Tag Archives: travel

Can You Afford It?

SUZE ORMAN DENIALDo you ever watch Suze Orman?  She includes a segment at the end of her show where she “denies” or “approves” purchases based on an unknown algorithm.  I’ve been thinking on whether it’s ethical for me to encourage someone to spend on a trip that he arguably can’t afford.  Yes, he could throw the trip on credit cards, but I don’t want a few days on white sandy beaches to turn into years of indebtedness.  Conversely, life is short.  And if you’ve ever seen a retiree try negotiate the steps of Prague Castle, you know you don’t want to save your most adventurous traveling for your financially solvent, but psychically feeble golden years.  I know some of my more affluent girlfriends might opt to pay a larger share of the bill just to keep everybody happy, but something about that doesn’t sit quite right.  That sort of imbalance breeds resentment over time.RESENTMENTAt a minimum, before splurging, you gotta have a year of living expenses saved up, a maxed IRA contribution, no credit card debt, and the money for the splurge saved up separately.  Without those basics in order, approval for the purchase must be DENIED.  But then again, who am I to tell someone else how to spend his money?  If I limit my social invitations only to folks that fit into that aforementioned category of preparedness, I would be engaging in most activities alone.  It’s your money and ultimately you must decide how to negotiate the tightrope walk between adventure and safety net. TIGHTROPE

Skills for Life: Tiny Cleaning Crew

TINY TOWN BOYLast week, I went on the cutest date with the best man to Tiny TownTiny Town is comprised of a ton of little dollhouses and has a little train you can ride around the modest grounds.  We arrived early before the crowds and commenced our tour of Tiny Town.  As we got toward the back of the colony of dollhouses, I noticed two girls.  The older girl looked about nine years old and the younger one around seven.  They had a bucket and squeegee and were cleaning off the exterior of the tiny houses.  I watched and listened to the diminutive cleaning crew working.  As they cleaned the dirt off the dollhouse windows one by one, I heard the older girl explaining to the younger girl that the water was getting dirty and needed to be changed.  They weren’t complaining, worked together without conflict, and encouraged each other to rally when they got tired.  I was super impressed.  Not only were these girls participating in age-appropriate chores, but the older girl was mentoring the younger girl by teaching her cleaning skills for life.  There was no direct adult supervision, and there didn’t need to be because these two young ladies were clearly raised with a sense of responsibility.  TINY TOWN TWO GIRLSYesterday, during my teeth cleaning, I was listening to my hygienist bitch about her step-children – two girls – ages ten and twelve who are spoiled brats with zero responsibility.  These girls respect no one because they have never been taught respect.  They have no life skills because no one ever taught them how to pick up after themselves.  As a result, the girls are ungrateful and bored because they have no appreciation for responsibility.  Parents who shelter their children from work are doing their kids a great disservice.  Find age-appropriate tasks and teach your children early on that life is a balance between work and fun.  Prepare your children for the reality of life not your fantasy of an ideal childhood.  Teach them self-soothing skills and self-sufficiency, so you don’t end up gifting the world with your useless, lazy, spoiled, entitled, and ungrateful offspring.  Yeah, I sound judgmental, but when it comes to parenting – if you aren’t going to do it right, don’t do it at all. TINY TOWN KID

4 for Friday: Travel. Renew. Wait. Waste.

7 MILE BEACHThis time of year has me contemplating white sandy beaches.  Last year it was Hawaii.  This year I’m thinking the Caribbean.  Do I go cheap and sketchy (Jamaica, Dominican Republic) or pay more for the false security of the USVI?  I hate to be a neo-colonialist paranoid asshole, but I also don’t want a side order of sexual assault or armed robbery with my fun in the sun.  JAMAICAAfter visiting in person this fall, I predicted Bethenny’s shit talk show would not see a season 2.  Still no clear word on renewal, though there have been rumors of a retooling that would take the focus off celebrities and down shift into conflict (via naughtybutnicerob).  From the look of it, the show isn’t expensive to produce, so she does have that going for her.  However, I don’t think conflict confrontation/resolution is the right direction for her to go in season 2.  She shines when she sticks to her strengths: remaking recipes, debating diet experts, and confronting unlikable reality stars.  Can you stretch that into 5 shows a week and keep it fresh?BETHENNY FRANKELDid you watch Downton Abbey?  Many of you are catching this season for the first time as it airs on American television.  Some criticized the first episode of the season describing it as boring and repetitious.  Stay tuned.  A major moment of violence changes everything downstairs.  When the scene aired in the U.K., it had the fans atwitter in anger.DOWNTON ABBEYI’m going to say what nobody else in the Coven has the nerve to – that was a shameful waste of Steve NicksSTEVIE NICKS AHS

 

20 Questions on Bethenny

Here’s what I would want to know….BETHENNY TIX1) How did you get tickets?  It was pretty easy.  I just went online and requested a date.  I got it.  You don’t find out very far in advance – maybe two weeks, so if travel is involved understand it may be a last minute thing.OUTSIDE BETHENNY2) Was the Bethenny show well-organized?  Bethenny always says that business is all about the execution, so I was curious if her talk show would run like a well-0iled machine.  With regard to ticket reservations, I found the process easy and organized.  The day of the show we lined up in front outside at 8 am.  I would not recommend requesting tickets in the dead of winter for this reason.  Semi-enthusiastic (but definitely nice) PA’s wandered up and down the line confirming reservations and trying desperately to get folks to participate in the filming in some capacity.  We waited approximately thirty minutes or maybe longer before getting shuffled through a basic security screening.  In the hallway, was this lady…  BETHENNY HALLWAY LADYFrom there we were put in a holding room, signed waivers, watched a looped Bethenny production video, and met our fluffer.  The fluffer is the stand-up comedienne who must rally the crowd into a frenzy for Mizz Frankel.  An intense bathroom line formed.  Walkie-talkies were used to communicate the comings and goings of bathroom users.  After another hour or so in the holding pen, we were lined up by number and seated in the studio.  HOLDING PEN3) What was the studio like?  Like a Pottery Barn Teen catalog. BETHENNY STUDIOBETHENNY STUDIO 24) Were the security guards hot?  Yes. HOT SECURITYFLUFFER5) Tell me more about this fluffer?DANCE FLUFFThe fluffer was a cute female comic who’s name I totally forget – sorry.  She led a dance party.  Audience members got up and danced.  Some were good.  Most were not.  The best turns were those that involved humping various staff members.  T-shirts were given out.  Gaga was played.  We clapped.  We cheered.  We gave good enthusiasm.  Then it just drug on a little long because Bethenny was late and all of our collective excitement began to wane.  STAFF DANCE6) Anything interesting to steal?  Yes.  Thank you for asking.  I did steal something.  Before the show started, one page typed sheets of paper were dispersed among the audience.  BETHENNY ONE PAGEThis is a cut and paste from a PageSix story that ran that morning.  Bethenny claimed that 85% of the audience didn’t believe it was true.  BULLSHIT on that poll.  Who is going to tell her staff – “yeah, it’s all true.”  We all know that the contents of these stories are never entirely true or entirely false.  PAGE SIX NOV 5BETHENNY PAGE SIX READ7) How did the show kick-off?  Bethenny began with a pre-taped backstage moment where she reflects on the story mentioned above reading it line by line out loud saying “TRUE” or “FALSE” after each sentence.  PAGE SIX READ 28) What was your first impression of Bethenny?  When she finally bounced out I was relieved she didn’t spend the first minute awkwardly dancing and lip-synching to her own theme music.  She launched into her opening monologue.  I read the monitor.  It said, “take down phase.”  Bethenny views herself as some sort of pariah.  Everybody’s after her, dontcha know?  BETHENNY INTRO9)Was Bethenny skinny?  Yes, alarmingly so!  Her legs are pretty much the same circumference from her calves to her mid-thigh.  Her arms are super thin and the skin is saggy.  Her tits are waaay too big for her frame.

10) What did she wear?  She wore a very short, flared, animal-print skirt in keeping with that tulip silhouette she favors, very high YSL knock-off heels and a black sweater that was a little too big.  When sitting, her skirt bordered on too short.BETHENNY BODY11) Was she pretty in person?  Yes, Bethenny is striking in person.  Her bone structure is quite dominant.  She has a lovely complexion.  She had fake hair in, but her own hair looked good too.  Her face could benefit from five extra pounds on her frame.   BETHENNY PRETTY12) Who were the guests?  The LylasBruno Mars’ sisters in a girl group.  They have a new show on WE that I won’t be watching.  Food Network Star Big Daddy made pork chops in a food segment.  Finally, Char Margolis served up weird and uncomfortable psychic readings in the final two segments.  THE LYLAS13) What was the theme of the show? Mending relationships.  LYLAS BETHENNY14) Bruno Mars‘ sisters?  Yeah.  Bruno Mars‘ sisters.  One of these women has a 14 year old child!  Bethenny led them through a shallow, empty interview before turning on the audience for some cooked up “sister questions.”  SISTER QUESTIONS15) Were the cameras on you?  Yes.  Sometimes they would come veryclose.  I felt my face twitching.  I tried to sit up straight.  BETHENNY AUDIENCE QUESTIONS16) What was your impression of Bethenny? After ample reflection, it boils down to this: we met Bethenny on a reality show where she was a sarcastic, cynical, snarky bitch, and many of us loved her for it.  On the talk show, she’s serving us Katie-fucking-Couric and it’s totally disingenuous.  She is clearly not in a good place in her life.  She’s depleted.  Watching her trying to fake fun made me tired.  This talk show is not the right format or tone to display Bethenny’s talents. BETHENNY TALKS17) Could Big Daddy cook?  Big Daddy was super personable and it is easy to see why he won Next Food Network Star.  That said, the cooking segment was a bit of a shit show on her part and extra takes had to be completed for editing.  She chewed that one bite of pork chop for 2 minutes straight, as she kept saying how delicious it was.  It must have been tough as shoe leather. BIG DADDY

CHAR AND BETHENNY18) So what about the psychic Char Margolis?  I have mixed feelings on Char Margolis.  In the lineup outside, staffers solicited people who wanted to communicate with a departed loved-one.  That seems a little staged, no?  When she read Bethenny, Char used B for Bobby – which everybody knows is Bethenny’s father.  She also used the cliche “when you fall off the horse get back on” – it’s commonly known Bobby was in the horse business.   Char did come out the pocket with dead aunt Rose for a “confirmation,” so maybe there’s some merit to what she does.  My friend Lisa was very offended at Char’s handling of the in-vitro girl and I’m inclined to agree that the psychic was insensitive during the reading. INVITRO GIRL19) Any behind the scenes gossip?BETHENNY SMALL AND BLURRYBethenny fucked up alot and was hard on herself when she did make a mistake.  She looked sad, tired, and off.  She seemed genuinely rattled by her father’s presence.  We weren’t allowed to take pictures when Bethenny was in there.  These last few I took stealthy-style as she was on her way out (that’s why she is small and blurry).  My friend Wendy mentioned she was disappointed Bethenny didn’t stick around to sign books or grease any of her fans’ palms. BETHENNY EXIT20) Would you recommend the Bethenny experience?  I doubt very seriously that this rather amateurish production would get extended a second chance.  The beaten down staff acted like they were counting their days.  Go if you are curious about Bethenny and have four hours to kill in NYC.  If you have aspirations to be on TV, it wouldn’t be hard at all to get some face time on this show.  Trust me when I tell you they are obviously desperate to fill time. BYE BETHENNY

Today…..

NYC BANKSY RATI’m in NYC.JUMPI’m going to see…SHRILL BETHENNY…while I’m here. BETHENNY GOSSIPI will have lots of gossip for you in a day or two.  BETHENNY TALK SHOW

guys

TRASH LINER OBSESSION

Guys obsess over pushing out every last gasp of air between the trash can and the liner.

SINDY MARTINGuys back into parking spaces.DOUCHE PLEASEGuys nudge their junk in public. AIRPLANE ARMRESTGuys take the armrest.  HOT SAUCEGuys love hot sauce. GUYS

 

 

Lovely Louisiana: Drunk, Armed, & Angry

CLASS PICTURELast weekend, I went to visit a friend in middle-of-nowhere Louisiana.  I hadn’t seen this childhood pal in 15 years, so our reunion was teary and heartfelt.  As we walked towards each other, it felt like the space-time continuum folded.  We will always have the bond of our childhood and I love her still, but if we met today, it is truly unlikely we would make friends if only for the context of our adult lives.  I consider myself modestly well-traveled, but I have never seen some of the crazy shit I’ve seen in Louisiana anywhere else in the world.   STEEL MAGNOLIASNow I can’t speak for Louisiana as an entire state.  I visited a tiny pocket of the state known for its Steel Magnolias.  I am speaking about a narrow experience and a fraction of time, so please don’t think the following conversation is meant to drape the whole state with the same Confederate flag.  Each parish has its own personality, and these are just a few of the flavorful offerings of the one I visited.

LOUISIANA CONF FLAGShocker # 1

There are drive-thru liquor stores.  No shit.  Drive up to the window and getcha a frozen drink.  Why isn’t it an open container violation you ask?  Because the drive-thru liquor store attendant didn’t put a straw in it, silly.  Gotta love that Louisiana legal logic.

DRIVE THRU LIQUOURShocker #2

These bitches are armed.  For reals.  A handgun in the purse.  Another gun in the desk drawer.  A gun in the nightstand.  A few more guns scattered about for good measure.  And don’t forget the arsenal in the gun safe at Daddy’s house.  “That’s where we keep the expensive guns,” they said starry-eyed.  I asked these southern women why they keep all these guns and what it boiled down to essentially is rape fear.  These mothers and professionals truly believe that a (black!) man is going to enter their home and then enter them.  Rape happens for sure and more often than reported.  You know what happens more often?  A criminal breaks in when you aren’t home and steals all your guns and then uses them to perpetrate other crimes.  Know what else happens?  Kids stumble up on guns and shoot themselves or others.ARMED WOMEN

Shocker #3 

In a town that is 60% black and 40% white, I found it shocking that there was virtually no racial integration.  There is still a “black” part of town and a “white” part of town.  I asked the women if they frequented any black-owned businesses or socialized with any black people.  The answer was no.  Confused, I asked why?  According to them there aren’t a significant number of black middle class in their town.  Apparently, bars cater specifically to white or black people by playing either country or rap.  How progressive.  The segregation looked at lot like apartheid.  It was truly nauseating.  That may sound like some white liberal bullshit, but I mean I literally felt physically sick amidst the palpable racial tension.  I almost vomited when I heard the N-word causally dropped in conversation.  What is this Paula Deen shit?  It is shocking, disturbing, and frankly unbelievable that some parts of the country are stuck in a post-Civil war time-warp mentality.  It is difficult not to sound judgmental, so I’m just not going to bother.  The racism is gross and there is no excuse for it.     JIM CROW SEGREGATION

Going to See a Friend I haven’t Seen in Ten

VICTORY GIRL

Pitchfork 2013 = friday

 

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