Tag Archives: oprah

Happy Anniversary, Fresh Air and Sarcasm!

12 Jul


Well, it’s been two years or as my publicist would say: “FA&S enters third year of earth-moving, world-changing, mind-altering goodness!”

Side note: my publicist leans toward hyperbole.

Side side note: until recently, The Boy pronounced it “hyper-bowl.”  Like a trophy match for the most caffeinated kid.

Additional side note: I have no publicist.

Still, more than 115 published bits of sarcasm and, despite our efforts, we have yet to be sued by: David Sedaris, Dave Barry, Oprah Winfrey, David Lee Roth, Wolf Blitzer, my mother, Hellman’s Mayonnaise, Rand McNally, Alex Trebek, Lance Armstrong, Donald Trump, Judd Apatow, David Lynch, Karl Marx, Adam Sandler, Tom Arnold, The Drifters, Bono, Dire Straits, Priceline.com, Dane Cook, my mother, Taylor Swift, New Zealand, Nabisco, Bailey’s Irish Cream, a Kardashian, James Sacket, Cliff Bars, Eminem, Janeane Garafalo, yoga, Entenmann’s, Cyndi Lauper, Vitamix, The Girl Scouts of America, Santa or my mother.

That’s an impressive list which, to me, says two things: either everybody loves FA&S or everybody really likes FA&S and the love will eventually follow.  In the cases of Tom Arnold and David Lee Roth, however, I think that if they had the money, a lawsuit would only help revive their- oh, how I am loath to use this word here- careers.

Notice that I am eager to use the expression “I am loath” because, really, how often does one get the opportunity to actually be loath?  Answer: infrequently.  (Additional answers include: extraordinarily, only just, sporadically, seldom and, for our Spanish readers, rara vez because, really, how often does one get to use those words either?)

And words, after all, are the reason we are here.

I don’t mean that words are the reason that we, as a species, are here.  (Yea, right.  Millions of years ago caveman says to cavewoman: “go fix me a dirty martini” and BAM! three more of those later, a species is created.  PS: the martini was dirty due to early cave hygiene practices.)

What I mean is that we (okay, you) have read thus far because of something in the words (it’s either sarcasm dust or bits of organic compost imported from Oprah’s new hobby farm) and I thank you for your loyalty.  Sincerely.

But not too sincerely.  That would be wrong.

Random Acts of Blanket

17 Apr


Because I live in a college town, I do, on occasion, encounter college students.

I may have recently walked past one who smelled great.  In a manly way.  In a manly, Giorgio Armani, Eau De Cartier  (with a hint of hot fudge) kind of way.

I think it was the hot fudge essence that caused me to stop walking and to gesture at him to remove his earbuds.

“You smell great!” I yelled.

I yelled because I live in a college town that also, on occasion, has lots of traffic noise.

And I yelled because, really, when was the last time someone yelled a compliment at you?  It’s the yelling that takes it over the top: yelling nice words at a stranger injects steroids into a random act of kindness with such force that even Lance Armstrong feels a momentary, inexplicable pang in his gut.

And if anyone knows about kindness, surely it’s Lance Armstrong.  Isn’t he the guy who referred to his former teammate’s wife as “crazy and a bitch- but not fat” while speaking with Oprah Winfrey?  Or maybe I’m thinking of that other guy, Wolf Blitzer, who once noted that Hurricane Katrina victims were “so poor, so black?”

So much random kindness, no wonder I’m confused.

So, yeah, I yelled to the college boy that he smelled good and he said “thank you” and then returned to listening to his complaint rock, alt rock, Kid Rock or whatever.

My walking partner, Raye, momentarily shocked into silence, rebounded with: “you do know that that poor kid has to buy new cologne as soon as he gets out of classes today?”

“What the heck you mean?” I replied.  (Because I never turn down the opportunity to quote from “Fargo.”)  “I yelled at him.  That’s how he knows that I really meant it.”

“Yes but,” (Raye is very nurturing and will rarely, flat-out say “no.”)  “Yes but,” she continued, “you’re an old lady to him.  And now on this otherwise fine morning, two old ladies walking aimlessly around town have just yelled at him about his manly groove.  That’s like having his mom use saliva to smooth down his hair- kinda gross and somewhat nasty.”

(Side note: we were not aimlessly walking around town.  While Raye is nurturing, kind, and all that- I believe she is prone to hyperbole.  We were walking around lamenting life choices and kicking rocks.  So there.  We were multitasking.)

As for the college student, I believe that he felt the wrath of my compliment down into the core of his being and wrapped himself in its kindness like a blanket.  A blanket that he never asked for.  Or wanted.  Or needed.

A blanket that he can neither regift nor return because the tags are missing and it smells like cologne.

Kindness stinks.

Three NEW Little Words

27 Dec

blog image brad pitt

Thanks to loyal readers, like you, a tree has been planted in Ljubljana.

Not really.  A tree would be stupid.  A tree has nothing to do with this post.  Nor does Oprah Winfrey, vitamin D or breast implants other than I have discovered that if you put celebrity tags, food trends or questionably spelled countries in your posts, the number of visitors from Facebook jumps way up.  Here’s to you Brad Pitt, Dora the Explorer and Ljubljana.

Still, thanks to all our FA&S readers, there is a new three word expression that we can proudly claim as our own: three seasonal words that take plain old sentences and turn them into holiday dramas fit for a king.  Or a king of kings!  And more!  Oy, Ave Maria.  (And those aren’t even the three words.)

Remember November 14 when FA&S readers around the globe were improving their story-telling abilities by adding “with an ax!” to sentences in an effort to jazz up ordinary lives and turn them into something awesome?

Well, apparently, FA&S-inspired word peppering WORKS because there’s a new linguistic sprinkle in town just in time for the holidays- “and it’s Christmas.”  (Contractions count as one word.)

For example, yesterday Spouse angrily arrived home from the Food King still smarting because a guy with a very full cart ahead of him neglected to inform Spouse that his wife was following with cart #2 and the assumption that she could jump the line- and it’s Christmas.

Who jumps the line during the most wonderful time of the year?

Then there’s the cat who ate too fast and threw up all his dinner, some tinsel and a hairball- and it’s Christmas.

Poor Jesus.  Couldn’t even get a hotel room on his birthday- and it’s Christmas.

What is it about the season (which used to be a day, then became an Eve + a day, then an Eve+ a day + Boxing Day (UK) then 12 days of which we sing plus an Eve + a day + Boxing Day (UK) + a return/exchange line) that makes us believe that people should behave differently?

If people could behave better don’t you think they would?

Am I really not supposed to give the stink eye to the Subaru driver doing 20 in a 55 because it’s a random day in December that Christians and elves have co-opted?

Last time I checked, jerks (and slow pokes) were everywhere.  (But not elves.  Lawn gnomes?  Sadly, yes.)

I’m just saying…  (also three words but three silly words often used to inject one’s opinion into situations where said opinion is neither solicited nor appreciated.)

How about, this holiday season, I’ll be a bit nicer to you and you’ll be a bit nicer to me and on or about January 1, we’ll both join a gym as we promise ourselves that this will be the year that we get in shape?

‘Tis the season.  (And contractions still count as one word.)

Why I will never vote for James Sacket

5 Nov

It’s that time of the decade again.  And while I sort of know what the DA does, I’m not even sure if we are due to pick a new one.  What I (and possibly Oprah Winfrey) know for sure is that I (and probably Ms. Winfrey, definitely Gayle) would never elect a politician who gives matches to children.

And when I say “gives matches to children,” I am not using some political expression like “pork barrel” or “bridge to nowhere” that is strictly a euphemism for political gain.  (Besides, what could “pork barrel” mean other than “Chris Christie Eats Here?”)

What I mean, literally, is that circa 2006, while The Boy was briefly* left home alone (at age 8 or so), Schoharie DA candidate James Sacket left a book of matches (along with other election year swag) hanging from the front doorknob.  Obviously, The Boy was too scared to answer the door (good to know all those “Stranger Danger” drills worked.  Also if we ever get separated in the grocery store keep making left turns until you reach a corner and stay there.)

*The word “briefly” has been added at the request of Spouse who, back then, had concerns about leaving The Boy all-by- himself-alone for even the tiniest of moments.  Now that The Boy is 14, Spouse disappears for hours at a time “buying parts.”  (Read “When this whole world starts getting me down” (March 21, 2012) to learn how that worked out.)

Yes James Sacket, who, as quoted from the back of the matchbook, is “professional, reliable, impartial, organized and responsible” left a pencil and matches for our child.  I ask you: what is a pencil if not kindling with an eraser on top?

If anyone behaved “responsibly” here it was The Boy.  Not only did he not use the matches to burn down the house, he also refused to acknowledge weirdos knocking on the door.  (Good to know that all that Jehovah’s Witness training paid off too.)

Then again, it’s also possible that The Boy was listening to the rock and roll at such a loud volume, he didn’t even hear the crime-fighting, flame-making lawyer at the door and I have, instead, given him way too much credit (along with future hearing loss issues).

In any case, this November 6, do the right thing and vote.

Just leave the pyrotechnics at home.

James Sacket.  Flame we can believe in.

My Long Beach Island Vacation

30 Aug

Staying with family is a great way to save money on a hotel room and a quick route to Regressionland- make a left at the corner of “I’m not getting back in the car to drive over and see your new kitchen; you haven’t been to my house in twelve years” then a right at “it’s probably not a good idea to put sugar on the baby’s broccoli” and there you are: the teenage middle kid trying to keep quiet and go unnoticed.  P.S: nothing I say matters anyway, so why even bother?

And while on the subject of adolescence, nothing is more scary than watching The Boy’s moods shift with the tides.  It’s “Goodfellas” and “Sponge Bob Square Pants” rolled into one gritty peanut butter sandwich (“this has sand in it”) washed down with paper cupfuls of lukewarm Vitaminwater.

So when remaining silent was no longer an option and I asked The Boy why he hated having to hang out with me and he responded that he, in fact, “does not hate me right now,” I felt that the six hours of driving and the never-ending schlepping of beach toys and coolers was well worth it.  The constant flow of money (in one direction) is simply the price you pay for truth.

Speaking of truth, here’s a tip: when your wife asks you to tug on that part of her swimsuit that she can’t quite reach, don’t yell “Hoist!”.  It makes her feel self-conscious which results in her sitting on the beach desperately flipping through damp, hand-me-down Oprah magazines in an attempt to overcome self-consciousness (and become a better friend) while completely forgoing all thoughts of swimming which, to me, is the primary reason for vacationing at the ocean.

Otherwise why not just put a sandbox in the backyard, download a “crashing wave” app and sleep on our own scratchy, low thread-count sheets?

Question: why is it always too late to realize that the people who I went away with are the people I need to get away from?

And why didn’t anyone tell me that Priceline has rooms at LBI starting at $119?  My relationship with my family could have remained dysfunctional, but well-intentioned, and I wouldn’t be sitting here now wondering if we are still invited for Thanksgiving.

Assuming that The Boy doesn’t hate Pilgrims by then either.

Has it really been a year?

12 Jul

It’s true- a whole year of FA&S and how did you ever exist without it?

Still, we are fortunate that as fresh air becomes more and more difficult to find, sarcasm can be found virtually everywhere- like Oprah.  You can find sarcasm in Hawaii, Italy, Chicago and even hanging out with Deepak Chopra in India (May, 2012).

In fact, every time a fat person slips on ice, Janeane Garofalo gets her wings.

All you have to do is listen, and before long, people will say the most inane things like: “that wasn’t just any NASCAR race.”

Or visit Wal-Marts (the “s” has been added intentionally) on a weekend morning and watch: sarcasm is often generated by the things we see.  There have been Saturdays when I have longed for an astigmatism or a hot poker.  Has Dr. Seuss not yet written “Oh, the Thongs You’ll See!”? Excerpt:

Somehow you’ll wind up downtown at the Mart.

You’ll find men without teeth and beer in their cart.

Wherever you go, wherever you turn,

you’ll learn things you wish you could quickly unlearn.

And IF you should go there, do you turn left or right?

Grown men in thongs are an unpleasant sight.

Oh!  So are women with boobs hanging galore,

and people touching food with raw, open sores.

From New York to San Francisco to Bentonville, Arkansas-

you’ll never be able to unsee what you saw.

And so, as we* here at FA&S enter our second year of telling it like it is and (sometimes) wishing it were otherwise, we wish for you- nothing.  (If we’re gonna use up a wish, it’s going to be on ourselves.)

Happy Anniversary** FA&S!

*  You do know that “we” is just me, right?

** Who’s happy?

2012 Resolution Resolved

3 Jan

Sometime during the 1990’s (big) Oprah said that it was okay to begin a weight loss program with a fast.  Later, in the 00’s (little) Oprah changed her mind.

I know this because I have spent the past three days either in the bathroom vomiting, or on the couch watching old Oprah shows while waiting to vomit.  Well, not so much watching Oprah, more like trying to understand how (any size) Oprah became an industry.  But definitely vomiting.

To (all sizes) Ms. Winfrey I say: “fast…HA!!”

Food poisoning is FAST-er.

To all you other New Year’s Weight Loss/Lifestyle Changers: “you’re doing great!  Keep up the good work!  I hear ya, sister!”

As for me: I’m done.

Size 8 revisited

11 Sep

I have spent a fair part of the summer reading back issues of women’s magazines and have concluded that in 2010, the issues of greatest concern to women who read magazines were:

Weight loss.  Losing those five pounds fast, losing those last ten pounds and losing that belly fat.  (My research also determined that in 2010 magazines of a certain genre tended to overuse restrictive clauses like: “those five pounds” and “that belly fat” when really, most women would be thrilled to lose pounds of any kind.)

Insomnia.  Three words: Ambien, melatonin, kava.

Pants.  Such an issue for the 2010 magazine-reading woman; I had no idea and I am pretty sure I wore pants then.  The sizes changed without notice: today’s size 8 is a former size 10.  Jeans that I bought three years ago (Old Navy), fit great and are a size 8.  When I recently tried on the same model, they were big and I know it’s not me.  Apparently losing weight by reading about losing weight has worked because I am now a size 6 and I have done nothing new except haul extra bundles of outdated magazines to the recycle center.  I now understand why finding a pair of quality black pants to fit any budget and flatter any figure, repel stains and fight crime was so difficult then.

Beauty.  And the perfect eyebrow.  Pardon me while I execute the perfect eye roll.

Fitness.  While the number of cover stories about losing weight without dieting, while you sleep, but keeping the foods you love outnumbered fitness articles 5:1, most magazines included at least one exercise circuit.  In early 2010, the calories burned were calculated using “a typical 135lb woman.”  By late 2010, those same calories were based on “an average 150lb woman.”  Are magazines allowed to just change the common definition of a word?  If all magazine reading women gained 15 pounds, wouldn’t a magazine write a cover story about that?  Is Miriam Webster a person and shouldn’t she have been consulted?

Dinner.  Made with five ingredients or less.  “Why five?” I asked myself.  “What was it about six ingredients that pushed women over the edge and into KFC?”  (Chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, coleslaw and gravy- that’s five.  If you don’t count the gravy, you can have a roll.)  As far as I can tell, it was Häagen Dazs and their introduction of Five– a creamy and delicious pint that offered a degree of minimalism and purity never before seen in the frozen aisle.  By eliminating some ingredients and creating lovely packaging, Häagen Dazs (which is owned by the Pillsbury Company) helped consumers achieve zen via their ice cream selection.  If you placed your pint on top of the shopping cart seat for all to see, congratulations, you’re a zen overachiever.

Eggs.  They’re good for us; they’re bad for us.  Eat only the whites; eat just the yolks.  Free range, hormone free, brown, white, happy-go-lucky, organic.  Have a damn omelet.  If it kills you, then you know.

Things!  This page has exciting punctuation, bright pictures and coy language like: “Guess What We Found?” or “We Like!” and perhaps an alliteration like: “Five Items Under $50!”  From $4 cupcakes(!) to pink colored hand tools(!), this page provides a respite from more serious issues and one time I even found a nice gift for, um, a tightly wound German mother in law.  Should you find yourself needing a gift for a tightly wound German mother in law, may I suggest Claus Porto Shea Butter bath soaps?  Thanks, Oprah.

Advice.  Women who read these magazines have time to write for help but little time to solve their dilemmas.  I, myself, have rarely encountered a marriage, parenting, financial, legal, orgasm, hair or wardrobe crisis that couldn’t be fixed with some yelling.  Old school, but effective.  Husband doesn’t earn enough?  Yell so much that he takes side jobs just to stay out of the house.  Kid slacking at school?   No loss of cell phone or computer; no nurturing “hey little buddy, Dad and I have noticed that you don’t seem as excited by school as you once were.”  Try hollering until your eyes bug out and see if that doesn’t scare him back on the honor roll.  Boss wears too much perfume?  Can you quickly get promoted and then leverage your new position to get her transferred?  No?  Yell.  It’s a cleansing breath in reverse.

Cleansing breaths.  Spirituality, yoga, journeys, destinations.  In 2010, women searched for depth, awareness, meaning.

And a well- organized pantry.

O, Hawaii!

24 Jul

Dear Ms. Winfrey:

I have been meaning to write for a while.

I cannot afford to buy your magazine but my mom gives me her copies when she has finished reading them- they are usually out of sync and occasionally missing pages, but every so often the copy I’m reading coincides with the current time of year and I feel like I’ve won a prize.  It is extra nice to sit outside on a humid July afternoon contemplating “Fresh, Sweet Summer Dessert Recipes” or learning about the latest income tax loopholes in March.

So please forgive me if my timing is off.  I recently read your column (recent for me, not you) where you wrote about ways you unwind and get in touch with what makes you happy, with what brings you joy.  You wrote glowingly about how hiking in the hills with your dogs near your house in Hawaii always gives you a renewed perspective and hope for the future.

Owning hills in Hawaii can be stressful.  “Where to hike today?  How long to hike for?  What if the hike leaves me feeling dissatisfied?  And, if I’m so busy hiking in the hills of Hawaii, when will I have time to hike in the hills of my other properties?”  are just some of the many concerns that can suck the mindfulness right out of you.

I empathize, Ms. Winfrey.  There are days when I can feel my inner bliss erode as I am forced to ask myself such annoying questions as: “Will the car start today?  How long until the car dies again?  And, if the car does run, will we have money for gas?”

Often the uncertainties of life become all that I have and hope for the future is, like your magazine, a luxury I can’t afford.

This I know for sure.

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