The Mile High Shopping Club

Flying to Orange County recently with a low battery on my laptop and an unwillingness to pay $8 for an hour of internet, I was left with perusing the Sky Mall catalog, strategically placed, as always, in the seat pocket in front of me, next to the barf bags and a never read safety manual.

I don’t know about you, but I have always been fascinated by the Sky Mall…it leads to so many questions.  Who shops at the Sky Mall?  And more importantly, why?  Is it merely out of boredom – passengers thinking they might as well buy some shit while they’re just sitting there in that uncomfortable seat?

I am also always strangely intrigued by the items I find in the Sky Mall.  Do they have a marketing team that actually has research indicating people are twice as likely to buy a talking dog collar when traveling at 600 mph 30,000 feet in the air?  Or is it the same understanding that all tourist destinations seem to share – that as a traveler, suddenly you have lost all sense of taste and the value of a hard earned dollar?

There were some items that I was admittedly tempted to order, just for the hell of it.  If I’d had a couple of cocktails in me, as I suspect is often the scenario when many of these items are purchased, I probably would have.  After all, these are some truly amazing products.

Pajama Jeans Now in both boot cut and skinny, which begs the question – do people actually wear these with boots?  They don’t look like they’d be super comfortable for sleeping in, so I can only assume you actually wear them out because it’s just too much darn trouble to throw on an actual pair of jeans.  And what do you wear them with?  I’m thinking they pair perfectly with a total lack of give a damn.


The Biffy Buttler It’s a bidet sprayer!  It’s a digital accessory caddy!  This must have product conveniently holds your iPad for you while you’re doing your business and then helps you hose down your ass afterwards.  “Buttler” – get it??  Why don’t they just call it the Jizz Butler, since we all know it’s meant for jacking off to porn in the bathroom.


GuitDoorbell – First of all, let’s agree this is one of the worst product names ever. I keep reading it as GuiltDoorbell.  Not sure what feelings that name invokes for you, but for me, it is certainly far from welcoming.  Is it the great aunt you don’t visit as often as you should just stopping by for a surprise visit?  An ex-boyfriend or girlfriend coming by to pick up that last box of things? The police with a COPS film crew standing right behind?  Secondly, who exactly would be delighted seeing a guitar perched precariously over their head as they step into your home?   And it’s not like it actually serenades you.  It plays a single chord.  If you fork over $149.99 for this, chances are you probably don’t have guests – you have victims.


The Human Slingshot   Who thought this was a good idea?  My guess would be the same people who brought us Lawn Darts and the Exploding Ford Pinto.  Then again, if you are willing to be a human slingshot,  I say let Natural Selection run its course without interference from class action attorneys.


Jockey Odor Control Boxer Briefs – Can someone please tell me that this ad’s slogan “Smell Like Victory.  Not Your Friend Victor,” doesn’t really mean what I think it means?


Soul Combat Headphones – I get why they’d advertise headphones in a Sky Mall Catalog, however it’s a little off-putting when they’re called “combat” headphones, especially since the one guy looks like he’s playing a song titled “Must Kill All Honkies.”


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Bigfoot, The Bashful Yeti Tree Sculpture Okay, I admit I want this one.  Bad.


The Silhouette Wine Glass
This is a wine glass that has an opening to accommodate your nose.  Uhmm…my nose fits in a regular wine glass just fine, thank-you.  Perhaps I’m not a true wine connoisseur, but if I want some special gizmo to help me drink wine, it’s going to be a nipple that attaches directly to the bottle.


My Personal Jumped The Shark List

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Personal “Jumped The Shark” List

I remember when I first had to explain to my teenage kids what “jumped the shark” meant.  I must confess that even I didn’t know the phrase was so literal, since my “Happy Days” fixation was long behind me and I had stopped watching by the time that fateful episode was aired.  But like a tidbit of folk wisdom passed on in somewhat demeaning terms as “wives’ tales”, or an old home remedy that low and behold actually works – there is much to be gained in an academic study of this particular cultural phenomenon.  It’s all about knowing when to say when.

And like a true historian, I must begin with none other than one Arthur Fonzarelli.

You see, back in its heyday, Happy Days was cool.  I know kids – it’s hard to believe that about a show that made a 30 year old scrawny looking dude posing as a teenager a symbol of toughness.  But as we now know, that black leather jacket covered up a heart of gold.  And remember, this was before MTV and the Internet, so the show obviously benefitted from the fact that the number of channels back then was limited to the amount you could fit on a small rotating dial. When The Fonz put his thumbs up and gave the audience an “Aaaayy,” we lost our freaking minds.

It was also one of the first shows to milk that golden calf dry with seemingly endless spinoffs.Laverne and Shirley.  Lenny and Squiggy. Blansky’s Beauties. Mork and Mindy. Joanie Loves Chachi.  Long after the last drop of goodwill had been shed, Happy Days was still on the air.  For 10 years to be exact, which doesn’t sound especially long, except that several of those years were post shark.

Somewhere along the line, Happy Days ran out of fresh ideas, and the “kids” all grew up.  But instead of bowing out gracefully, like The Sopranos or Mash managed to do with grace and dignity, Happy Days just kept going.  It kept going and going until it literally “jumped the shark”  – which was both a literal and figurative manifestation of its pathetic attempt to remain cool and relevant.

For those of you unfamiliar with the episode, The Fonz actually jumped over a shark in a ridiculously over-dramatized water skiing game of chicken.  If it wasn’t already apparent, this is the point where even viewers who represent the most lagging indicator consumer (I’ll call them straggling indicator consumer  – see “people who still collect Beanie Babies as a financial investment”), finally realized the show was on the downward side of its bell shaped curve.

Since then, I like to maintain my own personal “Jumped The Shark” List.  And it has nothing to do with what is trending, what is hot, what is buzz worthy, and what is not.  This is my latest list.  You may not agree with it, but it doesn’t really matter, because this is my list, and it’s far from all inclusive.

Network TV – Who in the world watches network TV except for old people?  It caters to the lowest common denominator, which results in shows like “The Bachelor” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”  And seemingly anything new or fresh is promptly cancelled by network executives only interested in appealing to the masses, which unfortunately ain’t all that sophisticated.

Clubbing – Believe me, the last thing someone my age wants to do is stand in line with a bunch of twenty somethings waiting to get onto some crowded, sweaty dance floor.  Besides, we all know they don’t let us in because we’re cool – it’s only because we are deemed a necessary evil by some meat head bouncer that was informed somebody has to be able to afford that overpriced table service.

Vodka – Yeah it’s low in carbs, but it isn’t exactly full of nuanced, sophisticated flavor.  It tastes like rubbing alchohol.  I’ll take a bottle of Jamison over Grey Goose any day.  Sorry Comrades.

Gym Memberships – Driving somewhere to go work out is just silly, isn’t it?  Walk the dog.  Do yard work.  Move heavy items.  At least you’ll be productive while getting in shape.

Bottled Water – Unless you live in a third world country you are being scammed.  Number one symptom of Affluenza- you know what a Water Sommelier is, and your bottled water from some pristine glacier in Norway has a nutrition label on it that you have actually read.

Kombucha – why would you want some lumpy, solid bits of who knows what lurking at the bottom of your drink?  And it smells like a bad yeast infection.

Greek Yogurt – When companies like Dannon and Yoplait start mass marketing it, it’s definitely jumped the shark.

Boyfriend Jeans – These are the Levi 501s of the younger generation.  If you like unflattering jeans that don’t fit your womanly curves, then buy these.  Or just steal your boyfriends, it’s cheaper.

Kale – Sorry – it may be a “superfood” but it still tastes like crap.  Basically collard greens for white people.

Beards – It’s more likely you’ll spot a unicorn than a clean shaven chin these days when you’re out and about at the various hipster hangouts.  Don’t believe me?  Just go to your local beer and sausage joint or bar that serves old timey cocktails and you would think you somehow landed at a Quaker convention.  Except for all those tattoos and gages.

Victoria Secret – This one is on the list because I happen to remember when VS models were actually voluptuous, and not twigs with fake breasts.  And VS also didn’t market themselves to 12 year old girls.  Pink is the new Creepy.

Moroccan Oil – If you’re a white girl, this is only going to make your hair look limp and greasy, not shiny and exotic.  Sorry.

Uggs – Ugh

Shows Featuring Bigfoot Hunters – just because you traipse around in the woods at night with a night vision camera that makes your eyes glow, doesn’t make it scary.  When you actually capture a real, live Bigfoot, then we’ll talk.

Ombre Hair – We used to call it growing out a bad drugstore dye job.  Now you pay hundreds of dollars at a salon for the exact same look.

Any Shade of Grey – Honestly, I tried to read the first book, but couldn’t even make it past the bad writing to the first good sex scene.   And now we get to look forward to all the movie hype.  Whatever the Fifty Shades phenomenon says about women’s secret sexual desires, it should do so with more finesse and skill than a rejected Penthouse Forum letter.

The Art of Aging Disgracefully – A Prelude

funny old ladyIt’s true. I’m getting old.

There comes a time in one’s life where you can’t deny it any longer.  Grey hairs, fine lines, sagging skin, age spots – they continue to gang up on me until there is no denying that I  – like everyone else – am going to eventually lose this battle.  Having said that, one thing has become abundantly clear to me:  I’ve come to accept that I cannot stop time from its relentless march forward – but I don’t have to do it gracefully.

I know what you’re thinking – but let me assure you I am not promoting some miracle cream or pill that promises endless youth.  I realize that shopping at Forever 21 doesn’t mean I’m going to look like I’m 21.  In fact, it will probably just draw attention to the fact that I haven’t been carded in nearly that many years. I also realize that too many women fall victim to the idea that going under the knife and trading a few well earned-wrinkles for the often freakish mask of over aggressive plastic surgery isn’t going to make them look younger, it’s just going to make them look…well, freakish.

I’m talking about something more profound – that we should get to define what aging
means to us.  And it may not mean wearing Mom jeans and watching Law and Order before sensibly turning in at 9 p.m. each night.  One positive thing about getting older is that – although it may not necessarily make you wiser – if definitely makes you more open-minded.  At least it should.  Because for me – being open-minded is as close as you can come to finding a true fountain of youth.  If you are inflexible and unable to cope with change, you will age in dog years.  Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.

I came about these lessons the hard way.  I nearly died when I was 19 years old.  It’s a funny thing, almost dying.  Somehow having stared death in the face doesn’t make death scary – it makes the idea of not living absolutely terrifying.  And when I say living, I don’t mean merely existing.  I mean truly living.  If I live a rich, meaningful life and die at 50 years of age, who’s to say that my life is somehow sadder than the 90 year old that dies after living a long but unfulfilled life, and who leaves a small, easily dissipated wake behind them?

I’m far from an example of the fully evolved, together woman, but I’m finally starting to accept myself – flaws and all.  In fact, I tend to think our flaws make us more interesting – sort of like Joaquin Phoenix with that sexy hair lip scar.   I have always suspected that women who profess to be self-actualized or close to it are deluding themselves, and in fact are probably more insecure than the rest of us.  They cling to the public image of perfection to deny a simple truth.  No matter what our age, we are all works in progress.  If you think you’re not, than you have ceased to be open-minded and to embrace this crazy ongoing education that is life.

So I’m okay with making mistakes.  Hopefully I’ll learn from them, but if not, I at least hope I have fun while making them.  I’m also okay taking what some might deem to be risks that only twenty-somethings should take.  I didn’t take those risks then and I wish I had.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t take them now.

It’s not over ‘till it’s over, and that’s the damn truth.  Who is to say when the time has come to settle down and live sensibly?  What if I don’t want to?  Should someone else be able to tell me that I must?  If the idea of questioning how you are living your life is too scary for you, than perhaps it’s because you are living a compromised life, one that is still in soft focus black and white, and not in HD color as it should be.

So I hope you join me on this path that we must each blaze for ourselves.  Let me be a cautionary tale and an inspiration.  Laugh with me and at me.  Take my hand and lift me up when I stumble and fall, and I will do the same for you.  Rejoice with me when I reach a milestone in my travels.  But most of all, realize that we are all in this together, and although no one is getting out alive, we can make it one hell of a journey.

The Dark Side of Sleeping Beauty


I have a serious problem with mornings.  I don’t like them and they don’t like me.  At least the getting out of bed part.  I wish I could blame it on insomnia, but it is just as likely to be a hangover.  And honestly, it’s  my sloth-like disposition that is mostly to blame.

Put me in a cozy bed, all warm and snuggly under the covers, and why in the world would I ever want to leave?  I’ve always got my smart phone plugged in right next to the bed, freshly charged, so I can log on to my favorite websites, read the latest news, sort through my email, check my facebook feed, play a little words with friends…believe me, I can waste hours  doing absolutely nothing productive.  And that’s if I don’t decide to doze off again.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to wake up like those weird couples in the “sleep aide” commercials.  If I pop a sedative before I turn in, will I really awake to birds chirping and the sun shining, emerging from a bed not even remotely disheveled, make up on, hair in place, and ready to greet the day with a moronic grin?  I doubt it.   As a matter of fact, when I used to dabble in prescription pills with names evoking blissful states of unconsciousness – Luneeesta,  Ambieeen, Sonaaata – it was ten times harder for me to wake up.  I usually didn’t fully emerge from my self-imposed fog until at least 10 am.

Also, I absolutely guarantee you the couples in those commercials didn’t have mad, hot sex during the night.  Unless you think molesting a corpse qualifies.  After her sleep crack is downed with a glass of Cabernet, the clock is ticking gentlemen.  You have exactly 20 minutes from start to finish so better get ‘er done with as little fanfare as possible.

Don’t believe me?  Notice how the couples in these commercials are always still completely clothed in their pajamas.  No guys t-shirt sans undies on that lady.  She’s wearing a sensible, full length nightgown, straight out of the latest JC Penny catalog, with cotton granny panties still completely intact underneath, no doubt.  And no sleeping commando for him.  He’s dressed in his Ricky Ricardo plaid PJs and my guess is that he still has his socks on to boot.   And just look at the hair.   These people aren’t sporting anything close to a freshly f*#@ed hairdo – they look like they just walked out of a salon.  I promise you, sleeping is the only thing going down between those two sheets.

I’ve come to terms with my characteristic lack of morning perkiness.  And like a true enabler, my fiancée actually takes the dog out and then brings me coffee in bed nearly every day.  He wisely understands that it keeps the demons at bay, at least until the sun rises and awakens them once again tomorrow.

Dexter Doodle

Meet my dog Dexter Doodle.  Or just Dexter for short. He is a world class dumbass.  But an adorable dumbass.  I don’t know what possessed me to get a Pomeranian, because I am really more of a big dog person.  I also don’t like yappers.  Did I mention that Dexter is a dumbass and a yapper?

Dexter likes to think that he is the protector of the castle.  I let him believe this even though he couldn’t defend a cardboard box.  When I let him outside in the morning to pee, he runs the perimeter of the property, huffing and snorting like some raging bull, ready to commence said yapping if the slightest thing seems amiss.  Did someone leave the hose laying on the lawn?  It will be barked at as if it was a menacing serpant.  Is there a car parked in the driveway that he doesn’t recognize?  That will be barked at like it just jumped off of the pages of “Christine.”   Like I said, he ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

I am actually a bit envious of my dog’s vacuous skull.  Sometimes I suspect not having two brain cells to rub together is the true key to happiness.  Look at the Kardashians.  They seem happy. One thing is certain, Dexter always has a positive outlook and an enthusiastic appreciation for life.  Case in point –  he wears the same stupid grin every waking moment.

Dexter waiting patiently for a dropped mini marshmallow, which for some reason is like crack to him.


Dexter curled up with me on the sofa watching Sophie’s Choice.


Dexter right before he gets his freak on by humping his favorite stuffed animal (which, by the way, he can do sans Viagra for hours at a time, especially if there are guests present.)


Dexter gazing skywards at the giant Bald Eagle as it majestically swoops toward him, talons outstretched.


I guess it could be worse.  I could have a smart, depressed dog, lying around worrying about global warming and continued unrest in the Middle East.  Dexter reminds me to breathe and…just…be…happy.


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