Tag Archives: silly

French Kiss First, Introductions Later.


Welcome to California.

golden_gate_bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

If all your contact with the outside world is mass media, or, say, you’re an alien from space, seeking information about earth, and your research dart on the globe hit the USA, and you began, sensibly enough, with mass media –you would surely presume the only places IN America were…

New York, and California.

Because EVERYTHING on television, in movies, etc., is located in: you guessed it. NY or CA.

Naturally, when the opportunity flung itself like a blob of goo to head west with my two daughters to the flipside of mainland America, I figured: hmm? Why not see life as the extraterrestrials – I mean, Californians – do?

I kid, I KID.

Actually, this time I DO kid, because if you happen to be reading this…

WAIT.

Don’t you just HATE when writers write: “If you happen to be reading this?

Talk about “author intrusion,”* which, of course, I’m doing now in a MAJOR way, but for some reason, I am egomaniacal enough – or feel strongly enough about this point – to have the nerve to think I can get away with it.

Duh. Of COURSE you happen to be reading this; if you WEREN’T reading this, you wouldn’t be READING this: the author’s SENTENCE that says, so very stupidly, “if you happen to be reading this.”

Why THANK you, Captain OBVIOUS.

(How do you spell “AAUGHHH?”)

I can’t STAND it when people don’t give other people the credit for the most BASIC intelligence. Or when they refuse to exhibit the most basic intelligence of their own, and simply swallow and regurgitate clichés.

Sorry. That’s just not thinking “out of the box.”

(That’s a joke. I am SO hoping you all got that….)

::-::-::

Anyway, tirade over, now that I’ve “intruded,” my job as a writer now is to suck you so hard back into the work that you forget about me again. So: forget me, move on without me, save yourselves….

To get back to Californians: if you’ve been wondering where all the nice people in the world have gone; if you’ve lost your faith in humanity, you’ve been betrayed, you can’t seem to find a kind soul in a cold-hearted world, no matter where you look…

<can you hear the swelling orchestral strings…?>

Get your ass to northern California.

InvaderZimWthoutStripesSomeone, I don’t know who – Invader Zim?

…has scooped them all up in a giant net and deposited them HERE.

Of course, the New Yorker in me wants to warn you: I’ve only been here a few weeks, so they COULD be putting on an devastatingly good show (California, Hollywood, Oscar…), and I SHOULD keep checking my back for knives…

But honestly, if these folks aren’t genuinely nice, then I’ve landed where Ira Levin got his idea for The Stepford Wives, because everybody – and I do mean everybody – walks around with a light step, a friendly smile, and an open outlook.

This is either the Cosmic Galactic Nexus of Benevolence, or these folks are gobsmackingly realistic test robots for Disneyland’s newest animatronic attraction.

They’re cheerful and concerned for others in a state with a bigger unemployment problem and more housing foreclosures than New York.

And, unlike New York – and particularly unlike, say…oooh, I dunno, GEORGIA, they are warm and inviting to strangers. Even strangers who come from scary and disreputable places like New York. No one here has prejudged us at all.

oscar-wilde-ph

Oscar Wilde

(At least not to our faces, where it counts. As far as I’m concerned, I’m with Oscar Wilde. Let people say whatever they want behind my back; I’ll worry when they STOP talking.)

These folks are even charming and positive in an area located less than – well, my guess would be, less then twelve inches from the Sun.

I can’t seem to figure it out. We aren’t any closer to the equator (although maybe we’re WAYYYY higher. As in, we’re astronauts. Californunauts.)

When they say “sunny California,” they aren’t just whistling Dixie.

(Side note: having made a side trip on the way to visit family in Rocky Plains, Georgia, I know what I’m talking about when I say “Dixie,” too.)

The sun is so strong here I carry a bottle of water around with me nearly everywhere I go, wishing I could haul a tank around, like someone on oxygen. I never realized what a deliciously humid state New York actually was.

oldwomanSomeone PLEASE let me know what moisturizing cream I need. I’m going to look about 45 years old in about 45 minutes. In another 45, I’ll look 90. As it is, the jar that used to last me six months is half gone.

In fact, Californians are SO friendly, that in a recent trip to a music store (I was rescuing a guitar I’d discovered that had been criminally abused) I got to joking with the owner, who began to tease me – and then somehow, things got a little weird.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably caught on: I’m not someone you want to DARE.

Play chicken with me? You’re pretty much guaranteed two totaled cars.

So when I jokingly said: “Well, then, I’ll just have to get one big, fat, sloppy kiss,” never in a million years thinking he would take me up on it – for no one in their right mind in New York would take that phrase as ANYTHING but, er, symbolic, when the music store owner said something along the lines of me not having the nerve…

… Well, what could I do? Apparently, he was calling my bluff – or thought I was bluffing. I had my entire state’s reputation to defend.

It was only later, perusing my copy of The Secret, Closely-Guarded Girl Manual, that I remembered that those of us with a little too much tomboy in them have to be wary of dares and the like, and that boys will steal kisses when they can, particularly from impulsive redheads.

So I called his bluff back, and dashed over boldly right behind his workspace, again, never dreaming his own oncoming car would not swerve.

Yet swerve he did NOT, and put his arms around me, and kissed me like Bogart kissed Bergman in Casablanca.

Yipes.

Careful to keep my New York cool, I then shook his hand and said:

“How do you do? I’m Elizabeth. And your name is?”

“Larry,” he said. “Welcome to California.”

::-::-::-::-::-::

Author Intrusion (also sometimes called, literarily, “authorial intrusion” – I don’t know why they like the extra two syllables, but professors sometimes do…) is explained nicely here, at about.com:

Have you ever read a book where the author suddenly jolted you out of the storyline with a comment that just doesn’t flow with the rest of the work? That’s an authorial intrusion. Sometimes it works, but only when it’s done by a master storyteller/writer.

Authorial intrusions are of substantial length (not just a brief aside in a novel) and they are addressed to you (the reader).

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Heroes: the Soap Opera



Digg!

My kids are into vampires. This, I believe, is mostly because of the extremely lengthy but otherwise compelling Twilight books by Stephanie Meyer, which portray these creatures of the night as good guys with super-powers, able to run really really fast, dodge bullets, leap tall buildings in a single bound…

You get the picture.

They want to BE vampires. They, of course, would never EVER feast upon the blood of mortals, like EVERY OTHER VAMPIRE story has it. MY kids would be TWILIGHT vampires.

In other words, they’d be superheroes.

Just like we ALL wanted to be when we were kids.

supermanlogo1Isn’t that still a favorite question – even as adults? “What would YOUR superpower be?” Because, of course, no fair hogging all the superpowers. There’s only ONE Superman, and he gets them all. Every OTHER superhero just gets ONE big superpower: The Flash is fast; the Green Lantern gets that ring thing he can do tricks with; Batman has brains, a good personal trainer and a giant bankroll; and Marvel plays it coolest of all: they have the Mutants, each of whom has some genetic fluke that gives them one and only one way-out cool thing they can do – and that thing almost always comes with a drawback, just to keep it real.

Rogue, of the X-Men, from Marvel Comics

Rogue, of the X-Men, from Marvel Comics

 

 

Rogue, of the X-Men, for instance: all she has to do is touch you and she’ll suck the life out of you. Try and mug HER in a back alley. The drawback? She can’t feel the touch of another human, or they’ll die on her. That’s gotta suck.

So when NBC came up with a series idea of a bunch of everyday mortal human beings suddenly springing into action with super-powers (one each, they played fair, although why it all happened at the same time they never DID explain), the little kid in me got as excited as I used to get when December came and all those stop-motion cartoons lined up the programming schedule. (“I wanna be a dentist…”)

Heroes. Whoa. How cool. Maybe it could STILL happen to me. I can still remember the night our family went to see the Michael Keaton Batman movie, and my sister’s boyfriend and I stayed up, jazzed, for hours that night, planning how we could do it – we really could, it was possible…

What a freakin’ disappointment this show is turning out to be.

They should be showing it during the day, instead, and calling it “As the Heroes Turn,” or “One Hero to Live,” or “General Heroes.” It’s become QUITE the soap opera. You hang on for a whole hour, watching them cast maudlin, moody glances, full of portent, at each other, then just as something is about to happen:

To Be Continued.

You can tell he's flying, see, because the buildings are so far away? See?

You can tell he's flying, because the buildings are so far away? See?

They must have laid off the special effects crew due to the hard times we’re all facing. Because even The Flying Senator? All we ever see of him now is him landing from a distance, with a sort of a swooshing sound.

 

It’s all Evil Plot now, to corral the innocent people who have superpowers, by sticking Hannibal Lechter-ish gas masks on them, orange jail jumpsuits, and put them Who-Knows-Where? We don’t know, because of course they always escape.

They scatter. They come together, cast moody glances at each other at temporary safe houses, then scatter again, to find another place to cast moody glances at each other.

The most common lines now are: “We’re stronger together than we are apart,” and “We must keep this a secret.” 

Okay: let’s see some strength. Let’s see you kick some bad guys.

But who are the bad guys, now? Even the superguy they started out with, who they wrote up REALLY scary in the first season, named Sylar, is iffy, now that we’re getting to know him. Sylar is the scariest because he’s unfair: all he has to do is come NEAR a superguy, and he absorbs their power: FOREVER. Wait: that’s more than one superpower.

Not fair. And scary. So he has EVERYBODY’s powers. And, I, having gotten annoyed, and missed a few episodes, observe now he’s a “shape-shifter,” which means he has that 1970s “Bionic Woman/Fill In Your Action Show of Choice” power of magically looking – and somehow SOUNDING (how they manipulate their larynx, too, these shape-shifters, is amazing) – like anyone else. Height, weight, shoe size, and everything.

I guess the Laws of Conservation of Mass go out the window in TV Land. Unless, maybe, if Sylar turns into a really short guy, he becomes as dense as kryptonite.

But what I really like about Sylar is his power to make his hair look really stupid.

Sylar, all glam, and Sylar, with silly hair.

Sylar, all glam, and Sylar, with silly hair.

Wonder Twin Powers, Unite!

Wonder Twin Powers, Unite!

Some of these superpowers, though, I never did understand. Like this woman, whose name I forget. She started out with a double in the mirror: super-strong – and evil. Then, somehow, this double came out of the mirror, and I’m not sure if her twin became good or evil, or merged back into her or not. Either way, it reminded me eerily of “Wonder Twin Powers: Unite!” Only without the plastic cereal bowl ring.

 

Ando - Hiro's sidekick, now superhero - hence the fist, I guess.

Ando - Hiro's sidekick, now superhero - hence the fist, I guess.

Hiro – ha, ha, hilarious name choice – and Ando, though – the two Japanese heroes – I love. Hiro has this extremely stubborn sense of honor, while Ando is just this regular guy, looking to get laid if possible, although Hiro can usually bring him around from the dark side. Somehow, though, during the period I missed, Hiro lost his power to stop time – which was one of the cooler powers – and Ando now has gained SOME power which I can’t for the life of me understand.

 

Looking SO much cooler than the nerd he is.  

 

Looking SO much cooler than the nerd he is.

 

And, to top it all off, they’re toting some SuperBaby, which belongs to yet another reluctant mind-reading hero, which they just delivered (no pun intended.) This mind-reading hero has taken on another power – and they made THIS fair – because the guy that HAD this power died, SO SOMEBODY needs to be able to have his eyes turn white and draw cartoons of the future.

He apparently sucks at it, though, because in the episodes I’ve seen, he JUST finishes his drawing – as in – “Wait – that’s us, getting arrested!” and the police barge in. So he really needs to work on his timing.

The problem with all this?

I’ll keep watching. Because after all, if I can’t BE a superhero, I’m still a sucker for any show about them. Especially flying. Because if you ask me? THAT’S what I want my superpower to be.

 

Think we can pull this off? Are you serious?

Think we can pull this off? Are you serious?

 

OK, NOW we're deadly serious. But for some reason, this cheerleader has a new team?

OK, NOW we're deadly serious. But for some reason, this cheerleader has a new team?

 

 

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Let’s Judge a Few Books by Their Covers.


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The Encyclopedia IdioticaDo you love the mall? Are you entranced by the pink glitteriness of LibbyLu? Are you lured by the dark emo moodiness of Hot Topic?

Or do you find yourself oddly nauseous after about a half an hour of that weirdly strong buttered pretzel smell that somehow manages to float its way from Macy’s at one end to Sears on the other?

Like me, do you find yourself gazing in the windows of Wet Seal and Express, wondering when you were thrown into that time machine and got sent to the seventies?

I was in Borders Books, one of the few stores in the Galleria Mall where I live that I can actually tolerate, a dangerous store, since I am prone to spend virtually all of whatever is in my pocket.

The reason I was there? I am raising two voracious readers, both of them girls who just LOVE the mall, and one of them, while waking me up for school – okay, yes, SHE woke ME up for school, what’s it TO you – stepped on and crushed my eyeglasses.

Having no vision insurance, I needed to go to the Get ’Em Quick & Cheap Eyeglasses R Us Store, which is not all that bad, and they know me there, besides. Don’t you LOVE places That Know You There? Don’t you LOVE Special Treatment?

Not that I am in the least bit deserving of any sort of Special Treatment, but like my dog, I galumph through the world, expecting everyone to like me. (And if they’re cute, they can pet me.) I talk to absolute strangers as if I’ve known them my whole life – sometimes as if we’re already having a conversation, for example, today:

Me, to strange (as in unknown – for all I know, she could be very nice) older woman, admiring my dog, who is with me at said Galleria: He’s great, isn’t he? And he’s quiet, too – except for the other night.

(I should add that we were headed opposite ways in the mall, as well, so my speaking up has forced the poor woman to stop.)

Her: Well, you know, someone could have been poking around your house, then.

Me: That’s EXACTLY what I thought. My kids were complaining they got woken up, but when a quiet dog barks, I say: let him bark, and lock the doors, don’t you?

Her (with a you-said-it-sister grin): I couldn’t agree more.

That was all. Nice little exchange.

Either way: we end up at Borders Books, Charybdis whirlpool of money-sucking peril – so I sent the kids to the kids section with the usual admonition: ONE BOOK EACH, which they know is total B.S., since the quieter and more invisible they are for as long as possible, the more likely it is mama will gather more and more books of her own – and mama can’t very well buy five books for herself and limit them to one, now can she?

Outsmarted them this time.

Pretty Little PincushionsI got sidetracked when I saw a book by this title: Pretty Little Pincushions. Who, I wondered, buys this book? Who, I wondered, needs more than one – maybe two – pincushions.

Now: I sew – a lot, and I sew well. My pincushions are neither little nor pretty. Purely functional, and if I were to put in the time on a sewing project, it surely would not be wasted on a pincushion.

Then I saw this one: Pretty Little Potholders. Yikes. I just bought new potholders, Pretty Little Potholdersafter the last ones I had finally went rancid, at one of the stores I actually like – the Dollar Store. Those, at least, are guaranteed – relatively – to keep my hands from burning.

What an awful lot of effort on frivolity. Plus the expense of the book.

Then I decided to grab my moleskine, tie the dog’s leash to my waist, and collect some more titles that I thought – purposely without opening the book – seemed absolutely silly to me.

You've Got MaleIn the romance section: You’ve Got Male, by Elizabeth Bevarly. This was annoying not only for the title, but also by the stupid way she spells her last name on what I hope is a pseudonym.

Texas Loving, by Leigh Greenwood. Also in romance. In fact, I personally wouldn’t read anything in romance, but then again, I get to have Peter.

The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World’s Greatest Human, by Ian Spector. Even if it is a humor book, that’s not funny.

Then there was one that sort of seemed funny – just the title – but not worth buying. The Mystery of Sausage: And Other Ridiculous Blueprints. Paul Osborne, a magician, wrote this, whose other claim to fame is that his ancestors invented the Ferris Wheel. Okay.

The Mystery of SausageOne book I wished I’d had the money for was The Encyclopedia Idiotica. That one grabbed my attention. If any reader wants to send me that one, I’ll be very grateful.

Later, at dinner, I pointed out how ridiculous the pincushion book seemed to me.

My oldest brought up what I thought was an excellent point.

“It might not be ridiculous to everybody.” she said. “Old ladies might love it. Maybe they collect them. Maybe they even trade them. You know, like old lady baseball cards.”

So – every book has some use.

In the bookstore itself, I saw a man perusing the Sausage book. “What about that book made you interested in it?” I asked.

He smiled, sheepishly. “I’m just interested in a lot of weird stuff,” he said. “I have a lot of weird books.”

I pointed out another to him. “Did you see The Physics of Superheroes?”

He reached for it excitedly.

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The Wondrous Vulva Puppet.


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The Wondrous Vulva PuppetThis is The Wondrous Vulva Puppet, brought to my attention by — of all people — my 11-year-old, Heaven help us all.

My first thought: now I’ve seen everything.

My immediate second thought? I haven’t. This tomfoolery is, in all likelihood, merely the tip of a mammoth iceberg of absurdity. I am but a hapless explorer, beginning a trek into a world of goofiness, a cartographer mapping out a journey to the center of silliness.

Armageddon rapidly recedes into the far distant future. Who would rain hellfire onto a universe festooned with such buffoonery?

Daughter: Mom?

Me: (busy, only half-listening): Um?

Daughter: In my Seventeen and my CosmoGirl magazines, they both have sections about … Australia.

Me: (still deeply involved in making the Internet safe for satire) Um-hmm.

Daughter: You know what I mean when I say “Australia,” right?

Me: (still attempting to phone in this conversation) A country inhabited by very outdoorsy, enthusiastic people with charming but difficult-to-mimic-accurately accents?

Daughter: (clearing throat) I mean “down there,” Ma.

Me: (whipping my swivel chair around way too quickly to achieve the cool, casual effect I’m striving for) Really? That’s, um…

Daughter: Anyway, I wanted to show you this page.

Me: (swiveling back to be handed the page you see on the left, and to be flabbergasted into speechlessness.)

Daughter: Are you mad?

Me: No! Of course not. No! Of course not. No! It’s… well… it’s SORT of natural… (Flapping around for the right thing to say, I reach for Old Reliable.) How do YOU feel about it?

Daughter: (who is by far the more mature and calm of this pair in just about all matters) I find it informative, but graphic and disturbing.

(Keen, accurate and precise. All those “omit needless words” I keep writing on her papers are paying off.)

I’m wondering, except for the part of me that would make my mother (but not my grandmother) blush, why exactly this thing has to be a puppet? I mean, as a puppeteer myself, I’m curious about the mechanics of the contraption. Do you stick your hand in, and make the lips move so The Wondrous VP can say things?

To whom?

What would it say?

Would it thank your hormones, as Seventeen Magazine suggests in the May 2008 issue, and I quote: “Dear Estrogen: Thanks for girly hips and breasts, plus strong bones, clear skin, and a better mood.”

Or this missive: “Dear Progesterone: Thanks for keeping periods coming, so I know I’m healthy and maturing into a woman.”

If I were going to write a letter to my hormones, it would read more like this:

“Thanks for turning me into a fried-chocolate eating, temper-tantrum-throwing, moody psychotic as often as Lon Chaney the werewolf has to strap himself into a chair, avoiding the curse of the full moon. REALLY appreciate that. OH: plus, I love that I’m out of the pool on all those 400-degree days. That’s terrific. Almost as fabulous as the bloating, the cramping and the headaches. But one more thing, in all earnestness – I do seriously appreciate you keeping my butt out of unflattering white pants.”

Although I probably should add that I truly am grateful that I don’t have man-hair on my face, or burly arms, or some hormonal disorder (although that thyroid thing that makes you super-thin would be tough to turn down. Wait: is thyroid hormones, or endocrine-something? Or are they the same? I forget. I’m a writer, not a doctor, Captain.)

At any rate, should you, Constant Reader, wish to own a Wondrous Vulva Puppet your very own self, you can! (Seventeen is VERY big on the bang – the exclamation point, my most hated of all punctuation marks!)

WARNING: ADULT CONTENT (the link, anyway):
For only $125, not including shipping and handling, you can have your choice of seven – count ’em seven – colors, featuring Classy Claret (that’s CLASSY Claret, mind you), and your choice of Ravishing Red or Regal Red, in case one red isn’t enough. There’s even one in Gorgeous Gold. And one with silver lips. Oooh, fancy. It’s at a site called Yoni.com (in their “Healing Gifts” section), but be warned: it’s an adult site, with DEFINITELY adult content.

END: ADULT CONTENT

So now you’ve been introduced to The Wondrous Vulva Puppet, and now, like me, you’ll be tormented with the phrase for days: like a song you can’t get out of your head, you’ll be repeating the phrase over and over in your mind: Wondrous Vulva Puppet, Wondrous Vulva Puppet…

Pass it on. Or not.

(photo: Page from Seventeen Magazine, May 2008 )

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The Snarling, Sarcastic, Turn Myself Into A Crabby Dowager Project


Silly Scott, a children's entertainerAre you scared?

I am. A little.

This is SIlly Scott, from Portsmouth, UK, who is wiling, nay, eager, although I can’t tell who looks more timid, Scott or his lupine captive, to perform magic or other themed … things… at YOUR next event.

With kids.

Yikes.

Scott, you’re a trooper.

Are you HAPPY, though?

Gretchen Rubin might be interested. She’s blogging her butt off in an effort to determine the nature of true happiness (and sell her butt off with a lot of books with her sweet HarperCollins deal, due to “hit the shelves,” as she repeats several times on her blog, “in 2009.” Gretch, honey, pick up a HarperCollins thesaurus.

Inspired, (hang on, I’m switching over to thesaurus.com for a sec) or one might say, “ripping off the ideas of others to garner a sweet deal from HarperCollins cause I got bored after Yale Law and happiness didn’t come after everything got handed to me” – okay, that wasn’t actually ON thesaurus.com, that was my own clever and immense vocabulary, thank you very much…

Gretchen Rubin is writing “a memoir about the year I spent test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study I could find, whether from Aristotle or St. Therese or Martin Seligman or Oprah. THE HAPPINESS PROJECT will gather these rules for living and report on what works and what doesn’t. On this daily blog, I recount some of my adventures and insights as I grapple with the challenge of being happier.”

Poor Gretchen. Challenged to be happy. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read her “About Me.” I’m seriously begging you. It SO makes me want to send her photographs of Hurricane Katrina victims, so she can write to them for help. Or something. Maybe they can send her letters of encouragement. Or something.

I saw another blog on Technorati today: How to Buy Less Stuff. This one cracked me up, too.

I know how to buy less stuff. Have less money. That’s the simple trick. Be poor. Like me, or mi amiga Violeta, who speaks very little English, and works in the Dunkin’ Donuts. We scrounge around for change, and go to the Used Bookstore at the library downtown with our kids. Books! For a quarter! Wa-HOO!

¡Celebración!

THAT’S how actual people – and artists, I’m not entirely sure if we count as actual people, although we hang out with them, and often respect them a heck of a lot more – spend less money.

That one made me laugh.

Okay, gotta go – I have quarters to collect for the kids’ lunch money.

(But I’m still blogging on WordPress, not Blogger, even though Blogger has Google Ads. I have my standards.)

Be well.

(photo source: http://www.childrens-entertainer.org)
Do visit, particularly if you live in England: Here’s what else it says on his site:
Having performed over 400 shows last year, Silly Scott is one of the most sought after entertainers in the South East of England…

He covers all aspects of children’s entertainment including fantastic Wedding Packages.

Imagine? Rabbits jumping out of your wedding cake?

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