Friday, August 31, 2007

What I Learned from Princess Diana

Ten years after the horrifying car accident that took the life of Princess Di, the public remains every bit as intrigued while the royal family continues to hold tightly to its hats and grudges. How else to explain that Mohamed Al-Fayed and the yenta butler, Paul Burrell, weren’t at the memorial? Camilla, though in Prince Charles’ heart, is also nowhere in sight. Remembering with the royals is by invitation only. They have a short list and a long memory. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Shortly after her magnificent gown was cleaned, Diana discovered a huge down side to the Cinderella fantasy and went on national television to share it with us. She had us empathizing with her issues -- a husband who didn’t appreciate her, a mother-in-law who made no effort to mask her resentment and an eating disorder. Diana may have been the inspiration for “Desperate Housewives" though they made it more universal by loosing the loose-lipped butler and tiara-wearing mother-in-law.

Being a princess clearly makes everything trickier. Though I never struggled with the lineage stuff and public scrutiny, there was much to be learned from Diana. For openers, I saw it's a mistake to outshine your mother-in-law. I was in no danger of irritating anyone simply by being too thin, too beautiful or too admired. Making things work with my in-laws involved little more than not messing with the family brisket recipe. It was Diana who made me appreciate how lucky I was to have a husband who'd have run full speed from the likes of Camilla Parker Bowles. Additionally, Tina Brown had no interest in seducing me to confide in her and there was no risk that our household help would, even if tempted, reveal secrets. There would be little money in it and their English is somewhat limited; most of our conversation revolves around cleaning products.

Diana showed us that being real is way better than being royal. There’s too big a price to pay for having china that says HRH.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

trouble in mind

there is a new millionaire in town and his name is trouble. no, i am not speaking of one of the many hedge fund boys who are spreading their bonuses around like drunken sailors, or one of the trump children suddenly coming into an inheritance, this guy's name is trouble. trouble helmsley, the eight year old dog of leona helmsley has just been left twelve million dollars by his late owner. in dog years, trouble is 56 years old - certainly old enough, one would think, to come into a large sum of money without it turning his furry little head, but i do worry.

up until now, trouble has led a fairly quiet, sheltered life. all that is about to change. suddenly, trouble is going to need an entourage -- an accountant, a business manager, a personal assistant and a hairdresser, just to name of few of the many minions a dog of his wealth will require to make his days livable. i am sure he will get excellent care and good financial advice. i am more worried about the other changes that are about to take place in trouble's life.

first off, mrs. helmsley has only been dead a few days and yet i just know that the blind item i read on page six, about a new dog in town, couldn't have referred to anyone other than trouble. soon trouble will start being sighted in all the hot clubs around town - a poodle on each arm and then we all know what's coming next - rehab.

i am most concerned about trouble's home life. since he was a tiny pup he has been surrounded by the warmth and love of his owner, "the queen of mean," and now, suddenly he is one lonely puppy. he will be looking for love in all the wrong places. a scheming spaniel or a sexy siberian could have him under her paw with just one well placed sniff or lick and then where will trouble be? does the name anna nicole ring a bell?

i really think leona should have thought twice before burdening her beloved trouble with such wealth. we all know money can't buy happiness, although in trouble's case it sure can purchase a carload of chew toys.

Should (fill in the name) resign. Deja vu?

It’s become a stock interview with a TV reporter questioning a representative of the party invited to defend the politician that’s most recently besmirched the party.

The exchange has become all too familiar and predictable, some version of earlier ones when the culprit was not Larry Craig, but Donald Rumsfeld, Mark Foley, David Vitter or Alberto Gonzalez.

Today it was Contessa Brewer’s turn to face off with Tom DeLay, and it went something like:

BREWER

Do you think Larry Craig should resign?

DELAY
That’s not up to me. It will be his decision.

(If there’s an investigation, this is when the politician adds, “I can’t go into details because there’s an ongoing investigation.”)

BREWER
But he pleaded guilty! He…

DELAY
(Interrupts, voice rising)
See, that’s the liberal bias of all you news people!

They continued with the interviewer responding that they covered these stories only to be drowned out by the politician alluding to the many moral infractions attributed to the other party. The mounting accusations and self-righteousness came to an end when it was time for a commercial break.

With so many politicians being accused of misdeeds, I'm proposing the newscasters come up with fresh formats. For Larry Craig, they could do a TV version of Clue, which would be sure to create more interest in the story. I can see Contessa Brewer asking, “Did Larry Craig do it in the bathroom with Colonel Mustard?”

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

just who's stupid?

i thought i had seen, not only the height of stupidity, but actually the height of everything that was wrong with america, our culture and our our youth when i watched the endless replaying of the question and answer segment of the miss teenage u.s.a. pageant yesterday. it seems that miss south carolina had a very difficult time explaining why most "u.s. americans" had trouble locating the united states on a map of the world.

yes, i foolishly thought that the poor, young, girl (who incidentally also filled out a wild bikini- courtesy of film clips running alongside her ill thought out answer) was the ultimate in stupid, until i happened to catch matt lauer and ann curry interviewing her yesterday on the "today show." you want to talk stupid? these two grown-ups were simpering and gushing over this under-educated young girl as though she had discovered the cure for cancer. when miss south carolina told matt and ann that she "had made a mistake and was human" you would have thought they had both just witnessed the sermon on the mount - first hand. i knew ann curry was not the brightest bulb in nbc's marquee but i must admit i was disappointed in matt.

if this were the only example of stupidity this week, i would shut my computer down and take a well deserved lunch break, but i am afraid my work is not yet done. it seems that leona helmsley's will was read yesterday and she (the queen of mean) had left twelve million dollars to her dog and nothing to two of her grandchildren. she stated in her will that her grandchildren knew why. well, i want to know why as well. and i also want to know what was she thinking. i am sure her dog is very loyal and probably has a pleasing personality, can do a few tricks and never pooped on the oriental rug, but wouldn't fido have been just as happy with, say, one million dollars and a milk bone? and by the way, what about me? i mean i once stayed at the helmsley palace - shouldn't i have been left a little something as well?

and that brings me to the third and perhaps saddest example of stupidity this week. according to the new york and los angeles times, katie couric has announced that she will be going on a ten day trip to iraq and syria. she will be the first network news anchor to visit the war zone in six months. one reason there have been no news anchors signing on for duty in that part of the world is the extreme danger of the situation. last year bob woodruff and his camera man were both seriously wouonded. four months later a car bomb killed a cbs crew and gravely injured cbs correspondent kimberly dozier and last week a translator for cbs news was taken from his home and murdered.

i know that katie has been lagging in the ratings and i know what a competitive kind of gal she is, as well as being the ultimate team player, but what could she be thinking? she has two young daughters at home and after the untimely death of her husband, nine years ago, she vowed that she would never put herself in harms way for the sake of her job. she, being the only parent, felt she had a responsibility to her children that was greater than to any employer. what happened? why is she suddenly willing to trade her children's security for the sake of a few ratings points? i hate to admit it, but between miss south carolina, leona helmsley and katie couric, katie seem to be the hands down winner in the stupidest person of the week contest.

The Insanity Defense: Who's Really Insane?

Lisa Marie Nowak, the astronaut accused of harassing her alleged boyfriend’s alleged other woman, is said to be preparing an insanity defense based on having driven from Houston to Orlando in a diaper so as not to waste time stopping to use bathrooms. Nobody’s mentioned if that might be a holdover from space travel, which seems plausible as I can’t imagine there are Mobil stations along the way. This would mitigate her being crazy, making "forgot where I was heading" a reasonable explanation.

This Lisa Marie doesn’t seem all that crazy to me, not nearly as nuts as the one who married Michael Jackson. That’s one crazy Lisa Marie! Marrying Michael Jackson is a brilliant move if you plan on invoking the insanity defense. But wearing diapers to avoid using a public bathroom may be less crazy than using them. Not only are they generally filthy, but if you're a man, you're at risk of being in a stall next to Larry Craig, the Idaho senator accused of conducting an outreach program with other men in public bathrooms. He, too, may be crazy if only because he opened his press conference with the statement, “Thank you for coming out” before insisting he's not gay. Given the circumstances, that was a crazy choice of words.

The legal criteria to determine sanity are whether you know what you’re doing and understand that it's wrong, which brings us to our administration. If impeachment hearings were held, my fear is they’d reach for the insanity defense and would have no problem supporting it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Stephen Colbert: welcome to the tribe

Stephen Colbert recently revealed that he’d participated in the Genographic Project, which involves sending a swab of saliva in order to discover your DNA haplogroup and track your ancestry way back before Comedy Central or even Jack Benny. Colbert learned there’s a strong (75%) likelihood he’s Jewish.

Without sticking anything into his mouth, give or take a Hebrew national hot dog, I could have told him he seems Jewish. He’s irreverent, funny, smart and political. Those traits are found in people who aren’t Jewish and may not be as conclusive as DNA, but they’re a fairly reliable barometer. Another factor is Stephens are apt to be Jewish. If you’re tempted to cite Stephen Foster, go dig up his saliva and see what comes back. Foster might have once been Fishman, changed by someone who said, "Fishman is too Jewish". It was, no doubt, the same person who urged him to retitle "Old Folks at Home" to "Swanee River" with probably the same rationale. Steves are another story. Steves hop on motorcycles and are not necessarily Jewish.

Now that Colbert has outed himself on national TV, his life will never be as uncomplicated. I’m sure his mother has already taken to calling more frequently. It won't be long before those guys who run the Brooklyn yeshivas (Hebrew schools for you Steves) get his home number and call during dinner to ask for a contribution to the building or scholarship fund. The Colbert kids have probably already been invited on a Birthright trip to Israel. Stephen will be asked to speak at fund raisers by every organization that recruits Stephens – from Peace Now to Taysachs Disease. However many free nights and tuxedos you have, Stephen, they won’t be enough. I hope you like salmon, the entree of choice at every kosher event. I've often imagined a school of salmon as they spot the fishermen coming for them with one saying, "Oh no, it's another UJA fund raiser!"

If Steve needs additional mentoring on dealing with this sudden and surprising Jewish identity, he should have his people get in touch with Madeline Albright.

Monday, August 27, 2007

beyond bed, bath and beyond

the husband and i were hosting a house guest - a beloved friend who we never get to see often enough. she was due to leave on friday but, to our total delight, she decided to stay an extra day. the only glitch in that plan was that our son was planning to spend the night as well and we had only one bed for the two of them. our guest house was empty and available for our son but there was no bed. being the ever practical and resourceful mother that i am, i took myself over to our nearest bed, bath and beyond (just what does beyond mean?) and bought a remote control blow up bed. it comes with it's own blow up "box spring", mattress cover and even it's own little white cotton skirt to cover the "box spring". i wasn't sure how well our six foot son would fare on such a thing but i figured it was better than sleeping on the floor.

after i had managed to wrestle the giant blow up bed into my cart i couldn't help but look around at all the other wonders bed, bath and beyond had to offer. you have to hand it to the bed, bath and beyond folks. i have never walked into that store for one item without walking out with twelve. and those little 20% off coupons that come in the mail every week are just too hard to resist. i don't care that they mark up all their merchandise 20% before they give you the 20% discount, it just feels so good when you go to pay and it is always less than you think it is going to be.

so there i was with a giant blow up bed. now, i needed sheets, a pillow and pillow cases to go with said bed. in order to make up for the fact that i was making my grown son sleep on a blow up bed i decided to splurge and buy him sheets with a 250 thread count. what a mom. and then i remembered i needed some guest towels for the powder room. at that point i almost made it to the cash register when a wondrous thing caught my eye.

sitting on it's own little pedestal was a chrome and glass scale. it shined, it gleamed, i think it even winked at me. this was not just an ordinary scale, this scale not only measured your weight in pounds, it also measured your body fat weight, your body fat percentage, your body water and your bone mass. i was intrigued and with my handy little 20% off coupon it would barely put a dent in my wallet. i snatched up the scale and ran to the checkout out counter. i could hardly wait to get home. i had work to do. first i had to blow up the blow up bed. then i had to wash the new sheets and pillowcases ( my son doesn't like to sleep on sheets that haven't been washed once - i know, i know, it's my fault), and make the new bed, put out the guest towels in the powder room and then finally i would get to strip off all my clothing, watch and earrings included, and step on my brand new scale.

as i was unloading my purchases the husband walked in. i showed him the blow up bed, sheets and guest towels. "what's that?" he asked pointing at the wonder scale. "it's a new scale" i answered. "what's wrong with he old scale?" he questioned. i wanted to be honest so i told him "the old scale just hasn't been losing any weight". it took him a second before he burst out laughing. it took me another second to realize what i had said and to join him in the hysteria.

after we stopped laughing, i took the new sheets out of the dryer, blew up the bed and made it then went to weight myself. in spite of all the bells and whistles ( and the bright red tag that warns pregnant women and people with pace makers never to put even one foot on the scale) i still weighed exactly the same. i decided that, rather return it it i would give the scale one more chance.

the next morning when my son told me the blow up bed, while not the most comfortable was also not the worst thing he had ever slept on, i was encouraged. once again i went to weigh myself. i still weighed exactly same the same but there seemed to have been a slight change in my body water, percentage of body fat and a tiny decrease in my bone mass. i have no idea what any of this really means but i will not give up on this scale. at least not yet. for now - i will do what i have always done when i think i have gained weight. i will try on my skinny jeans. while these pants don't shine, gleam or even wink they never fail me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

i'm confused

i'm confused. it seems to me to be my normal state of being lately . every time i pick up a newspaper or turn on the television or radio i see, hear and read things that just make no sense at all. i was beginning to think it was a problem associated with old age but it seems, on questioning them, that my children are confused as well.

let's just start with fred goldman and the o.j book - "if i did it". i understand that mr. goldman won a civil suit against o.j. and that he is owed, according to the courts, millions of dollars. i know that since that judgement the goldman family has not seen one penny from mr. simpson. i also understand that the need for justice and revenge, if you will, must be great but here is where the confusion comes in. as a parent, i am sure that no amount of money would ever be enough to compensate me for the loss of a beloved child. i also know that the last thing on earth i would ever want to do is give the murderer of my child one extra second in the spotlight. in publishing this book, mr. goldman will once again, bring up the pain and horror of that night, not just for himself, his family and the brown family but also, and most importantly, for the innocent victims of that crime, nicole's children, sydney and justin. so, i am confused.

i am also confused about michael vick and mary winkler. i know that the football player and the preacher's wife have very little, if nothing, in common and yet they both have recently been in trouble with the law. i just want to state for the record, up front, that all men who abuse their wives should be punished and punished severely. i also believe that anyone who abuses or murders a helpless animal should also be punished. i am just confused by the fact that mr. vick, is going to serve a year in prison for his role in a dog fighting ring and mary winkler, who was, allegedly, abused by her husband, gets little or no jail time, for murdering him. now, i am sure that preacher winkler was probably a no good son of a bitch who really didn't deserve to live but she did shoot him - in the back - with a shot gun. i don't want to draw any conclusions along racial lines but i do wonder what would have happened if mary winkler had been black and mr. vick white. as i said, it is very confusing.

the last confusing thing that has caught my attention the past few days is karl rove. everything about karl rove confuses me but in addition to being to confused, i am now scared. i know that over the past six years i have been hoping and praying for mr. rove's dismissal or resignation but it was only after he resigned that i realized i should have been more careful what i wished for. karl rove is much more dangerous as a free agent than he ever was in the white house. as a member of the president's staff, while he still did whatever he wanted, he was, at least, under the scrutiny of the press. now that he has been let loose to roam, he has become the loosest of loose cannons, free to lash out in any direction he chooses, with no one to answer to.

i know, after six years of bush's presidency, that i have become a bit paranoid but i can't help but believe that rove's resigning, just now, is no coincidence. i also know, in my gut, that his going after hillary clinton, at this time and with such vengeance, is not just a case of one man expressing his personal feelings, but of a well thought out plan to once again defeat the democrats. by rove demonizing clinton, he is forcing those democrats who may have been on the fence about her, to rise up in her support. i think that this is part of the evil plan. i think that rove and his followers believe, that of all the democratic hopefuls, hillary may very well be the most beatable. i think that rove has been freed from the constraints of the white house specifically to, once again, screw up a national election. i am confused because if i, who know very little about politics, has figured this out, than where are the people who should and do know better?

i want to help, i really do but i am only one woman and can do only so much. if there are others out there who are just as confused maybe we should all speak up. you think?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Response to e-mail from Atorrney for dead Nigerian

Subj: CAN I CONFIDE IN YOU?

Dear Barrister:

In response to your e-mail, be assured I was not at all surprised to receive your offer of sharing US$12.5Million dollars with me, a total stranger. Apparently I’ve been identified in Nigeria and elsewhere as the point person should an extremely rich person die suddenly and tragically, leaving no next of kin. How else to explain regularly receiving e-mails almost identical to yours? You requested an immediate response, and I hope I’ve made the deadline (no pun intended).

It's admirable that you tried to locate relatives of your client, but (and I risk forfeiting my portion) are you convinced you've exhausted all your resources.? I’m puzzled that so many incredibly wealthy Nigerians die without a will. Your client worked for a major corporation. Did he not have a Blackberry, a buddy list on his computer, a colleague he confided in at the coffee machine about a loved one, a close friend, even a charity to endow? Someone with such a sizable estate could have his name on a hospital wing or college dorm. If you choose to honor his memory in that fashion, I’d urge you to contact the Tisch family.

Life there in Nigeria is unbelievably risky, which I know because among the many offers, I've been asked to be next of kin to an ill-fated businessman who died of a heart-related illness after his wife and children were killed in a bomb explosion as well as hosts of other highly wealthy Nigerians, some cattle farmers and others gold or cocoa merchants, unrelated yet all poisoned by greedy rivals or assassinated for political reasons.

It's tragic that your client’s family was wiped out in a car accident. It was a blessing that he survived but so sad that he subsequently developed heart problems and died. That happens less frequently here. If a man outlives his wife, typically he remarries in a short amount of time someone considerably younger than he is, giving rise to the term, “arm candy”. This is not, I must confess, a custom we're proud of.

I’m happy to assist you on one condition: my husband must never hear of this. He has a suspicious nature and has expressed concern about identify theft. He’s looked over my shoulder while I’m online, insisting I delete all sorts of opportunities -- an e-mail offering me $22 million in return for helping a former Haitian ruler, one from the richest oil tycoon in Russia where I’d have received close to $40 million, a proposal that I work for the Malaysian government (which would have garnered me $57 billion) and the request from a research scientist living in Ireland asking that I work for him for three weeks, a good faith business proposal to be a partner in a London insurance company, the plea from the agitated son of a farmer whose parents had been poisoned by his foreign business partners in Paris. He’s even prevented me from claiming one million pounds sterling I’d won in a number of United Kingdom lotteries.

One of my husband's concerns may be that coming into such a substantial windfall would create resentment in the family as well as lead to my wanting to renovate the kitchen, which would throw our lives into upheaval. I’m firing this off while he’s in the shower and unable to sabotage our potentially productive partnership. I look forward to hearing from you, and assure you I will use the money in a way that will make you proud.





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shoot the messenger

this morning, while watching the today show, i had a laugh out loud moment. it wasn't the announcement that karl rove was resigning, to spend more time with his family, although that did bring a smile to my face. just to digress a moment from my laugh out loud experience, just what is it with all these administration people who resign to spend more time with their families. has anyone ever kept a log as to how much mommy and daddy time is actually spent after their resignations? and from what i heard on the news, rove's son is in college - hardly an ideal time for quality, father-son bonding. if i remember correctly, karen hughes resigned to spend more time with her family but i could swear that the very same karen hughes is right back in the beltway, doing whatever it is that she was doing before, for our president.

at any rate, what made me guffaw this morning was a story about a man who was cheating on his wife. he sent some flowers to his girlfriend but the florist, mistakenly sent the paperwork to his home, where said wife was living. needless to say the wife was not happy. now, here's where it gets good. it seems that the couple was already separated and in the process of getting divorced. when the wife found out about the girlfriend, she decided to ask for an additional $500,000 from her, soon to be ex, husband.

the husband reacted the way any red blooded, upstanding, american male would act. he is suing the florist. that's right folks. this slime, who is cheating on his wife, is suing the florist for one and a half million dollars. why? because the florist got him in trouble by outing his affair and now it is costing him extra money in his divorce. not only is he suing the florist, but he had the nerve to appear on the today show, with his attorney, all pouty and indignant over the whole mess. to meridith viera's credit, she did try over and over again to remind him that it was he, not the florist, who did the cheating, but he would have none of it. perhaps we should introduce him to the man who sued his dry cleaners for forty million dollars for losing his pants.

at any rate it was a great moment in television. it was one of those laughs where orange juice comes out of your nose. you know the kind. what nerve - not only to blame someone else for your indiscretions but to sue them to boot. hmmm? i wonder if there is any way we could sue karl rove?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Terrorists Guild

I woke in the middle of the night and heard, “There was increased chatter about possible, upcoming terrorist attacks on the homeland, but the source is not entirely credible. The alert level has remained at orange, and not elevated to red”.

What do these colors mean anyway? Do the terrorists dress accordingly? “Okay everyone, get into your orange things,” I imagine the al-qaeda wardrobe tsar nudging the guys. “We want to scare them, enough to raise their blood pressure, but not to the max”.

Was this deja-vu? A dream? Could it be we’ve run out of news and this was a re-run of an old terrorist alert? Summer, after all, is not the season for first run programming. Have the terrorists formed a guild to secure collective bargaining and insurance benefits? Are they entitled to residuals for repeated threats? Will they have an annual award show on Al-Jazeera? “In the category of best suicide bombers”, they’ll present an award, posthumously, of course, to the winner. There will be a new sub-system of terrorists created specifically to accept awards for those unable to make the show. These could be our equivalent of peace workers, guys who want to be of service but avoid the military. Instead of the traditional trophy and acceptance speeches, they’ll announce who’s taken credit for each atrocity.

It’s getting harder to know what's real and what's show business.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

the fate of knock-off's in new york

sitting in my canyon in los angeles, i am three thousand miles away from new york, my former home. from that vantage point, i am able to observe, from a distance, a very different new york than those who actually live in the naked city.

the other day i wrote about how the new york city council was trying to make the word bitch illegal. it was amusing to me in light of all that is going on in that great city, our country and the world as a whole. well, today i have more to report from the crack law makers in new york.

it seems, as reported in my trusty los angeles times, that senator charles schumer and representative jerold nadler, are attempting to pass the design piracy prohibition act. this, my friends, is a bill to make designer knock-off 's illegal. here's how it works. if you are too poor to shell out $3000 for say, a gucci purse, well tough luck. there will be no more street corner vendors willing to sell you the very same purse (perhaps plastic, not leather, but still...) for one hundredth of the price. if you are a teen-age girl, just dying to wear the same dress lindsay lohan wore on the red carpet (or in her mug shot), to her senior prom - too bad. if schumer and nadler have their way, that young girl could go to her prom naked before she could purchase a knock off, a la lindsay, in her local department store.

what is wrong with these people? have they never heard that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. where would hydrox be had they not knocked off oreos? and what about pepsi and coke and "law and order" and every other crime show on television? "who wants to be a millionaire" spawned a million new game shows this season and we won't even talk about "so you think you can dance" vs. "dancing with the stars" and we let's not even get into the "american idol" thing and it's offspring.

doesn't the senator know that there is nothing new under sun? instead of thinking of these fashion doppelgangers as knock off 's, one should just think of them as "inspired by" and give the poor working girl a break. not all of us were lucky enough to marry donald trump (maybe that's a bad example of being lucky - but you know what i mean) or have access to a trust fund. we still want pretty things and if they come from canal street, instead of fifth avenue, who cares. i have a hard time feeling sorry for the designer's who charge thousands of dollars for a purse and then cry foul when they are being copied. they should be grateful there are any woman out there, stupid enough and rich enough, to buy any of their stuff.

Sybil: The Multiple Personalities - revealed by my new Blackberry

Years ago when Sybil was published as a book and later released as the movie starring Sally Field, I was teased about having multiple personalities. If I had, surely I would have called on one of the others to get me through some dates. “I have no problem at all dragging across town to meet you near where you live,” one of the agreeable and accommodating personalities might have responded with more sincerity. Having a choice of personalities could have been a luxury, but like so many of us, I was limited to one.

That’s now changed. As as a function of the internet, there are now many Sybils and they’re all mine. AOL Sybil is an overzealous subscriber to political, travel, health and consumer websites, receiving regular e-mails from an absurd number of organizations including WesPac, Amazon, People for the American Way, Leahy for Vermont Committee, Human Rights Watch, the DNC, the New York Womens Foundation, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Move-On, Amnesty International, NARAL, to name just a few. She devotes a sizable portion of the day deleting lottery offers and opportunities to inherit money from Nigeria and forwards a small percentage of the jokes she receives, interrupting all that to make daily hits on the Breast Cancer site as well as its sister sites. She's the hyperactive one.

GMail Sybil is more selective and private, who receives a reasonable and manageable number of personal communications from friends. You would take her to be almost shy and retiring, certainly one who values her time.

Yahoo Sybil is competitive yet congenial, relaxed and at leisure for the twenty or so minutes a day she plays Literati, an online version of Scrabble.

Funster Sybil is the frivolous personality, a bit anxious because there’s a time limit to the game she plays, which involves rearranging letters in a celebrity’s name to create new five-letter words. She rationalizes this will help maintain her brain cells.

E-bay Sybil is a fair trader, a personality easily mistaken as bi-polar while tirelessly scavenging for low-end items that have gone out of style and are no longer available in stores; she’s the most admired of all the personalities with an amazing 100% positive feedback. “Quick to pay”, “an asset to the e-bay community” – these are but a few of the comments she’s gotten.

The personalities didn't intersect or become problematic until I got a Blackberry, which alerts you - with a loud, insistent buzz - each time an e-mail arrives. The message is always for AOL Sybil, which is why I’ve come to abhor her. “Do I really need to hear from Cheap Tickets each time an airline reduces its fares to Boulder?” I want to scold her. “Can’t MoveOn decide which ads to run without interrupting my dinner?” is another of my complaints.

I had no choice but to hit “unsubscribe” at every opportunity, sending the likes of Travelzoo, MedicAlert, Puritan’s Pride and Sherry-Lehman into cyberspace, terminating the relationship AOL Sybil has established with a seemingly never-ending list of hangers on. I and everyone within hearing range should be grateful that one of the personalities has some good sense. AOL Sybil can go to NextTag.com if she wants to price something. She’s been excessive in every way with a buddy list and bookmarks also in need of trimming. Nobody should be permitted to bookmark fireplace screen sites.

Friday, August 10, 2007

where is liz taylor when we need her?

my computer flashed "breaking news" yesterday. brad pitt served jury duty in los angeles. what a story. i was interested since, i myself have to serve jury duty next week, in the very same courthouse mr. pitt stood. the story went on to say that he had been sent many letters by the court and had been granted many extensions before he finally appeared to fulfill his commitment. that far in the story i heard nothing i hadn't heard before, from all my friends, who have been called to serve on a jury. next, the article went on, he was assigned a trial which never occured due to a plea bargain and he left at the end of the day. during his time there he drank coffee and mingled with the other jurors.

breaking news? o.k. maybe i am missing something here. as far as i can remember, brad pitt has never cured cancer, discovered a new continent or traveled to the moon. i know he has made ten or twelve mostly forgettable movies, he is cute and that he and the woman he lives with have managed to accumulate four children over the last three or four years. i also know he has never, to my knowledge robbed a bank or won an oscar. i guess what i am trying to say is "what's the big deal that this man served jury duty" or for that matter why is anything he does breaking news?

in this the age of terrorism, crumbling infrastructure, war, a dysfunctional government and a tumbling stock market, i am hard pressed to understand our insatiable interest in people of so little consequence. in one of the tabloid magazines that i confess to reading, on both airplanes and in line at the super market, they have a section called something like "just like real people". on these pages they have photos of reese witherspoon buying a cup of coffee at starbucks and ben affleck swinging his daughter on a swing in a local park. did you know that cameron diaz buys groceries and nicole richie has actually been photographed picking up her dry cleaning? ho and hum. i long for the old days of "photo play" when stars, who were supposed to be grander and superior to us mere mortals were only photographed and reported upon when they looked fabulous and were doing something extraordinary. if i wanted to see someone purchase a grande latte mocha chino i have only to drive to any corner in l.a.

if our movie stars can't be any more exciting than, say me, for example, than who cares. just for the record, i am serving jury duty next week - alert the media.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Breast Implants: Less May Be More

Women with cosmetic breast implants are nearly three times as likely to commit suicide as other women, according to a study just released by The Annals of Plastic Surgery. This group of women also had a tripled risk of death from drug and alcohol abuse. My thought is there should be a warning on an implant saying, “Silicone and alcohol do not mix”.

If the women weren’t depressed enough before, no doubt they are now. In 2006, 383,886 U.S. women had breast augmentation, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, making it the second-most popular surgical cosmetic procedure, after liposuction. Those who decided to become smaller, rather than bigger, must be feeling pretty smug. It turns out that less may actually be more. I wonder if women with push-up bras are also more prone to depression, or are they just likely to be cranky?

Breast enhancement wasn't anything I gave much thought to until we vacationed at a partially nude beach in St. Martin last winter, where reading soon gave way to a game of “Are they real?” Fake boobs were easy to spot as they’re symmetrical and rounder, impervious to gravity or aging, a cross between real breasts and headlights.

The speculation is there may be a higher proportion of psychiatric disorders among women who choose to have implants. I can imagine that women get them as an add-on only to find, as I did after paying extra for the luxury package available with a new car, that the boobs (like bucket seats and a leather console) don’t change how you feel about yourself.

I wonder if there will be a similar study done on men who've used that stuff that enlarges the penis.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

and this is judi

 
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The Debate over the Debate

With all the debating over which candidates fared best at the debate, the sole incontrovertible winner after last night’s performances in all sports stadiums is indisputably Hank Aaron, who had the class to congratulate Barry Bonds for beating his record, setting aside whether or not Bonds had the advantage of Home Run Helper. The other big winner is the owner of that ball, thought to be worth between $400,000 and $500,000.

At the Chicago arena Obama was seen by some as having appeared defensive and naive, which brings me to the question of the format. Is a debate the most reliable prognosticator of ability? Imagine Barry Bonds having been asked, “If you’d been at bat 9.7774 times with a history of 755 runs and were faced with a fastball from Mike Bacsik that would give you a shot at surpassing the world record, would you swing?”

We may be putting too much emphasis on debates. In his 2000 face-off against Al Gore, what we heard from George W. was, “It’s going to require a different kind of leader to go to Washington to say to both Republicans and Democrats, ‘Let’s come together’.” In 2004 he asserted, “I understand the serious consequences of committing our troops in harm’s way.” Should we not have other formats for assessing the candidates?

I'm proposing the candidates appear on:

Biography: Present and past partners of each candidate, along with other intimates, provide insights. Giuliani's daughter will have to choose between her father and appearing with Obama.

Top Chef: Candidates will prepare their favorite recipes, beginning with Hillary Clinton’s chocolate chip cookies.

Jeopardy: Topics to include which world powers are our friends, who's really an illegal alien, which picket lines count, when is stem cell research justified, whom do we have a right to eavesdrop on and torture, what we knew about the levees and when did we know it, can we arrange health care junkets to Canada, and where does loyalty end and cronyism start.

Inside the Actors Studio: James Lipton will ferret out when the candidate first became aware of his/her acting ability and establish how much money each has gotten from Hollywood.

Just For Laughs: We will see how the candidates respond when presented with unlikely situations, such as spotting a hand waving from a casket while at a funeral for a head of state.

Dancing With the Stars: is the candidate a leader or follower?

The Jerry Springer Show
: candidates will brawl so we can get a true sense of which is, in fact, most competent when push comes to shove.

Please submit additional suggestions as there are 530 days left.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

ain't that a bitch!

i just read today, in the new york times, that the new york city council is contemplating a proposal to make using the word bitch, against the law. now, i do realize, being a former new yorker, that new york is the center of the universe. i know that the city boasts the best theater, restaurants and museums. i have been told over and over again that the smartest people in the world live in new york and the rest of us just manage to scrap by on the other coast or, perish the thought, in the middle. new york is the trend setting state of the nation. just look what sex and the city (the city being, of course, new york) did for manolo blahnik and berkin bags.

setting a standard for music and art, food and fashion is one thing and i, for one, am grateful. without new yorkers telling me what to eat, wear and look at, i would be at a total loss, wandering around, naked and hungry, without a shred of culture to redeem me, but at some things i must draw the line.

bitch is a good word. it is a versatile word that can be spoken with anger or with affection. it can be humorous or it can be sarcastic. for example, "that bitch sybil posted a great picture of herself on our blog, without giving me any warning to get a photo of me, airbrushed and posted in time." now, you see what i mean? that is love and affection being spoken there. without bitch, the entire gay world would go mute. what better way could you describe an anorexic starlet than as a "skinny bitch?"

yes, new york, i will look to you for guidance, i will respect you and love you and even forgive you for giving the world rudy guiliani and judith nathan, but please, oh please, leave the bitch alone!
 
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A life coach: no more free advice!

This week I became aware that a job exists with the title life coach, which I learned from a website “is not a therapist...more than a consultant... and not just a friend: Your Life Coach is your personal expert to help you realize your full potential!”

I’ve been providing this service pro bono, sometimes without even being solicited. Should there be a head hunter reading this, I want it known that two women turned around their lives as a function of taking my advice (life coaches can’t be modest). Marriages have been spared and severed because of me.

Recent victories include a friend succeeding in canceling the two-year contract she’d signed with a health club by repeating, almost verbatim, the words I’d coached her. Another friend, again with my support, ended a 32-year-old friendship that I deemed unhealthy.

I could use the services of a life coach to tell me how to turn being a buddinsky into a profitable enterprise. This job seems to require even less experience than being a real estate agent. And you don't have to be blonde!

Monday, August 6, 2007

thank god for sybil!

while i was out stuffing my face and indulging in g rated matinees, sybil has been out on the front lines protecting bicoastal broads from hostile takeovers. i must admit i had not given rupert murdoch and his like a second thought - secure in the knowledge that our bcb fans were too loyal to ever allow anything bad to happen to this blog but now that sybil has brought the danger to my attention, i must admit that i too, am worried.

i noticed that just today, i was followed around my local grocery store by a very suspicious looking man. i of course, attributed his attention to my really adorable new haircut but since reading sybil's blog, it is obvious to me what is going on. yesterday, the mailman seemed to take an extra long time placing my mail in the box. what was he looking for? i am sure i am under surveillance. they (the powers that be) are obviously trying to dig up any and all dirt on me to use against us when the take over day comes.

this morning i found out that i was the only one of my 32 cousins not to be invited to the wedding of the 33rd cousin. at first i thought it was because he lives in new york and i in los angeles and we really haven't seen each other or spoken in many years. but, when i found out that even crazy cousin walter was invited - i knew something was up. i tried to wrack my brain to come up with some reason, something i had done to offend the groom. why oh why was i being excluded? now, it is perfectly clear to me.

people smell blood. it is out on the street that the bicoastal broads are going down. if even my own family is distancing themselves from me, this may be even bigger than rupert murdoch - this may be global. i implore you, all our loyal readers, if you support us let us know. i only regret that i have one blog to give to my country.

Rupert Murdoch: Hands off this blog!!!

If it could happen to The Fox Network and Fox News Channel, The Star, MySpace and The Wall Street Journal, it would be naive not to recognize that Bicoastal Broads is at risk of a hostile takeover. I've been on edge ever since reading about “contested takeovers", even more so since learning about the “dawn raid”, a strategy of buying up the shares as the market is opening to signal the intention of launching the bid. That put an end to late morning snoozing at this house.

I'm not generally a worrier, but my alarm was triggered by Rupert Murdoch’s latest takeover. The Wall Street Journal is getting dangerously close to home. What that paper is to business, Bicoastal Broads is to everything else. If Murdoch is after dailies with loyal readers, how much longer can we expect to remain invulnerable? It would be all too easy for Murdoch and his vast empire to position themselves as the “black knight” and, let’s face it, who are Judi and I, however business-savvy, pitted against the likes of them? The only knight we ever heard about was going to be white (not a racial issue, just how our parents presented the story), on a horse or in a Mercedes, and taking us over to take us off the market.

The more I read about takeover activity, the greater my concerns. We could, once Murdoch's interest in us becomes a matter of public record, fall prey to “The Huffington Post”, who could view us as a potential rival blog and take us over simply to prevent Murdoch from doing it, making them the “white squire”.

Our defensive strategy will be to pull back a bit and, thereby, lower our profile. We will need you to help by not quoting Bicoastal Broads at parties or forwarding the blog to friends. You've already helped by resisting the urge to comment, which would be evidence that we actually do have readers. Thank you.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Unidentified Guest at Party: appreciating anonymity

When People Magazine was in its infancy, one of their photographers was snapping pictures at a friend’s book party and I joked , “Everyone else here is famous and will turn up in the magazine, but this is your only shot at getting me”. To my surprise, I appeared in the next issue as “unidentified guest at party”, a status I’ve grown to value even more as celebrities are being afforded less privacy.

Not being famous is underappreciated, and it's not just because you don't have people picking through your garbage. Being a nobody allowed me to go to an Emmy award show in a $16 nightgown, bought after being repeatedly undermined by Beverly Hills salespeople who held back nothing when studying me in designer gowns. "Uh-uh-uh, you don’t want those arms showing,” one remarked. “That Oscar is not for you”.

“It’s an Emmy I’m up for, not an Oscar,” I corrected her only to be slapped down again when she explained she was referring to the Oscar de la Renta so unbecoming on me. I was again grateful not to be a public figure at the international premiere of an Israeli movie, when as the date of the star, I desperately needed to go to the bathroom while the film was in progress. This required squeezing from my center seat past the row of producers and executives. “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me,” I whispered, switching to “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” for the return trip, which would have been more awkward and embarrassing only if I’d been Meryl Streep.

I was reminded today of the glory of anonymity because of Judith Giuliani, who’s either seriously flawed or been unduly attacked. Her defense was to say she’s new to public life and there’s a learning curve. The lesson here is we should all comport ourselves as if we or our spouse may become a presidential candidate and put us at risk of being the topic of a Hardball discussion, New Yorker profile or Vanity Fair dissection. For the moment, I’m taking great comfort in knowing that friends won’t be getting calls about me from Dominick Dunne unless after finishing reading the piece, I kill Judith Giuliani.

movie madness

yesterday, while the husband is in tokyo doing business and cavorting with kimono clad geisha's, i decided to indulge in one of my own guilty pleasures. i went to the movies - alone - in the daytime. i know what you are thinking "wow, she is one wild and crazy gal" but going to the movies in daylight gives me such a thrill.

what feels better than walking into a theater in sunlight and emerging two hours later with the same sun still warming your face?. it's as if time stood still and those two hours in that darkened theater never happened. you still have time to make it to the market, grab a quick manicure and nod to your neighbor as you unload your groceries, as if you hadn't just been transported, to some technicolor wonderland, thirty feet high.

going to the movies in the daytime is cheap. what i love is that i don't even have to lie about being a senior citizen. while i am so close that no one ever questions me, i still feel guilty and usually wind up paying full price - unless i am with the husband, who got tired of asking for "one senior and one normal person please" as per my instructions. and speaking of age, there is no where, on this planet, that i feel younger, than at a weekday matinee. when an ancient movie goer and her companion tried to get past me to their seats, they even called me "miss".

the theater is usually close to empty at this time of the day, so there is never a problem with anyone's head, hat or hairdo blocking my view and this generation of movie goers are still working on the intricacies of the hold button, so annoying cell phones, going off in the middle of the film, is never an issue.

going alone is also a plus. everyone's movie going habits are different and when you are alone you never have to compromise. you can sit as close or as far from the screen as you choose and the middle of the row, versus the aisle debate, is a non issue. when the film ends and the house lights come up you don't have to go through the endless dialogue discussing the director's techniques or the actor's motivations. the deep meaning of the film can be, gratefully, left undissected.

the best part of going to the movies in the day time is the snack factor. i have convinced myself that what you eat, alone, in a dark theater, doesn't count. calories that don't see the light of day, i have reasoned, don't exist. you can scarf down a barrel of buttered popcorn or a super sized box of peanut m&m's (washed down with, of course, a diet coke) and no one would ever know. and we all know that what they don't know can't hurt us.

so, to the husband, up to his eyeballs in sushi and sake, i say - enjoy yourself. watch out for parasites and come home soon. in the meanwhile, i have three more days to indulge. we are both having a good time, i know. the only difference is, he's getting frequent flyer miles and i am getting fat.

Friday, August 3, 2007

a love song to the husband

this morning i drove the husband to the airport. he is on his way to tokyo, on business, and i wondered, as he walked away from the car, if he knew that he was carrying a giant piece of my heart in his carry on luggage.

i don't remember the exact moment that we became one, but it seems like it's been many, many years since i have been able to take a deep breath without him near. i know this bonding didn't happen on our wedding day. the terrified twenty year old bride and the even more frightened twenty-four year old groom were too young to understand love, much less deep and enduring commitment. it didn't even happen when our children were born. though those children were much wanted and adored, we always seemed to be one child ahead of our bank account, in those days, and the tensions and pressures of too many children and not enough money, used up much of our emotional energy. when the children got older and the bank balance larger there were other issues that consumed us. we were still young and married in a culture that suddenly valued only singles. there were temptations and feelings of missed opportunities. days and nights of questioning past decisions and trying to make new ones.

strange as it may seem, it was the years of broken hearts and broken promises that began to bind us together. weathering the storms of crises, either emotional or medical, forced us to seek shelter under the same umbrella. learning to trust again after trust had been broken caused each of us to examine why we had married in the first place and what kept us in this union. sitting terrified, together for two days and two nights, at a beloved child's hospital bed creates a glue that can not be eroded. battling cancer and emerging victorious is an experience that creates an enzyme that causes your veins and arteries and bones and muscles to meld and blend as one.

no, i don't remember the exact day we became one but i do know for sure that we are. as i watched the husband walk away, i whispered a silent prayer to keep him safe and bring him home to me, because without him, there is no home and there is no me.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

once upon a mattress

it has come to my attention that it is time - no, way past time - to replace our mattress. it seems, that without my noticing it, fifteen years has slipped by and our mattress has given up the ghost. to see it naked, without benefit of mattress cover, sheets and duvet, is to view a very sad thing. there is a giant indent on my side and an even gianter indent on the husband's side. in the middle is an enormous wall. a wall that is still scaled, thank god, frequently, but none the less needs to be scaled. it is no longer just a matter of rolling over to find each other. now, one must roll up and over, which can be quite exerting before or after brushing one's teeth.

i have mentioned to the husband that our mattress needs to replaced but he seems ambivalent. something along the lines of "it's been o.k. this long. why fix it if it isn't broken?" when i protest that it is broken, he just tries to distract me by reading out loud from his newest cookbook some amazing dish he wants to prepare for our next dinner party. normally, i am in charge of household problems. if something needs to be fixed i get it fixed. i replace things all the time without even mentioning a word to the husband, so i had to examine why replacing the mattress has become such an issue.

it is not as if i had any sentimental feeling toward the thing. no children of mine were either born or conceived on it, so while it has served us well for a decade and a half, i should be able to let it go without a backward glance; but suddenly, while waiting in line at the bank (a good place for thinking because you have so much free time just standing there) it came to me. if we have been keeping our mattresses for a minimum of fifteen years, this next mattress could very well be the next to the last mattress i will ever buy. i knew that you could measure out your life in coffee spoons, but it never occurred to me that we were each granted only so many mattresses per lifetime.

if i buy a new mattress now, i would only have one mattress left before the "big sleep". but what if i never buy a new mattress? then i would still have two mattresses due me. perhaps, that is the answer. i think i have found the secret of eternal life. stop buying new mattresses with still a few to go and you can live forever!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

it's not fair!!

yesterday, the new york times printed a very long article on chelsea clinton. while listing her accomplishments and credentials, the main gist of the piece seemed to be, that if all goes as planned for her mother, chelsea will be the first, first child to be the first child twice with two different parents.

now, i am sure that chelsea clinton is a very nice girl. she did go to stanford and oxford and has never once been photographed exiting a limo without her undies on, or driving drunk the wrong way on a freeway. even her romances have managed to be, for the most part, conducted under the radar. she seems to be the kind of daughter that would never forget a birthday or a mother's day and even seemed to remain neutral during her parent's very public marital troubles. so what's my problem?

well, i have a daughter as well. joanna. a very sweet, smart and beautiful young lady. instead of stanford she went to the culinary institute of america, hyde park (considered by many to be the harvard of cooking schools) and in lieu of a career in finance, she has become a talented and accomplished artist who could, with one hand, out fillet and souffle chelsea in a new york minute. i know it isn't right to compare children but i just don't think it is fair that chelsea would get to be first daughter twice, while my darling, little one has never once had a chance in that role.

here's what i propose. all children of candidates over the age of 21 should have to audition for the role of first child. after all, we the american people don't get to vote for these offspring and yet, so often, it is our tax dollars that are supporting them. the contest could be based on an american idol format. we could have auditions all across this great nation of ours and then narrow it down to a final few. each week, after competing in a series of contests (i suggest cooking to be one) america will vote to eliminate one contestant. at the end of a month, we will have a new first child.

i hope, if ms. clinton is reading this, she does not take offense. this is not personal. it is just that i think we should all practice the simple rules we learned in kindergarten. i am sure, that even at that early age, chelsea was a good student and hasn't yet forgotten that cardinal rule - everybody gets a turn.

Tips from the mother of a potential American president

I’ve heard each of the Clintons relate (not to me personally, but at huge fund-raisers) words of wisdom imparted by their parents, advice that may have been responsible for their ambition and confidence. Neither the Rodhams nor the Clintons seemed to have stepped on my mother's messages, namely, "It’s just as easy to marry someone rich” or “If he can get the milk free, he won’t buy the cow", neither of which is supported by the facts. Another thing my mother said repeatedly was, "Don't marry someone thinking you can change him," but that, I've discovered, didn't originate with her - and may, in fact, be what Hillary's mother should have expressed.

My son has always disabled my efforts to impart guidance by joking, teasing or an explicit, “not now”. Despite all the public service ads recommending we speak to our children about sex, alcohol and drugs, he quickly cut off my attempts. The only advice I managed to give was, “Don’t do anything you’re unsure about in excess”, “Everyone needs to exercise,” “Wear sunscreen” and, “Have as much fun as you can with the least possible risk”.

Just in case our son should become President and be asked what advice I gave, I’ve compiled a list so I don't go down in history as having been an uninvolved parent:

-Very little will go as you anticipate, so when agonizing over a decision, know that what you make of the circumstance is every bit as significant as the choice you make

-Plants need less water than you think, and you need more

-Explaining your needs may create a partner who wants to help

-It never hurts to pack an umbrella

-You don’t’ have to pay a lot to get good wine

-Fear of commitment may actually be fear of loss

-Asking for help or directions is smart, not a sign of weakness

-Contractors and politicians lie more easily than the rest of us

-The way you carry and present yourself says more than your physical appearance

-It's harder to dump a friend than to make one

-Take care of your teeth and gums

-Don't let the gas tank get down to empty

-One size doesn’t fit all