by John Walters

Starting Five

Bat’s Entertainment: Pearce had four home runs in the series.

Lost Weekend

The Yankees are swept in a four-game series at Fenway Pahk, and the only thing worse is knowing that Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner are likely robbing the till this morning.  The Yanks lost in almost every conceivable fashion: an 8-run 4th inning on Thursday night led to a 15-7 blowout; a one-hitter on Friday (4-1); a listless performance on Saturday, where they went from down 4-0 with two outs and no one in the ninth to having the bases loaded and the go-ahead run at the plate, only for Greg Bird to send a lazy fly ball to center.

Finally, Sunday night: a 4-1 lead when closer Aroldis Chapman enters and promptly walks the number 9 hitter, then another one. Thirty-nine pitches and three runs later, it’s extra innings; and in the 10th the Sawx launch the winning rally with two out and no one on: single, wild pitch, seeing-eye game-winning single.

Just brutal. Boston now leads the Yankees by 9 1/2 games, and while the A.L. East isn’t over, the gravedigger just picked up the spade. No other division has as wide a margin between its first- and second-place teams.

p.s. The Bombers have not gone long in the past three games.

p.p.s. We wish George Steinbrenner were still around to witness this. He’d be going nuts this morning (“Costanza!”) and probably would have fired the bullpen. The back pages of the Post and Daily News would have his rage-quotes all over them. Are you really the Yankee manager if you aren’t required to answer George’s tirades to the press?

2. Oh, THAT Meeting With the Russians?

His son and son-in-law attended, but how would you expect him to know anything about it?

In a stunning reversal—but not really—of posture, President Trump now admits that the June 2016 meeting with the Russians that took place in Trump Tower was about getting dirt on probable presidential election foe Hillary Clinton. This confession came via Sunday morning tweet.

Donald, who just by osmosis should have earned three law degrees by now, added that it was “totally legal” (it’s not, because the people offering the dirt were foreigners) and “done all the time in politics” and how would he even know that, being the political outsider he claims to be?

And all those poor Russian children waiting to be adopted. How will they feel knowing the meeting (which, for now at least, Trump still claims he knew nothing about at the time, but it only took place a floor below his office and involved his oldest son and some of his closest campaign officials) was not about them? Guess they can feel some solace in knowing they’re not in detention facilities with no idea where their parents are.

3. ESPN Strikes Out

We only joined ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast—Matt Vasgersian, Jessica Mendoza, A-Rod—in the seventh inning last night, but here are the errors we picked up. We’ll begin with the most egregious:

–Top of the 9th, the Yanks lead 4-1 and have two runners on base and Vasgersian says, “Don’t look now, but the tying run comes to the plate in the form of Miguel Andujar.” Whhhaaaaaat?

–A-Rod twice alluded to teams “loading the dice.” It’s rolling the dice.

–Vasgersian alluded to a scout’s mom as “being the woman behind all the men at the Padres for years.” A-Rod, to his credit, succinctly said, “Expand on that, please.” Yes, please do.

–In the top of the ninth inning, A-Rod discussed how the Red Sox were going to be very happy having won three out of four against the Yankees. He did not even place a conditional on that statement, even though he himself maintained more than once that “three runs at Fenway is like one run,” alluding to the Yankee lead. Of course, Boston would overcome its three-run deficit and win.

–Finally, on SportsCenter after the game, A-Rold told host Steve Levy that “the Yankees came to Boston trailing by 4 1/2 games and after being swept four games, leave trailing by 9 1/2.” If a first-ballot HOF’er can’t do simple Games Behind math, what hope do the rest of us have.

Let us say, though, that A-Rod’s an ex-ballplayer. His errors are somewhat more forgivable. Vasgersian’s gaffe is what happens when ESPN talking heads attempt to fill your living room with all the information they’ve digested in game prep to the neglect of discussing what’s taking place right in front of their eyes. It was the worst gaffe we’ve heard during a game in quite some time, not because it’s misidentifying a player or the score, but it’s presuming the team that leads by three runs is actually trailing by three. It’s like, Oh yeah, I wasn’t even paying attention.

We watch a lot of local Yankee broadcasts: Michael Kay, accompanied by a rotating crew of Paul O’Neill, David Cone, John Flaherty, Al Leiter and Ken Singleton. They do a phenomenal, and to Kay’s credit, highly professional job. They’re so much better than any ESPN crew we hear. Not knowing Kay but feeling as if I do (we’re the same age from the same area), I can only imagine he wonders how mistakes like the ones ESPN aired last night happen.

4. Clark Kent Is Aquaman?

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…maybe it’s a fish

A 10 year-old boy from northern California broke one of Michael Phelps’ age-group swimming records (the 100-meter butterfly) by a whole second. His name: Clark Kent Apuada.

5. World War II Casualties Still Piling Up

In the Swiss Alps, a vintage World War II plane carrying 20 passengers crashes, killing everyone aboard. As an eerie note, TCM was airing Where Eagles Dare that same night. Seventeen of the passengers were Swiss and three were Austrian.

Music 101

If You Really Love Me

In the early Seventies, the dueling pianos of Elton John (ivory) and Stevie Wonder (ebony) ruled the pop music kingdom. This 1971 hit peaked at No. 8, so it is not one of Stevland Hardaway Morris’ (his birth name) ten No. 1 hits.

Remote Patrol

Better Call Saul

9 p.m. AMC

What to remember as we prepare for the Season 4 premiere: Chuck’s dead, Kim’s injured, Mike and Gus are a team, and Jimmy’s on the path to breaking bad himself.

And It’s Not Even Wednesday

By Katie

Some idiot once said, “You only regret the things you didn’t do.”

This is almost as bad as “Everything happens for a reason”.

I regret everything that came out of my mouth between 6th and 12th grade. I regret every tank top I’ve ever owned. I regret the year I was a redhead.

I regret letting some ding-dong with visions of comedy dancing in his humorless head talk me into doing his stupid video web series.

If you stopped by here yesterday, and if you actually clicked on the video my dear friend John posted of me acting like a right jackass (I wrote that in a Scottish accent) you know what I’m talking about. If for some reason you didn’t watch it, (a reason like you have a job or you rightly suspected it was not a cat video and therefore not worth your time) praise Allah.

I feel defensive enough to offer an explanation to you kind people, who came here looking for sports and got that instead.

Many years ago, a young Midwestern girl had lots of older siblings who were good at everything; they were writers, actors, painters and jocks. She wanted to be just like all of them, so she did all the things they did, but poorly. The only thing she wanted as much as to be like her siblings was a sweaty coupling with Daryl Hall, and she still has the diary entries to prove it.

To quote my cousin Dennis, I, I mean she, was a moron in a family of geniuses. (He didn’t say it about her, he said it about himself, and she co-opted it—another example of her unoriginality. Also it isn’t true about him.)

An example:

Her older sister, an amazingly talented artist, painted the walls of her bedroom with enchanting scenes from Mother Goose. The effect was that of an alternate world, where no harm could ever come and life was a magical hug of tranquility. People came from blocks away to see it–their parents had dinner parties just so they could show it off.

So, our young girl painted her own bedroom walls with giant Don Martin heads from Mad Magazine, sloppily and with black house paint. The effect was an Easter Island nightmare. Her parents wall-papered over it, using the excuse that it “disturbed the baby’s sleep” (it was a shared room, natch).

Imagine an eight-year-old’s rendering of this, only 5 feet high and all in black.


That baby grew up to be another sister who was also better than her at everything, but by the time that became clear, our heroine was a full-tilt alcoholic and didn’t mind as much.

Her lack of talent didn’t stop her, however.

She liked painting, and writing silliness, and talking in funny voices on the radio, so she did all those things all the way into her adulthood, embracing the philosophy “Jack-of-all-trades, master of none.”

They were fun, and kept her occupied and out of the kitchen, an added bonus for her discerning children. They also put a few bucks in her pocket, which was really nice since the only thing she truly hated was real work.

Then one day, an incredibly horrible on-camera job she took showed up on the interweb, so she drank a large glass of Drano and took a nap that lasted forever.

Just kidding. About the Drano nap. All that other stuff is true, except the part about being an alcoholic. I can stop anytime I want to.

Yes, I am a commercial actor in a small market. Some of the jobs are good, some are not so great, but in the maybe-not-wise words of Ms. Lisa Rinna, “I don’t say no very often. I say yes.”

Let’s start saying no


How have you guys been?

I can’t do a starting five today. Coming up with a real list involves reading the news, and I don’t feel like doing that. I know– you’re used to a higher standard; John does it and more, every single day, but he’s what is known in the industry as  a “pro”. He is also, if his Christmas cards are to be believed, a wildly imaginative cross-dresser.

John’s Christmas card from last year. I know! I wasn’t expecting it either.

Five Reasons I Can’t Come Up With a Starting Five

1) I’m too busy pondering why Angelina Jolie and Amal Clooney hate each other.

It seems so wrong that they do, but it feels so right. 

2) I’m pulling the cat out of the Christmas Tree

Some day, when I have a personal assistant, this will be their job. Until that day, I have to do it.

3) I’m hungover

Fittingly, my agent’s annual Holiday soiree was last night, and I had two margaritas. Then I came home and ate 317 Christmas cookies, yet here I am, ten hours later, hungry. The human body is truly a miracle.

This is a selfie I just took

4) I’m binge-watching Nashville

Several family members have been encouraging me to watch this show, assuring me it’s right in my wheelhouse. How well they know me! I can’t get enough.

I’m a massive fan of this little spitfire

5) I’m writing erotica under the pen name Olivia Thundersaddle

This isn’t true, at least not yet. But it’s on my list for 2015, so in another month it will be true. I’ll have to change my pen name now, since the whole idea behind it is so no one will ever know it’s me and I just told you that it is.

I will spend the rest of today coming up with pen names. Suggestions most welcome.

Add this to the list of things I wish I’d thought of

Well, New Girl Sure Isn’t Happening. Again.


By Katie

The homestretch.

This week I bid adieu to my favorite month. It’s a very sad time for me and I don’t know how I’m going to handle it…thanks, thanks you guys. You can send the checks directly to me.

It is a small comfort to me, the knowledge that the month after this one is also pretty awesome, and the month after that is gaaaaaaah I love the holidays so much I take it back this isn’t my favorite month they’re all my favorites sooooo much good stuff to look forward to!

it’s a pretty good time of year


Unless you have Ebola (there it is). Which I’m to understand is now in NYC, so for sure John has it.

If he doesn’t, why does it smell so bad in here? Anyway, I promised you Halloweeny stuff all month and the problem is, my mind has skipped forward to Christmas. Must. Focus.

I spent a lot of time at the library when I was a kid. It was right across the street from our little school, and it was the perfect place to kill an hour before whatever sports or vaudevillian type-show practice was happening back at the gym (there were always vaudevillian type shows being put on, and the adults of the parish always got all the good parts. I’m not bitter about it, though, it’s fine that now that I am an adult, they don’t do it anymore. I said it’s fine).

Work hard sweetheart, someday you’ll be the headliner…or not.


It was the most awesome library–right out of a movie. Looked like a mini-Hogwarts, had a children’s floor and a grown-up floor, both with fireplaces and deep leather furniture. It’s still there, and it’s still adorable–the problem is, it no longer has any books in it.

Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration–if you’re a fan of David Baldacci or Elizabeth Berg (no judgement! I admire and envy them both and someday hope to be the only offering at the local library) you’re in luck, but if you want anything other than those, you have to go elsewhere.

My ritual was, go over to the drugstore and charge a candy bar to my parent’s account, then go to the library and sneak After Darks (see: last week) into the bathroom while I ate it.*

*the candy-bar portion of this ritual was short-lived; it ended the day my dad got the bill. But at least I wasn’t shoplifting them, as my friend Tara and I had one packet of peanut m&m’s from the grocery store in first grade. We felt so terrible about it we buried them in the snow instead of eating them, and we had to wait an entire year to confess that sin at our first reconciliation. That’s some heavy baggage for two little girls to carry for that long, folks. We were seven, and by the time we knelt before that priest we could’ve easily passed for nine.  

In October, I always rounded up the absolute limit of Halloween books I was allowed to check out and hogged them for as long as possible. My favorite was called, simply, Halloween., with a period like that, and if I’m remembering correctly, the cover was plain except for that word, with a spooky owl behind it. I don’t know who wrote it, and over the years,  I have looked high and low for that book with no luck.

No, not because I want it–I have it. Still. I just don’t know where it is, and I never returned it. What do you suppose the fine is on a library book that is 36 years overdue?

That’s not even my record, kids. I checked this book:

out in kindergarten, and it is sitting on the ottoman in front of me, right now. For the first, I don’t know, five years or so that I had it, the sight of it would fill me with guilt and dread. It’s like when you don’t know a person’s name that you know you should know, and then so much time passes that you can’t possibly ask anymore, you know? This book is 40 years overdue.

You: Hang on…you waited a year to confess stealing some m&m’s you didn’t even eat,  but you not only never copped to the stolen book, you still have it??

What can I say? People are complicated.

But the best Halloween book of all time is this one:

and it wasn’t stolen from any library, we owned it, and I loved it. I think this book is what got me interested in pen-and-ink art. A few years ago, my sister found a copy of it on a vintage book site and sent it to me. I never give her anything. Well, I gave her quite a few robust scrubbings with a hairbrush while she was trying to sleep over the years, but I doubt she’d thank me for that.

Here’s another old favorite:

 Starting Five

1. Dear Mr. Watterson

Watched this on Netflix last weekend. Fantastic. If you were a fan of Calvin and Hobbes, and you were because how could you not have been, you must watch it. If you are a fan of cartoon art, which I am (and the movie addresses the misconception of cartooning and comic art as “low art”, an attitude that has chapped my hide since my black-turtleneck wearin’ art school days)  you are in for an extra treat–this movie made me want to go visit this place. 

2. Boyish Girl Interrupted

That is the name of Tig Notaro’s touring comedy show, which I had the great pleasure of seeing last Wednesday night. I came out an even bigger fan than I was going in, and I was a pretty big fan. I love her. Watching her live was honestly like hanging out with your super funny friend in your living room, and she doesn’t work blue–not that I mind that, I don’t–but I do kind of think it takes an extra dollop of talent and chutzpa not to, these days. Watch her videos and buy her cd’s, because she deserves your devotion.

The best part is, my gal pals and I got our picture taken with her after the show–and in it, Ms. Notaro has a look on her face that clearly says, “I can’t believe the crap I have to endure to make a buck”, which I love, understand and admire.


You better buy a t-shirt for this

That sliver of face next to her is me. I cut myself out because not only does my hair look predictably terrible, I am wearing a sweater that looks like my grandmother’s tablecloth. Why did I not notice its horribleness until I was out in public in it? But at least I have an idiotic, super-fan smile plastered across my wine-soaked face.

You: I knew your grandmother to be a woman of taste and refinement. She would never have had a tablecloth that heinous. 

Never mind. Look at Tig!  She looks so thrilled. I hope she keeps in touch. Why, why won’t you be my friend, Tig Notaro??


3. Donuts On A String

Deserves to be elevated to the number one Halloween party game, ahead of  bobbing for apples. Bobbing for apples is the worst. Not really, I mean I love it because it’s good old-fashioned Halloween fun, but let’s be honest, it’s pretty gross. Once a couple of kids have had their turns, the water is nothing but washed-off clown makeup and snot.

If you’re going to do it with any type of conviction, you have to submerge your entire head in the other participants’ effluvium and trap an apple against the bottom.  Oh, sure, some priss always tries to gently nab a stem in their teeth, but that never works. Never. If you have a story of it working, you might as well save it because it is a lie.   

My daughter just read what I wrote and said, “You always go off on such tangents. Your tangents have tangents. How do you ever get anything done?”

She has known me 19 years. She knows I don’t ever get anything done. She doesn’t even have a name yet. 

Donuts on a string–in case you aren’t hip to it, you play it thusly: Many donuts, preferably powdered sugar because they best lend themselves to comedic shenanigans, are hung on strings, or in our case, one big string  which was then secured across the kitchen.  The participants get onto their knees, under a donut, with their hands behind their backs–you cannot use your hands.  A judge yells “GO” and the first person to completely eat and swallow their donut wins.

Choking hazard or rollicking good time? Why not both?

It’s a good idea to know the Heimlich maneuver if you are going to play this game. You’re going to need it. It is hilarious. 

4. I Hope You People Are Happy

I know you all love sports, and I love sports insofar as sports keep the Imperial Poobah employed and keep you coming back to Medium Happy day after day,  but I have not been able to watch New Girl or The Mindy Project for two weeks because of the World Series.  I am not whining, I’m simply pointing out the unfairness of the universe and the fact that everyone is against me.

And finally, my very last number five of October (drumroll)….

5. This Ad I Found On Craigslist

Looking for a Midget or two 

compensation: Negotiable

Looking for a “little person” midget or dwarf to pose with our family for a family photo. All you need to do is show up in nice clothes, and pose with our family in various shots. We will be more than happy to offer fair transportation cost and pay for your time. This will be fun!

 Dear Sir or Madam,

It is so heartwarming to know that out there is a family committed to teaching their children about (and delighting their friends with) “midget humor”. I would be honored to be a part of your family photo, and I will sleep well at night knowing that I was part of such a noble cause. Name the time and the date, and I will show up in nice clothes and a fairly priced invoice.

Oh—I’m 5’5”. Will that be OK? I have problematic hair, so that could be funny.



The actual library where you cannot find Muffel and Plums. Or much else.



In keeping with our “October is Ebola Awareness Month” theme, I will now share with you the story of my first make-out party, which rightly and scarily coincides with our  “Halloween Stories, Every Wednesday This Month” theme.

ebola wants you to turn that frown upside down!

It was 1978. I was in fourth grade and had made friends with a girl in the fifth grade, which was pretty much like winning the lottery.

She was a new student to my tiny Catholic school–she came over from the public school down the street.

Public school kids terrified me.

I had to walk past their playground every day to get to mine. The taunting! My God, the taunting.

Those kids knew words I didn’t know.

OK, that’s not  true, I knew the words and used them liberally, thanks to a little something in our kitchen called the ‘Stupid/Shut-up Jar.’

My mom converted an empty peanut-butter jar into a depository in which we had to pay a quarter every time we called each other stupid or told each other to shut-up, her absolute pet-peeve. We took that thing and ran with it, scrounging everywhere we could for loose change to buy ourselves some swears.

So, fine, we were potty-mouths, but still. Those public school kids wore Toughskins, for God’s sake.

What you don’t see is who they’re chasing

I know what you’re probably thinking: “What does this have to do with Ebola or Halloween? And don’t you have like 900 older siblings? Didn’t they protect you at all? Are you ever going to write about sports??”

It has to do with Ebola in a roundabout way because it’s momentarily keeping your mind off your looming, hideous demise (but can we agree, blessedly quick? If I were the Ebola PR person, that’s the tack I’d take–It’s horrible, but quick).  The Halloween aspect will become apparent, and no, no sports. I thought I’d made myself clear about that.

As for my siblings…

In theory me, two of my brothers and their neighborhood friend/basically adopted brother were supposed to walk to school together, but more often than not I got distracted by something (the irresistible urge to hop upon the stone balustrade of the neighbor’s patio and belt out a few show-tunes comes to mind–how I longed to be a Von Trapp–as does the need to see how many hand-lengths it was across the weird gravestone-looking hitching post planted in the boulevard, every single day) and they needed to move on without me, lest they be marked tardy. I had sooooo many tardies…so very many.

My point is, my slight-to-moderate OCD tendencies made me a “difficult” walking-to-school companion, not to mention a deliciously meaty, black-watch plaid-wrapped chew toy for the junkyard dogs on that public-school playground. Thank God they were penned in by a tall chain-link fence.

No wait, that isn’t my point. Back to my fifth grade friend– she was the coolest, and she invited me to her Halloween party.

She met me at her door dressed in pigtails (the ‘high-atop the head’ kind, the kind that say “I am an anime prostitute”), short-shorts and a bib, holding a blanket and sucking a pacifier.

“I’m a little girl,” she said.

You’re confused, right? Tell me about it. 

Isn’t my costume scawwee?

I was a ghost; white sheet, white face paint, black ghoulish eyes. You know, because it was a children’s Halloween party.  We walked into her living room, lit only by glow-sticks and a mirror ball. No parents were in sight; her teenaged sister was leading the festivities. I saw shadowy figures. Are those…boys? Oh dear God, there are boys in here. 

But that, m’friends, was just the tip of the iceberg. Another girl,  dolled up as a comely Pocahontas and who I recognized as one of the snarling jackals from the playground, threw me a glow-stick and informed me I was to dance with the boy who held it’s match, behind me.

I turned to face a red-faced kid dressed in his baseball uniform with a look on his face that said very clearly that he was not interested in dancing with me. I think he might’ve even groused “I have to dance with that?” but I’m not sure, since the flood of shame and mortification rushing in my ears may have drowned it out.

“Kiss, you guys!” The nurse hollered, and with that she turned to her dance partner and they embarked on some grade-A muckling. Baseball boy turned on his heel and walked away. I turned to my friend and said I didn’t feel good.

You want me to do what, with who??

My mom came and got me about ten minutes later, and I do believe that if she is reading this right now, it is the first time she has ever heard the true story of that night.

I never did subscribe to the “sexy Halloween costume” thing,  not even later when it was slightly less disturbing. When I was about twenty, my girlfriend and I dressed as a scantily-clad Peter Pan and Yul Brynner, respectively. Guess which one I was?

It was a mash-up Yul, too–I had the bald wig/braid combo from The Ten Commandments and the silk pajamas and pointy shoes from The King and I. Surprisingly, it got me zero action.

I bet you’d like to buy me a drink.

Starting Five

1. My Favorite Halloween Candy

Kit Kats. Hands down. Anyone who disagrees with me is dead wrong. I love most of the mini-chocolate bar offerings, but Kit Kats are the perfect combination of crispy, creamy and just unsatisfying enough to ensure you eat 10,000 of them. 

Worst is by far, candy corn. Candy corn is awful. It’s even worse than the homemade peanut-butter-and-coffee-grounds granola balls wrapped in cellophane the local hippie gives out. It tastes like if ear wax and sugar had a baby.  The only thing more offensive than the way it tastes is the way it looks. Off-puttingly bright, cartoon candy.

The good news is, you won’t poop for a week!

2. Belgium’s New Minister of Health

Is Maggie De Block:

Some of us like candy corn

There’s been some blow-back at her appointment;  some folks say she’s not a good choice for the job because, um…well, it seems that…mmm…she’s not quite… credible.

She’s hit back by saying “‘I know I’m not a model but you have to see what’s inside, not the packaging,” which, in my opinion, would also make her a poor choice for minister of snappy comebacks.

Here’s the thing though, Mags, it is about the packaging, if we’re talking about health. The packaging we all carry our beautiful, flawed, fried-chicken craving  souls around in, and how we take care of it.

Now, if she’d been appointed “Minister of Beauty” or “Minister of Being a Smart Doctor”(she’s an M.D.) and people were remarking on her size, I’d say lay off.

Maybe the plan is, she does a health-kick type thing and asks the country (which has a 47% obesity rate) to join her in her efforts.  That would be cool, like “If I can do it, you can too!”

3. This Halloween-centric Ad I Found On Craigslist

Shopping Help Needed

I got a invited to a weird halloween party and need some help. The party has some rules:

1) Men have to wear women’s costumes and vice versa

2) You have to have someone of the opposite sex who isn’t attending pick out the costume. Very little input from me is allowed.

This isn’t normally my thing but I have heard the party is a ton of fun so I am looking for a woman to help pick out a costume.

It would work like this:

We’d meet at one of those costume superstores. You’d pick out some costumes for me to try on.  We’d see how they look and you’d pick one.

If you are interested in weird, fun jobs, let me know.

Tell me how to contact you and what times you might be available as well as what you would charge for 1-2 hours.

Dear Serial Killer,

Kudos to you for resisting the urge to come right out and write “If you’re interested in being murdered and found in a dirty public bathroom wearing a Winnie-the-Pooh costume, please respond.”

Good Luck with your project!

Your friend,


4. Amal Alamudin Changes Her Name

To Amal Clooney

You guys, this is so weird…I just changed my name to Amal Clooney, too. 

5. Happy 20th Anniversary, Pulp Fiction

It was twenty years ago yesterday that Pulp Fiction hit the big screen. I must be the only person on the planet who does not like this movie.

I don’t get it. I tried to sit through it again to see if I could see what everyone else sees, and I didn’t get it again.

Cool people get it, Katie

Until next week, compadres..


Stop thinking about Ebola!

Stop thinking about Ebola!

It’s Coming…

No, not Ebola, you sillies! That’s here already. I mean Halloween. And the decorations are up here in fly-over country, where we have a major Halloween jones–and we like to keep the flavor vintage.

Seriously, how beautiful is this?






That’s what Halloween should look like.

Almost as good as the covers of these early 20th-century festivity manuals are the suggestions inside: sailing walnut boats! Apple paring charms! How to make lanterns and the ever-creepy cellar stairs test! 

Love it. 

Back in the seventies, rumor had it that crazy Charles Manson-types took the opportunity that was Halloween to put razor blades in apples and straight pins in the mini-candy bars with the express purpose of murdering children (even if it was true, jokes on you, Charles Manson–every apple handed out was immediately lobbed back through your front window). Because of this, one year my parents forbade me to trick-or-treat, but  allowed me to have a party instead.

I invited the seven other girls in my class over to my house, which as luck would have it, was a big old victorian that spooked up nicely after sundown, and we bobbed for apples, ate donuts off a string and had ourselves a good old time. Everything was going swimmingly until my mother called us  into the dining room for the fake “trick or treat” -ing portion of the evening.

My mom had instructed each of my guests to bring a bag of mini-candy, and each bag was laid open on the dining room table. We girls then walked around the table, picking from the bags until they were empty. But apparently 50 candy bars (but in only seven varieties!) each wasn’t enough.

“So when are we going trick-or-treating?” The girl dressed as a laundry basket asked.

“Yeah, we should go soon, my mom is going to be here at nine,” said the dalmation.

“No, you guys, we, um. That was the trick-or-treating. We did it here,” I said nervously.

You don’t know terror until you’re an eleven -year old girl being stared down by your contemporaries, who believe you have screwed them out of trick-or-treats.

I know what you’re thinking; “Hey, this is just like on the Charlie Brown Halloween special when Sally stays all night with Linus in the pumpkin patch!”

Yes–just like that, only there were seven Sallys, and none of them had a crush on me.

My mother saw the blood in the water and had mercy–she let us go around one block, saving the night and saving me from a winter of pariah-dom and probably an eating disorder.

I digress. It’s getting late and your boss is probably wondering where your TPS report is, so without further ado, here is your

Starting Five

1. The Greatest Event in Television History

Yes, please

Back in 2012, Adam Scott and his wife Naomi created this ridiculously funny series of specials for Adult Swim.  I just got hip to it on Amazon a couple of nights ago–so if you’ve already watched all four of them and discussed them at length,  I was going to say  “my apologies” for boring you with something you know all about, but then I realized I’m not really sorry and if there’s one thing I like to do, it’s keep it real. Unless it’s my hair, and you can all be thankful for that.

So this show–hysterical. Adam Scott basically got a bunch of his famous, funny friends like Paul Rudd, Jon Hamm, Kathryn Hahn and Amy Poehler together and shot four documentaries about the makings of several Hollywood specials, like a shot-for-shot remake of the opening sequence of the hit eighties TV show Simon and Simon.

Wouldn’t it be so great to have a creative outlet with your friends, where you could just jack around for your own amusement and maybe the amusement of others? I mean that would be so fun, wouldn’t it…um…ahem. 

It’s $1.99 per 15 minute episode on Amazon, which is kind of spendy until you consider a ticket to a first-run movie is roughly $11,000 dollars (depending where you live–I understand in NYC it’s more like $12,000? Here in the heartland it’s holding steady at 11)  and you have to drive to the theater and let’s be honest, you always say you’re going to stop off at Walgreen’s and buy m&m’s, but you always end up buying them at the concessions counter for another 4,000.

Short story long, it’s an entertainment bargain–of course, you could also watch all the episodes on Youtube for free.

I’ve never been great with money.

A dramatic re-enactment of me, realizing I could’ve watched it on Youtube for free

2. Blood Moon

Happened this morning, apparently one in a series of four in a row, which hasn’t happened since 1967. This has some people worrying it’s the end of days and others saying “Hey, that hasn’t happened since 1967. Huh.”

I personally think it just means a lunar eclipse occurred, though I do think it’s fun to read everyone’s theories. But if I’m wrong and the rapture is coming, I’ll totally admit I was wrong, right here, next Wednesday. Oh wait, this blog won’t be here!  Either way, everyone wins. 

This guy says the end is near. Apparently so are the donuts.


3. American Horror Story: Freak Show

Hooray! It’s back!

Starts tonight, and I am jazzed, kids.

Last year’s season Coven was my favorite–not only was it a rollicking good time watching Jessica Lange and Angela Basset see who could chew the most scenery,  it was aesthetically the most beautiful. The costumes, the sets–everything was a visual treat.

If you’ve never watched and you think it’ll be too scary for you, it’s not.

I hate scary movies. Hate them. Being scared is a very unpleasant sensation to me and I don’t understand why anyone would want to feel that way.

Last summer a girlfriend and I tried to watch The Conjuring, even though we’d both been told it was terrifying.

So why did we do it? I have no idea. Well no, that’s not true, I mean we’d also heard it was really good, a high-quality horror movie the likes of which haven’t been seen in a while, and I guess I personally forgot how much I hate being scared. I don’t know. Anyway, we got about 45 minutes in before we turned it off, and I still barely slept a wink that night.

You know what it is? It’s devil stuff. Anything to do with the devil and I’m out. I alluded to my Exorcist experience a few weeks ago, and I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you about that…

I was six. That movie had just come out and Gene Shalit was reviewing it on The Today Show, and I walked into the kitchen just as he showed the clip of Linda Blair jackknifing on her bed. I felt all the blood drain out of my body and I literally froze in my tracks.

You didn’t really think I was going to put up a picture from The Exorcist, did you?

My class went to the library on a field trip to watch a movie (which is really the best part of this story–we had to leave the school and go to a library to watch a movie about lions) and as soon as the librarian turned off the lights, I wet my pants. My mom had to come pick me up.  She thought I was sick, so she…put me to bed, alone, in the middle of the day.


I didn’t sleep for the next six years. I am not making that up. I would lie in my bed at night, testing my voice to see if it was growly and making sure I was still in contact with the mattress and not levitating. To make things worse, my bedroom looked out onto a bookcase where The Exorcist sat on the top shelf in all it’s evil glory! Daring me to shut my eyes.

It got to be a family joke–every night the ten of us (my younger sister wasn’t born yet) would kneel down in front of a picture of Jesus to say our prayers, and after our “God Bless”-es my siblings tagged on a “and please let Katie not get Possessed.”

Short story long, American Horror Story is about as scary as Scooby Doo.

4. Beer Goggles Are Real

This is so ground-breaking, I really should’ve lead with it. A study conducted in Great Britain, according to Women’s Health, says that women who are boozing rate faces as more attractive than their sober counterparts.

I would like funding for some of my studies–I’m curious about whether its true if I make a face it will stay that way, or if I eat nothing but cookies for a week will I get fatter, or how many episodes of Parenthood will I have to watch before I actually go insane.

I figure I’ll need about a million dollars.

5. Mulaney

Oh, hon. No.

The adorable John Mulaney’s new show, Mulaney, debuted on Fox this week, and it was rough. 

He’s like if your little brother were a stuffed animal. He’s that cute.

I really didn’t want it to be. I am rooting for this kid! Why our own beloved Grand Poobah wrote an awesome piece about this awesome kid here. We want you to come out on top, Mulaney! We know you can do it.

You can do it, John Mulaney! This ethnically diverse group of office workers believes in you and so do I!

Well. Maybe it’ll get better. Check out his standup, amigos, because it is fantastic.

Louis C.K. had a terrible first show on HBO a few years back, remember Lucky Louie? It was seriously awful. And now he’s got Louie. All is not lost. I’ll keep watching, and hoping….

For “while there’s life, there is hope”… 

Word up, trailer for that new Seven Hawking movie. 

Hey, isn’t that the kid from that other movie? The one about the singing French peasants?

On that inspirational note, until next time–

Your friend,



It’s October First!!

I love October.

October is the crazy aunt of the calendar family–she dresses in wildly colorful outfits that look amazing even when they’ve turned to tatters, is drunk by noon, asleep by five and lives on apples and candy.

By the end of her visit you’re sick to death of her and never want to see another popcorn ball, but damn if eleven months later you’re not totally looking forward to seeing her again.

She’s fun…for a while


This month my posts will be chock full of mischief, spooky stories and tales of Octobers past. That is my promise to you.

Starting Five

1. Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle

Because regular peanut brittle isn’t good enough, right?

I have to back up a little. You know how some people keep glass bowls of candy around their houses or jars of jelly beans on their desks? I am not one of those people, because if I were, I’d weigh 900 pounds and be broke from always having to re-buy the candy to re-fill the bowls and jars, which would be extra problematic since I am already broke from having chosen to be an artist instead of a dental assistant or some other, more financially reliable, thing.

You: My cousin is an artist and he makes six figures a year. 

Me: While I have no doubt your cousin is a much better artist than I am, I also have no doubt that he is a total liar. 

My point is, I really love sugar. I could stare at a bag of potato chips for a week and all that would happen is the bag of potato chips would be a week older and feel really awkward, but if I come face to face with a cookie or a box of Mike and Ike, ain’t nobody comin’ out a winner in that battle.

My parents keep candy around the house. They never eat it–they’re admirably fit and healthy, always have been, but a few years ago they were both told they had mild diabetes (is that a thing? I don’t know, but they were told to control it with diet) and they basically quit eating everything but cherry tomatoes and bran flakes.

But they buy giant bags of chocolatey treats from Sam’s Club and leave them in plain sight in the back of their kitchen cupboards behind the garbanzo beans, presumably to torture me and make me feel bad about myself.

The latest perpetrator is this stuff:

Why do my parents hate me?

Dear God. It is so good…there are no words. And a perfect segue to my number two…

2. Sweatpants As Real Pants

Remember this?

Ha ha! A hilarious and long-held truism–sweatpants are for lonely losers who want to drown their self-esteem in a bag of chocolate-covered peanut brittle, right?

Not so fast. I’m seeing these all over this fall:

Oh hell yassss

And I approve. Dress ’em up, dress ’em down, shower, don’t shower, all I know is, bring on the brittle.

3. Dumb George Clooney And His Dumpy New Wife

That wasn’t me saying that, I would never say that.

It was Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock, and they said it in super jealous voices. I mean I think…why else would they have skipped the big wedding? No other explanation is possible! Some people.

I did not spend a shamefully long time on Monday looking at pictures of the wedding and all the accompanying parties.  I didn’t Google who made that short, flowery dress the bride wore afterward because I did NOT think it was fantastic. I have better things to do,  thank you very much.

Great dress, who’s the guy?

I bet she never wears sweatpants as real pants.

4. Gone Girl, The Movie

Opens Friday, and I’ll be first in line. I’m not sure what I’ll be first in line for, but the movie still opens Friday.

No, I really do want to see this, like everyone I thought the book was great, so great I ran right out and bought Gillian Flynn’s first two books, Dark Places and Sharp Objects. Loved them both. Well, “loved” is not the right word–both way too dark and disturbing to “love”, I’m not Jeffrey Dahmer for God’s sake, despite that crack I made about the new Mrs. Clooney’s unfortunate cankles. Wait, I didn’t make that crack–but I bet Angelina Jolie did.

Damn Clooney, out-wifing Brad Pitt like that.

You know why I love following the lives of the beautiful people? So I don’t have to think about headlines like this one:

5. Dallas hospital diagnoses first patient with Ebola

Uh, no. That will not be number five. When I said I would fill my posts with stories of terror and mayhem this month, I meant more “Hey look we’re all having fun around the campfire”, not this.

Number five is my new kitten, asleep in the chair next to me, not a care in the world. Isn’t that so much better?

Think about this instead

Think about this instead

Warm, fuzzy regards,









I’ll Tell You What’s Happening

We’re getting a cat, that’s what. As in tomorrow. Tomorrow is cat day.

Baby Toonces was born ten weeks ago tomorrow, at which point she will be old enough to leave her mother’s teet and come stink up my house.

She’s one of these. I have no idea which. My girlfriend Fran took this picture and captioned it, “Dear God, help me.”

We’ve never had a pet, which is weird when you consider my childhood household always had them,  but not weird at all when you consider that I am a neat freak and cleaning up after an animal is not on my list of things that sound like fun.

I straight up hate dogs. Hate ’em. OK I don’t hate hate them, I just don’t ever want one.

Well, I kind of wanted one once; we actually went through the process of getting approved to adopt a rescue dog a few years ago–and when we got the call that they did indeed have a pooch for us, I excitedly sat the children down and showed them his picture.

They looked at the picture and after a beat, my daughter, who was about 8 at the time, said, “Well, I am not going out at five in the morning to pick up his poop.”

My son said, “I think it was just a phase,”  and went back to his homework.

I take comfort knowing that that dog is living in a house somewhere where his family is OK with picking up his poop at five in the morning.

Like I said, my family had loads of pets growing up–but there weren’t so many rules then. Take the dog for a walk? Never!  The dogs came and went as they pleased, the cats even more so. Heck, the cats came back knocked-up half the time, ain’t no big thang.  It was the seventies–the neighbor lady never wore a bra, my favorite food was Spaghettio hotdish and the dog pooped with impunity.

Pick up dog poo? How ’bout I just boogie instead?

I’ve always liked cats. Cats and I understand each other. The problem is, I’m allergic.

I wasn’t always–I’ll tell you a story now, but I’ll give you a minute to get  a hankie, because it’s a weeper.

N’kay, you ready? So when I was about 10, this cute little kitten started skulking around my yard. She wouldn’t leave, maybe because I kept feeding her, but I think it was because she was destined for me. Sometimes I’d open the back door and she’d run into the house and my dad would yell something about who let that G-D stray cat into the G-D house, and a chaotic scene right out of Cheaper by the Dozen would ensue.

Finally winter came, my mom told me to bring the cat in, and that was that.  We never called her anything but Kitty. She was the best. When I was fifteen, she had kittens in my bedroom closet, all over my new Girbaud jeans–those bad boys cost 2 months movie theater salary, y’all, that’s how much I loved that cat.

You had to really look close to make sure they weren’t fake.

I woke up one day a few years later, and I couldn’t touch her without sneezing violently and having my eyes puff shut and my throat itch.

I had to kick her off my bed, out of my room, and– I believe she thought–out of my heart. She started sleeping  on a pile of fiberglass insulation in the basement and developed huge tumors on her stomach.

We couldn’t keep her off those things, it was weird.

I tried to reassure her nothing had changed between us and she still came running whenever I came home and called her non-name, but you can’t tell me that cat didn’t notice that I couldn’t even pet her anymore.

Are you beside yourself with grief? I know! It’s a terrible story.

So, um…what do you guys want to talk about now?

Ha ha, I had you going there, admit it.

No, the cat story is 100% true, I won’t sleep a wink tonight for all the heartbreaking memories. I mean you thought I didn’t know I was in charge of coming up with a

Starting Five,

and it got super awkward for a second. Can we consider that whole big cat story number 1? Great. Moving on…

2. The Fall TV Season

It’s finally starting! Hooray. It’s no longer light out after dinner, after tonight I’ll be all caught up with Parenthood and watching Chopped on demand is making me fat since I can’t get through an episode without making a BLT.  I need some good old-fashioned commercial television, at least for two weeks until I realize all the new shows are terrible and I go back to watching documentaries about Ramen noodles.

Hello, old friends

3. She’s Not Afraid of the “F” Word

First that radical pixie cut a few years ago, now this. Girl, I don’t care that your accent in The Bling Ring was crap, you rock.

In case you didn’t hear, ol’ girl got up in front of the U.N. on Sunday and gave a kick-ass speech about the importance of being a feminist, that’s right, a feminist–which has become a bit of a dirty word amongst young female celebrities of late.

It’s not the notion of feminism they don’t like, it’s the word. Too may images of saggy boobs, sour mugs and bad hair days. I get it. But note to young women: Being a feminist doesn’t make you a ball-busting, dried-up old man- hater. It makes you sane. Go ahead and embrace Wendy Wasserstein’s adage that “You’re not a feminist, you’re a humanist”–but next time you get your lady bits sewn shut or you’re forced to live in the barn for a week because you’re unclean, tell me you’re not a feminist.

Less than 100 years ago I couldn’t vote. True, I wasn’t born yet– but also because I am a chick. That’s right, a chick–a word I use proudly because I can if I want to. We’ve come a long way, baby!

Now I don’t vote because I don’t want jury duty.

And I look like this. Take that, haters.

4. Netflix Shame

OK, as I’m writing this, I’m finishing up with season five of Parenthood, which I touched on earlier in this post and last week. All of a sudden, the show stops and a sign pops up on the screen that asks, “Are you still watching Parenthood?”

Uh, yeah I am, what’s it to you Netflix? Like you spend all your free time raising money for homeless chimps.  Jeez.

5. This Ad I Found On Craigslist

seeking a non pro female photographer for nude male pics (nw)

I’m a shy chubby guy that’s trying to break out of my shell. I’d like to find a woman willing to take nude photos of me. I’m very self conscious of how I look so someone who is confident with an easy going calming personality would probably work the best. I’m actually in (location deleted to protect the not-very-innocent) but willing to travel to your location if needed. I am 41.

Dear Sir, Wheew! I’m so glad you specified you’re 41. Up until then, I thought you were just some weirdo. I’ll be right over.



I Have A Sinking Feeling I Might Get A C+

Isn’t it nice how John said yesterday that he didn’t know any moms who were half-assin’ it in Parentville?

And here I am, sitting just several states away.

Because that’s what friends do, kids; they pretend they don’t notice each other’s glaring flaws. Although…OK, it is possible that John doesn’t know I have kids. I do though, right? I’m so confused. Can we talk about something else?

Starting Five

1.She’s Fifty Years Old

She likes to kick, she likes to streeeetch…Molly Shannon, AKA Sally O’Malley,  turned 50 yesterday.

You couldn’t kick this high at any age

Remember when you first saw that  sketch, and you were like “Ha ha ha! That is so hilarious, she’s just like my deranged aunt who’s constantly telling me about her sensei! Pass the beer, my rock-climbing final is at 8 a.m. and I need to get at least an hour of sleep first!” And now, Sally’s creator is actually 50 and you’re sitting in your TV room, watching the older woman who lives down the street from you fly by on her bicycle while you ice your hip.

2. The Search History On My Phone

My searches over the past few days, in order, are: 1. What is up with Erica Christensen’s hair? I started watching Parenthood on Netflix last year, and I got completely sucked in even though I can’t honestly say I like the show. Except that I love it. Arrrg! I love it even though I hate it so much! I hate all the characters, I hate everything they say and do and wear and think and I spend every episode yelling at the screen. Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia play the mom and dad. It’s hard for me to write that without thinking of her:

Anyoots. They live in a super cool house in Berkeley and are former hippies, I think–I’m not sure if that was ever explained, but it seems like they are. He’s a crank and she’s a whiner. She yells things at him like, “I’ve been painting for 20 years, and I’d like to paint something (she likes to paint, of course–that’s what all former hippies do) other than this yard!”

Then do it. Why is it your husband’s fault you don’t know how to drive, walk, or buy a plane ticket? No wonder he’s crabby. Peter Krause is their oldest son, and he is very responsible. You know, because he’s the oldest. He’s married to Monica Potter, who has the personality of a bag of wet leaves. She gets teary-eyed a lot.

There was a story arc last season that concerned her battle with breast cancer, and the stylist put her in a horrible bald wig so obviously crammed full of her luscious blonde mane, instead of feeling the emotion the show wanted me to feel, I couldn’t look at her without laughing.

My, what an enormous and perfectly round head you have. It’s almost like you don’t have cancer at all.

Next is Lauren Graham, playing basically the same character she played on Gilmore Girls but with inferior writing.  Dax Shepard is third in the lineup, he’s a goof, and lastly is Erica Christensen, who is actually my favorite character because she’s the only one I never want to slap. But her hair looks like dryer lint. Or that hair that comes out of a spray can, remember that stuff?

Only 14.99 a can!

Am I wrong?

(Ed. Note: Forgive me, Katie; I don’t watch Parenthood –I’m still attempting to master “Adulthood,” but I found this video that allows us newcomers to learn to insta-hatewatch the show in just five minutes; perfect song choice, by the way…it takes me directly to Season 2 of Extras)

2. What’s so great about a Carl Zeiss lens?

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I got a new phone. It’s a Nokia, and I bought it because I didn’t feel like taking out a second mortgage on my house for another iPhone.  I was also promised that Nokia had the best cameras of all phones because they have Carl Zeiss lenses. So, imagine my dismay when all the pictures I took with my fancy (but less expensive!) new phone were just as blurry and flat as the pictures I took with my crummy old phone. Are you imagining it? So you know what I’m saying.

An actual picture of my dismay

But never fear, Medium Happy readers! I spent all last evening googling how to properly use the camera on my new phone, and I am thrilled to report it still sucks.

Sidenote–I am watching Parenthood while I write this, and whiney Bonnie Bedelia, in a Chaka-Khanish show of womanly independence,  has gone to Italy with her painting class because she has had it with painting that yard! And now Craig T. Nelson is going crazy in a ‘when the wife’s away, the man will play’ montage–he’s eating ice cream for breakfast! He’s not wearing pants! He’s taking  a leak in the yard!  He is little more than an animal without her.  Couples never do anything alone! Never.  I hate/love this show. 

3. Wrist Cyst

Are you sure you want to hear about this? Fine. A few days ago I woke up with this weird bump on my wrist. This is the sort of thing that makes me want to immediately go out and buy a bald wig so people will feel sorry for me, but apparently it’s something called a ‘ganglion cyst’ and it’s harmless. My sister, who is also an artist, told me she gets them all the time.

Where’s my ice bucket challenge?

Craig T. Nelson is now eating whipped cream out of a can. I am not making this up.

3. Mid September

I was out on my run today, looking around me and thinking “Today, this is the most beautiful place on Earth.” Now, let me tell you something about where I live– the weather stinks. Like, really, really stinks, almost all the time.

But sometimes it doesn’t, and on those days it’s so gloriously beautiful, I feel like the luckiest tic in the mattress because I live here. Today was one of those days. And it got me to thinking, my town is a lot like my younger sister. I spent my youth playing sports and lying on my parents’ roof, slathered in baby oil, cooking my skin into rashy oblivion.

My younger sister didn’t move or go out in the sun until she was in her mid-twenties. Now she’s got beautiful, peaches-and-cream skin and since she started running a few years ago, kicks my can several times weekly. She isn’t always plagued with injuries or constantly looking for the fountain of youth at the bottom of a bottle.

Ahem. What were we talking about?

The point is, maybe if my town wasn’t entombed in bad weather 97% of the time, it wouldn’t be as completely perfect as it is on days like this. Well! As analogies go, that was total crap.

4. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

This guy again? Uh, YES PLEASE

That’s right, Steve Coogan again. You didn’t think I was going to do it, did you?

And then I went and did it. 

Watched this on Netflix. Fantastic; that is if you like hilarity and good times.

“Hey, I like hilarity and good times,” you might be thinking. “Maybe that Adam Sandler movie Blended would be fun for someone like me!” NOT SO FAST, hilarity-and -good-times lover. Blended might actually be the worst movie of the year, and I saw Tammy.

The only thing funny is how much we got paid

No. I’m sorry. Tammy is worse. But Blended is a close second.

5. Robin Thicke

“I didn’t actually write any part of that rapey song because I was high the entire time!” That’s not a quote from Mr. Thicke, it’s a quote from my 19-year-old daughter, paraphrasing Mr. Thicke. It made me laugh so hard I had to share it.

I’m not gross and skeevy, I just look and act that way!

Kind Regards,


I’m Not Sure What’s Happening

Ahh, subs. Gotta love ’em, right?

If history has taught us anything, the answer to that is a resounding “NO”.

Is there anything worse than having front row seats to the big game, only  to find the star player benched with a torn meniscus? Or tickets to the hottest show in town, and that sad slip of paper flutters out of  your program, explaining that an understudy is filling in because the diva has polyps on her vocal chords?

Well, sure, there are lots of worse things. Ebola, for instance. But it’s Thursday, and I’m here and John isn’t, so here is your

JV Five

Wait wait wait wait wait…I know what you’re  probably thinking: “Hey! This isn’t porn! What’s wrong with my computer?”

Or perhaps you’re thinking “WHY, why is she here today?? I purposely skipped reading MH yesterday because they said she would be here on Wednesdays.”

And you were told that, you were…but you see, kids, to you, ‘Wednesday’ means the third day of the work week; the day your secretary wears her red skirt;  the night that Modern Family is on.  Maybe you’re even one of those miscreants who insists on calling it ‘hump’ day.

To me, ‘Wednesday’ is more of an idea; a dayish kind of time in the middle of the week.  It’s like how my daughter’s school tells me to pick her up at 3:15. To me, that means sometime after my nap but before my cocktail. And you know what? It always works out. Let’s just say I don’t believe in splitting hairs.

Moving on…

1. The Black List on Netflix

Netflix paid NBC 2 million dollars an episode for this show. I tried to watch it last night and gave it up after about 15 minutes to watch Muriel’s Wedding for the tenth time instead.

We wish we were watching Muriel’s Wedding, too. And we also wish John would come back.

It’s probably good. People seem to think so. It just seemed like one of those fast-paced, crime-type shows, where he’s all “I’m super smart and evil kind of like Hannibal Lecter” and she’s all “He doesn’t even know me yet he knows me so well, like a father figure which makes my attraction to him all the more confusing” types of shows,  and I couldn’t get into it. Plus her wig was very distracting.

2. Bad Rice Spoils the Whole Soup

No, not a metaphor about that punch-happy football player,  I’m talking about actual rice.

My mother, who is the best,  is under the weather. So yesterday I went to my folks’ house and made her some soup, of the healing, nourishing, chickeny variety.  Put the chicken in the pot, added onions and garlic and sent my dad to the store to get carrots and peppers and what have you, and as I’m standing at the counter, chopping and scooping and stirring, my mom, who is supposed to be convalescing in the big recliner,  comes shuffling up behind me and starts dumping something into the pot.

“Mom! What is that? What are you doing? Sit down,” I say.

“Oh, it’s just some black rice. Your father and I got it at Trader Joe’s. I’ve never had it before. I thought we could try it instead of noodles,” she says, and shuffles back to sit down in her chair.

You know you’ve been a mother for a long time when even illness can’t keep you from messing with the soup. Or maybe she knows I’m JV in more ways than one.

The soup has now turned the color of sewage. The good news is, it smells awful. Like if feet had a baby with very strong cheese and mud.

I scoop out the chicken to remove the bones, and the meat is a terrible dark gray color. It looks about as appetizing as zombie flesh.

Mmmmm…whose hungry?

My dad comes in, peeks into the pot over his glasses and announces, “I’m not eating that.”

“It’s good,”  I say. I guess I thought I could fool him by saying that.

“Are you staying for dinner?” He asks me.

“No,” I say. No way. 

My mother is giggling wildly to herself. Some things are just worth it, I get that. And oftentimes a good laugh makes you feel better than a bowl of soup.

I wouldn’t eat me, either

3. Margret Cho’s blog about Joan Rivers’ funeral

Touchingly heartfelt, hilarious and  extremely crude. And the crude part, she was just quoting Howard Stern anyway. I think Joan would’ve approved. I say that like I knew her. Which I didn’t.

Speaking of funny ladies, I am very happy to tell you that the fantastic Tig Natarro is coming to my town, and I am going. She is someone who I actually fantasize about being friends with in real life.  I wish she’d return my calls.

I love you too, Katie!

4. The Trip to Italy, part 2

I saw it.

I loved it. It was as terrific as the first one, possibly funnier  and like the first, had its moments of depth and thoughtfulness and subtext. That’s right, I said subtext. Do you want to punch me yet?

Also, this one is bright and tight and bursting with color and scenery, whereas the first one looked like maybe it was shot on someone’s phone.  And Steve Coogan’s hair is nice and short–compare:

Hi! I’m a goofy looking comedian!

Oh wait, actually I’m a movie star.

And lastly, my friends, I round out my back-up five with

Going Incognito

A few minutes ago, my household was thrown into a panic when I accidentally hit the ‘back’ button and everything I wrote here disappeared. Laundry baskets were kicked, blue words were expressed, a chocolate cream pie was sent airborne (that was immediately regretted and then said pie was eaten off the wall).

But all was well when I realized everything had been saved by the miracle gnomes of WordPress. My God, what a time we live in. But I also apparently bumped another button on my computer and was informed I had gone ‘incognito’.

What?? How fabulously mysterious. I don’t know what it means, but I really like the sound of it.

Seriously you guys, I just read that researchers have decided if your baby gets crabby when you leave the room, it means it’s going to have unhappy relationships as an adult. Whaaaaaaat?

Come on. How can they possibly know this? The only way to possibly know if this extremely alarming prediction is true would be to follow the crabby baby in question his or her entire life, watching and butting into his or he relationships, which would certainly give those relationships a higher chance of being terrible.

Change me or I’ll get divorced!

Woman on date: “Hey, uh, who is that dude in a lab coat whose been following us and listening in on us all night? It’s kind of freaking me out.”

Man she is on date with: “UGH is he here again?? GAAAAH! That BLEEEEEEP BLEEEEEPITY BLEEEEP has been following me my whole BLEEEEEEEEEP life! Where is he? I’ll kill him! Kill him I say!” 

He flips the table over, sending spaghetti bolognese and wine everywhere and starts ripping the restaurant apart as the researcher in the lab coat makes his way out the back. Meanwhile, his date dials Uber.

Until next time,






Nobody Knows Where China Is

Kids, you would not believe the shenanigans that have been going on behind the scenes while I’ve tried to write this thing. I feel it’s important to share them with you, so you can fully appreciate the land-mines I navigate in order to bring you this entirely useless batch of thoughts.

As I sat here, tapping away on my keyboard, half-watching Frasier on Netflix and not Googling compromising photos of Jennifer Lawrence, a fight erupted from the other room between two of my offspring. It would seem one of them does not know how to find China on a map, and the other found that such an egregious  lack of mental aptitude that the only recourse was to heap very loud verbal abuse upon the non-China knowing party of the first part.

Having grown up at the tail end of a large group, my knee-jerk reaction is usually to side with the younger party  in any domestic battle, but I also don’t want the party of the second part to grow up nursing a mean case of middle-child syndrome, so I feel it’s important to…you know what? I really just wanted them to shut the hell up, I was trying to watch Frasier.

Would you please put a sock in it??

You may have noticed it isn’t Wednesday. I was unable to post anything on Wednesday of this week because I forgot.

So my lovelies, here is my

Starting Five

1. Reclining seats

John Q. Public has officially gone crackerdogs over the wretched discomfort of flying on a commercial airline.

Hell is other people

To the surprise of NO ONE, passengers are behaving like caged animals—three incidences of fights and grounded flights over leg room in the past what, ten days? The most recent story involves a woman who went nuts on a flight from New York to Florida because the person in front her tried to recline their seat. The woman then told the flight attendant to, and I’m paraphrasing here, “consume excrement and expire”.

Once many years ago, when my strapping teenaged son was but a baby, he puked on the McDonald’s counter at the gate minutes before we were to board a flight to Florida. Once on the plane (of course we still went, are you crazy?), as I was wrestling him into his seat, a blue ball point pen that he had smuggled in via his diaper exploded all over me. Did I mention I was also hugely pregnant with my third child?

I’m just trying to get to Florida

The only reason I didn’t tell the nearest human on that plane that day to eat shit and die was because of the three inches extra leg room I had to calm my nerves and restore my humanity, lo those many years ago.

Are you listening, airline powers that be?

2. What’s Up, Doc?

Barbra+Ryan= chemistry

Watched this 1972 Peter Bogdanovich classic last night with my daughter. It absolutely holds up, unlike, I am very sad to report, 1979’s Breaking Away, which I attempted a few nights previously with my son.  I’m sorry! I know, I loved it back in the day, too. But upon re-watching, it’s, well…hmmm. That kid pretending to be Italian all the time really grates on the nerves.

This has been happening a lot lately, me forcing my children to watch movies that I assure them are wonderful, only to be proven otherwise to the soundtrack of their guffaws. The Untouchables, anyone?

Warning: This movie is not nearly as good as you remember it being


How about Big Trouble in Little China? What’s Up Doc, however—dang, I wish comedies like that came along more often. Hilarious.

3. This Picture:


Sleep well, kid!









Take a good, long look, amigos. Drink it in.

It’s terrifying, right?

I don’t know if any of you have heard of this website called Facebook, but occasionally these memes float around on it that prod members to reveal secrets about themselves via a list of some sort. The latest one to come my way asked me to list ten books that had touched my life for whatever reason.

The above picture is from one of the books on my list. It is called Marvels and Mysteries from Our Animal World, and it resided on a low shelf behind the television in my childhood home. It is filled with images like the one above, and I used to stare at them long and hard until I was completely freaked out, long before I could even read the words (which said things like ‘spiders are our friends!’ Ha. Too late for that, pal.)

I didn’t even remember what the book was called when I wrote my list, but my sister read my FB post and realized she had the book, so she brought it over. That’s a loving sibling for you; why leave a childhood trauma in the past when you can hold it on your hands for eternity?

The good news is, once I could read, I latched on to Edward Gorey’s The Gashleycrumb Tinies.

No really, nighty night!

Someday I’ll tell you about the effect The Exorcist had on me. (hint: it wasn’t good)

I didn’t sleep much as a kid.

4. The Trip to Italy

If you never saw the 2010 movie The Trip, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, watch it right now, immediately. Here’s a clip:

That’s pretty much the whole movie; two comedians traveling around England, eating food, cracking wise and trying to outdo each other’s Michael Caine impersonations.

It is great, and the sequel, The Trip to Italy,  is at my local artsy-fartsy theater. I mentioned a while back that it takes a lot to get me to actually go to a theater these days, what with my couch, my TV and my snack collection being ten times more awesome than whatever the local theater has to offer, but I’ll probably venture out to see this one on the big screen simply because I cannot wait.

Also, the crowd at the local independent theater is different from the crowd at the Cineplex; instead of chubby, rock-chewing kids texting their way through Guardians of the Galaxy, folks in hipster glasses, five-finger shoes and scarves the size of tablecoths are… chewing rocks and texting their way through British comedians doing Michael Caine imitations.

Maybe I will wait.

5. Brain-eating Amoeba found in Louisiana’s drinking water

Officials say don’t panic. Oh, OK!

That’s cool. I’ll just drink Gatorade


But I’ve actually been banned from reading WebMD or watching Dateline or ever, ever watching movies about demonic possession (again, that Exorcist story is for another day).

They say the water is safe to drink, just don’t let it go up your nose.

That’s like saying “Don’t think about yellow flowers, just don’t. Don’t think about them. Yellow flowers. No.”

Guess what you’re all thinking about right now?

I’m very thankful I don’t live in Louisiana, mostly because of the brain-eating Amoeba in the drinking water but also the humidity. My hair has enough problems, thank you very much. I guess the saving grace, should I ever snort up an Amoeba,  it won’t find much to nosh on between my ears.

Warm Regards,