Saturday, August 20, 2011

When Celebrities Had Talent

On the morning of the vulgar Kardashian wedding exhibition that is sure to saturate the news this weekend, I am sitting here longing for the time when the only weddings that made the news were Royal weddings, Kennedy weddings or Elizabeth Taylor weddings. Interest in those weddings made sense to me.  The fascination with these talentless celebrities of the Reality TV age though completely baffles me. I don’t get it. What is so interesting about a spoiled girl with a big bum who garishly flaunts her material possessions and her boyfriends for hungry US Weekly readers while having no claim to fame other than her father was friends with a famous ex football player turned movie star turned wife killer and her mother is married to an Olympic athlete turned crypt keeper look-a-like? (huh eh huh eh huh…that’s me panting. Should have taken a breath while writing that sentence.) Really though, I want to know. Because I think the whole thing is BORING.

Perhaps as I approach middle age, I am turning into one of those out of touch old “bitties”. You know, those old people who yell at you for acting your age or for walking too close to their overly manicured lawns. I don’t think so though. I may be a teeny bit out of touch with some things but I still got some spunk dammit. I just think what passes as entertainment today is as dull as those rusty old toe nail scissors on the top shelf of my bathroom closet that will surely cause my big toe to fall off from gangrene if I try to use them again. Dull and harmful. Harmful to our brain cells that are just trying to cling to this life of “fast, cheap and out of control”!

Back to sounding like an old fart who complains (while shaking his fist) about “you kids today!” I really miss when a celebrity was a real star. Talent and moxie and interesting looks and did I mention talent? Now anyone (and when I say anyone, I mean a16 year old boy) with a video camera and a Dorothy Hamill haircut can cut a youtube video and become Beatle-esque in his mania.  The kid looks like he needs a babysitter yet is all over the magazines on fancy balconies vacationing with his Disney girlfriend. Not that I read “those” magazines. I just accidentally walk past them when I am visiting my mother’s. And then a light wind blows past so that the page turns again and again. I can’t figure out why my mom’s house is so breezy but before I know it, I’ve gone through the entire magazine…accidentally.

I’m not really sure what started all of this famous for nothing crap. Was it MTV’s 90’s show The Real World? Was it the Bee Girl in the Blind Melon video? Was it Survivor? Was it George Hamilton’s tan? Maybe it was Clara Peller’s “Where’s the Beef?” She was a huge celebrity for that 30 seconds of TV time. She was likable at least. But I only say that because she was a funny old lady. For all I know she was a real bitch. I guess it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Elizabeth Taylors and Paul McCartneys of the world have been replaced by the Kim Kardashians and Justin Biebers. In fairness to Justin, at least he tries to sing. I mean he is singing songs. He’s not just walking around L.A. while a video camera catches his every shallow move.

Speaking of Elizabeth Taylor. Sure the tabloids loved her. Sure she flaunted her jewels and her fancy lifestyle. BUT she still had talent, class and real beauty. Okay, well maybe the cheating with your friend’s husband is classless but Debbie forgave her, we can too. She wasn’t just a pretty face mugging for any camera. She was a true actress. Just watch Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf if you want to see acting at its best. The woman had it and her philanthropy only made her more appealing. So when I read an editor to Life & Style magazine (consider the source Meredith…consider the source) call Kim Kardashian “our people’s princess,” on CNN’s entertainment page that shares space with ads promoting aid for starving children, I can’t help but hope that every camera malfunctions so that we get badly framed and blurry photos for all the celeb rags. Since that won’t happen, I will do the mature thing and take a black pen to all of the magazine photos that will be at my mom’s house and give her and the wedding party gapped snaggle teeth and black eyes, and I’ll place moles in unappealing places. I hold the power with my black pen you Kardashians!!  I used to do that all the time when I was a child. Take black pens to People and Cosmopolitan magazines. Everyone was ugly by the time I got through with them. Occasionally I gave them black eyeliner and red marker lips to try to make them pretty, but mostly I desecrated their Herb Ritts shots. In fairness to me, I did wait until my family was finished reading them before I wielded the black pen of destruction. I’m pretty sure poor Cheryl Tiegs got the worst of it back then. But at least Cheryl was a legitimate model who had every right to be in those magazines.

I’m hard on the Kardashians. They may be lovely people for all I know. But my mother is lovely people too. And if I had to see her at every single grocery store check out aisle, and hear about her every time I turned on the boob tube or read about her every time I opened up my yahoo page, I’d be sick of her too. Kim…oh Kim. You are a pretty girl with a smoking voluptuous figure, but I wish you’d give up the “reality” job and get a “real” job.  And soon....please.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Greatest Food Group That Ever Lived

If I had to choose a favorite food group, there would be no competition. Breads and cereals all the way. I can’t get enough of the carbs and grains. When the low carb diet was all the rage a few years back, I tried it and lasted 3 days. It was ridiculous that I even tried really. I can’t live in a world without biscuits, pasta and Honey Bunches of Oats. I was going to personally strangle Elsie the bleepin cow if I had to endure another freaking cheese cube. Stupidest diet ever.

Speaking of seer-e-ul. (That apparently is the way I’m supposed to pronounce cereal. I have always pronounced it, “Sir-yull,” and have been given shit for it for the 37 years I have been pronouncing it that way. My brother says, “Ceres, the Roman Goddess of agriculture is not pronounced, sir-eez.” Yeah well kiss my ass. It’s hard to break 37 year old harmless habits.) But again, speaking of cereal, I feel lost if my day does not start off with a giant bowl of it. Screw the small portions bull crap. When it comes to my morning bowl, I go for the gusto. The flakes start jumping out of the top once I start pouring my milk because I’ve already filled it to the rim.

I love the stuff. It’s delicious. There are some crap versions, but I am hard pressed to find a cereal I don’t like. These days though, I stick to the “we pretend we are healthy for you, but c’mon, you must have doubts with how sugary this stuff tastes” brands. Like Kashi GoLean Crunch. Let’s face it, it tastes like a bunch of Super Sugar Crisp was glued together and thrown into a box with an “Organic” label. Good enough for me. I’m not mad. I can pretend I’m eating well. I refuse to read the nutrition label anyway. No need for that nonsense to enter my brain.

Which is why I don’t touch the rainbow trio cereals of my childhood. I accidentally read the nutritional information once. It’s like going to a fast food restaurant where you can actually see the employees making your food. Don’t look for God’s sake. You will never want to eat your food. You have to live in denial in order to enjoy fast food or a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

But I do dream about the rainbow trio to this day. Members of the trio include Trix, Fruit Loops and the Mick Jagger of all cereals, the one, the only…..Lucky Charms! (You know it’s not good for you, it’s not even that pretty, but you can’t turn it down and soon you are another notch on its headboard.) Uh we are talking about Lucky Charms…right? Yeah, well they truly are “Magically delicious!” And they turn your milk gray. Because if you mix a bunch of pastel colored marshmellow pellets together, you get a lovely dull gray. Betcha didn’t know that. I would eat some Lucky Charms every single morning if I could. But I can’t because I have a sweet tooth and to have a sweet for breakfast limits the amount of cookies and brownies I can have the rest of the day. I don’t want to peak at 6:00 am dammit. So I forgo the delectable artificial crap, and eat the “pretend” really good for you crap.

 Of course if you are poor like we were growing up, you have to skip Trix/Fruit Loops/Lucky Charms anyway, and go for their cheaper cousin called, “Kaboom.” Oh yeah Kaboom. It’s like they didn’t even try with that stuff. Even the Kaboom box looked chintzy. As though the guy who won the turtle drawing contest on the back pages of a 1980 copy of the TV Guide got to design the clown on that box. The cereal itself was just slightly colorful and the taste was like a diluted bowl of Fruit Loops. Clearly the makers didn’t want to spend much on the food dye. Which today might make people happy considering all the bad news about food dyes. Back then? Not so much. We wanted color! That’s why Boo-Berry was so in demand. (And hard to find!) What could be better than pretty blue cereal?

It wasn’t all sugar and food coloring when I was a child though. We definitely had our granola-y and bran-y moments. My mother used to buy this tiny box of something called, “Natural Hearth” I think. And we all fought over it because one expensive box netted you about two bowls of cereal. Which didn’t get far in our household of five kids. But damn it tasted good for a “healthful” cereal. Raisin Bran too was a star in our house. Until we developed a cockroach problem right around the same time the movie “Creepshow” came out. Then Raisin Bran was never to be heard from again. And I'm guessing we weren't the only cockroach havers to give up the Raisin Bran in the early 80's. Just not worth the risk. Oh and I can’t forget Grape Nuts. The Chia Pet of cereals. Just add milk and watch it grow. But remember, a spoonful of sugar helps the Grape Nuts go down…in the most delightful way!

Then there are the “Good try but you really aren’t going to cut it,” cereals. Like Kix. What the hell is that crap? The slogan is total bullshit too. “Kids like Kix for what Kix has got. Moms like Kix for what Kix has not.” No they don’t. Nobody likes Kix. That's because Kix sucks. It is only still in existence because there are enough people to go around who have not tried it for the first time. Right up there with Kix is Quisp. I’m fairly certain that if you even find a box of Quisp, it will have an expiration date of December 1982 on it. Because no one buys Quisp. Why would they? The box cover is a thousand times less enticing than a box of Kaboom. Our Kaboom artist is freaking Monet compared with the Quisp artist. I mean what IS that thing on the box? A rabbit? Sea monkey? Alien? Beats me.

So I’ve had my fair share of flavors and flakes over the years, but I tend to go in spurts. A couple of years ago it was Life every single morning. It just turns into the best tasting mush if you let the milk soak it for a bit. I love it. These days it is the Kashi tree bark mixed with the Kashi super sugar crisp. The hint of bland from the bark makes me feel better about the so sweet and crunchy cinnamon brown sugar clusters in their “GoLean Crunch”.  And it is really filling. So I leave for work every morning with a full belly of my favorite food group, and I count the minutes until lunchtime.