Saturday, September 30, 2006

Oh sure, the Saints' victory over the Falcons on Monday night was watched by millions. Sure, it signified a re-birth of the City, and rung in the re-opening of the Superdome. Sure it was an opportunity to celebrate with performances from Green Day and U2. But today I found out the real significance . . . the Saints' victory sealed my win in last week's local football pool, bringing me more than $300!!!! I'm not much of a gambler, well, except for NFL pools, March Madness pools and twice a year poker games with friends. But whatever I do win goes in to my vacation fund coffee can, and I take that money as spending money on my annual vacation. I'm not sure where I'm going yet this year (maybe wolf watching in Yellowstone or a walking trip in the Berkshires), but it's good to know I'll have some spending money when I get there!

This is the real reason I went to Target today - the Queen for a day dress was just a lucky bonus. Yes, you are looking at a genuine 1970's black and white TV with a wire hanger serving as an antenna. It's on the chair because I move it around from the kitchen to the deck etc., and use it to watch football and other sports while dining al fresco, or hanging out and getting some sun. It has gotten so bad that only about 30 percent of the screen even gets a picture - the rest is just blurry darkness. So I splurged on a new portable from Target today ($59!). The high school kids working in electronics stared at me blankly when I asked if they sold rabbit ears, though one of the two knew of what I spoke, and I can't wait for Sunday dinner on the deck with Sunday night football - in color!

I love Target! They just sell everything you can ever need, from garden supplies to stylish clothes to electronics, to this - - my halloween costume, Version 2006. While the dress is described as a Victorian Queen's dress, when you add the wig and tiara it is pure Marie Antoinette. Sure the bumper like netting around the hips and hoop skirt may not be what Trinny and Susannah would recommend for my figure type, but the overall look was too good to pass up. I can't wait for Halloween!!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Three cheers for Ugly Betty!!!

ABC describes this show as: "In the superficial world of high fashion, image is everything. Styles come and go, and the only constants are the superthin beauties who wear them. How can an ordinary girl – a slightly plump plain-Jane from Queens – possibly fit in? If you took a moment to get to know Betty Suarez, you'd see how sweet, intelligent and hard-working she is. But few people do, because in the world of high fashion Betty is the oversized peg in the petite round hole. . . . . Based on 'Yo Soy Betty La Fea,' the groundbreaking Colombian telenovela that became an international phenomenon."

Salma Hayek is the executive producer and also "appears" in the show as the star of a telenovela that is always playing in the background of Betty's home.

I really liked this show, and it may be the show that gets me to try TIVO so that I can watch both Betty and the Office.

Where will you be in 100 years?

What, you may ask, is that? It's an Eternal Reef, and where I hope to be. According to the website, "Eternal Reefs, Inc. creates permanent living legacies that memorialize the passing of a loved one. For families and individuals that choose cremation, Eternal Reefs offers a new memorial choice that replaces cremation urns and ash scattering with a permanent environmental living legacy."

Basically, they mix your ashes into a concrete "reef" structure, then they place a group of them in tropical areas where natural reefs have been destroyed, creating a new home for the creatures living there. I can't think of a better place to be buried . . . than under the sea.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Had dinner with a friend tonight (ummmm ribs at Houston's) to talk about some business opportunities for both of us - could be a good move for me . . . got home in time to confirm that Emmitt Smith made it through another week of Dancing with the Stars, and that my 9 votes for him were not for naught . . . Criminal Minds was next up - while the FBI profilers generally deal with creepy serial type crimes, tonight's episode was extra disturbing - internet pedophiles. Is there any worse criminal than the sexual predators of children? Is there any punishment too great for this?

Finished up the night with Kidnapped - so far the best new show on TV. With this episode, more twists and turns were revealed, and I have no idea where this show is headed, but I'm on board for the wild ride.

Why, yes, I do actually wear the socks that I knit. And yes, they were supposed to match each other.

Enjoying the last of the afternoon sun . . .

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Today a couple of friends came over for brunch. Here Nic and Lindsey do some arts and crafts, and puppy Charlie Brown plots how he can steal a bone from Nanner or Noodles . . .

So after a full day with 3 dogs, 2 kids, and a couple of glasses of champagne (me, not the dogs), we are all beat!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Good to see that the Americans are taking full advantage of their bi-annual opportunity to stink up the Ryder Cup. As usual, the NBC broadcast team is working overtime to make excuses for the Americans' poor play. The truth is that the collegial face the PGA works hard to put on its players is a mask, and they are incapable of pulling together as a team. Yes, Tiger took the rookies to dinner - most of whom he had rarely - if ever - spoken to. But he has yet to figure out how to go from ruthless competitor to good guy team leader. And while the Americans may complain about Sergio Garcia's happy go lucky persona, and they may make fun of the colorful dress many of the Euros like to wear, the truth is that the Euros are laughing their way to another Ryder Cup victory.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I will definitely be back next week for "Kidnapped", starring Timothy Hutton and Dana Delaney. The pilot episode was amazingly tense and exciting - I'm not sure if they will be able to maintain that level, but I'll give it a shot.

I like Timothy Hutton alot, and have been renting DVDs of his old, stylized detective series, Nero Wolfe. Probably not coincidentally, his father Jim Hutton played detective Ellery Queen back in the '70s, and I recently purchased those DVDs. (I am a sucker for old detective shows - Hercule Poirot, Murder She Wrote, Columbo, even Diagnosis Murder and Mystery Woman.)

And how good a movie is Ordinary People? Timothy Hutton as the troubled teenager Conrad (also his name in Kidnapped), Donald Sutherland as his nice, but somewhat clueless father, Mary Tyler Moore as his not very nice on the inside mother, Judd Hirsch as the psychologist, and Elizabeth McGovern as Conrad's sweet girlfriend. The movie makes me sob every time I watch it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I really, really, really want these boots. I recognize that my belief that they will add sunshine to my life every day is irrational, but I still really, really, really want these boots. The problem is that I also really, really, really don't want to pay JCrew $228 for them. I cannot tell you how much it kills me to pay full price for shoes and clothes, unless they are sold at Target. (The Isaac Mizrahi line of women's clothes are fabulous. I get more compliments when I wear a $70 suit from Target than I do on more expensive clothes). So here is the deal I am going to make with myself. I have to figure out how to save $228 over the next month by cutting out pedicures, food, and other "extras", and then I am going to splurge and buy this life changing footwear.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I can't remember the last time I was this excited about a line-up of TV shows. Now that I can no longer pretend that the Angels might make the play-offs, I'm ready to check out network TV, and tonight I will have all of the big 3 networks covered: 8 pm - ABC - Dancing with the Stars; 9 pm - NBC - Law & Order Criminal Intent; and 10 pm - CBS - Smith.

Addendum - Ok, there was a flaw in my plan - I didn't realize that Dancing with the Stars was a 2 hour show until 5 minutes to 10 . . . My hope and dream is that the future ex-Mrs. Travis Barker is the next dancer eliminated. But the bottom line is that I missed the season premiere of L&O CI. I did get a lot of knitting done though - Dancing with the Stars is not very taxing on the mind.

Smith is pretty dark. Alot of time tonight was spent introducing the characters, so hopefully the upcoming episodes will spend more time on the plot and character development. They are trying to walk the line that DeNiro pulled off in "Heat" - to have the viewers rooting for the bad guys to succeed. Whether they will succeed remains to be seen. But Simon Baker is hot, regardless.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Yesterday I finally tried to use my new Ipod. (Other things on my "to do" list for Sunday that I didn't get to cross off: clean out closets; hang curtains; assemble wool sweaters knitted last winter; garden and go to gym.) Since both the Raider game and Chargers game were blow-outs, little attention was required, and I was able to fiddle with my lap top and Ipod. I managed to download a few albums, a couple of audible books, and I set up an I-tunes account. Lots more fiddling is required, but hey, it's a start!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

According to "The longest lived of all the popular freshwater fish is the goldfish. If provided proper feeding and a clean, healthy environment, these fish can live up to 15 years. The oldest reported goldfish actually lived into his 30s."

This is Splish, my nine year old goldfish. His buddy Splash only lasted a few weeks. Last week Splish's fish bowl broke during cleaning, and he has moved on up to this Dee-luxe fish tank. I was worried that the shock of proper accommodations would kill him, but he is happy as a clam.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Last night I attempted to watch the new ABC show, "Men in Trees" starring Anne Heche. I made it through about 30 minutes before I couldn't take it any more. The show is a blatant rip-off of Northern Exposure, only without the strong cast, quality writing, and likeable, interesting characters. In other words, it totally sucks. I'm not sure what ABC exec thought Anne Heche had a tv viewer following, but this woman is less likable than Tom Cruise on a bad day. Does anyone at ABC remember how many people booed at the screen when she starred with Harrison Ford in Six Days and Seven Nights? How about the scathing reviews?

This show is amazingly bad, and I don't have any hope for improvement. My prediction is "Cancelled" before the month is out.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I don't watch Survivor or the Amazing Race, but my reality show guilty pleasure is Dancing with the Stars. Last year I had Jerry Rice's voting number programmed into my cell phone, and this year I'll be throwing my support behind another NFL great, Emmitt Smith. And tonight, in the greatest TV news since he was fired by CNN, obnoxious right wing pundit Tucker Carlson was the first "star" eliminated from the show.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Japan's new prince named in ancient rite

"Japan's long-awaited male heir to its Chrysanthemum throne was named Hisahito — meaning 'virtuous, calm and everlasting' — in an age-old imperial rite in Tokyo on Tuesday."

Keeping with my poor choices in last weekend's football pools, I had my money on the baby being named "Bob".

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Today the WNBA Crown was decided and the Detroit Shock beat the Sacramento Monarchs. I have never been to a WNBA game, nor have I ever even watched a whole game on TV, but I like the idea that women college basketball players have something to shoot for besides getting knocked up by Matt Leinart.

Hanna requests that she be left alone for her nap.

So far I have completed the back of this tank top made with bamboo yarn from South West Trading Co. It's a strange pattern - there is no underarm shaping, so the front is made 4 inches longer than the back to accommodate the underarms and bustline . . . I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. The weather has been a bit cooler, so this is the last of my warm weather projects for the year. Next up will probably be something nice and wooly.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I worked till noon today, then took the afternoon off and went and saw "Little Miss Sunshine." I really, really liked it. Steve Carell is my favorite actor working in TV today, except for maybe his buddy Jon Stewart, and he is great in this movie as the Number One Proust scholar in America, who is broken hearted and suicidal after his graduate student leaves him for the Number Two Proust scholar. Paul Dano is also great as the angst riddled Nietzsche fan who hasn't spoken in 9 months, but communicates worlds with a look or a few scribbled words. The rest of the cast is also superb, and the scenes at the Little Miss Sunshine pageant are a little creepy given that little JonBenet Ramsey has recently been in the news again. The movie is a big reminder of why people view the Ramseys with a jaundiced eye . . . .

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ok, so I haven't exactly leapt into the 21st century, but I am dipping my toe in to test the waters . . . I have broken down and purchased an Ipod for downloading my books on tape as well as music. Next step? Trying to actually use it . . .

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I just finished Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith. This is his second book, following 44 Scotland Street, about the interesting residents of 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh - Pat, the 20 year old in the middle of her second gap year, Bruce, her handsome and narcissistic roommate, Bertie, the six year old prodigy, and Domenica, the wise, older woman. The books are serialized daily in the Scotsman newspaper, then released worldwide as books. Having spent a summer in Edinburgh taking a class at the University, I really enjoy the references to the Mound, the Castle, Princes Street, and other familiar Edinburgh landmarks. I'm still waiting for a reference to the pubs we frequented the most, or to the Hibs and Hearts football clubs. I've enjoyed both books, and look forward to the next in the series. The books aren't quite up to the very high standard set by his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books - which are each gems to be treasured - and whose fans vary from Laura Bush to Flea- but they are another interesting view of human nature.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Such sad news . . . . Irwin's genuine enthusiasm for all creatures great and small was infectious, and will be missed.

Stingray kills 'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin
By BRIAN CASSEY, Associated Press Writer

"Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44."

"Irwin was at Batt Reef, off the remote coast of northeastern Queensland state, shooting a segment for a series called "Ocean's Deadliest" when he swam too close to one of the animals, which have a poisonous barb on their tails, his friend and colleague John Stainton said."

"He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart," said Stainton, who was on board Irwin's boat at the time."

With all the extremely dangerous animals he dealt with, it's a strange twist of fate that the relatively benign stingray would do him in. Stingrays are extremely common along the coast where I live, and we were taught to do the "stingray shuffle" as children - - meaning you shuffle your feet along the sand when entering the ocean to give them a chance to move along. People get stung when they step on them, but the sting is generally uncomfortable, not life threatening . . .

The Crocodile Hunter will be missed.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Speaking of celebrities imploding, my friend was recently in an elevator with Axl Rose, and said that he has had so much plastic surgery that he is barely recognizable - think Bruce Jenner, Mickey Rourke, Kenny Rogers . . . I saw Guns 'n Roses many years ago when they opened for the Rolling Stones, including the infamous night when Axl announced that it would be the last GnR show. They were a great rock 'n roll band then, (and Matt Sorum once said hi to me at the Forum Club) but what are the odds that Axl will even show up to headline the upcoming Inland Invasion? I think I'd rather go see Velvet Revolver.

I missed the airing of "Rear Window", so this Sunday morning's classic film is "The Man Who Would Be King," directed by John Huston and starring the fabulous Sean Connery and also fabulous Michael Caine. This is a first viewing for me, and was reviewed by Roger Ebert in 1975 as:

The Man Who Would Be King
Release Date: 1975
Ebert Rating: ****
By Roger Ebert / Jan 1, 1975
John Huston's "The Man Who Would Be King" is swashbuckling adventure, pure and simple, from the hand of a master. It's unabashed and thrilling and fun. The movie invites comparison with the great action films like "Gunga Din" and "Mutiny on the Bounty," and with Huston's own classic "The Treasure of the Sierre Madre": We get strong characterizations, we get excitement, we even get to laugh every once in a while.The action epics of the last twenty years seem to have lost their sense of humor; it's as if once the budget goes over five million dollars, directors think they have to be deadly serious. "Lawrence of Arabia" was a great movie, but introspective and solemn, and efforts such as "Doctor Zhivago" and "War and Peace" never dared to smile. Huston's movie isn't like that. It reflects his personality and his own best films; it's open, sweeping, and lusty -- and we walk out feeling exhilarated.Huston waited a long time to make this film, and its history is a Hollywood legend. He originally cast Bogart and Gable, but then Bogart died, and the project was shelved until 1975. Maybe it's just as well. We need movies like this more now than we did years ago, when Hollywood wasn't shy about straightforward action films. And Huston's eventual casting of Michael Caine and Sean Connery is exactly right.They work together so well, they interact so easily and with such camaraderie, that watching them is a pleasure. They never allow themselves to be used merely as larger-than-life heroes, photographed against vast landscapes. Kipling's story, and Huston's interpretation of it, requires a lot more than that; it requires acting of a subtle and difficult sort, even if the sheer energy of the movie makes it look easy.The two of them play former British soldiers who vow to march off into Afghanistan or somewhere and find a kingdom not yet touched by civilization. With their guns and training, they think they'll be able to take over pretty easily, manipulate the local high priests, and set themselves up as rulers. They tell their plan to an obscure colonial editor named Kipling (played very nicely by Christopher Plummer) and then they set off into the mountains. After the obligatory close calls, including an avalanche that somehow saves their lives, they find their lost land and it's just as they expected it would be.The natives aren't too excited by their new rulers at first, but a lucky Masonic key chain saves the day -- never mind how -- and Connery finds himself worshiped as a deity. He even gets to like it, and condescends to Caine, who remains a Cockney and unimpressed. The movie proceeds with impossible coincidences, untold riches, romances and betrayals, and heroic last words and -- best of all -- some genuinely witty scenes between Connery and Caine, and when it's over we haven't learned a single thing worth knowing and there's not even a moral, to speak of, but we've had fun. It's great that someone still has the gift of making movies like this; even Huston, after thirty years, must have wondered whether he still knew how.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Heart Felt or Pocket Felt? Tom's apology would be more impressive if it had come prior to his being kicked off the Paramount lot for his off-screen strange behavior. But let us all remember, as he told Matt Lauer, this dyslexic, high school drop-out has carefully studied psychiatry. Either that, or he skimmed a pamphlet authored by L. Ron Hubbard at the Scientology Center. . . .

Shields: Cruise made 'heartfelt apology'
Brooke Shields says Tom Cruise has apologized for publicly criticizing her use of antidepressants after the birth of her first daughter.
The two had a public beef last year after the "Mission: Impossible III" star, echoing the position of Scientology, said in an appearance on NBC's "Today" show that depression can be treated with exercise and vitamins rather than drugs.
The 41-year-old actress says Cruise apologized in person Thursday.
"He came over to my house, and he gave me a heartfelt apology," Shields said Friday during an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." "And he apologized for bringing me into the whole thing and for everything that happened.
"And through it all, I was so impressed with how heartfelt it was. And I didn't feel at any time that I had to defend myself, nor did I feel that he was trying to convince me of anything other than the fact that he was deeply sorry. And I accepted it."
Cruise's spokesman confirmed the celebrities made up.
"It is true that his friendship with Ms. Shields has been mended," spokesman Arnold Robinson said in a statement. "He has not changed his position about antidepressants, which as evidenced by the black label warnings issued by the FDA on these types of drugs, are unhealthy."
Shields, who wrote "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression," has dismissed the actor's remarks as a "ridiculous rant" and "a disservice to mothers everywhere."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Despite the fact that I barely made it to LA last night for the Foos because of car trouble, we had a great time going out in LA last night. We started out at Lola's, for Apple Martinis and appetizers. The food and drinks were good, but the best part was the amazing collection of black and white rock and roll photographs covering the walls of the women's rest room. Great photos of everyone from Sid and Nancy to Joe Perry, Mick to Jon Bon Jovi. I was particularly smitten with the Joe Perry photo, but decided not to find out if what was said on the sign was true - that due to theft of the photos, they had started wiring the pics to an alarm system.

We headed out to the Pantages for the concert. The seats were great, the Foos were great, and everything was great except for the guy sitting behind us who was trying to impress his date with stories about each of the 53 Foo Fighter shows he has seen - including this one the night before. (Really, last night they played this song 3rd, and not 4th in the set?) Even Grohl was making fun of his stalker fans. And dude - it's not actually considered "going back stage" if the band and guests are already gone when you get there. Fortunately, my second attempt at a death stare finally quieted him down . . .

After the show we went to Ago and Stone Rose for a drink, and then to Swingers for the 2 am breakfast - something I haven't done in many, many years. After spending the day trying to find out what is wrong with my transmission, I made it home to the OC, and I'm ready to hit the hay. Ok, so I'm too old to party like it's 1999, but it was fun pretending like I still can . . .