An open letter to the men in my life

Dear husband and child,

I am sitting on a late train home surrounded by two men. One in the seat in front of me. One in the seat behind me. The dude behind me has burped, coughed (with his mouth open, I can tell!!!) and propped his knee into the back of my seat – I know this because I feel his knee.

The guy in front of me is….letting off some gases.

There’s nowhere for me to go. No open window to jump out of. All the other seats are taken. At first I was so disgusted and grossed out, thinking that these were two of the nastiest people on earth. But I think that’s wrong. I think the truth is that they probably don’t behave like this at home. Near loved ones. They probably cover their mouths when they cough and help wounded birds on the side of the road. I’m sure when they walk in the door at home tonight, they’ll hang their coats nicely, put their shoes away and wash their hands. But here, in the world, they roam wild and free and dirty. No one knows them. There’s no wife, girlfriend or mother to scold them. Notice I don’t say boyfriend or husband because I’ve never met a sloppy gay man, maybe in the future I will, but I haven’t yet.

That got me thinking about the two of you. What are you like on a train or a bus? Do you sigh loudly? Do you wantonly take up more than your fair share of space? Do you burp, fart, cough a nasty open cough? I don’t think so. You are both clean, nice, considerate, well-mannered boys. Aren’t you???

I know you are. I have faith. But then again there’s probably some poor woman/mother walking around the world thinking she did a good job with these two walking germs. Or maybe they live in a zoo and this is the best it gets. I dunno.

So promise me that when you are sitting in your mass transit of choice, you’ll remember this and not do at least two of those gross things? Please?

Thank you,

Signed, the woman in your life who will be taking a long, hot, disinfecting shower tonight, xoxo

I’d rather be the hammer than the nail

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Everything is connected. All the time. Don’t you think? Let me explain. My husband and I snuck off to see the movie Wild on Friday night. It was the first book I read when I joined my book club a few years ago. Great book. Great movie. Great book club. But this isn’t about the movie or the book club. This is about the soundtrack to the movie. I need to back up a few years.

In 2010 my husband turned the big 4-0. He only wanted one thing to celebrate – a trip to Munich, Germany for Octoberfest. Turned out that 2010 was a celebratory year for that event (I can’t remember if it was 150 years or 100 years). Either way it was a big year for them too. So we went, and it was a blast. Him and I are really good travel companions (not in an Amazing Race kind of way, but in a relaxed House Hunters International kind of way). We stayed about a mile from the fairgrounds and headed there the first night we arrived. It was out of control and amazing. Crowded. Loud. Did I mention crowded? Our favorite haus introduced us to all kinds of characters (we were almost lured into a tricky situation but that’s another story). We had a blast. A couple of notes for those who have never been. There are a lot of Italians there. A lot. Molto. Also, John Denver is their God. Everywhere you go – in every tent – every 5 minutes – they play Take me home, country roads. The entire place stops and all the Italians and all the brauhaus servers sing along holding hands. True story. I’m off the rails. Back to why everything is connected.

By the third night we were pretty much done with all the fest fun. My husband suggested we find a small, local pub off the beaten track and spend the evening there instead. And because he has a tracking device for such places, we found one on the other side of town. Quiet. Small. Almost empty. Dark. Perfect. We settled in with our beers, ordered some food and chatted with the two other people in there. Did you know Germans are very friendly? Did you know Germans in a bar with beers are even friendlier? They are. After about an hour of hanging out there, the doors to the pub flew open and an entire oompah band walked in. Have you ever seen an oompah band? Sorry I’m asking so many questions. Oompah bands aren’t petite. Here’s what they kinda looked liked.

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Imagine this group with those instruments walking into a small, dark, pub – you notice. Turns out that the oompah band are regulars here. And they don’t just put their instruments down and relax, oh no. They play. They play loud. By the time they got there, we were ready for some excitement and my husband started hooting and hollering as he often does and recording them with his phone. We bought them beers. We sang along. It was great fun. At the end of the night they played Simon and Garfunkel’s El Condor Pasa. My husband leaped out of his seat and started yelling and screaming. What can I say? He likes Simon and Garfunkel – and we were so happy not to be hearing John Denver. They played really well and I thought I knew the song but couldn’t remember. My husband turned to me and said,” you know, I’d rather be a hammer than the nail…yes I would, yes I would.” I nodded and smiled. Oh yeah, I said, sure I remember. Truthfully I had no idea.

Days after we got home from the trip we would play that song and even John Denver to remind us of the trip. We even made the kids listen, showed them all the videos. Eventually the videos got deleted, because unless our kids in them – they really don’t seem to make the cut.

A few months after the trip we were still thinking/talking/singing about our time away. My husband decided to Youtube videos of Octoberfest one night – that’s how desperate we were to relive our time. He watched videos of all the differnt brauhaus fun. Then he typed in El Candor Pasa Oompah band. And the first video that popped up was the one he clicked. He turned it up. It ended. He watched it again. Turned it up louder. It was a dark video of an oompah band playing the song in a small pub. No way. He called me over. He said, “do you recognize this?” He played the video and it looked kind of familiar – but it was so dark, I couldn’t make it out. Then he turned it up and pointed to the corner of the room – where there was a dude recording a video of the band and hooting and hollering. NO!! It couldn’t be!! But it was. Someone else from that bar had recorded the band too – and in the background was my husband holding up a phone and yelling. You couldn’t really make out his face, it was blurry – but it was him! Come on!! That’s fantastical no? I feel my kids rolling their eyes somewhere out there in the universe. We’ve told them the story a few million times. It’s a good story.

Ok I’m getting excited again. Back to the movie. Told you it wasn’t really a review. The soundtrack is amazing. It’s the one thing that kept my husband awake the whole time. And I know he liked the movie, even though he kept tapping me and asking,” when does it get WILD?” every few minutes. He’s hysterical.  I’ll ask one last question. What song do you think they played all throughout the movie? Yep. That’s the one.

Everything is connected, even if it involves oompah bands and book clubs.

Instagram Balanced

Here’s what showed up on my Instagram feed yesterday. Same, but different.
Shaolin Monks who believe your mind
can do anything you command it to. They believe in discipline, focus and training.

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Next up: Andy Cohen from Bravo. He believes in gays, housewives and International home searches. He also believes in Mazel-of-the-weeks, Padma Laxshmi and alcohol.

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Same, but different.

Forever got a lot shorter all of a sudden

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My beloved made me a pb&j for lunch today. But I ate it on the train. It had to be done.

Know what I think about every single time I eat a pb&j sandwich?  The scene in St. Elmo’s Fire when Billy comes to see Wendy in her new apartment and asks her how it’s going.  She smiles and says that she woke up in the middle of the night last night and made herself a sandwich and …

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There’s something wrong with me right?  Or do you think about that too? 1985 was a good year for cheesy movies you can quote for the rest of your life.  I can rattle off a ton of quotes from that movie, “love is an illusion, but it’s the only illusion that counts.” How about when Jules turns to Billy and says,” you break my heart, but then again, you break everyone’s heart.”  Who needs Wikipedia? Not me.

Don’t even make me start singing Man in Motion, cause I will.

 

Calm Down

I was really excited about the new show How to Get Away With Murder , mainly because I love Viola Davis. I’ve loved her since the movie Doubt. If you’ve never seen that movie, please – stop reading this post and go watch it. Now.
Anyway I was looking forward to it. I was also hoping/thinking that it would maybe be in the vein of Murder, She Wrote. Remember that show?Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury solving crime and riding bikes around scenic New England towns. Good times. And Ofcourse I knew it wouldn’t really be like that. It’s produced by Shonda Salacious Rhimes. Her shows are sex, drugs, rock-and-roll – not tea and scones. Olivia Pope would kick Jessica Fletcher’s ass and then go sleep with the President. But maybe, just maybe this new show would be more understated, a little more subdued then her others.

Umm nope. The first two episodes included murder (to be expected), adultery (the new accessory for powerful women on TV), a raging college campus full of suspected rapists and druggies, a corrupt law firm, corrupt lawyers , corrupt law students, gay sex (good for them), stereotypical threatening frat boys, stereotypical know-it-alls, and yes – even a doe-eyed optimist who literally has his mouth open in shock the whole time. It’s so full of action and deceit that it’s kinda boring. Know what I mean? The writing is good – lots of quotable lines. One of my favorites delivered by a Gilmore Girls alum (oh Rory and Lorelai, I miss you). Remember snooty, mean, icy-on-the-outside-but-good hearted Paris? In this show, Paris grew up, lost any trace of her warmth, gave into her dark side and became a cynical, cold lawyer. When one of the students tries to talk to her, she says,” I know I look nice, but that’s just my face.” Ha! Classic Paris…errr I mean this new character.

It’s a good show. But geez, can’t we pace ourselves? I know the New York Times got into trouble by referring to the show’s lead as another angry black woman. But she really is angry. I mean she’s pissed, from the very first shot. It’s like you can’t be smart, effective and interesting unless your sneering.

Maybe I went into it wrong. Angela Lansbury f’d me up. I’ll give it another shot – or two. But someone needs to give Shonda Rhimes a hug. And then take her to New England on a bike ride. That’s all I’m saying.

“The heart wants what the heart wants”

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****SPOILER ALERT****

Walter White. Jesse Pinkman. Saul. The vacuum shop dude. Todd the dementor. The Aryan brothers. Breaking Bad, I miss you already.

Last night was the last episode before the series finale next week, and I’m already distressed. I may or may not run around after next Sunday shouting, “I don’t want it to end bitch!”.

We started our night watching the Emmy’s – but at 9pm, like the good meth-lab soldiers that we are, we switched the channel. It didn’t hurt that the Emmy’s were strangely boring and flat. Neil Patrick Harris – I don’t blame you. I blame the producer who thought Carrie Underwood singing a tribute to the Beatles was a good idea. The Beatles deserved better. I would rather have had Miley twerking “Come Together” – that’s how boring Carrie was. Also – how could Bryan Cranston NOT have won an Emmy? Sorry Jeff Daniels, but we all know you don’t really need to act when you’ve got great writing from A-aron Sorkin (Key and Peele shout-out).

Back to THE BEST SHOW ON TV. Yes. The best. If you don’t agree, you aren’t watching it.

Where do I start? Hank’s dead. Marie isn’t wearing purple anymore. Finn’s principle is not the brightest tool in the shed. Didn’t we all guess Jesse’s attempt to escape would end like that? And don’t even get me started on what happened with Andrea. Really? Todd the maniac shows up at night and knocks on your door and you: 1) open the door and 2) step out on the porch after he lures you with the worst “I’m-going-to-kill-you” line ever?? Sigh.

And Walt. He’s been left out in the cold. Literally and figuratively with only his barrel of money to keep him warm.

The genius of the writing on this show is that even in episodes that aren’t action packed – or as surprising as last week (and really my heart can’t take any more) – there’s always some gold nuggets to walk away with.

Todd and the Aryan gang of ghouls taking a break from death and destruction for some Ben & Jerry’s.

Finn telling his father to “die already”. Devastating.

And my favorite. Jack teasing Todd about his crush on the meth queen by repeating a line used by Woody Allen to describe his messed-up relationship with his step-daughter.  Woody stole that line from Emily Dickinson (in a tweaked way). So in essence….Jack, the white supremacist, Jack the killer of Hank,  Jack quotes Dickinson.

Vince Gilligan will you marry me?

Pop Culture Vulture – Summer ’13 Edition

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I like today’s title because it implies that this is some sort of long-standing series or tradition. That in my archives somewhere you can find Spring ’05 or something.

In reality this is only the 3rd post I’ve ever done on my insatiable appetite for pop culture. Everything from gossip mags to fashion to TV binge watching. Everyone that knows me and loves me forgives this slight flaw. Don’t get me wrong – I also love politics and world news. You and I could talk about the new Pope for hours. We could debate his “reformed views”.

But you know what’s more fun to talk about? These things:

  • Anything on Bravo. Top Chef. Top Chef Masters. Top Chef Losers. All of it. Andy Cohen and team plan their programing just for me, or so it seems. I know I’m repeating myself, I’ve told you this before. But it continues to be a very important part of my life and I think you need to hear it/read it again. The above photo is proof of my devotion. When we were in the cabin this summer, this is what I did the majority of the time there. I meant to write a post about it but I took naps instead. I’ll only highlight my new obsessions – not my oldies but goodies (All the Housewives, All the Million Dollar Listings, etc). I’m loving Below the Deck. What happens when an expensive yacht is chartered for a weekend of fun and sun? Who are the funny/kooky/crazy folks working the ship? Tune-in and find out people. It’s so good. It satisfy’s all my “behind the scenes” obsessions. I don’t really care about the party – I want to know who set the party up, and how, and what went wrong. I have to believe that some of this is staged (I can’t imagine paying $20,000 for a charter and then giving the OK for Bravo to show that I’ve brought an illegal substance onboard?) – but all is forgiven. One of my least favorite, favorite new shows on the channel is Newlyweds: The First Year. It’s kinda….Andy hold your ears…boring. All the couples are boring. I was excited about the Indian Bollywood dancer/singer gal and the beard..er…guy she married..but they are boring too. Once you get over how much of her face is botoxed, there’s really not much there. That brings me to my new classic. It’s Princesses: Long Island. Partly because these gals are in on the joke. Partly because I’d be friends with any of them. I love this show! Here’s a trailer for those who have never heard of it. Get thee to a tv set asap!!
  • Orange is the New Black. Like Game of Thrones, you just have to get through the copious amount of nudity (and all the Lesbian action). We gave it a shot because I was telling someone that my husband and I were sucked into a series on Netflix called Top of the Lake. So my pal suggested that I would also like this new show – which is actually produced by Netflix. Having now watched Orange, I’ve decided that he’s a total nut job. The two shows are completely different. Night and day. Totally. Like there is not one connection to why one person would like one and the other. But the weirdo was right – we love it. Funny. Uncomfortable. Sad. So good.
  • Ray Donovan. There are a ton of things wrong with this show. I can’t stand the woman who plays the wife. Jon Voight is good but the overacting may get annoying after a while. The plots are full of clichés we’ve seen before thanks to The Sopranos and Mad Men and Breaking Bad. But this show has one thing that none of the other shows have. One insanely sexy thing. Liev Schbreiber. I’ve loved him ever since The Daytrippers, Big Night and A Walk on the Moon. Watch all those movies now and then you’ll see why I would watch Liev in literally anything. Or nothing. Ahem.
  • The Bridge. I can’t watch it. I love AMC (or is it FX?) but I’m distracted by Diana Kruger as a Texas cop. Her German accent keeps seeping through and i just can’t look past it. I’m sure it’s a swell show, just not for me.
  • American Ninja Warrior. I have a 9-year-old son. Sometimes I have to watch things for him. All of those times involve some sort of wrestling, karate show. This is the best of the lot. Fun, short, full of action, and most importantly, short. Also I count watching people do physical activity as physical activity. Is that bad?

On another note – I’ve finally convinced my daughter to watch The New Girl and The Mindy Project. She loves them both, like any true child of my loins would and should.

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