October 29, 2009

Royal Clones

How many of us get to see pictures of our ancestors?  I've seen pictures and have even known a few from three generations back.  But what about centuries back?  Wouldn't that be interesting?  Finding pictures of your ancestors from centuries ago is pretty much impossible, unless of course you're royalty and you can just go to the nearest museum and check the portrait painted of your great great great great great grandmother.  Or maybe that portrait is hanging in the grand stairway of the castle in which you live.  The point is, we have no idea how well these genes are passed down and practically cloned throughout the ages.  Until now. 

Check this out:

This is Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and Princess Beatrice, her great, great, great, great, granddaughter.

What about this:

Uncanny is the resemblance between King Edward I (1239-1307) and Prince William, Edward's great grandson twenty-one times over.

I wonder what the women and men in my family looked like in the 13th century.  I kind of shutter to think.

For more fascinating pictures of royal clones, check out Damn Cool Pics.  They really are damn cool.

Addendum:  OK, the point was brought up in the comments section of Damn Cool Pics that these people have such a resemblance because there's so much inbreeding going on in royal families.  But really, if the inbreeding were so intense wouldn't these people be like dwarfy retards by now? 

October 28, 2009

Made For TV

A friend of mine just started a blog. Last time I checked she had three posts, which is pretty good for someone who’s never even read a blog before three weeks ago. We had lunch the other day and she was teasing that I hadn’t posted as much as she thought I should. I explained to her how I’m writing for four blogs as opposed to her one, and she should just shut up. I told her if she’s so into the blogging scene now she should be posting every day. And then the truth came out.

She’s afraid.

She’s afraid if she sits down to write that’s all she’ll do and will get nothing else done. I asked her, what else are you going to do? You see, she has this thing where if the TV is on her head automatically turns toward it and her eyes get all spinney like on cartoons and she can’t turn away no matter what kind of crap is on. She has another thing where if she sits down to the computer she starts out with a game of solitaire, which turns into twenty-seven games of solitaire. It’s not like spending some time writing on a blog will take her away from feeding the poor or giving blood. If she was really doing things like that I’d cut her some slack.

But seriously, this woman says she wants to write, become the most sought-after screen writer for Lifetime Television For Women made-for-TV movies and/or become a novelist. The problem is society has etched into our minds that keeping our clothes clean and feeding our children are more important than writing the Great American Novel. Writers like my friend are victims I tell you.

I mean, who’s to say what is productive and what is a waste of time? Granted, we do have to keep our clothes clean and feed our children, but aside from that, how we spend our leisure time is really no one’s business but our own. I have a small crafting business, and I go out and sell my wares at various art and craft shows throughout the year. People frequently ask, “do you make all of this?” When I reply yes, many times they say, “you sure have a lot of time on your hands.” Well, see, no I don’t, because I’m busy making all this stuff. Because I choose to spend my time creatively doesn’t make me less productive than the person who chooses to spend time taking community ed classes or going to church.

So I tell my friend, don’t be afraid to spend too much time doing what you want to do. And don’t tell me that watching Dancing With The Stars is really what you want to do. I know better. I’ll have to delve more deeply into her psyche and determine what she's really afraid of. My guess is she fears success most of all. Anyone who knows her would say she couldn’t stand being rich and famous. That’s just too dreadful.

October 27, 2009

There's No Easy Way

Taking a "field trip" during my lunch break the other day I heard a discussion on the radio.  The topic: What's this new trend with women wanting to be a princess?  The gist of the conversation was about how women today want to be treated as a princess, not having to work, letting a man take care of them. 

I've always been an independent person, earning my keep and being responsible for things like car maintenance.  I've paid my own bills and have been able to  keep a job.  I grew up with Women's Lib and was proud to be able to live a full and happy life without needing a man to provide for me.  Interestingly enough, most of the men I've dated were deadbeats less financially sound than I.  My apartment was the place we could go for privacy as they usually lived with their parents.  If I wanted to go on a date, I was the one who picked up the tab.  I felt superior and in control.  I could totally see why men didn't want their wives to work.  Being employed and having financial resources is power. 

The people calling in to the radio show, mostly women, were aghast at the fact that there are women out there who don't want to work.  They felt it is a woman's responsibility to honor those who paved the way, making it possible for us to have jobs in fields other than nursing or teaching.  (Not that those aren't valuable careers, but if you didn't want to see guts, or deal with other people's brats you pretty much didn't work.)  We are now allowed to get an education and obtain employment and it is our duty to do so as women, because damn it, we're just as good as men.

And then were spoken words from one of the hosts of the radio show, a man.  Words that rang kind of true for me.  "We all want to be princesses (including men) because we're lazy!"  Hallaluja! 

Now before you get all up  in my face about how bad it is to encourage laziness, I have to qualify my position.  You see, I've been holding my own for almost thirty years.  I carryied the load of responsibilities without a man for thirty-five years and have shared the load with Boyfriend for the last thirteen.  (By the way, Boyfriend isn't one of those deadbeats less financially sound men I referred to earlier.  When I met him he was actually doing better than I was, owning a house and a car, which was a step and a half above me.)  I've sucked up to the government big shots I work for in order to keep a job.  I've cut coupons to save money at the grocery store.  I've tried to adhere to my mother's rule Never Pay Retail.  Okay?  I've paid my dues.  I want out.  I want to be lazy. 

Shows like The Bachelor set a bad example to young women.  It encourages women to look for a rich man and expect everything to be handed to them simply because they ask.  It also encourages women to snag that man by means of sex.  Listen girls, it's easier to get up in the morning and go to work and provide for yourself than it is to play the sex kitten twenty-four hours a day just to get some guy to buy you nice things.  I mean, you have to shave your legs every day, look alluring - it's just too much trouble.  So basically, I'm being the lazy one having had a job all these years as I'm just not willing to put in the effort to keep my weight down or submit to unspeakable sex acts, which of course is mandatory when you are a kept woman.

So maybe "lazy" is the wrong word.  Perhaps it's just that I'm old and tired and want to have a life sans a boss and a schedule.  It's not that I'm trying to get out of doing the work, as was implied by the term "princess" so much as I just want to be done now.  I would totally get into someone taking over and steering the ship while I sit back and enjoy all the perks.  I have one problem.  Boyfriend feels the same way. 

Together we trudge on.  It makes no difference what our gender is.  We're both tired of it, but the world has tied us both to the wheel and we have to share the steering duties until we're dead.  All right, hopefully not until we're dead, but for a while, at least. 

As for being a princess I can only say this:  Even Cinderella paid her dues with the evil stepmother and all that back-breaking work she did cleaning the hearth.  In short, you can become a princess once you've put in your time.  Otherwise your prince charming will know you're just a whore.

October 26, 2009

Eat Me

With Halloween coming up there are so many new parents out there just itching to get their cute little babies out there for Tricks or Treats.  Our friend, Martha Stewart, is always coming up with creative ideas and this Halloween is no exception.

I present to you, the Roast Turkey costume:

I'm totally not lying.  If you're sick enough you can find the details here.  The costume pattern includes all the roasted vegetables and platter.  Your little darling will be so cute you'll want to eat her up!  And it's a twofer.  Lay little customed Tiffany on the Thanksgiving table and watch Aunt Edna stroke right out.  It's all around holiday fun!

Addendum: Taking a small infant out Trick-or-Treating is not cool as we all know you're hogging the candy for yourself.  Babies can't eat a Snickers Bar and you know it.  Note to self: stock up on Melba Toast hand-outs for lame infant-wielding Trick-or-Treaters.

October 25, 2009


I've been awake since 2:30 a.m.  It's now 6:30 a.m.  It's true what they say, it really is darkest before the dawn. 

October 16, 2009

High Maintenance

I was walking down the street one day and coming toward me walking in the other direction was a woman.  A perfect woman.  Her clothes fit her perfectly.  Her hair was perfect.  Her purse hung perfectly from her perfectly square shoulders.  Her make-up was perfect.  Her teeth were perfect.  All right, you get the idea.  This woman was perfect. 

I was a little surprised at my response to this vision of perfection.  Envy?  No.  Resentment?  No.  I let out a sigh of relief that I do not have the pressure on me to be that perfect.  Realizing I didn't feel that pressure took me aback because I grew up around several women who placed a great emphasis on appearances, and for many years I also felt appearance was of the utmost importance.  Like that Billy Crystal character who claims "It doesn't matter how you feel darling, you look marvelous" I emphasized the surface.

Now before you go thinking how I'm going to stress inner beauty and how what's inside is more important than what's outside, let me just assure you, I'm not that deep.  Plus I'm just not in that touchy-feeling, share-your-feelings, I'm-OK-You're-OK kind of mood.  Yeah, yeah, inner beauty is good and everything, but that's not the point.  The point is, appearance perfection requires high maintenance.  Even mere good appearances requires medium-high maintenace.  Here's what I have to say about that: if you want to spend your time maintaining an appearance, go for it.  Put on your foundation and your powder, your eyeliner and mascara, your ruby red lipstick.  Then take out the curling iron, the straitening iron, the curlers, the conditioner, the gel, the hairspray.  Spend your thousands on custom clothing and tailoring.  Submit to the dentist for a bleached smile.  You go girl.  You look marvelous! 

But what happens on the day(s) when you just don't feel like it?  There have got to be days when that just seems like too much work.  What happens then? 

Here's the thing.  I was one of those people who does their hair every day and puts on make-up and wears clothes that have been ironed.  Then one Saturday I was at Target.  I had on my cargo pants and a baggy sweatshirt.  I had applied no make-up.  My hair was so bad I wore a dorky hat.  I'm at Target for crying out loud, picking up toothpaste and tampons.  In and out and back home again.  Oh, except for there's a woman who works in my office.  She sees me, and doesn't really know if she recognizes me or not.  Her expression is kind of squinty, like if she focuses more she'll see the make-up that supposed to be on my face.  I felt so embarrassed, not because of how I looked, but because that's not how I look to most people most of the time. 

It's all still about appearances, but when someone can't recognize you on Saturday after they've been working in the office with you week in and week out for years, perhaps your daily appearance is a little less than genuine.  No? 

Another embarrassing case of presenting a false image:  A long time ago Boyfriend and I went on a date.  We had just started dating but knew we were destined for something big, and we totally had the hots for each other.  There we were, making out on my couch.  His hand was on my back, sort of assessing the situation with the bra.  You know how they do that.  They try to be all nonchalant but you can tell they're totally counting how many hooks they have to negotiate.  Then I thought OMGhe's going to find out!  Thing was, I was wearing pretty substantially padded bra.  Because I had deep feelings and respect for Boyfriend, I felt obligated to tell him before he went one step further that once the bra came off he might be surprised at what he finds.  I just don't want you to be too disappointed, I said.  Well, how could he not be disappointed?  Luckily it turned out the Boyfriend is more of a leg man and my little mosquito bites didn't bother him in the least.

All I'm saying is, I'd rather have people try to recognize me when I present myself as stunning rather than when I'm just myself.  I'd rather put huge effort into my appearance once or twice a month rather than every day.  If I'm going to surprise someone with my appearance I'd rather have them be astonished at how well I clean up rather than back away in horror when they realize I actually look like Quasimodo. 

As the perfect woman passed me on the sidewalk all I could wonder was, what do you look like when you're cleaning the toilet?  Cuz that's the real you.

October 15, 2009

The Opportunity's On

So, you know that song on the cell phone commercial. Or is it an iPhone? Blackberry? Blue Tooth? Whatever. The song says, “If you want to sing out sing out, if you want to be free be free, cuz there’s a million things to be you know that there are…” I’ll give a big hug to anyone who knows who sings that song. I’ll give a big kiss with tongue to anyone who knows the movie in which it was featured.

The artist: Cat Stevens. The movie: Harold and Maude

No hugs or tongue kisses now as I told you the answers. Hearing that commercial as many times as I have gave me the hankering to see the movie again for the 249th time. It is, hands down, my favorite movie of all time.

I remember the first time I saw it. I went with a date to the theater to see it (about ten years after its original release – how dare you think I’m that old) as a double feature with The King of Hearts, which is, by the way, another fabulous movie. The guy I went with was quite an influence. I won’t get into too much detail as Boyfriend tunes into this blog once in a while and I don’t want him to feel all threatened or anything. Of course he knows I dated guys before him, but he’s convinced himself they were all eunuchs with hairy ears and skinny legs. Anyway, the guy who took me to this double feature impressed me with his unconventional choice, although I’m sure he had no idea the movie would have such an impact on me.

If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend that you do. But only if you’re cool and have enough intellect and insight to get the message it gives. One time I introduced the movie to a friend of mine and she critiqued it as a knee-slapping comedy. I dumped her immediately.

The quotes in the movie are classics. “Do you enjoy knives?” “Dinner at eight Harold, and do try to be a little more vivacious.” “Don’t get officious. You’re not yourself when you’re officious. That’s the curse of a government job.” “What gives you that special…satisfaction?” OK, so if you haven’t seen the movie these mean nothing, but trust me, they’re perfect and every time I turn around someone is saying something that holds deep philosophical meaning for me.

One of the best things about the movie is the music. Every single song is Cat Stevens. Every single song is so appropriate for the scene in which it is played. In fact this last time I thought perhaps the movie was actually written around the songs. See what I mean? Every viewing brings a different way of looking at things. And it’s a real treat to hear that old Ruth Gordon singing the iPhone commercial song.

And for a special treat that completely unrelated to Harold and Maude but totally related to Cat Stevens and a little tribute to Charlotte. She loves Harold and Maude too, as well as Cat. I guess you'd say we're a peach of a pair. Here's to you, Charlotte!

October 12, 2009

Reality TV - A Conflict In Terms

Remember the days when TV was for entertainment purposes?  Of course there was the news at 6:00 and 10:00, but for the most part TV existed purely for our enjoyment and was valued for being an escape into fictional circumstances.  People were hired to write scripts and actors were hired to play out what was written.  Cameras shot straight at a scene or glided along smoothly when movement was required. 

There isn't a day in the week that doesn't hold in the schedule a show, or more accurately many shows, that is "reality-based."  First there were shows like Extreme Makeover and Extreme Makeover Home Edition.  Then came the competition shows like Survivor and Amazing Race.  I thought we hit the bottom of the TV viewing barrel when shows like Big Brother and The Bachelor(ette) came out, but alas I was wrong again.

For example, Tila Taquila?  WTF?  Who is she and why can't she get a date (with either men or women - she isn't picky) without holding a contest, the prize being her precious little la-la?  Got news for you, that la-la probably isn't so precious when you get right down to it.  And what's the big deal about Jon and Kate?  They have eight kids.  Oh my!  I predict future reality shows featuring the kids and their woes about how their parents screwed them up by putting them on a reality show as they were growing up.  I can't forget to mention shows like Celebrity Rehab.  I'm sure I would want a camera documenting my most private and personal journey to becoming clean and sober.  Not.  Unless of course I was starving for attention and was so delusional I believed the entire universe actually cared.

Why does this crap fill the airwaves?  Because people actually watch these shows.  They watch them and talk about them at the water cooler the next day.  Radio shows discuss them.  There are shows on TV created especially to recap the crappy shows, filling our leisure time with not only crap, but crap about crap.

I just don't get it.  First of all why are these shows on?  Second of all why do we feel compelled to watch The Girls Next Door paw the 150-year-old Hugh Hefner?  Why is anyone remotely interested in the personal lives of grown up Peter Brady or Danny Partridge?  Am I the only person who isn't watching this stuff?  Most probably.  When I hear who is competing on Dancing With The Stars I have no idea who the "stars" are.  They're all has-beens or never-weres.  And yet people eat it up like buttermilk pancakes at the Methodist fellowship hall on a fundraiser Sunday morning.

As I write this I realize I'm certainly adding to the problem.  These shows have gotten my attention and have inspired outrage.  They have succeeded in making some kind of impression in my life.  That makes me even more mad, because now I have to admit I'm powerless over the effects of reality TV.  Not only do I hate the shows, I hate myself for hating them. 

I'm off to read a book.  One with big words.

October 10, 2009

Insights And Anticipation

Well, she did it.  MaryAnn is alive and well and sailing the great seas of literary expression.  My consistent prodding introduced her to a world she has never known before, but one which will prove to be very satisfying if she does it right. 

I'm very well known for telling people what to do, because of course I know what's best for everyone.  I encourage people to take the road that requires guts and determination because the outcome will be that much more rewarding.  Bossy and pushy, I realize I've lived vicariously through those who have taken my advice and leaped into the abyss of the unknown to find their happiness and satisfaction.  Today I realize that I too must search for my bliss the hard way.  Living vicariously through someone else is no life at all. 

I've also realized that pushing MaryAnn to start her blog was my own subconscious screaming out it should be me taking to the quill.  I don't fancy myself a prolific writer, but I like to do it and I believe people should partake in activities that bring them joy no matter what their skill level. 

My excitement over MaryAnn's new beginning is genuine, but is also a giddy anticipation of my renewed insights taking flight into the tangible world.  Back to the blog, says Meredith.  (That's Mrs. Sparrow to you, MaryAnn.)  And so she shall once again attempt to incorporate writing into her daily life.

As for MaryAnn, I hope she can continue to provide inspiration for me.  Good luck to her, and to me.

October 08, 2009

Starting [Over]

A friend of mine has been talking about writing a book for decades. I’m not sure if she has a definite story in mind or if she’s just like me with a vague fantasy about being an author. Doesn’t matter. The thing is, this girl doesn’t write. Ever. At least not that I know of.

She was telling me the other day about how excited she was, anticipating a viewing of the Lord of the Rings movies. I’ve never been a fan of the movies or even the books, so when she was telling me about elves and other species of creatures whose labels my mind has no way of recollecting I kind of ignored it. You Lord fans know what she means. As she went through the list of names, species, settings, etc., I had to interrupt her and say, “you could totally write a story like that.” I mean, how hard could it be? It’s all gibberish and the kids just eat it up. Anyone with any imagination at all can make stuff like that up, right?

Now before you go and slam my minimalist views on things, the key word in my argument is “imagination.” Triology of the Rings. Harry Potter. Hell, I’ll even throw in Harlequin Romances. These works took a lot of imagination. There’s nothing I respect more than an active and vivid imagination. And if you can capture the images of that imagination and put them into words, well, in my book you’re a genius.

So back to my friend. I’ve been bugging her for years to get going on the writing. A journal even. She always had an excuse, but it was obvious her desire to write never ceased. Finally, I think I convinced her to start a blog. A dumb old blog. “You can write in it every day and it doesn’t even have to be public,” I said. “But if you did publish it publicly I’d be your most loyal reader.” She actually asked me how to get started.

With that I decided to set a good example and get back to my own blog. I’ve neglected it for so long I’m hardly one to criticize. And to make things easy for me I’ve decided to look upon this new beginning as an example to my friend. To show her she can write all she wants to and it can be the most lame thing ever and it just doesn’t matter because she’s writing and that’s what she wants to do.

And who knows? She may turn out to be another Anne Rice or Emily Bronte. And when she writes in her blog every day and publishes all of her books she can dedicate everything to me because I was the one who got her started.

How many of you out there are blogging for pleasure? Not for the ad money. Not to be discovered. Just for the pure joy of it? Not many, I’m sure. Well, join us, won’t you? Do it just for fun. I think you’ll be amused at what ends up on the screen and across the internets.