Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's 'give your dog or cat a hug' day.

I am not - and have no plans to become - an attorney who specializes in First Amendment rights. I have no plans to join any law-making group in the foreseeable future. (I know - that's a relief to everyone reading this.)

But - here's the thing: wrapping yourself in the First Amendment to excuse behavior that society in general (and that's important,) deems unacceptable at best and corrupt and deviant in many cases, is unconscionable.

I realize you could line up ten people on any given issue and possibly get ten divergent views of a topic, an activity or a belief. But on some issues - oh, let's say dog fighting - the views might not be all that different. In fact, the Supreme Court's views were 8 - 1 about this particular case.

Maybe the Court strives to rule for the exceptions, those who push boundaries beyond which most of us would not go, in order to keep all of us free. Maybe. But this decision makes me feel like I need a shower.

I've linked to today's Daily Caller column. Would love to hear your thoughts: am I completely off base about this?

Monday, April 19, 2010

I had this wrong. Turns out, childbirth isn't painful; it's a pleasure. Yes, that kind.

Mothers and fathers to be: Don't go into the delivery room without reading this.

Actual parents: Remember your own delivery room experiences and enjoy.

Moms: Like me, you may have missed something. I'm still laughing about this.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Radical. Well, that's one word for it.

Just in case it hasn't been obvious to date, my general outlook on things is pretty conventional. It must be the Capricorn in me.

But espousing any world view based on Astrology isn't exactly conventional thinking, right? Which is proof we are all many-layered people with any number of views.

Then again, I'm not sure I could ever embrace of the views depicted in Today's column. Different drum and all that aside, some on this just sounds crazy to me.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Twist this.

From the “I almost can’t take this anymore” file, we have the following update, courtesy of Levine Breaking News, my absolute favorite daily news feed:

“Kate Gosselin is launching a series that will profile everyday women facing personal challenges "Twist of Kate" will follow the reality star and supermom as she visits the homes and workplaces of her subjects, where she will exchange insights for living. The 12-episode season will premiere in late summer, the TLC network said Thursday.”

First off, a reminder to those who haven’t read this fact previously. I’ve never once watched an episode of Jon and Kate + 8, the “reality” show that catapulted the couple and their many offspring into the national consciousness. But let’s assume for the sake of argument, that it was somehow entertaining and diverting. At the very least, it was a train wreck and many people couldn’t seem to turn away from it week after week.

Let’s also assume that Jon and Kate played their roles very well and the audience found ways to identify with them as characters, in roles, creating drama and tension. Let’s finally assume that the children – as close to voiceless victims as anyone could be – emerge from this bizarre chapter of their lives healthy and relatively unscathed as a result of their parents’ egos and pursuit of fame and fortune based on nothing more than fecundity and fertility drugs.

Kate has since moved on to another venue, a more glamorous train wreck called Dancing with the Stars. Once again, truth: I’ve never watched this, either. But my expert on the show – Howard Stern – tells me she comes off as rude and obnoxious. And that she can’t dance. What a surprise!

The question is: can’t she just go away now? Apparently not. Someone somewhere did a focus group or polling research or some reading of her Q rating and determined that a measurable and significant enough group in America was not yet finished following the adventures of Kate. Which brings us to TLC, which now stands for The Laughable Channel, because what they want us to learn is a joke, and their announcement of the new series.

If Kate is a supermom (hate that; it’s a meaningless term in every way), what the heck is she doing taping a new television show that has her visiting the homes and workplaces of women “facing personal challenges?” Why isn’t she home with her eight children? What on God’s green earth does she have to offer ‘women facing personal challenges’ in terms of brilliance? Oh, sorry – that’s not right. They’ll simply “exchange insights for living.”

Let’s pretend I’m a woman facing a personal challenge and Kate comes knocking on my door. Assuming I didn’t need or value her insights about life because I’m not also the mother of eight children including sextuplets or trapped in a loveless marriage because of a television production commitment, I’d like to imagine my side of the exchange would sound something like this:

“Kate, thanks for stopping by and bringing the entire “Twist of Kate” production crew into my living room; but I don’t know you. I never watched the show about your family and I’ve never watched you try to dance. I haven’t read even one article written about you, your ex-husband, or your children. I didn’t buy nor read your book and I haven’t tuned in to see you interviewed on any program. In other words, your notoriety alone is the one and only reason I have any idea at all who you are.

That said, you seem to think you can help me if we exchange insights for living. Super. Me first: Kindly leave. The day I believe - in even the most far-fetched, inscrutably infinitesimal way - that an ex-reality show “star” who basically exploited her children and private family life in exchange for fame and money could possibly have become elevated and enlightened to the point where she has something worthwhile to share with me about something as critical as "life challenges," based on nothing more than her kind of quasi-celebrity status is the day I take the tailpipe.”

Thursday, April 08, 2010

This is what you might call full disclosure. Well, something's full, or looks full, or is spilling over because it's so full.

After years of suffering incredulity, sadness and brooding misery whenever I encountered them, I have to applaud that quintessential “just in case you don’t feel awful about yourself today, here we are, ready to help with that” company: Victoria’s Secret. As noted in previous posts and several newspaper columns, I am finally at peace with old Victoria. Why? The new ad campaign.

I can’t remember every detail. All I know is it promotes yet another new line of underwear called “The Nakeds.” There you go. Finally, the name of the product actually reflects the whole philosophy of the company. There’s never been another company that spent more time, energy, marketing savvy and advertising effort to sell garments that were designed specifically to spend as little time as possible on your body.

And God bless her, Victoria is always coming up with new lines, new approaches, new ways to sell products to women – and the men who love to love women – who want nothing more than to spend upwards of $80 on a fushia colored push-up bra they’ll wear semi-annually. Women who want even more colors and more choices of tiny little panties they’ll never wear on purpose unless everything else is in the laundry basket. Women who love looking at themselves sideways in the mirror to calculate exactly how much their stomachs don’t resemble the ones on the models in the commercials. Wait – you mean not everyone does that? Never mind.

But honestly, I love the idea of a whole collection called The Nakeds. I mean, you can’t call Victoria deceptive. Victoria’s Secret may want to but they can’t exactly sell you “naked” because that would mean a store full of empty hangars. But they can sell you a bra and panties called “The Nakeds” that seemingly will help you get naked, or want to get naked, or something similar in short order.

Maybe they’re really comfortable. Maybe they’re designed so well you feel naked wearing them. In fact, that seems to be the promise: “Bras and panties so light, so bare you’ll wonder if they’re even there.” They’re “smooth and seamless” under clothing. The woman on the home page of the website looks like she is enthralled – that’s one way to describe her expression - with the lightness of her garments.

So there you are. For just $42.50, you too can feel Naked, courtesy of Victoria. Don’t want to feel Naked? You can buy ”Second Skin.” Or something from a line called “Pout.” Or a weekend bralette. (Nope – don’t know what that means.) Or let’s just forget subtlety altogether and purchase something from the Very Sexy line.

I may have aged out of Victoria; I recognize that. All I know is that several years ago, the company reported that their best-selling undergarment was a plain, white bra. This news restored my faith in the good sense of women the world over. I like pretty and sexy and adorable as much as anyone but please. Buying underwear because its label reads “Very Sexy,” or “Second Skin” or “The Nakeds” may just make us look just a little pathetic, right?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

It's good to be the Queen. Now go be your regal, wonderful self.

I'm thrilled to be able to use my small megaphone here to help spread the word about a new book I love.

Before sending you to the link, let me just add this: if you're a woman who smooths moisturizer over your skin every morning, staring at your neck as you do so, pulling back your face around your jawline to inspect the improvement, then contemplates wrestling on the Spanx in your drawer before settling for comfort instead, and wondering why you never once appreciated your 25-year-old body when you were in it 25 years ago, I salute you and send you a big, big blog hug.

If you're a man living with a woman who does some or all of the above fairly regularly, stop reading right now and go give her a real hug.


Comedy is tragedy + time. Even just a few seconds.

Okay. This is about the funniest thing I ever encountered on the street in New York City. Thing is, whether you laugh or not tells you a little something about my sense of humor (and me a little about yours) but so be it. Here we go.

I’m walking from Borders Book Store in Columbus Circle toward Port Authority, straight down 8th Avenue at about 9:15 pm on Wednesday night. (Yes. I missed the 8:30 Bieber Bus and was stuck with the 10. Super.) The street, as always, is teeming with pedestrians and onlookers, some looking for something quite specific as it turns out.

In front of a store, I encountered a young man, apparently down on his luck, asking everyone who passed by for some spare change. That’s sad and troubling, but not all that uncommon in midtown, especially around Times Square. But here’s what struck me as unusual, and ultimately very, very funny. He shook his cup, and asked: “Spare some change so I can buy some Chinese food?”

I took a few steps past him and thought: Wait. Chinese food? So you could buy Chinese food? It’s not enough for him to ask, “Spare some change for dinner?” Or, “Spare some change so I can eat tonight?” Or even, “Spare some change (for reasons I won’t go into in great detail about right now?)”

Then again, you have to give him points for specificity. But if you’re going that far, go all the way: “Spare some change so I can buy some General Tso’s Chicken and an egg roll?” “Spare some change so I can get a plate of dim sum?”

What if I handed over my spare change and said, “I’m only giving this to you so you can go pick up a Gyro or a slice of pizza.” Would he hand it back?

Yes. I know. Being hungry and on the street isn’t funny but I’m so sorry; this is, right?

Not to mention, what I really wanted to say was, “Chinese food? Really? You’ll just be hungry again in an hour.”