2014: A Not Bad Year

Standard
2014: A year of nothing much?

2014: A year of nothing much?

365 days filled with Kardashian filth, Meghan Trainor’s increasingly annoying voice, Chris Pratt’s hotness, ebola and a flurry of hacking scandals.

2014 Loves

Donna Tartt's latest novel will capture you for days.

Donna Tartt’s latest novel will capture you for days.

FKA Twigs, currently better known as Robert Pattinson's girl, is a fresh face in music.

FKA Twigs, currently better known as Robert Pattinson’s girl, is a fresh face in music.

1. Movies were good, “Gone Girl” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Boyhood” were highly entertaining. Cool books include Donna Tartt’s “The Goldflinch” and Meg Wolitzer’s “The Interestings” and “Belzhar”. New music by Lana Del Rey, Jack White and FKA Twigs were stellar standouts.

2. Lana Del Rey is exactly what I crave from a rock star; she’s troubled, intelligent and beautiful with addictive tendencies and questionable taste in men. Del Rey’s sexiness and darkness make up for all the stupid things she keeps saying in interviews and for her lack of credibility. I do love a Connecticut girl gone bad. Her macabre album Ultraviolence is hauntingly cool and her videos are luscious.

3. Jay Z. and Solange: Hate in the Elevator This was the must see silent movie of the year. It cements my belief that Beyonce is not human, she’s actually a robotic alien that Jay Z. created when he was slinging crack as a teenager. She never did give birth to Blue Ivy, Blue Ivy is actually a robotic alien that eats money and platinum for nourishment.The silent movie of the year.

4. Jack White is the coolest man in the world. It’s unhealthy how much I dig him. I don’t know that I can ever forgive myself for missing his Newport Folk Festival performance this year. Lazaretto does not disappoint.

5. Who was Lena Dunham first? Her or me?  I think I could have been Lena Dunham, but better. I watch “Girls”, speed read through her ridiculous friggin memoir “Not That kind of Girl” and smash my modest upbringing, “I’m Lena Dunham without the NYC pedigree and famous folks!”

tumblr_m4cly6bgak1qcqil7

She’s stealing my shtick.

Sour grapes? Maybe. I love to hate Lena Dunham, hate to love her. I’m repulsed and turned on by her constant state of undress. I cringe at and envy her homely designer clothes. I appreciate her rocker beau’s band The Bleachers. She’s so complicated, a lot like someone else I know.

6. Nick Jonas: Goodbye purity ring, hello abs.

Nick Jonas, you can put your shirt on now. We get it.

Nick Jonas, you can put your shirt on now. We get it.

I always knew that Nick Jonas was the hottest Jonas Brother, even when he was the 12 year old kid breaking Miley Cyrus’ heart. Nick Jonas, welcome to the perverted world of every middle aged woman that took their kids to see Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience and could sense your pre-pubescent attractiveness lurking under your fedora. Did I mention that I am fond of this song?

7. Shovels & Rope is a terrific new band, this husband and wife duo are a gritty mix of whiskey, talent and love. Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk” may be the best song of the year, and he was the best part of both the Super Bowl and Saturday Night Live. NBC’s Parenthood is just about as good as a television drama can be.

The Lowest of the Lows

1. Bill Cosby is a predator and anyone that is defending him is on my shit list. Whoopie, I am talking to you. His first public display of poor decision making was firing my first bad girl love Lisa Bonet in 1991 for “creative differences”. The girl was merely exercising her artistic freedom.

Fun times.

Fun times.

2. Gwynnie and Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” or started to loathe each other after a bland ten years together and filed for divorced, as we mortals call it. This breakup will remain friendly until they start fighting over the juicer machine, tan cashmere sweaters and yoga mats. Yawn. Martin almost redeemed his own mediocrity by dating Jennifer Lawrence while the rest of the world just gazed at Jennifer’s nude photos. Didn’t last long, but good try Chris.

Kardashian broke her face.

Kardashian broke the internet and her face.

3. What do I despise about the Kardashians? I hate their deep voices void of infliction or words over three syllables long, I cringe at their dead valley girl jargon. I detest their dark, shiny and glossy hair screaming for a different style, I abhor their hairy babies with stupid names. I’m disgusted by their mascara application habits and shared taste in bohemian wear and I especially cannot tolerate that I once thought Kanye West was the real deal.

Andy,stick to scouting for Housewives trash.

Andy,stick to scouting for Housewives trash.

4. Andy Cohen, you need an image consultant. 2014 thrust you on the edge of awful. I actually sat down and read this “book” you just published “A Deep Look at a Shallow Year”. Andy, I am worried. I thought you went to BU? I thought you were smart. After reading this book I was reminded of my journal as an 8th grader. But, you are a 46 year old man. Your first novel was a fun read, but this is a waste of time. Do I have to read 24 pages to get to two stories that include you partying with Madonna? Your Housewives franchise should partner with America’s Most Wanted. Tacky.

5. Roger Goodell, most of Sony and my local Starbucks barista should be fired.

During my misspent youth I was fired for getting my nose pierced, wearing a Ministry t-shirt to work, habitual lateness and for throwing up in a cafe bathroom during 4th of July weekend in a tourist town, but these executive-level assholes just can’t get fired.

Isn't there another person that can do a better job for over $40 million?

Isn’t there another person that can do a better job for over $40 million?

I make a sport out of not watching football, but this season has been difficult to ignore.No amount of Tom Brady closeups can get rid of the taste of domestic assault, child abuse and rapes that Goodell is not handling properly. Roger Goodell made $44.2 million in 2013. Why is he still employed at the NFL? He is a public relations disaster.And those public service announcements that are now being played ad nauseam  are terrible. Stop. Yes, I know nothing about football but I do know a thing or two about being fired. Let him go!

I give Amy Pascal another 7 months at Sony.

I give Amy Pascal another 7 months at Sony.

Amy Pascal and the gang at Sony are guilty of not having a clue. Don’t we all know to be careful when composing corporate emails? How can this group of professional ass kissers still be employed after biting the hands that feed them? The stars that they are paid to worship.

Yeah and my local Starbucks barista is a mess. I can’t believe that I give him money to screw up my coffee order every week.

grande

I will pay you to stop Grande’s career. Her brother may stay, but she’s got to go.

6. Ariana Grande is as wretched a human being as she is a pop star. Reports surfaced that she berates staff, insists on being cradled like a baby after performances and only allows photographers to frame the left side of her face. What can I do to stop her meteoric rise? Can I pay someone with my soul to produce audio of her saying racist words? Can we drum up a child abuse story? Anything, just put an end to the Ariana.

Lice, homemaking and me.

Standard

I found something that made me want to stay home and clean: lice.

Lice invaded my world and my mind.

Lice invaded my world and my mind.

Yes, lice, I can’t even type the word without mauling my scalp with my fingernails. Lice invaded my home and stayed for a few itchy days. I have never cleaned, washed and embraced homemaking before seeing a louse in my son’s hair. It was both disgusting and amazing. How, where, why? I was energized every time I located a nit or a bug. The joy I had with every removal was pure and unbridled.

I scoured the internet for each and every at-home remedy. I washed my hair with Listerine, slathered coconut oil all over my scalp and sprayed a blend or rosemary and tea tree oil all over my house.

Come to momma, you little louse.

Come to momma, you little louse.

I bagged clothes, toys and bedding and exiled them all to the backyard giddy with excitement over the lice being frozen to death. I whispered in my son’s ear in a sing-song voice “we’re going to kill those bugs in your head, don’t you worry”.

I lost my mind.

I had to end the week with enough vodka to silence the bugs I thought were in my hair and the ones that invaded my mind.

‘Wild’ will break your heart.

Standard
Reese

Reese Witherspoon gets grimy in the performance of her career.

Thank you, creepy man watching “Wild” in back of me, your snores muffled my quiet sobs.

“Wild” is a profound exploration of loss and Reese Witherspoon shines as Cheryl Strayed, a fatherless, troubled and addicted young woman coping with the sudden death of her loving mother with heroin, rampant promiscuity and self-annihilation. She fights back to redeem herself on a poorly planned 1000 mile trek through the Pacific Crest Trail. Along the way she stops torturing herself and reconciles her mistakes with a promise to heal.

I lived in the Pacific Northwest in the late 90s, the same time Cheryl searches for redemption in “Wild”. The movie nails the era with a perfect soundtrack and a good grasp on the grungy decadence and melancholy mood.

Why does it take a death for one to appreciate a parent? Why are we so cruel to our mothers? How can we stop the guilt and embrace the memories?

What a movie, what a performance.

The Sony scandal: A Christmas present to me.

Standard
Angie & Amy Pascal in happier times. "Angie, "Cleopatra" will be the role of a lifetime," Pascal whispers in Angie's ear.

Angie & Amy Pascal in happier times. “Angie, “Cleopatra” will be the role of a lifetime,” Pascal whispers in Angie’s ear.

The Sony hacking scandal is a Christmas present to me from the pop-culture Gods. It started off so promising (Angelina Jolie is spoiled brat!), but it’s fizzled into another tale of corporate executives behaving poorly. Shall we recap what we’ve learned?

Angelina sucks what's left of Amy Pascal's soul out.

Angelina sucks what’s left of Amy Pascal’s soul out.

  1. Angelina Jolie is spoiled: Again, not shocking. What I do enjoy is that Rudin calls Jolie untalented because I partially agree. I know that Jolie has talent somewhere hidden in her 95 pound frame, but I haven’t personally witnessed it since 2005’s “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. What has Jolie been in that is even remotely watchable? I will not include “Maleficent’ because that’s a children’s film. Here’s an email from Rudin about Angelina Jolie’s maddening pursuit to star in “Cleopatra”.

I’m not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie. I have no desire to be making a movie with her, or anybody, that she runs and that we don’t. She’s a camp event and a celebrity and that’s all and the last thing anybody needs is to make a giant bomb with her that any fool could see coming. 

Sandler models the latest in junior high P.E. garb.

Sandler models the latest in junior high P.E. garb.

2. Adam Sandler is an asshole: This is no big surprise. Adam Sandler’s movie career has been in catastrophic decline since the early 90s and I will never forgive him for stealing two hours of my life with “Grown Ups”, I still cannot believe that there was actually a sequel to this movie. Unbelievable.

Here’s Amy Pascal, another executive that has never heard of spell check, take on Sandler:

“Adam is an asshile [sic] and this is more his fault than anyone’s but what we did was not communicate with each other and make assumptions maybe I didn’t pay attention when you were telling me what I was walking into but it also comes from a non alien meant between us all and too many people doing everything and no one taking responsibility and I mean myself as it is my responsibility to let you guys know what I want to breath [sic] life into,” replied Pascal.

Scott Rudin, I think I love you.

Scott Rudin, I think I love you.

  1. Executives don’t spell check, capitalize or care about grammar: Damn, I’m a part-time corporate writer and even I do not send out an email with grammatical errors, rampant USE OF CAPITALS and general distaste of punctuation that these media titans do. Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin each make an annual salary of over 3 million dollars. I do not have a fancy MBA that taught me to reread what I have written and to be very careful of what I put in an email. Tssk- tssk.

Deep thoughts on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: Rock Stars Marry Angels, Hozier is Having an Identity Crisis

Standard

What is a week without an awards show? I forced myself to sit through the recent VS Fashion Show and concert. No, not for the fashion, I’m more of a full-support, serious-looking kind of bra wearer, but I digress.

Kings of Leon were awesome a few albums ago. In their band infancy, I really bought their toxicity, appreciated their familial hotness and was impressed with their public displays of debauchery and public drunkenness. But their schtick got stale, they made that pop ballad and didn’t get any better. Did Caleb Followill’s marriage to VS Angel Lilly Albridge contribute to his cleaner image?

Caleb, before he married an angel.

Caleb, before he married an angel.

Lilly, his rock band is not cool anymore. You can do better. May I introduce you to Hozier?

Caleb, post-Angel matrimony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adam Levine is also married to a VS Angel and was, not surprisingly, previously engaged to a different VS Angel. This freakishly handsome man-child from a privileged Hollywood background will never go away, he is here to stay. Yes, his music is ordinary and mediocre, but who cares? He’s got charisma oozing from his well moisturized pores.

What will fade first? His tattoos or their love?

What will fade first? His tattoos or their love?

Right before I nodded off, I was thanked for my hard work with a doozie of delight: Ariana Grande almost got knocked on her noggin by one of those huge Angel wings.

Ariana Grande's constant ponytail permanently disfigured her face.

Ariana Grande’s constant ponytail permanently disfigured her face.

Oh, Hozier, what were you doing there? Sometimes, it’s just not your venue and you’ve got to pass on exposure for artistic integrity. Watching this earnest Irish folk singer singing about God in front of lingerie-clad models was not even ironic in a cool way, it was just awkward. Even worse, his suit was awful and in need of a tailor. Hozier, please do not make me regret praising you and begging others to listen to your excellent CD.

Hozier, call a stylist; this cannot happen at the Grammy's.

Hozier, call a stylist;
this cannot happen at the Grammy’s.

Taylor Swift was amazing. I refuse to be negative about Taylor Swift because she has a home in Rhode Island and I have got serious geographical pride. And, Ed Sheeran is a redhead and I do not criticize redheads, I only adore them. I suffer from a little known disorder termed “Ginger Hysteria”. This condition forces me to think people have red hair when they, in fact, do not have a strand of red hair. I am being medicated for this condition.

Ed Sheeran is alright with me.

Ed Sheeran is alright with me.

 

Book Review: Ali In Wonderland: And Other Tall Tales, by Alexander Wentworth

Standard

 

Read it for an evening of laughs.

Read it for an evening of laughs.

Ali Wentworth’s memoir is about a woman that has a lot: Greek intellectual hunk George Stephanopoulos as a loving husband, a blue-blood pedigree that includes her mother, Nancy Reagan’s former White House Social Secretary as a mom and a family that is uproariously funny and dysfunctional.

The book recounts Ali’s nanny-filled upbringing in Washington D.C. to her wild boarding school days to her career in showbiz. Wentworth was a cast member of In Living Color, appeared on Seinfield and continues as a correspondent on Oprah. Her story is sprinkled with stories about pestering Henry Kissinger as a child, sleeping around in Hollywood and always finding solace in retreating to the Four Seasons.

There are no moments of clarity here, Ali offers no stories of hitting rock bottom, no eating disorders, drug overdoses, no real failing or suffering from much other than a case of slight heartbreak. This is a funny memoir about a privileged and intelligent woman that sheds her posh roots to claw her way into comedy and finds her way back into the political stratosphere by marrying political journalist and former Clinton insider Stephanopoulos. Along the way, highlights include a very wrong and short dalliance with cocaine, a juicy relationship with an unnamed Hollywood producer and stories on how a rich, young liberal woman came to shock and awe the political world.

pd_in_living_color_cast_thg_120104_wb

She’s there. I wonder if she was friends with Fly Girl Jennifer Lopez? Probably not.

 

 

 

Dig This: Shovels & Rope

Link

My current musical obsession is the American folk duo Shovels & Rope from Charleston, South Carolina. This husband and wife sonic sensation have been making good music since 2008, but I just recently discovered them. Purchase or download a few tracks off of their self-titled debut album Shovels & Rope, or check out their newer stuff: O’ Be Joyful and Swimmin’Time.

They're so good that they'll make you believe in marriage.

They’re so good that they’ll make you believe in marriage.