Friday, December 29, 2006

The Good German Shepherd

Happy New Year's Eve Eve. I've got nothing to do tonight but KNIT... that's right, folks. I've joined the ranks of chicks with sticks. My friend taught me to knit, and there's no turning back. If I could knit and type at the same time, I'd be in business. Alas, I cannot. So I've put my knitting down. For 30 seconds.

Anyway, I decided tonight was a good time to post one of those random-thoughts entries... lots of little crap about lots of little crap.

I saw The Good Shepherd on Wednesday night. How confusing, to have this movie come out at the same time as this one. Hopefully the German is better than the Shepherd, because although the story was good, the film itself dragged on and on in a convoluted mess of flashbacks and minutae that left me with one overwhelming message to Robert DeNiro: Don't quit your day job. Eastwood, you ain't.

While we're on the subject of movies, when I was in Florida I saw "Babel". Call me crazy, but contrary to the "critical acclaim" I've been hearing about, I thought it was just ok. (I will admit that I was also underwhelmed by "Crash", to which it has been compared. I don't like movies that are obviously manipulative. I like to be moved without being SHOVED, you know what I mean?) That's not to say that it didn't have it's memorable moments. The storyline with the Mexican nanny was intense and I've thought about it several times since seeing the film. Brad Pitt was nice to look at, but I left the theater thinking "So what?"

Speaking of Brad Pitt...have you seen the photos in the end of the year People Magazine showing what happens when you mix Pitt genes with Jolie genes? Oh my...the most beautiful baby evah.


January is going to be TV heaven for me, as The Sopranos will return for its alleged swan song (my prediction: Adriana is not dead. You heard it here first.), American Idol starts up again (am I the only one who HATES the audition nights? Oh sure, William Hung was entertaining, but that was about it. And is he now going by "Will Hung"? I've been curious), and Grey's Anatomy rises out of rerun hell. Edited to say that I just found out that The Sopranos isn't coming back until March. January brings it to A&E, which is kind of ridiculous since it will be censored beyond recognition.

Nip/Tuck's season was way too short, particularly because it was so damned good this year. How creepy was Jacqueline Bisset? The most chilling line in TV script history: "What's the going rate for children's kidneys? I've got two..."

I hope all of the Al Gore naysayers are aware that a big ice shelf just broke off in the Canadian Arctic. I'm as happy as the next clown that it's been almost 60 degrees in the NY area, but I'm also blowing up a few inner tubes to prepare for the impending tsunami. And my next vehicle will be a hybrid, no question about it.

I'm finished with my Invisalign treatment which took 6 months for the top and one year for the bottom, and it's a miracle. My teeth are 100% straight. Amazing what you can do with $6000 these days.

OK, that's it for now. I've got some knitting to do.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Best Christmas Commercial Since Last Year

BMW had to edit out the Nintendo 64 and turn it into some generic "robot" (which kind of dilutes the effect, but clearly it was a licensing issue and BMW can't possibly afford the fees. LOL)

To read the actual story of the "N64 Kids", click here,

Somehow, I'm kicking myself for not having video versions of these two photos!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kids are Gross!

Which is why they LOVE this book:

Written by my dear friend Joy Masoff, it's a hilarious sequel to her wildly popular

"Oh Yuck!", the Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty.

If you're still wondering what to get those 6-99 year olds on your list, I've solved your problem. (And if you buy Oh Yikes! be sure to read the "thank-you"s... ;)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jobs You Can Have

I love the fact that the Discovery Channel has a show called "Dirty Jobs". One of my favorite pasttimes over the years as been to identify certain professions as "Jobs You Can Have" (in other words, I ain't doing it).

My choices have usually been things like "Yankee Stadium Dugout Cleaner", "Whitestone Bridge Toll Collector in the Dead of Winter", "Proctologist", "Back of Taxi Cab Mop-Up", etc.

Discovery has their hunky host, Mike Rowe, doing one of my favorites: Road Kill Collector, as well as pig insemination and sewer scrubbing. I'm still waiting to see him take on the dugout. Now THAT is a dirty job!

You can buy a DVD of Mike's adventures here or catch him on the Discovery Channel.

Also... stay tuned here for some upcoming contests and promotions related to both Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel...two big favorites in our house.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"Special" People

Are you one of the Special People? If so, maybe you can give me a peek into the workings of your ego...a little insight into what makes you tick.

Who are the Special People?

- The people who get to park at the curb, illegally, outside our local bagel & coffee place, so they can walk two steps to the entrance instead of the rest of us, the Unspecials, who have to park in the parking lot and take the, oh, 30 steps to the entrance. The Special People's car usually blocks traffic in one direction or another, but that's ok! The Special People need to stay warm and dry.

- The people who drive in the breakdown lane on the highway. Sit in traffic? Not they! I've nearly "met" a few of these Special People as I was exiting the road, because silly me didn't think that someone was barreling up a lane that's not really a lane!

- The people who also don't have the time nor the energy to exit the highway with the rest of the Unspecials. So, while the rest of us might be slowly making our way to the exit ramp, the Special People zip up the middle lane and squeeze their way into the front of the line. I'm sure they would say "pretty please" if they thought anyone could hear them.

- Special People on Foot do this same maneuver in NYC subway stations during rush hour, when throngs of Unspecials are waiting in a long line to board an "up" escalator. The Specials will scoot up to the front and inch their way in front of someone, usually a blind person, but only because Specials have to get to work WAY earlier than the rest of us.

- Special People park in handicapped-only spots, because they ARE handicapped in some way. They have no Humility Bone.

So, if you are a Special Person, please enlighten us. How does it feel? How did you go from being Unspecial to Special? If you're just one of the rest of us, please share your Special People stories. I'm sure there are many.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Are You a Cheapskate?

Original airdate...August 2005

Just turned on The Today Show, and they are doing a segment called "Cheapskate Week". I have to admit that watching this, featuring people who do things like fill their own jelly donuts, make diaper pails out of popcorn tins, and bring ziplock bags to the movies to divide up popcorn... makes my hair go on fire.

One of my ex-husbands said I would "go across the street and around the corner to avoid a sale", and he was probably right. I've only been to Wal-Mart twice (and couldn't wait to get out), don't comparison shop, and am a firm believer in "you get what you pay for". I know it's irrational at times, but hey...I've never claimed to be a completely rational person.

Why this visceral aversion to bargains? As with most of my other neuroses, I have to blame my parents. As children of the Great Depression, they turned penny-pinching into an artform. My mother made a lot of our clothes, and in doing so made them about three sizes too big so they'd fit for several years. This explains why, in most old photos, we look like refugees from Uzbekistan. She also made clothes for my Barbie doll, which was great except for the fact that she didn't want to have to buy special snaps (you know, the right SIZED ones), so the clothes had closures as big as Barbie's head.

Getting a greeting card from my mother meant (and still means) receiving one that had been previously sent to her, with the inside cut out. Better yet, on their anniversary my parents would go to the nearest card store and pick out an appropriate sentiment for each other. Rather than purchase the cards, they would exchange them on the spot. And put them back.

All of the food in our house was "Brand X" or awful store brands like "Ann Page" and "Krasdale". Although my father loved ice cream, the best we got was Breyer's Neopolitan, or maybe a Cookie Puss cake from Carvel for a REALLY special occasion.

My father loved electronics and gadgets of any and every kind (we had air-conditioning before anyone else), but I still remember the "brand names" that graced them all... Setchell-Carlson, Bonsonic, Royce Union... some of which, I think, fell off the back of a truck. Since he was a mailman, our house was FILLED with tiny versions of many products (free samples that had been addressed to houses that didn't exist). We used miniature cans of Rite Guard and Arrid Extra Dry, ate from little packettes of Carnation Instant Breakfast, and read magazines that had a big square cutout on the cover. Occasionally we'd score big and get someone's 8 free records from Columbia House, if they moved away before it was delivered. And there was Joe the Dented Can Man, my father's favorite place to shop for canned food.

I guess it's all about priorities. My parents did manage to raise three kids on a postman's salary (although my mother also worked or collected unemployment most of the time), and we always had new cars that they paid cash for. They never had credit cards until they retired and we never felt like they were strapped for cash. (Then again...who knows? Maybe my father was secretly working in "waste management", if ya know what I mean.)

Still, while I appreciate their efforts, it has left me with a psychotic disdain for sales and bargains.

So... fess up. Are you a Cheapskate? Are you the child of a Cheapskate? Or are you, like me, the Anti-Cheapskate?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What? Me Crazy?

Ok, ok.... I couldn't have been more wrong about Daniel Craig!

I saw Casino Royale last night and it was great. Fun, funny (hilarious at times), action packed, wonderfully scripted and shot, and best of all...the surprising new Bond. Best since Connery, indeed.

There are lines from this film that will live forever...

Bartender: Shaken or stirred?
JB: Do I look like I give a damn?

Don't forget to shop Amazon through my fun little store! If you're going to Amazon anyway, pick up some ideas from me first!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


We made it through my mother's Thanksgiving dinner (turkey cooked by Winn-Dixie). She added all of the "trimmings": StoveTop stuffing, canned cranberries, gravy from a jar. Where I drew the line, however, was when she showed me the instant potatoes and canned yams she intended to serve. Instead, I made mashed white and sweet potatoes, skin on, with roasted garlic. Yum.

Have other kooky stories from our visit, but no time to write them today. Instead, I'll rerun an old favorite about my mother and her culinary talents:

She was probably a little nuts even here, circa 1942, but I think my mother really went off the deep end after she had babies. You'd think she would have stopped after the first one, when she realized how much she didn't like motherhood, but she proceeded to squirt out two more daughters. She pretty much hated all three of us to different degrees and for different reasons but primarily for being young women that my father might be inclined to love. In her mind, there was only room for ONE attractive woman in my dad's life. She never stopped to think about how ugly that made her.

Stories about my mother have the potential to be really sad and horrifying, but she is so warped that one can't help but find humor in them. Think of her as a cross between Edith Bunker and Joan Crawford. She sounds like Edith, but she'd strangle you with a wire hanger in a heartbeat.

She is allegedly not a stupid person. According to her, she was so brilliant as a kid that she skipped fifth grade and graduated from high school at 15. But throughout my life she has come up with the most ridiculous definitions, pronunciations and "facts" that I have to believe she graduated from 1929's version of the Sally Struthers Institute of Medical Transcription and Air Conditioner Repair.

From the time I was about 5, if I complained about anything she'd accuse me of being an "ingrate" because I had put her through fourteen hours of back labor before my breech arrival. Or, as she put it, "you were born rectum first". Apparently I came into the world inside out.

Dinner at our house was a real festival. The fun would begin with the array of slop my mother would try to pass off as food, brought to the table in scorched pots and pans. Meat of any kind was either overcooked beyond recognition or swimming in blood. Chicken was boiled. Steaks were fried and served with 2 inches of fat, meant to be ingested, because "it makes your hair shiny." Vegetables came in cans. When my middle sister moved out she called me one night just to say, "Asparagus is actually good."

I recently came up with a list of appropriately named dishes that were a regular part of my mother's culinary repertoire. I figure I'd better make fun of her now, while she's still alive. Here's what's on the menu:

Bazooka Beef - made with the cheapest cut of chuck steak, cooked to death in tomato sauce. I would literally cry eating this because my jaws would ache as if I had chewed 30 pieces of bubble gum.

Mushrooms a Morte - cooked to death. "Sauteed" until they were drowning in their own blackened juices

Flaccid Asparagus - the above-mentioned canned vegetable of choice

Chinese Toast - she'd serve frozen egg rolls for breakfast because, well, they have EGGS in them, right?

Decidedly Lacking-in-Cream Puffs (file under The Frugal Chef)

Triple-Bypass Spaghetti Sauce - served with an inch of floating grease on top

Triple-Bypass Chicken Soup -see above

The Peek-a-Boo ICU Sundae - vanilla ice cream, topped with sour cream

Yes, my father died of a heart attack. My mother, however, is still kicking at 84 and remarkably healthy. I suspect she was ordering takeout and eating it on the sly.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Southern Hospitality

My son and I hopped a plane this morning and flew down to visit my mother here in [freezing] Florida. Figuring that I might be able to hijack a neighbor's wireless network, I brought the laptop.

What I hadn't bargained for was the NAME of the neighbor's network:

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, read my nostalgic T-Day post below, and then shop at my Amazon store!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

You Shouldn't Have!

I hate to shop. Seriously. I don't like walking through malls, sifting through sale racks, trying things on. (I never try anything on. I also rarely return anything. You do the math.)

However, I *do* love buying stuff online. And I really love finding the coolest presents for people. The things that say "I know who you are." (I rarely ask "What do you want?" because I think that ruins the fun part of gift-giving.)

So, even though I may not know you, or the people you are buying gifts for this year, I have tons of ideas for you. Books, CDs, DVDs, etc. etc. How convenient that has given me the ability to build a custom online store to share with my blog readers!

I'll be leaving the link to "You Shouldn't Have!" in my sidebar, and I'll be adding to and updating the store on a regular basis. Hope you'll stop by and pick up a few things.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Factoid #13 - Panthergirl's Cult Film Appearance's a retread. But an old one, so hopefully many of you haven't seen it.

As reported in my 100 Factoids, I have a 10-second cameo appearance in the very last segment of the cult film "The Groove Tube" (filmed in 1971 when I was not quite 16 years old.)

Although many people know about the movie, they don't know that it actually originated as a television production that was shown on closed-circuit tv sets in a small upper East Side theater called "Channel One". My friends and I went to see it a couple of times and were huge fans. Most of the segments in the movie were retreads from the Channel One days.

During the summer of 1971, I was working in Manhattan with my aunt at an allergist's office. Most days I wore a nurse's uniform (yeah, yeah...lots of stories about THAT, too) but this was not one of them. As I was on my way out to lunch, my aunt gave me a pack of checks to deposit at the bank. Thousands of dollars. I went to the bank, made the deposit, but on the way back, as I walked down Park Avenue, Ken Shapiro in his pink suit began to sing and dance around me. I saw all the cameras but just assumed they were doing another Channel One thing.

They told me it was for a feature film and asked me to go back to the corner and do several takes. Hundreds of people were inside the lobby of the building, watching the whole scene. The camera guys were cute so I hung out...they asked me to go see the "rushes" the following day. I signed a release (no one ever bothered to see if I was actually 18), they gave me $1, and off I went.

When I excitedly got back to the doctor's office, TWO HOURS later, my glee was quickly extiniguished by my FURIOUS aunt who thought I had been mugged and killed for the deposit money. Needless to say, I didn't get to see the rushes the next day. What you can't see in the clip is that my hair was really, really long which made me pretty recognizable. For the next several weeks people would stop me on the street and say "Weren't you the girl who was in that movie on Park Avenue?"

See my 10 second clip HERE

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Is it me...


...or is Grey's Anatomy getting dangerously close to jumping the shark?

As noted in an earlier post, I crammed Seasons One and Two into a few, bleary-eyed weeks prior to the premiere of the third season. I watched 3, 4 or 5 episodes in a row, often discovering that it was 3 AM and I had to get up for work in a few hours. I watched episodes over and over, and felt as close to being in love with a TV show as one could be. In love. Not just "enjoying", but in love.

I was thrilled to find the official writers' blog called "Grey Matter" on the ABC site. I listened to Shonda Rhimes and Betsey Beers, executive producers, talk about episodes on their podcast. Yes, I was in love.

Then Season Three began. Started out pretty strong, but something felt odd... like when someone you know looks different, but you can't quite figure out what she did, and then you realize she had her eyebrows waxed. Not a dramatic thing, but different nonetheless.

I liked the "Meredith on drugs" week, but by the third episode or so, I was BORED. Can you imagine? Bored. The week before the reruns was the worst. And then the writer's blog was stormed by angry viewers' asking what the HELL was going on with the show. Yet Shonda and Betsey continued to podcast with aplomb... rather self-satisfied and seemingly unfazed by the viewer base that was not quite leaving the room, but eyeing the doors.

This week, most commenters seemed to LOVE the "Where the Boys Are" episode, while I was left feeling 'eh'. Are they trying too hard? Are they thinking that Thursday nights require something different than Sunday nights? I don't know. I just think they've lost their way. I want each episode to have the impact of "Into You Like a Train", or the two-part bomb episode which may be one of the finest 120 minutes that ever aired. Ever.

So, Grey's Anatomy writers, want to see how to keep a show fresh, exciting, but not completely reinvent all your characters? Not have them do ridiculous things that run counter to everything you've told us about them? Not throw all continuity and timelines out the window to the point where we're saying, "Wait...didn't he once say...?"

Watch Nip/Tuck. Delivers with a bang, every single week.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote Early and Often!

Get out there, beat the Republicans, and make Premier George Walter Bush cry!

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Most Offensive (and Smartest) Film You'll See This Year

"Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" is wildly funny, mindbendingly gross, and brilliant. Sascha Baron Cohen NEVER breaks character, ever. I've seen him on "Da Ali G Show" on HBO (where this character originated), and I've always been amazed at his ability to become this outrageous person and put people in situations where they bare every racist, sexist and anti-Semitic dark secret they've got. Because they think he's just like them.

He is so good at what he does that it's easy to forget what he's doing, and start to squirm at some of the blackest, but most side-splitting moments. And at times, it's pretty sad to see what people will freely offer up when they think it's "safe". (Like the Virginia rodeo guy who agrees with Borat that hanging homosexuals is a good idea. "We're trying to do that here, too!")

The filmmakers insist that every scene in the film is unstaged. I do have a hard time believing that, but even hardly matters. There are definitely enough very real situations where you're left wondering how he doesn't get himself KILLED, but also admiring him for the huge set of nuts (seen here) he has, and his willingness to use them to expose the dark underbelly of some Americans.

At the same showing, I saw a preview for the new James Bond film. I'm sorry, folks. Daniel Craig just doesn't do it for me. All I could think about when I saw his face on screen was another all-American hero. I give you:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

No Joke Too Cheap

"Greyhound's Anatomy". That's right. Lucas, Kelso (as "Dr. McDoggy") and I dressed up as surgeons from "Seattle Greys Hospital". Lucas said "Kids won't get the joke!" To which I replied, "Who cares?"

Doesn't he know? Halloween is all about entertaining ME.

And you.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Upside of Corporate Life

Although it's often not much fun to work in a huge global corporation, occasionally it has its perks. Every year, I go to the Design Management Institute conference which is usually in Cape Cod at the Chatham Bars Inn which is quite lovely. But THIS year, it has moved to the Equinox Spa and Resortin Manchester, VT. The place looks amazing and I'm really looking forward to the trip. (check out the photo gallery when you click the link)

My daughter is coming to stay with Lucas, so fingers crossed there that they get up in time to get him off to school each day. I'm using my usual approach of "I'll pay you both for a good week, but if I get ONE non-emergency phone call about you guys fighting, then NO ONE gets the money." My sister gave me that tip and it works great. I never get the "She won't let me watch TV!!!" or "He won't get off the computer!!!" calls. (Yes, she's 21 and he's 11. Does that make a difference? Nope. Siblings are siblings.)

So.... while I'll have my laptop I doubt I'll have much if any time to blog or read blogs... so please drop a note if you swing by and I promise to catch up and post a lot more when I return.

Now... aren't you jealous?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Photo Friday: Innocence

The first of several Halloween posts I'm planning, I think these qualify for this week's theme of "Innocence" because poor baby Lucas was far too innocent to appreciate the hilarity of his Alfalfa costume (btw...the hair was done with egg whites, just the way the punksters did it in the 80s). My then 10-year-old daughter was dressed as, in her words, a "wacky travel agent". I think she looks about 35!

Anyway, it might be a stretch... but I love these photos.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I Crack Me Up

Looking through the archives for something fun to re-run. I'm tired and sick (and sick and tired) so I just can't muster up anything funny and/or interesting to say. I laugh every time I read this particular post, though. Dylan is now full grown, still alive, and about 24" long.)

Hosted by

Meet Dylan, the Bearden Dragon. This story will give you a little insight into the way things work at Chez Panthergirl. Last September, I took my son on a routine visit to Petsmart to buy dog food for Kelso, and the following conversation ensued:

Lucas: Mom, can I buy an Anole??

Me: [buy an asshole? WTF?] What's an Anole, honey?

L: It's a lizard.

M: Let's see it. [ok, it's just a little thing. What the heck. Then again, don't want a pet that's going to croak in a week. We've had our share of untimely death in this family.]

M (to dorky salesguy): Is this thing going to croak in a week?

Dork: Yeah, probably. You'd be better off with a Bearded Dragon.

M: [Hm. Anole, $15. Bearded Dragon, $79. A lizard that doesn't croak in a week: Priceless.] Ok, he's pretty cute.

L: Yeah! Yeah! I'm going to name him Dylan after my cousin and a kid I knew at camp.

The bearded dragon was about 5" long and just a baby. They actually grow to 24" or so, which sounded pretty cool. You can walk them on a leash. Dorky Salesguy shows me the $200+ worth of stuff I need to get for said dragon, and off we go. Dragon takes enormous dump in the shoebox we're given to take him home. P.U.

After setting up his elaborate habitat, I proceed to join the Yahoo! Group for Beaded Dragon people (see, this is what I do. I jump into whatever it is with both feet and an arm or two. That's how I wind up married 3 times. Nothing is done halfway around here.) I learn from the "Pogona" (genus name?) group that almost everything I bought is totally and completely WRONG, and if I don't get the right lights and the right food and the right substrate, I'm going to wind up with a croaked-lizard afterall.

After about two weeks of buying and returning and buying and returning, Dylan was on the road to a happy and healthy lifestyle. (I, on the other hand, was broke and exhausted.) I became an expert in cricket-keeping as well. But it wasn't fun keeping a pet for your pet, especially a particularly gross one. I have since switched to silkworms and if you think that's gross, you never dealt with crickets. Besides, I can mail order them. You should see the faces of the mailroom guys when the box labeled LIVE WORMS arrives for me at work.

Dylan is now about 14" long and I have to admit that I really dig him. He's a lot of work at times (my mornings weren't crazy enough without having to make a freakin' SALAD for my lizard), but he's clean and quiet and actually likes us. And look how smart he is! He figured out how to tilt his dish in order to get to his food. Aw.

"All My Meerkats"

If you're not watching Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet, you're really missing something. It's the ultimate animal soap opera. As my son said, "Boy they really like mating, don't they??" Um yeah,'ll understand in a couple of years!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Dark Side of "David"

Anyone who has ever sat in a dentist's office in the US has read a "Highlights" magazine for kids. One of my favorite features was Goofus and Gallant, a little comic strip about twin a devilish ne'er-do-well, the other a terminal goody-goody.

Michael C. Hall, mostly "Gallant" as David on Six Feet Under is most definitely "Goofus" as Dexter on the new Showtime offering of the same name. Oh, David had his bad-boy moments for sure... but they were nothing compared to the Robin Hood of serial killers that he plays in this show.

I got a sneak peek at the first episode and agreed to review it here. It was interesting enough...twisted, adopted child of a cop grows up to use his murderous nature to snuff out the bad guys that have escaped the long arm of the law. It's a Black Magic/White Magic thing, and Hall is always great to watch. It's particularly fun to watch him in this role which couldn't be more different from his last.

The supporting cast is mostly good as well. I love Lauren Velez (the nurse on HBO's now-defunct "Oz" who had the bizarro love connection with the oh-so-sexy inmate who loved her so much he killed her husband) but I absolutely cannot stand the actress who plays Dexter's confused girlfriend. She's a less appealing version of Anne Heche, if there is such a thing. I'm hoping her character will do something bad really soon so Dexter can chop her up into little pieces and store a drop of her blood in his file box. Or break up with her, at the very least.

So, it's an interesting premise with mostly terrific actors. Why was I not clamoring for episode two? When I rented season one and two of Grey's Anatomy last month, I would watch as many episodes as I could, until my eyeballs were popping out. I watched "Dexter", I liked it well enough, but it didn't stick. I wasn't left clawing at the screen for more.

I'm not a Showtime subscriber and I doubt I'll become one just to watch "Dexter". Now, "Weeds".... that might be another story.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Angel in the Outfield, Indeed - REDUX

It's another sad day for Yankee fans, so I thought I'd re-post this to bring a smile back to our faces. R.I.P. Corey Lidle

Those who have been reading this blog for awhile know the story of my ex-husband who died two years ago of lung cancer leaving my then-eight-year-old son fatherless.

With the impending baseball season upon us, I thought this would be a good time for the update on Tony's ashes. As written previously, he left explicit instructions for his ashes to be spread at Yankee Stadium. When I say "explicit", I mean not just scattered anywhere, but put in specific places around the field, clubhouse, Memorial Park, etc.

As you may or may not know, you cannot legally do this. During the past football season, a guy was tackled and arrested as he ran, spreading the ashes of his Philadelphia Eagles' fanatic mother over the 50 yard line. Call them crazy, but security isn't wild about people dropping white powdery stuff in public places.

Tony wasn't your average sports fan. He was nuts. I loved the Yankees since childhood, but his fanatacism was actually such a bone of contention in our relationship that it made me hate baseball (temporarily). He could not miss a game. Not one. So, when Lucas was little and the sun was shining, Tony would refuse to leave the house on Saturdays and Sundays...even to take his son out to play. (He would often fall asleep during the game anyway, which just made me madder!). He would come home and announce, "We traded so-and-so!" to which I was known to respond, "When Steinbrenner is writing your check, "we" will be trading players." And it wasn't just the Yankees. When the Knicks lost a playoff game in '94 (I think), Tony went to the bathroom and vomited. We were moving that year, and instead of packing he sat and watched basketball every night. When the movers arrived, we were not ready and it cost us an additional $1200!!! Don't get me started. Anyway, enough of that. Back to the ashes.

A few weeks ago, Tony's brother-in-law went on a tour of the stadium with his son and their friends. He wore a sweatshirt and put the ashes in his front pocket. As they toured the stadium, he hung back and dropped handsful of ashes in all of the designated spots. He even went one better... he went to the bat rack in the Yankee dugout, and put a little bit of Tony in every single bat slot.

So... when Jeter hits his first home run this year, Tony will be riding high!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Photo Friday: Thin

OK, so it's a crappy still from a video. But I couldn't resist posting this picture of me from 1990 for today's "thin" theme...because at the time, I thought I was FAT!!!

Figured that would be good for a laugh (or a cry).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Perfect Post - September

A monthly blog award hosted by Lucinda and Momma K.

My choice for the Perfect Post of September was easy, in terms of the blog, but hard to pick which of four postings to choose. The awardee is Karl of Secondhand Tryptophan. When Karl was turning 40 a few weeks ago, he asked his readers to submit dares that Karl would perform, on video. He narrowed them down to four and they are ALL amazing and hilarious (#4 is particularly amazing).

However, the one I've chosen as the Perfect Post is Birthday Dare #3: Superman.

All I can say is, empty bladder before watching.

Congrats, Karl!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Cool Boys Don't Clap

Yesterday I went to see "Jersey Boys" on Broadway. As I've posted previously, my husband #2 (not the father of either of my children, those would be #1 and #3) is a Local One stagehand and although we were only married for a short time, he has continued to be a family friend. My daughter was 3-5 years old when we were together, and he remains a wonderful presence in her life.

About once a year he'll get us house seats for a show that he's working, or that a friend of his is working. This year it was "Jersey Boys" and he came along, as well as my daughter and her boyfriend. He's 20, she's 21. Deliver me.

Remember that book "Smart Women, Foolish Choices"? Uh huh. This is Mr. No Social Skills, WAY too cool to applaud, with the "I'm so bored" look on his face that is SO endearing. Although this was only the second time I met him, there was no attempt to impress me. No Eddie Haskell, he. She is warm, open, adorable if somewhat immature...and living with this guy whose idol is Charles Bukowski, and whose career goal is to become head cashier at Home Depot (a job that my daughter has to drive him to, because he has no license).

Having been exposed to the theater at such a young age, my daughter has always been drawn to it. Husband #2, in addition to backstage work, attended a major acting school in NYC.. He has offered to pay for Emma to attend that school's 2 year program and live in his apartment rent free (he's got a big rent-stabilized place with a back bedroom and separate would be amazing for her). As long as Mr. Happy is in her life, she won't accept the offer.

What's a mother to do? (I know.... absolutely nothing. She's got to figure this one out herself.)

On the up side, the show was amazing, and we went backstage to get a close-up look at the props as we always do. We met a few of the guys in the cast (we were lucky enough to see all of the original cast members) and for some reason, John Stamos was back there chatting with some people. I love New York.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Photo Friday: Anger

The anger does not appear in the subject. It is felt by the photographer.

Yesterday, my beautiful 11-year old sixth grader was assaulted on the school bus by two asshole punk High School students, 16 and 17 years old. They slapped his face, swiped this red streak on his face with a marker, threw water at him, hit him in the head with a water bottle, and twisted his arm.

Why? Because he would not give up his seat. He refused to give into their threats, to their "get the fuck up" bullying. My son knows who Rosa Parks is and he was channeling her. He's also a rule follower, and refused to get out of his seat while the bus was moving.

The driver had no idea what was happening, as this took place towards the back of the bus and there was a lot of commotion up front that prevented her from hearing anything. Of course, none of the other kids came to his rescue either.

LUCKILY, I was home sick from work yesterday and here when he arrived, traumatized.

I've made all the necessary contacts to ensure that these kids don't ride the bus again. Including calling the police, so their parents also know that they cannot fuck with me or my kid. School assures me they will be suspended as well.

Thankfully, he's in a wonderful program with great teachers and a support system of social workers and psychologists to help him work through it. The principal offered to ride the bus today to ensure his safety, but I just got a message that the perps won't be on the bus today.

And so... how timely is this Photo Friday theme? Are you angry too?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Mommy, Where Do Stereotypes Come From?"

A rerun, but one of my personal favorites.

mom, joey and cheech

As I pored over the vintage photos of my mother, this one made me laugh out loud. Taken in 1943, it features her in a fur coat (gee, what happened to the "we were so poor" stuff?), flanked by Joey Vannera and "Cheech". Joey was clearly an upstanding citizen, fighting for his country. "Cheech" on the other hand... I'm not sure if he worked in waste management or was about to go "psssst!", open his coat and try to sell me the letter "R".

The photo was taken on Central Avenue in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. These days, it would be wise not to venture down to Central Avenue unless you're in full body armor, carrying an Uzi. Both of my parents grew up there and at the time it was a mecca for Italian immigrants and the home of Murder, Incorporated. As kids we'd love hearing stories about the old neighborhood, and always giggled when my father talked about his school days at "Fourteen Holy Martyrs". Those Catholics. Sure know how to lift the spirits! (We used to love making up church names like "Our Lady of the Festering Boils".)

When my parents got married they bought a house in Brooklyn, but far from Central Avenue. Still, every other Sunday we'd go back to have that ginormous Italian gastronomic marathon known as "dinner" at my father's parents' apartment. It was on the third floor of a rowhouse above my grandfather's barbershop. My cousins and I loved the barbershop because we could sneak down there and peek at the dog-eared, half-hidden Playboy magazines.

The neighborhood was still decent in the 60s, although it was not uncommon to see women, their ample arms and bosoms supported by pillows, leaning out of upper floor windows screaming at their kids. They weren't necessarily angry, they just screamed. (My mother, fancying herself several cuts above the women she grew up with, refused to scream for us. Instead, she'd stand outside our house and clap her hands as loudly as she could manage. We would collapse in fits of laughter but NEVER respond to it.)

Occasionally my father would drive my sisters and me past a daunting old building surrounded by a brick wall with a barbed wire necklace. The message was that if we didn't behave he would deposit us here, at the House of Good Shepherd, the "home for wayward girls". Or better yet, he'd threaten us with "Johnson Avenue"... and drive us slowly past its silent slaughterhouses. (Note to parents: Dramatic threats of drawing and quartering do not prevent your children from going hog wild as teenagers.)

As the years went by and the neighborhood began to deteriorate, our relatives moved to Queens or Long Island... one by one. By the early 70s no one remained...well, almost no one. My father's Aunt Mary, emotionally destroyed when her son was declared missing-in-action during World War II, refused to leave. She was sure that her son would come home one day and wanted to be there to greet him. She died waiting.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Greyhound Planet Week

Don't know how I forgot to blog this, but there's still one day left to do something good for a greyhound!! Click here for more info!

(not my dogs, but I love this photo!)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Photo Friday: Girl

This photo was taken by my son two years ago, at age 9, when he took a photography class. Of course, my FAVORITE shots from that class were taken of the photography teacher (whom I hope to god doesn't make his way to this blog!). Check out this old post, entitled My Son Lucas, Crack Photographer.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Panthergirl's Pan of the Week: The Black Dahlia

I don't get out to the movies much. Yesterday, my son was going out with a friend and his mom, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to see a grown-up film. I *really* wanted to see "Little Miss Sunshine", but I couldn't find anyone to go with me and it's so much more fun to see a funny movie with somoene else. So, I opted for The Black Dahlia.

Three words SHOULD have given me a clue. Brian. De. Palma. What a jumbled mess...when it wasn't completely incoherent, it was laughably absurd (and don't tell me it was intentional... I know camp. This was just BAD.) There was one moment in a scene that was homage to "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" where you hear a cuckoo clock in the background. I'm sure THAT was supposed to be humorous...but it wasn't enough to save this slop-fest of a movie. (Hilary Swank did seem to enjoy her romp as a femme-fatale, and that was fun to watch.)

The real-life crime is still unsolved, yet the film ties it up in a neat (ok, bloody) little bow at the end. Don't bother waiting for it to come out on DVD. Even the close-captioning won't help make heads or entrails out of this one.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Photo Friday: Bright

A bright, beautiful morning atop Mount Battie in Camden, Maine last weekend.

Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes. It's been a crazy work week, plus my daughter Emma came to visit for a few days, hence the dearth of blogging and blog-reading. I'm home sick/exhausted today so maybe I'll get some time to catch up.

A few brief soundbites:

I have finished watching ALL of Seasons One and Two of Grey's Anatomy. Oh my god. What an incredible show. Pop Culture Geek Note,: I believe that since Peter Horton (formerly Gary on thirtysomething) is the executive producer and often director of the show, the fact that there is a character named "Addison Shephard" is not an accident. I think it's a nod to another popular '80s staple, "Moonlighting" in which Bruce Willis' David Addison played opposite Cybill SHEPHERD's character. Coincidence? I don't think so. Who names a kid "Addison"?
Edited to say: What am I saying?? Gary on "thirtysomething"'s last name was Shepherd!!! That's it! David Addison and Gary Shepherd!

Was the season premiere of "Nip/Tuck" over the top or what? Even for "Nip/Tuck"? I haven't watched the second episode yet.

New shows I'm looking forward to: Brothers and Sisters (another "thirtysomething" alum, Ken Olin is an executive producer. Have I mentioned how much I loved "thirtysomething"?), and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip". Looks good but could go either way. "America's Next Top Model"... the best in guilty-pleasures.

Movies I'm looking forward to: "The Black Dahlia" and "Running with Scissors". And I still want to see "Little Miss Sunshine" and "An Inconvenient Truth".

"All My Children" is getting really good, speaking of guilty-pleasures.

Hey HBO... when are "Rome" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" coming back?

Everyone who thinks I need a social life please raise your hand.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Photo Friday: Boy

During our WONDERFUL weekend in Camden, son who is normally too timid to ride a RAZOR scooter actually rode in and FLEW a seaplane!!

For the rest of the weekend photos...go here.