Friday, November 28, 2008

Charmed, I'm sure

Lately I’ve been thinking about it. What makes someone charming. Well, it’s the family season, and my family was strictly drawn down the lines of charming and un. My dad clued me in. He told me, he and I were from the uncharming side, whereas my mother and brother had the gift. Which was a total surprise to me, as I was rather lovely at the time, and assumed all the attention was due to my charm.

Father knows best. It’s funny, because I do believe we tend to mate with opposites, and my husbands and boyfriends were charming – so charming, no one, not even my hard-line dad, spotted or cared to see any dark side. Charm may be the greatest gift and curse a person can own, depending on personal strengths and weaknesses.

If you have the gift, almost everyone wants to cuddle up to your campfire of warm flames and toasted marshmallows. But what if you have some personality disorder. Drink too much, drug too much. These same visitors to the campfire will supply your every need, just to sidle up to your warm glow. Your very charm beats the path to your own destruction. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Truman Capote.

So what are the elements of charm. It can be an effortlessness, a seeming comfort in your own skin. But it can also be the opposite. An anti-charm so abrasive, so uncaring of opinion, that that becomes a charm in itself. So elusive – and nothing to do with a straight nose or perfect biceps. Charm remembered is really nothing more than a crooked smile, a touch.

I think charm is a gene. One that will someday be identified and numbered, and even duplicated and sold. But in the meantime, it just was, is, will be. It’s the breath of heaven against your cheek. Some exhale, some inhale.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Well lard dee dah

I have to believe the first ad because it has the full support of the venerable Lard Information Council. And I'm sorry, but if you can't believe LIC, then you're a prick. And this family sure looks happy to me. But how do they stay trim? Positive attitude, plenty of exercise, and a healthy helping of tapeworms every day. I happen to sprinkle the little fellers in yogurt, but most folks like to have them crawl over waffles and maple syrup.

I can't read all the product labels, but it does appear our little miss has one big box of prunes just to get the party started.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Also good on oil spills!

So I sat at the keyboard and weighed some options. Should I present my comparative analysis of Gatsby themes in The Unbearable Lightness of Being? Vanda would read it. An essay on what it means to be psychotically competitive? PA would comment. Photograph another provocative stack of processed-food cans? Hi Jo.

Drink? I won’t name names.

Fortunately my friend Don solved the dilemma. He forwarded a series of magazine ads from the 1930’s. And you think mass-advertising lacks a conscience today?

You ever hear the story that Dr. Pepper was originally a medicinal drink? Or that they marketed Marlboros to women? Well here we have an early incarnation of what to do with a highly odiferous pine-scented liquid. I wonder why only reason #5 is with us in spirit today ... And judging from the "after" photo, looks like Lysol can hold its own in the embalming fluid arena as well.

(Just so you don’t jump to any extremely wrong-headed conclusions, my happily married friend Don sent these ads to many, many friends of all sexes, creeds and colors.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Don't snicker

Ok, I finally polished off the last of my Halloween stash. I had three plus-size bags from Target, and ended up with about 15 trick or treaters. You do the caloric math. And where's your plus-size now? I run almost every day, but I'd have to run to Winnipeg to work this off. But like I said, the candy's gone now, just in time for Thanksgiving.

If I were a trick or treater, I would have visited my house. I let the little spidermen and princesses shove their grubby little paws in the bowl of reese's and snickers and m&m's and take whatever they can grab. Greedy buggers. Sometimes they come up with a couple of snickers, them that wanted reese's, and ask for another pass. Not that they return the snickers.

Next year I'll buy candy I don't like, in case no one shows up. Low-end crap like Smarties. Even as a five year old, I knew the Smartie houses were some cheap sons of bitches. Really, just about anything unchoclified, cheap sons of bitches. And if I'm left with three Target bags of Smarties, I'll just toss them without a moment's regret.

It's like I told Pasadenapio, for my earthquake stash I only buy food I'd never eat unless I were starving. That way I won't snack in between temblors. Makes me gag just to think of the evils lurking in my pantry -- the roni cans -- Ricearoni, beefaroni, pigtoesaroni, deadflyaroni, unidentifiablegutsfromthebuttaroni.

You may snicker, you with your emergency stash of smoked oysters and tempanade. But come the big one, we'll just see who has something left to open. And with a Smartie chaser.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday in Sunland

Update: Can't miss this. (perhaps a couple of road apples for energy.)


Compliments of Truant Muse & shy sister.

Back to Sunland. Sun-land. Such a cheery name for a city. A city of wrecked cars and spent tires and blacktop, a place where the sun bakes and burns the crumbling concrete streets to release the scent of tar and rubber. Today there was the added attraction of hazy smoke, a smoke that smelled like industrial iron and rotted wood.

What better place for an afternoon run?

But the good news is, these boxers in Sunland are getting adoped. And the two posted a couple of weeks ago have a home. Maybe I helped? Or Petrea or Mike? And another one I'd planned to post was adopted this very afternoon.

I took out a new group for a spin, and each wanted to run, so we ran. Here are the creme de la creme, Mouchie & Dobie. Perfect in every way. They just need to pack on a few pounds.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must cough up a lung.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fly fishing

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ok smartypants, how well would you do?

As docent candidate at the Huntington Gardens, we have to take mucho botany classes and some mid-terms. I’ve always tested very well, from IQ’s to SAT’s and such. Doesn’t prove you really know anything much, except psychology. And a few magic tricks.So I’m going to take this xylem and sip my dissolved nutrients (martini) and look at my notes.

Smoking a cigarette+swimming+tanning = Snickers and a breath of fresh air. Snickers stored on thighs and other bodily parts.
(Carbon dioxide + water + light = Glucose + Oxygen. Glucose conversion stored as starch, often throughout plant)
6C02 +6H20 = C6H1206 +602
Thighs would not increase if chloroplast did not exist
And unlike the awful gas exchange humans experience, CO2 goes in, but it’s 02 that goes out through the stomata that are guard cells.
Actual evil done to thighs occurs in mitochondria.

Cellular respiration:
Snickers +breath of fresh air = Cigarette and a swim (no tanning required)
C6H1206 +602 = 6C02 +6H20 (New jeans may temporarily fit, tho probably not, becuz process is constant. Cut down on tanning in prior formula.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Early morning at the old homestead. Welcome.

Had a word with the gardener. I fear he's cutting the grass too short. He's lovely though -- there's a game we play where he pretends he doesn't know me.

Took a brief turn around the cactus garden. Warmer today.

Sat a spell. Perhaps I'll see if Sears has some lawn furniture on sale; time for a replacement.

Took tea -- Japanese Lipton, then Chinese Lipton


Time for my medication.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

You are what you eat

I want to be considered erudite. Sardonically humorous. I want to have a visceral reaction to life. I want to use words like "visceral." Be able to spell "visceral." I want to throw in the odd French phrase, because nothing in English can quite grasp my intention. Well, I wonder what caused that instant volte face.

Italian will do. I'm going to say this, but sotto voce...

I'll start gesturing more, some of those artistic gestures, like fingers splayed, or thumb and forefinger pressed together to emphasize one of my visceral impressions. With impeccably clean fingernails.

Other words I will cultivate in my conversation, in my wunderkabinett of words, as it were: Byzantine, vernacular, synesthesia. That film was at once felicitous and prosaic -- how can that be? The narrative, the emotional palette, lively and poetic, yet oddly dull. More corn of pop?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day in Apple Country

Feels like a big old national party day today, the likes of which I've never seen. Took a drive to get some celebration cider. Things were kind of quiet in Glen Oak. They don't like to wear their heart of their sleeve.

Well, his heart is pretty close to the sleeve. Wanted to show us around the place.

Came back with the goods. Strudel hangover. Sleeping it off; wake me for the fireworks.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tea and No Sympathy

Oh God, PA, now you've done it. The cat woman saw your post as well as my innocent little comment about her former career at the Smogcutter in East Hollywood. So she parked her office at my house and is pounding on the window. She wants to show me her (gasp!) memorabilia. She threatens to do a bubble dance on my front lawn if I don't let her in. The cat snuck through my dog door once Ms H started reciting her tea poems: "If it you don't spike it/I won't like it," and "Tea and gin/it's no sin," and "Tea and brandy/that's my candy." Neighbors are horrified.

I cranked up the Debussy, but it's no match for that voice. (You think I exaggerate? There's a reading at the Huntington, 2:30, with erst-while Bubble Dance partner Patt Morrison. Jeez PA, help me get them dressed. Bring toiletries.)

The rest of you, buy her book, I beg you. I'll feed the kitty.

(The poems above are not in the Miss H collection; she published on one of her "good" days. She was wearing a slip.)