Tuesday, March 28, 2006

St. Jo of Frost

Original post date 2/5/2005. Since there's a new season of Supernanny, which I can't see because it's on at the same time as the Apprentice (aren't you jealous of my social life?), I thought I'd repost this. Oh, and a note to the Googling perverts: this post is NOT about "Jo Frost's tits".

May I nominate for canonization:

Jo Frost, aka "Supernanny" (ABC, Mondays at 10PM). This woman is amazing. What is also amazing is that a complete moron like the mother in last night's show has not been reported to Child Welfare and carted off in an orange jumpsuit. This woman is more concerned about getting her tits on TV than noticing that her 3-year-old son is wandering the neighborhood unsupervised. And running with open garden shears. Mom is cool with it. Her reaction is something along the lines of "Oh you silly boy. Come here and make sure you don't block Mommy's tits in the shot, ok honey?" Dad's pretty much of a non-participant except for the occasional yelling episode. It's clear he's letting Mom do whatever she wants with the kids as long as she shows lots of cleavage.

My favorite part of the show is the beginning, where Jo is seen observing the family in all their dysfunctional glory and not saying anything (to them, anyway. To us, she shoots a horrified glance which should include the subtitle: "FAAAAARK".) She claims to be taking mental notes. I think *actual* notes, mailed in 20 years to the kids' psychotherapists, might be a good idea too. Thankfully that only goes on for a day before she swoops in and rips into both parents. Firmly, but pretty gently I think. A less restrained person would do a preemptive strike and put these kids' pictures on a milk carton NOW. The 3 and 6 year-old wander in and out of the house at will, sometimes for hours at a time. The fact that they (and their 8 year old brother) are the freckled monsters from hell means that Mom is happy to see them go.

Of course, should any of the 3 boys wind up in the hands of a kidnapper we'd have ourselves a real-life "Ransom of Red Chief". (If you're unfamiliar with the short-stories of O.Henry, he's the guy that M. Night Shamaylan wants desperately to be.). In the O. Henry story, the kidnapped child is so horrid that the abductors wind up paying the parents to take him back.

In another heartwarming moment, Mom is baking cookies (probably in a Fredrick's of Hollywood apron) when the 6-year-old calls her to come outside and catch bugs with him. Leaving the 3-year-old in the kitchen, she happily bounces (and I mean BOUNCES) outdoors to catch bugs. Mini-monster is scaling the cabinets and probably downing all the Drano he can get his grubby little hands on. Jo mutters to herself, "Fark."

Ultimately, Jo Jo works her magic and the boys and their mom are heavily medicated and Dad goes through anger management training. No, no...she somehow convinces Mom that her implants have to take a back seat to her kids, and that Dad has to repair the huge scar he inflicted upon his 8 year old ("You yelled at me in first grade!"), and that [horrors] they need to put a lock on the front door.

One question remains for me: Do these people live in the "Poltergeist" house? Or maybe the "ET" house? Where are these places that have absolutely no trees or bushes or any visible plant life?

Bizarro World

Just a brief promotion for my other blog, Adventures in Cyberia. If you haven't dropped by for awhile, we've got a new look!

It's not your average blog. What we do there is take blogger volunteers (check out the blogroll over there!) and turn them into characters using the SIMS2. The result is a series of soap-opera style storylines that involve romance, sex, intrigue, and bloggers like this one getting jobs dressed as french fries.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Angel in the Outfield, Indeed

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!

Edited to say that I just won this!
A Perfect Post

Photo Friday: Smooth

OK, so I've gone unconventional with the theme yet AGAIN.

What's smooth about this 2001 photo of Lucas, my daughter Emma (right) and her half-sister? And their Aussie Shephard Dottie? Well, it's Lucas' raised eyebrow of course... quite smooth.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Idol Chatter

There *is* a god.

He's gone. Finally. He really was becoming the Scott Savol of Season 5. I'm convinced that Scott is off torturing small animals somewhere. He really creeped me out. Kevin, on the other hand, was just annoying. I hate it when someone gets through simply because the producers think they make "good TV" (kind of like that loser on The Apprentice who got fired this week.)

And what is Paula Abdul smoking? The next time she applauds one of the crap singers I wish Simon would suggest that she PERSONALLY fund a career for that individual. C'mon, Paula! "Abdul Records proudly presents.... Bucky!" And if she refers to "the blueprint of your life" one more time I will york. Did she sign up for EST or something?

My favorites this season are Mandisa, Kathrine McPhee and Chris Daughty. I really like little Paris, but heck...she's going to have a career regardless of whether she wins this thing or not. And Elliott Yamin is very, very good but those teeth... Idol he ain't. Taylor Hicks is likable enough, in a spastic sort of way, but I was expecting more from him. And Lisa is cute but definitely Broadway material.

Bottom line? The only way to watch this show is through TiVO. Last night's show was literally 2 minutes worth of info in an hour full of commercials and Seacrap.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Birds

No... not Hitchcock's "The Birds". If you want to see a truly wonderful documentary, check out The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. It is absolutely delightful, even for those of us with bad bird karma.

Ninja Poodles!

Blogger is not cooperating with picture posting, so today is a good day to direct you elsewhere.

Go visit my sidebar tenant, Ninja Poodles. (I won't post the link here...you have to click on the thumbnail). She is always fun and interesting and has a good meme up today.

She is also a character on Adventures in Cyberia, my blog that turns bloggers into SIMS. See your favorite bloggers in some very compromising situations!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The End of an Era

Bill Beutel died yesterday. For those who may be too young to remember, Beutel and Roger Grimsby on Eyewitness News in NYC in the '70s were the FIRST of the ad libbing, wry news anchors. They redefined local news, not just with personality but by involving their teams with world events (Beutel was "embedded" in Vietnam, unheard of for a local reporter at that time.) Many have tried to imitate them since. Few have succeeded.

I attribute much of my thirst for news and current events to afternoons watching Beutel and Grimsby with my father. Grimsby was the wiseass, Beutel the serious voice of reason who often couldn't help but break-up at his partner's irreverent comments. Of course, those of you who DO know about that era also know that Tex Antoine was their weatherman...unceremoniously fired after making an inappropriate comment following news of a local rape. I remember sitting there in shock as his weather report began, "If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it!" Tex and Grimsby were often delivering weather and news while drunk, and I suspect this was the case on that day. The camera immediately shot to Beutel, who delivered a swift apology, and that was the end of Tex. Grimsby was fired in 1986 and died of lung cancer in 1995.

Beutel, always the class act of the bunch, lasted in news for 35 years. (One of my cousins (on my dad's side...the side we never see or hear from) was married to his son at one point in time. Don't know if she still is.)

**Side note: I watched George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck" this weekend. What an amazing film. See it if you haven't already. It's on DVD now.**

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Remember Pen Pals?

This post inspired me to pull up a retread...

hitchcock letter, originally uploaded by panthergirl.

Wait? Didn't every 10 year old girl write to Alfred Hitchcock, weekly, and get faithful responses from his secretary?

She answered every inane question I posed, and in this particular letter she let me down easy when I had invited him to my sister's wedding.

In these days of "form" everything, this is rare indeed.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Photo Friday: Technology

Sorry for the poor quality, but this is a still from a video. But how better to illustrate technology but with a my baby boy, born in 1995, independently using the mouse at 20 months old? (He also figured out how to use dial-up, open Netscape, pulldown the bookmarks...but was stuck there. ;)

Thanks to this early introduction to technology and Broderbund's LIving Books series, he learned to read as well. Although my now 11 year old still loves technology, you'll find him curled up with a good book every night.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. My TiVO kicked the bucket last night. No, no... you don't understand. This means I have to remember what time things are on and *change the channel myself*, rather than have my sweet machine do it for me. I won't get to watch All My Children for a week while I wait for my replacement box. (Of course, in soap opera time, that means I'll miss about 15 minutes of drama in Pine Valley).

You see, I put TiVO right up there with caller ID, EZ-Pass (or whatever the automatic toll-booth thing is called in your area), email, GPS and DVD Bonus Features as things I never knew I couldn't live without until I had them.

Please, DHL man.... run like the wind with my new TiVO box!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Photo Friday: Red

I love the contrast of Lucas' red jacket against the bleak not-yet Spring background. We had gone to a Bed & Breakfast in the Catskills and picked this one because it was dog-friendly. As it turned out, the owners were leaving for a few days so we were there alone (which was great).

The day we were leaving, they returned and spent an evening chatting with us. They were quite eccentric, especially her. She went on and on about her obsession with Sherlock Holmes (I almost hated to break it to her that he's a fictional character). Her name rang a bell with me but I just couldn't place it.

When we returned home, I Googled her. The name and face that I recognized had been in the news regularly many years ago: She was the girlfriend of Klaus Von Bulow!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Short Attention Span Theater

The best part of the Oscar broadcast was the gay cowboy montage. However, every montage that followed kind of seemed gay too, don't you think? Like the gay detective montage, the gay dead people montage... I want to know why "The 40 Year Old Virgin" didn't win for Best Original Score.

I love Wife Swap . If anyone thinks it's a silly reality show with no socially redeeming qualities, you haven't seen it. I'm being 100% serious when I say that living another person's life, even for two weeks, is a great way for people to begin to understand each other. ALMOST everyone comes away with a different perspective (except for the moron husband a few weeks ago who acts like he's 8 years old) and sees opportunities to improve his or her life.

Can it be Spring soon, please?

My uncle underwent a kidney stent procedure and is doing ok so far. He came out of the anesthesia yelling, "We got the sons of bitches!", whatever that meant.

Lots of news stories about cruise ship puking, passengers disappearing, etc. For some reason, I have never been remotely interested in going on a cruise. I think of it as being trapped at a wedding for three days. (And since I'm reading Carl Hiassen's "Skinny Dip", about a man who throws his wife overboard, I'm even LESS interested!)

Movies I've watched recently and loved: Pride and Prejudice; Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (oh.my.god. The most evil people on earth.); Junebug (Amy Adams is amazing).

Is it Spring yet?

If you are so inclined, go to Amazon.com and ask that they remove this book from their site. I'm all for freedom of speech, but this is nothing more than a child abuse manual. It teaches parents to hit children from 6 months to 20 years old with varying sized wooden dowels, creating "stripes" on the child's body. It even promotes such treatment of disabled children. Barnes and Noble has pulled the book. It's downright criminal.

And last but NOT least... please go hereand leave a comment. Doug is following my lead and doing a comment-a-thon for greyhound rescue.

(not my dogs)

**Bonus points for anyone who knows the reference for this post's title**

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Fearsome Foursome Redux

I am re-running this post because my uncle, featured here, is ill and having surgery on Monday. He's 82 now, mostly blind, but still a spunky guy. Thought this would be a good time to post this story again.

two_couples, originally uploaded by panthergirl.

Like the Kramdens and the Nortons, or the Flintstones and the Rubbles, my parents and my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Shon were inseparable. And like those timeless couples, the love was expressed in some interesting ways.

My aunt and my mother are sisters, but my dad and my uncle formed the closer bond. As the kids played in the next room, the four of them would play Pinochle and yell and scream at each other as though millions were on the line. "What the hell are ya doin'?" "You don't know what the hell's what!" "Goddamit, Marge!" "Whaddya, stupid??"

While my mother followed tradition and married an Italian, my aunt broke free and brought a Welshman into the family. This was fortunate, since it made the men even LOOK like Ralph and Norton, or Fred and Barney.

We always envied our cousins because their parents were so supportive and loving (ok, my aunt DID throw a Brillo box at one of her sons once). My uncle enjoyed taking his kids places, participating in sports with them and displaying their trophies. In our house, the only trophies belonged to my parents: Bowling trophies which sat [not kidding here] on a shelf over their bed. Hey, whatever turns you on.

Of the four sisters, my Aunt Ginny is the most real, the warmest, and most inclined to tell the truth about the family. It was she who told us that my mother wielded control and power at six years old because she had to translate for my grandparents who spoke no English.

She also told us that my grandmother's philosophy of childrearing included the concept, "Never kiss your children when they are awake." These little revelations have helped me put together some of the jigsaw puzzle that is my mother's psyche.

My uncle is 82 now. He was crushed when my dad died...they were as thick as thieves. But he and my aunt, although both struggling with health issues, continue to be warm and upbeat and sometimes hilarious.

At a recent family function, I sat and talked to him for awhile. He's virtually blind but still plays golf, with the help of a good friend who positions him over the tee. What cracked me up, though, was when he described a 90 year old woman in their apartment complex as having "A.Z." Senior citizen lingo for Alzheimer's!

If you look REALLY closely at this photo you'll see me... that's a white maternity dress my mother is wearing. ;)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Photo Friday: Feminine

Doesn't this greyhound look incredibly feminine in her costume? I think the glasses really make the outfit. ;)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

...and it wasn't even STRIP Scrabble!

Before Lucas and I left for Atlanta, I posted a funny story about ear plugs and family planning.

Equally funny (I think) was something that happened while we were away, while playing a game of Scrabble with my sister. The game was almost over and Loretta had just one letter left. We knew it was a "G" because she was poking around the board with it, trying to find a spot. I saw the word "tar" and joked that she could put it there and make Gtar (like 'guitar'). Har har...it is to laugh.

Lucas thought for a second and said "Too bad the word 'string' isn't on the board, because you could make G-String!" Loretta and I looked at each other and tried not to burst out laughing. She couldn't help but ask "Oh? And what does THAT mean?" Lucas stared at us as though we were complete idiots and said, "You know! The G-STRING on a guitar!"

Adults have such dirty minds.