good talkin’ to ya

In my quest to prevent oldest son, a 19-year old college freshman, from plummeting into a non-industrious summer routine, I give him a jingle when the daily noon hour rolls around to make sure he’s actually perpendicular to the floor.

Sometimes he is. 

And sometimes he just pretends he’s been awake for … ohmygosh, a very long time.  And further, he was doing something mightily productive when I called.

I am Mom.  I know the truth.

But.  The one thing I love about that kid (young man) is his priceless, ever-dry sense of humor.  The conversation went something like this …

MOM: Are you up?

OLDEST SON:
Yeesh.

MOM:
You know you have to mow the lawn today, right?

OLDEST SON:
Yeah. I will.

MOM:
(picks up on subtle groaning in son’s voice not quite audible in the normal spectrum of hearing) Dude, it doesn’t take that long. Just get it done.

OLDEST SON:
Mom. It takes 5 hours.

MOM:
(furrows brow and responds in most incredulous tone of voice) Five hours?! At the most, it takes me an hour to mow the whole yard. And you’re a whole lot younger than I am!? FIVE HOURS?!!

OLDEST SON:
Yeah. One hour to mow the lawn, and four hours to procrastinate about doing it.

OLDEST MOM:
(against better judgement proceeds to chuckle which encourages bad behavior) Just get it done, please?  I gotta run.

OLDEST SON:
I will.  Mom?

MOM:
Yeah honey?

SON:
  Wanna talk to Max?

Let the record reflect … MAX IS OUR DOG.

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make it work

This weekend I perused my TiVo ‘wishlists’ to schedule program recording for the next few weeks. I am sad to report that TV land has hit a long dry spell. You would think out of 300-plus channels something entertaining would urp up.

IGOTNUTTIN’

Yawn.

So I checked out the Internet in search of encouraging announcements on new-shows-slash-new-seasons air dates.  First up, ‘Project Runway’, that ended its last glorious season a (painfully) long time ago.  Okay. I’m going to pause here a moment and give you some valuable information. 

I know.  ‘Valuable’ is a subjective term.

But. 

For those of you who have never watched ‘Project Runway’, I highly recommend that you take a moment to deposit your tush on a couch cushion and watch just one itty-bitty episode. 

Just one. 

Promise it won’t kill you.

I first got hooked on ‘Project Runway’ a few years ago when I was miserably incapacitated with the flu.  The day at home, ill (read:  dying … it was awful), relegated to bed, fatefully was a day that BRAVO was running back-to-back episodes of the first and second seasons of ‘Project Runway’. 

Non-stop. 

ALL DAY LONG.

Tim Gunn made me forget all about my nausea.  Well.  At least for 15-20 minutes at a time.  The best bout of flu I ever had.

Anyway. 

I was hooked. They had me at hello.  Or the first time the ever-fastidious Tim Gunn narrowed a critical eye, pushed up his specs, flipped his wrist, and admonished, ‘Make it work!’.

Because I am in no way (no way … can’t stress that enough) talented in the realm of the arts, I absolutely love watching people who are so inclined. 

The premise for ‘Project Runway’ is ‘x’ number of contestants are given weekly fashion design challenges.  The contestant whose garment is rated the lowest by the judges … said panel includes Heidi “I Still Have A Slammin’ Body After 10,000 Children” Klum … is eliminated. 

The contestants are tasked with whipping up garments out of such materials as foliage, things found in a grocery store, or Hershey candy wrappers. And worse.  Folks, I can’t make this stuff up.  I’m always flabbergasted at what these people produce given the material, time, and cash constraints foisted upon them. 

AMAZING.

My spirit would have been crushed within the first 20 minutes of the assigned task.  Okay.  Twenty minutes is being vastly generous.  You want me to make a bathing suit out of tree bark?  Lisa begins to chortle uncontrollably and reaches for bottle of Valium. 

But these designers?  Pffft. They could do it blind folded with one hand tied behind their back.  They’d not only make the tree-bark bathing suit, they’d add a palm frond cover-up and coconut swim cap just for grins. 

So.

Checking the Internet I see that ‘Project Runway’, Season 6 begins on August 20th.  I shall beg your indulgence for a moment as I do a (badly executed) cartwheel.

Alright.

But here’s an interesting twist.  BRAVO has lost it’s license to air ‘Project Runway’.  After five highly-successful seasons, the ‘Project Runway’ series is now moving to the Lifetime channel. 

Cliff notes version of the whole debacle.

Lifetime was originally offered the series in it’s infancy.  Lifetime said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks. Our air time is strictly reserved for shows about women whose husbands use them as punching bags, 12-year olds with drug and pregnancy issues, and people dying of the disease de jour.’

Conversely, knowing a good thing when they see it, BRAVO opened its arms and said ‘HELLO TIM GUNN’.  Game on.

Sadly, several blossoming years later, BRAVO’s contract for ‘Project Runway’ expires. Ahhh.  Herein lies a major rub for BRAVO. When Lifetime initially passed on the programming, they (rather smartly) stipulated that at the expiration of BRAVO’s contract, Lifetime would receive right-of-first refusal on the next go ‘round.  Lifetime seized upon the cash cow and threw the show into their rodeo.

Then.  BRAVO took Lifetime to court. 

Lifetime got ‘Project Runway’ anyway.

Yeehaw.

Now.

Y’all know I’ll watch the show on any station.  But.  I have to say that the ‘fit’ on BRAVO seems to be a much more sensible scenario than Lifetime.  ‘Project Runway’ airing on Lifetime is markedly akin to airing ‘Blues Clues’ on the SciFi Channel.  Maybe in some parallel universe it makes sense.

Oh well.  It is what it is. 

Make it work.

i am not well handled

I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse. I am not well handled, Cromwell.  ~Henry VIII on Anne of Cleves, Fourth Wife~

OOOOOOOOH. 

Cromwell, you’re so gonna get it.

I have been a passionate fan of Tudor history for as long as I can remember,  so you can imagine my absolute delight when Showtime brought the Tudor story to life in their cable show, aptly called ‘The Tudors’. 

We are now nearing the end of the third season of ‘The Tudors’.  Katherine of Aragon has died a cast-aside, broken woman.  Anne Boleyn is minus a head which, of course, renders her quite dead as well.  And third-wife, Jane Seymour, has tragically died from complications of childbirth, just days after giving birth to Henry’s first and only (legitimate) male heir, Edward.

Enter stage right Anne of Cleves, the proposed fourth wife of Henry VIII.  Now here’s a woman for whom you really must feel more than a bit of empathy. 

Y’all do. 

Let me explain.

At this point in his life, Henry VIII does not exactly have a gossamer reputation in the world as, shall we say, particularly promising husband material.  

When Henry tired of his first wife, Katherine, who couldn’t give him a male heir, he hooks up with the vivacious and cunning Anne Boleyn.  When the Roman Catholic Church won’t permit Henry to divorce Katherine of Aragon to make it legal with Anne, he breaks England off from the Catholic Church and set himself up as Supreme Ruler of the Church of England. 

And grants himself the divorce.  Clever.

Anne must have been a real hottie, yes?

Anyway. 

Apparently having less than ideal karma, Anne first gives Henry a daughter, whom we will eventually come to know as Queen Elizabeth I.   Beyond that, no boys in Anne’s future. 

Well.  Okay.  That’s not entirely accurate. 

Because at one point Anne does give birth to a stillborn male child.  However. Said baby was described by court physicians as grossly deformed, which leads Henry VIII to suspect that he’s being cursed by his marriage to Anne.  This sets Henry’s Chief Minister, Thomas Cromwell, on a mission to dig up some dirt on Anne so she, too, can be properly set aside.

Y’all see a pattern here? 

Jewels and opulence notwithstanding, a wife of Henry VIII probably lived in mortal fear 99.9% of her married life. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be a position for the faint-hearted.

So. 

Thomas Cromwell, the sneaky bastard, not only tells Henry that Anne is having an affair but elaborates that it’s multiple affairs.  And.  That Anne is allegedly sleeping with her brother. 

Ewww. 

Based on heresy, because y’all know Cromwell has a tidy little agenda of his own to put said atrocities into play, Henry has Anne’s head neatly removed from her person.  Oh.  And then Henry seals the deal by also executing Anne’s brother, father, and a gaggle of other persons in her inner circle. 

Now.  So far, does this sound like a man you’d be jumping at the chance to share the rest of your (possibly short) life with? 

Methinks not.

Third-wife Jane Seymour is a quiet, demure, and relatively innocuous woman who was reputed to be the salt of the earth.  Probably because she didn’t cross him. 

Oh.  Sorry.  I didn’t realize I said that out loud. 

And a male baby in the form of Edward would certainly seemed to have enhanced the king’s professed undying love for her.  So when Jane dies just days after giving birth to Edward, the king is reported to be utterly devastated.

Which brings us to his choice of his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.

After Saint Jane’s death, Thomas Cromwell starts scouring the world to find a suitable match for his king.  Unfortunately, you now have Spain, France, and Italy … all Catholic nations …  can we be blunt here? Well.  They’re really pissed off at England’s break from the Catholic Church.  So.  They’re not inclined to offer up any of their eligible Catholic women.  Cromwell, who was part and parcel of the Church reformation, wants Henry to marry a Protestant and create an alliance with the Lutheran League.

And there you have it.  Germany.  His answer is Anne of Cleves from what is now known as Germany.  A quiet, little Protestant country.

Cromwell has famous artist, Holbein, traipse over to the Court of Cleves and paint Anne in a manner which seemingly made her … ummm … a whole lot more attractive than she really was.  Henry gets the professional portrait, likes what he sees, and demands she be brought to him ‘with much haste’.  Chop chop!

Oh.  Poor choice of words, Henry thinks hearkening back to the ‘other’ Anne.

Ahem.

But it is a bewildered Anne of Cleves, who speaks scant English and is in no way schooled in the politics of the English court who arrives before the king.  The king, ever the gentleman (cough), meets Anne of Cleves … and immediately sets his lawyers to the assignment of breaking the engagement.  He deems Anne to be akin to a ‘Flanders mare’.  

And folks, he ain’t the least bit happy about it.

Nice. 

Because ya’ll know at this time in his life King Henry VIII himself is quite the stud.  Being grossly overweight and with an ulcerated leg that makes him perpetually ‘smell of pus and blood’, his rather checkered past with the ladies, and the fact he’s just flat-out cantankerous and more often than not, irrational … why, he should expect only the best for his next choice of wife, right? 

‘Damn that Flanders mare!’, says the tubby, smelly, nasty-ass King Henry VIII.

Okay.  This brings me to my conclusion that the producers of ‘The Tudors’ got Anne of Cleves way wrong.

WAY WAY WRONG.

So wrong that I want to start a petition to fire their casting people.  Yeah.  If I were smelly and mean myself, I would. 

Now that y’all know the history … please pay attention because this blog is nearing an end … would you ever, in a million years, cast singer Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves? 

I mean, REALLY. 

Maybe if you were on some really bad acid, it would seem logical.  But sober and alert, it just seems … dumb?  Far-fetched.  Ridiculous.  Absurd.  Folks, I have a thesaurus and could go on ad naseum with a plethora of  other adjectives. 

But I think you get the point.

I watched the second-to-last episode of this season of ‘The Tudors’ last night and I literally could not stop shaking my head. 

Joss Stone.  JOSS STONE.

You just can’t ugly that girl up. 

It is so implausible to believe the scene with Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Joss Stone in the marital bed where he repeatedly turns away from her in disgust, unable to consumate the marriage.  Honestly?  If those two historical figures looked like the actors in real life, Henry would have only turned away from Anne if he were gay.

I’m just sayin’.

Or conversely.  If he were impotent.  Ah ha.  Which, my friends, is what some scholars believe to be the truth of the matter.

Anyway.

I understand making ‘The Tudors’ sexy enough to make history interesting to people who don’t particularly ‘get into’ history.  I simply don’t understand them making the show so sexy as to be foolish.

See?  Told you I had a thesaurus.

shriek, snigger, and snort

Caught a bit of an older routine of comedian Jim Gaffigan today and, friends, I would be remiss if I didn’t share him with you.  He’s one-of-a-kind. And always … ALWAYS … funny.  If you’ve never checked him out, y’all must. 

Y’ALL REALLY HAVE TOO.

Jim’s currently on tour with his new ‘King Baby’ routine which we watched a month or so ago on Comedy Central.  I laughed so hard at pretty much everything, to the point that oldest son was assigned the job of pausing the TiVo to let me collect myself.  Oh boy.  I thought I was going to lose some brain cells there.  Especially when Jim talked about ‘the bears’.  For days afterwards it was a catch phrase around our house.  I mean … the beeaaaaarrs. Watch it. Y’all will get it.

Some of my personal (classic) favorites … 

Cinnabons

I try to rationalize what I eat but there’s some food you should never eat.  I mean Cinnabon?  Tell me that place isn’t run by Satan.  You ever eat a Cinnabon? You have to take a nap halfway through.  Ummm. I think I need some insulin.  It’s kinda generous calling that a bun. It’s the size of a beanbag chair.  Should I sit in that or eat it?  Hey! I can sit in it and eat it.

Donut Burger

We’re never satisfied when it comes to food. ‘You know what’d be good on this burger? A ham sandwich. Instead of a bun, let’s use two donuts. That way we can have it for breakfast. Look out McGriddle-here comes the donut-ham-hamburger!’

Bottled Water

How did we get to the point where we’re paying for bottled water? That must have been some weird marketing meeting over in France. Some French guy’s sitting there, like, ‘How dumb do I think the Americans are? I bet you we could sell those idiots water.’

Writing Postcards

You could be a genius — you try to write a postcard, you come across like a moron anyway. It’s always like, ‘This city’s got big buildings. I like food. Bye.’

knick knack paddy whack

I have never been a big ‘collector’, the most likely reason being that I don’t  have a very long attention span, coupled with the fact I’m generally unwilling to cough up coin for things that aren’t necessarily ‘useful’; things that don’t serve a specific purpose.  Then, of course, there’s the issue that clutter in the form of knick knacks raises my level of angst.  Not in other people’s homes, mind you, but certainly in my own. 

Yes, I am quirky.

So when I do collect anything, I tend to be pretty basic.  I collect books (lots of them).  And Willow Tree people.  I love (love love) my Willow Tree people. 

And earlier this year I discovered the world of Blossom Bucket.  How could I not love this line?  It was calling my name …

 

bad mojo

WHATTADAY.

This morning my mojo apparently took a brief time-out for station identification.

First.

I left the house sans my ever-faithful companion, Cell Phone.  Bad.  Bad and way stupid. Not having my cell phone with me … on the level, y’all? …  I confess it’s absence puts me more than a little bit out over my skis. Which then makes me wonder … how on earth did we ever cope before the Advent of Personal Technology?

Unfortunately, by the time I realized I was lacking Ye Olde Cell Phone, I was several miles down the road and without adequate time and/or inclination to return home.  Yes, I realize that it would have behooved me to take the time. But. Sometimes I’m not the most clever chimp in the tree.

Then.

To compound the issue, the very minute I drop youngest son off at school, my low-gas light flashes and dings.

Schwell. Simply root-tootin’ schwell. 

I hit the Idiot Driver button that supposedly tells me just how how far I can go before I’m stranded in the gutter. 

Thirty-two miles.

Okay. So 32 miles worth of gas in the tank is vastly more than I’ll need to safely arrive at the office. No urgent need to stop and fill-er-up. This is good, I say to myself.

Sigh.  I really have to get off the dope.  I’m starting to actually believe the stupid things that run around in my head.

So.  I make my move for the highway, and as I’m driving down the entrance ramp … too late, of course, to actually initiate any change in plans … I see that traffic is deadlocked. Red brake lights as far as my weak-sighted eyes can see. 

But.  Never fear. 

After all, I do have 32 miles before I run out of gas. 

I wisely turn off the air conditioning because y’all know that elementary gesture will buy you an extra … oh gosh … 400 feet of travel down the concrete. 

Traffic is not moving.  I sit.  And fume.  And watch the clock tick over another painful minute.  And throughout all of this unexpected morning joy, I most anxiously ruminate on being stranded without a cell phone or any viable means of contacting the outside world.   

Suddenly and without warning, my Idiot Driver low-gas light is now telling me I have a mere 23 miles left until something very, very bad happens.

No. No. No.

Listen.  I’ve traversed a grand total of about 100 feet and you’re dinging me for 9 miles worth of fuel?  Sheesh.  It’s no wonder the automakers are in a pickle.

Slightly panicked … I’m a pansy, I am … I make a split-second to detour off the highway in an urgent quest for fuel.  Folks, for the record … downtown Toledo is not necessarily a place y’all wanna hang if you place even an iota of value on your life.  To further complicate the issue of, shall we say, the Criminal Element of the Region, downtown also sports an (over) abundance of one-way streets.   Me and one-way streets.  Hmm.  Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t report that we really don’t get along awfully well. 

Just ask Leila with whom I spent a fun-filled weekend in Indianapolis one time.  Taking her back to the airport at 5:00 am, we (read: ‘I’ … in fairness, there was no ‘we’ involved in that half-wit decision) tripped the wrong way up … or down depending on your point of view … a one-way street.  This mistake incited some early-hours, wall-eyed baboon to call me … and I quote … a ‘stupid bitch’.  Exclamation point.  Exclamation point. 

Nice.  Welcome to Indianapolis.  Y’all come back now, ya hear.

So this morning, there I am.  No cell phone.  Running on vapors.  White-knuckling a ponderous search through a maze of one-way streets to find the one solitary gas station in the entire delapitated downtown.  And I’m late. 

Very, very late. 

Then. 

In a quirky twist of fate, I find a gas station.  And in that gas station in said crappy part o’town, there is the security of a parked police car.  And in that police car?  Two patrolmen.  And Lord above, they’re smiling. 

I smile back.  All the while praying that they hadn’t noticed I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt.  And that they weren’t just grinning at me because there were giddy at having been given the perfect opportunity to write their first traffic ticket of the day. 

A short time later the van-beast was satisfied, those cheery patrolmen were sipping their java and jawing, and I checked out.  And yes.  I did buckle up.  No sense in further tempting fate after my very Bad Mojo Morning.

just gotta tell you anyway

(Caroline) Sullivan claims to have slept with a mystery Roller not once but twice. She claims while they were based here in the USA that she was a “tour guide” of sorts to their home. She goes on to further say she had numerous phone conversation with them in their homes and at hotels across the world. She does however prevent herself from being checked by eliminating the name of the Roller. In the end she claims to have met her Roller and Ian Mitchell in a London Pub on a a business lunch. After all this one on one Roller time her Roller asked “Have we met before?” She was so disappointed in him that she replied “No.”

I find the story hard to believe.  How convenient that her friends told her not the use their real names due to embarrassment of the Rollers. Don’t waste your money. It a fantasy story of a women who doesn’t have a life.

~Reader Review of ‘Bye Bye Baby’ from Amazon.com~

Ouch.

I think the most amusing line from the review above is ‘I find the story hard to believe.’  Really?  Pardon me as I take a moment to wipe the utterly ridiculous smile off my face.

Okay.

Now that said grin has been erased, I’ll back up a bit with some history before I delve into today’s bloggity drivel.  I first read ‘Bye Bye Baby’ by Caroline Sullivan when it was originally released in June 2000.  And as much as I’m reticent to admit it in my well-beyond teenage years, I read the book rather rapidly that first run through, hoping to get to the juicy bits about Eric Faulkner. 

Now y’all know, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. 

I am cheese.  Pure, and unapologetic-about-it, cheese.

So. 

Coming across the book this weekend languishing on my bookshelf, and sans any new books to tear into, I pulled out the Tartan Grail and gave it another go.  I figured nearly 9 years later and with an ever-so-slight advancement in my level of maturity, I could simply slow down, read it word-for-word, and savor the experience.

I did.  It was delicious.

I think what I love most about the book is Caroline’s unabashed candidness about her entire Roller fan experience.  And the fact that as a fan, I could absolutely ‘get it’.  I got her emotions.  I got her feelings of intense highs and the subsequent tumble down to depression if you looked a bit too closely at the fact nothing was ever truly going happen between a young (read: 13-year old in my case) teenage girl and 20-plus year old boy-men.  Because y’all know that would have involved jail time.

Anyway.

When ‘Bye Bye Baby’ was first released, I was actually bewildered by the level of negativity surrounding what Caroline wrote.  To this day, I still can’t get my head around how anyone could have gotten their knickers in a twist about Caroline’s recall of sleeping with ‘her Roller’.  In fact, if anything the way in which she put the incident to paper was … well … extraordinarily innocuous. 

Details, Caroline. We want details.

Sorry.  A moment of inappropriate outburst.

And, of course, for the Roller fans it was no great feat to puzzle out who the thinly-veiled, apparently non-virginal Roller in question was.  Woody.  There I said it.  Sue me.  And for one fan of the thousands to come out and share their one-paragraph (perhaps two when you include the second time, gasp) experience of getting Biblical with a Roller, I’d say that was pretty darn amazing.  Considering, of course, these men were in no way chaste as they were purported to be at the time, and I’m quite sure there were far more occasions than just Caroline’s where they got horizontal (or otherwise) with fans.  Over the years, I think generally the guys got off pretty lucky … no pun intended … with the marked absence of fan ‘tell alls’.

Another fact I find eyebrow quirking was that when the first edition of the book was released, I had a copy of Woody’s tartan buttocks on the cover of mine.  Apparently, so the story goes, a certain someone took issue with the use of the photo of said Roller’s small tush and the cover for the next book printing featured a photo of screaming fans.  Yeah.  Because we all know how very much we’d rather see fans’ gaping pie holes than Stuart’s fine … errr … well-covered behind and bony spine.

Okay.  I’ll admit it. 

Personally, I’d be awfully uptight if someone took a photo of my backside and slapped it on a book.   But that’s just me.  And I’m sure it would be for entirely different reasons than the apparently inexcusable offense of Woody’s arse in full-color print.  For someone to take a photo from their private collection to illustrate their words about their experiences … gosh, I’m really not sure I get the gripe.

Anyway.

Then there’s the issue with Caroline’s perpetual jabs at the band’s musical prowess that some fans found highly offensive.  On that topic, I’d have to say let’s get down to brass tacks. If the intent of the actual marketing of the Bay City Rollers was to be about mind-blowing music … I don’t believe they’d have done it in shin-high cropped pants, stripey socks, tied up in a sea of tartan.   

Nuff said.

For me, rather than seeing Caroline as an ‘obsessed’ girl with ‘no life’ as the reviewer above kindly (cough) noted, I saw Caroline as the woman who gave life to words about my own young teenage years as a Bay City Roller fan.   She validated my unexplainable (to this day even), overly-intense yearning for these untouchable and unobtainable men.  She made it seem normal to spend hard-earned cabbage to buy magazines with perhaps only one sentence about the guys, cut it out and scrapbook it.  She made it seem reasonable to call every hotel in the town they were playing to find out where they were staying.  And then call them up with absolutely nothing of any consequence to say.  I should know.  My friend and I made such phone calls.  And we actually did converse with Woody when they were playing at the Ohio State fair in August 1977. 

Mind you, I use the term ‘converse’ with a large boulder of salt.

LISA AND COMPANY:  ‘Woody?’
WOODY:  (jaw-cracking yawn) ‘Yeah.’
LISA AND COMPANY:  (insert 14-year old blathering)
WOODY:  (insert second yawn) ‘Are you coming to the show today?’
LISA AND COMPANY:  ‘No, we’re not.’
WOODY:  ‘Right then.’

Embarrassing.

Back to Caroline.

In a nutshell, Caroline made it seem perfectly normal to obsess over something that you were never going to get … and if per chance you did get it, wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway. 

I heart Caroline.  She was me … with immensely more chutzpah.

Oh.

And for the record, the book revealed nothing about Eric other than he was a rather surly, musically angsty, unavailable sorta chap at the time.  Be still my tender heart.