Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's Christmas in October!

Been snowing here since around 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time -- and the flakes they keep coming down (as will probably a few trees and power lines, bleh).

It's like Christmas... in October.

Talk about the ultimate trick or treat.

Happy Halloween!

UPDATED 2 P.M.: Just took this picture of a tree in our yard. Say goodbye to your leaves, tree!

[NOTE: The original soundtrack was 10,000 Maniacs' "Like the Weather," but YouTube said I didn't have permission to use it, bastards, even though I bought it on iTunes, so I swapped in "Winter" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons.]

UPDATED 10/30/11: We lost power yesterday at 2:45 p.m. ET and have been informed by the power company that we could be out for a week. Again. (See Irene, Hurricane.) We're tempted to move out West, but knowing our luck, as soon as we moved, there'd be earthquakes, wildfires, and mudslides.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Say it ain't snow!

In this house, s-n-o-w is one of those four-letter words not to be uttered. Especially in October. Especially after the hellacious winter we just had earlier this year. Yet all around me, on the TV, on the radio, on the streets, and in stores, that is all people are talking about.

Looking at this map -- 3-5 inches of snow in Philadelphia, in October?! -- makes me want to weep, or hibernate. So much for tomorrow's big soccer Jamboree.

This is what October is supposed to look like:

Not this:

But apparently Winter -- or Mother Nature -- did not get my memo.

Not looking forward to the rest of this year, people.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ay Chihuahua! (Dog Halloween costumes)

I've seen some pretty out there dog (and cat) Halloween costumes, but this one takes the cake -- or the tank.

And for those of you dog owners looking for matching mother- (or father)-and-dog Halloween outfits, check out this "Doggie Halloween Costumes" segment from the Wendy Williams Show -- featuring matching Katy Perry costumes and Prince William and that bitch Kate Middleton.

Oh. My. God.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Remember when you knew what ads were advertising?

So one of my current favorite ads is the Volkswagen ad with the two guys going on a road trip where one of the guys decides it would be fun to learn Spanish, instead of listening to music.

[This ad cracks me up every time -- probably because I've been brushing up on my French and wish all it took was a long car ride to sound fluent.]

The problem is that despite seeing the ad several times, I had no idea which car Volkswagen was advertising (turns out, the Passat). And I was more inspired to buy a language-learning CD than I was a car. Which, if the purpose of the ad was to sell me a car, means the ad failed. (Though, to borrow a phrase from my daughter, it was not an "epic fail.")

Now not that I buy stuff based on ads, but back in the day, at least ya knew what was being advertised. Today? Not so much. While there are lots of witty/clever ads out there, how many of you when you see a commercial remember what was being advertised a few hours -- heck, a few minutes -- later?

Call me an old fart, but I still remember Star-Kist and Charlie the Tuna.

["Sorry Charlie. Star-Kist doesn't want tunas with good taste. Star-Kist wants tunas that tastes good!"]

And I can still sing "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us," the old Burger King song. (Though I preferred McDonald's burgers and fries.)

Also, all anyone has to do is sing "meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow," and I immediately think Meow Mix!

And I have a sneaking feeling these ads for Dr. Pepper, featuring David Naughton, may have been partially responsible for my Dr. Pepper addiction.

Anyone else a Pepper?

I could go on and on, but I'd like to open the floor to all of you. Which classic ads do you miss? And do you think advertisers do a better job today of selling stuff on TV or not so much? Leave me a comment.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dog day afternoon

Been trying for weeks to get some decent pictures of my daughter's soccer team. Finally gave up (sort of) and started taking pictures of soccer dogs instead.

(The field we played at yesterday is very dog friendly. And it was a perfect fall day. Only wish I could have gotten a picture of the opposing coach's bulldog. Love bulldogs. Though these pooches are pretty darn cute -- and would make decent strikers.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Your Caturday videos

You may think Al Gore invented the Internets for military purposes, but we know the truth, don't we people? The Internet was invented so people could share cat videos!

And today I am here to share with you two of the latest, hottest kitty videos from the Interwebs.

First up, from Russia with love, "Cat goes to home after shopping." Or as one YouTube commenter described it, "In Soviet Russia, cats go shopping" (which I realize may only be funny to me, my daughter, and some of her friends).

Next up, "Funny Cat Playing Basketball." (Seriously, how do these people come up with such witty titles?)

Kitty got game! (And could also have been a big help to my daughter's rec basketball team last year.)

Wishing one and all a purr-fectly lovely Caturday...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yet another '80s music blog post

Some people have comfort food. I have comfort music.

And what could be a nicer way to end the week than some classic 1980s alternative/new wave music? (That would be a rhetorical question, by the way.)

First up: "Make a circuit with me," from the Polecats, which has been playing on the mental jukebox ever since Steve Jobs died.

That led me to the (English) Beat's "Mirror in the bathroom" (technically from 1979 but I didn't hear it until the 1980s).

Which led me to "Save it for later" and pretty much the whole General Public oeuvre. (God, I miss WLIR.) Sadly, I could not find a video for "Hot you're cool." Bummer.

Then I got into this whole Talking Heads thing.

Talking Heads Girlfriend is Better by Celtiemama

(Loved Stop Making Sense. Great concert movie.)

Which led me to the Tom Tom Club and "Wordy rappinghood":

What are words worth? Also, that Tina Weymouth is lookin' good!

I don't know about all of you, but I feel ready for the weekend now.

[For more great '80s music, click on the "1980s" tag, below.]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things that no longer shock me

Back in the day, I used to think life was fair, that nice guys finished first, and bad deeds (and bad people) would be punished. Now? Not so much. Indeed, few things I read in the news or watch on TV surprise or shock me anymore. Which is kind of sad.

How jaded have I become? (Just remember, you can't spell jaded without J!) To find out I compiled the following list of those things that used to shock or surprise me but now barely raise an eyebrow.

* Politicians cheating on their wives

* Athletes cheating on their wives

* Celebrities cheating on their wives

* Anyone with a penis cheating on his wife

* Priests abusing children

* Priests (and bishops and cardinals) covering up priests abusing children

* Politicians acting in their own self interest, screw their constituents (and wives; see "Politicians cheating on their wives")

* CEOs and top executives who make hundreds of times more than their non-executive employees, even when the company is losing money

* CEOs and top executives who layoff hundreds of employees right before Christmas and then give themselves lavish Christmas bonuses

* How many people in this country are obese

* Teenage girls dressing (and/or acting) like hookers

* Reality TV (see "obese people," "teenage girls dressing/acting like hookers," above)

* Shock jocks

* Bears shopping in supermarkets

So what no longer shocks or surprises you? Leave a comment.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street explained in 60 seconds

Today marks the one month anniversary of protesters occupying Wall Street (even though most of the investment banking houses whose leaders and practices they are protesting against moved out of the Wall Street area to midtown Manhattan years ago). Yet even as the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow, and spawn similar protests around the globe, many (most?) people, including many politicians, are unsure what specifically the protesters are protesting -- or simply don't get it.

Though not former Florida Representative Alan Grayson, who provided this succinct explanation of the Occupy Wall Street movement on a recent Real Time with Bill Maher.

Get that man a bongo drum -- and a seat in Congress!

Btw, is it just me, or does Alan Grayson remind you just a wee bit of Howard Beale in Network -- and his famous "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore" speech, which is just as if not more relevant today than it was 35 years ago.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

7 more great reads

I've been on a bit of a reading tear the past month and read so many great books I could not wait until December to share them!

As per usual, books are listed in the order I read them and linked to their page on (Amazon should really give me a cut.)

Concierge Confidential: The Gloves Come Off--and the Secrets Come Out! Tales from the Man Who Serves Millionaires, Moguls, and Madmen by Michael Fazio with Michael Malice. If you are look for a quick, fun, gossipy read about the lifestyles of the rich and famous when they visit New York City, check out Concierge Confidential. While the writing (or editing) isn't the best, the stories more than make up for it.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran AdriĆ 's elBulli by Lisa Abend. After Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, this is my favorite book about being a chef/what goes on in restaurant kitchens. Expertly written, Abend makes the reader feel like she is behind the scenes at elBulli, the recently closed award-winning, three-Michelin-star restaurant located on Spain's Costa Brava-- and gives you a real appreciation for what it takes to be a world-class chef and restaurant owner.

Needles and Pearls by Gil McNeil. The humorous sequel to The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club, which I also adored. Parents of young boys will particularly appreciate this funny and touching book, the continuing story of a late-thirty-something single mum who moves to a small village in Kent, England, with her two young boys and takes over her grandmother's knitting shop after her husband, who had just announced he was leaving her for another woman, crashes his car into a tree and dies. While that sounds like a gloomy premise, both books kept me smiling and turning their pages for hours thanks to the author's humor and easygoing writing style.

It's All About the Dress by Vicky Tiel. Another wildly fun, gossipy read. If you follow(ed) fashion and still miss Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, you will love designer Vicky Tiel's new memoir about her wild fashions, life, and time in Paris and London in the swinging 1960s and early 1970s. Heck, I barely follow fashion and am not into celebrity gossip and I loved this book, which made me wish I had a time machine and could sew.

Lord Langley Is Back in Town by Elizabeth Boyle. Finally, a good bad romance novel*! Woohoo! Stumbled across this one in the New Arrivals section of my local library. (Hard to avoid those six-pack abs staring out at me -- though did early 19th-century lords really have six-pack abs? I find it a bit hard to believe. But anyway....) A great bit of froth set in early 19th century London. (Is it just me or do the majority of historical romance novels take place in early 19th century London and the English countryside?) If you are looking for a fun, romantic read -- that is not too chaste and decently written with good characters -- I highly recommend Elizabeth Boyle.

Bossypants by Tina Fey. "I can't believe you're reading that," said the spouse when he saw me with Tina Fey's memoir. (I have a total sour grapes/roll the eyes thing about successful working mothers who write memoirs about how you too can have it all, completely ignoring the fact that they have parents and staffs of people taking care of their children and cooking and cleaning and driving so they can have these wonderful careers.) But I gotta admit, I really liked it -- at least the first two thirds, before she started quoting scenes from 30 Rock and discussing her guilt about not breast feeding, having a "babysitter" (i.e., nanny), and whether or not to have a second kid.

Dolci di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch (author of House of Daughters, another favorite of mine). A forty-something couple who have lost their way. A bunch of old, well-meaning Italian busy-bodies/matchmakers. A magical Tuscan village. Heavenly sounding biscotti and gelato. And a romance rekindled. What's not to like? I smiled, I cried, I could not put this book down. (Seriously, I could not put it down. Read it in practically one sitting, which says a lot.)

To see more/former book recommendations, click here (or on the BOOK NOOK tag, below).

*I read some Georgette Heyer, at the suggestion of reader MaryRC, but was not a fan. Sorry Mary!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Her bulldog is smarter than your honor student

Meet Gabe, the wonder bulldog.

Pretty impressive, no?

No way you'd catch one of our cats fetching milk (or anything, for that matter).

More about Gabe the bulldog here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

And now a word about romance novels

Or as I like to call them, fairy tales for big girls.

For some reason, ever since we lost power for six days, thanks to Hurricane Irene, I have been craving romance novels, specifically historical romance novels -- the kind set in Regency England. And, I am only somewhat embarrassed to say, I have now read around a half dozen such novels, by several authors (though not the two books whose covers I have featured here).

Now I know one shouldn't take these things (i.e., romance novels) too seriously, but I was shocked -- shocked, I say! -- to discover how incredibly fantastic (as in remote from reality -- though of extraordinary size would also be an accurate description, at least of some things, ahem) some of these tales were.

Herewith my shocking findings about historical romance novels (and, no doubt, more contemporary ones, too).

Fact 1: There are no flat-chested or plain-looking heroines (i.e., people like me getting swept off their feet) in most historical romance novels. While I may have thick, wavy hair the color of chestnuts and lovely green eyes fringed with dark lashes, my otherwise average countenance, diminutive breasts (which I have yet to hear described as "full, round, and luscious, ready to spill out of her gown") and sagging derriere, or buttocks (which likewise has yet to be described as "enticingly plump yet firm," at least anywhere I've heard about), I fear, pretty much disqualify me from being the heroine of, object of affection in, or cover model for any romance novel. (I am now throwing myself onto my settee, heaving tears of regret and longing.)

Fact 2: Apparently aristocrats had personal trainers back in the day and those dungeons were in actuality fully-equipped workout gyms. For how else could you possibly explain all the male heroes in these novels -- dukes, earls, and lords, almost all of whom are in their late 30s or early 40s -- having such hard, taut chests and fine muscular arms whose solid thighs (and, uh, other things) nicely filled out their breeches? (Unless they were gay. Which, come to think of it....)

Fact 3: There is no such thing as male pattern baldness in historical romance. (See "Women with small breasts and plain faces.") Not only have these forty-something pillars of masculinity been working out with Jack LaLanne, they are all clearly members of the Hair Club for Men, for how else can you explain the head of thick, luxurious hair which complements their chiseled jaws, green eyes the color of a storm-tossed sea, and six-pack abs?

Fact 4: To properly seduce a man, you must be a lady in public and a whore in the boudoir. (Actually, that one rings true, at least today.)

Fact 5: I am pretty sure snuff was the early 19th century term for Cialis or Viagra (at least in romance novels). For how else can you explain the ability of a forty- (or fifty-) something gentleman (who, more often than not, is no gentleman) to pleasure his lady, repeatedly, all night? Also, I find it amusing that in all of these novels, the "hero" knows exactly how to pleasure his lady, so that she is sighing with delight at the mere touch of his strong, knowing fingers. And, of course, he only takes his pleasure after she has taken hers. Uh huh. (On the plus side, I much prefer the term manhood to penis.)

So, what do you think, people, time for me to pen my first romance novel?

Monday, October 10, 2011

World's geekiest app?

Alternate titles: "Apps that go BOOM!" "An app only a physicist could love?"

"Want to find out how to Hunt the Higgs Boson using your phone? Ever wondered how the Large Hadron Collider experiments work, and what the collisions look like?"

If you answered "yes" to either or both questions, then have I got an app for you!

Introducing LHSee for the Android (click on the link to read the, to me, hysterical user reviews) -- a new free app for those of you who, like me, are obsessed with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the giant particle accelerator (or as Gail Collins and I like to refer to it, the Life-Extinguishing Black-Hole Maker) located under the border of France and Switzerland*.

Not only is the new LHSee app educational, but, and I quote, "the application allows you to interact with the collision events in full 3D graphics." (I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds kind of painful.) You can also test your knowledge of physics by playing the Hunt the Higgs game!

Btw, the app is categorized under "E," for Entertainment -- or End of days, depending on your point of view. And you can find out more about how it was created here.

*For those non-physicists in the audience, I have included this helpful video which explains what the Large Hadron Collider does in rap form. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The trouble with kittens

Nothing like introducing the new kitten to the resident cat.

This latest "Simon's Cat," titled "Double Trouble," brings back memories, it does.

Wishing one and all a happy Caturday.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Boys will be boys

All of you who have a little brother -- or whose younger child is a boy* -- will relate to this video, titled "Smack that -- Little brother video bombs sister."

Little bro got some moves (and a sore behind, methinks)!

Smack that, indeed.

*Don't share this video with Bryan, Dave S.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Does your guy think he's a Mr. Fixit?

There is a reason (actually several) why shows like Home Improvement and The Red Green Show were so popular. There is nothing like a handy man.

(We once had a carpenter who used to like to quote Red Green: "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy" -- or find you a good handy man, as I would add.)

Indeed, there is something incredibly attractive about a guy who knows how to fix stuff -- the right way (and then cleans up after himself). And there is something incredibly hysterical about a guy who thinks he can fix stuff -- and totally screws it up (unless he happens to be your husband and now you have three inches of water on your kitchen floor and can't use the sink). Which is why I find the new Owens Corning EcoTouch commercial so incredibly funny.

Remind you of anyone you know, ladies?

(While the spouse is very handy when it comes to fixing computers, no way am I letting him insulate the house. I don't care how easy Owens Corning claims it is.)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

They don't make weekend cartoons like they used to

Remember H.R. Pufnstuf...

(The show was a little too trippy for me, but I know I watched.)

Sigmund and the Sea Monsters...

(Loved Sigmund. Also, is it just me or was Johnny Whitaker the Joe Jonas or Sean Cassidy of the early 1970s? Fun fact: Johnny Whitaker was the original Scotty Baldwin on General Hospital.)

and Josie and the Pussycats?

(I was really into Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space. Also, did you know Casey Kasem was the voice of Alexander Cabot III and that Cheryl Ladd was Melody's singing voice?)

Sigh. They don't make cartoons like they used to. (Though I'm not sure that's a bad thing.)

So, what cartoons do you remember watching growing up?