Friday, March 30, 2007

Start Spreadin' The News ...

I'm leavin' tomorrow, actually, not today, but by this time tomorrow, I'll be a part of it, New York, New York.

Just for a few days.

I go to NYC once a year to meet up with my friend John. As I wrote about him when I was in New York in October, "I come to New York every year to see my friend John. We met on the phone when I interviewed him for a story for the Tribune, and we've been friends ever since. Is this the year he turned 80? I can't remember. Perhaps he's 81. But when it comes to John, age is irrelevant. He is the most fascinating, charming man - ageless."

He's 81, his daughter Ellen was kind enough to confirm, which means he'll shortly turn 82, and still, he's unstoppable. Always game for a meet-up in the city. The first time we met, he was nattily dressed in a black shirt and gray suit with a green tie. Very hip. The last time I saw him, we met in the lobby of the Maritime Hotel (Jagger's hotel of choice when he's in town, I'm told) wearing a white shirt, navy v-neck sweater, and paint-smeared jeans with loafers. Completely adorable.

But John, as much as I love him, isn't the primary object of my affection on this trip. No, this trip has been planned around going to see Kevin Spacey on Broadway in "A Moon for the Misbegotten."

I adore Kevin. Oh, my word, what a brilliant actor.

I wrote a little post about him nearly two years ago. I'd seen him at the House of Blues performing songs from "Beyond the Sea" and craftily sent a letter to him, bypassing his "people." The point of the letter was to praise not only his HOB performance but his doggedness in getting the entire Bobby Darin project onto the screen. And I happened to mention that it would be a hoot to reach into my mailbox someday and pull out a postcard from him.

And one day, I reached into my mailbox and pulled out an envelope which contained a very pretty note card from him. It's framed now, in my TV room. Nice guy, that Kev.

So it's off to New York to see my boy. And to eat. And to shop.

I made a list of places to go and things to do and the "Dining" column is by far the fullest! And I hesitated when it came to Zabar's and Dean & Deluca and Balducci's - are they Shopping or are they Dining? (I opted for Shopping.)

And H&H Bagels. Oh, save me! If I lapse into a carbohydrate coma, just prop me up in my seat on the plane and poke me when we get to Chicago.

My hotel has wifi, so I considered hauling my laptop along with me, but I think I'm going to try being computer-free for a few days. If the withdrawl gets really bad, I'll commandeer my cousin's computer in Brooklyn for a post or two.

Otherwise, I'll be back with highlights on Wednesday.

Girl, Interrupted ...

Brian called yesterday afternoon just as I was stepping out of the shower.

"Are you in you car?" he asked.

"No, not yet. Should I not get in my car?" I asked.

He sounded sheepish, saying he had to reschedule.

Which was fine, I told him. Really. One, because I want to work around his schedule, and Two, because I had lots to do yesterday and was kind of glad to just have the night to plop on my couch.

So we rescheduled for next Thursday. Which gives me more time to decide on songs, too.

As for plopping on the couch, I watched "The Nativity Story," not because I'm in any way religious but because my pal Ciaran is in it and I see every movie in which he appears.

He plays King Herod. Man, that guy was a bastard. And Ciaran pulled off the portrayal with great aplomb. There isn't a character that man can't play. Which I know is the point of acting, but some actors have niches and some actors have range. Ciaran has great range.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

'It Vexes Me. I'm Terribly Vexed' ...






















I'm annoyed by the fact that when I see the word "Paris" in a headline, I now think of the socialite before I think of the city.

Life Size ...

I was shopping today with my mom. Actually, she was shopping, I was her personal shopper, flipping skirts and sweaters over the dressing-room door. "Here, try this." "Here, try this."

Mom is 65, the hippest 65-year-old you'll ever meet. Her style isn't Talbots and her style isn't "trying too hard." She just always looks great. No applique sweatshirts for this senior. No way.

Today, as I was wandering around Christopher & Banks grabbing items for mom, I saw someone nearly as tall as me.

I'm tall, if I've never mentioned. 6'3". So if I walk into any store in any mall, I'm pretty well assured that nothing is going to be long enough. My fellow tall friend wasn't shopping for herself either. She was pushing a friend in a wheelchair.

She was also rather thin. Not swizzle-stick thin, but pleasantly thin. Trim. Fit. Healthy.

As we were both waiting outside the dressing rooms, I approached her.

"Do you mind if I ask what size you are?" I asked.

I clearly caught her off guard. "What size? Well," she said, her hands moving to the front of her khakis, "I just bought these. They're a 10."

I told her that I'm losing weight (I can get into my 12s, but they're rather snug these days) and am trying to get a visual sense of the appropriate size for my height.

"Oh," she said. "I used to be between a 12 and 14."

"Well, you look great," I said. We traded info about where to shop, which labels run a bit longer, and I thanked her and met up with my mom.

I have a pair of 10s in my closet. I've had them for several years. To date, I haven't gotten in them. I've gotten close, but, you know, no cigar. I decided at my last birthday lunch that I will wear the 10s to my next birthday lunch. Which gives me until November. Plenty of time to reach a realistic goal. And, meeting her today, I realize that a size 10 is the right size for me. If I try to get into an 8, I'll look ridiculous.

Thing is, in the fashion world, even being an 8 would make me a plus-size model.

An 8. An 8.

Granted, most models, while tall, aren't as tall as me, but most models are, what?, a size 2?

One of my guilty pleasures is America's Next Top Model. I started watching it last year for some reason and I got completely sucked in. This cycle, there are two plus-size models, Tyra's dream. They're size 8s.

For the love of God. Even her own web site (for her talk show) says most plus-size models are 12s, 14s, or 16s, than 10s are used but are not as common.

I'm not calling Tyra out, but even by her own suggestion, the plus-size models on ANTM are thin. Go here and see if you can spot the "big" girls.

Of course, they're too heavy to be real models, too. And tonight, (SPOILER ALERT ... as if!) Diana was eliminated. One big girl down, one to go. Because, as one of the skinny girls on the show said tonight, "Do you really think there's ever going to be a plus-size model on the cover of Vogue?"

What's that? Jennifer Hudson, you say? Absolutely. It was a stunning cover. But do you really think she'd have had a chance in holy hell of getting that cover if she wasn't this year's poster child for the Academy Awards? Of course not. And I'd wager that no model inside those pages is larger than a 4. And even 4 might be "big" by Vogue standards.

What's my point, you ask? My point is that this insanity has to end. What message are we sending to young girls (and boys, for that matter)? A few years ago, my niece pronounced, "Carbs are evil." She'd heard it from her mom, but at the time, she was 7. 7. And she was already worried about her carb intake. I'm not blaming her mom, because we grown-ups do have to be more mindful of what we eat, but seriously, when 7-year-olds are already fretting about their bodies, things are seriously out of whack.

I once dated - briefly, very briefly - a guy who abruptly stopped calling. To his credit, he eventually clued me in to his behavior. And I quote: "You're heavier than I thought you'd be and I'm having a problem with it." 6'3", size 14. Could I be thinner? Sure. But I don't want to be thin for thin's sake. I want to be in shape. Fit. The treadmill's a-callin' every day.

But he didn't want a girlfriend. He wanted a trophy. He was willing to write off all my good qualities - and let me tell you, friends, it's a laundry list - simply because I wasn't skinny enough.

"So what now?" he asked that night.

I laughed, a sarcastic, disgusted laugh. "What's next? Nothing. This is your dealbreaker." I pointed out to him that weight is a variable. I said, "If you think I'm smart and kind and pretty ..."

"Beautiful," he interjected.

"Well, thank you," I said. "So weight is the thing that's changeable. Not that I'm trying to change your mind."

"So, can I call you sometime?"

I laughed again. "My phone number isn't going to change."

I've never heard from him again. I wasn't expecting to, but I thought it would be kinda fascinating if he did call, because what could he possibly say?

"Uh, are you thinner?"

Yes, I am.

Click.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sing, Sing A Song ...

I have, I dunno, 800 CDs or so. That's a lot of music.

I've been sifting through them again, another material-finding mission. My next recording session is Thursday night. Scheduled for Thursday night. Fingers crossed that nothing happens in my life or Brian's life to screw things up. The fact that we're getting together again for a second session within the same calendar month is monumental. Typically, we have a session and then months - months - go by before we manage to get together again.

March, clearly, is a good month for recording.

Yesterday, L.A. Dave asked me what I'm going to sing Thursday night.

"I dunno," I replied. "Maybe a Diana Krall tune."

I have a couple of her CDs, not because I bought into the massive marketing machine that propelled her far beyond other jazz singers who are much more deserving of fame, if you ask me, but because when I first heard her, I thought, "Hell, I can do better than that."

Brian told me to be sure to bring more CDs if there are more songs I'd like to try on, and I have a hefty stack of discs that I pulled after the last session, but my fervor for some of the tunes has waned. Maybe it'll return if I run through them and hear some playback. Maybe I'll think, "Huh, that doesn't suck" and we'll keep working on them.

But I find myself returning, over and over, to Dianne Reeves' recordings for "Good Night, and Good Luck." (Dianne looks eerily like my friend Marlea, who is also a singer. Are all gorgeous black women great singers?) Almost every song on this album feels right. I've already recorded two of the tracks. There's a third I'm thinking of ("Too Close for Comfort," which happens to be playing right now, and damn but that bass is cool as hell!), but then I think, "Do I want this entire disc to be covers of one artist?"

And then I think, "Well, hell, Beth, if you find a sound and style that works for you, go with it."

As Dave said in a recent e-mail, "You've got to let your style happen."

But it's hard to find stuff that's ripe for covering, the right key, the right arrangement.

So I'm starting to covet a relationship with an arranger. Oh, to develop songs around my voice instead of finding songs to fit. Like having clothes custom tailored versus buying off the rack.

And then I think (yes, I do think a lot), "Baby steps, Beth."

But an exchange this week with my pal Angela reminded me that I've already come a long way. Earlier in my friendship with her, I would talk about singing, would drift into a moony place, all dreamy and wistful about taking a mic. I taped a little bit on my microcassette recorder - could there be worse sound quality? - and let her hear it, down a deserted hallway, far, far away from any other ears.

And here we are, admittedly many years later, but here we are, with me recording an album's worth of songs and then some. (We won't end up using 'em all. As L.A. Dave points out, I can be like Tupac and my estate can continue to release my early recordings long after my death. L.A. Dave is funny.) Here we are, with me not freaking out when Dave walked into the last session, but actually continuing to sing.

So, 48 hours from now, I'll be wrapping my latest session, but as of right now, I'm not sure what I'm going to sing. Which means I should probably stop writing about finding songs to sing and actually find them.

I wrote a post about Dianne just about a year ago after buying this soundtrack. This is part of what I had to say:

"This is the stuff I was born to sing. This music even sounds like it's in black and white. Smoke curling from cigarette tips, sultry hidden eyes, brushes on a snare drum, upright bass, a tuxedo at the piano with a pulled-loose tie.

And ice cubes clinking in a glass of Scotch, not because I need it, but because it's just called for in a smoky club at a sleepy hour.

Oh, hell yeah."

Suggestions in that vein are welcome. Both title and artist, please.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mr. Sting? ...

(There's an actual point to this post, but let's just pause for a moment so I can say, "OH MY GOD, LOOK AT HIS ARMS!" Note to Andy and Stewart: Clearly, yoga helps you age well. Really, really well. And yes, I have just wanted a reason to post this picture. Even if you're a guy and you're all, "I'm not attracted to guys," you gotta give the man props for those guns. I mean, dude is 55. He qualifies for an AARP membership. But LOOK at him! Dammit, where's a cigarette? It's times like these when being a non-smoker poses a real problem. Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. A post.)

I suppose, legally, Sting goes by Gordon Sumner.

But you know you definitely goes by the name Sumner?

Joe Sumner. Joe is the lead singer of Fiction Plane.

Fiction Plane is opening for The Police on the North American tour.

Joe is Sting's son.

To Joe's credit, the fact that he is Sting's son is not widely publicized. Not that it's a secret, either.

But he's not trying to ride on Daddy's famous coattails.

Some compare Fiction Plane's sound to U2.

I sampled the band's first CD on iTunes. Yeah, there's a bit of a Bono sound to Joe's voice. But, as the iTunes write-up points out, this band is way more cynical.

Ah, youth.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Locke-A-Palooza! ...

It's not that I'm obsessed.

Really, I'm not.

It's coincidence that John Locke keeps turning up in my posts.

Oh, but I don't believe in coincidence.

Anyway, I just read this post written by my pal Mike across the pond and laughed the whole way through it.

Clever boy, that Mike.

Go have a chuckle.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

'Lost ... And Gone Forever' ...

Ethan sent a note today containing a link to this post about Lost, which, turns out, is one of many posts about Lost on a blog devoted, apparently, to Lost.

I've only read the one post so far. It's long. This man, Brian, who looks suspiciously like a statue of Jesus Christ in his profile photo, put some serious thought into the latest episode. Which means, if you've seen the latest episode, ain't nothin' gonna be ruined for you by reading Brian's post.

Brian includes nifty photos from the episode; high-def screen grabs? I dunno, but he chose a fab, tight shot of Locke, which I cropped even tighter and lightened up a bit so I could better see his face. Even all banged up, he's still hot.

Now That's Comedy! ...

God bless Saturday morning television.

I'm still chagrined by the presence of Good Morning America Weekend and Weekend TODAY. I mean, Saturday mornings + NBC used to = Smurfs. Lester Holt may be a nice guy, but he's no Smurf. I used to relish Saturday mornings. I'd wake up at some unGodly hour and pad into the kitchen and grab a box of cereal out of the pantry (which was really a closet) and trudge downstairs and turn on the TV and plop myself onto the couch (my God, how did I live without a remote?), and munch on cereal out of the box. I fondly remember Froot Loops.

Froot Loops would get mushy on your tongue if you sucked on them long enough. Froot Loops were like cereal LifeSavers. (I suppose they still are.) Lucky Charms were never great for eating without milk. Dry, the "marshmallows" were like little bits of chalk. But floating in milk, they'd get kind of slimy and were more pleasant that way.

So this morning, coffee in hand, I plopped myself onto the couch and flipped through channels. There wasn't much to watch (until Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks came on, not that I knew it was coming; no, really, I happened upon it by accident), and then I saw it.

Some days, it's hard to come up with blog topics. (I could regale you with yesterday's waiting-for-the-plumber extravaganza, but you don't need to read about my sump pump woes.) Other days, topics are dropped into my lap like a gift from, well, somewhere overhead. Today was such a day.

During a commercial break, I saw what might be the most unintentionally hysterical hysterical product ever molded from plastic. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Barbie and Tanner.



We all know Barbie. Tanner is Barbie's cute-as-a-bug Golden Retriever. But here's where the hilarity comes in: Tanner, as dogs are wont to do, poops. And Barbie, being the good citizen of the world that she is, cleans up after Tanner. She poops, she scoops. Well, actually, Tanner's poop is magnetic as is Barbie's scooper, but you get the idea.

How is it that Tanner poops, you ask? Why, you depress her tail and out it comes! Apparently, because Tanner doesn't have an actual digestive system, what you put in Tanner needs to be what comes out of Tanner. The Barbie toy geniuses must have figured that it wouldn't make sense for Tanner's crap to look like predigested treats, and opted instead for realism. Which means what the kids feed Tanner looks like, well, you know. Of course, there's only so much you can glean from a commercial, so I'll share with you two great reviews on Amazon.com:

J.B. McCord from San Diego, California, writes: "I have never purchased a Barbie product...until now. I simply couldn't resist 'Barbie & Tanner'. I love this! God bless America! Does this toy teach young girls moral lessons about the responsibilities of pet ownership and the importance of cleaning up their mess? Or, is the feces-eating devil dog teaching impressionable young kids that its ok to consume their own excrement? Who knows, and who cares."

M. "Mary Jane" Martinez from Rio Grande Valley, Texas, writes: "this doll is hillarious. my six year old daughter loves barbie and HAD to have the 'pooping dog'. everyone poos....so do animals....isn't it teaching kids to be responsible and pick up your pets poo so others don't have to step in it? don't most states have pooper scooper laws? anyway, it's not like it's real poo, they are little brown magnetic pellets that look like tic tacs."

God bless America, indeed. I laughed so hard I nearly spit out my coffee.

What's next? Barbie and Skipper Hold My Hair While I Puke?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

'Lost' Loyalty? ...

Is it me?

When "Lost" debuted, I was blown away. Sucked in, every week, glued to my television, fascinated by the balance of island life and flashbacks. Sawyer. Woof. Locke. Woof. (Yeah, I have a thing for older guys. Always have.) What the hell was going on? Polar bears? Weird shadowy creatures? What's that hatch thing?

And then Season 2. The Dharma Initiative? The Others? The button? And the season's cliffhanger: Guys in some Arctic substation talking on the phone to some blonde chick we'd never seen before, telling her they'd found him? Wha?!

And then the beginning of Season 3. There's a happy little community on the island? People baking muffins and hosting book clubs? What the heck in the neck is that about?

And then "Lost" went away until February. And ABC practically had a heart attack promoting the hell out of the return - "all new episodes, no repeats!"

And I'm like, "Meh."

I still watch every week, but the fervor's gone. My "Lost" mania has waned. And clearly, I'm not alone, as the ratings for the show have dipped.

What gives, man? Is it our collective ADHD mindset? Are we too quick to wander off to the next thing? I'm still geeked about "Grey's Anatomy" every week, and that's just a plain ol' medical drama/soap opera. I'm not all swoony over any of the men. I mean, OK, McSteamy wears the hell out of a towel, but I liked Denny the most, and he's dead, and there are only so many "Meredith is hovering between life and death" moments in which to bring him back to the show, right?

Ethan has gotten me hooked on "Heroes," which he describes as the anti-"Lost." The pace of "Heroes" is certainly quicker. Every week moves the story along at a satisfying pace.

I'm pretty patient when it comes to good storytelling. I happily tuned into "Alias" every week during the whole Rambaldi storyline. And "Alias" had all the cool disguises for Sydney and kick-ass music, but also nifty interpersonal nailbiters: Could we really trust Sloan? Was he repentant or a sociopath? Could Irina really be such a cold-hearted bitch? The great thing about "Alias" was that you could safely assume that whatever you thought just happened was just a set up. Nothing on that show was ever as it seemed.

Which seemed to be the case with "Lost," too. But every week, it's harder for me to care.

Update: OK, tonight's show's almost over and I just said, "WOW!" out loud. It got me. Maybe it's hitting its stride again. We'll see how the rest of the season goes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What You Need To Know About Buying Tickets To See The Police ...

I just sent this to Dave as an FYI, but allow me to FYI y'all.

A big heads up about tickets.com ...

Man, I feel like I just ran a marathon.

Tix for The Police went on sale through the Best Buy presale this morning at 10 a.m.

I got my presale code that allowed me the "opportunity to request seats." Not buy seats, mind you. Request seats. No guarantees, eh?

So I find myself at a static page saying that tix go on sale at 10 a.m. and to please check back later.

About 9:35 a.m., just for kicks, I refreshed the page to see what'd happen.

And I was put into a "virtual waiting room."

I was in line. Online, I was in line to buy tickets. OK, wild, but whatever.

So I'm rooted to my chair as 10 a.m. draws near. The virtual waiting room counts down and refreshes every 30 seconds, and, if appropriate, gives you the "opportunity to request seats." There's that language again.

So 10 a.m. comes and goes.

And 10:05 a.m. comes and goes.

And 10:10 a.m. comes and goes.

And 10:15 a.m. comes and goes.

Totally cruel.

Finally, I get in.

I plug in my Best Buy code that I got earlier in the day.

That takes me to another page on which I have to enter the code as I see it in the box.

I do that.

I get to another page to let me request tickets.

I put in Best Available, 2.

Continue.

I get a "We're sorry. Due to extremely high volume, we were unable to process your request. Please try to submit your request again."

Um, what the heck? Why let people in gradually if your system is still going to be overwhelmed?

I hit "Continue" about 20 times. Nothing.

As Jack Bauer would say, "Dammit!"

I finally get to a page with selected seats.

Don't even bother to see where they are. Whatever. Buy!

I registered with tickets.com earlier in the day so I'd have an account, but nowhere do I see that I can log into that account.

So I enter my info. Luckily, Macs have pre-fill.

I enter my credit card info.

I tell them to mail them to me. (Cheaper than printing them out myself; what's that about? Anyway, I like ticket stubs, not big sheets of paper.)

Buy!

And finally, I get a confirmation screen, at, what, 10:20 a.m.? Later?

So, if you end up going for tickets, take all this into account, especially the virtual waiting room, which opens 30 minutes before tickets go on sale, which I saw mentioned NOWHERE in any of the ticket info I've been reading.

Oh, and the tickets I scored? On the field, almost dead center on the stage.

Next to the soundboard, so the view might be a bit obstructed, but way better than I thought I'd get, having to wait to get in to get them.

So I nabbed a pair of tickets to go see The Police, one of my all-time favorite bands.

And then I screamed really loud.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Soup! Sweet Jesus, Soup! ...

According to Stanley Burroughs, the father of The Master Cleanser, it is very, very important to break the cleanse as he prescribes.

The first day: Juice. Freshly squeezed orange juice. Diluted at first, then full strength later.

The second day: More juice, then, later in the day, a simple homemade vegetable broth.

The third day: Broth and some of the vegetables, then perhaps salad or some other vegetable-based meal.

Last year, I followed his instructions rather closely.

This year, no so much.

I woke up this morning and thought, "I can have something today!"

Still, I started with juice. Orange juice. Sipped slowly. Two small glasses.

And then chocolate seemed like a good idea. At Whole Foods last week, I bought some Dagoba chocolate, crazy high in cacao content. (Hey, dark chocolate is good for you!) The New Moon bar has 74% cacao and the Mon Cheri bar has 72% cacao. I mean, it's practically health food! So I broke off a small New Moon piece and let it melt in my mouth. Oh, for the love of God. Chocolate. Lovely, dark, bittersweet chocolate. Heaven on my tongue.

I prepped all the veggies for my soup. Even if I wasn't going to eat today, I need to cook today. I just needed to be around food again.

When the soup was finished, I ladled some into a bowl and pureed the rest. I like pureed soup. It's so much more interesting that water with vegetables floating in it. It has body, like a bisque, without the cream. And as it's only vegetables and water, with a few herbs thrown in for good measure, and the tiniest smidge of olive oil (in which I sauteed the onions and garlic to start with), it's really good for you.

I ate a spoonful of it. Oh. Oh, oh, oh. Flavor. Texture. The necessity of a spoon!

In a moment of rebellion, I ladled some into a small bowl. If my system was going to make me regret it, so be it. I needed to eat something, dammit.

Happily, I felt fine. I felt the sensation of food in my stomach, a slight fullness, and actually contemplated that yes, I had just ingested food. It was in a bowl and now it was in my stomach. The transfer of mass.

A hour or so later, I still felt fine.

Another bit of chocolate? Oh, OK!

And I just had a Chocolate Coconut Chew Larabar. Larabars rock. They're real food. Imagine that! They're soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher.

So if you're a non-meat-eating, lactose-intolerant Orthodox Jew who suffers from celiac disease, you're home free.

(I'm a big fan of the Apple Pie bar, but I just noted on the web site that two new flavors are out for spring: Key Lime Pie and Pistachio! I LOVE Key Lime Pie. Must track that one down. And who doesn't love pistachio? When I was a kid, I thought pistachio pudding was fascinating, especially the color.)

So here we are, the evening of Day 1 and I've had juice and chocolate and soup and a Larabar and I feel OK.

Soup for dinner!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spring Cleaning, Day 10 ...

The finish line is in sight.

This morning I drank my last ... whoa, wait a minute. I haven't shared all the cleanse details with you, have I?

Are we close enough? Can you take such an intimate revelation? Will it freak you out to no end to learn that every morning on the cleanse, I drink a quart of lukewarm saltwater?

Yeah, thought so.

To answer your questions - your questions are "Why the hell would you drink a quart of lukewarm saltwater?! Are you insane?!", am I right? - I'll say, well, it flushes out my system. You know, like a radiator.

Flushes out what?, you're asking. You haven't eaten for 10 days!

Ah, and therein lies the beauty - you know, metaphorically speaking - of the cleanse. The clease is kind of like Willy Wonka's factory: Nobody ever goes in, but wonderful Wonka creations keep coming out.

Not that I'm comparing my cleanse results to Wonka creations. Everlasting Gobstoppers would be a bitch to pass.

You come to realize, though, doing the cleanse, just how necessary cleanses are, because indeed, nothing is going in, but indeed, something is still coming out. Which means it's stuff that's just been hangin' out in my body for God knows how long.

I know: BLECH!, right?

Right.

That's the point.

Every day, we cram out bodies full of crap (no pun intended), crap which our bodies need many, many hours to process, and then, at the next meal, we cram in more crap. Now we have two meals of crap to digest and then along comes dinner, and we eat the biggest meal of the day and our bodies are like the pissy woman behind the counter at the DMV: She doesn't care if you want her to move any faster, she's a government employee, dammit, and she's only going to do what she's capable of doing. If the line is 50 people long, she could care less. They'll just have to wait.

But the DMV's air conditioning has just gone out, and it's August, and there are no windows. And someone just got in line who ate garlic for breakfast and is sweating like Albert Brooks in "Broadcast News." Getting kinda putrid in there, eh?

Welcome to your stomach.

Mmm, mmm!

So, with the cleanse, you give your body a chance to clear out the backlog and then give your organs a much-needed rest and the saltwater is a bath for your digestive tract.

Yes, that means what you think it means. That's why you don't leave the house for a couple hours after you drink it.

And so, for the remainder of the day, I'll drink my lemonade gunk and then tomorrow, I'll start weaning my system back onto food. First, juice. Then, simple vegetable soup. Then salad.

Though I really want peanut M&Ms.

The main motivation for doing the cleanse this year, aside from the general benefits, is to set the stage for more of a raw diet. Not entirely raw, but more raw.

Kelley gave me The Raw Food Detox Diet last month, and I've since given copies to my mom and Dave. I really like Natalia Rose's approach to food. She's not a raw nazi, she doesn't demand that everyone eat carrots for the rest of their lives, but she encourages people to consider how their bodies process different foods and how those foods nourish us, and eat them properly for maximum benefit.

For example, our bodies digest fruit faster than any other food, so fruit should be eaten by itself, lest it be stuck hanging around in our stomachs - rotting, essentially - while we process the other foods we might have eaten with it.

And some foods combine well with others and others don't, so it makes sense to avoid the combinations that are too taxing for our systems. She's not forbidding any food, just suggesting that we be mindful of how we eat them in combinations with other foods.

The most elegant principle, though, is eating light to heavy. Eating the lightest foods in the morning (freshly made juices and fruit), salads and such at midday, and the biggest meal in the evening. Which isn't to say she's suggesting eating a pound of pasta and a loaf of bread, but if you're going to eat foods that will take your body more time to digest (like meat, for example), you should give your body the most time to digest it (the rest of the evening and overnight). And then, in the morning, while your body is finishing its work on the food from the night before, you have juice and fruit so as not to pile on, as it were. You go easy on your body while it's finishing the previous day's cycle.

It all makes total sense, even if it flies in the face of what most of us have been told most of our lives: Eat a hearty breakfast!

Being on the cleanse makes you realize how little your body really needs to sustain itself. I haven't had a bite of food since March 8. And I feel fine. I've exercised every day, just like usual. I've worked every day, just like usual. I've run errands and done chores and everything else that comes with a day. The only real change is most of the time, I did it with a sweatshirt on because I was chilled. But otherwise, I've felt completely fine. All on a diet of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water.

And I'm thinner! Some of the weight will come back when I return to food, but the food I'll be returning to will be healthier than before (we won't count the peanut M&Ms! - hey, I've earned a few peanut M&Ms!) and I walk every day, so any return of weight will be quickly dispatched.

Most of all, though, there's the feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing something you didn't think you could do. I've done the cleanse before, but every time is a bit of a struggle. So much of our lives centers around food. When you remove food from the equation, even for 10 days, it gives you a lot of time to think about how food functions in your life. We use it to celebrate, we use it to console, we use it to comfort, we use it to combat boredom. Food is much more than fuel.

So, another year, another cleanse coming to a close.

I don't think I'll want a glass of lemonade for a long time.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

'My Super Ex-Girlfriend' ...

OK, I wasn't exactly expecting high art, but this is quite possibly one of the worst movies I've ever seen. How it managed to attract Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson, I'll never know. (I could probably find out, but I won't spend time searching.)

I gave it one star on Netflix. I considered turning it off on several occasions, but I always think that a movie or a book will get better if I just give it a chance.

I'm usually wrong. Gotta learn to go with my instincts.

I surfed on over to rottentomatoes.com to see what others thought of this movie and I was astonished to see that it earned a 41% rating overall and a 46% rating from the Cream of the Crop critics. Huh? I mean, anything under 60 is rotten, but 41/46 is way higher than I was expecting. I was expecting single digits.

Here's a review I can get behind: "Vile. Nasty. Crude. Base. Ugly. Everything that's bad about 21st-century gender relations can be found in Ivan Reitman's dopily noxious Super Ex." - Steve Schneider, Orlando Weekly

And this one's pleasant: "This is certainly not good news for My Super Ex-Girlfriend, a lame laugher whose anemic superpowers couldn't put a dent into a marshmallow with a rusty hammer." - Frank Ochieng, Movie Eye

I like the image of a rusty hammer and a smooshy marshmallow.

Maybe I should have watched that instead.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thoughts Du Jour ...

Earlier today, I looked through all my CDs in search of new song candidates for my next recording session. Sometimes, I like a song but not an arrangement, so I made a list of potential tunes and headed over to my computer to look for other versions in iTunes.

First up, "But Not For Me." But I mistyped it as "But Not Fo rMe." So iTunes, in its infinite helpfulness, asked, "Did you mean 'But not not rue?' "

Um, no. Why? Is that a song?

So I plugged "But not not rue" into the search and - fuck me - I got a hit. The artist is Tetes Raides, the album is "Not Dead But Bien Raides" and the track is "Rue d'la peste." I sampled it.

It's weird.

So then I plugged in "The Nearness of You." You know who sings "The Nearness of You"? Besides Norah Jones and every jazz singer known to man? Sheena Easton. Yeah, that Sheena Easton. Yeah, "My Baby Takes the Morning Train ..." Sheena Easton.

Seriously, is there a hidden camera in my office? Is somebody watching this? So I sampled that, too.

It's good. Really. Sheena has some business singing standards.

I kept working through my list. "For All We Know" was on deck.

Anyone? Anyone?

Tom Wopat. Yup, Luke Duke. It's on an album that's classified as country, but it's hardly a country tune. And yeah, he does OK, too.

The day wore on. I curled up under an afghan on the couch. One of the side effects of the cleanse is being cold. Like all the time. I guess when your body's furnace doesn't have anything to digest, your internal thermostat is lowered.

I watched "Ugly Betty." Cute, as usual, with just enough pathos to keep the diabetic coma at bay.

I watched "Grey's Anatomy." If the camera adds 10 pounds, is Ellen Pompeo actually inverted in real life? How skinny can a human being be? Amazingly, the swing on her porch that hadn't swung since she was little looks like it was just put there yesterday. You'd think Seattle weather would wreak some havoc on wood.

(Had to step away from this to settle a day-long grammar debate. Ah, the life of a writer.)

So then I started to watch "October Road," the latest beautiful-people offering from ABC. The show opens in the year 1997. OK, I could overlook the fact that an early Boston tune was used in that scene. No one says the music has to tie in perfectly to the time being portrayed. But the show lost me in a hurry when the main character, who left home for six weeks 10 years ago, a first-time novelist suffering from writer's block on his second book, gets a call from his editor who wants him to be a last-minute replacement for a one-day intensive seminar about "Writing the Novel" in his hometown because John Irving had to drop out.

John Irving. I'm supposed to believe that in the entire literary universe, Hometown College managed to attract John Irving for a seminar (OK, that's fine; I have many books signed by him on my bookshelf in the next room; my cousin knows him; I hear he's a good guy) but when he has to drop out at the last minute, the next writer on the list is Mr. I Just Published My First Novel?

Yeah, later, "October Road." Little Miss Literal has a blog entry to write instead.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

To Be Or Not To Be (Friends) ...

So, I was reading my online pal Steff's latest post this morning and I left a lengthy comment, and I thought to myself, "Well, that's pretty much a blog entry unto itself."

The post (What, you're too lazy to go read it? Fine, I'll summarize it for you ... ) is from a reader of Steff's wanting her take on "being friends" after a break-up. In this case, the guy is the break-upper, the girl the break-upee. She says she didn't see the end coming. Ouch.

So, I got to thinking about the whole "let's be friends" business, and as I wrote in my comment, with one exception, I have no contact with any man I've ever dated. And that one exception is the one man I didn't sleep with. Hmm.

I once had a guy break up with me (after a short but intense spell; he lived in another city and determined that the distance would be an issue, though he had previously dated a woman here and broke up with her for the same alleged reason; did he think Lake Michigan had evaporated some and brought our two cities that much closer?) who said - in his e-mail, his chosen forum for ending things, which tells you a lot about him right there - that he still wanted to be friends, that he liked talking to me and having me there to listen to him and thought I was great and fun and funny and blah blah blah.

I quickly fired back that I am not an a la carte menu.

Which isn't to say I'd never be friends with an ex in the future, but like Steff says, it's very tricky.

The last guy I dated seriously stood by his apartment door as I got my coat on after he broke up with me (yeah, he let me come to him; I called him on it later and he apologized) and said, sullenly, "You hate me now."

I reassured him that I didn't hate him. Because I didn't. I knew things weren't going to work out between us ultimately, too. But I was struck by the fact that moments after dropping a bomb on me, he was wanting me to make him feel better. At least, that's how I read it. Oy vey.

Come to think of it, a guy I dated in my 20s broke up with me on the phone. (I'm detecting a trend here: Men are pathetic wusses when it comes to breaking up.) I'm very much one of those people who thinks of the perfect thing to say after the fact. That night, I said to him, "I can't help but think that as soon as I hang up the phone, I'll think of what I want to say to you right now."

He chuckled and said, "You can call me back."

And I, in a moment that will go down in my annals of great retorts, said, very assuredly, "No, I really don't think I can."

Then I wished him well and told him how lucky someone will be to have him someday, partly because I meant it, partly because I wanted to kill him just a little with kindness, and partly because I will not be the shrill, scorned, suddenly ex-girlfriend whose behavior justifies the break-up in the man's mind: "Geez, she's a psycho. I did the right thing."

In fact, the only ex-boyfriend I ever yelled at was the one I never slept with. Hmm.

The other day, he posted a very sweet compliment to one of my photos on MySpace. I sent him a note that read, "What a fab way to start the day!"

Today, he sent a reply that read, "You are the most fab way to start the day! Wish I could literally start and end each day with you!"

To which I replied, "Aw. If only circumstances were different ... ."

But if nothing else, we're friends.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Two-Year Anniversary ...

Where the hell does the time go?

It was two years ago that I sent an e-mail to a few friends raving about this book and my friend Jeff wrote back and said, "You need a blog, woman!"

I didn't know about Blogger then. I had been trying to create a web site through my ISP, but, well, that never happened. But Blogger made it easy, so I threw my hat into the blogging ring and here we are, two years later.

A site counter tells me that I get a little more that 1,000 hits a month. That doesn't average out to much, but that's OK. I don't write for you. I write for me.

But it's nice to have you drop by.

Tonight I'm camped out on the couch in my basement catching up on episodes of "Heroes," thanks to Ethan. I'd caught part of an episode but hadn't been bitten by the bug. But several of my friends whose opinions I greatly respect are nuts for this show, so I mentioned to Ethan that I'd have to wait for this summer to catch it on DVD. Ethan to the rescue! And, thanks to the miracle that is TiVo, no commercials! And damn, this is a good episode!

It's the end of Day 5 of the cleanse. I'm halfway there. I saw my mom today. She said, "You're thinner." Yes, I am. Which makes drinking the lemonade gunk mighty worth it. Not that that's why I do the cleanse. But it's a nifty side benefit.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Latest Apple Technology ...

This is one of the funniest things I've seen on TV in a long time.

I didn't see it on TV. L.A. Dave sent the YouTube link to me.

But what does it say about my brain that I thought "iRack" would be about breast implants?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Richard Jeni, 1962-2007 ...

















He was one of my favorite comedians.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Spring Cleaning, Day 2 ...

Another day down.

And with Daylight Savings, tomorrow I'll have one fewer hour in which to think about food!

Go Forth And Be Amused ...

I read somewhere recently that this whole blogging craze has crested, that we're now on the downward slide. Apparently, all those bazillions of blogs that are being created every day are all ads for fake Rolexes and penis pumps as opposed to actual musings by those who may or may not have muse-worthy thoughts.

Of course, I'm sure I read this revelation not on a blog but on a "legitimate news site" fronted by the "mainstream media." Of course (again), the mainstream media is probably just grumpy because it has to write what passes for news these days while we non-MSMers can bloat cyberspace with ramblings about our cats.

Luckily - for you - I do not own a cat.

Not now. Not ever. I am - and shall remain - 100% cat-free. (Yep, I took the time to create the "No Cat" symbol.)

But cats are not my point. Oh, no. Tonight, the topic at hand is ... Chinese people.

I've never been to China. I'd like to go. Eat some food. See the wall. But this post, while being not about cats, is also not about my experiences with fine Chinese folk. No, this post exists almost solely to point you to this post, written by my cyberpal Mike across the pond in a land called York, which, I'm guessing, is the original York, and so settlers to this land had to settle for naming their big city New York, so's people would know the difference.

You gotta love them Brits. They're funny. Except maybe the Queen. She doesn't seem like much of a jokester. Though this photo would make you think otherwise, wouldn't it? Lizzy seems mighty amused about somethin'. Maybe she's amused that she's wearing the family jewels on her head. Nah, she's too refined for a double entendre like that. Or is she?

But never let it be said that the royals aren't living in the now. I just Googled "Queen Elizabeth" and the very first hit says, "Welcome to the official web site of the British Monarchy." FYI, Buckingham Palace has a summer job program if you'll be looking for something to do. Maybe you'll get paid in crumpets.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Spring Cleaning ...

Why does so much good thinking happen in the shower?

Today is Day 1 of my annual cleanse. I wrote about last year's Day 1 and posted daily updates up to - and beyond - Day 10.

Some of my friends thought I was nuts, others were intrigued. But pretty much everyone had the same question: "Why?"

So today in the shower, I was thinking about how to explain the cleanse to those who want to understand my motivation and I came up with this: It's like cleaning out your closet.

In order to really clean it, you have to take everything out of it and then vacuum and wipe down the shelves and then assess the pile of crap on your bed and start deciding what you're going to put back in. Example: Ugh, I don't want that red sweater anymore.

The cleanse is the same thing. You stop eating (take everything out of your digestive system; we won't get into the discussion that a 10-day cleanse isn't really enough time to rid your body of all the toxins in your cells), you clean the newly cleared-out space (that's a joint effort between you and your cells; you're giving your body basic nourishment in handy, easy-to-assimilate liquid form which frees up your body's energy to deal with all the gunk inside you, since it doesn't have to deal with today's burger-and-fries gunk), and then you decide what you want to put back in (old habits die hard, to be sure, but in the days and weeks immediately following the cleanse, you are much more reticient to eat fatty, heavy food; your palate doesn't want it and you're mindful of how taxing it will be to your body). Example: Ugh, I don't want red meat anymore.

Last year, Day 1 was a bitch. I mean, it was HARD. By about this time on Day 1 last year, I was whining on the phone to L.A. Dave that I wanted to quit.

You don't realize how much food consumes your thoughts until food is off the table. (Food puns unintended but unavoidable; food on the brain.) And, of course, every frickin' commercial on TV tonight is for food. Damn you, talented food stylists!

Likewise, Day 1 is up to its old tricks this time around. The habit center of my brain is elbowing me: "Come on, Beth. You don't want to do this. You want Oreos, don't you? Or a pizza? Hey, wouldn't Doritos be really good right about now?"

But tomorrow will be easier. The sense of triumphing over Day 1's temptation goes a long way. And one full day away from food is remarkably enough to lessen its death grip on my thoughts.

Day 2, here I come.

Beer-Launching Fridge ...

So, this dude with a degree in engineering spent 150 hours and $400 in parts to rig a dorm-size mini-fridge into a machine that could toss a beer to him so he didn't have to get up off the couch.

I'm sure all the men who have heard this story or watched the video have said, "Yeah, man! That's cool!"

Meanwhile, all women are saying, "Why didn't he just put the fridge next to the couch?"

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Singing, The Day After The Morning After ...

The subhed of my blog is "As a writer and singer, I am finding my way through words." Well, the fact that I write every day (or almost every day) pretty much covers the writing side of things, but the singing doesn't get much virtual ink here unless I'm recording, which is silly, because I sing all the time. I just don't write about it.

But I've been flying ever since my session Monday night. (Is this what a runner's high feels like? I wouldn't know. I don't run unless chased. I like the idea of running, but the reality of running is a let down. Maybe someday, my body will like it and my knees won't protest.)

Last night, I poked around my CD collection in search of more material. Most of the songs that I've sung so far are slow. Some are smoky. Some are sweet. But I looked for some up-tempo tunes. Time to demonstrate that the girl can rock, I reckon.

(OOOOOOH, I just had a fun idea. Damn, I love when that happens. Hold on, I gotta go dig out the tune and try it on. Why is it not in my iTunes?! OK, I found it. But, hmm maybe it's not the right choice. Unless I edit this cut from the CD I give to my mom and dad. 'Hella Good' and the heavy breathing might be a bit weird for my father.)

I thought I might like to do something with a bit of a country twinge, so I grabbed my Bonnie Raitt discs. Not that Bonnie's country country, but her tunes were worth a run-through. And sure enough, I found one I liked. And sure enough, it's slow.

But she'll play well alongside the k.d. lang tune. Ordering this disc is gonna be a hoot. There are several distinct genres, but then, the unifying element is my voice, so I guess they'll all play well together in the end.

But I'm always open to suggestions, too. In addition to k.d. and Bonnie, I'm drawn to singing tunes from the likes of Annie Lennox and Beth Nielsen Chapman and Dana Glover (check out "Rain"; Doreen turned me onto her; I dig her sound; and she's annoyingly beautiful) and KT Tunstall and Melissa Etheridge and Shawn Colvin and Tracy Chapman. Maybe Stevie Nicks. You know, that kind of feel, real music, not, say, Britney Spears and all that hyper-production.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Singing, The Morning After ...

Mom raised me to be humble. Friends will tell you that I very rarely talk about myself. In a group, I'm the one who listens to everyone else.

And humility is good, to a point. But last night, I seriously knocked my new tune out of the park.

The first half of the session was spent sitting with Brian at his boards, listening to what we've laid down in past sessions and tweaking little things. "Ooh, that's flat," I said of one word. No problem. He adjusted the pitch just enough to smooth it out. "Ooh, that 'k' is too hard," I said of the end of another word. No problem. He took the volume down on that consonant to make it less pronounced.

Did you know there are like a bazillion kinds of reverb? I didn't. Reverb's reverb, right? Oh, no no. What kind of reverb would you like? Do you want to sound like you're in the shower or in a cathedral? Singing in a school hallway or an airport concourse? Seriously. Completely wild, computers and what you can use them to do to someone's voice.

So as Brian played back tracks, I asked, "What's on my voice here?", thinking he'd done all kinds of tinkering. And he clicked off the reverb and I heard my raw vocals. Sometimes, I just heard the vocal with no music bed underneath it. That was startling, to hear the way I really sound when I sing. On good equipment. (The mic I was using is normally used to record narration for television, so it's pretty damn spiffy, as mics go.)

I headed into the booth after an hour or so, and revisited a song we've worked on during the past two sessions. I've been singing it a lot and thought I could lay down a better cut. I keep the lights off in the booth, so the only light was from Brian's studio. At home, I sing in the dark, so it just feels more comfortable to sing with the lights off when I'm there.

Part way through the song, I saw Dave pop his head in the door. And, much to my amazement, I kept singing. Until I started laughing. I didn't think he was going to be there last night.

Dave didn't realize at first that I was in the booth (given that the lights were off and I was wearing black) but Brian clued him in. And he had very nice things to say about my voice - the pitch, the vibrato.

The key thing to know here is Dave is a sensational musician. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, he composes for television, but he's also a singer and keyboardist in a band. I respect him musically more than anyone else I can think of (though Brian is a great musician, too). So while praise from anyone is nice, praise from a professional musician is validation.

We returned to the track at hand. I was having trouble with a couple words, trouble that Brian couldn't likely fix with his techy toys. So we punched a few lines a few times and he played them back for me so we could judge them. In one phrase, the word "Yes!" is very key, and I sang it in a particularly high-pitched voice.

"What do you think?" Brian asked in my headphones.

"Well, let's see if you get this reference: I think I sound like Jenna Jameson." Through the glass dividing us, I saw him laugh. We kept the phrase.

After a bit more tinkering, happy with the entire track, we moved on to "Who's Minding The Store?"

Maybe it was because I was warmed up. Maybe it was because I was happy with the other tracks I'd been hearing all night. Maybe it was because I've sung this song about 100 times in recent days, but my voice did everything I asked it to do. Brian let me sing through on the take he was using to check levels. "There was some good stuff in there," he said. So we ran it again. And we'll work on it again the next time.

Next week, he says. We'll see. But I hope so. Things are finally coming together. A number of tracks are almost finished, for my part. He can start mixing them as he has time. I have two more to record, the k.d. lang and another that I was thinking might be a bit out of my range. But I sang it in the car on the way home last night and thought, "Hell, I can do this song."

I hung out with Dave for a while after Brian left. Later, Dave put his coat on to walk me to my car. I told him that I was glad he got to hear a few seconds of me singing. He asked if he could hear more. I suggested he have Brian play the new track, even though it's unfinished. As we stepped onto the elevator, he said, "Your voice, it's so professional, Beth. If you don't mind me using that word."

I laughed. "Yes, Dave. How dare you say I sound professional?!" But he made a good point, that not all professional voices are voices we necessarily want to hear. Or, we think we want to hear them, because they've been so processed by computers, but then we hear them live and yeeeeeeeeesh. Or, we never hear them live. On purpose. Because they never tour.

Earlier, as Brian was getting ready to leave, he said I should start performing at the Hyatt on Wacker. "Isn't that the hotel with all the glass on the river, by the lake?" he asked. It is. I chuckled to myself, thinking of the jazz band in "Lost in Translation," the woman with the mane of red hair singing "Scarborough Fair": "We're Sausalito!"

I bet they'd love me in Japan. : o )

Monday, March 05, 2007

Singing ...

The good thing about having a friend who works for a production company is that I have access to really incredible recording equipment and his engineering expertise that would normally cost me a bundle but which costs me nothing (other than nice little gestures on my part - rides home after our sessions, cookies at Christmas - which I insist on, because he's inclined to not even accept those).

The bad thing about having a friend who works for a production company is that he's busy like a mutha, so our little recording sessions have to shoehorn into his schedule which, most of the time, is insane.

But every once in a while, the planets align and evenings like tonight open up.

As I wrote in last year's Christmas letter: "... nowhere am I happier than in a booth behind a mic. Singing is what I most love to do, and so doing it this year, even in small sessions, has brought me into better alignment with myself. Fear still rears its head, but I’m learning to keep it largely at bay and revel in the moments of doing something that brings me immeasurable joy."

I'm still nervous every time I do this. I suppose that will always be so. But we have to check levels before we start recording, so I'm able to work out my nerves on that first take and I settle into the evening pretty quickly.

Brian, my friend and brilliant sound guy, is hands down one of the sweetest human beings on the planet. At this stage of the game, I couldn't imagine singing for anyone else. He puts me at ease and is always full of good advice and patience, a very key combination.

When I got in touch with him last year about reprising our recording sessions (he recorded a song for me that I gave to Dave for his 50th birthday), I hoped to lay down one or two tracks. Brian, enthusiastic as he is, suggested, "Six! No, ten! We should do a whole CD's worth of songs!" Well, finishing 10 songs might take the rest of both our lifetimes at this rate, but six seems very feasible.

Tonight, I suspect, we'll revisit what I've already recorded and punch phrases that need a little tweaking. But a couple months ago (it can be a *long* time between sessions) I decided on two songs that I want to add to the effort: Diane Reeves' rendition of "Who's Minding the Store?" from "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "Outside Myself" by k.d. lang. The latter I suggested to him a couple years ago, but we never got around to laying it down.

Hopefully, tonight's the night.

And when I'm done with the disc, you'll have no way to hear it, because I can't post audio here. And I have yet to figure out how to post music on a MySpace page. : o )

But the last time I saw him, he played my vocal track for "Gotta Be This or That" and I asked him what he'd done to it, and he said, "Nothing. That's just you."

Damn. Really? Now if I could just muster up the courage to sing for an audience without swigging a couple of glasses of Scotch first, I'll be on my way.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Catalogical? ...

Do you ever wonder how you get on certain mailing lists?

I know that everyone sells your name and address to everyone else and much of what darkens my mailbox - all those poor, dead trees - has some sort of reasonable connection to everything else.

And then there are days like today.

Mixed in with my Netflix and cell bill and PAC-We're-Hosting-An-Event-Won't-You-Please-Buy-A-Ticket-For-$1,000? invitation (And how do those people continue to find me? Seriously, I bought a piece of art at an auction when I WAS IN COLLEGE and haven't given them a dime since, yet they continue to send me stuff) was a catalog for delia's.

Oh, sorry: It's dELiA*s.

How precious.

Like, it's the spring break 07 issue!

On dELiA*s web site (no, I'm not linking to it), you can totally enter to win the prom dress of your choice! And in the catalog, there's an ad - yes, an ad, in a catalog - that asks, "Acne? Choose BenzaClin with confidence". (Period outside the quotation marks because BenzaClin didn't punctuate its pronouncement.)

And while every model (or is it the same model?) in the catalog has clearly hit puberty, are these girls (is this girl?) old enough to vote?

The only logical connection between me and this festival of sickening cuteness? Inseam. dELiA*s features some jeans and pants with inseams up to 36 inches. And published sizes range from 00 to 19/20. Double 0? I'll presume that the 00 chicks aren't the ones in need of a 36-inch inseam, because if they are, I think they can wear drinking straws and call it a day.

But perhaps I'd like to consider this fetching number: A hot-pink long T-shirt with some gold teeth and the pronouncement "I'm so gangster."

Now, I'm about as whitey white bread as they come, but I'm pretty sure that when gold teeth are invoked, "gangsta" is more appropriate. I don't think we're talkin' about Don Corleone here. Which also rules out the use of hot pink. Whether your bad ass is on the streets or behind a big walnut desk, you ain't wearin' hot pink. Then again, I'm being sexist. I'm sure there are women out there who like to proudly proclaim their gangster-ishness and feel feminine, too.

But oh my. I just turned the page. And I have to draw the line. It's bad enough that my eyes fell upon a Beatles T-shirt, it's bad enough that every girl in this catalog was probably born 10 years after Lennon was shot, but dELiA*s has blasphemed beyond that that can be forgiven: You do NOT - I repeat, NOT - place the Beatles adjacent to Strawberry Shortcake.