Monday, March 31, 2008

Keeping abreast of women's health issues

In response to the flurry of comments regarding my "Hooters Air.... Oh wait, that airline went bust" line, which apparently titillated some of my (male) readers, and because this morning I had my annual mammogram (doc said my breasts looks great! I am assuming he meant that professionally), this post is dedicated to the care and maintenance of the female breast, surely something we all can agree should be lovingly and dutifully cared for, twice over.

I am not a big fan of going to the doctor, but every year, without fail, I go see my GYN and get a mammogram.

Ladies, if you are 40 or over, and especially if someone in your immediate family has or had breast cancer, you should have a mammogram every year -- and do a monthly self examination. Btw, if breast cancer runs in your family and one or more females found a lump pre-menopause, you should have a mammogram every year starting at age 35 or 10 years before that person's breast cancer was detected.

No excuses. A self exam is free -- and mammograms, which only take a few minutes and are not invasive, are covered by insurance. And if that isn't enough, it's always nice to hear a professional tell you, "Your breasts look great!"

And while I am on the subject of boobs and professionals: Today is opening day of Major League Baseball season! Gooo Mets! (Game, against the Florida Marlins, starts at 4:10 p.m. ET and Santana is pitching.)

ADDED 4/2: If you have not already done so, please read the comments as they contain important/helfpul information. And please share this blog post with a friend who could benefit from it!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The skies just got a littler friendlier (and sexier)

Don't know if any of you have heard about or seen the new Delta in-flight safety video, which has yet to be shown on an actual Delta flight. But it's garnered four stars and more than 345,000 hits (as of Wednesday afternoon) on That's pretty impressive. Who knew there were so many safety-minded folks out there?

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for in-flight safety -- and getting my fellow passengers to turn off their phones and have their seats and tray tables in the upright and locked position for takeoffs and landings (as opposed to in my lap). But watching the video and hearing and reading the chatter about the sexy finger-wagging flight attendant (an "Angelina Jolie-like redhead," nicknamed "Deltalina," who looks like she had one too many collagen injections) featured in the video made me wonder if this wasn't the in-flight safety video for Hooters Air instead. (Oh wait, that airline went bust.)

Clearly, Delta has figured out that sex sells. Though technically selling sex is a class 1 misdemeanor -- and buying sex is a class B misdemeanor and can cost you your job. I am also pretty certain that Delta has no plans to open a chain of Mile High Clubs (though I could be wrong about that). Well, whatever gets you to buckle up and fly right. And if the new video just happens to increase bookings on the troubled carrier.... Well, who am I to fly in the face of capitalism?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This post is dedicated to my accountant, Ben

Why? Because Ben asked me to. (And because Stephen Colbert's people have yet to get back to me.) Said if I wrote about him, he'd read my blog, even though he is surrounded by (albeit very neat) piles of W-2s and 1099s and tax forms and has barely seen his wife and children for weeks.

So Ben, this post is for you, and for all the hard-working accountants out there who come March and April go from being Clark Kents to Supermen, fighting for truth, justice, and a tax refund.

Why do I like Ben? Let me count the ways.

1. There is that refund thing, though better to owe (assuming you are not paying quarterly estimates) or break even (if you do) than give the government an interest-free loan for 12 months, though we all know you cannot predict the future. Ben's good, but not that good.

2. Ben has a sense of humor, which I think is a good thing in an accountant. He always jokes and laughs as he charges me for asking him questions by phone and by email, telling me that he is worth every penny. (And he is!)

3. He takes me out for lunch (though I'm convinced I get charged on the back end) a couple times a year, which is always nice.

4. He thinks I'm funny (though that may cost extra).

5. He is very organized and meticulous, two qualities I admire greatly.

6. And did I mention he said he would read my blog if I wrote about him?

So here's to you, Ben, and to all the hard-working accountants out there, looking to help their clients save a few bucks come tax time. And when you get home tonight at midnight, pop open a nice cold one, kick back, and read this. After all, Ben, this blog's for you (at least for today).

Friday, March 21, 2008

I (heart) Stephen Colbert -- and (sort of) wrote this song to prove it

Honey, you know I love you, but, because I know confession is good for the soul, I have to confess, I have a little thing for Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report."

And so, with apologies to (and hopefully the permission of) lyricist Joseph McCarthy, composer Jimmy Monaco, Judy Garland and Clark Gable (who are all dead), and because I've grown a bit weary of commenting on politicians' sex lives and the campaign (though am very excited about Bill Richardson endorsing Barack Obama today), and baseball season doesn't start for a couple more weeks, I wrote this:

Dear Mr. Colbert,
I am writing this to you
and I hope that you will read it so you'll know
My heart beats like a hammer
and I stutter and I stammer
every time I see you on your Comedy Central show.
I guess I'm just another fan of yours
and I thought I'd write and tell you so - oh!

You made me love you
I didn't wanna do it, I didn't wanna do it.
You made me love you
and all the time you knew it, I guess you always knew it.
You made me happy, sometimes you made me glad.
But there were times, sir (like last night, when you were incredibly rude to Dr. Melanie Stiassny of the American Museum of Natural History), you made me feel so sad.

You made me sigh 'cause
I didn't wanna tell you, I didn't wanna tell you
I think you're grand, that's true
Yes I do, 'deed I do, you know I do.
I must tell you what I'm feeling
The very mention of your name (Stephen Colbert!)
sends my heart reeling.
You know you made me love you!

I don't care what happens,
let the whole world stop (though actually, that would be a really bad thing).
As far as I'm concerned, you'll always be the top (better than Jon Stewart, Lou Dobbs and Bill O'Reilly, though not Anderson Cooper, I think I have a thing for him, too),
'cause you know you made me love you.

I would also really like two tickets to see your show.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The credit crisis explained... Obama's speech

I had actually written a post sarcastically picking apart the difference between the Spitzer sex scandal and the Paterson sex scandal (fyi, in NY State, adultery is a class B misdemeanor, so technically they were both illegal) and why none of it really matters. But figuring (or hoping) that you, like me, had had enough with all the hype and hypocrisy decided to delete it and provide you with some news you could use.

So this morning I am sharing with you this most excellent article, written by the NYT's David Leonhardt, on how the current credit crisis came about. Read it and weep.

I also wanted to direct you to today's post by fellow blogger "Betty Cracker," on "American tribalism & why Obama will most likely lose PA." I know a lot has already been written about Obama's speech on racism, which he gave yesterday, and which greatly impressed me and apparently a lot of other folks. (OMG, a politician who can write a speech, and an eloquent, articulate one at that!) But Ms. Cracker's take is well worth a read.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What Would Shumer Do?

Today marks the fifth anniversary of my father's death -- and quite possibly the end of the firm he spent most of his adult life at, Bear Stearns. (Unlike my father, though, there is a chance that BSC will be resurrected.)

As I learned at my father's memorial service, Shumer had a favorite saying, "Bulls win. Bears win. Pigs lose." (I am equally fond of "When you board an aircraft, go to the left," though I myself have only flown first class a few times, and none of them with my father, and considering the current state of the market and my portfolio won't be doing so any time soon.)

Today -- and probably for a while to come now -- the "pigs" (whoever they are) are going to be squealing (or shakin' and bacon). Though all of the people I know or knew at BSC were not pigs, at least what I knew of them. Of course, my view or experience may be subjective, but I refuse to think ill of all those people on the trading floor (including "Ace" Greenberg) who literally embraced me every time I came to the office after my father died, who literally rushed over to see how I was doing, to share some fond memory of my father (who a colleague still refers to as "the Jewish leprechaun"), and ask if I needed help. They were there for me when many others were not. (Of course, I wish one of them had told me to sell what remains of my BSC stock when it was still in the 90s. ; )

None of us know how bad things will get. Hopefully we have or will soon hit bottom (for the mortgage crisis, the credit crisis, the dollar, and jobs) and things will slowly start to recover. But on this day, I cannot help but wonder, What would Shumer do? Even in the worst of times, my father had the amazing ability to stay calm and unemotional -- and not react rashly to even the most dire financial or personal news. Experience, he once told my spouse, had taught him well.

What would Shumer do? I wish to hell I knew. I could use some good advice.

ADDED 3/18: There are many articles and television reports available to those interested in Bear's fate (and those who hold shares or work there), but I thought this piece by "The Deal Professor" on the NYT's blog DealBook very informative, and a quick read.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

You too can enjoy a rewarding career in prostitution!

So according to Columbia University sociology professor Sudhir Venkatesh, who did a segment on prostitution on "All Things Considered" this afternoon, many (if not most) high-priced prostitutes and/or call girls (the "models," "actresses," and "career women" who make in the thousands for services rendered, as opposed to the lowly hookers who make a mere $500 or $1000 an hour) are college educated, corporate refugees, typically from the suburbs, with families, who felt prostitution was a good career move. (Me, I became a freelance writer. What an idiot.)

Per Professor Venkatesh, these women were unable to get ahead in the corporate world. They either hit the proverbial glass ceiling or felt kept down or were barely getting by on five or low six-figure salaries. Then one day, it came to them. They discovered their true talent was providing "therapy" (his word, not mine) and "psychological counseling" (again, his term) to lonely and/or frustrated men. (Note to my male friends: next time you want some advice or need a little TLC, it will cost you $5000. Btw, my former -- female, fully clothed -- therapist charged me around $160 an hour, which in retrospect seems like quite the bargain.)

So I'm thinking to myself, I wonder where one goes to train for a rewarding career in prostitution, I mean, "psychological counseling," Katharine Gibbs? ("You want a career and not just a job, but you can't figure how to get ahead. It's simple, you can get started today! Gibbs can prepare you for an in-demand career in a variety of top industries. Gibbs grads are ready to start a career immediately after graduation. What's even better? Gibbs has nine convenient locations on the East coast from Boston to Virginia." Sounds good to me! Those alumnae get-togethers must be a blast.)

Tempting though it may be, however, I think I will stick with my current job, though I may raise my rates. ; )

THIS JUST IN... Some hard-hitting, investigative journalism on the subject, brought to you by the folks at the TODAY Show.

ADDED 3/14 at 4:20 p.m.: So the gov is disgraced and out of a job -- and "Kristen" finds "overnight success." Per Village Voice culture critic Michael Musto, who was quoted in the article, "A prostitute knows how to sell herself," and apparently turn tragedy into fame and fortune. Yet another reason to train for this exciting profession!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Mary Ann" caught with dope. Next we'll find out "Ginger" did Spitzer.

Just came across this AP story on, about Dawn Wells, the actress who played Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island." Next thing you know we'll be hearing that the Professor was a closet gay who paid for male sex, that the Skipper and Gilligan applied for a same-sex marriage, that Thurston Howell III cheated on Lovey, and that Ginger, after failing to restart her career, became a high-priced call girl, servicing arrogant, power-hungry politicians.

Is there no end to this madness?

I am so depressed by the state of the world right now, I can barely blog.

It's not that the whole Spitzer mess shocks or even appalls me. (For a great little article on lyin', cheatin' politicians, and I realize that phrase is redundant, check out N.R. Kleinfeld's article, "Politics, and Scandal, as Usual." I also recommend, if it's available as a podcast, Peter Sagal, who wrote The Book of Vice, discussing why politicians cheat on today's "Talk of the Nation" on NPR. According to Sagal, JFK was one of the biggest "horndogs" ever, yet no one ratted him out, at least while he was alive. Ah, the good old days. Sagal also believes that prostitution should be legalized -- and made safe and regulated -- which I believe too.) Rather I'm depressed by the fact that an illegal war, that is costing the American public billions of dollars and thousands of innocent lives, gets a pass from the public and lawmakers while a governor's albeit very stupid and possibly illegal indiscretion is front-page news and the source of anger and outrage.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Talk about telling the truth... Did you hear about Spitzer's boneheaded move?

You just can't make this stuff up. Heck, I almost feel sorry for the guv.

When last I checked, at around 4:00 p.m. EDT today, Governor Spitzer had not officially resigned, but soon come, I'm guessing (per comments he made).

While I personally believe that prostitution should be made legal -- and safe and highly regulated and taxed -- I do not make the laws. And when last I checked, prostitution (which I just had to explain to my 9.75-year-old daughter, who didn't blink -- no comments from the peanut gallery, thank you very much) was still illegal, and Spitzer, as NY Attorney General, one of prostitution's greatest enemies.

Oh, how the mighty (hypocritical) have fallen.

To quote from The New York Times article:

"Mr. Spitzer gained national attention when he served as attorney general with his relentless pursuit of Wall Street wrongdoing. As attorney general, he also had prosecuted at least two prostitution rings as head of the state’s organized crime task force.

"In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end prostitution ring out of Staten Island."

This whole thing (and there is still much we do not know) has left a bad taste in my mouth (and I didn't even get paid for it, unlike a certain "model" who made $5,500).

What was Spitzer thinking? (Though I guess we know which organ he was thinking with back on February 13, the night, before Valentine's Day no less, he "allegedly" met with a prostitute.)

Added at 4:35 p.m.: Just saw this reader comment on the "Do any of our elected officials have any morals not to mention common sense?" To which I think we can all safely answer, probably not. To read more about this issue and reader comments, go to

Sunday, March 9, 2008

To tell you the truth. Honestly. Really. I'm not lying. Call me.

To those of you who have ever begun or ended a sentence with one of the first four words or phrases, please stop. Immediately. (More about "Call me" in a moment.)

"To tell you the truth...." No, please, lie to me. "Honestly...." As opposed to what? Dishonestly? "Really...." Really? I doubt it. "I'm not lying." Well, sugar, if you have to say it, I doubt you are.

Why all the fuss? Because after conducting an unscientific study for the past few years I have come to the unscientific (though I believe largely accurate) conclusion that people who preface or end their statements with phrases like "To tell you the truth," "Honestly," "Really," and "I'm not lying," and the like, are more often than not not telling the truth and/or are lying. (Think I'm lying? Pay attention next time you have a conversation with someone you feel isn't being entirely honest and you'll begin to see what I mean.)

Like at my gym the other day. Without any warning or advance notice to its many long-time members, the gym my spouse and I work out at changed its membership structure, announcing it had lowered its monthly dues to the bargain rate of $19.99/month. While on first glance that seemed like good news for us existing members, who had been dutifully paying three or four times that amount, for years, the not-so-fine print told a different story.

Instead of having our dues automatically lowered, which would have been the "honest" or nice thing to do, we would have to pay a "buy down" fee of $149 (same as the club was charging new members for the privilege of working out there), commit for another 12 months, have to pay at least one more month at our current rate (due to the 30-day cancellation/change policy), and pay an annual maintenance fee.

I understand these guys have a business to run, and want to turn a profit, but clearly someone forgot to tell them about the cost of acquisition versus the cost of retaining existing members (many of whom, like me, were threatening to cancel their memberships) as well as the importance of generating positive PR.

So I decided to personally enlighten management -- and glistening with sweat, smile on my face, went to have a friendly chat with one of the managers, who looked me right in the eye (when he wasn't looking off to the side or down) and began every other sentence with "To be honest with you" or "To tell you the truth" or "Truth be told" while he tried to convince me that these changes were really in my and the other members' best interests, and much as they would love to automatically lower our dues, they just couldn't. (Truth be told? The guy was a patronizing slimeball.)

More disturbing, however, is that my daughter has picked up this habit (though not from me), ending answers to many of my (sometimes nervous-making) questions with "Really mom, I'm telling you the truth" or "I'm not lying mom, really." Maybe she is, maybe she isn't. But I find this turn of phrase disturbing. Especially when I find out she isn't telling the truth, or telling all of it.

Bottom line: The truth doesn't need an introduction.

And while I am on the subject of empty phrases, I hereby respectfully request we ban the phrase "Call me."

You want to talk to me or go out together or arrange a meeting? Great. You call me. Or send me an email. (I will do the same if I want to talk to or meet with you.)

The only exception to this: If the person you say "Call me" to does not live or work near you but occasionally gets into town and when he or she does you would like him or her to let you know with a call (or email or text message). Unless, of course, you were just being polite when you said "Call me" and really don't want to be called but wanted to make the other person, at least momentarily, feel as though he or she was special when in fact you not-so-secretly hoped not to ever have to lay on eyes on or hear from him or her again.

So, truth be told, call me. Really. I'm not lying. We should get together. Soon.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Just Say No to Power Ballads

Watching "American Idol" last night, where it was the girls' turn to (hopefully) rock the '80s, you wondered if any of the contestants had been watching the show the past six seasons and listening to the judges' comments. Clearly not. As my neighbor and friend, G., said to me this morning, "Where have these people been living the last six years, under a rock?!" Clearly yes.

I am not going to do a long-winded (or short-winded) recap of last night's amateur hour. For that, I highly recommend the pop culture stylings of Craig Berman over at MSNBC. Though I will say that overall I think the girls did better than the guys did on Tuesday. (I really like Brooke and thought she did a great job reinterpreting Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield," though I felt Amanda's performance was way overrated -- and predictable -- and Simon unfair to Kristy, who also did a nice reinterpretration of an eighties rock song.)

But please (pretty please, with a cherry on top?) can the producers institute a ban on singing songs made famous by Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Mariah Carey? Please? Since the contestants are clearly not bright enough to make good song choices/career decisions on their own, can you help them out? And while you're at it, can you cross out Phil Collins and Lionel Richie from the playlist, too? There should also be a strictly enforced limit on the number of Donny Hathaway songs performed each season. (Got some names to add to the list? Include them in a Comment.)

To paraphrase the First Lady of the 1980s, when it comes to singing power ballads on "American Idol," particularly you youngsters 21 and under, "just say no."

In other pop culture news.... I see that Christian won on "Project Runway." (I didn't watch. Will have to catch the rerun.) Very disappointing. I was pulling for Jillian, with Rami as the runner-up.

And in Hillary news.... Okay, I exaggerated a bit in yesterday's post. I don't hate Hill, just don't like how she's run her campaign or her authoritarian streak. But instead of bloggering on about her, I suggest you check out the humorous political punditry of Gail Collins over at The New York Times, who has a column titled "Hillary's Edge" in today's paper.

Now back to my day job...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why I Now Hate the '80s, and Hillary Clinton

Okay, I exaggerate -- a bit. But for anyone who "came of age" in the 1980s, as I guess I did, last night's eighties theme on "American Idol" was like a very bad trip (or what I assume a bad trip must be like as I am one of the 14 individuals between the ages of 14 and 54 in the 1980s who didn't do drugs).

You just knew things were going to be bad when pretty boy/James "Dawson's Creek" Van Der Beek lookalike Luke (shouldn't that be "Luc"?) Menard came out singing "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go." As much as I am embarrassed to admit this, I was very into Wham! But hearing that song sung last night made me want to go-go and change the channel.

As for David Cook's supposedly brilliant rendition of "Hello," I LOATHE Lionel Richie. (You sing "Hello," and I say "Goodbye.") And I don't care how "emo" or cool David Cook made it sound, and I like rocker David Cook, it made my skin crawl.

Ditto judge and audience favorite David Archuleta's rendition of Phil "Make Me Want to Kill Myself" Collins' "Another Day in Paradise," though props to you, Davie Boy, for putting Simon in his place with the line about the importance of the lyrics and their message in light of events like Hurricane Katrina and homelessness, especially as "Idol" keeps playing up the helping the less fortunate thang and "giving back."

The award for the worst performance, however, and the reason for my tirade and current depression (besides HRC's wins yesterday -- more on that in a minute), was Danny "Snaps to You" Noriega's AWFUL take on "Tainted Love," which was practically my high school class's theme song (along with the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer," one of the most brilliant songs EVER).

I didn't think it was possible for me to hate the eighties, or "American Idol," but last night accomplished both. However, because I am a masochist and hoping that the girls will do the eighties (until last night, one of my favorite decades music-wise) justice, I will be watching again tonight.

As for Hillary... My favorite blog headline regarding her come-from-behind victories yesterday is "Obama Better Get Garlic and a Cross Next Time." To which I would add "And Some Wooden Stakes and Silver Bullets, Too."

There was a time I used to like, or at least admire Hillary (who I still think is intelligent and has a good command of the issues. I just think, excuse the cliche, that it's time for a change -- and a fresh face to show to the world). But what has so turned me off her is her growing similarities to George W. "I'm the Decider" Bush.

According to the many accounts I have read, Senator Clinton, while she can be bipartisan, is not a team player, unless everyone on the team happens to agree with everything she says. And we've seen, with the current administration, where that has gotten us. That's what makes me nervous about a President H. Clinton. I also don't think she's a good sport, though she appears to have a sense of humor.

On Monday's "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, when he had Hillary on as a guest, he asked her if the tables were turned, and she had been the one to win 11 primaries in a row, would she not be calling for Barack Obama, for the sake of the party, to "get out"? I thought it a great question -- so of course she didn't answer it. (Btw, for an interesting take on the topic check out this article on Yahoo! News titled "Hillary: The New Huckabee." )

Well, that's all I can stomach on these topics, for now. Check back here tomorrow for my take on "the women of 'American Idol'" and more.

UPDATE: On a totally unrelated note.... As many of you may recall, last week I blogged about a job interview I had. After several of you suggested that my comments might come back to bite me in the butt, I deleted the entry, and severed all links between my blogs. As it turns out, my (or your) paranoia was unfounded. Just got an email from my interviewer asking if I might be interested in some freelance writing assignments. Stay tuned....

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Moment of Truth for Project America's Next Top Idol

Man do I miss football.

Yeah, yeah, I know: But J., it's spring training and the Mets signed Johan! (As in Johan Santana, the left-handed, former Minnesota Twins pitcher who deigned to sign a six-year $137.5 million dollar contract, whose first start with his new team yesterday, against the St. Louis Cardinals, was less than auspicious.)

Sorry bat boys and ball girls, but I just can't get excited about a bunch of overpaid, hormone- and/or steroid-injected, lying millionaires who just happen to be very good at swinging a bat and fielding a baseball. (The whole "Clemens Goes to Congress" made-for-TV movie, I mean, hearing, was beyond depressing, in its own right and for the sport of baseball.) Yes, I will probably wind up watching a game or two or two dozen, but regular season is still a month off, and I need something mindless to fill my time and soothe me after a day of pounding the keyboard.

Which brings me to today's topic: "reality" shows.

Whose reality, I have no idea. It's like those musicals from the 1930s and 1940s where people just spontaneously broke out into song -- and elaborately staged dance numbers. "Hey kids! Why don't we put on a show?!"

Now I LOVE old musicals, and shows like "The Love Boat," but not for a second do I believe their plots -- nor does (or did) anyone really expect me to. Yet now we have these highly contrived shows that feature people without a Screen Actors Guild card, which apprently makes them "real," and we are asked to suspend our disbelief. (I have a pretty good imagination, but not that good.)

I confess, I have watched more than a few episodes of some of these shows ("American Idol," "America's Next Top Model," and "Project Runway" -- never could get into "Survivor" or "Amazing Race"), but I don't for a minute consider any of them a slice of real life -- or anything close to what passes for reality in my world. (That reality show would be canceled before the end of the first episode as I'm guessing not a lot of advertisers would pay for a show about a middle-aged woman who sits in front of a computer all day typing, or else cleaning house, running errands, and cooking dinner, as fascinating as those activities are.) They are, rather, a form (albeit a highly contrived, surreal form) of entertainment. Which is fine. But please, Mr. and Ms. Big-Time Producer, stop calling these cloying confections "reality shows."

Btw, for the record, I have tremendous respect for and am in awe of the designers on "Project Runway," who have to crank out an elaborate outfit in less than 24 hours each week. And I understand the need for the sometimes over-the-top theatrical trappings (i.e., pedantic comments from Tim "Make-It-Work-People" Gunn and the not-so-comic stylings of judge-critics Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, at least the former of which actually knows of what he speaks, capped off by Heidi Klum's "Auf"ing of the weakest designer each week). Just watching people sew does not good TV make.

And I used to be quite addicted to "American Idol," though have never liked watching the audition rounds. (Really people, after six seasons, you should know what's going to impress and what's going to annoy the judges. And who are these parents who are setting up their tone-deaf, untalented, whacked-out progeny for failure and devastation? I love my kid, but she ain't going to be no pop star, and she knows it.) At least the final 24 (or so we are led to believe) have a talent, that is, the ability to sing -- and, as we have seen this season, even play an instrument.

I still don't know why I occasionally watch "America's Next Top Model." (Note to Tyra and the producers: Have ANY of the winners actually become a "top" model? I didn't think so.) Boredom? Fatigue? It's not that I enjoy a good cat fight. (I am very conflict adverse.) Nor ever had modeling aspirations. (I'm short and somewhat eccentric but not delusional.) Or find these girls fascinating. (More like frightening or pathetic.) Yet still I find myself watching, particularly when folding the laundry.

What truly disturbs me are the shows "real" people go on in hopes of winning lots of money fast, particularly the latest entry, "Moment of Truth" -- knowingly and willingly risking family, friends, everything for the slim hope of a $500,000 or $1,000,000 payday (before taxes, which greatly diminish the sum). Yes, yes. I hear some of you saying what do I know about not having enough and wanting to get rich quick? And I don't know, but I do work, and have for a long time, and I have yet to hear of a single get-rich-quick scheme where someone actually got rich quick and/or got rich and lived happily ever after. You want a fairy godmother? Go to a drag club.

As I hate ending on a cranky note, I wanted to share with you a very funny site a friend recently turned me onto called McSweeney's. The Open Letters section is particularly amusing. And I am sure that after a hard day of "reality," you could all use a good laugh.