Sunday, December 27, 2009

Season of

Some people just don’t have any Christmas spirit. Ebenezer Scrooge, JetBlue employees who care not if I miss my sister’s Christmas party, that guy in the Subaru who cut me off, the b**** at Hollywood video who wouldn’t let me rent Love Actually because of “outstanding fines” and “improper identification.” (So what if I want to cause myself anguish with a clichéd holiday romance?) People and their anti-Christmas cheer have been getting in my way a little too much this season.

And I’m not the only one who feels this down turn of holly-jolly-ness. The Pope, the leader of this worldwide religious (ish) holiday, has been taken down in his efforts to celebrate. Taken down to the ground by a crazed woman in her second attempt at tackling him during his Christmas celebrations. Yup, this lady has jumped on the Pope twice. She is now in a psychiatric facility, so she may be foiled in making this event a third annual affair.

His speech, where he reached out to those in need, touched many. So maybe it’s understandable that Susanna felt that she had to reach out and touch the Pope. ‘Reach out and touch’ being, of course, a euphemism for the track-style hurdle and panther-style pounce combination she used to take the old guy down.

Interesting though, was the way that the Vatican security interpreted the whole situation. They didn’t seem too worried about anything, explaining that it’s natural for people to want to be near the Pope. …Okaaayyy. Ya, that justification may work for Jesse McCartney or the stars of Twilight who fend off more offensive attacks than Ndamukong, (granted tweeny-boppers do considerably less damage than line men, but regardless.) Security for the Pope, however, probably shouldn’t consider a rouge CRAZO a “natural” occurrence.

And aside from the fact that he’s the Pope, most 82 year old men don’t love getting abruptly thrown to the ground. The statistics we have on arthritis and muscle degeneration tell us that wasn’t a fun experience for Catholics’ favorite senior citizen. He’s been around the block a few times, so Benedict XVI did not quit after the disk-slipping, brittle-bone-breaking assault. He fell and rallied. Pope Benedict XVI went on with his Christmas Eve ceremony, with class.

And that my jaded comrades, is some true Christmas spirit. We have now seen that nothing, not even the Grinch or an agile Susanna, can stop Christmas from coming.
Thank you, Pope, for bouncing back in the way you did, (I don’t mean how you bounced like a fuzzy, yellow tennis ball off the pavement, but that, too, was cool,) you returned the jolly to my holly. As the Grinch so epically ruminated, maybe Christmas does, “perhaps, mean a little bit more.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

One more old, lonely girl

A recent conversation with a group of friends about how we will never be as cool as Miley started turning the gears in my brain. I am aging. I may not be over the hill, but geez, I’m appraoching the top awfully fast. Celebrities are now younger than I am. For so many years everyone who was famous and enviable was older than me. Even the Olson twins in the height of their pre-teen fame (Trenchcoat Mysteries: We’ll solve any crime by dinner time… anyone?) at least had a couple years on me. Now, this is not the case and is causing me boatloads of cognitive dissonance.

First of all, I have no idea when it is appropriate to think these youngsters are cool, cute, or attractive. For the first half of the ‘Can’t tie me down’ video I sat there sizing up both of the Boyz, and was pleased with what I saw. Then the line ‘Like I mean, I'm only seventeen and uhhm ahh the perfect couple is only in a dream’ had to jump out and make me feel awkward and dirty. Until recently, this had never been a problem. And no, I do not accept ‘Cougar’ (or ‘Puma’ as with the latest trend) as a legitimate title for this phase of my life.

The final straw happened to me a while ago (read: today in my kitchen) when I spent an hour watching videos of Justin Beiber before he got famous. So I watched videos of J. Beibs pre-puberty (still), pre-record deal, singing and dancing to someone with a handi-cam. This all started because as a budding choreographer (only in the most loose sense of the word) I wanted to see videos of good dancers. My sister suggested Justin, and one hour and twenty video clips later there I was. Justin does have moves and therefore I consider all of this just R and D for my upcoming dance projects. Yet somehow, I couldn’t shake the thought that if someone walked in and saw what I was doing I would most likely stutter, blush, and quickly close the browser.

The other reason being older than celebrities sucks was so well articulated by my friend Cleopatra (name changed to protect identity,) who stated sadly “It means we probably aren’t going to be famous!” Shit, right? This hit me hard too. Up until now this whole college thing was just a ruse, some façade of a normal life to keep me busy until I found my places among the stars. But now people like Justin, Miley, and a few of the Brothers Jonas make me realize that I am probably not on the verge of being ‘discovered’. I’m no spring chicken, I’m past my prime, less appealing that yesterday’s socks and last year’s Halloween candy.

Child stars should be put in their place. Send them rascal hoot-a-ninnys back to where they belong, in movies like Dennis the Menace, Home Alone, and E.T. Tweens need to stop taking up vital space on the airwaves and page six. And if they could stop being so good-looking and hip that would help me feel less washed-up. But my wishes aren’t going to be realized. Tweens all over the continent (J. Beibs is a kanuck) will continue to put videos on youtube and get signed by Usher. So I may as well accept this depressing trend. Crap.

Well, there’s still a couple of hours before the evening news is on and it’s time to take my metamucil, so I’m going to read Dakota Fanning’s relationship tips in Glamour and ask my 12 year old neighbor what the kids are listening to these days.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You be the judge

I’ve spent a little too much time judging lately. I shot down R. Kelly’s memoir a premature year and a half before it’s release. I shat upon all who purchase fake pets. I swear I am not a Naomi Nay-sayer, a Judgmental Judy or a Disdainful Diana, (although I may be a Repetitive Rachel…) So I want to redeem myself and give 110% in endorsing something that I whole-heartedly love.

This postcard collection in book form is the best thing I’ve ever read. Dawdling through a gift store in my home city my brother and I came upon this treasure. Seconds later we were on the ground, tears a'streamin. Beyond the obvious humor, are the crucial practical purposes these postcards would serve. Think about all the thumb-twirling-eye-shifting-palm-sweating-forced-laughing awkward conversations this would save.

How convenient is that? The itching and burning may be here to stay, but at least you can avoid the uncomfortable chat that goes along with relaying that information. And a few of the latest holiday themed shots are as hilarious as they are soul-crushing. Why allow a child a few more years of believing in magical Christmas joy when instead you can trample on their visions of sugar plums with a blunt, yet adorable postcard?

I say let’s cut the shit. Life can be one big game of ‘beat-around-the-bush’, (and no, that isn’t an erotic board game being sold in the back of Cosmo.) Why not be direct and clear the air. And if you’re going to be intentionally brusque and offensive, you may as well throw some cute lil’ furry guys in the mix to ease the blow. Imagine you get a postcard that says, “You’re the father”. At first you can’t breathe. Then you feel yourself starting to get furious, and overwhelmed, and violent, and… ‘awwww look at the witttle kitty, he’s so small.’ Suddenly the fact that you’ve been hog-tied to a mediocre relationship all because Lifestyles makes a poor quality product doesn’t seem quite so bad.

I find this method of communication (that is, unwanted information paired with cute animals) so effective. I don't really understand why it has taken this long to surface. The long-short-longs of Morse code were used heavily over radio in the 1890's. Skywriting was invented in 1919. The beeper has been around since the 80's for pete's sake. And don't even get me started with hieroglyphics. All I know is I would not want to be informed of Granny's death through skywriting, be broken up with through a two-way, or interpret any impending STD's through Morse code. And if the unfortunate news was delivered next to the droopy eyes of a pup, I wouldn't be any worse for the wear.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

R. Kelly: Exposed. (No, don't call the cops, he's exposing his THOUGHTS)

Oprah’s Book Club, get ready, R. Kelly is writing a memoir. The music legend who brought us classics like ‘I believe I can fly’ and ‘The World’s Greatest’ is writing a “tell all” account of his trials and tribulations. And by trials, I mean literal trials. Like the one that ended last year for charges of child-pornography.

I’ll admit it, I like me some celeb juice. I flip through US Weekly at the grocery store and get pumped when there’s a recent issue of People at the gym. But there are some things that I just don’t want to know. If R. Kelly (or Robert as he’s calling himself in this soul-exposing piece) really is going to “tell all”, I don’t think I want to know it all, or any of it. Trapped in the Closet (parts 1-5) already gave me way too much insight into R. Kelly’s psyche.

The Trapped in the Closet series also illustrates the main problem with R. Kelly’s music, they are nearly impossible to relate to. For comparison, take Usher’s Confessions Part II:

These are my confessions
Just when I thought I said all I could say
My chick on the side said she got one on the way

Now, HERE is a message everyone can understand. Chick on the side gets pregnant? Who can’t relate to that? First you’ve got the awkward “Susie the dental hygienist is having my baby” conversations, then you’ve got the child support negotiations and years of therapy for all parties involved, and of course the general cramping of the playa lifestyle. I feel you, Ush, I feel you. But R. Kelly has to take things to the next level.

She said, “Don’t you make a sound
Or some shit is going down”
I said, “Why don’t I just go out the window?”
“Yes, except for one thing, we on the 5th floor”

Umm… infidelity? That may be statistically common. Hiding in a closet and considering a five story fall to avoid the angry husband and his gun? Considerably less common, (unless, of course, you’re the number one golfer in the world and rumored to be addicted to sex.)

I foresee this disconnect repeating itself when R. Kelly releases his life story. He’s expecting that people will read it and finally understand that the whole child porn thing was all just one big mix-up. “Wow, Robert, you are really just another guy, trying to do right by the people.” Sorry, R. Kellz, I just don’t see that happening.

But again, I’m not here to deter anyone from buying this memoir. Who am I, member of the Archie comics fan club, to judge anyone’s media consumption? Feel free to ‘Step in the name of love’ and statutory right down to the bookstore and pick up a copy. I’ll be stepping in the name of fear as quickly as I can in the opposite direction.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Zoot Zoot Riot

Right now I am thanking my lucky stars that I am not a parent of a 6 year old child. Not simply because of what that implies about my life at age 15, but because it would mean I would have to walk into Wal-Mart and ask the underpaid man in the blue apron where I could find an electronic hamster named ‘Chunk’. The Christmas season is here and the hottest new toy is a life-like rodent called a Zhu Zhu. From my brief yet vomit-inducing research I can best summarize this toy as the bastard-step-cousin of Tickle-Me-Elmo, Furbys, and Giga Pets. The Zhu Zhu hamsters come in five different characters; Patches, Mr. Squiggles, PipSqueak, Chunk, and Num Nums.

As a former owner of two hamsters (Fuzzy and Scratchy) and a female (making me innately drawn to anything cute and furry) I am very intrigued and deeply horrified by the idea of these faux-pets. The description on the Zhu Zhu website is particularly problematic.

The best alternatives to real live hamsters, Zhu Zhu Pets™ hamsters don’t poop, die, or stink, but they are still a riot of motion and sound. Darting around in their hamster tubes, busily scurrying from room to room, you never know where they’ll go next! Simply pet the hamster’s back, set him down, and watch him Zhu Zhu Zhu-oom! Zhu Zhu Pets™ like to be picked up and snuggled too! Pet them gently on the nose, and they’ll squeak with contentment."

My first question is, if they don't poop, die, or stink, what similarity do they have to real hamsters? I'm pretty sure that took up most of Fuzzy and Scratchy's time. And "a riot of motion and sound"?! Sure. Fuz and Scratch were mos def a riot when they were slowly killing each other in gladiator-style cage fights. Thankfully I mistook this carnage for playing and saved my innocent mind from the brutal realities of the animal world.

Fallacy number three: assuming hamsters will "dart around" and "busily scurry" from room to room. As the saying goes, you can build a big-ass hamster palace, but you can't make him run around in it and entertain you. When I wasn't watching them "play" with each other, I was trying to coax Fuzzy and Scratchy onto their ladders, to play with their toys, and to climb through tunnels. I'm not sure what the natural habitat of a hamster is, but it sure isn't a plastic monstrosity of colored tubes. Maybe if we let the little guys drop some acid they would be more inclined to do some "Zhu Zhu Zhu-oom"ing.

The Zhu Zhus have different modes for different times of day. There's "nurturing mode" for when you want to cuddle with Patches, and "adventure mode" where they go roaming around. The only mode I've ever seen is "Imma-burrow-into-these-wood-chips-and-take-a-shit" mode. This really just fills me with regret and feelings of inferiority. Were other girls' hamsters nuzzling and acting like Magellen while mine were semi-comatose? Were my months (premature death was inevitable under my care) with Fuzzy and Scratchy meaningless? I'm starting to feel empty inside...

The most astonishing feature of the Zhu Zhu is its verbal abilities. The thing can make more than 40 different sounds. While incredible, this is terrible unrealistic. In all my conversations with Fuzzy (Scratchy was shy) he never let out anything other than a squeak or a sneeze. With 40 sounds at their disposal these hamsters straight shoot. the. shit. with one another. Either that or they can speak English.

Now I'm not trying to deter anyone from buying one of these little guys. If you've always dreamed of owning a hamster but aren't really down for the poop, death, and that fact that they can't ride a Zhu Zhu skateboard, then Num Nums could be the answer to your prayers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rule #47 Don't forget the tickets when your trespassing to get the prof pic with Obama

Everyone has either crashed a party, or at least thought about it. I fell victim to this awkward social practice my freshman year of college. My friends and I (a loud, shiny, lip-glossed herd of oblivious 18 year olds) showed up at a party thinking it was just another everyone’s-invited-keg’s-in-the-corner type affair. Turns out it was a quiet little birthday party for a person who none of us knew. After walking in circles around the house and getting a few too many unfriendly looks, we decided to cut our loses and 88 that shizz. I still maintain that vague text messages can do some damage with misinformation, but I got out unscathed, so it’s all water under the bridge.

Owen and Vince have proved that crashing can be fun and fruitful, (if you know what I mean…) but there are risks. Anytime you combine identity fraud, alcohol, the Macarena, and way too many distant relatives there is the potential for disaster. Two crashers reached for the stars this November when they snuck into a White House state dinner. Tareq and Michaele of the DC area said ‘No’ to Lean Cuisines and Netflix and said ‘Hell, yes’ to sneaking in the East Wing of the White House. While they may not have been faced with trigger-happy Sack or a stage-five clinger, these two should’ve expected some problems with oh, I don’t know…the secret service, the CIA, military personnel, and any other dude with a gun whose job is to protect the life of our nation’s president. But apparently they were very relaxed and having themselves quite the time. The photos are proof that this couple made MOVES on this fete. I mean, these guys were all close and cozy with India’s prime minister and Mr. President himself. Which is a little unnerving, if you think about it.

There are two kinds of parties; ones that you can talk your way into, and ones that you can’t. (This is assuming that you’re never actually invited to the parties. And I’m talking about the figurative ‘you’, not actually YOU, silly. I know you’re always invited you saucy minx.) I’ve unfortunately had a few encounters with the latter variety. I was flat out rejected at the door of one of my school’s more bizarre fraternities by a girl with a foil tower on her head. (This is one of my many solid arguments why girls shouldn’t be allowed to join frats, but that’s a another fish to fry.)

I feel pretty confident that any party at the White House is allowed to be a little exclusive. I’m not offended that Ol’ Obamskis didn’t shoot me an e-vite, I know they need to take precautions. Precautions such as keeping randos out of what should be the most secure building on this continent.

I guess this shows that criminal profiling only works to an extent. Apparently all you need to do to get past the stronghold of national security is be a chubby, middle-aged, average-looking lawyer.
Touché Tareq, Touché.