Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pop culture points out my bad parenting

A few days ago I got home from meeting a friend for coffee and my 13-year old daughter, who had been babysitting, asked if she could go to a movie with some of her BFF’s. I said yes because, well, she had been babysitting and school starts next week and I was trying to score Good Mom points. (I believe this is the first time that Daughter has been dropped off at the theater to hang with some friends, but I’ll have to check the records.)

She runs upstairs to call her friends and say she can go and when she comes back down I ask “Which movie?” YES, I realize that this is the FIRST question a GOOD mother would have asked. Especially after Daughter informs me that they are going to see House Bunny.

Yikes. I haven’t done my parental research on House Bunny. It looks pretty harmless – smart girls learn how to wear lip gloss and dumb girl learns how to use a sentence with a noun AND a verb – but it does start out at the Playboy Mansion. My only consolation is that one of the attending BFF’s has a mother who is even stricter than I am and if her kid is going then I’m not going to backtrack and be the Movie Nazi.

I really haven’t thought too much about it until I was flipping through Entertainment Weekly this morning and came to a one-page story on the styling of the girls in House Bunny and saw that Katharine McPhee and Rumer Willis are two of the “stars” of the movie.


I have to be honest. We live in a fairly affluent area; my daughter has an iPod, and a cell phone, and a laptop. And because my husband works in the media our children have been exposed to some pretty decent perks – suites at sporting events, the occasional front row seat at a Disney musical. They are fairly spoiled. But I am NOT ready for the why-can’t-you-get-me-a-part-in-a-movie-or-let-me-audition-for-a-reality-show-so-I-can-have-a-career-in-Hollywood onslaught that movies like House Bunny are sure to elicit.

Why, oh why, do you have to do this, filmmakers? Are there not enough cute Midwestern girls who have quit school and moved to L.A. to work the second shift at Denny’s so they can audition all day to fill your casting requirements? And I can’t even imagine the tension when the actresses are all sitting around between takes, smoking their cigarettes to stay skinny, and one of them asks Rumer how many times SHE had to sleep with the producer to get the role and Rumer says “Uh, none.” At least she had to wear the back brace, which only seems fair.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Stop the fake typing

Our newspaper didn’t show up this morning so I called to report a “delivery issue” and – sidebar here – A delivery issue? This is the only option I was given and I would like to go on the record as saying that not getting the paper (that we pay for) is not an “issue,” it’s a mistake or an error or a flub or some other word meaning someone screwed up or got confused or isn’t doing their job. You’re a newspaper! Use the right words for Pete’s sake!

Anyway, when you call to report a “delivery issue” your call is handled by a computerized-but-very-friendly-and-compassionate-sounding female voice who asks you questions and responds to your verbal answers. I actually prefer punching in numbers, btw, as I feel like an idiot walking around the house in my pajamas trying to enunciate clearly into the phone so she doesn’t come back on and say “I didn’t understand your answer. Here are the options again.” Maybe it’s just me, but she sounds a little impatient at this point. So I tell Computer Chick all my info – it’s only today’s paper I didn’t receive, yes I WOULD like someone to deliver one (who DOESN’T choose this?), phone number and address, and then she says “Let me pull up your account.”

And then I hear the sound of typing!

Hiring someone that sounds friendly and helpful to record your computerized voice options is one thing, but why the fake typing sound? Are you trying to make me believe that I’ve been talking to a real person this whole time who is now typing my info into the computer, or do you think I won’t believe she’s actually looking up MY account unless I hear some kind of keyboard sound effects?

All I can imagine is that someone got all caught up in their job of setting up the computerized voice option system and went through it over and over listening to every possible combination of answers and then said to himself, "This really needs some typing sounds to make it sound authentic."

It's like that plastic strip of "grass" that comes with supermarket sushi. If I'm eating sushi in Japan there is probably a real leaf or something separating the different kinds of sushi, and if I'm talking to a real operator there are gonna be some typing sounds: I don't need the cheap imitations.

Friday, August 29, 2008

David Duchovny are you Punking us?

Those darn AOL headlines. Sometimes they are nothing but a big tease, but they are great for procrastinators like me so when I saw

Actor, 48, in Rehab for Sex Addiction

Wants Privacy for Actress Wife, 2 Kids

I just had to click on it.

I was totally prepared NOT to be surprised; I think we can all immediately list at least five actors we’d expect to be the subject of this story (Charlie Sheen) and then list many many more whose names would not surprise us (Jeremy Piven - sorry, Jeremy I have no idea why); but when David Duchovny’s face popped up on my screen my first reaction was “What?!?”

I could have guessed all day and his name STILL would not have come up.

And that is why I think we’re being Punk’d.

He’s been married to Tea Leoni since 1997; they are rarely in the tabloids, and he is known for his sense of humor. My mind immediately goes back to the Larry Sanders show where David played himself – as if he had a man-crush on Larry.

Though if today’s headline is true, that’s looking a little creepy now.

But I refuse to believe it. He plays a sex-obsessed character on Californication and I think/hope that this is a big publicity stunt for the fall season.

Or Ashton Kutcher and his trucker hat are going to pop up on my AOL screen at any minute.

90210 - Still crazy after all these years

I get up every day wondering if there is enough silliness to write about. What with the economy, and picking a new leader for the country, and …well, the economy: things are pretty serious these days.

So, God Bless You Shannen Doherty!

It’s too bad I have absolutely no intention of watching the new 90210. Isn’t it just Gossip Girl in a different zip code, really? And I’m not sure how “inspired” the decision to bring back some of the original cast in adult roles is (like we didn’t know they were really adults the first time we watched the show – IN THE 90’S!). But I appreciate the effort that you are making, CW, to create a show that my children and I can watch together.

You don’t have children, do you, CW?

Because if you did, you would know that the minute the show starts and Jason Priestly appears on screen and I say “Oh. My. God. I had SUCH a crush on him. Daddy and I watched this show every week when we were dating” my daughter is going to be off the couch and up in her room plugged back into her laptop and her ipod and her cell phone before I even finish the sentence.

(See my comments on the very insightful blog on the topic by the very funny Karen Buscemi)

Back to Shannen. I am so GLAD to hear that when she and Jennie Garth reunited on the new set that they didn’t feel the need to go back to their old behavior of ignoring each other at work and saying nasty things about the other one to the press - which proves that they must REALLY be adults now, right? Apparently Jennie was nervous as hell about the meet-up and I don’t blame her because this is Shannen’s quote:

I think when you’re 18, your personalities conflict, then you meet up 10 or 15 years later and the playing ground is totally different and you’re fine.

Which I interpret to mean:

I am older and smarter and have learned a million more ways to mess with you, Bitch, so keep your distance.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Eagle Eye = Nick of Time + A Chick

Every time I see the trailer for Eagle Eye I can’t help but think of the 1995 movie Nick of Time where Johnny Depp was forced to commit a political assassination to save the life of his kidnapped daughter.

Eagle Eye looks like someone in Hollywood REALLY liked Nick of Time but felt it didn’t get the respect it deserved so they remade it but added a chick (it’s HER kid this time) and an anonymous voice on the phone (instead of us seeing the villains, though Christopher Walken is FAR scarier – he even managed to make a music video a little eerie). The second lead was a smart idea; part of the problem with Nick of Time was that Johnny Depp was in it alone and it was kind of confusing because you only had his facial expressions and occasional mutterings to figure out what moral issues he was struggling with. Eagle Eye has the benefit of the two lead characters being able to talk it out so the audience doesn’t get lost.

Shia LaBeouf: I can’t believe an anonymous female voice over the phone kidnapped your daughter and is making us commit a political assassination!

Michelle Monaghan: I know!


Johnny Depp (to self): I can’t believe Christopher Walken and that woman kidnapped my daughter and are forcing me to commit a political assassination.

See, much better!

And since when do political assassins pick random people off the street to do their dirty work for them? Are we supposed to believe that John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald were just walking around minding their own business one day and their child or wiener dog was kidnapped and threatened with death until they knocked off a political figure?

I have not seen Eagle Eye (and probably won’t – sorry Shia and Michelle, make a romantic comedy) but I’d like to imagine that someone somewhere has learned their lesson and about ¾ of the way through I’d hear this bit of dialogue:

Shia: Wait a minute! Isn’t this the plotline of Nick of Time?

Michelle: Oh my God, were you even ALIVE in 1995?

Shia: I have Netflix.

Michelle: Oh, well, yeah, this was the plot. Only without the perky yet protective female character that I’m portraying.

Shia: Well, what did Johnny Depp do? Let’s do that so we can get out of here and pick up our multi-million dollar paychecks!

Michelle: Great idea!

Note to Shia LaBeouf: I realize you are trying to transition from child actor to Serious Adult Movie Star and that car accidents and thrillers are all part of the process, but don’t forget the other required steps: playing a junkie, denying a substance abuse problem, going into rehab, Emmy-winning guest starring role on appropriate television series and/or Indie film (NOT Indy film), then Academy-winning role as tormented former cop and/or homosexual. I’d hate to see you get pigeon-holed as Thriller Guy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Save the cheerleader

One of my friends has a daughter who competes in Extreme Cheer which I totally have to check out, especially after reading this in the paper this morning…

Cheerleading accounted for 65.1% of female high school athlete injuries and for 66.7% of female college athlete injuries.

Most of us over 40 (who will admit to being a cheerleader) are shocked by this. The craziest thing we ever did while cheering was stand on another girl’s shoulders and since most of us weren’t that tall, it wasn’t that bad if you fell. The only other risk of injury I recall is strained vocal cords after yelling “We’ve got spirit yes we do! We’ve got spirit how ‘bout you?!” for 2 ½ hours in cold October rain while your sucky football team slipped all over the field and dropped the ball 400 times.

Ah, good times.

Apparently the cheerleader movie Bring It On, which runs nearly continuously every weekend on ABC Family, is not total fiction. In the 1980’s a lot of schools dumped their gymnastics programs and the gymnasts drifted into cheerleading. Since then, the number of cheerleaders has risen only 18% but the number of cheerleading injuries has doubled.

This leads me to wonder …. just how good were these gymnasts anyway? And why are the cheerleaders putting up with this?

Say there’s a squad of 10 cheerleaders. Two former gymnasts show up, crying and moaning about how the school doesn’t support them and has taken away their balance beams and the cheerleaders – who are ALL ABOUT SUPPORT – take them in and next thing you know those darn gymnasts have those poor, unprepared girls flipping through the air, doing double-tuck handsprings, and greatly increasing their chance of injury.

If these cheerleaders don’t do something to stop this they are going to suffer the same fate that has befallen nearly every other sport and childhood activity … they will be forced to wear helmets.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Doggy daycare

I know I am risking the wrath of the Oprah-led legion who believe that dogs should be treated as children but I have to address the issue of doggy day care. There was an article in our local paper this morning about a company that is opening its SECOND location because there are so many pups that need coordinated playtime, snack, and rest periods at the cost of $25/day.

What others choose to do with their money is their own business but, People, this is a slippery slope. I remember when it started. Back in the Good Old Days people had pets and left them at home and went off to work or whatever. Then there were televisions and a few forward-thinking individuals said “I like TV! It makes me feel like I’m not alone in the house. Maybe my DOG would like the TV on while I’m gone so he doesn’t feel alone.” There are two problems with this: Isn’t the dog supposedly there to keep you from feeling alone in the house, and can you prove that a dog knows when it is or is not alone?

I didn’t think so.

When answering machines became commonplace this group started calling their dogs sporadically during the day so the dog “can hear my voice.” I used to work with a woman who called her dog punctually at noon every day to “remind” him to eat. Then there was the guy who would call his own house, wait for the machine to beep, then yell “Get off the couch!” Then he would chuckle. We all thought he was a little creepy. Either way, does your dog really need a call in the middle of them day reminding him of your presence?

Next thing you know you got trouble. That starts with T and that rhymes with P and that stands for …. Well I don’t know what it stands for but I do know that dogs were suddenly seen everywhere dressing up for Halloween, sporting designer collars and sweaters, being monitored by webcams and – inevitably – being sent to daycare.

I know exactly what lead to it: guilt. People get the dogs then have to work more hours to pay for all the doggy accessories and feel guilty for leaving the dog to work more so they work even harder so they can pay someone ELSE to entertain the dog while they are away.

I have a better idea. Pay me just $20/day and I will call and remind you that “It’s ok to leave your dog home alone.”

As many times as it takes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mayor "Decides" to Stay Away From Big Party

This was the headline in the paper this morning - though the quotes are mine. Because really, Kwame, you decided to stay away? This was totally your choice? You actually sat down with a few trusted advisers (who aren't also being indicted for something) and talked it over and made the wise and rational decision that your presence at the Democratic National Convention might be a bit of a distraction?

I find this hard to believe because what it looks like from here is a totally typical high school situation where you were busted for driving your dad's car and your mom said you are grounded until the end of the month and the month isn't over and you want to go to a party and your mom usually is pretty lenient but you have a feeling that THIS TIME if you ask permission to go to a party while you are supposedly grounded your mom's head is going to pop off and you will be told NO! in no uncertain terms and maybe even confined to your room for the weekend with no TV and no video games.

Only in this situation your mom is ANY DETROIT JUDGE.

And your mom probably never grounded you, did she?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Law & Order:CI Marathon

You had me at Vincent D'Onofrio.

His crazy head tilting, that goofy extra-large black portfolio he's constantly consulting, his partner who didn't care for him at first but now totally trusts him, and the way he's always getting into trouble yet always manages to solve the crime. Heaven. Then you had to bring in Chris Noth.

How am I supposed to choose?

Goren can talk crazy with anyone; he's crazier than most of the people he interviews.

But Logan, well ... he's Big.

Goren is so Sherlock Holmes; the smallest detail or reaction can help him solve the crime.

Logan was on the original Law & Order; we go way back.

Goren knows that freakiest trivia about the strangest things.

"Ever been in love?" "Absofuckinglutely."

And even though I know how nearly every episode ends I can't stop watching. Goren and Logan are both so addicting. USA and Bravo, you CI-marathon-running fiends, it's a gorgeous day and I'd like to go outside! Turn it off. (And stop tormenting me about the season finale tonight you knife-twister! I know it's almost over. I know Big ... I mean Logan is leaving! Why must you torment me so?)

TWO HOURS LATER (that, btw, is a Sponge Bob episode reference)

Of course I'm still watching. Thank God I cleaned the house and got my daughter off to skating before I got caught in this web of a marathon. I have not showered and am pretty sure I still smell like Windex with Vinegar (fave new cleaning product!) And I've started to realize just how many CI episodes feature some sort of evil mentor/protege/new (more talented) protege triangle with either the mentor killing the old protege, the old protege killing the new protege, or the mentor AND the old protege killing the new protege to steal her ideas because they don't have any.

Maybe it's just me, but if you can figure out how to commit a crime and not get caught except by the most brilliant of Detectives then maybe you do have another book in you after all.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


It's 90-something degrees outside and I'm on the second day of a garage sale (don't ask) and have to run to Target for a REQUIRED black sports bra for my daughter (again, don't ask). Thankfully there is a Starbucks in this Target. Is there anything more civilized? All I need is some caffeine, sugar, and ice cubes mixed together and a straw. But it's never that easy, is it?

"What size fat-o-chino did you order, again?"


I'm practically a frizzy puddle and she wants me to remember what fake size drink I ordered? I can barely read the menu because it's so humid that my eyeballs have fogged up. I haven't been through the TRAINING and I am not fluent in this made up language.

I just want something COLD!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Cyclists with agendas

A guy was biking up the side of Telegraph Road, a dangerous endeavor as there are 4 lanes of angry commuters and big trucks blowing dust and small rocks immediately to your left. (Yes, I’ve tried it). The cyclist was wearing a backpack which had a sign with a political agenda taped to the back of it.

I can’t stop thinking about this guy. Did he need the backpack to transport items and thought a basket would appear too sissy, or was the backpack merely the mode of display for the sign? And if he wasn’t carrying anything in the backpack, did he even have anywhere to go? Was he out there biking up and down Telegraph simply to broadcast his message? Is this really the most effective way to get your message across? Hasn’t he heard of the internet? And if you’re really serious about your message, then a sign that looks like it was created in Word and printed out at home scotch-taped to the back of a Jansport is probably not going to get you taken very seriously.

He reminds me of the guy who goes out on his lunch hour to try and get Kwame Kilpatrick impeached. I saw him at the intersection of Woodward and 12 Mile, standing there in his suit and tie, holding a sign that simply read “Impeach!” (I’m not even sure it had an exclamation point). It seemed so random. Then I read about him in the paper a few weeks later. Apparently he chooses a different corner every lunch hour and just stands there with his sign, doing his little part to move due process along.

I wonder if Governor Granholm ever drives on Woodward?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The age of my cat

Today I got an email from which is one of those websites with 1,000 different ways to live longer and healthier which I totally agree with but don’t always follow. The headlines of these emails are pretty standard “Are you getting enough of this mineral?” or “Don’t eat this if you want to live to see 60!” You know, the stuff that scares or entices you into clicking the mouse and opening the email.

But today’s ….. well, today’s said re: What is your cat’s Real Age?


In our house we (try to) limit junk food, encourage exercise, and reinforce good habits for all family members. I had no idea that I was supposed to also be doing it for our cats. I have a hard enough time remembering how many bags of Doritos’s I have already said Yes to and reminding my children that they don’t need dessert after breakfast to even think about what I could be doing to make my cats healthier. Although I suspect that supplying them with a bag of Costco dry food then sending them outside to chase the squirrels out of the yard isn’t enough.

Of course I HAD to take the test.

This is what I was promised:

The CatAge Test will calculate your cat's biological age, or CatAge, in people years, based on your cat's health, nutrition, activity level, and safety. You'll also receive personalized cat health recommendations to help your cat live a longer, healthier life.

I give them the name of my cat, Chucky, but also had to fill in my gender and age. What is that about? I guess if I were a 14-year old boy who liked to tie firecrackers to cat’s tails then Chucky’s CatAge might be lower, but I was asked no questions about firecrackers. The questions were all pretty typical until I got to this one:

Is Chucky an indoor or outdoor cat?

Indoor/outdoor supervised
Indoor/outdoor unsupervised

I marked Indoor/outdoor unsupervised. How do you supervise a cat anyway? Am I supposed to be providing play dates and snacks as well?

Do any of the following describe Chucky's oral hygiene?

Really bad breath
Tooth loss
Bleeding gums
Unwilling to chew hard food
Discolored teeth
Somewhat yellow teeth
Perfectly white teeth
None of the above

I had to check None of the above because they didn’t have a box for Chucky’s oral hygiene problem. He’s a drooler. When he’s happy and purring he drools. It’s disgusting. I didn’t know cats had enough saliva to drool, but his raspy little tongue can work up enough fluid to soak through my daughter’s shirt after they’ve watched a half-hour of TV together.

That’s another thing: there were absolutely no questions about my cat’s TV viewing habits. Or alcohol use. How am I supposed to trust the results of a health test that doesn’t even take a catnip addiction into consideration?

Chucky's CatAge is 65.2!
That's 4.7 years younger than the average CatAge for Chucky's breed.CatAge is the biological age of your cat, measured in people years.

I love how they explain what CatAge means. Like I thought my cat was really 65.2 years old and eligible for Medicare. I also like how they tried to throw me a little bone by letting me know that Chucky is a lot better off than the other cats who took the test. It’s like they’re petting me and saying, “Good owner. Good owner!”

Purr. Purr. Drool.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Poor South Haven and Kalamazoo-ites. All you wanted to do was go about your day, enjoying your vacation or running your errands without having a perky lime green sweatered faux-blonde stick a microphone in your face and ask you ridiculous questions and try to make you react for the camera.

I do apologize; but a girl's got to make a living.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

AOL Headlines

Every morning when I log on I get sucked in by the AOL headlines. Pay attention AOL Bosses, someone there deserves a raise. This morning was no exception and the headline You Would Rather Not Discuss These Embarrassing Conditions: Top 10 List caught my eye.

The first, of course, is herpes symptoms. I clicked on the link (note to self: delete cookies) and read this:
Genital herpes symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Most people never have any symptoms or have ones that are so mild they may not recognize them, but some people develop painful and bothersome symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are confused with other common problems, like yeast infections or vaginosis.

Yeast infection itself is on the list at #3, and vaginosis, which sounds much worse, doesn’t even crack the top 10. In fact, 8 of the top 10 Embarrassing Conditions occur in your pants, with the front containing the majority. I was surprised to see impotence as #8. There are so many commercials for remedies on TV that I assumed it had become trendy. I especially like the commercials where the couple is just about to get hot and heavy and their daughter comes home from college; I swear the wife looks relieved. Or maybe I’m just projecting.

Back to herpes, which is apparently a very black-or-white condition. Either you have no-to-mild symptoms or your nether regions are on fire and oozing. I can completely understand why one would be hesitant to admit this to anyone, and the thought of those paper gowns in the doctor’s office are always a deterrent, but how does one not seek out help for red, painful and oozing? How does anyone think “I’ll just give this another day or two and see if it doesn’t go away on its own?” I’m reluctant to shed my clothes in my own darkened bedroom and never look forward to doing it in a cold room with fluorescent lights and an unlocked door, but I have to imagine that if I was experiencing those particular symptoms I’d disrobe faster than Samantha from Sex and the City.

Incontinence is #10 on the list and I just don’t get that; it should be much higher. Herpes symptoms qualify as frightening and dangerous, while losing the ability to not wet your pants embodies the true definition of embarrassing. We are supposed to be in control of our bodies: we have deodorants to keep them from smelling, razors to keep them from being too hairy, medicines to keep them from being too flatulent, and a multi-billion dollar diet industry to keep them from being too flabby. Urination is something we are supposed to be able to control. Even though it is a medical condition, I don’t get a sense of understanding and compassion for those afflicted.

Look at Poppy from Seinfeld. The man had a family and owned his own successful business, but the minute he wet his pants on Jerry’s couch he was a pariah. And I’ll have to watch it again, but I think Poppy was about the only side character who didn’t make the final episode.

Talk about embarrassing.