Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Denis Leary and retainers… they’re not just for teeth and lawyers

Unless this is your first time landing here, you know I have this thing for Denis Leary. And just for the record, this attraction started long before Rescue Me came out, before everyone started jumping on the Denis bandwagon. I don’t usually go for skinny guys, but I’ve had a thing for redheads ever since I first laid eyes on Billy Mumy in Lost in Space, and don’t even get me going on Prince Harry—I so want to party with him. (But I repeat: I am not a cougar.)

I don’t know if Denis Leary actually is a redhead; he looks more blond, but who knows because you can definitely tell he gets his hair streaked. The thought of him sitting in the hairdresser’s chair with foil and bleaching paste all over his head kind of takes away from the macho image, so I try not to let my mind go there. I prefer to associate him with handcuffs and whipped cream.

Anyway, I’m reading his book, Why We Suck, and though parts of it are like OMG, no wonder why some people hate you, overall it’s an amusing read. He’s really not the asshole you might think he is, and you God bless him for staying with the original wife for twenty years. And though I think Rescue Me can sometimes be pretty self-indulgent—I mean, every beautiful woman wants him and lesbians are everywhere—I have to give him credit for this advice he gives to women about their looks.

“Giggles, guffaws, and shrieks of laughter last a whole lot longer than legs and other assorted things men like to look at… If you’re dating a guy who’s more interested in the size of your chest than the length of your laugh—maybe you’d better start shopping around.”
It’s nice to hear that guys value a sense of humor, especially since I may have to start dating again. Beloved boyfriend Mike’s lack of regard for my time is driving me out of my fucking mind. No, there hasn’t been much progress since the Mystery Date incident last month. Okay, he was actually a few minutes early for a date a couple of weeks ago, but last Sunday he just didn't show up. No call, no nothin'. That's a deal breaker, and I’m about to check out.

But you know what? To use his own words, everything has a price. So maybe it’s not over after all. I think I've found a way to salvage our union.

Here’s the deal, honey:

I’ll need a $500 deposit for every date or meeting we schedule. If you’re 15-30 minutes late, I keep $100 of it. More than 30 minutes, I keep half. No-shows will cost you the whole $500. Want to schedule something else? That’ll be another $500.

Want more than just dating? That’ll be $10,000. Yes, I’m charging you a $10,000 retainer to continue our relationship, to continue to be your girlfriend. That will be my compensation for all the aggravation; it will help pay for the blood pressure medication I'm gonna need. But don’t worry—since you always say we’ll be spending the rest of our lives together, I promise I’ll leave $10,000 to you in my will. If I go first, that is.
A “relationship retainer.” Do you think he'll go for it? Believe me, I'm totally worth it.

See, this is exactly why people always tell me I should be a life coach. Because I so many brilliant ideas.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cougar Town and more

Hey, thanks to everyone who sent kind sentiments and positive vibes to Mom. Her gall bladder surgery earlier this went well.

Screeching halt!!! Oh, you are so not reading a post about somebody’s mother’s gall bladder operation, are you?

Moving on…

Wow--what a great response to my book giveaway contest! Very encouraging, and thank you so much, but now I’m like, damn, this book had better be good. It’s not too late to enter—see Thursday’s post for details.

Alright, so I was able to retrieve most of the cougar post that I started to write before my Word file went into the Twilight Zone. A couple of weeks ago my blogging buddy Hurricane Mikey did a post answering a bunch of questions I had about the male perspective of things. Questions like, how young is too young? And how old is too old? Check out what he has to say (Mikey goes for cougars), as well as his readers’ comments. Very enlightening.

Did you see the new TV show, Cougar Town, Wednesday night? Oh, it was horrible! Truly awful, and I don’t mean fun awful like in a Kath and Kim way (God rest their souls). But Courteney Cox is gorgeous, don’t you think? I mean, she’s no Beverly D’Angelo, but she’s pretty hot. I thought the guys would dig this picture of her in her underwear. More so than one of Beverly in hers.

Despite whatever you may have heard from Hurricane Mikey, I am not a cougar, though I think I told you that back in the late 90s, I had two kids and a boyfriend all in their twenties. I admit that’s kind of weird, and it wasn’t even a brief dating thing; we went out for two years. Then beloved Bastard Husband and I got together; he was 34 and I was 42, but an 8-year age difference isn’t that bad, do you think?

I’ve always gone for younger guys, only because I’m so immature myself. Whenever I told my mother I was seeing someone new, I could hear her roll her eyes over the phone as she asked her first question: “How old is this one?”

But I’m not a cougar, I tell you. Since BH, I’ve stayed consistently within my own age group with the exception of one Iranian med student who I went out with just a couple of times. I think he was 16 years younger than me. My sister Lori met him when she was visiting one time; she just shook her head and said, “You need a gatekeeper.” And there I was all proud of myself for finally trying out a minority, since I’ve never gone for anyone darker than Italian. But yeah, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking with that one.

You have a couple of those "What was I thinking?" episodes in your dating history, right?

Anyway, I really do prefer men my own age, and by that I mean about three years either way. Beloved boyfriend Mike is six months younger than me, and it’s perfect. We have things in common, the same reference points. I can be totally like, “Remember when you heard Gomer Pyle’s singing voice for the first time? Wasn’t that freaky?” and he knows exactly what I’m talking about, and not from Nick at Nite programming. Yep, that’s the type of conversation I treat him to.


I should probably explain that obsession with Beverly D’Angelo sometime, huh? In the meantime, is it me or does Amy Poehler remind you of a young Bev?

Just sayin’.

So how about you? How young is too young? How old is too old?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Win a copy of Bastard Husband: A Love Story!

Oh, man! I had a whole post nearly written and then my Microsoft Word file seized up and don't have time to recreate it before heading off to work today. Goddammit--I hate it when that happens!

So here's my Plan B, something that came to my head earlier this week when I did a presentation about blogging to the Henderson Writers' Group. I talked about how a blog is a good way to gauge who your audience really is, and sometimes the results may surprise you. When I started to write Bastard Husband: A Love Story, I thought my target audience would be women about my age, but now I get the sense that I have more younger women and men in my audience than I imagined. But I don't really know...

So here's the deal. Everyone who comments on this post is going to be eligible for the very first "Win a signed copy of Bastard Husband" contest. Just leave your age, sex, and state and next Thursday I'll announce the winner. Anonymous entries are fine, but if you win, you'll have to email me your address (duh) so I can get your book to you.

Last night I sent in the final edits, and I should have my first run of books soon--maybe by the end of next week. Details coming on how you can order, but in the meantime, leave a comment and you might get your copy for free.

This isn't quite as good as the post I had almost written about cougars. Damn!

Now go ahead--leave your comment now!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

St. Peter's roll call at the Emmy Awards

Okay, this is the crap that came to mind while I was half-watching the Emmy Awards Sunday night.

First, did you see Sarah McLachlan singing “I Will Remember You” during St. Peter’s roll call of all the celebs that died this past year? That song, which by the way, was played at my hospice volunteer training session years ago, is like the anthem for everything death and dying. It’s a cliché at this point, no? She’s also behind one of those sappy animal rights commercials on CNN that brings tears even to my eyes and I’m not an animal person by any stretch of the imagination. McLachlan’s a good songwriter, but yikes, is she a major bummer or what?

You know I love to give advice, so Sarah, let’s liven things up a bit, shall we? You’re getting typecast with all the “in the arms of an angel” stuff. You need a career booster, something peppy like “There’s a party in my pants, you’re invited.”

You know what’s weird? I read an article in Rolling Stone years ago in which McLachlan admitted she likes to burp and can burp really loud, and so every time she sings these sad, sappy songs I imagine her rattling the windows like Barney on The Simpsons after downing half a pizza and a Coke. Yeah, that’s how I will remember you.

The whole photo montage thing is kind of weird, like I always feel sorry for the people who get only the polite golfer’s clap, especially when their picture comes right before or after a megastar who everyone goes wild for. And there’s always someone who I didn’t even know was dead, or worse, I thought died years ago. Which reminds me, Abe Vigoda still is, in fact, still alive. But when his photo is finally up there, I imagine a room full of decked-out stars during to each other and going, “Really? Just this year?”

And I want to know just who comes up with the order of the dead folks displayed in the montage. They had to have a meeting about this, right? It’s like the person whose face is up there when the music runs out gets the award for Dead Person of the Year. This year the honor went to Walter Cronkite, but let me tell you, if I were on that committee, it would have been Farrah, Farrah, Farrah. And if I didn’t get my way, I’d scowl and swear and then clear all the crap off the conference table with one dramatic swoop of the arm. Just like I do in meetings at work when people don’t agree with me.

And on a much happier note, the season premier of Curb Your Enthusiasm didn’t disappoint. There’s nothing that makes me happier than sitting all by myself on my 15-year-old couch with stains from my kids’ beer parties laughing out loud like a freakin’ idiot. Long live Larry David!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Five things I’m happy about (but it’s only a matter of time until something pisses me off)

This isn’t a meme or anything, I just feel like spouting off about a few things I’m happy about.

1. Yesterday I got the proof of my book in the mail from the printer. I’m like, Holy cow! I have a book! Like, what did I think? I’ve only been working on the freakin’ thing for five years. I mean, where’s the surprise? There’d better be a book at the end of all this!

I should have my initial run of books in about a week or so. It will still be a while before it’s available on Amazon (I’m going through a separate print-on-demand vendor to handle that), and I don’t quite have my website together yet, but pretty soon I’ll be set up to take orders from my blog readers (that means you) right from this site. Of course, they’ll be personally signed and I promise to use my best handwriting, which is already very neat.

You know, the people in my writers’ group have said over and over that writing the book is the easy part; the real work starts after it’s written. When I was toiling over my manuscript, I didn’t really think that could be true. Now I know it is. I’m going to be busy as hell with the promotional aspect, but I have to do something with my time, right? I mean, it’s better than sitting on my ass watching Family Guy reruns.

2. I’ve been asked to speak about blogging. I love to speak, and that’s good because speaking is an essential skill for authors. And of course, I love blogging!

A while back I asked for your input on what makes a good blog. Thanks so much for your feedback—it’s going to come in handy Monday night when I present to the Henderson Writers Group on the joys of blogging and why writers might consider creating a blog even if they think they don’t need one. Anyone can come to the HWG’s meetings, so if you’re in town, stop by the Clark County Library at 1401 E Flamingo at 6:30 p.m.

3. The new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm starts tomorrow night. It’s no secret that I love Jews, and Larry David, the genius behind this show, is about as Jewy as they get. This season we’ll be treated to a Seinfeld reunion of sorts; it’ll be awesome.

I don’t usually go for older men, but I could totally have a miserably joyful life with L.D. We’re both so picky and annoying, we’d be perfect together—in the train wreck kind of way. I love it when Mike says, "If bet if Larry David picked you up late, you wouldn’t close the door on him.” I don't say anything because we both know what the answer would be. (Larry David would never be late.)

4. Work isn’t sucking like it used to. God knows I’m not cut out to work at a job, period, but at least I’m no longer darting out of there like my ass is on fire.

5. My mother is having gall bladder surgery on Wednesday. I know, this doesn’t seem like an obvious thing to be happy about, but hear me out. Last Sunday morning an ambulance came for her because she thought she was having a heart attack. As it turns out, it was only a gall bladder attack, which is great because that’s something that can be handled with an outpatient procedure and once it’s over, it’s over. It’s not a chronic condition or anything, so yippee!

But still, the experience was quite scary for Mom. She said, “There I was in the bathroom thinking I’m having a heart attack, and what goes through my mind but, ‘I’d better get up. My kids can’t have both parents die on the toilet.’”

That’s my mother—always putting the kids first.

So what are you happy about these days?

Friday, September 18, 2009

R.I.P. Guiding Light

Goddammit, those bastards at CBS canceled my beloved Guiding Light and today the final episode is airing. I’ve been watching GL since 1978 and the only reason I’m not TOTALLY FREAKED OUT is because I’m in total denial.

I’m not kidding; it’s not real to me. That’s because I’ve been so goddamn busy lately, I have like 24 episodes backed up on my DVR. But when I go through them… people, there’s going to be a serious crash.

Speaking of crashes, there’d better not be any kind of plane crash, natural disaster, act of terrorism or any. f*cking. thing. that would necessitate any “We interrupt this program…” bullshit. No, the president cannot come on today. I don’t care if the f*cking Dow tanks to 300. If a transmitter goes down, if my power goes out, if any. f*cking. thing. happens other than a beautiful, but sad, final day in Springfield, there’s gonna be freakin’ hell to pay.

Now I’m depressed. Goddammit.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bully-free zone

You know how Classmates.com sends you emails saying who recently joined or viewed your profile, etc.? Recently when I saw the name of someone from my old, old neighborhood--Melanie S.--my knee-jerk reaction was, I hate her—what a bitch!

Melanie had a couple of years on me and was what you’d call a “mean girl.” I was a little runt of a kid and I can remember her threatening to steal my bike and stuff like that. And I did hate her. Then I realized, for Christsakes, she’s like 54 years old now. Maybe she turned into a lovely person, maybe she donated a kidney to someone, or maybe she has MS or some horrible disease and here I am calling her a bitch a full 40 years after her bullying. Yikes.

That led me to think about how people might remember me as a kid and into high school. I was captain of the cheerleaders (at a time when cheerleading was positively the queerest thing you could do) and I was vice president of my senior class (again, queer), but I don’t think I was cliquey or anything. I felt I was well-liked, and without even trying, was nice to everyone.

Well, almost everyone. There was a girl in our Lincoln Avenue neighborhood named Loretta who was kind of heavy and definitely not cool. When she rode past my house, I remember sitting all uppity on my porch steps and saying, “Pretty groovy bike you have there.” In an English accent. WTF???

I remember saying snotty things to her a couple of times--in an English accent--and do you know to this day, I still feel bad about that. It wasn’t like I was going to do anything to her, and the truth is, she was much bigger and could have beaten the shit out of me, but she just kind of looked at me like, “Yeah, I know I’m not cool” and kept going.

My sister Lori dealt with quite a few bully girls, and I think it was even worse for the boys in the neighborhood, like when “Stephen and Gary” were on the prowl to throw their weight around, since bully encounters involving boys could well end up in fist fights.

You have to wonder what turns kids into bullies, like they must have a shitty family life or an undiagnosed learning disability that makes them feel inadequate in school so they have to take out their frustrations somewhere. And aren’t you glad that people pretty much grow out of bullying by the time they’re adults? I’m pretty sure that if I ran into Melanie S. today, she wouldn’t grab my purse and run.

But adults can still bully, no? Maybe you see it in the workplace, or in relationships. Or in the comments section here on my blog, after Tuesday's and Wednesday's posts.

There’s a husband and wife team here in Las Vegas, Laura and Cory, who’ve been leaving comments as “Anonymous” (how brave) for over a year now. I used to let them go through, but when they started getting really nasty, I started moderating comments, and then I got to the point where I rejected them without reading them. Since I do allow people to comment anonymously, I check my stat counter to make sure the comments are coming from the Laura/Cory IP address before I reject them, though now and then I inadvertently open one.

If you’ve read their comments on Tuesday's and Wednesday's posts, you have an idea of their handiwork. (I deliberately let a few go through yesterday because I knew I was going to do this post.) Usually the ugliness is directed at me, but they’re not above spewing their crap on other bloggers, my daughter, and even my grandson. I read a couple of their (ultimately rejected) comments on my “kiss my black ass” post, and I can only conclude their linen closet must be full of white sheets.

Part of me is like, who the fuck cares, but I admit it's a little weird to have someone spend so much time picking you apart. I mean, they come back to this site many times a day, every day. They're like Linda Lou savants, often throwing back details from old posts or my radio show in the comments they make. No doubt my book will be a literary wet dream to them.

It’s weird, all right. And sad.

You know, I was a hospice volunteer for several years, and I’ve seen so many people who would have given anything for more time, and believe me, they would have spent it wisely. I can’t imagine having nothing better to do with your life than to devote so much energy picking apart someone else’s.

This will be the last I mention them and I’ll continue to reject their comments without reading them. I’ll apologize now if I accidentally delete a legitimate one. And I'll also apologize to Laura and Cory since I won't be giving them an opportunity to defend themselves here. But this is my neighborhood, and to use a line from my childhood, "Stay off-a my property!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yesterday's text from my daughter, Courtney

jimmy carter's not dead!!! you learn something new everyday!
If you think Linda Land is a wonderful place, can you imagine what Courtney World must be like?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TMI alert -- No boys allowed! (Period.)

Not to brag, but I haven’t had my period in like four months and believe me, I don’t miss it.  Mike would love to have another kid, but I’ve instructed God that if there’s a 1 in 3 billion chance of something happening to me, it better be a multi-state Powerball win and not one of those miraculous change-of-life conceptions. No, thank you.

I remember the day I found out about menstrual periods. I think I was about 11. My friend Donna told me all about it; her mother had given her “the talk” and since our mothers were coffee pals, my little chat was coming and Donna just wanted to give me the heads up.

Let me tell you, being a kid is all fun and games until you find out that soon you’ll be bleeding from your vagina for one week out of every four, but don’t worry—it’s only for the next 35-40 years. I’m not kidding, that news hit me out of left field.

"Jesus," I said, "one minute you’re a normal kid fantasizing over Davy Jones and then suddenly you have to deal with this fucking bullshit." Yeah, that's exactly what I said. “Maybe it won’t happen to us,” I concluded. Ever the optimist, even as a child.

Donna just shook her head. Neither of us was buying into that “Now I am a woman” crap. No, it was a sad, sad day.

As it turned out, I was right—the rag is a drag. Except for a few times in college when I was gloriously thrilled to see (and actually prayed for) the crimson wave, periods have been a major pain in the ass. Decades of bleeding? Seriously? To this day, I think it’s a design flaw. Or a sinister plot masterminded by depraved tampon manufacturers.

However, I have changed my mind about a few things since I was a little girl. Like I no longer think “Morticia” is a particularly beautiful name, and while I used to think Paul was the cutest Beatle back in the 1960s, have you seen him lately? He looks like an old lesbian. I’m not kidding—the resemblance to my Quirky Lesbian Aunt Joyce is uncanny. (And who would have thought that Ringo would end up looking so cool?)

Okay, this is bad, but did you know there’s actually a “men who look like old lesbians” website? Or maybe you’re just interested in the top 25.

Well, this post is certainly nothing to be proud of, is it?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Martin Mull, Steve Martin, Martin Short and more!

Remember a few weeks ago I posted a picture of my sister Lori and Steve Martin? One of my readers, Other Mikey’s Julie from Idaho, left a comment asking how she got to meet him. In case you missed the reply, a few years ago Lori and I attended the actor Martin Mull’s art opening at the (unfortunately) now-defunct Las Vegas Art Museum.

You know Martin Mull, right? I remember him as wife-beating Garth Gimble on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, a show I used to love when I was in college up at SUNY Plattsburgh. He also played Roseanne’s gay boss. Anyway, what you probably don’t know is that he has a master’s from the Rhode Island School of Design and back in 2006 there was a reception here in Vegas that was open to the public. My sister was here visiting and we jumped at the chance to check out the scene.

Lori bought a book of his art in the gift shop and Marty (let’s pretend we’re that close) signed it and graciously chatted with us for a few moments. Really, he was nice as hell. I still wish I’d bought a book, too, but I was broker than broke back then. Anyway, other than Marty, the biggest name in the room was Penn Jillette, of Penn and Teller fame. Until a limo pulled up outside and who emerged from it but Steve Martin.

By that point, Lori and I had left the reception and were almost at my car, but when we saw Steve Martin head into the building, we marched our asses right back in there. Of course we had to stalk him a little before we saw our opportunity to move in. Lori asked if she could have her picture taken with him and he obliged so I took this shot of them.

He seemed a little uncomfortable, like he really didn’t want to call attention to himself or steal his friend’s thunder, so I didn’t ask to have my picture taken with him—I’m not that aggressive. Surprising, huh? But really, I’m not. I did tell him I thought Shopgirl was brilliant, and instead of rolling his eyes and saying, "Oh, I’m so bloody thrilled you think so because your stupid opinion means so much to me," he was nice enough to simply say thank you.

Did you happen to see Kathy Griffin on Larry King last night? She said Steve Martin is “a four-letter ‘D’ word.” Evidently in her new book, which I’m not going to plug because she’s a little too mean-spirited for my taste, she tells about meeting him when they were both guests on Martin Short’s talk show. (What is it with all the Martins in this post???) Anyway, I guess Steve Martin was on the cold side so now, based on that one brush with him, she’s telling the world he’s a dick. Hello, maybe he thought you were a mean-spirited bitch and wasn't in the mood to fake nice-nice.

No, I won’t plug her book. I do think she has a funny line here and there, but not enough to overcome the annoyingness. Maybe she’s really nice in real life and I’ll feel bad for saying that. Anyway, I’ll gladly plug Steve Martin’s book, Born Standing Up. It’s a memoir, and if you’re at all interested in stand-up comedy, you’ll love it. And after you read it, I doubt you’ll come away thinking Steve Martin is a dick.

So that’s the story of how Lori got her picture taken with Steve Martin. And just so you have some idea of what Martin Mull's art looks like:

What about you? Have you ever had a celebrity encounter? Do tell, and don’t leave out a single detail!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Al Green, a big Italian guy, a loud drunk Mexican guy, the boyfriend's cool, and Happy Birthday to my first ex. Whew.

Hey, I never told you about Sunday night’s Al Green concert down at Buffalo Bill’s arena in Primm. It was fantastic! I picked up my BFF Joey D at Green Valley Ranch, where he was staying, and you ain’t seen nothin’ till you’ve seen a 270-pound hunka-hunk of New York Italian manliness stuffed into a tiny Saturn coupe. He was his own air bag. My driving must be getting better because only once did he say he might throw up. Marone.

I’d never been to Buffalo Bill’s, or to Primm for that matter. Primm is on the Nevada-California border about 40 miles south of Vegas, and there’s no real town or anything, just a cluster of hotel/casinos. The arena was pretty typical, and though I swore off arena shows a few years ago after needing binoculars to see the Rolling Stones in Fresno, these were free tickets courtesy of HouseSeats.com, so I wasn’t about to complain.

I was surprised the venue was just about completely full; I saw Al Green a few years ago at the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay and it didn’t seem sold out, and that’s a much smaller place. In the casino lounge before the show, we enjoyed a fabulous band called Showtime that played Motown covers and blues—so much fun! Joey D has a wonderful, powerful singing voice, and if he were mine to nag, I’d be right on him about hooking up with a band, but I was happy enough to hear him sing along from where we stood.

The show in Primm was actually better, I think, than the one I saw at House of Blues. Our seats weren’t that great—kind of in the nosebleed section, but they were fine for being free. We were having a great time until this loud drunk Mexican guy sat next to Joey D. Yeah, it's all good until Joey D says, "I'm gonna kill this motherf*cker" under his breath. I guess Loud Drunk Mexican Guy kept spilling beer on Joey D as he got into the music and spit every time he yelled toward the stage, so I couldn't blame my friend for being pissed, especially since I accidentally spit on him on the drive down when he was crammed in my little car. Poor guy. When you're in Vegas, you don't exactly think you're gonna need a raincoat to go to a goddamn concert, you know?

Yeah, I spit when I talk--how adorable is that? I say in my comedy act that I can tell how much my date is into me by how long it takes him to nonchalantly wipe my saliva off his face. As you can imagine, I've had a lot of first dates. Mike told me that in the early days, my spit once landed on his lip and he didn't even wipe it off, which to me is a sign of true love.


Man, talk about being pissed. Spittin' mad, if you will. He was mad at me, I was mad at him, we're both stubborn as hell, but Tuesday night we finally said three little words to each other. He said, "I screwed up" and I said, "I am sorry," which kinda pained me, but things are cool. Until the next time he shows up a half hour late for a date. KIDDING.

Hey, speaking of Mexicans (not Mike, I'm back to Loud Drunk Mexican Guy), I have a burning Ask-a-Mexican question: How come you never see Mexicans wearing glasses? They do squint a lot--is it because of the sun or are they nearsighted and in need of some corrective lenses? What do you think?

The things I wonder about...

One last thing. As I look at the date, I'm reminded it's my first ex's birthday. Chris Blackwell is a wonderful man, a devoted father, and God bless him, he put up with me for 18 years. If you see Chris around Albany today, buy him a drink and give him a hug from me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hiking the Las Vegas Strip and other Labor Day adventures

Oh, I love having a day off! I haven’t walked the Strip in ages; like most locals, I try to avoid it. It's funny, I rarely go to the Strip, but I like knowing it's there. Plus, you can never get lost driving around town because you can always see it as your reference point.

Yesterday morning I was in the mood for some urban hiking and there I was, on the Strip by 8:15, before it got too hot (we’re still hovering around 100 here). I parked in New York New York, and headed north from there. As (almost) always, it was a beautiful sunny day.

As you can see, there’s still a lot of work to be done at City Center.

I know that’s supposed to be an amazing place (opening in December), but I have to wonder if it’ll meet its expectations and what kind of impact it will have on the other properties. Vegas is already hurting; I was in New York New York a couple of weeks ago on a Tuesday evening and it looked like a Twilight Zone episode, it was so empty. It was hard to tell if the Strip had a busy Labor Day weekend; there were a few people are out, but it was still early, so who knows.

Here’s some typical Las Vegas trash. You mean tourists actually throw those little cards away?

Whenever I see those ads, I think somebody’s mother must be so proud. I remember when Courtney was about 8 years old, she waved the JC Penney ads from the Sunday paper in front of my face, open to pictures of women modeling bras and underwear. “You couldn’t pay me a hundred dollars to do that!” she cried. From then on, I knew that was one thing I’d never have to worry about.

This is what the Flamingo looks like these days. Can you believe these two are still around?

Have you seen Donny on TV lately? Dude, easy on the Botox!

I had yet to check out the Palazzo, so I made that my destination. I wasn’t that impressed, really.

It’s nice, it’s okay, it’s fine… but to me there’s no place like the Wynn. I love the colors in the Wynn, and the fact that everyone can enjoy the beauty of all these places; people can walk in the lap of luxury no matter what their own checkbooks look like. I didn’t make it up to the Wynn yesterday, though; after I went through the Palazzo, I headed south again.

At a quarter to ten, I stopped at the race and sports book in Planet Hollywood and bet a couple of exactas on the first race at Saratoga, which my sister and her husband were watching in person. This is the first year in a while that I haven’t been able to get to Saratoga, but I’ll be there next year, for sure. No luck on the exactas, and only the VIPs get their own personal TV monitor in Planet Hollywood’s race and sports book, so points off for them.

I made it back to New York New York in time for the second race. No luck on that exacta, either. By then I was pretty hungry—I just got up, threw a baseball cap on, put on some lipstick (duh), and left without eating breakfast—so I had a delicious big-ass piece of greasy New York style pizza in the Greenwich Village section of the casino. Yum!

I was back home by noon, and headed straight for the pool. There were a couple of 25-year-olds lying around in bikinis who made me think maybe that big-ass pizza wasn’t the best idea and that I should really pop in an exercise video when I get back up to my apartment. Then I thought, “Jesus, Linda, you’re comparing yourself to 25-year-olds,” which is all I needed to talk myself out of doing Buns of Steel on my day off.

After I had enough of floating around the pool reading Artie Lange’s memoir, Too Fat to Fish, which by the way is very funny and well written, I made a dent in my freelance work and then went to the movies. I almost saw Taking Woodstock, starring the beautiful Courtney Blackwell Rice as an extra playing a recorder on a porch (yep, she was spared the cutting room floor). Now see—when she went to the casting call, the casting people asked her if she’d do a topless scene, and she said, “Hell, no!” Totally consistent with her stance on modeling underwear.

Anyway, I figured the Woodstock movie would be around for a while, so I opted to see Adam, an independent film that could be gone in no time. It was a worthy effort, nothing great. Afterward I came home, made myself a big-ass plate of ravioli, worked a little more on my freelance stuff and then met Hurricane Mikey for an end-of-a-great-long-weekend Guinness.

When I lived back East, I used to dread Labor Day weekend. Summer was over, and I knew what was coming--in a short time I’d be whining about being so goddamn cold and the whining wouldn’t stop for about six months. I’ve been living in Las Vegas for over six years now, and I still have to pinch myself sometimes—it’s just a great place to live. There are only two things I don’t like about it—the job market is one—and I miss my kids and grandson like you wouldn’t believe. But man, this place is the tits. No pun intended.

How about you? Did you have a fun weekend?

Would you ever consider moving to Las Vegas? If you live here, do you like it?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A very Vegas Labor Day (long post, but hey—you have a three-day weekend to read it)

Here it is Labor Day already. Yesterday as I was leaving the cube farm a co-worker said, “See you next Tuesday,” and I totally went back and asked, “What’s that supposed to mean?” because we all know there’s a big difference between “See you next Tuesday” and “C U Next Tuesday,” right? He said he meant the former.

Amazingly, I’m not going anywhere this three-day weekend. Nope, I’m having a mini “staycation” (queer word I never thought I would use). Although how lucky am I that my staycation (now using twice) is in Las Vegas?

Actually, I’ve stayed put for a couple of months now, since from mid-February through the end of June I went back to Albany four times (twice with side trips to Pennsylvania), made two trips to Boise to see Mom and Stepdaddy, had two weekends in Arizona, and went to New Orleans for JazzFest. Between now and the end of the year, I have four trips definitely planned (two to Boise and two to Albany) and I’ll probably go somewhere for my birthday weekend (October 3—mark your calendars). But this weekend, I’m just going to enjoy Las Vegas.

I’ve been seeing a few shows in town lately. About a month ago I joined houseseats.com, which is a great deal; for one flat annual fee you get tickets to shows (on an as-available basis, mostly last minute) absolutely free. So far I’ve seen Gladys Knight (who could forget that infamous night?), a mentalist show (not the greatest) at O’Shea’s with my old boyfriend Fightin’ Irish Tim, the Naughty Boys Hypnosis Show at the Harmon Theater (very fun) with Kri Monster, and last night I saw Hal Ketchum at the Railhead in Boulder Station.

I’ve always wondered about Hal Ketchum; he’s from Greenwich, New York, about 40 miles north of Albany up near the Adirondack Mountains, so I’ve heard of him, but never heard his music. The Railhead is a great venue, so I thought what the hell—the tickets are free. I could have gotten two tickets, but sometimes I really prefer to go out by myself, so that’s what I did. You have a lot more freedom when you’re a solo act. I know many people—women and men—don’t really like to go out by themselves, but I’m telling you I had a million times more fun than I would have staying home. I beg of you, don’t be afraid to hit the town by yourself—you’re depriving yourself of so much!

I didn’t know what to expect with this show. I knew Hal Ketchum was a country-ish guy, and while I don’t particularly care for the country music you hear on the radio, I love the Lyle Lovett/Steve Earle type of country that never gets airplay. I was hoping he would be more in that vein, and he was. Man, what an amazing show! What a fantastic voice! The band was awesome, and they even played one of my favorite songs on earth (not written by one of my kids)—Daniel Lanois’ “The Maker.” You may remember that as the song that rolls during the credits of Slingblade, and kids, I’m telling you right now I want that song played at my funeral (in 50 years). You don’t hear “The Maker” covered very often and I was just out of my mind when I heard them start into it. They also covered “Tupelo Honey,” which was very cool.

His fans politely sat through those covers and then went nuts on his hits, which I didn’t recognize at all, but I enjoyed seeing everybody so psyched to hear them. During the last song, a couple got up and danced in the aisle (they were the only dancers of the evening) and you could tell they were having one of those orgasmic concert moments that bring incredible orgasmic concert joy. Good for them!

This afternoon I’m dragging my BFF Lisa Gioia Acres to another biker bar--the Sand Dollar Blues Lounge on Polaris--for the monthly open jam of the Las Vegas Blues Society. Then tomorrow night I’m seeing Al Green down in Primm (free tickets again) with Joey D, my dear friend and a big freakin’ hunk of Brooklyn-Italian testosterone.

I met Joey D three years ago over Labor Day weekend in the race and sports book at Green Valley Ranch. The Thursday before I had plastic surgery to take care of some skin cancer near my nose, and I’m telling you, I looked like the freakin’ Elephant Man, all swollen and black and blue. I swear I was like, please God, just make me look normal again and I’ll totally forgive you for giving me this fine, shitty hair.

By Sunday I was tired of lying around the house with frozen green beans on my face, so I went to the race and sports to play the Saratoga ponies, figuring it’s full of old guys who wouldn’t give a shit what I look like, not that they would notice anyway since they rarely take their noses out of the Daily Racing Form.

So anyway, I sat next to Joey D, who’s not an old guy—he’s my age (which is not old—ha!) He’d seen me there before, so he knew what I looked like in real life, and we struck up a conversation and yadda, yadda, yadda… about a week or two later I dragged him out to the aforementioned Sand Dollar biker bar. By then the swelling had gone down on my face and all I had was a black eye, but if you can picture little ol’ me drinkin’ beer in a biker bar with a black eye, sitting next to a giant Sopranos-looking guy… well, it was pretty funny.

Being a smart guy, Joey D realized pretty early on that I would be one pain in the ass and I realized he was way too into watching sports on TV for my taste, so in no time we could see an official boyfriend/girlfriend arrangement was not gonna happen. But we still liked hanging out and truly enjoyed each other’s company—we both dig that “recreational bitching” mode where we’re complaining and swearing just for the pure fun of it, and so we’ve been BFFs for a long time now. Earlier this year, Joey D moved to Florida for a job (a consequence of the in-the-shitter Vegas economy), but he’s back in town this weekend and I’ll be psyched to see him.

I know what you’re thinking—Linda, you and all these old boyfriends and ex-husbands. Tim and I were talking about this at O’Shea’s last week. We were saying just because you’re not with someone “in that way” anymore, they obviously had qualities that you once liked. I think it’s totally possible to restructure the relationship and maintain a friendship, if you want. Of course, you can’t let the ghosts of the past get in the way of a new, committed relationship—that’s just not fair. And believe me, I was very committed to Mike. (As you can tell, he and I are still “on a break.” Could be over, or maybe not. We’ll see.)

So what are you up to this weekend? Any fun plans?

And I’m curious—are you still on good terms with your exes? Would you call yourselves friends? Or should the past be the past, including past relationships?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yeah, I’m your Caucasian

One time I mentioned to my friend Timmy D that I made myself an egg whites and mayonnaise sandwich for breakfast and he was like, “Jesus Christ, Linda, could you be any more of a white girl?” I was shocked to hear that because my junior high and high school were like 50-70 percent black, as if that should somehow make me a little less milky. But when I look at this list of what white people like, I have to say holy cow, I am really freakin’ white.

St. Patrick’s Day (#89), film festivals (#3), yoga (#15), writers workshops (#21), gay friends (#88), microbreweries (#23), David Sedaris (#25), graduate school (#81), difficult break-ups (#70), divorce (#66), Bob Marley (#125) … hell, I even have a niece named after him! I wouldn’t threaten to move to Canada (#75), only because it’s too damn cold, but how many times have I told you I love Canadians? Jews didn't make the list, but I love them, too, and how white are they?

Well, last Sunday night I had dinner with a couple of my writer friends, one of whom is black. Her name is Judy McFadden and I have to digress for a second because I think it’s funny that Judy has a son named Kelly McFadden. I mean, is that the ultimate Guess-Who’s-Coming-for-Corned-Beef-and-Cabbage-Dinner name or what? Cracks me up.

Anyway, I had a burning Ask-a-Black-Person question because there were a lot of “Remembering Katrina” programs on last weekend and for the longest time I’ve been wondering something: How do black people feel about Jesse Jackson and Al freakin’ Sharpton acting like the spokesmen for their entire race? Because it sure as hell looks like they are to me, and if I were black I’d be pissed.

Judy rolled her eyes and said those two hardly represent the race and the media intentionally sticks a microphone in their faces whenever anything happens to keep black people looking bad. (I realize that now I’m making Judy the new spokesperson, but trust me, I think she’s a much better representative.)

Well, her answer made sense to me and then I came up with more questions: What about Bill Cosby? Who are the true black leaders of today? Why does rap music have to be so mess-you-up-bitches negative?

I hung on her every word. She told me all kinds of stuff black people did in history that never made it into the textbooks. I’m gonna ask her to be guest blogger someday—it will be educational! White people should totally ask black people questions—and vice-versa. I know I would be more than happy to explain why bowling is fun and the brilliance behind Family Guy.

Judy seemed to delight in answering my questions and kept asking if I had any more. But wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t think of the biggest question of all until the next day, so I sent her an email.

Hey, Judy—

When my daughter and I are mad at someone, we say (just in conversation to each other), "He can kiss my black ass." We think the "black" part adds some oomph to it, like we really mean it. So much stronger than "He can kiss my ass." But is that racist? We totally don't mean it to be.

Let me know!

Well, good news! She sent me this e-card with the following message.

So it’s not racist--yay! I'm really happy because it's totally fun to say.

But seriously, can you imagine if you had to have official spokespersons for your race? If I were black, I'd want Oprah and Wanda Sykes. Well, I think they should be the official spokespeople of the white race, too.

What? You don't like Oprah? Well, you can just kiss my black ass.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tonight on Aging Nymphs: Secrets of an ex-car salesman

My new young friend, JP, is going to be calling into the show tonight. He’s only 25… oh, for Christsake, I mean “friend” as in “friendship,” not wherever the hell your mind was going… Anyway, JP was a car salesman for several years and he’s going to give us the inside scoop on what you should know before signing on the bottom line. (Not that I need a new car—come on, mine has only 202,256 miles on it.)

With any luck, he’ll tell us about the time a customer went into Costco during a test drive and bought a computer. JP also has some interesting stories about his teenage years in Las Vegas—really, doesn’t every high school senior work the graveyard shift as a valet at a casino?

To listen or join the conversation, simply go to our Blog Talk Radio website at 7:00 Pacific/10:00 Eastern and click on the show’s title. Call the number on the screen to join the conversation, or you can listen to the show archives anytime by clicking a link on the right sidebar of this site.

If you missed our last show with life coach and Peach Tart Deborah Bailey, well, give it a listen now!

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bastard Husband is off to the printer!

Yesterday morning, I finally, finally sent my book off to one of the printers. I'm using two; Lightning Source because they're best for handling the Amazon fulfillment, and Print Media for my own stash to sell at book fairs, etc. God willing, I’ll have books in hand within a few weeks.

Want to read the first page?


Today I put my bastard husband on a plane to the other side of the world. He wasn’t always a bastard. He was perfect and I loved everything about him. Well, almost everything. I may never see him again.

There were no last hugs, not even a half-hearted effort to put a few words together. I could have easily come to a rolling stop at the airport and pushed his ass into the passenger drop-off lane; instead, I parked in the short-term lot and stayed with him throughout the check-in process, hoping, I suppose, to see some flicker of caring on his part. But we plodded through the terminal in silence, and when we reached the security checkpoint where I could go no further, he looked in my direction and said, “See ya.”

See ya?

As he walked away and found his place in line, I gave him the finger, right there in the crowded airport. I do that a lot in public places, usually while trying to coax him off a barstool and away from a new-found friend with tavern wisdom far more compelling than anything I have to offer. Hell, I gave him the finger two nights ago in the Green Valley Ranch casino when I couldn’t pry him from the poker table before he marched off on his own because “the dealer gypped him.” He is never aware of my gesture, and although it’s not my most mature practice, I do enjoy an adolescent satisfaction in my passive-aggressive retaliation. It’s just that it wouldn’t have killed him to give me a proper good-bye.

See ya?
Preparing the manuscript file has been a nightmare; designing the cover, less so. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the process and have run into unexpected obstacles (I posted some details for a few hours on Saturday, which I deleted when I was feeling less bitchy). I was beginning to wonder whether this whole project would even be worth all the aggravation.

I've been thinking of Bastard Husband, my Kiwi ex, a lot lately and I’ve often considered how the book might affect his life. (Though realistically, self-published books rarely garner much attention.) BH has read it and he doesn’t deny a word, even though he’s often portrayed unfavorably. Of course, he's not always cast in a bad light; it really is a love story. Sunday night before I went to sleep, I said out loud, “I need a sign. Please give me a sign before I send those files to the printer.” What I really wanted was his blessing.

Sure enough, Monday morning I got an email from New Zealand. I wrote back and told him the book was ready to go to the printer, and sent him the link to the cover (front and back) so he could check it out.

He responded reiterating a comment he made a few weeks ago here on this blog.

Why didn't you put the arrow going through two hearts? It was my only request.
And then,

You know Indiana Jones in the fourth movie said to the chick from the first movie, "I had lots of wives, they all suffered from one problem. They weren't you."
With that, the files were off to the printer.