this a cutting edge design style and end up in Better Homes and Gardens.

At any rate, I have guests coming for Easter, which is six weeks away. I really need to start cleaning.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The "Y" chromosome. Actually.

Okay, listen up.

No man should be allowed to use the word "Actually." Even if he asks you to go buy a copy of "Love, Actually" which, trust me on this one, they won't, unless they think they'll get lucky if they watch it with you. In which case, he'll ask for "That English movie with Colin whatshisname who got the Oscar and Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson who's really hot even now, you know, the Christmas one?" Speaking of hot, Colin Firth in black tie holding an Oscar? Damn, I thought I was over the hot flashes. He's younger than I am, too. Not that I care. For THAT I'd go to cougar school. But I digress...

Every time a guy says "Actually" to you you know what's coming. Your kid asks "Mom, when did the Civil War end?" and you say "1865" and whoever the grown man in the vicinity happens to be will say "Actually, it was April 9, 1865." "Okay", you say "wasn't that still 1865?" "Well, yes" he says "but there was a LOT of 1865 came after the war ended, so 1865 isn't exactly right."

"Fine, whatever" you say. "Anyway, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox in APRIL, of 1865." "Actually" says the man "Lee surrendered at Appomattox Village, which is about 3 miles NORTH of Appomattox."

"Yes" you say. "I also heard he symbolically surrendered his sword, but he was allowed to keep it. My family was descended from the Lees and I'm sorry I didn't get that sword. It would be a handy thing to have right now."

The guy then looks at you funny because he has no freaking CLUE what pissed you off and your kid has already answered his own question via the Wikipedia.

For all of the lip service we've paid to women's rights. we have none. At least none that we want. Okay, we vote. And we can wear pants in public without being pitched in the hoosegow on a morals charge.

We're allowed to go out and work jobs we hate that are way beneath our qualifications and get paid 77 cents for every dollar the under qualified man in the same position makes...IF a man will even TAKE the job. Let's face it, the incompetent guy will probably be our boss. Ever notice...most Executive Assistants are female? AND...we allowed to do this silently. God forbid you should bitch about it. THAT'S beyond them. After all, if you're not working for THEM, why are you complaining to them?

We're allowed to work three jobs at a time to support our families and then come home and cook dinner and fold laundry and go to the market and iron their collar points because "look, there's a funny crease, right there" even though you can't see squat and your collars look like you slept in them because you don't have TIME to "touch up" your collars, you have misplaced faith in the perma press cycle.

We're allowed to do this because, when it comes down to it, it doesn't really matter what the guy does...society looks on women to be responsible for their families. Has anyone blamed Martin Sheen for Charlie? Okay, bad example, no one's blaming anyone but Charlie for Charlie. Which leads me to believe maybe he IS his own drug, a Vatican Assassin and a Bi-winner. However, when all this dies down, and it will, trust me, they won't blame his FATHER for it.

Kids that are "banging 7 gram rocks" (and no, I'm not entirely sure what that means, I'm in the ballpark but can someone give me some sort of equivalent? You know, like "hail the size of golf balls"?) aren't sitting around in the Principal's office or police station while someone calls their FATHER, are they? Does anyone ever opine "you know, if his or her FATHER hadn't been so career driven and stayed home and paid attention to his kids this wouldn't have happened?

I didn't think so.

I think it has something to do with the fact that men always have to be right. It's okay for a woman to be right, provided the man can be righter. As in "Actually...."