Thursday, September 29, 2011

We Are Snooki

Anyone who watches The Jersey Shore (what, there are people) has seen the latest freakout mental breakdown of resident superstar, Snooki. She's tiny, she's drunk, she's flailing, she's funny. She has many, many "best of" quotes. She is also very young and trying to figure her life out.

So she's with this complete douche Jionni. She gets drunk at a club and does something exhibitionist and stupid. Like he didn't know who he was dating? Nevertheless, she did something stupid. And drunk.

It really doesn't matter. When I realized I recognized this girl was when I watched her screaming his name in the streets of whatever Italian town they are staying in. Watching her cry and scream and hyperventilate over this guy leaving her reminded me of something. What nailed it down was his crystal cool attitude during the whole thing. No tears. No real evidence of anger. What does he do? Threaten abandonment.

Man. Have I EVER seen this before? Yes.

I call it the 6-month Strategy of Intimacy. Perfect gentleman, completely devoted, full of caring and love. I had tonsillitis during this period. He brought me enough soup and food to feed a family for a week. He sent me cards and flowers. He pretended to be an open soul, open and dedicated only to me.

The first time the butcher pulled True Sociopathic shit on me I was caught completely unaware. Let me tell you how it feels: Sick, drained, black. You feel desperate and panicked.

The second time he pulled this shit on me, I went crazy. I was in my office, AT MY JOB, shrieking into my sleeve, sobbing. I was completely hysterical. I had to go home. I cut up the necklace he gave me and got blisteringly drunk. I went completely out of my mind insane.

When you are dealing with a sociopathic, sadistic charmer, you have no control. They are experts at building trust and dependence. Once that's established, it is all games of torture and reward. I am an educated, generally distrustful, allegedly wise person. I was completely steamrolled by the butcher. I had no game plan. I didn't know I needed one.

So, go easy on little Snooki. She's got problems aside, but on this whole Jionni mess, give her a pass.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sell Me Something

I watch plenty of television. Not by choice. I walk into my apartment and it turns itself on. It whispers goooood morning daaaave even when it is nighttime then proceeds to pick all the channels. It growls when I pick up the remote. I am not Dave.

So I end up watching a lot of commercials. First, let me say this: They've gotten so much better over the years. Cable has also contributed to this improvement: More competition, more incentive to get off your lazy ass and make some Majix. I do miss local commercials, especially the misguided "creative" ones, and it's been an age since I've seen a Monster Truck Rally ad. I mean, how am I going to know what to do on Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY?!?

I've always had loves and hates and mostly mehhhhhs, my all-time favorite is probably that Sprite ad from the 90s. A perusal of my blog will tell you I have lots of blergs, mostly based on common sense rather than the quality of the commercial (see: seeing a child terrified into crying in a busy airport because he was all alone, not because his mom died of cancer, even though that's what they scared the crap out of him for). There are such things as best-worst commercials, one of which I saw when it was originally running in Chicago. I sat there, gape-mouthed, not believing that it actually happened. Over the years, it's aged like a fine wine...

Lately, my favorite commercial is this little gem, which is my humor to a T:

I'm also a fan of the Orbit cuss-out ad. What I am NOT a fan of is the following commercial, which upsets me on several different levels:

Bad, marketing people, BAD! I don't care if it was complicated to pull off. I don't care if it took talent. My first reaction was similar to Hyperbole and a Half's dog, NO HOORSE NO! Why?:

--It makes a creepy face. Creepy ass face. It reminds me too much of that Hobbit cartoon that I absolutely hated when I was a kid. NOHOORSENO.

--Look at the nose. Look at it. Look at the hands under the nose. Remember this is a family.

--There are children that come out of this pyramid face of horror. Where were the children?! Someone call social services.

It is creative. Creepy creative, but kudos to being memorable, terrible Toyota commercial!


Sunday, September 25, 2011



I used to collect them. Somewhere in this apartment I have individually wrapped (in stamp-sized envelopes) STAMPS. Elvis and Warner Bros....and triangular shaped ones from the eighties, I think. I am OLD MAN IVY. Whatever. When I first got interested in the idea of stamps I was 13 or so.

We were living on Waco street and food stamps. I used to make grocery runs to Dillons on 13th with the hopes that my extreme crush, a high school guy named Patrick, would not be working. Of course, there was one time that he was working. Me. My food stamps. And Patrick. Imagine the shame. You can't. Just try.

I had a lot of goofy aspirations during this time. Of course I was going to be "found" by some famous humanitarian and I would be made famous, somehow. Academy awards abound...followed closely by Grammys and scandallllllll! It was going to be rich with drama. There was a moment, even, when I was absolutely sure that Steve Perry pulled up in my driveway on a Harley.

It. Happened.

Or at least I think it happened. I was, after all, thirteen. If you don't know this (if you are a parent, you should, and if you still claim you do not, SHAME on you): preteens are clinically insane. It is true. They are. And we should all feel terribly sad for and afraid of them. Incarceration! It is the only hope.

Yet. These people run free amongst us. As I once did. With my food stamps and weird dreams.

My personal dream was to one day see a stamp of Grace Jones. I don't know why. I can only imagine she was the most anti-Wichita thing that could ever exist, probably. Imagine 1985. Me and my groceries of shame. Writing in my journal of angst. Imagine! I spent hours obsessing over Stevie Nicks and stealing cigarette butts out of ashtrays when my mom wasn't looking. I spent hours imagining I was anywhere but there.

I really have to tip my hat to that girl. She would never have believed she would be living in New York City, working in publishing. That food stamp girl spent hours curled around her most precious things: scrapbooks, tapes, stolen scarves, dreams. It is possible--and it SHOULD BE--that the stamp she once imagines would come to light. How cool would that be? HOW COOL? Think about it!

A more likely happenstance is, of course, a chicken happenstance. This might make it to a stamp one day. And all hail the grand and opulent Chicken! Celebrate! There's still room enough in this vast world for a grand chicken stamp and something altogether different, magnificent, and magical.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This Week in Stupid

For reasons I cannot explain, I've been Rickrolling myself all week. Why? Why? I don't know why. It just lives in my head to irritate and annoy, I guess. To be clear, I wasn't into this song when it came out. I'll trade it any day for a solid T'Pau or even a Toy Soldiers.

So a Good and Wondrous Editor responded to an email with "Free Bird" when I asked if she was available to a meeting, thus freeing me from this hot mess that was never gonna give me up, never gonna let me down, never gonna run around or desert me. UG, please desert me.

The other song that possessed my headspace was, for no reason I can explain, "Ya Mo Be There." WHY WHY WHY. It isn't even on my radar as a favorite. Not to say that I do not have Michael McDonald favorites because I doooo. Honestly I was kind of sads when The 40-Year-Old Virgin made fun of playing the Michael McDonald video on replay forever at the electronics store. Look. I love me some Michael McDonald. I even endure me some Doobie Brothers with one very extreme exception. I am not, however, into any kind of Ya Mo or Yo Mo Be There silliness. My favorite Michael McDonald? Obvious:

I'll take that on replay all day Wednesday, okaaaay?

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The Oatmeal

How did I not know of this little sliver of genius? I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Image above all credit to The Oatmeal, which you should subscribe to immediately.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Welsh Witch

It is impossible to express the impact Stevie Nicks had on my young life and formative years. I remember being about 11 years old and finally understanding that the woman singing the beautiful songs I loved at that time, "Edge of Seventeen" and "Stand Back," was also the woman who sang the beautiful songs I loved as a child, "Dreams" and "Sara." So, as I slid precariously into those impressionable years, I reached out to learn more about this woman. What I discovered was far more than I'd bargained for.

Imagine a blank canvas of a mind waiting for inspiration. Mix that with the extreme confluence of ego and desire. Now imagine the first time I laid eyes on Stevie Nicks in all her Welsh witch glory, being a beautiful, magnificent, terrifying freak. The word "galvanizing" does not describe it.

Remember, this is the age before the Internet. Now I can Google her and find a zillion pictures, but then I was left with Circus magazine (she was more "rock," so Bop wasn't really where one would find her) and record stores (Musicland I remember the most). The more I accumulated, the more obsessed I became. So many stars one would choose to emulate were far more simple or mainstream--think Olivia Newton John--and Stevie Nicks was anything but that.

When we would go grocery shopping, Mom was off to purchase the sustenance, I was off to the magazine rack. My very favorite picture of her was Stevie crouching in the dark, reaching out with a terrifying claw of a hand. I cannot find this image now, so if you run across it, tell me immediately. It was both beautiful and scary. Remember, I was 11 or 12 at the time: my concept of witches was formed entirely by my Christian upbringing. They were from the devil. I even checked out the Witches handbook from the library to try to get a grasp on the thing. Thank Stevie Nicks for my early understanding of Wiccans and the true nature of that religion. Not. Devil. Worshippers.

However, I was still terribly scared of her. All while being completely fascinated and charmed. I wanted to be her daughter, best friend, back up singer. I wanted desperately to be a Sister of the Moon.

I will tell you honestly that it bothers me when people make fun of her. I love South Park, I don't love the sheep bit. I generally care about humans on this earth, I do NOT like it when they make fun of Stevie's voice, lyrics, appearance, anything. Imagine this woman in the world of rock, she's inducted into Fleetwood Mac as a couple, and her singularity and talent brought her to the forefront. It speaks volumes that she was able to go on and create a wildly successful solo career based on her truly unusual talent. I cannot think of anyone that was anything like her. Can you?

Anyway, here's one of my favorite performances. Why is the mic square? Why is it set for a 7 foot tall person? Who cares? She's magnificent. And continues to be.


There Just Stopped Being Gravity

After spending the last two days going through 8 sets of proofs I was half-zombie, half-human, half-drooling or crying. No one will ever really know the true story. Aside from that it has been a really good week, mostly because my social anxiety event is finally over and I can Relaxxxxxx. Also other things that make me smile like a fool for minutes and hours on end (and who knew how dangerous one can suddenly seem on the streets of NYC, grinning whilst walking alone...YES).

This little treat made me laugh aloud today, thanks to my work friend Mr. Editor McBookypants (he gets a new name every time). Please enjoy The Monkeys You Ordered. The literal captions wipe the floor with the real ones. I guess it depends on your sense of humor, but this is definitely mine.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Is a fun distraction. I picked a momentous month from 2008 and created a word cloud using this website. I could do this all day, I think.

Thanks, Wordle!

Friday, September 09, 2011

9/11 10 Year Anniversary

I've already written about the covers everything I remember. There are details I left out for reasons of anonymity. It isn't that I believe it would be all that hard to ID me should anyone try to snoop doggy dog me from work--enough key words will lead you RIGHT HERE--but there was one notoriously callous moment I will never forget that I cannot get into too much detail for, if you think about it, obvious reasons. Let's just say that an anonymous someone said something to the effect of "it's been two weeks already. Aren't we ready to, you know, move on?"

Two weeks.

I can't remember when, exactly--maybe it was standing on 5th avenue, kicked out of my office, watching the smoke downtown...maybe it was the walk to Meg's apartment, or the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge--but I do remember thinking very concretely that nothing would ever be the same again. Ever. You can divide an American's world view very clearly between pre-9/11 and post-9/11. Our soft, safe world of hypothetical threats (Russians! Nukes! Aliens!) was shaken apart on that day. It was not hypothetical, it was the worst thing that no one had ever imagined before...not on that scale, for sure.

Remember when a plane crash was big news? The biggest? I remember being glued to the TV whenever a plane crash happened, it scared me so much. That morning, after the basic facts (drenched in hysterical theories) were established, I do remember saying something about this. One accidental plane crash was the height of horror for me. Now, in this new world, there are four plane crashes, all hijackings, all deliberate. It was too much to handle only this information for me. I believe wholeheartedly that this is why I shut down.

My editor friend posted a link to the just released audio recordings of that day and made a very insightful and intelligent comment about how people who say it was "like a movie" were wrong. He said it was a waking nightmare. It was. More for so many than for me. I remember Meg's boyfriend arriving home while we were watching the one and only channel they had and his shell shocked expression. He worked in that area and he'd seen first hand the people falling from the towers. If that had been me...I don't know what. I would not have been able to function.

The thing is, though, that for me it did turn into a movie. Because it HAD TO. When I went downstairs to see that the second tower had fallen I had a choice. My friend was on the ground screaming, people were milling, yelling, crying, and shocked. I was in this new, scary city 4 months. I had a choice. Those walls shot up and were lacquered in steel. Everything that happened was a cold dream, a movie playing out that only happened somewhere 10 feet away from me. Nothing to be scared of. Nothing to think about. Nothing.

My friend Chris has a huge heart. When I moved to NYC she basically forced me to be her friend. I am a homebody to the extreme; she would hear none of it. And this is a good person to have that particular quality because she is a wonderful person: positive, energetic, hilarious, sincere. When this happened, my friendship with her and with Julia was so new that I already felt exposed and scared. I am not good at making friends. So witnessing her unfiltered, completely real emotional reaction to what had happened made me feel all the more alien and cold. Their insistence that I come over that night, come with them the next day to the Brooklyn promenade, and join them for other events (the charity event at The Gate, watching the concert for the NYPD and FDNY) cemented our friendship in a wholly unique way. I saw Julia just the other night and I can say without reservation that her very presence is a comfort to me. She and Chris represent complete safety to me. I get calm at the center and ride a kind wave of mutual adoration.

And while I can identify with people who say it was "like a movie" there was one comment that struck me wrong. This goes back to the point that everything changed. I've heard this opinion before and I absolutely disagree with it. This time, the source was a History Channel special on the event. One of the commentators talked about the expressions on the faces of the people who were watching everything unfold on the scene...the scores of people with their hands to their mouths, crying, screaming, witnessing the people falling, the fire, the horror of it all. He said, "We're not used to seeing this happen in our lives, on a daily basis, where in other parts of the world it is a daily event."

Really? Really. Please tell me when this event has happened anywhere else in our modern times. You cannot compare this to bombings, other hijackings, NOTHING. You cannot. Or did he mean just seeing people senselessly die? That is the only parallel. No modern, first world country has seen 4 passenger planes full of people target 2 iconic landmarks full of living humans, and destroy that many people in one contemptuous, single-minded and misguided effort to make a simple, narrow-minded point.

Two weeks.

It's been 10 years and I still cannot allow what happened full access to my heart and mind. I see it with clinical eyes. I wait for it to wash over me and, finally, through me. To finally truly understand the weight of it. The bloody heft. I know so much of what protects me was there from the start; what I've known, what I've seen. Self protection is paramount. But I fear this protection is the same as a sociopathic tendency. I see the faces and I understand they are real, all of them, but when I try to see the event as a whole it spools out like Not real. Never real.


Thursday, September 08, 2011

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Boxed

I've said hateful things about Russell, Taylor's husband. These are "characters" from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. This Housewives show is by far my favorite. Or, it was.

The thing is, finally, we must come to terms with the fact that these are real people. Whatever reasons they have for signing up for this shitshow, we must always remember that they are flawed, fallible, and vulnerable.

Other people have committed suicide after partaking in a reality shows. Google it. It has happened more than you think. This is the most high profile death to date.

The sad thing is this: My feelings about Russell were completely formed by my viewing of the show. I found him controlling, hard hearted, and bland. Take a step back.

Way back.


How many people have we known in real life that would fit that description? Let's be clear: I do not canonize him as a martyr to the cause of Just Realities. There are NO TRUE REALITIES in TELEVISION. It is a hateful lie of manipulation and exploitation. He's just a guy. A regular guy full of faults and annoying outward habits. He is the very definition of banal. No amount of money or faux monies will ever make this untrue.

However, can we say the truth?: A man killed himself. He hung himself in his mansion. He is rotting in his grave.

The decision of Bravo to continue to air the episodes for this season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is completely beyond me. Future episodes dedicated to bitchy comments about Lisa wearing a fur hat? Irrelevant. Future episodes dedicated to fashion, stature, riches, idiocy? WHO CARES? Because all people will really want to see is the episode when everyone reacts to Russell hanging himself in his mansion. That is it. Otherwise, the exercise of watching these vapid fools playing their irrelevant games isn't just is perverted and sick beyond compare.

I ask, finally: Who give a FUCK what happens to these real wives now? Why air the show at all? Bravo, are you not just sucking the last dry blood from Russell's body to gain even a smidge of ratings? How far is too far? We have to follow the simple rules of Cylon here: Box it.

This branch of the series is dead. Let it DIE. Along with Russell who died for his own reasons. The thing is: No one gives two flying shits about some rich bitch's furry hat when we know, in the end, that a real person is taking his life and rotting in his grave. Stop.

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