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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Seeing Double--This Is What You've Driven Me To: The Blogpost Equivalent Of The Gameshow Channel. I Hope You're Happy.


Been a while since I did one of these silly little posts. Seems like it's been tough throughout the blogosphere to generate any interest in anything lately, so I'm going to take it easy and toss off a little cyberfluff.

If you watch Project Runway, you probably sighed a little this week when they let designer hottie Logan go. It was time--he was starting to get all "I think I'm rocker edgy, but really, all I can do is black and sleeveless, and I know I need to mix it up...somehow"--so he made a Judy Jetson waitress outfit. (last outfit shown) That Fashion Don't got him Auf'd. But do not despair! If you need a Quickie Logan Fix, just tune in to House. His twin, Jesse Spencer, works there playing Dr. Robert Chase. Don't believe me? Take a look:


Okay, as if I haven't already put my Sad, Pathetic Television Addiction out there, here's another one. Have you been watching Top Chef Las Vegas? I'm putting my money on chef Kevin Gillespie, who is a very nice guy who can cook, unlike the cutthroat and cyberbot-esque Voltaggio brothers. (Those guys give Sibling Rivalry a whole new meaning.) Anyway, see what you think about this:


There's just NO WAY the guy cannot be merry! His lookalikes star in TWO Christmas specials!

Next, all four of you Dept. readers know of my Breakup with David Gregory. But that has nothing to do with this. I used to laud DG for his bold cravatical choices in the past, especially his unabashed Wearing Of Pink. Lately, however, David has Fallen From Fashion Grace with a bigass thud. I have no idea what has happened. Anyone who still soldiers on and endures Meet the Press knows this is true, and when David appears on The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, I am forced to reckon with Mr. Gregory's newfound sartorial predilections, which seem to be akin to none other than Bill the Butcher:


Those of you who have been watching with any regularity at all know this to be absolutely true. His propensity for mixing patterns has become a disease. Ugh.

Finally, some of you may be aware of my vast and somewhat uncharacteristic/surprising store of sports knowledge/interest. (Could I use some more backslashes? I'll see.) It's a source of amazement to my students, especially the boys, who see me as a high-heel-wearing chick who wouldn't know the difference between a free throw and a punt. Even I am sometimes a bit regretfully flabbergasted at how many professional athletes I know by sight and how much I know about various aspects of basketball, football, baseball, and their related topics. (Most of it picked up in self-defense, living as I do with three men.) All of which is to say that this last pair doesn't even require you to know Toronto Raptor power forward (that's basketball, by the way) Chris Bosh. Just know that he is who I thought of immediately when my student Jessica B. brought me this souvenir from her band trip in Florida:


Do not tell me you don't see this! Imagine them both pink....Ha!

That's it. I can't do it anymore. I need a drink. Go twit or spacebook or something. Sigh. Not that I am bitter.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Just Because We Can, Doesn't Mean We Should, Unless You're Talking About Cleaning Out My Basement

Very sorry for the monstrous gap between posts. Went on a jaunt, then came home and promptly fell ill. Still not feeling up to par, but oh well. We do what we must.

Onward.
This little newsish item caught my eye for some odd reason. A clump of Elvis Hair, vintage 1958, went up for auction and actually sold for $15,000! But allow me to clarify: this is hair believed to be Elvis's. Heaven only knows what, if its provenance was more reliable, it would have sold for. Perhaps eleventy billion. Especially since an Elvis Shirt went for 52K. Just a shirt--not something that actually may hold the DNA of The Pelvis himself. (Who may or may not still be alive, by the way.)

Personally, I have never understood the Mystique Of Elvis. I never liked his music, not any of it. I don't get the pilgrimages to Graceland or the people who buy the Velvet Elvises (Elvi?) or the collectible plates or any of that stuff. But the hair thing really creeps me out. What will the buyer do with it? Ever since reading and seeing Jurassic Park, the story in which scientists successfully extract dinosaur DNA from prehistoric bugs preserved in amber (the dino blood was still in the insects' system after they bit them) and then recreate the long-dead species, I can't help but think about the motives of some people. Oh sure, for some fans, it's merely a desire to hold on to something that belonged to someone they admired. Or to own a piece of someone famous. For others, celebrity memorabilia is an investment like stocks or gold.

But in this age of highly advanced science and technology, it sure would give me pause if my dad or daughter or husband were a bigdeal celebrity. The weirdo stalkers are bad enough. Can you imagine if some superfan with big bucks decides that he wants his own Beyonce 2.0?

Hey, did I just write a Script Treatment for a movie?

Anyway.

On a related note: The seller of the Elvis Clump, a Mr. Pepper, was apparently a friend of Elvis's and a president of one of his many fan clubs. Actually, the seller had to have been the friend's estate, because Mr. Pepper died in 1980. So, it seems that perhaps Mr. Pepper's family may have been de-cluttering things a bit and found that the Clump and assorted shirts and Pez dispensers really weren't doing much more than taking up space. I can relate. I bet you can, too.

How do you know what to save anymore, and for how long? It's just terrible. My kids are 24 and 21. Confession: I did not save all their baby clothes. Am I a terrible person? I also did not save every single card they gave me, nor did I save every single one of their elementary school papers or projects. Did I just lose my Mommy Card? I can't stand saving a lot of stuff. I don't want to end up on that tv show "Hoarders."
Right after the tragedy of September 11, I was talking to my friend Ann, and she said, "One of the things that struck me when I saw those towers come down was all that paper. Everywhere, there was paper. Right then and there, I decided that it was time to get rid of all the junk in my house. Because when I die, I don't want to burden my family with having to go through all the papers and all the crap in my house." She was so right.

That, however, was eight years ago, and although I made a similar pledge right along with her, I have a bunch of crap in my house that would not bring anywhere near fifteen thousand bucks, total. (Although I do have a clump of Rick's hair from when he had to get his long, long, LONG hair cut in order to get a "real" job many years ago. Anyone interested?) Rick even has his first five-speed bike that he bought with his very own money back in, like, 1875 or something. Why he has it, I'm sure I have no idea. It's lying in the basement, dusty and forgotten, but he needs it. It is a valuable relic of his Past.

And me? I am, at present, trying valiantly to think of a valuable relic of my Past that I am stubbornly holding onto. Aside from the abstract and intangible, I honestly cannot think of any. As I have often wondered before, I fear I have become Sentimentally Autistic; in my desire to always move forward, I willingly leave things behind, knowing that the truly important things travel always within me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Put On Your Flak Jackets And Take Cover! My Head Is Exploding, And Nutella, Cows, And Student Errors Are Everywhere!


Can you possibly handle a Barrage of Hodgepodge? A Pelting of Pastiche? Because my brain is firing random shots of mental rubbish right now, and it looks like you're the hapless target. Gotta get rid of this stuff somehow...

Item. This from a student essay about the character of John Proctor from the play The Crucible: He has changed jurassically from the beginning of Act II until the end. What am I to make of this metamorphosis by a simple Puritan farmer? Does this mean he has become, oh, I don't know...a stegosaurus? Perhaps the student means JP has undergone an era's worth of change? Rather, this kid has phonetically--in his mind--written "drastically." Sigh. And yes, this was in HONORS.

Item. Here's a thing. Now, longtime Dept. readers know of my unabashed love affair with Nutella. It is no secret. But even I never tried to pass the stuff off as a Health Food to try and ameliorate my addiction occasional snacking. What Mom/adult in her right mind would actually believe that a chocolate spread is part of a healthy breakfast? Oh sure it is, if the rest of said breakfast includes eleventy pieces of fruit, half a loaf of tofu bread, and oh, I don't know, maybe a chicken. Come on, Nutella People! Let's take a Reality Pill and Get On A Program.

Item. My Google News Reader has an alert for stories about cows, (Of course. Doesn't yours?) and I keep getting terribly disturbing ones about cow suicides. And no, I am not kidding. My first thought is, naturally, how horrifying. Those poor cows! My second thought is, What the hell is so damned depressing in the life of a cow that it would cause it to kill itself? Seriously. Can you just imagine the thought process of that poor thing? Or, what if it decides to confide in its cowfriend?
Penny: (thoughtfully munching on cud) I don't know, Hortense. I'm just so...down lately.
Hortense: (ruminates, then surreptitiously farts) Let's walk over by that edge there. Then you can tell me.
Penny: I mean, every day it's the same thing. It's okay and all, but I just feel so...so penned in all the time. Don't you ever just want to do something else?
Hortense: Sure. Sometimes, I don't go right up there to the barn. I sorta just wander first. And sometimes, I pee right on his hand when he straps me up.
Penny: (peers down the edge of the cliff) Look down there. I'm just gonna go. You with me?
Hortense: (brings up her cud, then glances over the edge of the cliff) Yeah, okay. Let's make a little noise first. (stretches neck, moos, farts)
Penny: (does same, jumps)
Hortense: (jumps)
(Other cows follow blindly in a stampede of bovine destruction. End)
Google News has about two weeks to get its manure together on the whole Cow Info Situation before I delete that section. At least today I learned that California has outlawed Cow Tail Docking. (What a relief! For the cows, too.)

Item. Oh, this stuff is killing me in student work, too. How hard is it to spell "beginning?" You cannot believe the variations I get. The most common are: beggining, begging (hey, Genius! already A WORD!), beggeng. WHAT? And, has the word "woman" completely disappeared from the English language? Has it? Because my students do not know that it exists. They just use the word "women" for the singular. Or worse, the term "female." Erg. Moreover, they pronounce the word "women" identical to the word "woman." WHAT IS GOING ON? Again, let us remember that this is from my "honors" classes. Heavy sigh.

Item. It is becoming increasingly difficult to do creative image searches on Google. I pride myself on having interesting graphics to go with my posts, and heretofore (*love that word!*) I have been able to plug interesting phrases into the query box and come up with wonderful pictures. Now, for some reason, Google merely isolates any word it feels like and generates completely boring and unrelated things. For example, I wanted to find some sort of interesting art for this post that showed perhaps a head with random imagery swirling out of it or around it. I plugged in "head open", "stuff coming out of my head", "exploding head", "spilling my head"...oh, any number of things like that. Idiotic Literal Google generated things that merely had the words "head", "open", "spill", or anything like that. Ergo, I had pictures of a glass of spilt milk, a hummingbird, a candle, a gay couple kissing, etc. Even the word "my" was in bold, indicating that Dorky Old Google had oh-so-helpfully searched all the pictures that included that word in their captions. Note to Google: You're effing up my Project.

All righty then. As usual, I feel better now that we've had a little chat-up. Thank goodness I have all of You. If it weren't for the Brilliant Readers/Commenters here at the Dept., I'd probably follow Penny and Hortense right off The Deep End.

Monday, October 05, 2009

If Television Is Going To Be My Life, Then I'm Going To Get A Hell Of A Lot More Out Of It: The Birth Of DoNTV

So much about my television viewing habits has begun to concern me. No, really, it has. Isn't it bad enough that I make a point to separate the TV Section from the rest of the Sunday paper and keep it on the coffee table so that I can refer to it daily? That I shriek like a martinet if anyone even looks like he is going to set a Pepsi can or beer or wineglass upon it, thus rendering it unreadable?

No. It is not. For it gets even Worse.

Friday night is "Hulu Night." Rick hooks up a cable from his laptop to the television and, after our lovely dinner, we spend the evening watching the shows we missed because (A)we were busy, (B) we were rendered comatose by our pathetic lives, or (C)they were on at the same time as another show we also like to watch.

I know. Just shoot me now. I am only fifty. I should still be out doing exciting things like...oh, not knowing the names of all of the contestants left on Top Chef and Project Runway. It's clear that I have a Problem.

Sometimes, just for fun, I like to read from the TV section the little plot blurbs about the shows aloud to Jared. I love those little summaries. I often wonder who writes them and how I would go about getting that gig. Some of them are unintentionally hilarious, especially if I don't watch the show. This one, for a new show called the forgotten, (lower case is apparently required), cracks me up: "A dead John Doe left beaten on the street leads the team into the world of professional football." OKAY! Also merry is this one for Dirty Jobs, especially if you read it with a real happy voice: "Mike travels to Miami to recover and crush abandoned boats and then heads to San Francisco to recover old mattresses!" HOORAY!

Today, I was reading a few out loud for giggles when I came upon the blurb for the now-tragic show Jon & Kate Plus 8. I'm sure we all know the sad soap opera behind that reality show, but that's not what I want to chat about. What I want to chat about is how this is a show: "An expert helps guide the family in an attempt to organize their basement." Okay, huh? Seriously? I mean, I get how herding a bunch of similar-looking kids as they toss toys at each other and an anal-retentive mom attempts to make sense of it all while reining in her OCD might be sort of fascinating--for about ten minutes--but really? A WHOLE SHOW?

The more I thought about it, the more irked I got because I knew damned well that the show paid for this Basement Organization By A Trained Professional. How fair is this?

So, here's the deal, America (or at least the minute percentage of America which reads the Dept.). I would like to, in one fell swoop, take care of my Television Problem and several of my...Other Problems by having My Own Show. I'll call it DonTV. I will ink a deal similar to the Jon & Kate deal as far as budget. Here are some of my blurbs:

*An expert guides the Dept. in an attempt to organize their basement.
*Nance decides to hire an expert to help guide her in selecting a new wardrobe, complete with shoes.
*Frustrated by her sons' inability to fledge from the nest, Nance hires an expert to help guide her and Rick in an attempt to get them to move out into an apartment and live on their own.
*Rick and Nance hire an expert to help guide them in the redecoration of their home.

And finally, the season cliffhanger will be

*Upon retirement from teaching, Nance hires an expert to guide her in the search for her new residence in a warmer and more Democratic-leaning part of the country.

Oh, I like it. All I need is the right network. What do you think?
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