Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kultcha Klash

None other that the New York Times has taken upon itself to present the homes of Bravo's latest little train wreck "The Real Housewives of New Jersey". The focus of the article, is, as it should be, on outsider "Danielle" who may or may not have a dubious past, and might not even be names (horrors!) Danielle. For this crime she's being stonewalled in joining in friendship with the rarified social circle defined by the intermarried and hopelessly intermingled clan that makes up the rest of the cast: sisters Caroline and Dina and in-laws Teresa and Jacqueline. Danielle is a climber, you see, baldly stating her desire for a wealthy man to take care of her and her two daughters and not afraid to flaunt her sexuality to get one. Which doesn't fly with the socially staid Manzo clan (because being a climber is unforgiveable. Having your Father-in-Law "Tiny" found crammed in the trunk of his Continental stuffed full of lead canape's however is genteel). All except Jacqueline, who wants to be the "nice" one and doesn't want to hurt Danielle's feelings but doesn't want to cross her relatives.

In the mean time in between shopping trips Teresa is building her dream home, so swathed with "marble, granite and onyx" that it resembles the planets most inviting (certainly largest) mausoleum, laying out hundred dollar bills like a licker-tape parade. If there isn't an audit of this entire clan by the time the finale airs, it will only prove that there are no gay IRS agents.

Andy Cohen, drop a dime on them. Do it in time for sweeps. Because "Real Housewives of the Federal Pen" will be must-see TV.

Photo: Bravo

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memories, like the corners that need dusting...

March at PerfumePosse wrote today about her reasons for becoming a perfumista; basically because of the transportative power of scent.

Of course yards of literature by people with far more interesting powers of description that I could hope to enjoy have been written on the subject, whether the taste of Proust's Madeleines or the smell of Shakespeare's roses, Lawrence's chrysanthemums or even Chaucer's famous flatulence.

But really, doesn't everyone have a scent that can instantly transport you into the past, for better or worse? The scent of a former paramours cologne smelled on another? The smell of dry leaves and cut grass taking you back to the autumnal leaf-forts of you (well, my) childhood? The dusty smell of roses on a hot summer day: something that will ever and always make me think of my friend Sue and her "rose alley" or the slightly oily smell of the canyons above Los Angeles, ripe with jasmine, that take me back to the days when I had a convertible and used to waste gas driving about at night, gleefully driving miles out of my way to the grocery store to enjoy the exciting, ozone-pregnant Santa Anas. Or the wet smell of concrete and food and fecund subway grates that is New York?

Even if the memories are ones that you've never had. Maybe that's why I am so seduced by all that is from the house of Lutens; I know that my starch WASP-ness is so ingrained I might as well have a small green crocodile instead of a left nipple, but I can open one of those bell jars and am suddenly in a Souk. Because sometimes you want to be the Sheik, and sometimes you want to be Lady Diana..

Image: Les Salons du Palais Royale

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kindle- an apology

I've always been a big skeptic of the Kindle. For those who have never heard of it. it's Amazon's proprietary book reader doohickey. It holds up to 3500 books, magazines or newspapers and costs about $350 for the smaller model and nearly $500 for the deluxe one with the larger screen. I've been pretty snobbish about the thing, metaphorically clutching my pearls over the whole affair; why, I read books, thanks ever so. Actual books. The ones with pages and stuff. The ones that sit on my shelves and make me look learned, or at least make me look like I don't dust enough. I am still skeptical about paying that much for a book reader then paying for the books on top of it, even if the books are $10 -$15 dollars off the rack price. After all, they're saving on printing and shipping costs and any further nail into the coffin of the actual brick-and-mortar bookstore is I believe no good thing.

What caused a chink in my anti-Kindle armor? Kindle for iPhone. That, and the fact that there are tons of classics out there that are if not free, then almost free at the Kindle store. I downloaded a free copy of one of E. F. Benson's inimitable "Lucia" novels and have been reading it on the bus, and yes Virigina it's clearly legible on even the teensy screen on my iPhone. But the real chink came when I decided to hoist the hardcover omnibus edition onto the sofa to read some more. It was quite frankly as easy and carefree as balancing the Gutenberg Bible on your chest for an evenings reading refreshment. I admit it, I shelved the book and grabbed the iPhone. and while flipping the "pages" I had visions of the luxury of doing this on the big-screen Kindle, having all sorts of boks available to me at my whim in that slim and nearly weightless package. Certainly never having to think about what the cover of my read is communicating to fellow passengers would be nice: the Kindle's blameless wite casing could contain anything from the Bible to Barbara Cartland, from Stephen King to Stephen Hawking,. You could be reading the lastest number of "TLe Monde" or "Love's Lurid Lustbats" and no-one would be the wiser, and I can see that the inverterate traveller would find this a godsend.

$500 is looking somewhat more reasonable..

Photo: Amazon

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fun with the Apocalypse

Those of us who live in earthquake country have this handy-dandy resource to turn to when the ground shakes: we can see if that quiver that went through your house was local and small or large and far away.  It's part parlor game and part reminder to keep bottled water and pull-top tuna cans on hand just in case you have to survive until help can helicopter in from Texas.  (You are keeping water, right?).

I'd still rather have earthquakes than tornadoes or hurricanes.  Or for that matter, winter.  Give me 20 seconds of terror over three months of shoveling white stuff anytime.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Pets are people too..

One of my friends wrote me that one of her cats is ill, while another friend has had a bad scare about the health of his dog. While I don't have a pet (adult allergies, and let's face it, an inability to commit) I feel for them. Back in the day, I had roommates who had cats (Nosh and Swash deserve their own posts) and grew up with both. I understand and wholeheartedly support the idea of pets. While I am aware that there are people who are wholly unable to love an actual human and pour all of that undirected affection into Mr. Dribbles, I'd much rather have to interface with them than with anyone who cannot manage an "Awwww" at the photo of a puppy- even if they are as pragmatic as I am and have no desire to actually have to get up in the AM and walk him. Because at least the ability to love is still there. Because at the opposite end of that spectrum serial killers lie.

Personally I've always preferred cats, since they don't need to be walked, don't do the passive-aggressive barking thing (of course there's the p-a peeing thing, but dogs do that too) and being a starchy New England WASP I rather prefer the stand-offishness. Dogs are easy. Dogs are needy. If I am in a relationship with someone that's that needy I want him to be pulling in 6 figures. So I guess my dream date is a cat with a development deal and endless Albuterol

Photo: Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

It's Pretty Vindy Tahmmy!

We're having the a bit of the "offshore flow" or "Santa Ana's", the roaring, bone, dry winds that Raymond Chandler wrote of as "those hot dry [winds] that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen."

Well, yeah, they wore corsets and hose and had no AC. I kind of like those winds, what with me sitting here in a t-shirt and boxers with iced Perrier. If I had to wear a suit and a hat I'd want to bite people.

Quote is from dear, gone Grandpa Stein, his usual comment when I would pick him up for family dinner when I lived in Milwaukee. No, I wasn't his actual grandchild (he was my BFF Val's Grandfather); he insisted I call him that.

Photo: NASA