Sunday, December 27, 2009

Smashed Potatoes

While trolling eBay for a queen size bedspread I do not need the search engine pulled up one of my favorite categories of all time "drag queens". The first time I discovered that the best evening dresses for a six foot tall blonde woman (me) could be found while enlisting the aid of people with names like "Hedda Lettuce" and "Candy Stripes" ironically occurred when I was looking for a dress to wear to a military ball and I wound-up in my first bidding war with a drag queen. I won by a quarter. I was inspired. Why hadn't I thought of this earlier?

Years later, Phyllis (from the fourth grade) phoned to remind me "we" were turning fifty. We needed an adventure to celebrate. We were inspired by a series of books I will call "The smashed Potato Queens Guide to Life". The author/cougar of the actual book by a COMPLETELY different name gets snippy if you use the actual name, because she and her new baby-lawyer husband have trademarked the name and blah, blah, blah, blah, because she has to be so careful because 'cause there are so many nuts out there -- like me -- who may use the name in vain (IE. criticise). Hereto for, I shall refer to the COMPLETELY fictional "Smashed Potato Queens" as the MPQ's. (Please note that I have been known to lie my ass off.) Every year in the fictional town of Jackson, Mississippi the MPQ's participate in a completely fictional (wink, wink) parade. Since it involved sequins, tiaras, MAJORETTE BOOTS (!), and highly inflated breasts, this seemed to be the sort of thing in which Miss Phyllis and I needed to involve ourselves. This parade had our names written all over it. So many things in life turn-out to be better in theory than in reality (Much like my first husband.) In short, the whole thing turned-out to be a drunken hillbilly-fest and Miss Phyllis and I were referred to as "debs" (Short for "debutantes" and highly derogatory in MPQ parlance) by the other MPQ's. Now I ask you: Outside of a beauty pageant, would real debs take shopping advice from drag queens?

The parade was a bust, but shopping for the event was spectacular. I miss it still. I got a huge tiara and crowned myself "Miss Diagnosed", with a royal sash and everything. When I scrolled onto "queen" this morning, I thought -- however briefly -- that maybe we should go back. I waxed wistfully over the shopping of yore. Then I was jarred to my senses when my inner deb yelled "Hell, no!" as she recalled a fictional drunken, middle-aged woman who ought to know better swinging from the rafters of a fictional Jackson dive. Looks like I've got a tiara, majorette boots and nowhere to go.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Patron Saint of the Talent-Free

One major indication that the end of the world is on its way is the meteoric rise of the artist known as "Lady Gaga". Lady Gaga, in case you have missed it (and really, how could you?) is the unholy result of giving people too much self-esteem. Perhaps the world needs Lady Gaga, because after hearing Kelly Clarkson lay down a few tracks, who would have the nerve to show-up at "American Idol" auditions EXCEPT talented people? What a snore that would be -- nothing but talented people singing -- just like at the end of the season. Lady Gaga took an astonishing lack of talent, wrested it away from reality television, and brought it back to the world of pop music, thereby giving hope that with enough desperation and attention seeking behavior, even the talent-free can make it big, without having been born to famous parents, or doing porno, or having a modicum of talent. MTV has declared Gaga "Woman of the Year". Things weren't always so easy for Gaga. She appeared desperate for attention on this year's "VMA Awards" show. Poor Gaga was working it for all she was worth. She bravely tarted herself up in one bizarre fashion disaster after the next, culminating in the grand finale: Gaga suspended herself from a rope, stabbed herself, and bled all over her white costume. It was an obvious, unabashed attempt to push the limits of taste and an stir-up some controversy for herself. It was exhausting to behold. It would have worked, too, but it was all for naught. Tragedy struck in one brief moment when a drunken Kanye West opened his fat trap and sucked-up all the controversy for himself. Poor Gaga. All that work for nothing. I almost felt sorry for her. Almost, but then I remember my friends eight year-old cheerfully singing the words to "Poker Face" and I didn't feel so bad.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Self-Esteem Issues

Some people have too much self-esteem. In the push to "give" children self-esteem in their developmental years, many children may have developed opinions of themselves that may be a little higher than actually warranted. I am not talking about the sort of self-esteem where a woman tells some moron who is hitting her to get lost. I think that is more of a self-respect issue than a self-esteem issue. Nope, I am talking about the sort of misguided self-esteem that democratises people to the point of where they think they are actually equal to one another. A lot of this started when healthy competition was eliminated from the playground and all children got the same prize. Even the kids had to know that was a crock. Children recognize when someone is better at something than they are -- getting the same stupid prize doesn't fool anybody. If children do not learn their strengths and weaknesses in childhood, can they be blamed for freaking out when it is coldly brought to their attention in adulthood? Witness the clueless souls who will soon be displaying their lack of talent for all to see on the "American Idol" auditions. Victims of too much self-esteem. What sort of inflated sense of self-esteem must one possess to not listen back to one's caterwauling on any one of many available, modern recording devices, to realize that one has zero talent? Art may be an objective, beauty-in-the-eye-of -the beholder sort of thing, but do you really want to find out from Simon Cowell on national T.V. that you suck?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chia Pet Consumer Alert

Once again it is that time of year when Walgreen's shelves fill with the most beloved of worthless gifts: The Chia Pet. This year there is a new variation on the Chia Pet theme, which promises to be even more worthless than the average Chia Pet, the Cat Chia. Featuring Warner Brother's lovable Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird, the Cat Chia will provide kitty with a tasty grass treat. Who came up with the whole cats-like-to-eat-grass-thing? I tried raising cat grass once. It didn't go well. I carefully tended the bowl of grass, waiting for the day when kitty would graze on this delicacy and look to me, her loyal owner, with big-eyed, kitty cat gratitude. I planted the cat grass. I watered the cat grass. The cat grass grew. The cat remained unmoved. The same cat that had tried to chow down on any floral arrangement, poisonous plant, or leaf dragged in on the bottom of my shoe, wanted nothing to do with the cat grass. I tried shoving it under her nose. She didn't sniff it, she didn't paw at it, she didn't even try to poop in the dirt. She ignored it. She walked away. Kitty just didn't care. Cat grass? Are you kidding? What did I think she was after all, a cow? Then I recognized the foolishness of the endeavor: Cat grass is nothing but bowl of weeds. I was shoving a bowl of weeds under her nose and expecting her to eat it. Had I lost my mind? Lesson learned: If you want to make your cat happy, crack open a can of tuna.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Metaphysical Marketing

Sean "Puffy" Combs, or whatever the hell it is he is calling himself these days, has a fragrance called "I Am King". Is this funny or what? Does this guy's ego know no bounds? There seems to be a trend that in calling yourself something, like wearing a t-shirt that says "Rock Star", will make you that. It's "metaphysical marketing". I have news for Mr. Combs, though. There are damn few kings out there and the people that let you do that job have made a high art out of nepotism. Wearing Mr. Combs fragrance will no more make you king, than buying ice skates will make me Sonja Henie (Sonja Henie? Where the hell did that come from?). There is a pop psychology new age philosophy that by saying you are something that will make you that thing and this has been cleverly reinterpreted by Madison Avenue to tell you that if you buy something that will make you that particular something. It won't. I will hand it to him: Mr. Combs is refreshingly upfront about his"I Am King", whereas other marketing ploys are more subtle. Witness the status handbag epidemic that has embraced the globe. Purchasing a $1000 handbag will not turn you in Paris Hilton, or whoever the hell it is we are supposed to want to be these days. (I'd like to be Heidi Klum, except for all those damn kids, but Victoria's Secret doesn't even carry THAT bra in my size. If it indeed turned me into Heidi, I would SO be in line to buy it.) It may make the marketeers rich, it may make Mr. Combs wealthy, but will not make him, or you, king. However, if you like the smell of the stuff, have at it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Letters on Acid

I am not a big fan of Christmas. Repeating this fact seems to upset a lot of people. I don't hate Jesus, or anything, I just don't get the giddy gleefulness and spend fest everyone seems to enjoy so much. Furthermore, I am not sure why I am expected to join in the merriment.

There are more than a few things that irritate me about this holiday. Right up there at the top of the list is the annual Christmas Letter. Not the personal note people tuck into a Christmas card to say "hello", but the computer generated snooze fest designed to make every one's family seem better than yours. Life is a big-ass competition and THEY are winning. Everybody knows this stuff is crap, yet every year they tuck it into their Hallmark wishes for a happy holiday. In a subversive move I regret not thinking of myself, I had a friend whose husband made up just awful stuff about his family to put in the annual Christmas Letter. Every year he bragged about his family's fictional decline -- his daughter had taken up working the stripper pole after flunking out of junior college and his son was now out of jail and successfully finishing rehab for the third time. You just know folks just couldn't wait to get their Christmas cards from him, looking forward to laughing their heads off at the fictional foibles of his family's decline. In the mountains of endless, BORING tomes about Josh getting the starring role in the third grade's play about George Washington Carver and Emily making honor role for the umpteenth million time, what a breath of fresh air to hear about some one's family (besides your own) devolving into chaos and ruin. Merry Christmas indeed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Over the Hill and Through the Woods

I cannot believe I am this old. Frankly, I don't know how the hell it happened. Phyllis-from-the-fourth-grade keeps insisting that I am a writer. In an effort to shut-her-up and stop badgering me, I am starting this blog. Let me say that I think blogs are pretty narcissistic and I have reached this somewhat advanced age without garnering any wisdom to impart upon anybody. I was clueless when I arrived on this planet and I pretty much remain clueless. (By "arrived on this planet" I mean birth. I didn't show up in a spaceship or anything, although that would have been interesting, and I do not preclude the possibility of that happening. If it did, you can be sure I would blog about it.) I am not above narcissism, however, so here it goes. Basically I am typing this stream of consciousness so I can figure-out the controls on this blog. I have no idea what I am going to write about. I thought about stealing the whole "Julie and Julia" scenario and blogging about my adventures in making low-fat soups for a year, but it didn't interest me, so why would it interest anybody else? Narcissism aside (and I am not above it), since everybody and his cousin has a blog, why the hell shouldn't I? So here it goes, I am blogging.