Archive for October, 2006

The Girls Next Door

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

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Tonight, my older son came over for dinner and before he left, he decided to check out a reality show called “The Girls Next Door.” I warned him that I saw it once, and it was really depressing.

He insisted on watching it, because he is nothing if not perverse. The show follows the daily lives of three blonde morons who live in the Playboy Mansion with Hugh Hefner. Every other word out of their mouths is “Hef.” In the one episode I saw a few months ago, one of the girls cried about being shut out of a nude shower scene in a Playboy Video. Somehow, Hef learned of her heartbreak and made sure she was in the shower scene.

Tonight, there was more crying. Bridget was upset that the photographer kept picking on her during a photo shoot in which the Bimbo Triad had to look good from the front AND the back at the same time. This had never been done before! It was like sending an astronaut to Neptune! Or curing cancer, only harder, at least for Bridget. In the end, it all worked out.

Of the three women, Holly is the one we all most wanted to see dead. Bridget seemed stupid but harmless, while Kendra looked like a mean Tonya Harding type who would kick you with her ice-skate. Hef seemed mildly senile and very, very old.

There is something so inexplicably tragic about this show, that if you have a shred of humanity you will be saddened by the waste of life it displays. Somewhere, three women once gave birth to daughters who might have grown up to be teachers or salesclerks or bank robbers or radiologists or lawyers or soccer moms or artists. Instead, they all got breast implants and moved into the Playboy Mansion so they could take off their clothes and cry on TV.

When the show was over, my son said he wanted to go kill himself, and I said, “I told you so!” Some of us are just too sensitive for this word, know what I mean?

But if there was a show where you could see Holly getting shot in the head, I would love to watch it.

Cashmere

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

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I can’t remember how I first discovered Cashmere Shampoo, a product made by a company called The Laundress. I’ve gone through several bottles of it, though, because I love my cashmere sweaters and want them to last forever.

People who have their cashmere dry-cleaned are just losers who aren’t fit to wear fine Scottish cashmere. Let them wear crappy cashmere from China! Dry cleaning just  leaves your cashmere stiff and smelling of chemicals. As the rest of us know, you should always hand-wash your cashmere, wrap it gently in a towel, lay if flat to dry on a new towel, and then scream at your family members if they move your sweater or sit on it.

The Cashmere Shampoo is not only gentle and made of the purest ingredients, it is scented with cedar, which repels moths. Using this product to hand wash your sweaters is a nice calming ritual, and I recommend it for a satisfying feeling of accomplishment.

I don’t want to know how many cashmere sweaters I have, since I’ve been hoarding them since I was 19. I have vintage sweaters from the ‘50s that are still in perfect condition! I have a long  delicate cashmere dress by TSE that I will probably never wear, but it is the holy grail of pointless luxury. You can’t have enough cashmere, as long as you never pay full price.

However, even I have some boundaries. And when I went to The Laundress website to order a new bottle of shampoo, I saw that they now offer a Sweater Washing Service. You can send them your sweater, and for $25 each, they will hand wash it for you and then send it back.

Jesus Christ! Twenty five bucks?!?!   Whoever uses this service must be the laziest person on earth, lazier even than me.   So here is my announcement:   I am now available to hand wash anyone’s cashmere sweater for only $20, plus I will include a personalized Ode to Your Sweater, which I will sign with a lipstick kiss, in the Red lipstick of your choice.*

*offer not valid where prohibited by law. Some restrictions may apply.

Read Carefully

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

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This morning, a tiny news item in the Los Angeles Times caught my eye. “Congo hippies may face extinction,â€? I read to myself, thinking “wow, they still have hippies in the Congo?”

But then I realized I had misread the word “hipposâ€?. This happens to me all the time. Once, I went around telling everyone I knew that a woman had somehow got a snail up her nose without realizing it for ten years!   I loved that story, until I discovered it had actually been a nail. Big deal; anyone could get a nail up their nose.

Anyway, hippos in the Democratic Republic of Congo may be wiped out very soon, due to intense poaching by rebels. In the first two weeks of October, more than 400 hippos were slaughtered in Virunga National Park, which is home to one of Central Africa’s greatest hippopotamus populations.

There are now fewer than 900 hippos in Virunga, down from 22,000 in 1988. Isn’t this shocking and sad?! I don’t want to imagine a world without hippos. Hippies I could live without, though.

Death and Lipstick, Part I

Monday, October 16th, 2006

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My obsessions tend to wax and wane, but for the last few years, two have remained constant: lipstick and death. First, I would like to dwell on lipstick.

I only buy red lipstick, but the Red Era didn’t start until I was 33 and got divorced. I was upset to find myself a “Divorcee‿, a term that always brought to mind a desperate woman wearing tight pants and holding a martini glass. The Divorcee also wore red lipstick, the better to signify her availability (i.e., desperation.)

In order to confront this image head on, I began wearing vivid red lipstick. If anyone remarked on it, I’d explain brightly “I’m a Divorcee!”

All that shit is water under the bridge, of course. I am happily married and I’ve never even tasted a martini. But my lust for red lipstick has evolved into what I believe is a true mania. A few days ago, I purchased my billionth red lipstick: a shade called Exces de Rouge, by Guerlain. It’s a little too blue-red but I still like it. I wore it the other day to Neiman Marcus, where I noticed a sales-lady wearing a flaming red lipstick and paid her a sincere compliment. I was actually able to identify the brand and color! If that’s not frightening, I don’t know what is. As we parted, after she praised my own lipstick, she called out in her foreign accent: “Red is my signature color!”

Well, Foreign Sales-lady, it’s my signature color too. Even though I will never be able to match the perfection of my all-time favorite red lipstick, which was naturally discontinued right after I discovered it, I will continue to buy red lipstick until my dying day. In fact, I wore red lipstick the last time I had surgery, and as I passed out, a nurse told me how pretty it was.

Here is my shortlist of Red Lipsticks:

Best Ever, RIP:   Rouge Velvet by Chanel
Second Best, RIP: Red #22 by Chanel
Most Pigmented But Drying: Ruby Woo by M.A.C.
Most Intense Blue Red: Glam by M.A.C.
Most Too Pink: Ignition by Nars
Most Fun to Paint on: Rouge Lip Crème by Stilla
Most Indelible: Rouge Ultime by Bourjois
The Once I Bought Twice By Mistake: Roulette Rouge by Dior
Most Rich and Creamy: Aphrodite by Napoleon
Most Depressing Smell and Case: Estee Lauder

Next time, we’ll talk about death.

Unbridled Fatness

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

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Today, I had a cup of coffee in a mall, at a Starbucks just opposite a Red Robin Gourmet Burger restaurant. I have actually dined at that restaurant, after shopping myself into a near coma at Nordstrom. The thing I remember most about that meal is how many fat people were crammed into booths all around me.

When I say “fat”,I mean huge enormous whales. I mean really big and fat. I commented on it at the time, and my husband didn’t have much of a response. Today, I watched the huge fat people lined up to eat lunch at Red Robin, while other huge fat people made their exit. This time when I demanded a comment from my husband, he offered the theory that the mall is in a low-income area, and poor people have bad eating habits. I agree that the fat people were dressed in a style one could describe as “ghetto.” But I still don’t quite understand the connection between this restaurant and fat people.

I went to the Red Robin website, which is a whole experience in itself. The phrase “Home of the Bottomless Steak Fries” may be a clue about its core market. Then, I went to a website about “branding” where there was an article about the Red Robin chain of restaurants. I learned that the restaurants are positioned in malls or other areas of high activity. Do malls attract fat people, or do fat people attract restaurants?   I still haven’t figured anything out yet.

But the branding article noted that the staff at Red Robin is encouraged by management to give its patrons “Unbridled Service,” along with a fidelity to the Red Robin “core values”:Honor, Integrity, Seeking Knowledge and Having Fun. These values are supposed to be carried out in “Unbridled Acts.” I went back to the company website, clicked on careers, and ended up feeling incredibly grateful.   I don’t have to work at Red Robin, and I’m not fat!   Yet.

Thank you, Jesus.

Madonna, Bete Noir

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

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Sometimes I think that Madonna was put here on earth to torment me personally. Just when I feel I couldn’t hate her more, she pulls me back in…

Now, she has adopted a one year old boy from Malawi whose impoverished father says he is happy that his son will have a good life in America with Madonna and Guy. WHAT?!?   I am fucking stunned. The boy’s mother died shortly after he was born, and his father, unable to care for him, took him to an orphanage. Now, the father says that Madonna has promised to stay in touch with him.

Madonna, couldn’t you just give that father some money to raise his own son, or did you need that particular kid for a souvenir? Couldn’t you get an actual orphan?

God, I hate you, Madonna. The muscles, the crucifix, the English accent, now this.  Please just leave the planet.
  

Shanice vs Caitlin

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

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Call me racist, but I love Black names. In my own defense, I love yuppie names too, like Hunter and Madison. But Black names give me a particular thrill, like the time I heard a mother in Ross for Less scream at her kid: “Chanel, you get over here!”

In the book Freakonomics, there is a chapter about baby names, and the effect of giving a child a “super-Black” name. The research covered 16 million births, over the last 25 years.

“The data show that, on average, a person with a distinctively black name–whether it is a woman named Imani or a man named DeShawn–does have a worse life outcome than a woman named Molly or a man named Jake. But it isn’t the fault of his or her name. If two black boys, Jake Williams and DeShawn Williams, are born in the same neighborhood and into the same familial and economic circumstances, they would likely have similar life outcomes. But the kind of parents who name their son Jake don’t tend to live in the same neighborhoods or share economic circumstances with the kind of parents who name their son DeShawn. And that’s why, on average, a boy named Jake will tend to earn more money and get more education than a boy named DeShawn. DeShawn’s name is an indicator–but not a cause–of his life path.”

Somehow, I feel this should be instinctive knowledge. But it’s an interesting subject and here is an excerpt. Here is a list of the top 20 “Blackest” and “Whitest” boys’ names (you can see the girls here) from the California data:

The 20 Whitest Boy Names

1. Jake
2. Connor
3. Tanner
4. Wyatt
5. Cody
6. Dustin
7. Luke
8. Jack
9. Scott
10. Logan
11. Cole
12. Lucas
13. Bradley
14. Jacob
15. Garrett
16. Dylan
17. Maxwell
18. Hunter
19. Brett
20. Colin

The 20 Blackest Boy Names

1. DeShawn
2. DeAndre
3. Marquis
4. Darnell
5. Terrell
6. Malik
7. Trevon
8. Tyrone
9. Willie
10. Dominique
11. Demetrius
12. Reginald
13. Jamal
14. Maurice
15. Jalen
16. Darius
17. Xavier
18. Terrance
19. Andre
20. Darryl

I Hate Ellen Barkin

Monday, October 9th, 2006

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I never liked Ellen Barkin, and now I hate her. During her five year marriage to Ron Perelman, a loathsome arrogant billionaire, Ellen Barkin managed to acquire $20 million worth of jewelry. It will be auctioned off at Christies today, so  I guess  Ellen isn’t the sentimental type.

I recall reading a ridiculous piece in Vogue magazine about Ellen Barkin’s happy marriage. She gushed about how much “Ron” loved everything about her, including her beautiful skin, which she insisted was natural, despite a miraculous healing of the wrinkles she had sported only years earlier.

Well, the marriage went sour, and apparently ended in an ugly battle over money. Oh well.

All I know is, during the marriage, Ellen Barkin wasted no time in learning how to buy expensive jewelry, the better for Ron to Love her. The Christie’s catalogue attests to a greed that is hard to imagine. Please go there now, and listen to an audio of Ellen herself chuckling about her pair of emerald cuffs that once belonged to the Duchess of Windsor. Oh, Ellen, you big silly!

Anyway, the collection is expected to raise around $15 million, which Ellen Barkin says she will use to feed Africa….no, sorry, my mistake, she will use it to fund her own production company.

The Chicken Car

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

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Whenever I pass this Chicken Car, it never fails to brighten my day. It’s usually parked on 11th Street in Santa Monica, and I don’t know who  owns it now, but it is one enviable Chicken Car, isn’t it?