Monday, June 29, 2009

Here Lloyd, This Helps.

With the arrival of the summer heat, so enters the makeshift fan. Magazines, newspapers, pieces of scrap paper folded in half, or the ambitious frenetic waving of your own hand in front of your face--anything that can create a slight whisper of a breeze for your head. Which, when you think about it, is always where you're super hot, right? What's the one thing people are constantly saying during the summer? "Ugh, I need to cool down my face."

One of my favorite forms of people-watching involves large groups of people using whatever booklet they've been given as a fan. Graduations are great for this. So are theatres with weak air-conditioning. It's sort of an uncoordinated piece of performance art. Some genius thinks, "Hey, it's hot in here." and starts waving his program in front of his face. Others catch on, and agree. Eventually all you'll see is flapping programs. I love it.

Of course, wherever there's a makeshift fan, there's always the person who chimes in with, "You know, that's just going to make you hotter." These people weigh in like they've conducted numerous scientific tests, dropping phrases like "energy exertion" and "heat creation."
These are also the same people who 3-minutes later, start to fan themselves with their Playbill.

No one knows if it works, and honestly, no one really cares. When it's hot and there's no breeze outside, fanning yourself with whatever you happen to be holding is just the universal response to the heat. It's the pee-dance of the summer.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson.

I read an article a few weeks ago in which a chef described the importance of food by saying that "everyone has a story about food." I loved this because it's so true. Ask anyone you meet and chances are, they can give you a detailed food memory. They can probably give you ten.

I think the same holds true for Michael Jackson's music. You'd be hard-pressed to find a person of our generation anywhere in the world who doesn't have at least one strong memory tied to a Michael Jackson song. That's pretty amazing if you think about it. Plus, probably every person who has ever closed their bedroom door and turned on some music, has tried to moonwalk. That's what I call a legacy.

These are my top 5 Michael Jackson memories:
-My cousin Jonathan showing up to Christmas one year when we were kids wearing a red leather jacket and a sparkly glove. Without exaggeration, I was so jealous I almost started crying.
-Listening to the "Bad" tape on my first Walkman.
-Pretending I wasn't terrified by the Thriller video.
-Michelle Garren busting out the Thriller dance every time we drank in college. The first time I saw her do it is in my Top 10 Hardest Laughs list.
-Dancing around my great-grandma's basement with my sisters and my cousins, trying to do the moonwalk. Who are we kidding? I'm still trying to do the moonwalk.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Oh, Ina.

I was watching a documentary on PBS about chickens and one of the stories was about a farmer who thought he killed a chicken but it ended up living without its head --for like, a long time. Eventually that headless chicken (named Mike) toured with side shows and became sort of famous. Someone they interviewed said, "And that chicken traveled all the way to London, England."

I'm serious.

If the documentary hadn't been on PBS, I definitely would have thought it was a joke. I get the same feeling when I watch The Barefoot Contessa on The Food Network. It really seems like a perfect parody of a cooking show, but it's on a channel dedicated to cooking shows, so it's probably just about food. However, there are so many ridiculous subplots on Barefoot that I can't help but think that Ina Garten is a satirical genius who has us all fooled.

Ina always speaks like she's popped a few muscle relaxants, so no matter how many people she's having over for dinner she keeps repeating things like, "How easy is that?" or "Who wouldn't like that?" as she slowly floats around her kitchen making coq au vin and setting the table using some kind of whimsical theme. "I need to go to the store and get sailboat rope for the table."

When I cook I start by opening a bottle of chef's juice and then swear a lot.

Ina and her husband Jeffery have an incredibly weird relationship that centers around Paris, what Jeffery likes to eat, awkward kissing scenes, and celebrating benchmark moments in Jeffery's life. Apparently Jeffery is the most wonderful man in the world despite the fact that he can never quite get off his ass to make his own sandwich. Jeffery has 30,000 favorite meals and Ina makes some version of them for seriously any occasion, while he stays in his study doing whatever it is he does. "Today is Tuesday and when we lived in Paris, Jeffery always loved Tuesdays. So I thought, what better way to celebrate Tuesday morning than to surprise Jeffery with Beef Bourguignon for breakfast? Now who wouldn't like that?"

Her Hamptons lifestyle keeps me glued. Running errands consists of going to three over-priced speciality food markets and then stopping at the beach to drink a split of Veuve. I like when she calls a friend and tells them to pick up one random thing before a party. Those completely planned scenes are amazing.
-Oh hi Ina!
-Hi! Listen, can you pick up a jar of jam?
-Jam? Sure.
-Thanks! Actually, I'll make my own jam. Can you pick up a case of Grand Marnier?
-A case? Sure.
-Oh, you know what, Jeffery has a case in his study. Can you buy 5 throw pillows for the table?

And then every episode ends with a dinner party where the guests laugh maniacally at nothing. Watch for it. It's actually really scary.

Not everyone is a fan though. Someone on Youtube described different clips from her show like this:
"Ina Garten shows where her stupid friend will be staying."
"Ina's stupid old friend tries to take over The Barefoot Contessa."
"Ina and her stupid friend have a midnight snack and claim that it doesn't count."

But if you're bored and making dinner anyway, it doesn't hurt to pretend you're Ina while doing it. Make up an elaborate backstory about why Jeffery loves frozen veggie burgers, call a buddy to have them pick up 3 organic peaches, and put something that doesn't belong on a dinner table on the dinner table.

How bad can that be?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

That Was Fast.

Suggestions for speed-dating:

1) As soon as the clock starts say, "Staring contest. Ready, Go!" and then bug out your eyes while keeping a straight face.

2) Go on six-minute mini dates. Actually run out of the speed dating venue, walk down the street laughing, sit on a park bench, eat an ice cream cone, and then run back to the venue to do it all over again with the next person. It'd be like a movie montage date. Note: Did you ever notice that relationship montages in movies ALWAYS have a scene with ice cream cones? Movies would have us believe that we can't really know someone until we've seen them eat something with sprinkles.

3) Wear a prom dress. (Nessa's idea)

4) Share something about yourself and then randomly shout out, "You don't know me!"

5) Use a memorable handshake. I suggest the ennie-meanie hand clap routine that ends with "ochi cochi liverochi, we are friends."

Or, do none of the above. I don't know.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Monday, June 08, 2009

What About Bob? The Musical.

I'm not the best person to comment on the stage. My favorite Broadway moment involves a pre-show party for Mary Poppins where Nessa enjoyed one too many complimentary cocktails and proceeded to pass out during the first number. She finally woke up just as Mary Poppins was flying around the theatre on wires and her exaggerated facial expression of confusion, headache, and fear was just about the funniest thing I'd ever seen. Then she went back to sleep.

But after watching the Tony Awards last night I've decided to turn What About Bob? into a musical. Obviously, anything can be turned into a musical--Next To Normal is a rock musical about depression and drug abuse. Pardon me if I don't tap my toe during the chorus. Reminds me of the wonderfully catchy show tunes from that musical about Fibromyalgia. But movies on stage seem to do quite well, and I think What About Bob? would be awesome. The book is basically written, I just have to work in the musical numbers. Here are a few:
-I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful
-Baby Steps
-New Hampshire?!
-The fam
-A vacation from my problems.
-I sail now?
-He can borrow my slicker
-Good Morning America is here
-Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm a schizophrenic... and so am I
-Death Therapy

I'd see it anyway.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I Don't Want To Tell You How To Do Your Job.

But if I were a musician I would introduce every song by saying, "And it goes a little something like this."

I used to think that if I were a drummer I would start every song with a verbal count-off while hitting the sticks like, "One, two, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten... to like 65, just to see how long I could go before people started to get mad. But I've decided that "And it goes a little something like this" is a line almost exclusive to musicians and really shouldn't be wasted.

Just think of how many people can't use that opening line while working.
-People designing bridges
-Trial Attorneys
-Pilots (except On Southwest because they always make jokes like that. I prefer my air travel to be joke-free.)
-And basically anyone who uses some sort of laser on the job.

I would probably attend every live performance of a drummer who opened each show like this:
"Thank You! I'd like to start with a song I wrote called 3,032. And it goes a little something like this. One, two, one, two, three, four, five..."