Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

26 Jun

blog image passport

My passport was renewed!

Exclamation point because, for reasons I am about to explain, the passport renewal process can be quite precarious.

Mostly it was the “hair color” question.  And mostly because when I say “question,” know that your government isn’t so much asking but is, instead, demanding in a you-can-be-sent-to-prison-if-you-get-this-wrong kind of way and what with tests making me nervous and such, the thought of having my ability to flee the country on a moment’s notice revoked was enough to make me want to get an “A” or at least a “C.”  Not that I would ever need to flee the country on a moment’s notice.  Want, yes.  Need, I hope not.  Unless Christian Louboutin is having a one day sale.  Then I need to get to Paris.

At first I tried fudging the answer by smudging the ink until it was impossible to distinguish between brown or blonde which resulted in a rejected application and, also, a new word- “bronde™.” (Just like during my early school days when I would write down “T” for true, then sloppily erase most of it, then press down harder as I overwrote the “T” with an “F” (also known as the “tralse™”) and then erase again and double-back until there was essentially nothing left but a hole with a bunch of smeary marks and I hoped that the teacher would take pity on my conflicted heart and, maybe, give me half credit but I figured that the US Government wouldn’t stand for that.  Although as of today, the US Government does stand for marriage equality which means that most restaurants will now have even more married couples eating and not talking to each other, so there’s that.  Good job, Brownie.)

So then I asked the postmaster/passport officer/life coach what I should put down for hair color and he recommended that I call my stylist to find out exactly what she thinks she’s been doing every six weeks and why would I lay out all that money if I can’t even tell what it’s for (hence the life coach) at which point I countered with “why is hazel an acceptable color for eyes but not for hair?”  Or calico?  Or du jour?

Why is the US Government and the US Postal System conspiring against me?  (Especially by taking my new photo under harsh lighting.  So very unflattering.  What’s next- putting my actual weight on my driver’s license?  Oh regulations, I understand that you exist.  Buy why must you exist for me?)

Really, instead of a no-fly list, I should be on a no-dye list.  Or both.

(Unless I’m on my way to Jamaica in which case it’s a “No Woman, No Dye” list.)

PS: I truly believe that every thing is gonna be alright.

Best. Sentence. Ever. (Again.)

26 May

blog image baileys

Today’s sentence is brought to you by Cameron, age 16.

Let’s say you have a boy.  Let’s also suppose that The Boy and his friends, including Cameron, have a band.

And finally, to keep it interesting, let us also put forth the proposition that the band will practice at your house every Friday night regardless of whether you have a headache, want to practice silent meditation or need to surf the couch in your tattered pajamas while drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream and eating Kellogg’s Rice Krispies even though it’s still kind of light out and now you’re no longer drinking the Bailey’s and eating the cereal but are, rather, pouring the Bailey’s over the cereal and eating it all with a soup spoon.  But I digress.  (Which is what happens when I eat Bailey’s.)

Eventually, the band is going take a break.  Not because their heads are pounding from making all that “music”- my stars, doesn’t anyone cover a nice Sam Cooke song anymore?  Why cant the band be in a sad mood tonight?  Or any night.  No, the band stops because they are hungry.  (Again, sad moods have been proven to reduce appetites but, alas, this band is delirious.)

Which brings us to Cameron’s question: “What’s for food?”

And, really, Cameron, this is America.  The question you should be asking is “what isn’t food?”

From a flavor-blasted Goldfish to a Dunkaccino* beverage to a genetically modified vegetable that can self reproduce then gather up a bunch of its buddies to outnumber and kill us all, we are a nation that will eat just about anything as long as there is melted cheese or Bailey’s Irish Cream on it.  I’m speaking from personal experience here (especially after 10PM or following a Paul Rudd movie).

So with a wave of my wand (not really- it was more like a quick snap! crackle! and pop!) followed by three clicks of my heels (or I may have just purchased three pairs of pumps from Zappos.  It’s hard to tell; things also get blurry when I eat Bailey’s), I answered Cameron’s question and “fed” the band.  (PS: I hope it’s the shoes.)

* Second-best sentence ever: INGREDIENTS: Water, Dunkaccino Powder {Sugar, Creamer [Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Dipotassium Phosphate, Sugar, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Silicoaluminate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavors, Annatto and Tumeric (Color)], Sweet Cream Powder [Pasteurized Sweet Cream, Skim Milk Solids, Soybean Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Mono and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin], Natural and Artificial Flavor, Instant Coffee, Sweet Dairy Whey, Cocoa processed with alkali, Nonfat Dry Milk, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Silicon Dioxide}.

To Beet Or Not To Beet?

11 May

33643771-parsnip-on-the-boards-vegetable

It’s time to decide whether to join a community supported agriculture (CSA) for when black thumb takes root and flourishes in my little garden the way it has for, well, ever.  For all the years.  And while I assume that it’s tough being an oddsmaker in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, I can pretty much guarantee that here in my garden, it’s Black Thumb to win with Tomato Blight to place and Gardening Is Like Setting Dollar Bills On Fire to show.  (And they’re off!)

It’s not an easy decision given that I still have parsnips from last year’s CSA in the bottom of the vegetable drawer which, while a testimony to their freshness, are also an indictment of my family’s (and friend’s and relative’s as well as complete stranger’s) eagerness to work with the parsnip.  (Side note: this is also a testament to my mad refrigerator cleaning skills in that cleaning the refrigerator makes me angry.)

There’s a reason you don’t see bookstores with parsnip sections.  Bookstores are rare enough; but a bookstore with a parsnip section?  Never gonna happen.  The parsnip is the Jim Gaffigan of carrots (big and pale) and even though Mr. Gaffigan has written two books (including “Food A Love Story,” that practically wrote itself and includes such prize-winning sentences as: “[t]here’s never a strike at the Cheesecake Factory,” and “the Waffle House vibe feels more like that of a halfway house or a mobile home than an actual house,”) he remains an acquired taste.  Unless Starbucks introduces a Mochaparsnipaccino (“freshly-dug parsnips layered between Columbian roast coffee and FairTrade Peruvian coco.”  Venti, $7), the parsnip and the bookstore shall never intertwine.

Joining a CSA also means that every Tuesday from June to November the seat belt warning will continually chime because the passenger seat will be so weighted down with vegetables, other than parsnips, that the on-board computer will assume I have an unbuckled teenager sitting beside me.  It’s usually during potato and onion weeks when this happens although occasionally the chime stays on when I am merely transporting grapes (also known as cases of wine).

Of course picking up the cabbage and kale (so very much kale) from a “drop off” adds a certain mystique to otherwise boring (and often gassy) produce.  Also it’s fun to ask the intern if this is the good s*** that you talked to the “grower” about and, also, is it seedless?  (Because sometimes the jokes are just for me and I often dwell in Greenwich Village circa 1978 in my mind- when I’m not sleeping.)

Sleep rock thy brain.  (Hamlet, Act III, Sc. 2.)

Best. Sentence. Ever. (Lately.)

14 Apr

david duchovny image

Sometimes a sentence can change your life.  Whether from someone you admire, or a Texan, hearing the right words at the right time can make a difference.  Like the first time your mom said “Don’t stick that fork in the outlet” or “Don’t stick that fork in the toaster” or “What’s with you kids and forks?”

And then there are fragments.  Fragments are bits of a sentence that, when deftly used, can enhance a paragraph or improve a joke.  For example, the sentence “David Duchovny is a beloved television, stage, and screen actor, as well as a screenwriter and director” from the jacket of his book titled “Holy Cow” (published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015) would work better if followed by fragments like: “For real.”  or “No joke… “beloved.””

The problem with fragments is that they can also ruin things.  Things that were just fine until someone added a few bonus words, usually three.  It seems as though it takes as little as three words to ruin things.  (Like hearing “I love you” but having it said by Ted Cruz, Bill Cosby or beloved sex addict David Duchovny.)

For example, has this ever happened to you?

A friend invites you to a show and as you pull into the Middle School parking lot and see on the marquee “Community Theater Presents” you know that this production of “Glengarry Glenn Ross” will run about 45 minutes less than the original because all the swear words were eliminated or changed to safer words like “dummy,” or “stupid dummy” or “Asian-American, Italian-American or Jewish-American stupid dummy.  Chocolate milk is for closers.”

Some lesser known three-word negatives include: “just his Birkenstocks” (from when a friend told me about a steamy one night stand and then ruined it by answering truthfully when I asked what he was wearing).  “Back in Texas” is a winner because if things are so great in Texas, why am I hearing this story here in upstate NY? and, finally, “are you listening?” works because if you have to ask me, you already know the answer.  (PS: according to an unofficial survey (me), “are you listening?” is the question that is most often asked following sentences that begin with “Back in Texas.”  And, no.  I’m probably not.)

Not all three-word groupings are bad, though.  “Are you hungry?” and “I could eat” work just fine and need no improvement as do “You look fine,” “Let’s just go,” and “We’re already late” which, incidentally, were all spoken on my wedding night as were “the Yankees win!” and “Good night, Spouse.”

What do 3285 days, Jerry Lewis, ground bees and Santa have in common? Nothing. Unless you’re me. (A full-circle essay brought to you by Fresh Air and Sarcasm.)

3 Mar

blog image styx

I didn’t eat pizza for nine years.  Mostly because it was the last thing I ate before getting the rotovirus and the vivid and colorful memory of “rotovirus + pizza” remained in my brain for 3285 days until my brain reversed itself and told me that a slightly charred crust with mushroom and eggplant is wonderful and that they have vaccines for that other thing now.

It’s kind of like how I will not listen to Styx because they also once made me puke and I didn’t even have a stomach bug.  Instead I was trapped in a car where the driver honestly enjoyed listening to a grown man/boy sing “I’m SAIL-ing A-way” with that weird inflection that makes me angry as well as nauseous.  And then there’s the whole use of the word “lad” which, unless you’re Frank McCourt or Flannery O’Connor, you have no business using.  So there’s that.

But what I really would like to discuss here is the reason I will never again work in the garden.  Of course, when I say “work” I don’t mean the kind that transpires in an office (did that and am proud to say that my biggest accomplishment there was dismantling the “Secret Santa.”  By refusing to participate and clearly articulating the reasons why, I was able to single-handedly kibosh an office ritual that had devolved into a high school popularity contest where there was always one person who completely disregarded the established budget and made the rest of the rule-followers look like misers).  Really, in 1999 I got a drug store brush and comb set while the woman who sat one cubicle over got a “Cashmiracle” opera-length scarf and she neither attended “La Traviata” nor saw the face of Jesus appear in the wet cement sidewalks outside her apartment.  So there’s that too.

I mean the kind of work that is often performed at home, outdoors, for free.

See, when the bees attacked, I had been contemplating dinner (see “crust” above) while picking up sticks (see “puke” also above).  I’ll tell you what I wasn’t thinking: “boy there sure are a lot of angry, brown bees coming out of the ground over here where my hand is.”  I was also probably not thinking: “I wonder if Styx will ever play live again and does anyone care?”  (Answer: July 24, 2015 @ SPAC and no, no one does.)

It sure would have been helpful if I had paid more attention to those bees, though.

Because when they went crazy and started stinging everything around, I was still trying to figure out how Dennis DeYoung, et al, ever became popular the first time around.  And then, just for a moment, I thought that maybe the bees had somehow intuited my thinking about Styx and were having a horrible, angry reaction of their own.

Finally, I screamed like a girl (because I can) and ran inside like Jerry Lewis (because that’s how I run).

Which is where I should have been to begin with.

And where you’ll find me this spring too.

 

Pickers, Pumps and Pride. (And the lack thereof.)

20 Jan

christian louboutin pump

Surely people know that if they show up for a live televised event they may end up actually appearing on TV, right?

And I’m not just talking about the folks who show up for “The Antiques Roadshow” wearing Tommy Bahama shirts and Capri pants.  Together.  With Teva sandals.  (Because they obviously don’t care about the cameras.)

Oh, PBS, there are times when I’d rather watch “Joe Bonamassa: Live At Royal Albert Hall” again than suffer through the fashion wreck that is The Roadshow.  It was hard enough watching host Mark Wahlberg receive hair transplants only to have him return as Mark Wahlberg, host of “The Antiques Roadshow” (albeit hairier).

(Question: why do the appraisers feel obligated to tell people what might have been “if these pieces were in perfect condition” or “if you had the original box” as it is of little consolation to hear that your toy appears to have been “well-played with” when your cousin down the street received the same Tonka truck for Christmas and is now the proud owner of a time-share in Key West?  Here’s a tip: let’s have the toy appraiser dress like the furniture guy, the furniture guy stop getting so damn excited about Cabriole legs and the jeweler surrender his pinky ring.

Oy.

Moving on to “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”.  Is it possible that the host is convinced that the flavor of stringy meats improves by yelling?  Why else would he yell so much?  And, my stars, the amount of stringy meat that man eats is a lot.  Maybe he’s yelling because he’s about to have a coronary event.

“I’m Guy Fieri and my face is as red as my Camaro!”

Have a salad and chill out, Buddy.  While it is true that I’ve never had salad that tasted “off the hook,” I’ve also never worn sunglasses around the back of my neck or worn flip-flops into a commercial kitchen.  So there’s that.

Less yelling and a little more attention to wardrobe please.  (PS: your hair is as fried as the food you eat.  Less yelling and some conditioner too.)

Now “American Pickers” has completely ruined the word “bundle” for me.  A bundle implies comfort, warmth, and snuggles.  Jesus was wrapped in a bundle for Christ’s sake.  Those guys are as authentic and sincere as Chris Christie at a salad bar. (A salad bar located in the basement of a LGBTQ Unitarian Universalist Church just past the GWB, that is.)  To The Pickers, “bundling” is a way to pay less for more stuff.  It’s the opposite of commerce and I’m not even sure it’s a real verb.  You don’t see me down at the Food King haggling with the manager to lower the price on my Oreos, wine coolers and Vogue magazine just because I’m purchasing all three.  (And really I’m only there for the wine coolers.  The other items are to make me appear less pathetic.)

So the Little Picker, the guy shaped like a poundcake, now his method is to downplay the value of an item by losing the part of his brain that is responsible for vocabulary.  “How much you want for this dusty thing here?” he asks, while pointing at a vintage neon jukebox.  “It’s old and what are those dirty, round things there inside it?  Records?  How much do you have to have to let something like that go?” he’ll ask while the Angular Picker keeps uttering random numbers while touching different items like some sort of weird Lumosity game.

Here’s what I would tell Little Picker: “Zero.  I don’t have to have anything for the jukebox because I don’t have to let it go.  I let you in here because a lady from your office wouldn’t stop calling me.  I’ll tell you what I do have to say though: wear a clean, unripped t-shirt when you call on people.  You’re on television for crying out loud, Little Picker.”

Finally why, oh why, do people on “House Hunters” think that it’s okay to lie on the seller’s bed with their shoes on?  And sit in someone’s bathtub with their shoes on?  And stand in a stranger’s shower stall with their shoes on?

When did we become such a shoe-loving nation and why wasn’t I consulted?

I have shoes (and coordinating bags) for all occasions including, but not limited to: television appearances, readings, open mics, television appearances, Christian Louboutin store openings, television appearances and television appearances.

And now that you know what not to wear on television, I’m sure you’re ready for television too.

(Did I mention that I am available for television appearances?)

Dear Stephen Colbert (an homage and a plea):

9 Dec

colbert image

Dear Stephen Colbert or shall I call you “Dreamcrusher™?”

The Boy started watching your show about three years ago and since then he has spent every waking moment wishing away years of his life so that the day when he was old enough to attend a live taping of your show would arrive and he would not only score tickets and play his guitar for you, he would also meet Jack White and ultimately become legend among the 13-17 year-old crowd in Upstate, NY.  (Well, maybe not every waking moment.  There were those times where he went to school, played outside, slept, did chores, breathed oxygen, slept, did homework, ate food, slept and wrote songs.  And slept.)

Impossible?  Not for this kid who once overcame having no Monterey Jack cheese in the house by crafting his own grilled cheese using nothing but domestic Brie, pear slices and day old baguette.  The Boy is a warrior.

Now you may ask “what kind of parent encourages a kid to dream so big?” and to you I reply: “a really lazy and/or disengaged one.”  And in a follow-up question to you, Mr. Colbert: “what kind of grown man wears a white daredevil suit, for any reason, ever?”  (Answer: “Stephen Colbert.  Hell, I would too if it meant taking over for Letterman.  Well played, sir.”)

Nation, (note: if there were a “camera two” of writing, here’s where I would turn and face it.  Sadly, all literature has to offer is the paragraph).

Nation, I’ve watched Mr. Colbert during some sweet, sweet eras of comedy when the jokes practically wrote themselves.  Shooting ducks in barrel, if you will.  Or, if you’re Dick Cheney, shooting anyone, anyone at all, in the face.  I also hung in there during some lean moments like when Mr. Colbert kept musician Michael Stipe on a shelf on the set of The Colbert Report.  I’m sure that Mr. Stipe was thankful for that shelf as rents in Manhattan are out of control and R.E.M. record sales aren’t what they used to be.  For what shelf space costs today you used to be able to get an entire bookcase worth.  I’m not saying that Stephen Colbert is without heart.  He’s just without a big heart.

And so I ask you and your heart, Stephen Colbert, to help make one of The Boy’s dreams come true. (All his other dreams involve Sofia Vergara and a diving board.)

Invite The Boy to appear on your new show.  He will play his guitar and tell jaunty tales of eleventh grade life (and also discuss how Elvis Costello often seems to sing in iambic pentameter so if you wish to invite Mr. Costello to appear at the same time, that’s fine).  He will help himself to all the swag and citrus fruit in the green room and make googly eyes at any female with a pulse.

Mr. Colbert, I’ve paid my dues.  I sat on my behind and watched your show for years.  I’m an American, damn it.  Sitting on our behinds and watching TV is one of the things we do best.  (See also “face-shooting,” and “cage-fighting.”)

You owe me.

You owe The Boy.  (Note: if I could raise one eyebrow, I would do that here.)

Don’t make me get out of my chair, Mr. Colbert.  (Because I won’t.)

But you can at least give The Boy some room on your couch.  (Assuming that your new show will even have a couch.  If it’s just people sitting around on shelves, talking, you may want to invite John Mellencamp as he’s small and somewhat dusty too.)

Imagine how a Colbert Bump could alter the destiny of a teenage boy and then do it anyway.  (He has so little to lose.  I’m his mom, I can say that.)

Mr. Colbert, won’t you help a boy, like The Boy?  Or even the actual Boy?

Do it.  Do it now while you are still popular.

#BumpTheBoy

or via email at: BumpTheBoy@gmail.com

(PS: if you need writers for you new show, try emailing BumpTheBoysMom@gmail.com.  Sounds weird but we all thought a spin-off from The Daily Show wouldn’t make it either.)

Best Wishes~

 

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