Archive for May, 2001

May 14 2001

Mary & Rhoda

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Remember that scene in “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” where the two title characters are arguing bitterly about which is the “Mary” (i.e. cute) and which is the “Rhoda” (i.e. less cute)? The argument gets so heated that they actually have to pull over, even though up to that point they were speeding along traffic-free freeways (which never happens to me).

Even when “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was in its heyday, I thought Rhoda, with her wisecracks and actual personal style — even when she was supposedly fat — was much more attractive than stick thin, uptight Mary with her matronly clothes and stiff, lacquered hair. The Mary of “Dick Van Dyke” was so much cuter and sexier in her little capri pants. What happened? The MTM Show Mary’s puritanical personality could and did rob even a miniskirt of its sex appeal, whereas you got the impression that Rhoda was much more, shall we say, warm-blooded. Plus she’d make you laugh afterwards, and possibly even during, which I consider to be a bonus.

And I gotta say, Rhoda has the last laugh. I saw a few seconds of a trailer for Mary’s latest TV movie, undoubtedly some form of tear-jerker, and she looked freakish and frightening. I don’t know if she’s the victim of platic surgery gone disastrously wrong, but she looks like a hard-faced creature from another planet. Valerie Harper, on the other hand, has made a couple of guest appearances lately looking fabulous — on “Sex & The City” and “That 70’s Show”. She’s still got wit and style and is undoubtedly still turning heads — and not because she looks like an alien. Maybe one day that scene in “Romy & Michele” will be funny because viewers will wonder why anyone wants to be the Mary.

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May 13 2001

Cats vs. Kids

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Happy Mother’s Day, Ma! Consider the latest bump in the road pay back for all the diapers you changed and nail-biting visits to the emergency room when we were kids. We love you.

I tend to be smug about not having kids, pitying those harassed parents with kids having snotty fits in public places and thinking, “Well, at least I haven’t given up sex, sleep, and all my disposable income for the next 20 years.” But is having cats really all that much different from having a perma-baby?

Instead of diapers, there is the endless chore of cleaning and scooping out the litter boxes. And when you have 4 cats, it’s pretty much a 24 hour poop factory. OK, *I* almost never clean out the litter boxes (that’s one of Rufus’ chores), but still, I know all about it. I even had to clean them out MYSELF for a whole WEEK when Rufus went to visit his parents two years ago. Not to mention locking up at night and everything.

OK, so we have the litter box=diapers thing. Cats are as dependent on us as small babies are when it comes to being fed, so there’s that, too. Though our cats have more than once broken into the food bag when we weren’t looking, whereas you hardly ever catch babies heating up their own bottles or breaking open a jar of Gerber’s. Babies spit up, cats leave hair balls where they’re sure you will step on them in the middle of the night in bare feet. It’s a draw as to which regurgitation is more disgusting.

So cats and babies are both dependent on us for food and cleaning up the food aftermath. But that’s about it. Cats don’t grow up and tell you how stupid and/or uncool you are, they just know it from Day One and it’s in the subtext of your whole relationship with them. Don’t ever think you’re in control of the cats.

It’s very easy to protect your cats from unwanted pregnancy and precocious sexual activity. Just spay ’em and keep ’em inside. End of story. It’s pretty hard to neuter your teenaged daughter with impunity, except possibly in China or India,and even if you give her a gross of condoms and birth control pills, there’s no knowing if she will actually use them, seeing as how she’s immortal and all. But you always know where your cats are when it’s after midnight.

You don’t have to pay for your cats to go to college or have a big white wedding including everyone they have ever spoken to more than once in their entire lives. And cats never grow out of sitting on your lap and purring, no matter how old they get. They are also never too old or dignified to play with you. On the whole, I think we made the right choice.

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May 12 2001

A person’s a person, no matter how small?

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Oh, this is a tough one for me. While I do feel for the poor guy who lost his wife and baby-in-progress, I don’t think a 12 week old fetus is a person, I’m sorry. But if the father is bringing a lawsuit based on his bereavement, what else can he call the fetus? Calling it property is distasteful, to say the least, and it was a living creature.

But lawsuits like this lead inevitably to the issue of abortion, and in the current political climate in this country and with our state appointed leader doing everything he can to overturn Roe versus Wade during the next four years, it really scares me that a Supreme Court would rule a 12 week old fetus a legal person. It’s the thin edge of the wedge, and puts all of us women at risk. It isn’t much of a leap from there to the back street abortionists. Sometimes I feel we’re going backwards rather than forwards, and if Bush has anything to do with it, we’ll be back in the 19th century before we know it. Kiss your right to vote, own property, and have any control over your body good-bye, girls! Here comes the second Victorian age!

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May 11 2001

The new Rock & Doris

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Are Julia Roberts and Richard Gere the new Doris Day and Rock Hudson? Consider the evidence. Both couples are most famous and loved for their romantic comedy romps, featuring beautiful locations, great clothes, and no nudity. Both have a similar, semi-innocent formula (boy meets girl; they are instantly attracted; there’s a misunderstanding; they make up) which gives the audience a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Both Doris and Julia are/were America’s sweethearts. Everyone loves their perky, girl next door prettiness, but both women have/had somewhat dark personal lives. Julia’s many romances, apparent inability to resist any male co-star, and disastrous marriage to Lyle Lovett are all well documented. Doris had several marriages herself, including one to a guy who stole all her money and another who beat her. But both actresses kept their shiny surface intact.

Both Rock and Richard are/were conventionally handsome actors. Rock Hudson, as everyone knows now, was gay and was firmly kept in the closet by the Hollywood machine. No-one knows if Richard Gere is gay or not or something in between, but there is much speculation. So both leading men have ambiguous sexuality though they both play(ed) the leading man very convincingly.

I think it’s safe to say that the torch has been passed.

Sorry about the past/present thing — couldn’t see a way around it! Almost as cumbersome as he/she…but that’s another story.

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May 10 2001

Say WHAT?!

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I don’t which is weirder: that someone even WROTE a special “pre-requiem” for Timothy “No Regrets” McVeigh and went to extraordinary lengths to make sure the inspiration for this little ditty gets to hear it before getting in the express lane to hell, or all the parallels he draws between McVeigh and Jesus. For the entire, demented story, check out this link and see if you can resist saying WTF or equivalent.

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May 10 2001

Breaking “The Rules”

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The author of “The Rules”, the retro guide to tricking your guy into marriage, is getting divorced. I wouldn’t find this at all ironic — after all, “The Rules” was about GETTING a guy, not KEEPING a guy — except E Fein, the author of these misanthropic works, has just published a tome breathlessly entitled “Time-Tested Secrets for Making Your Marriage Work”. However, and I’m not kidding here, she doesn’t think the fact she is getting a divorce damages her credibility. Would you hire a contractor to work on your house if his had fallen down around him? I didn’t think so. Can we expect “The Rules IV: Secrets for Making your Divorce Work”?

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May 10 2001

Timeless elegance

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You still can’t beat Jackie Kennedy for timeless elegance. I would *love* to see this exhibit, but my guess is the clothes won’t look as good in glass cases as they did on the incandescent Mrs. Kennedy. It will probably be a lot like the exhibit at Althorp with Princess Diana’s clothes on display. Sometimes you could hardly believe the dress in the picture — with the Princess wearing it — was the very same dress in the glass case. Both Jackie and Diana added a certain glamor and radiance to the clothes they wore. My friend Alice, a former model, is right. The person wearing the dress makes all the difference.

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May 09 2001

The detritus of modern life

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If you live in a city, or even a big town, you’ve probably noticed random items of clothing abandoned on the street at one time or another. If your mind is as frivolous and shallow as mine is, you probably wonder what the story is behind that left-behind clothing. Where did that guy go after shucking off his jeans? Why couldn’t he take his underwear one more second? Maybe it was, as the French say…insupportable.

Today on the way to work, I noticed a single, very high-heeled yellow patent leather mule lying on its side in the gutter. What had happened to its owner (and its mate)? Was she swept off her feet by her lover, or abducted by aliens? Did she notice the missing shoe? I will never know.

When I was a child, I remember waiting for a train with my father in England. When the train arrived, it was one of the old fashioned kind which you still occasionally see over there, with compartments and a corridor. A woman got in and sat down next to the window in our compartment. As the train pulled out of the station, she noticed that one of her gloves was lying on the platform. Quickly, the pulled down the window and tossed the other glove onto the platform to join its mate. This made a big impression on me — it was the first time I had ever seen a grown-up act so spontaneously. And I still think it’s cool.

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May 08 2001

Laissez faire

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Americans’ productivity drops by 0.1%. Must be all that time I’m spending on my blog.

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May 08 2001

Compare & contrast, my ass!

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Why can’t it just be a great story, and leave it at that? All this over-analyzing the Harry Potter books annoys the crap out of me. I have never lost my love of children’s books, especially the magic ones, and I still re-read the great E. Nesbit (the grandmama of Harry Potter and others), Edward Eager, and the Narnia series (though the Narnia series is rather heavily tainted with religion. We *get* it, Aslan is Jesus!). Children and adults respond to the Potter series because they are great, imaginative stories, told well, with well-drawn characters, and because we all need a touch of magic in our lives to lift us above the mundane. Isn’t that enough?

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May 07 2001

Just another day in San Francisco

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Here’s a twist on the traditional jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge . Wonder why no-one ever seems to jump off the Bay Bridge?

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May 07 2001

Creative engagements

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A ring was enough for me. But some guys really went the extra mile!

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May 06 2001

Elvis really has left the building

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Despite the many Elvis sightings at IHOPS, Denny’s, and other grease palaces across this great country, I personally have always been convinced that the King really is dead. The main evidence in support of this theory has to be that Elvis did not appear to stop his only child’s wedding to the greatest living freak on the planet. I cannot believe that the preacher saying, “Does anyone know of any just cause or impediment why Lisa Marie and Michael should not be joined in holy matrimony” did not produce a gun-wielding Elvis if he was still alive (even if he had to stop and fuel up at Dunkin’ Donuts before the ceremony).

For those of you who still think the King might walk the earth, I offer this news item, courtesy of Rufus, whose eye for the bizarre is always unerring.

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May 05 2001

Paris Paradox

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I still have the mystery illness, which has the effect of making me feel stoned all the time (but not in a good way) and has removed any vestiges of energy and ambition. On the bright side, it has given me time to read, think deep thoughts, and watch all five parts of “Wives and Daughters” while barely stirring from my cat-festooned bed.

One of the books which has whiled away the hours most entertainingly is Adam Gopnik’s “Paris to the Moon”. Gopnik transplanted his wife and son from New York to Paris, and the book is a sparkling memoir of their Parisian days.

Soon after their move, the Gopniks started looking for a gym in their neighborhood. It took some looking, because Parisians prefer to take their exercise in shopping form rather than gym form, but eventually, they located one that was under construction, but nearly completed.

The proprietress had the Gopniks fill out many forms — fondness for forms and bureaucracy is as French as croissants, and the more convoluted and unnecessary, the better — and finally tells the couple the fee for coming to the gym as often as once a week. “As often as once a week.” That’s the most they have imagined anyone would ever want to go to a gym. When the Gopniks ask how much it would be to come three or four times a week, the staff is thrown into a state of confusion. After much consultation, they come up with a price and tell the Gopniks that the machines should be in place by next week.

The following week, they go to the gym only to be told that the machines aren’t yet installed, but they will be, very soon. And to make up for the inconvenience, they are given, by the gym manager…a box of chocolate truffles.

Now, that’s what’s wrong with American gyms. Too many machines, and not enough truffles. The French might be on to something, though. When Rufus and I were in Paris at Christmas, I joyfully ate croissants and pastry and drank champagne and countless other diet no-no’s (and no gym), but actually and visibly lost weight. Yet I can’t explain the Paris Paradox. How does eating French food in France make you thinner, while eating salads with diet dressing in the USA make you stay the same size (or gain weight)? I am going on a field trip to France to find out as soon as I get rid of this flu.

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May 04 2001

Roussette

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Check out Candi’s fabulous e-zine Roussette ! Eat your heart out, you newsstand glossies! Roussette doesn’t have torn edges, fingerprints of mysterious and/or disgusting origin, stinky, stinky perfume inserts, or countless ads for hideous clothes worn by heroin addicts. It’s all content, all style, all the time. And it’s never sold out.

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May 03 2001

Brylcreem baby

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Yesterday I stopped off at Real Foods market on my way home for some unnecessaries like strawberries, asparagus, and pistachios. While waiting in the interminably long check out line (I must have wanted those strawberries *really* bad) I noticed a baby sitting in one of the shopping carts. Nothing remarkable about that fact in and of itself (though said baby did have remarkably pudgy red cheeks, with little crab-like blue eyes perched on the pillowy fatness), except for one thing. His hair had Brylcreem or some other kind of styling aid in it. Noticeably. In fact, he had a Prince Charles ‘do, parted on the side and then Brylcreemed into submission.

I’m not good at guessing the age of babies, but I’d say this one was at the point where he could walk, but couldn’t hold up his end of a conversation. Surely a guy should at least be able to put together a sentence before he starts styling his hair (or having it styled for him). However, that does not explain George Bush, whose hair is definitely styled, but who still can’t compose a sentence. His walking skills are better than Gerald Ford’s, though, and possibly even better than the Brylcreem baby, I’ll give him that.

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May 02 2001

At last!

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Justice at last! May those little girls finally rest in peace.

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May 02 2001

Dazed and confused

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So I now have Rufus’ cold/bug/flu thing. We hardly ever catch each other’s colds, but of course I had to get *this* one, when it’s so busy at work that I can’t take the day off. I am: chilled, yet sweating; nauseated; have a sore throat and my nose is running like a tap. Ugh. I’m grossing myself out. Rufus is at home asleep and I am at work. What’s wrong with this picture?

In addition to the unlovely disease and its undelightful symptoms, I felt so shitty last night that I hardly got any sleep, so am a total zombie. Good thing I’m not driving or operating heavy machinery. If I can get home in one piece I’ll be lucky.

On my way to work this morning, I walked past our old apartment building. I was ridiculously pleased to see that our former next door neighbor is still displaying elaborately dressed mannequins in his apartment window, all lit up for the viewing pleasure of passers-by. Today’s theme was Hawaiian, with vintage sarongs, leis, umbrella drinks, the works. Nothing like a dash of humor and style to brighten up the day, even when hordes of germs are partying uninvited in your bod.

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May 01 2001

So that’s what the sales tax is for!

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My tax dollars at work!

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May 01 2001

Starry Morning

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Rufus has a cold/flu and stayed home this morning. It was so hard to leave the house, since he and all four of the cats were all curled up, happily sleeping.

It was very early and the sky was still deep blue. I was walking East, and Venus was the diamond solitaire this morning, the only star in the sky. I passed Grace Cathedral, which I always think of as the ce-ment church (pronounced like the Beverly Hillbillies) since it’s…made of cement to look like Notre Dame and is no older than I am, and the Flood mansion, which is now a private club. At the crest of California Street, I could see the Bay Bridge, still lit up, between the tall buildings, and just a peek of Bay.

Yesterday, I walked home up Vallejo Street — and I do mean up. The sidewalk slants ever upward and finally gives up and becomes stairways for several blocks. From each turn in the stairway, you get a different view of the Bay, and most of the stairs cut through gardens, thoughtfully provided with benches so you can catch your breath. If I had had anyone to talk to, I would have sounded more breathless than Marilyn Monroe.

Etched into the pavement on Columbus Street: Mr. Fong Goes To Lunch. Now *that* would be a great blog name!

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