Monday, December 29, 2008

Yes, there are Mens who are Gentlemen

Saturday night I went out with the lovely Hope Tarr to an event given by 9 different Meet Up groups. To tell the truth, I wasn't really interested in going out, but I felt that I should really make the effort. After all Mr. Right is not going to come knocking on my door while I'm in my jammies watching Baby Mama with Tina Fey.

I'm really glad that I ended up going because there were lots of men there and they actually went out of their way to talk to us! And buy us drinks (well actually only one of them bought Hope a drink, I was still nursing my Cosmo). I'm not saying that we met the loves of our life Saturday night but it restored my faith in mankind, which has been sorely battered this past year.

My only quibbles were the fact that the so-called fashion show consisted of just people at the party voguing while Benny Ninja (from ANTM) exhorted them to give their fiercest poses. And the open bar was only for an hour, so hordes of people were thronging the bar trying to get their free Vodka drinks before 8 p.m.

One of the guys that we met, a Brit, apparently spends a lot of time in Miami working for drug lords, which I hate to tell him, is not exactly a selling point, at least not for me. Keeping criminals out of jail is not exactly what I'm looking for in a man. But he was certainly fun to talk to.

I'm so glad that I joined like 9 Meet Up groups in the past week!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Movie Review: The Spirit

On Christmas Day, I took myself off to the AMC movie theater for my annual xmas movie. This year I decided to see The Spirit. Since I was planning on seeing the movie before noon, my ticket was only six dollars which was great, because I'm unemployed and also because that's about all the movie was worth.

The plot is fairly simple, the Spirit is sort of like Batman, in that he fights crime alongside the cops of Central City. No one knows where he came from except this one cop who knows that he's really a cop named Denny Colt that everyone thought had died, hence the name The Spirit. The Octopus (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and his gang of cloned goons, are trying to take over Central City. The Octopus wants the vase of Herakles which is supposed to make him immortal. Meanwhile The Spirit's old flame Sand Serif is in town looking for Jason's Golden Fleece. Due to a mix-up, The Octopus has the fleece and Sand has the vase of Herakles. And The Spirit wants to stop them both.

To say that I was disappointed in this movie is an understatement. Perhaps my hopes were just too high, but I thought hey, it's Frank Miller and the late Will Eisner, this should be awesome. I had familiarized myself with the character of The Spirit in it's new incarnation from DC Comics and was thoroughly intrigued by him. However, the movie while stylistically beautiful, falls short on things like character development, fun, and action.

The lead actor Gabriel Macht is not nearly charismatic enough to play the role of The Spirit or at least he's not allowed enough moments in the film to let the audience see why women swoon so much over him, and why Ellen, the doctor who tends his wounds, spends all her time waiting for him. There is a cute little backstory of his relationship with one of the female villainesses Sand Serif (and not one person made a joke about how her name is the same as a computer font). But again, her character is not very well-fleshed out, and Eva Mendes, although beautiful, is not a good enough actress to give her any weight beyond what's on the page.

Scarlett Johanssen comes off much better, but as much as I love Samuel L. Jackson, I think he needs to take a step back and not do every single film script that comes across his desk. The man needs to work with directors like Ridley Scott or even Martin Scorcese, even Clint Eastwood for god's sake. I'm even willing to add Spike Lee to the list. He does way too much crap. He's like a black Michael Caine, and Caine didn't start winning Oscars until he took a step back and became a bit pickier about his film scripts. Put Samuel L. Jackson in a movie with Will Smith or Denzel or DeNiro, actors who are worthy of his talent.

The Spirit, even for the most-die hard graphic novel and comic book lover is a miss.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

I hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Winter Solstice!

I'm off to the movies tomorrow to see The Spirit and then over to a friend's house for holiday cheer and lots of wine.

It's raining here in New York today so I leave you with this lovely image of Daniel Craig to keep everyone warm and toasty for the holidays.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fat Free Phooey!

I have a recipe for the most amazing gingerbread ever made that I got from my ex-best friend, but it requires buttermilk. Now that wouldn't be a problem except every single grocery store and supermarket that I have been too lately is only selling 'Light' buttermilk. Yes, low-fat Buttermilk, which the recipe doesn't call for.

When did this become an issue? Who out there drinks buttermilk like every day? As far as I knew buttermilk was just used in pancakes or ranch dressing or in my case gingerbread. So what's up with the low-fat option? And if you are going to offer low fat buttermilk, don't stop selling the full fat stuff.

Anyway, according to Wikipedia, buttermilk actually has less fat than regular milk anyway, so there is no need to make it low-fat!

I tried to make the recipe with the 'light' version but it just didn't taste the same.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Play that Funky Banjo!

Saturday, I dragged myself to The Philoctetes Center to see Bela Fleck and Lewis Porter in a roundtable called Living in the Musical Moment: Banjo Innovations. Although the week was pretty good, I had been suffering from female problems of a certain nature and I was pretty under the weather. Plus it had snowed on Friday and all the pretty snow had turned to slush, meaning I couldn't wear a cute outfit. Still I perservered.

I admit that when I think of the banjo several images come to mind. One Steve Martin in his early comedy days. Two, Hee-Haw and Deliverance. Yes, I'm that kind of East Coast liberal. But I'm trying to be open to things and new ideas which was the whole point of going to Philoctetes in the first place. And I'm glad that I went.

There is a reason why Bela Fleck is one of the most well known banjo players in the world. I had never head banjo playing like this. At times, he could make the instrument sound like a guitar, at times he could almost make it sing. I had no idea that the banjo was such an incredible instrument. He's won 8 Grammys and been nominated numerous times for his music. He's even played classical music on the banjo. Who would have thunk it. The banjo is not just for bluegrass anymore!

I also learned that the banjo was developed by the slaves in the South (yes, another thing that people have color have come up with that has been appropriated by the white man! Just kidding). Bela Fleck told a story about traveling in Africa for a documentary that he was working on and meeting musicians in West Africa who played a similar instrument. Which makes sense because most of the slave trade was from West Africa. I love hearing stories that trace the origin of something which is why I watch too many shows on the History Channel and the Food Network that trace the origins of certain foods.

Anyway, I was so impressed by the music that I ordered a Bela Fleck CD from Amazon. Of course he's also pretty good-looking too. But of course, just my luck, he's taken. Although he did compliment me on my mint chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of Nestle. I just can't a break.

To cheer myself after yet another romantic disappointment (don't ask), I put on one of my prettiest and oldest party dresses and headed out to The Dove Parlour for a Christmas do thrown by the Rebels of Romance. They were serving mulled wine that was so hot you could see the steam come off of it. Despite the snow, it was a wonderful party and we all received little goody bags.

Sunday, I dragged myself to the library to do some research and ended up coming home and watching all ten hours of season 4 of Monarch of the Glen, a series set in the Scottish highlands.

So despite a few bad apples, it was a pretty good weekend.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dancing in the Dark

Yesterday, I took myself off to the Betsey Johnson sample sale in the Hotel Millennium, which is a gorgeous art deco hotel located in the theater district on 44th Street. I was looking for a party dress for a Christmas party that I'm going to tomorrow night. Although I shouldn't be spending the money, I can't resist a pretty party dress. Well, I was tres disappointed. All of the party dresses were strapless! What's up with that Betsey? The last time I wore a strapless dress was for a beauty pageant in college, and I spent the entire night wondering if it was going to fall down. I just don't have the belle poitrine for that kind of dress. What happened to all the great dresses that she used to create? Oh, I know, they don't end up in the sample sale pile! I remember when her dresses used to actually be relatively inexpensive, now they cost like $300 and $400!

Afterwards, I schlepped over to Banana Republic to look for a dress and I couldn't find anything which may be God's way of keeping me from spending huge amounts of money I don't have. Still I had a good time trying on clothes. They had way nicer dresses on sale that the ones I saw at the Betsey Johnson sale.

I also went to the Best of 2008 night at Dancesport where I've been taking ballroom dancing classes for the past two years. This was a mammoth evening of 27 performances by either students or student/teacher combos. There were even a few wedding dances thrown in. I bought a class of Chateau Dancesport 2008 and settled in for the evening. Beforehand though was dancing, and I even got to do the hustle with Paul Pellicoro, who is the owner of Dancesport which was fun. By the time the evening was over at quarter of one in the morning, I had seen some great performances and some scary ones. I even got to vote for best performance of the evening.

I'm glad that I went instead of staying home and watching Grey's Anatomy re-runs, that would have been painful given the dismal state of the show this season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yeah, I have a laptop!

I finally went out and bought myself a laptop. I know, I know, it's the 21st Century, everyone has one. But I had gotten spoiled using the computer at my various jobs that I never bothered to either upgrade my computer at home, or buy a laptop. Of course, that I'm a lady of leisure, I need a laptop, since my home computer is 12 years old and doesn't really have a place for my flashdrive, and even if it did I would be afraid of blowing it to Kingdom Come if I tried to use it.

So I went over to Best Buy and Circuit City to buy a Netbook but the cheapest one they had was $279 and it didn't even come with Microsoft Word but some weird software that belonged to the company. Plus the screen was really really tiny, and I can't afford to go blind right now since my health insurance expires in March of 2009. So I remembered this place I had read about in New York magazine called The Little Lap Top Shoppe and I googled it and found out it was on the Lower East Side.

I hopped on the train, well actually 2 trains and went on down. Sitting on the shelf was a Dell Latitude for $179, completely rebuilt! After I added the modem and a carrying it bag, it still came out to $237 which was way cheaper than the ASUS model at Best Buy.

So now I've joined the 21st Century!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Word of the Day: Truthiness

Saturday I went to a roundtable at The Philoctetes Center concerning the twin topics of autobiography and biography. Given the fact that I write mini-biographies over at Scandalous Women, this topic was right up my alley. And the list of guests was impressive, Simon Winchester, Nicholson Baker and Judith Thurman who has written biographies of Isak Dinesen and Colette. One of the topics that came up was of course the infamous James Frey. One of the panelists, David Shields, felt that Frey had been made a scapegoat, which I disagree with. He set himself up by insisting that everything in his memoir was the absolute truth and then he turned out to be a big fat liar. Nicholson Baker brought up a good point that when people pick up an autobiography there is an unspoken pact between the reader and the author, that what they are about to read is the truth. And then Judith Thurman said that there are facts and then there is the truth and they are two different things.

Whoa! I had never thought of it that way, but after I thought about it for a bit, I realized that she was right. One of my favorite Scandalous Women, Lola Montez, completely reinvented herself. Born Eliza Gilbert in Ireland, she went to Spain to study dance and when she returned she was Lola Montez, complete with the accent and a made up story of an aristocratic background. She told this story so many times that she actually began to believe it, and when she wrote her autobiography, she kept up the lie. It had nothing to do with the facts, but with her own version of her truth.

I was so fired up that I actually got up at the end of the roundtable and actually made a comment and asked a question, which I never to do at the roundtables at Philoctetes. In almost two years, I have asked precisely two questions. Part of the problem is that I'm not exactly a quick thinker, quite a few times I've thought of questions I wanted to ask later on after I got home. The other problem is sometimes the roundtables are either so over my head or out of my comfort zone, I wouldn't know what to ask. Anyway, I made my comment about Lola Montez and then I asked Judith Thurman if she felt like Amanda Foreman, that if she had a chance to write her biographies of Colette or Isak Dinesen again, would she take a different tack, now that she's gotten older or would she emphasize another aspect of their lives? I felt really proud of that question, particularly when a gentleman after the roundtable told me that he thought my question was very intelligent. Yeah, score one for me! Oh, and I remembered to mention the blog when I made my comment. Got to self-promote.

I was disturbed however when Francis Levy, the co-director of the center, made an announcement that things were kind of dire at the moment, due to the economic climate and losing some of their funding (?). That worried me. What would I do with my Saturdays if I didn't have Philoctetes to go to? Even though some of the roundtables were over my head intellectually, I've always gotten something out of them, and I've felt like I've expanded my horizons considerably since I discovered the center.

It is times like this that I wish I could win the lottery, so I could set up a foundation and continue to make sure that places like Philoctetes continue to exist. I would be such a good rich person. I hate getting letters in the mail from worthy causes and not being able to contribute. It sounds a little like playing Lady Benevolent, but I've always thought if I had access to a great deal of money, I would set up a foundation to make sure that the arts, particularly small theater companies, were decently funded, as well as research into diabetes and lung cancer.

Ah well.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fair is Foul, and Foul is Fair

Okay the weather has been particularly crappy this week here in New York. Either it's been raining like Noah is about to build another ark, or it's been cold and windy. Of course earlier in the week it was warm for December. I wish the weather would just make up its mind what it was doing so that I would know how to dress accordingly.

Still unemployed but not quite as depressed about it as I was last week. Perhaps it is because I had the best pizza of my life yesterday at Artichoke Basille. They are famous for their spinach and artichoke slice so of course I had to try it out. It's pretty pricy for a slice of pizza at $4.00 but it was humongous. Imagine the best spinach and artichoke dip possible, now imagine it on a slice of pizza and you have an inkling of what it was I ate yesterday. It was so good and filling, I didn't have to eat anything else for the rest of the day. Seriously.

Next week, I'm signing up with every temp agency known to man, plus I have a meeting with my career counselor, courtesy of my old company. Yes, they have a service set up to help you find other employment, which is pretty cool when you think about it. Plus, I'm hoping that the fact that I've employed for two jobs in-house and went for my orientation will help in the long run.

So all in all, not a bad week, despite the fact that I'm apparently out of the age demographic for

Friday, December 05, 2008

Woo-Hoo, I got Canned

Sorry I haven't blogged lately. My position at my company was eliminated on Monday and I'm going through the states of grief, shock, denial, bitterness and chocolate. Trying to decide what my next move is. Keep you posted!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Heart Hugh Jackman!

I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving and it is slowly crawling their way out of their turkey coma.

My thanksgiving encompassed seeing the movie Australia with the lovely Hope Tarr. This epic movie stars Hugh Jackman (sigh!), the sexiest man alive 2008, and Nicole Kidman. The description of the movie from Yahoo!:

"In Australia, on the brink of World War II, an English aristocrat travels to the faraway continent, where she meets a rough-hewn local and reluctantly agrees to join forces with him to save the land she inherited. Together, they embark upon a transforming journey across hundreds of miles of the world's most beautiful yet unforgiving terrain, only to still face the bombing of the city of Darwin by the Japanese forces that attacked Pearl Harbor. "

Sounds exciting doesn't it? And it was, up to a point. I'm not a huge Nicole Kidman fan, and she was working my last nerve in the beginning of the movie. I felt that she was overplaying just a little bit the whole "grand lady of the manor." But Hugh Jackman? Mamma Mia, is he hot in this movie or what? Just thinking about the scene where he's soaping up and washing himself off in the outback is enough to make me sweat. I have to admit that there was a good chemistry between the two of them, and I found the love story believable. Of course, Nicole Kidman's character, Lady Ashley has to spoil it by giving Hugh Jackman's character The Drover, a stupid ultimatum.

The movie is a strange hybrid of epic love story, war picture, and drama about what happened to the aborigines during this time period. At times, it didn't quite jibe. The young boy who plays Nullah, the half-caste child, is absolutely adorable and the movie is narrated by him. You really feel for what he's going through, and how hard it must have been to feel like you have no place in your own country. Watching the movie and seeing how all the aboriginal children who were what they derisively called "creamy" being removed from their families to as one gentleman put "to breed the black out of them" was heartbreaking. And the end note about how the Australian government only just apologized this year for a policy they pursued up until 1973, well it just doesn't cut it. By the way, as the American government ever apologized to the American Indians for stealing their land or for slavery? Just a thought.

Hugh Jackman is so wonderful in this film that I feel that producers should be whipping up romantic comedies for him. In fact I have a plot for one. It would star Hugh Jackman and basically any actress who is not Renee Zwellweger, Nicole Kidman, or Hilary Swank. Ideally it would star Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock. Better yet, make her Tina Fey! Hugh would play an Australian newspaper tycoon like Rupert Murdoch but younger and sexier. Tina Fey would play the owner of a newspaper like the Wall Street Journal that has been in her family for generations. Her crazy relatives who also co-own the newspaper are a motley crew of hippies, greedy yuppies, and other assorted eccentrics. They are eager to sell the paper to Hugh, but Tina still has a significant number of shares that he needs to truly own the paper. So he decides to woo her into selling to him.

Meanwhile she has a fiancee, the Bellamy of the picture (The Bellamy is named after actor Ralph Bellamy who played this character in an assortment of 1930's rom-com's like His Girl Friday and the Awful Truth. He's the good guy, but just a little dull. He's the editor of the paper. Hugh has a secret weapon to neutralize him though, Lucy Liu as his sexy but vicious forensic accountant, who is also his girlfriend. I see the Bellamy as played by Peter Hermann or Patrick Dempsey. Tina, of course, doesn't automatically succumb to Hugh's charms, particularly since he owns tabloids like the Sun where there's a topless girl on Page 3. She's worried that he's going to do that to her respectable paper.

There has to be moment where Hugh shows his vulnerable side to make Tina soften towards him. Perhaps she accompanies him to his remote outback ranch in Australia and sees another side of him. Perhaps he has a mother who treats him like less than his older brother who died in an unfortunate kangaroo accident.

See where I'm going with this? More romantic comedies with Hugh Jackman where he takes shirt off in every other scene, and perhaps gets to sing a tune or two.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Evacuation Day!

Today is apparently the day over 225 years ago that the British finally left New York after we colonists kicked their arses in a little thing called the American Revolution (yes, the French helped a little as well).

As I write this, reenactors are busily commerating that glorious day downtown in the rain and the cold. Well, better them than me! Apparently back in the day, men used to climb a greased flagpole to hoist the Stars and Stripes to celebrate.

However, it did get me thinking that we need some good American Revolution historical novels on the shelves. Picture it, star-crossed lovers, she's a loyalist, he's a revolutionary, trying to find their way to each other. Or a young woman, who doesn't want to be apart from her beau, so she disguises herself as a boy, to try and find him by joining up with one of the regiments (hey there were plenty of women who did just that). Or a Scarlet Pimpernelesque story set in New York while the British were occupying the city. Or the aftermath of the war, where the scarred and embittered battle veteran comes home to his woman, suffering post traumatic stress disorder while she's been holding down the family estates.

There are so many options. I say we need more historical romances set in this country, celebrating our own history.

Excuse me, while I go hoist a glass to our liberation.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Party Like It's 1779

So this past Saturday was a whirlwind of activity for me. First I went across town to the Philoctetes Center to see several short films of Samuel Beckett plays and then there was a roundtable with Edward Albee, John Tuturro, Tom Bishop and Alvin Epstein. I was one of the lucky ones who got a ticket to be in the same room with Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Albee, a living legend. Seriously, while other people swoon over Brangelina, I get farklempt over theater folk.

And John Tuturro! Star of Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski. I almost went over to him and told him how my ex-sweetie pie looks like him and they both played Herb Stempel, Tuturro in Quiz Show, and ex-sweetie pie on stage in LA in Night and Her Stars! But I refrained. Plus ex-sweetie pie would have killed me if he knew that I'd done that.

There was some talk about doings at Philoctetes Paris, and someone who wants to open Philoctetes Berlin, but I'm thinking Philoctetes London! Seriously, I know tons of theater folk and one actual psychotherapist. If I won the lottery, I would totally want to be the one to run that.

That night, I met up with Liz Maverick, Marianne Mancusi, Leanna Renee Heiber, Hope Tarr and Megan Frampton for a Dances of Vice party at the beautiful Montauk Club in Park Slope, my dream neighborhood in Brooklyn. You can see some of the lovely photos on Megan and Liz's site. I met up with Hope on the no. 4 subway platform to Brooklyn, and we made our way to the club. However, we got a bit discombobulated coming out of the train and we dashed into a liquor store to get our bearings where we had samples of Thai rum laced with apple juice. Just the thing on a cold winter's night!

We finally made our way to the Montauk Club where we met up with everybody. I had sent out an email weeks ago about the event, and no one jumped on the idea, until this past week and then all of a sudden we all decided to go. I wore an evening gown I've had for a long time which is beautiful but has no sleeves. The Montauk Club is beautiful, it reminded me very much of the Players Club, which is a private club in Manhattan, founded by Edwin Booth. I'm dying to join, if only for the all you can drink champagne brunch buffet for $20.
Everyone looked fab, although I felt a little underdressed compared to some of the revelers who were in full 18th century regalia. We bought drink tickets (2 for $10) and enjoyed the entertainment including one performer who looked like the lovechild of Beethoven and Bob Dylan. There were stripteases, a man in a gorilla suit who later sang 'Rock Me Amadeus' and a male performer in 18th century costume and gold high heels who sang a beautiful version of 'Nessun Dorma.' As I normally do, I had a flash of inspiration after my second glass of wine. Seriously, it would help if I could find a way to have these flashes when I'm sober!

The others went off to go dancing and Hope and I stayed until the bitter end before taking the train back to the city. I confess I ran into Mickey D's for some fries when I got home to go along with my mini veggie burger that I had left over from my dinner. After taking off my make-up, I finally put my head down on the pillow and went to sleep.
I can't wait to go to the next Dances of Vice party!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Celebrity Baby Madness

Congratulations to Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz on having a healthy baby boy, but seriously to name him Bronx Mowgli Wentz? I hope they're planning on giving him martial arts lessons, because he's going to need them for all the kids who are going to give him grief in school.

Seriously people, why do celebrities do this? Why name your child after a borough? And since Pete Wentz is from Chicago, couldn't they have named him Lincoln or Wrigley or something else? Heck, they could have named him Barack Obama Wentz and it would have made more sense to me.

I know, I know that Posh and Becks named their oldest son Brooklyn, but at least you can shorten the name to Brook or Brooks for a nickname. What are they going to call little Bronx? Bro? And Mowgli? Isn't that the name of the kid in the Jungle Book stories?

Rudyard Kipling and Disney have a lot to answer for.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I iz Tired Today

Is this week over yet? Seriously it feels like it's been going on forever. I have so much stuff to watch on my DVR, it's not even funny. Top Model, Top Chef, Monarchy, Real Housewives of Atlanta are all waiting for me as we speak. I'm also pretty broke until my next pay day, so I'm hoping that I can convince some guys on Saturday night to buy me some drinks at the Dances of Vice party I'm going to.

I went to see Frank Langella in A Man for all Seasons last night at the Roundabout and now I'm bummed out this morning because I found out I could have saved $30 on my subscrption since JPMorgan has a deal. I'm wondering if I could get that retroactive. Oh, and how was the play? Well it was a lot of talking, and talking, and talking. And the theater was freezing. It's not good when you have to keep your coat on during the performance. I shouldn't have had that Henry VIII drink during the intermission because it made me sleepy. I will however say that Mr. Langella didn't disappoint on the acting front.

But there was something that bothered me. I ran into an someone who I had invited to my birthday party a week ago. She's not really a close friend, she's more like an acquaintance. We worked together at my night job, and we've seen each other at parties over the years (she's a good friend of a friend of mine). So last night, during the intermission I went to get my drink, and she and her friend stood right next to me at the bar and proceeded to chat away and ignore me. Now fine, I get that she wanted to chat with her friend, but don't stand right next to me, and not include me in the conversation. Go stand somewhere else. I thought that was totally rude and uncalled for, since I had made a point of going over and chatting with them while they were waiting on line.

Am I crazy that I thought that was rude?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Welcome the PMS Dwarves

Well, the PMS Dwarves arrived at my house last Friday and unfortunately the little gnomes are here until the end of the week. Bitchy arrived first, along with psycho on Friday, and came along for drinks after Quantum Solace. Then Sleepy and Bloated arrived on Saturday with a huge bag of bagels. Forgetful and Sweaty finally arrived on Sunday and yesterday Itchy came along.

To keep them occupied, I took out the first season of 30 Rock from the library and sat them down in front of the TV set the past two days. I thought if Tina Fey can't make them laugh, I'm out of luck. They're already eating everything in sight, including a huge bag of soft baked Pepperidge Farm cookies. Fortunately, they've been riveted by the show. I sat down with them, just to get them to stop fighting amongst themselves, and I have to say that I'm really enjoying it. How have I missed this delightful show?

For anyone who has been under a rock, 30 Rock is the fictitious goings on behind a TV show sort of like Saturday Night Live called The Girlie Show that Tina Fey as Liz Lemon serves as the headwriter. The writers are a motley crew of guys with one lone woman who seems not to have a name. Tracy Matthews plays Tracy Jordan the Martin Lawrence/Eddie Murphyesque star of the show and Jane Krawkowski plays the female star who gets pushed aside when Tracy joins the show. But what I'm intrigued by is Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy head of primetime and microwave programming. He's hilarious, the episode where he was dating Condoleeza Rice (although they never said her name) was too funny.

The show is not bust a gut funny, but it is so enjoyable because the laughs come from the situations and the characters. As the show continues and the characters become more familiar, the funnier the show gets from Liz dating Dennis, the only guy still selling beepers in New York, to the hot guy at MSNBC who turns out to be her cousin. Even Jenna has become more than just a blonde bimbo.

So, the PMS Dwarves and I will be spending the rest of the week, ensconced in front of the boob tube, finishing out the rest of the 24 episodes of Season 1. I'm afraid that they've promised to come back in a few weeks to watch Season 2. I may have to change the locks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Would You Wear This Bra?

This is Heidi Klum at the recent Victoria's Secret fashion show wearing one of their $5MM bra extravaganza's. Now tell me, how is going to buy this thing or the one in the catalog. Have you seen that thing? What would you wear it under? It would snag on a blouse or a sweater. And I can't imagine that it's comfortable.

If I had $5MM, I can think of tons of other things that I would want to buy, you know, like real estate. I could buy a whole house with $5MM, not to mention all the Jimmy Choos and Manola Blahniks my little heart could desire. I could retire if I had $5MM (well okay work part time, given this economy).

The last thing I would do would be to buy an ugly bra!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quantum of Daniel Craig

So Quantum of Solace made $70MM over the weekend, the best Bond opening ever. There's talk that the movie may make more money than the last Bond film, Casino Royale, which made more money than any Bond film ever. So much for all those people who thought that Daniel Craig would tank as James Bond.

If you want a good review of the film, head over to Hope Tarr's blog here. My five minute review is that while I loved it, I'm looking forward to seeing him lighten up just a little in the next film. Not a return to the crazy gadgets and silly quips, but just Bond having a little fun while chasing after criminables.

But still he does make for a great, tortured hero as Hope so rightly points out and he looks awesome in a tux. And man can this dude kick some serious ass!

The End of the Road

Today, I wrote my last President's letter for our chapter newsletter Keynotes. And I'm a little sad. It's been a long four years, and not always pleasant. I've had a Vice President drop out before taking office, another board member quit in a snit, who left a stink bomb on our chapter loop instead of just leaving quietly, but I've also enjoyed the chance to be a leader.

I never expected to be chapter President. It was just something that happened along the way. One minute I was sitting in the back of a meeting, the next I was a Vice Presient of the chapter and before you know it, bingo, President! I hope I rose to occasion, and I hope that I was a good president, that I left the chapter in better shape then it was when I took office. Four years is a long time to be President. So I can imagine just how hard it has to be to govern a country for four years, let alone eight.

As much as I can't stand George Bush, he's had a rough 8 years in office man. I can't help but think that Al Gore must think he dodged a bullet when the election was stolen from him. He can sit on his front porch in Tennessee with his Nobel Peace Prize, and his Academy Award (I don't know if he actually got to have one for An Inconvenient Truth) and look back on these eight years laughing his ass off.

Anyway, I'm still hopeful for our new President Elect Obama (I just entered into a lottery for inauguration tickets on Chuck Schumer's web-site) and our new President Elect for RWA NYC Karen Cino. I wish them all the luck in the world and a great four years/1 year as President.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Prince Charles

Happy 60th Birthday to Prince Charles.

From Hello! Magazine:

In a regal yet relaxed pose and wearing the ceremonial uniform of the Welsh Guards, Prince Charles appears to be a man finally at peace with himself in the official image marking his 60th birthday on November 14. The portrait is by society photographer Hugo Burnand who favours an "approachable feel" to portraits so "you are almost talking to the person".

It's not the first time Hugo has worked with the royals – he took a portrait of the Duchess of Cornwall five years ago and photographed their wedding. Charles' marriage to Camilla, friends say, is central to his state of mind. Also key is the acceptance of many of the Prince's convictions into mainstream thinking: the environment, organic farming and opportunities for young people are all top of UK society's current concerns.

"He is a happy man, far happier than anyone has seen him for many, many years," an insider told the Daily Mail. "For most people reaching 60 is a time for reflection and is, more often than not, a time for regret over things not yet achieved."

"For the Prince it is the complete opposite. He feels that at long last people are finally starting to get him."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Gerard Butler

Happy Birthday to the hottest Phantom of the Opera in history, Gerard Butler. He's 39 years young, and smoking. He even made Hilary Swank tolerable in P.S. I Love You! That's a miracle, let me tell you. And one of many reasons to visit Glasgow. Seriously, if I could find a guy half as hot as he is, I would be a happy girl.

Some fun facts about Gerard courtesy of People Magazine:

1. When he first read the script for Phantom of the Opera, Gerard Butler cried. "I was wiping the tears off," he told reporters in 2003. "It really touched me in an incredible way."

2. For 300, Gerard Butler was completely clean-shaven for his tiny loincloth. "I only did that because I was told to! Manscaping and all of that is not my thing. I'm more of the Clint Eastwood kind of guy," he told PEOPLE.

3. Gerard Butler's best move on women is the pickup line, "Have you seen 300?"

4. When Gerard Butler was featured in PEOPLE's 2004 Sexiest Man Alive issue, he said of the honor: "When I'm 80 and sagging all over, I can tell my grandkids, 'Look, when I was a lad, PEOPLE magazine thought I was sexy!'"

5. Gerard Butler regrets wearing "really wide-flared pants" and "trousers that zip up the side" in his youth. "I've made some gross misjudgments," he told In Style of his fashion don'ts.

Sigh, now I'm going to have to listen to the soundtrack of Phantom when I get home tonight.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Grace Kelly

Today marks what would have been the 79th birthday of fellow Scorpio icon and American princess, Grace Kelly, or Princess Grace of Monaco as she became when she married Prince Rainier III.

You can read more about her over at Scandalous Women.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In remembrance: Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day, the day that we remember those who have fought for us in the armed forces. This day always has special meaning for since both my dad and my uncle fought in WWII, and my oldest brother was in the Honor Guard watching over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetary. Unfortunately I have to work today, instead of having a day off (however, I now have 2 floating holidays that I can use before the end of the year!).

Here are some photos from Remembrance Sunday which is the British equivalent of our Veteran's Day. The holiday is really to celebrate the end of World War I aka The Great War. When I was in London in college, I made my way down to the Mall to see the laying of the wreaths on the Cenotaph by the Royal Family. It was surprisingly moving and packed with people hoping for a glimpse of the Princess of Wales (this was a few months after Prince Harry was born).

The Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex (wife of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex)

Prince William, Prince Edward, and the Duke of Edinburgh (hard to believe he's 87 years old.)

The Queen laying a wreath at the Cenotaph

It is a custom to wear poppies on Remembrance Sunday. Paper poppies are sold in the weeks before the day by the Royal British Legion, in order to raise money to support ex-servicemen. According to Wikipedia: "The popp's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare. A Frenchwoman, Anna E. Guérin, introduced the widely used artificial poppies given out today. Some people choose to wear white poppies, which emphasises a desire for peaceful alternatives to military action.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ow, My Head hurts!

Well, not really. That was yesterday when I woke up at the ungodly hour of 8:00 am after staggering to bed in the wee hours of Sunday morning, laden down with prezzies after my supremely fun birthday party Saturday nite.

My day started off with my getting my hair blown out (I tucked it up in a bun and sprayed the heck out of it to keep it from getting frizzy in the rain) and then I had my make-up done at Face Stockholm. I was going to try and be fiscally responsible, but I figured my birthday party was the one day of the year that my make-up should be flawless. For $60 they do an amazing job. Since I blew big bucks on the make-up job, I wore a dress from my closet that I hadn't worn in years (You can see all the photos over at Liz and Marianne's blog here.

Thank god it stopped raining before I arrived at the bar. I thought I was going to be early. However, I discovered that Thompson Street was a much longer walk from the Christopher Street train station than I had thought. As I kept walking down Bleeker Street, I thought is this street never going to end?

The Dove Parlour lived up to expectations. It is gorgeous, and decorated like a Victorian bordello. We had the corner in the back with two large leather sofas. Much champagne was drunk. It was great that so many people came out, except for my current crush, who wasn't feeling well. Note to self, do not text message when you have had too much champagne. Not a good idea. Instead of texting him how sorry I was, I was totally obnoxious. Basically I told him that I looked amazingly hot and he was blowing it. Sigh! This is why I'm still single.

After the bar, Liz Maverick, Hope Tarr and I walked all the way to Avenue A and 7th Street to join Leanna, her guy, Marianne and Jacob to go dancing. In high heels no less. Pyramid was great fun apart from the guy who felt the need to spit water on the crowd hitting Leanna and Marcos, who left. Of course, you know that Hope, Liz and I were the last ones to leave the club. We minced along on our aching feet until we somehow managed to hail a cab to take us to Union Square, where we dropped Hope off. Oh, and a limo driver tried to pick us up but he wanted $15 to take us to Union Square and when we said no, he called us ignorant!

After getting on the train in the wrong direction, Liz and I opted to splure on a cab ride home. I had planned to get out when the cab dropped her off, but that was before she handed me all the presents she stuffed in her bag for me. There were so many, there was no way I could schlep them home on the subway, so I took the cab the rest of the way home.

As I was getting ready for bed, I had an ephiphany about a book proposal I'm working on. Why is it that the light bulb goes on when you least expect it? When I woke up yesterday, nauseous from the hangover, it still seemed like a good idea, so I'm hopeful that I'm on the right track.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thinking of Good Vibrations

Have you ever had one of those days when it seemed like the Universe was pooping on you? I had one of those days yesterday.

After the euphoric high of Election night (you can read about it on Liz Maverick, Hope Tarr, Leanna Renee Hieber, and Megan Frampton's blogs), and a wonderful Wednesday basking in the afterglow of having elected the first African-American President, yesterday was a effing sh**t show.

It wall started out when I could not get into blogger, no matter what I did. This was after someone hijacked the email that I was using for my other blog, Scandalous Women. Then I discovered that nothing had been done to tweak the new design, even though I paid the final installment. Then, I discovered that my reservation for my birthday cocktails was lost, and I had to practically cry over the phone to the reservationist to get something done. I also found out that the workshop that Leanna and I put together was not accepted for the Historical Novel Society conference, and I got short-changed when I bought one of my favorite meals of spicy tofu and vegetable lo mein last night. There was some other stuff that went down that I can't blog about but it was a particularly crappy day all around.

It wasn't until I got home and saw the beautiful flowers that a man type person gave me on Wednesday for my birthday, that I started to gain some perspective on life and the whole day. They had just started to open and the smell had permeated my bedroom.

I realized that I need to start letting go of stuff that I can't change which is pretty much everything. The only thing that is in my control is my writing. That I can fix, the rest I pretty much can't.

A very wise friend pointed out to me that if you do something nice for someone, you have to have no expectations that your kindness will be returned. You just have to do it because you want too. Well, I've always had expectations, and I always end up getting burned. I've always labored under the 'do unto others, as you would have them do unto you,' type of thing. So I need to also start lowering my expectations or just getting rid of them completely. Just because you do something nice for someone you consider a friend, doesn't mean it will ever be reciprocated. Most of the time, it won't. And if it is, well then you know that that person is a true friend, and you should cherish that person.

So, I'm trying to send out good vibrations into the Universe, to try and extend the feeling of good will that I had on Tuesday, and not to let petty grievances about how people suck spoil my days.

We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Grey's Anatomy: What the Hell?

I arrived at my polling place at 6:45 this morning and there was already a line around the block to vote. I hung in there, reading this book I have to review for Scandalous Women, while watching with amusement the large number of people who had to photograph the line. So my voting is done, and now I'm just keeping my fingers, toes and legs crossed that Obama wins.

I got to work at 9:00 am and went immediately to EW to read the Dancing with the Stars recap when I see the headline that Grey's Anatomy is letting Brooke Smith go as Dr. Erica Hahn.

WTF? After getting the viewers invested in a Callie/Erica story-line, now they get rid of the character? The one mature, sensible doctor on the entire staff, the only one who could put Cristina in her place. I admit it took me a while to warm of to Dr. Hahn. From the one she arrived at Seattle Grace and butted heads with Preston Burke, she rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps because she was arrogant, and sure of herself as a surgeon. But then she joined the staff full-time after Burke left and bonded with Callie. She became more of a person, you got to see behind the hard shell. She was still a beyotch when it came to surgery, and had the worst bedside manner in history, but she was different from the other doctors on the show.

And I was totally invested in her relationship with Callie. Two women, who had never had a sexual feeling for another woman in their lives, suddenly found themselves attracted to and falling in love with another woman. I thought this was a great chance for the show to demonstrate just show fluid a woman's sexuality can be. And again it was a nice contrast to the Mer/Der drama, and Meredith's mommy issues.

Yes, Callie's dithering about the relationship could have been annoying, and the fact that she had to have Mark Sloan teach her how to "go to Brazil" as it were, was a bit strange. Wouldn't she just have consulted a book? I know that there are books written by gay men teaching women about men. I'm pretty sure there must be a book for straight women who are dabbling in Lesbiana. But it kind of made sense that Callie would freak out a bit about being attracted to a woman, and wondering if it was some kind of rebound thing after her break-up with George.

Now Erica is leaving, without even a wrap-up to the story-line. Apparently, ABC received 1,000,000 emails from viewers who declared that they would never darken the doors of a Disney theme park again because Grey's Anatomy dared to show a relationship between two women that was relatively explicit (although tame compared to some of the heterosexual relationships on the show).

Of course creator Shonda Rimes says that the character wasn't written off because she was gay, they just feel that the relationship doesn't have legs. Really? After forcing us to sit through George and Izzy all last season, they feel that Callie and Erica's relationship doesn't have legs? The season is only like 5 episodes in, Cristina and Burke had a relationship for 3 seasons, Meredith and Derek have been going through their on/off thing for 5 seasons now.

Rimes also said some bull in the statement about how they still have a lesbian character, Callie Torres on the show. Really? Is this the same character who slept with Mark Sloan twice in the last episode, and realized that she still enjoyed sex with a man? That lesbian? Oh, and she also said that Callie wouldn't jump into another relationship for the rest of the season, because she would be mourning the relationship.

Hahn was a ball-buster as a surgeon, she took no prisoners, she didn't turn warm and fuzzy when it came to patients. Yes, she discovered that she had feelings for Callie but she never let it interfere with her job the way the other surgeons on the show do. I'm going to miss the character. If it weren't for the new hottie doctor played by Kevin McKidd, I swear I would have to stop watching this show.

I think that not just ABC but Shonda got cold feet with this storyline. Here we are in 2009, and apparently only gay men are allowed to have relationships on network TV and then only rarely. You hardly see Cliff, Marc's boyfriend, on Ugly Betty.

Sigh, I'm really bummed.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One More Day to Go

I'm so ready for this election to be over. I just want to vote already!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

So today is my 44th Birthday. Happy Birthday to Me! I'm now a member of the "44" Club along with Courtney Cox, Russell Crowe, and a host of other celebs born in the year of the dragon. I was also born the day before election day, which means that it was the only Presidential election my mother never voted in. I had to hear about that for years!
According to Cafe Astrology:
"The Sun in harmonious aspect to the Moon in your Solar Return chart is a pleasant aspect, suggesting that your domestic and career needs are not in competition with one another this year. Your inner needs tend to be mirrored by external events, and vice versa. You are likely to be on top of your game this year for the most part, and positive connections with others can be made fairly easily. A comfortable level of personal popularity helps keep conflict to a minimum. With the ability to handle your emotions successfully, there will be less stress on both your mind and body. Your self-confidence and positive attitude will reward you!"
sounds good to me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Real Estate Porn - Halloween Edition

I love Haunted Houses. Just the idea that a house could be haunted by a ghost sends shivers up and down my spine.

The building on the left is 14 West 10th Street, also known as the most haunted brownstone in New York. Mark Twain once lived here, and he wrote about seeing and hearing ghosts. An actress lived here for years, and wrote a book about the ghosts that lived in the building and how scary it was.

New York is filled with interesting ghost stories from Nancy Spungeon being killed at the Chelsea Hotel to Edgar Allen Poe's cottage in the Bronx.

You can read about more groovy New York ghost stories at the Bowery Boys. You can download the podcast and listen for yourself.

As for me, I'm not sure what I'm going as for Halloween. My initial idea was to go as Sally Hemmings, Thomas Jefferson's mistress, and the mother of his only sons, but that didn't pan out. So now I'm torn between Anne Boleyn and Lady MacBeth.

What are your Halloween plans? And what are you going as?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Has John McCain Lost His Damn Mind?

Seriously, why in the world would you let Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurtzelbacher out on the campaign trail? This is a guy who owes back taxes, has no license to even be a plumber, and worst of all, doesn't tip service people (I have it on good authority that Joe stiffed a tour guide while in New York).

And you want this guy to represent you at rally's across the country? Now he's making pronouncements on Obama's position on Israel and when he was questioned by Shep Smith on Fox News, he actually had the audacity to tell him, when Shep asked him how he knew that Obama was not a friend of Israel, told Shep to look it up.

Check it out here:

You can watch the video and Shep Smith's response which was classic.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Battle of the Boncompagni Sisters

Ooh a juicy battle between siblings. Socialite author Tatiana Boncompagni, author of Gilding the Lily, which recently came out from Avon, is feuding with her sister Natalia over the next book entitled Hedge Fund Wives. Natalie claims that Tatiana is trying to claim all the credit for writing the book,while Tatiana claims that Natalia just provided background information for the book.

Also Natalia is calling her sister a big fat liar. Apparently Tatiana has been telling people that she is related to Italian royalty and playing up the fact that her husband is a Hoover (of the vaccuum dynasty not the President). The Italian royalty part is not true, and there is no Hoover money to be had. Although who can blame the author for playing up what she can to sell some books?

You can read the articles in the Observer here.

I don't think there's been a juicy literary feud between siblings in years!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bills, Bills, Bills

Arrgh, it's raining out today, and I'm inside where it's not remotely warm, paying bills. Why does it seem like I pay one set of bills, and before you know it, I have to pay them again? I've also been scanning my monthly bank statement, to find stuff I'm paying for, that I'm not using. It's amazing how you can cancel something, and yet it still pops up on your statement. Yikes!

My negative bank balance should be restored shortly, but it is totally messing with my Halloween plans. I wonder if I can go as a recycle bin?

Monday, October 27, 2008

A New Attitude

So I'm back from the New Jersey Conference. I had a good time, met some cool new people, went to some workshops and danced like a fiend. Still, I came away thinking that I had more FUN last year. I don't know if it was because my monthly friend showed up Friday aternoon so I was cranky and tired most of the time. I was trying to analyze it, and it came to me was that last year Liz Maverick and Marianne Mancusi were there, and they know how to put on the fun. Also last year, I had just come up with the idea for Scandalous Women.

This year, no Liz, no Marianne and nothing to pitch to editors. It made me realize that I need to rethink why I go to conferences. In this economy, it no longer makes sense to spend the money to attend conferences just to hang out with my friends. Even though I had a good time, I could probably have used the money I spent more effectively in other ways. Perhaps by going down to Philadelphia to do research or work with a professional editor on my historical YA.

I also need to expand my horizons as well. Each year, I've been going to 3 RWA conferences. Next year, the only things on the menu are the Historical Novel Society conference and National. Since I'm writing a historical YA novel, it makes more sense for me to go to HNS than to go to any of the RWA regional conferences. As for National, I'm hoping to be presenting one or two workshops.

In the future, I think going to conferences, apart from National has to come down to whether or not I have anything to pitch or promote, and whether or not I'm presenting a workshop, otherwise, it's just not cost-efficient.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Share The Love

RWA NYC member Maya Rodale's charity Share the Love now has a web-site.

Maya and another historical romance author Ann Bleakley, started Share The Love to bring romance novels to women in crisis. From their web-site:

"After all, they are not merely love stories and are certainly not rescue fantasies. They are rich narratives of women overcoming conflict, discovering their own power, falling in love, and being rewarded with optimistic, emotionally satisfying endings. And shouldn’t all women enjoy the same treasure of words filled with inspiration and empowerment—or, if nothing else, a pleasant diversion from day to day life?"

"Mass-market paperbacks are considered to be inexpensive, but are still not in the budget for everyone who might enjoy them. How better to encourage literacy—an incredibly valuable skill that benefits not just women but the families they support—than by providing engaging reading material? Doesn’t everyone deserve the pleasure of a good story with a happy-ending?"

Do you want to Share the Love? Here’s how you can participate:

1. Get a box (USPS turns out to be cheapest).

2. Start filling it with romance novels you’ve read, but don’t imagine re-reading.

3. Send the box to one of the following locations.

Share The Love

c/o Maya Rodale

511 Avenue of The Americas, #90

New York, NY 10011-8436

(212) 924-4002
- - - - - - - - - -
Share the Love

c/o Ann Bleakley

P.O. BOX 19313

Minneapolis, MN 55419-0313


RWA NYC has been donating books to Share The Love since it's inception last year. So far most of the books have been donated to the shelters run by Women in Need. So if you have books that you've read and don't know what to do with, why not send them to Share The Love?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Trivia

Since it's Halloween Awareness month, I thought I would share some Halloween trivia that I learned while researching my current project. My book takes place in 1895 at a women's college in Upstate New York. So I was curious as to how people in Victorian America celebrated Halloween or even if they did celebrate it at all.

I was surprised to learn that some of the Halloween traditions that we know today were present in Victorian America. For one thing, they actually had candy corn! Yes, that too sweet orange and yellow candy that we associate with Halloween was available in the 1890's. In fact, according to Wikipedia, candy corn was created in the 1880's by George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy Co. The three colors of the candy, orange, yellow and white are supposed to mimic the colors of corn. There is also 'Indian Corn' which is white, yellow and brown.

I also learned that it was the Irish who brought the tradition of Jack O'Lanterns to this country. It was named after the strange phenomenon of light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus or jack-o-latern. Both in Ireland and Britain, there was a long tradition of carving laterns from vegetables. However carved laterns did not specifically become associated with Halloween until 1866. Originally laterns in the US were associated with the Harvest season in general, before it got folded into Halloween.

Agnes Carr Sage wrote in, "Halloween Sports and Customs," Harper's Young People, October 27, 1885, p. 828: "It is an ancient Scottish custom to light great bonfires on Halloween, and carry blazing fagots about on long poles; but in place of this American boys delight in the funny grinning jack-o'-lanterns made of huge yellow pumpkins with a candle inside."

You can read the Irish folktale of Jack here. Another story that I read in a Time-Life book on America in the 19th century stated that young girls on Halloween would walk down the stairs backward holding up a mirror to see if they saw their future husband. You just know that I had to include that little tidbit in my book.

I also learned that in America, while there was no trick-or-treating yet per se, there were kids who played Halloween tricks in the big cities.

See, sometimes you can learn fun things while researching!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blech! I'm sick

I'm sick as a dog which serves me right for choosing to dress cute instead of dressing warm once the weather started to get a little colder. The worst thing about having a cold is having absolutely no energy. The upside, no appetite! Yes, I can't taste anything really, so I have absolutely no desire to eat anything. The other downside? Having to blow my nose every two minutes. Right now, I look like Rudolph and I don't mean Guiliani.

At least I don't look as bad as Victoria Principal. Remember when she looked like the picture at the left, when she played Pam on Dallas (the role that Jennifer Lopez should have played when they were bandying about the movie version, not Sue Ellen). God, I loved that show, until they jumped the shark and had Bobby come from the dead. Remember that whole season that was a dream?

Well this is what Victoria looks like now.

Yikes! She claims that she's had no work done, but come on, who is she fooling? Either that or she's not aging very well. If she did have plastic surgery, clearly she didn't have her ex-husband do the job. Or if she did, perhaps that's why they are now divorced.

Since I can't write a post without mentioning the upcoming election, Barack Obama is suspending his campaign to visit his ailing grandmother who helped raise him. Hearing about that this morning on the news, made me want to vote for him all the more. He's clearly saying that his grandmother is more important than the election. I just hope that McCain respects that fact and tones it down, but I doubt it. I'm still ticked off at Palin's idea that only people who live in small towns are "Real Americans."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Movie Review: Leatherheads

I had an awesome weekend, hanging out with Liz Maverick, Hope Tarr, Leanna Renee Heiber and Stacey Agdern, listening to a group of singers on Saturday night at a great Irish pub near Penn Station called Tir Na Nog and having a writing day yesterday where I managed to write 8 handwritten pages on the novel that will never end.

It definitely wiped away the taint of Friday night. That and the retail therapy that I indulged in Saturday and Sunday. I needed a new bag, so I headed over to the GAP and bought a great black patent leather bag and then on Sunday, I used the DSW coupon to buy a new pair of Steve Madden brown leather boots. Hey, they were $20 off!

The only two flies in the ointment of my weekend, and that was the asshole who bumped me on the stairwell to the subway and then proceeded to spew invective about how it was all my fault. I totally understand now how people can flip out because I seriously felt like I wanted to kick the crap out of this guy. The other was watching Leatherheads last night when I got home.

Sigh! I just had bad luck with movies this weekend. Yahoo! movies describes Leatherhead's plot thusly:

"In 1925, Dodge Connolly is a charming, brash football hero who is determined to guide his team from bar brawls to packed stadiums. But after the players lose their sponsor and the entire league faces certain collapse, Dodge convinces a college football star to join his ragtag ranks. The captain hopes his latest move will help the struggling sport finally capture the country's attention. Welcome to the team Carter Rutherford, America's favorite son. A golden-boy war hero who single-handedly forced multiple German soldiers to surrender in WWI, Carter has dashing good looks and unparalleled speed on the field.

This new champ is almost too good to be true, and Lexie Littleton aims to prove that's the case. A cub journalist playing in the big leagues, Lexie is a spitfire newswoman who suspects there are holes in Carter's war story. But while she digs, the two teammates start to become serious off-field rivals for her fickle affections. As the new game of pro-football becomes less like the freewheeling sport he knew and loved, Dodge must both fight to keep his guys together and to get the girl of his dreams. Finding that love and football have a surprisingly similar playbook, however, he has one maneuver he will save just for the fourth quarter. "

While I thought the premise of this movie was promising, the early days of pro football, and its set during one of my favorite time periods, this movie so did not work on any level, as a sports comedy or as a romantic screwball comedy. First of all, by 1925 the National Football League was already in existence for 5 years, so Dodge Connolly doesn't need to organize professional football. Two, the whole premise of Carter not being a war hero, and not saying anything while he receives medals, is not remotely funny and it wouldn't have been 6 years after the Great War. The banter between Lexie and Dodge is patently strained and not very funny, and there is absolutely no chemistry between George Clooney and Renee Zwellweger. However there was between Lexie and Carter.

There were faint echoes of Bull Durham all throughout this film, particularly with the triangle between Lexie, Carter and Dodge. However, one of the biggest problems with this film, is that the minor characters are not very well developed, particularly the guys on the Duluth Bulldogs. Anyone who has seen Bull Durham remembers the coach, the young born again player, the guy who practiced Santeria, and the young team follower who ends up reforming and marrying the born again player. There was also an African-American player on the team, despite the fact that all professional sports teams were segregated until after WWII.

It's not all dismal, the movie does get some fun over the fact that Dodge Connolly is way over the hill to be a professional football player. And there is a wonderful scene with the great Marian Seldes who interviews Dodge at an employment agency after the team is disbanded, and a scene with Stephen Root as Dodge dictates the sports column that Stephen Root supposedly writes but scenes like that were few and far between.

If the character of Lexie had been a nascent sportswriter, this movie might have had some juice and plenty of comedy to play with the idea of a woman in the 1920's covering the sports beat. Instead she's bogged down in whether to reveal the truth that Carter is not a hero. Plus most of her costumes were not period, they looked more like early 1930's costumes than 1920's.

This movie was just dull, dull, dull. I read on Wikipedia that George Clooney claimed credit for rewriting the script and making more of a screwball comedy (which there hasn't been a successful one since What's Up Doc in the 70's). Credit for the screenplay went to arbitration before the WGA and the original authors received credit not Clooney. Frankly, the writers and the guild should have let him claim credit for this dreck.

Definitely one to skip. Watch 'Bull Durham' again, or even one of the Major League movies, if you want to watch a sports comedy.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Movie Review Salo

Last night I went to the Philoctetes Center to see a movie by the late Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini called Salo. I had been warned that this movie was hard to take, and that I might not be able to sit through the whole thing. But you know it is, sometimes you have to see something for yourself. I did however make sure that I didn't eat dinner before the movie! This is how the movie is described by the distributor, Criterion Collection:

"Pier Paolo Pasolini's notorious final film, Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, has been called nauseating, shocking, depraved, pornographic . . . it's also a masterpiece. The controversial poet, novelist, and filmmaker's transposition of the Marquis de Sade's 18th-century opus of torture and degradation to 1944 Fascist Italy remains one of the most passionately debated films of all time, a thought-provoking inquiry into the political, social, and sexual dynamics that define the world we live in." -Criterion Collection.

Well, I think that pretty much sums up this movie. I don't think I have seen a more disturbing film, in depicting how human beings can gleefully torture and degrade others for their own sadistic pleasure or amusement. It wasn't so much the nudity or the sex scenes, it was the look in the predators eyes as they survey the teenage boys and girls that have been rounded up by three middle-aged procuresses and taken to a bucolic villa in the countryside. For the most part, it is the four governors in this small town, who are of course male, that perpetrate the horrific scenes of violence and sexual perversity, while the middle-aged women for the most part remain passive. The close-ups on the faces of certain of the girls and boys, and the tear stains on their faces says more than graphic violence could ever say. And there is certainly plenty of that. There was one whole section of the movie that I couldn't even watch because I was afraid that I was just going to embarrass myself by retching in the aisles.

The movie ends with no hope that these adolescents are going to be saved. No Allied troops march in, and round up the men, setting them free. The last scene in the movie is of two young soldiers dancing to music in a room, while those girls and boys who have committed offenses are tortured and killed.

Sounds like a fun evening huh? After the movie was over, I was devastated. I couldn't stop shaking. It was at this moment that I really missed my friends, and I regret that I didn't invite them to join me. At least we could have been appalled together! What I needed at that moment after the film was over, was a big hug, some human contact to show me that not all humans are as venal as the ones in the film. I've never felt so alone in my life as I did after seeing this movie. Instead, what I got, was some elderly man on seeing how upset I was, announcing that "it was only a movie!"

Oh my effing God, are you effing kidding me? Duh, I know that it's a movie. But isn't the point of art to provoke a response in the viewer? To move them, enrage them, make them think? Seriously, are all heterosexual men missing a sensitivity chip? Instead of the milk of human kindness, I ended up dumped at the bus stop, like a small child who's parents had forgotten to pick him up at school. Just left there to deal with the emotional bruising that I just suffered. I thought about stopping off to have a drink, but that the last thing I wanted was to drink by myself. Sitting at the bar, crying silently, while my tears turn my reisling salty.

I went home, which was a good thing, because I barely made it through the front door before the bile that I had been attempting to keep down, made its way back up again. I tried to erase images of the film from my mind by watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta, thinking that conspicuous consumption, fake boobs, and even faker friendships would cheer me up. But instead I just lay in my bed after it was over for hours, thinking about how grateful I am that tonight I am going to see my posse and spend time with them. And how happy I am that I live in 21st century New York.

Even if men can be detached, and insensitive jackasses.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I So Want This!

I promised myself that I would be fiscally responsible for my birthday and not buy a new dress, but I so want this!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is Joe the Plumber Running for President?

Seriously with so many mentions of "Joe, the Plumber" I thought he might be running for office!

It's no secret, that like my friend Kwana, I'm a little obsessed with this election. Not only did I watch the debate, but I watched the commentary afterwards, and I've been reading not only the New York Times, but Slate, The New Republic, The Atlantic, Salon, The Daily Beast (where McCain's Aunt admits that he's losing) as well as Time and Newsweek. I've already scheduled to take off the day after the election to either celebrate or mourn democracy as we know it.

Last night I even went to a roundtable at The Philoctetes Center called "Voters and Friends: Group Influence in Individual Political Belief". At least that was the title of the roundtable, much of the time was spent talking about polling and statistics and other rather boring subjects that I could care less about.

I was raised by Roosevelt Democrats. My mother voted in every single Presidential election accept one and that was because I was born the day before and the hospital wouldn't let her leave to go vote (or buy a pack of cigarettes), despite her promise to return when she was done. She wept when both Jack and Bobby Kennedy were killed. So I grew up in a very liberal household. Did it influence me? Hell yeah!

But I learned to make my own decisions when it came to candidates. Just because someone is a Democrat, doesn't mean he automatically gets my vote if he or she is an idiot. I'm willing to look at the other side. However, I have yet to hear a Republican say anything that I agree with. Seriously I find it hard to believe sometimes that this is the same party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Once upon a time, I did find McCain charming and the type of Republican that I actually could get behind, until he decided that he wanted to win more than stick by his principles.

I take voting seriously as a privilege not just a right. I have voted in every local, state and Presidential election since I voted for the first time for Cuomo on my 18th birthday. And this year, we had the choice of a serious female contender for the first time, and a serious African-American candidate for the first time. It almost seemed an embarassment of riches. I do admit that I try to keep my political discussions to among like minded friends. Recently I noticed on Facebook that some authors that I have been friendly with, who were now friends of Sarah Palin and it did kind of turn me off. But I'm sure that there are people who are turned off by the fact that I am a fervent Obama supporter. The panelists didn't really address those issues during the discussion, which I found seriously disappointing.

Anywhoo, back to the debate. While I thought McCain did make some good points over all, he came across as a cranky old man who could barely contain himself. The thinly veiled contempt that he showed Obama was a major turn-off whereas I thought Obama came across as more Presidential and respectful of McCain. He talked about the ways that they actually agreed, he didn't trash Palin the way that McCain trashed Biden. I thought he gave a very good answer regarding abortion. On the other hand, McCain doing the air quotes thing when Obama mentioned occasions when late term abortion might be permissable when the mother was endangered, lost him huge points among women I would suspect. And claiming that his feelings were hurt concerning Representive Lewis, and his response when Obama brought up people yelling "Kill Him" and "Terrorist" at Palin rallies while Palin tacitly seemed to accept and also to rile up the crowd. Major turn-offs, at least for me. Also his comment about how Obama might want to visit Colombia before talking about it was pretty jerky. And his sneering jibes at Obama's eloquence. For someone who claims not to want to run a negative campaign his whole debate performance was negative.

Also, someone should tell McCain that there is a difference between down syndrome and autism, although they are both fall under the category of special needs. And since Trig is only 6 months old, I doubt Sarah Palin has any idea yet about what he's going to need or what it is like to deal with a special needs child. Talk to her again when he's 4.

As for Obama talking about spreading the wealth, how many middle class families feeling the pinch, haven't occasionally thought the same thing, when we read about the year end bonuses and compensation packages executives receive.

So I have to give this one to Obama.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Particularly when you are Madonna Louise Ciccone Penn Ritchie.

According to the Huffington Post (which broke the story before People!)

"Madonna's spokeswoman said Wednesday that the singer and her husband, Guy Ritchie, will divorce after 7 1/2 years together.

A statement e-mailed to The Associated Press from Liz Rosenberg said that the couple had agreed to divorce, and requested the media maintain respect their privacy.
The statement, co-signed by Ritchie's representative, said the couple had not agreed to a settlement."

Well according to the Daily Mail, Guy could stand to receive up to 150 Million pounds in the divorce. He could make a lot of gangster movies with that. Also, according to the Mail, Gwyneth Paltrow has been playing marriage counselor for months with Madonna, trying to convince her to save her marriage. Who knew Gwyneth had that kind of time?

Seriously, although its sad that Madonna is heading for her second divorce, I kind of feel for Guy Ritchie. It can't have been easy to have lived with her for almost 8 years. She seems like even more of a control freak than I am. Apparently Kabbalah couldn't keep these two together.

What I want to know is whether or not she's going to ditch that faux British accent now?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quantam Tuesday

I cannot tell you how excited I am for the new James Bond film Quantam Solace to come out. After finishing series 6 of MI-5/Spooks, I'm ready for a hot guy to do some butt kicking, and Daniel Craig is awesome as James Bond.

Don't get me wrong, I adored Pierce Brosnan but Daniel Craig actually looks like he kills people for a living. No other James Bond, apart from Sean Connery, had that edge.

November can't come soon enough for me!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hey Are You Looking at Me?

This weekend I went to a roundtable at the Philoctetes Center on "From Looking to Voyeurism." Given how disappointed I was about the Shakespeare roundtable, I was kind of nervous about this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. Dany Nobus, the moderator, kept the discussion going and it was quite lively. He started off reading a bit of Freud, which always gets my hackles up, given my feelings about the father of psychoanalysis, and then the discussion went off.

I was particularly struck however by a comment by one of the panelists that women do not like looking at naked men. Really? What women do you know? Perhaps it is a generational thing but I know that I and my friends have no qualms about admirining the male body. We may not be as vocal about it as men are, but we do just as much looking let me tell you. I remember being twelve years old and sneaking copies of Playgirl underneath my Seventeen magazine at the newsagent (I had no idea at the time that more gay men read Playgirl than heterosexual women!). Despite my being underage, I never had a problem buying it and my friends and I would pore over the pictures of the men in the magazine. Perhaps it was the fact that it was kind of forbidden that made it so exciting. Maybe that's why women aren't as vocal about our appreciation of the male form. There is still something forbidden about a woman admiring the male form unless it is the contexxt of an art class or in a painting or sculpture. My friends and I discussed yesterday the parts of the male nude body that we liked, particularly that arrow of hair that points directly to....Given the amount of money that Chippendales made and now Hunkmania, I can safely say that Dr. Nersessian has no idea what he is talking about!

And women do go to strip clubs. Perhaps not as often as men do. We certainly don't say to each other "Hey, instead of going to that movie/bar/lecture, let's go to a strip club" the men do, but we go. However it is more of an event, like a bachelorette party or a girl's night out, not an ordinary or average event. Again, it's that whole forbidden connotation. For a women to go to a male strip club, we are seeking a way to blow off steam, to be a little naughty away from our husbands or boyfriends. Which is probably why women are insane when they go to these places, screaming and ramming five dollar bills in their g-strings.

I was struck by what one of the panelists, Katherine Frank said, about how men in strip clubs use the women as sort of a confessional, telling them about how their wives/girlfriends/male friends don't understand them etc. It's like the modern equivalent of going to a priest, particularly if you are not religious or Catholic. Whereas the male strippers that I encountered the one time that I went to strip club, spent most of the time talking about themselves. They were totally not interested in us, which I thought was strange since the point was to entice us to buy a lap dance. Maybe it is because women are used to be listeners, and men aren't.

The thing I remember the most was when a group of us turned our chairs around to watch a lap dance, just out of curiousity, because we couldn't fathom how that worked with a guy performing one. When it got to the questions from the audience, Adam Ludwig brought up a point that I was thinking of, which was the opposite of voyeurism, exhibitionism. People who like to be watched, who get off having sex in public places because they know there is a possiblity that they might be seen or caught.

The same woman who brought up where to find men in New York at an earlier roundtable (a constant refrain of my friends and I), now wanted to know if men who went to stripclubs were inherently narcissistic, which was kind of strange because why would a narcissist go to a strip club? He might think that every stripper in the club would of course fall over themselves to give him a lap dance, but I don't think he sees himself reflected in these women.

So question, are there other women out there who enjoy looking at naked men or was Dr. Nersessian right?