Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Special day today!

Spring, 1968.  One of my little friends is playing at my house after school.  She rushes into the living room with a smile that tells me she's clearly thrilled.

"Your mother just told your father to go shit in his hat!" she gushes.

Everybody thinks their mother is special, but how many people can pinpoint the moment they came to that realization?  Yep, I'm one of the lucky ones.

Well, today Mom is 78 years old, so in her honor, I thought we'd have a little "Best of Dee Dee Idaho." She's such a good sport!  (Thank God, without her I'd have no comedy act.)

And now a few excerpts from old blog posts:

Mom:  (at breakfast) You want a glass of tomato juice?
Me:  No, thanks.
Mom:  It's good for you.   It's full of antioxidants.
Me:  No, I don't like tomato juice.
Mom:  Well, how about V-8? 
Me:  That's the same as tomato juice. 
Mom: But it's good for you. It's full of antioxidants.
Me:  The only way I can drink tomato juice is if it has vodka in it.
Mom:  You want vodka?  I have vodka.


 What my mother once wrote in a sympathy card:
“I’m so sorry to hear that Jeffrey has gone to a better place.”

Mom (explaining how she keeps her credit cards straight):  "I put a swastika on this one."
Me:  "WHAT???"
Mom:  "Not swastika.  Asterisk."


Remember back in 2009 when the two female journalists were released from North Korea? This is how it would have gone down if those girls had my mother…

Me: "Mom, guess what? I just got a journalism assignment in Korea. Isn’t that great?"
Mom: "Korea? Jesus Christ, are you out of your goddamn mind? What the hell is wrong with you? No, you’re not going to goddamn Korea."
If I had half a brain, I’d stop there. Or I could press the issue.
Me: "But my friend’s mother is letting her go."
Mom: "I don’t give a good goddamn about your friend’s mother. If she let your friend jump off the goddamn bridge, would you do that too?"
And then if I really pushed, I'd get her favorite "this conversation is over" line:
“Fine. Do what you want, you will anyway.”
I swear, I’d rather do the 12 years of hard labor in a North Korean prison than face her wrath upon release. While my friend’s mother would welcome her home with hugs and flowers, the photos of my reunion at the airport would be of Mom pulling me by the collar with one hand and swatting my head with the other.

“Don’t you think [slap] Bill Clinton has better things to do than bail your ass out of prison? Jesus Christ, [slap] do you know how much goddamn money you cost the taxpayers of this country? [slap] Huh?”

I love this classic Facebook post.


And don't forget this classic video! (Stay till the end.)

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

How did I not know about Dino's Lounge???

Last Thursday night I got a text from my dear friend Kri asking if I wanted to meet her at Dino's at 9:00.  Given my piss-poor mood lately, my answer was a resounding "YES!" even though I had no idea what Dino's was. Barbecue joint?  Gay bar?  Didn't matter.  Okay, I have to admit, there was a tiny voice in the back of my head that said, "But Linda, Louie is on tonight..."  

Wow, am I glad I went. As it turns out, Dino's Lounge, on the corner of Wyoming and Las Vegas Boulevard (just north of the Stratosphere) is the gold standard of dive bars.  You know me, I love a good dive bar, especially one with a motto "Getting Vegas drunk since 1962."   

The place was still pretty empty when I got there, but started to fill up before the karaoke started at 10:00.  I'm not super into karaoke--my voice sounds like an ironing board opening--but there was some interesting stuff going on.  The host was awesome and most all of the singers were good.  Some, like Kri's gorgeous friend Trey, were really good.

The music, though, was secondary to the people watching.  Dino's has a reputation for attracting all walks of life, and there was every type you could imagine:  a normal looking businessman in a suit, a woman with a mullet and a dress wedgie, a guy in a poncho and a beret, a girl in a super sexy micro-mini celebrating her birthday, a man with a handlebar mustache, and this here diva (who most definitely does not shop at Ross).

I swear, the place was like a human museum.

As with all dive bars, it's a bit smoky in there. I'm sure that within six months one particular raspy-voiced singer will be holding the microphone to a hole in her throat.  But what a blast.  There's something extremely joyful about being in the middle of folks from every point on the spectrum, and to hear people sing!  It's a beautiful expression. 

Yep, one minute I'm putting a pork roast on the table with the husb, his kids, and his ex-wife gathered around, and a couple of hours later I'm high-fiving a friend while an Asian Rat Packer sings Sinatra.

What else am I missing?  What other Vegas treasures I should know about?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Helicopter parents cartoon -- couldn't resist!

Saw this on Facebook and had to share.  You know how I love to rant about helicopter parents!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mood swing

So Sunday was a great day, and yesterday totally sucked. I'm being a little dramatic--it could have been a million times worse.  Like nobody died or anything; I was just in a piss-poor mood that even a half a bottle of wine while watching Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story couldn't shake.

In case you couldn't tell from my Why don't kids today leave the goddamn house? post, being out of work while the kids are off from school is definitely fraying my nerves.  And my tolerance for friggin' Black Ops is at an all-time low after the tragedy in Colorado last week.  For a thoughtful commentary that's much better than what I could ever put into words, I'm going to send you to author Nathan Bransford's post on Violence in American Culture, in which he reports the rise of very violent young adult literature.  Gee, what a shock.

I hate violence.  Ironic, I know, since at any given moment I'm ready to kill somebody. Whatever.  I don't find violence entertaining, and I sure as hell don't think it's appropriate for a 7-year-old to be cutting her grown-up teeth on Black Ops.  It makes me sick.  What equally makes me sick is that the man I love seems to think there's nothing wrong with this picture.  Yes, I understand that one of the frustrations of step-parenting is having to witness a polar opposite parenting style.  Got it.  I'm just sick of that shit from morning till night.

So yesterday morning Mike had to take the kids to a dental appointment, which meant I'd have the house to myself for a while, which I really needed considering my fragile state.  When they left, I was lounging poolside with my coffee, breakfast--three pieces of bacon on a plate--and Time and Entertainment magazines.  Glorious!  Then when I'd had enough sun, I picked up my crap and... was locked out of the house.  AGAIN!  This was the third time that Mike locked the door behind him when I was outside. 

Unfortunately, by that time I had nothing left to drink and my iPhone was sitting inside on the kitchen counter.  I called to the one woman who was biking on the path behind our house, and she didn't have her cell phone.  No one else was on the path for at least a half hour.

I decided I'd scale the wall with a locked (of course) iron gate to the front of the house and see if maybe he accidentally left one of the front doors open.  I pulled a chair over and was able to climb on top of the gate, but looking down at the length of the jump before me, I felt it was a little too risky.  I was already making up brand new swear words; if I'd sprained or broken one or both ankles, I would have been a mental patient. So using my body strength, I climbed off the gate, thankful for all the yoga I've been doing lately, and then carefully dropped a cooler to the other side, hoping I'd be able to land on that.

Again, I climb up to the top of the gate and with a deep breath jumped a couple of feet to the cooler. I should mention how thankful I was that 1) I wasn't in bare feet, and 2) I had a little sundress over my bathing suit.  The situation would have been much worse otherwise.

Okay, so now I'm in front of the house and try both the front and side doors.  Locked, as they should be.  I see a neighbor, whom I've never met, a few houses away get into his truck and head my way.   I flag him down and ask if I can use his cell phone. I'm filthy, sweaty, fucking pissed, and ready to cry.  Lovely introduction.

I call Mike and tell him I'm locked out again and don't take an hour and a half to get home like last time.  My neighbor was nice as hell and even went back in his house to get me a bottle of water while I waited for my beloved.  He mentioned that his wife goes to yoga classes and I wondered if I might have seen her, not knowing she's my neighbor.  Vegas is like that--you can live in a house for a year and not know your neighbors.  Kind of sad.

Anyway, Mike and the kids got home and I was in total "Nobody-say-a-word-to-me-I-can't-handle-it" mode.  I showered, put on a cute little dress and planted myself in the nearest Race and Sports book, where I played some exactas in the last four races at Saratoga.  My new, manly readers are probably surprised to hear that I frequent a sports book--it's true, but only during the Saratoga meet.  I do some writing between races and make friends with the old guys.

Of course, none of my horses came in, and there wasn't a cocktail waitress in sight.  Fortunately, I got a text from a reader who's also a stepmother and she, too, was in FML mode, so we had fun with some good old back-and-forth bitching via SMS.  Bad moods are so much better when you have someone to share them with. After the races, I got lunch in the casino, which was a scoop of gelato.

I still wasn't ready to go home, so I went to the movies and saw Bernie with Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine. Jack Black gave a very impressive performance, but the movie was only so-so. Thankfully, there were were only three of us in the theater, so I didn't have to put up with anyone talking or breathing too loud--one of my many pet peeves.

 On the way home, I stopped at Starbucks for dessert--iced tea and banana walnut bread.  By the time I pulled in our driveway, I was almost human again. But as a precaution, I sequestered myself in the master suite for the rest of the night with Mr. Cox, thinking, "Yes, Scarlett, tomorrow is another day."  Hopefully I'll eat better, too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A birthday celebration for a Las Vegas comedy icon

Who knew a birthday party for an 80-year-old could be so much fun?  When it's a comedy roast/book release party/fundraiser and the man of the hour is Las Vegas stand-up comedy icon Cork Proctor, well... how could it be anything but fun? 

The showroom at the Southpoint Casino was place to be on Sunday afternoon, with every "Vegas Who's Who" in attendance.

"Cork roast"

Comedy roasts are always so much fun, and in this case the average age of the roasters was, well, let's just say their AARP cards weren't exactly newly minted.  One thing I realize--the older you get, the stronger your comedy muscle gets.  That was proven by the quality of the material--and ad libbing--we were treated to.  Hilarious.

After the show I got a chance to talk with roaster Sammy Shore, who co-founded the legendary Comedy Store in Hollywood back in the 70s. 

Me and Sammy Shore

Sammy was pleased to hear that I'm primarily a writer--comics need to write well--and offered me some words of wisdom about aging.  "It's all about attitude," he told me.  "It doesn't matter how old you are or [motioning to his body] what's going on down here.  It's all about what you've got from the neck up."

That may be true when it comes to comedy, but for some gals, their ability to make a living depends primarily on what they offer from the neck down.  Wow, you wouldn't believe the bodies on these broads!  (I say "broads" cuz I talk Old Vegas-y now.)  Seriously!  My BFF and fellow blogger Lisa Gioia Acres saved me the best seat in the house right in front of the podium and I can tell you, these dames (dames!) are walking perfection.

"One of these things is not like the other..."

God-damn, I would love to be a showgirl!  I wouldn't have to worry about my crappy hair and it would be much more fun than becoming a nun or turning Muslim just to wear the scarf.

Speaking of hair, I have to go on a tangent for a second.  [Begin tangent] The other night I was worrying about what I would do with my hair if I were a black woman.  I know I should probably worry about other things since the chances of my waking up some morning as a black woman are probably not that good (though I would LOVE to see the expression on Mike's face), but anyway I was thinking I would forget the weaves and wigs and just go with a cut closer to my head.   Then who sits across from me at the roast but this striking woman with MY haircut!

She's a hundred times more beautiful in real life!

Well, that just sealed the deal.  See?  Everything has a way of working itself out.  Now I have one less thing to worry about. [End tangent]

Anyway, if my new career as a showgirl falls through, I have a plan B.  At the bar after the show, Lisa introduced me to a new friend who with a totally straight face said I should be a foot model.  I am blessed with a Cinderella size 6, you know, and it does sound more interesting than that blah-blah technical writing I do.

Oh, I can't tell you how much fun I had!  The event, which benefited Opportunity Village, was produced by my friend Carolyn Hamilton, who was Carolyn Proctor back when I met her years ago through the Henderson Writers Group.  That's right; she's Cork's (much younger) ex-wife.  Not every woman gets to roast her ex in public (though some write books about them.)  Several months ago Carolyn moved to Ecuador (!?), and interestingly, it looks like Cork will be joining her soon.  So this was also a sort of going away party as well.

I love to hear about exes who get along post-divorce!  Hell, I'll be sharing a stage next month with my first ex.  I love both of my ex-husbands, and yes, my book about ex #2 really is a love story.  I love all my ex-boyfriends, too.  How can I not?  They're wonderful men! 

One last thing--I have to mention Cork's book, My Mind Is an Open Mouth: A Life Behind the Mic.  I just started it last night and I am digging it.  If you're interested in a first-person account of old Las Vegas--Cork worked as a lifeguard at the Sahara as a teenager--then you'll love this book, too.

Oh, I just thought of one more thing.  Looking at Cork Proctor, you'd NEVER believe he's 80.  I swear, he could easily pass for 15 years younger.   Years of laughing, people.  That's the conclusion I'm drawing.

Look at that freakin' hair!

Aaaah, Las Vegas.  There's no place like it!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why don't kids today leave the goddamn house?

I've been thinking a lot about childhood lately, probably because Mike's kids are out of school and they're with us 4-5 days a week now.  They're wonderful children--really, really good kids--but I'm not gonna lie, I'm going out of my mind.

Things are so different from when I was a kid, and even from when my own children (now in their 30s) were little.  Kids today don't leave the house!  They don't go outside and play with friends; they play with friends on the video games.  From first thing in the morning until eleven o'clock at night sometimes, one kid is playing games on the TV in the living room and the other is on the computer in the kitchen.  Or vice versa.

There doesn't seem to be a lot of kids in our neighborhood, but who knows?  Maybe there are tons of them and they're not leaving the house, either.

Mike's kids never complain about being bored, but I can't stand looking at them rotting away in front of the screen.  Mike doesn't seem to mind; he's usually in front of a screen himself, or playing along with them.   So I guess it's my problem.  I feel bad for them;  I'm always thinking of fun things to do with them, but then I'm like, why the hell is it my job to make sure they're entertained?

See, this is where the role of the stepmother gets frustrating; they're not my kids, so I can't tell them what to do.  When my kids were little, I'd be like, "It's a beautiful day--go find some friends."  And if they were bored, I'd respond, "I'm not your entertainment committee!"   Which is exactly what I seem to be now.

When I was a kid living at 8 Lincoln Avenue in Albany, New York, we were ALWAYS outside--in all kinds of weather, but especially in the summer.  We'd be out looking for our friends right after breakfast, come home for lunch, and then we'd play until our parents yelled our names throughout the neighborhood calling us for dinner.  Then we'd be back out until the street lights went on.  We played kickball and badminton in the street, and jump rope and hopscotch on the sidewalk.  We'd walk to my grandmother's house, to the bowling alley, to Lozoff's Pharmacy to get a Freeze Pop, or we'd just walk around the block and through the neighborhood just to see what was up.  Half the time our mothers had no idea where the hell we were.

I understand that kids today don't have grandmothers within walking distance, but why don't they have outside toys like balls and croquet sets and jump ropes?  Why aren't they encouraged to go outside and explore?  (DON'T tell me the crime rate is any higher now than when I was a kid.) 

Maybe we loved playing outside so much because inside kind of sucked.  We had five kids and two parents yelling at each other all the time in a house that measured all of 1160 square feet; the house Mike and I live in is more than three times that size.  But another difference is, when we did play inside as kids, we spent a lot of time in our bedroom.  Kids today don't seem to play in their bedroom.

I've ranted a million times about the goddamn video games; this is just one more.  I just can't believe that it's a good thing for kids to be spending every waking minute playing that shit.  I can't believe that on some level they're not being desensitized to violence.  With every cell in my body, I think it's just wrong. 

But again, they're not my kids, so I can't say anything.  So I'll say it to you.  And if you're looking for me this summer, if I'm not outside myself, I'll be playing in my bedroom.  With the doors closed.

Thank you, God, for this little piece of heaven!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Are women really not as funny as men?

Adam Carolla, who I just wrote about last week, is at the center of a lively conversation going on over at The Huffington Post  Evidently, when asked by a reporter from The New York Post if he hated working with women, he replied, 
"No. But they make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they’re always the least funny on the writing staff. The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks. If my daughter has a mediocre sense of humor, I’m just gonna tell her, 'Be a staff writer for a sitcom. Because they’ll have to hire you, they can’t really fire you, and you don’t have to produce that much. It’ll be awesome.'”
The Huffington Post article reports his response to his critics, which was, "Everyone can kiss my ass, I don’t care."

Let me put on some fresh lipstick and be first in line to kiss Adam Carolla's ass!  I love that I can count on him to speak the truth as he feels it and with no apologies. 
Here's more of his response, as reported in Uproxx:
"I’m not involved with Hollywood, I don’t want to be involved with Hollywood. In terms of the future or whatever, it’s like, 'Hey man, you don’t want to piss off Les Moonves, because what about your next CBS project?' There is no next CBS project, because I wouldn’t work for them. I don’t want to work in terrestrial radio, I don’t want to do a sitcom. I want to work for myself, and I do work for myself. I make plenty of money working for myself. I built it so they can’t take it away."
Working for yourself, calling your own shots.  Now that's freedom. I love this trail that pioneers like Adam Carolla and Louis C.K. are blazing.  They're their own men and they can play by their own rules; they have to answer only to themselves.  Louis C.K. is selling his own goddamn tickets for his tour on his website and his fans benefit from lower prices.

So... are female comics not as funny as men?  Take a look at what the late Christopher Hitchens says in this article:
"There are more terrible female comedians than there are terrible male comedians, but there are some impressive ladies out there. Most of them, though, when you come to review the situation, are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three."
I can see his point on the last statement--that just seems to be the reality--but totally disagree with the first.  Look, there are fewer female comics out there, so the proportion of super-funny women to super-funny men is going to be lower. But by sheer numbers, there are MANY more terrible male comedians, because there are many more male comedians. That’s just math.   Some female comics suck, some male comics suck. And the truth is, at some point we’re all gonna suck. 

And who the hell cares?  Taking offense is a choice.  I'm not offended if anyone thinks female comics aren't as funny as men.  So what?   I say let’s toughen up and get back to writing jokes.

What do you think?  

P.S.  Speaking of freakin' hilarious female comics, I'll be doing a set Saturday night as part of the G Spot Comedy showcase at Choices Pub on Cheyenne and Rainbow.  I don't really do bar stages that much anymore, but I always have a blast there.  (It's the "black people love me" stage.)  This typically is a crazy show--check it out if you're in town.  


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A brief (local's) guide to what to do in Las Vegas

Recently I met a friend of a friend who's somewhat new to town.  He was asking about some cool things to do as a Vegas local, and I thought I'd share the info I sent to him.  Whether you're local or a regular visitor, you might find something of value here.  Much of it I've already written about, so there's a lot of links--some are mine, some are their own websites. 
  • For great beer with an onsite brewery, you can't beat Ellis Island on Koval Lane behind the Strip.  It's got a unique casino/dive bar flavor that attracts both locals and tourists.  You can eat, drink, gamble, and still have change from a $20 bill.  Check out this article I wrote about the place and my blog post of my meeting with the brew master.

  • If you like the blues, go to the Las Vegas Blues Society's website and get on their mailing list.  They sponsor open jams in gritty bars that are a lot of fun. 

  • Also, the Music on the Mountain series at the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboarding Resort is a nice way to enjoy some music and beer without sweltering.  Bring a lawn chair and settle in. 

  • Michael Grimm and his band play in the Ovation Lounge at Green Valley Ranch every Saturday night.  Station Casinos is tightening their belt and so now it cost $5 to get in for what used to be a free show, but he's still worth it.

  • Although I'm way too Private Benjamin-y to ride a motorcycle, I do love the biker scene.  Nobody cares what you're wearing, how fat you are, and they're all having a bad hair day from the helmets--perfect.  Plus, I love classic rock.  If you ever want to take a little Sunday drive, there's always an afternoon band down in Goodsprings  at the historic Pioneer Saloon, about 25 miles down I-15 South.  In the summer, head out to the Mountain Springs Saloon in the mountains about halfway to Pahrump.  Both are fun weekend afternoon biker destinations.

  • I feel kind of guilty for admitting it, but I have yet to warm up to downtown Las Vegas.  There's not enough acid, heroin, or Oxycotin on earth to make me find the Fremont Street Experience entertaining.   I know all the tech-hipsters are into the downtown revitalization, but having lived in a gritty city with no place to park for the first 43 years of my life, I'd rather hang out elsewhere.  That said, The Griffin is a cool bar, and Hogs and Heifers is a lot of fun.

  • I'm not much for dining out (why ruin the buzz with food?), but for a special dinner, you can't beat the restaurant at the top of the Stratosphere.  Make your reservation for about an hour before sunset so you can enjoy the daytime and nighttime views.  If you just want to go up to the top without paying, don't get in line with the tourists; tell them you're having a drink at the bar on the top and you won't have to pay or stand in line to go up.  Also, RiRa, the Irish bar in Mandalay Place has the best fish and chips I've ever had in my life.

  • If you haven't been to The Peppermill yet, grab a friend and march your ass there immediately.
  • For an overnight getaway, I highly recommend the Desert Pearl Inn, just outside Zion National Park.  And if you head to Sedona, I recommend Sky Ranch Lodge.  On the way, be sure to stop and eat at The Oasis Lounge in Ask Forks, AZ.  It looks like a dump, but the food is amazing.  I've written a lot about Sedona on my blog; if you haven't been, you're in for a treat.

  • Here's a piece I wrote on the Grand Canyon West Rim.  It's closer than the South Rim, but not as spectacular.  Good if you're pressed for time.

  • For yoga:  Check out Sherry's Goldstein's Yoga Sanctuary.  It's right on Eastern in the same plaza as Einstein's Bagels.  I just started taking classes there--very impressed so far.

  • Finally, look into Fill-A-Seat. For a yearly fee (which you'll recoup in no time), Las Vegas locals can attend any of the shows they offer for free.  They have a ton of comedy, which, of course, I'm into.  It's a great deal.  Spring for the four-pass deal if you have a lot of friends come into town.
There you go--now get out there and enjoy!

What am I missing?  Anything you want to add?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

MUCH happier post today!

Thank you for all the good wishes for my friends and their health challenges--such is the beauty of the blogging community.  I am so grateful that you all pop in here to see what's up.

Today I am out of my mind with excitement over a fundraising event I'll be headlining on August 23.  My sister Lori has put it all together; it's to benefit the alumni fund for Saint Anne Institute, a not-for-profit organization in Albany where she's worked for close to 30 years.  Yesterday she sent me a sample of what the tickets will look like.

Yes, I'm psyched to have a headlining gig, and I'm psyched that I'll be performing in a very well-known, 250-seat venue associated with Northeast Public Radio--and the name of the venue is "The Linda"!  (Our fundraiser was just inked yesterday, so it's not listed on the Events page yet, but I'll let you know when it is.)  But most of all, I'm psyched that my kids' band, The Blackwell Sinners, will be opening the show.  Their dad (my first ex), "Lefty," also plays with them, so it'll truly be a family affair!

Blackwell Sinners at The Linda in  March 2010 (photo by Ken Jacobi)

Here's a video montage of one of Christopher's songs.  This is what happens when your kids grow up listening to Neil Young, The Band, Cowboys Junkies, Daniel Lanois, and Leonard Cohen--all Canadian bands, by the way.  No wonder I love Canadians! (Okay, four-fifths of The Band was Canadian, all but Levon Helm.)

Anyway, this is a major gig to look forward to, and if you're in Albany on that night I hope you'll make it to the show.  I have a feeling we're going to sell out; I'll let you know when tickets will be available.

Something else I have to be happy about--these pics of Hazel that I lifted from Courtney's Facebook page.

Looks like the sunshine makes the whitest baby on the beach crack a smile!  (Finally...)

Life is good.  I'm very grateful.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm kind of mental lately, but I can't complain

I'm not gonna mince words.  I have three friends who are seriously ill.  One has cancer and is under hospice care; today is what will no doubt be his last birthday.  His partner was one of the first close girlfriends I made when I moved here--we were both writing books about our respective divorces.  I was miserable, but by then she was enjoying a beautiful relationship with the love of her life, who she is now about to lose. My heart aches for her.

Though I know worrying does no good, that kind of rationalization does not turn off my brain.  I worry.  I'm sad.  I'm angry.  I want to throw something. I want to kill anyone who says stupid fucking things like, "God has a plan." 

Anger has its place.  I actually took some comfort in my own words from this "I Hate Cancer" post, which I wrote days before my beloved Beautiful Aunt Joyce died of breast cancer back in 2009.   Okay, so I'm not the most mature person you'll ever meet, but it's a brilliant rant if I do say so myself.

The second person is the spouse of the most long-term friend I have, since the summer of 1963. Donna's husband was recently diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.  I don't have to tell you what that's all about.  Oh, and if anyone says a stupid fucking thing like, "God never gives you more than you can handle," I will ask, "Is that why Donna doesn't have cellulite?   Because God thought she can handle her brother's death, her husband's ALS, and a bunch of other issues she's had to deal with, but cellulite... no, that would just put her over the top.  I mean, what kind of God would give her cellulite?"

(Rolling my eyes.)  

The other friend...  it looks like he just needs a liver and kidney transplant.  Yeah, that's all.  Chuck and I have been friends for over 40 years, since we played kickball in the street on Lincoln Avenue.  He's one of my best friends on earth, and so is his wife.  If anything happens to Chuck, I will lose my shit.  And I mean fucking lose it.  Ten times a day I think of getting in my car and driving back to Albany and staying there until I know he'll be okay.

On top of all that, I can't stop thinking about my blogging buddy Barbara who has had the worst time, and for so long, dealing with her heroin-addicted son.  Shit is always hitting the fan with that kid and I'm like, how much can this poor woman take?  I've never met Barbara in real life, but that will change soon.  I will meet her and I will give her a long overdue hug in person. 

Barbara is forever expressing her thanks to her readers, and I understand why.  Blogging is a shitload of work, but I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to know that there are people out there who truly care about you.  I know I go through stages where I think I'm a total fuck up, and then out of nowhere I'll get a thoughtful comment or email Facebook message and it makes my day. 

So I'm mental lately.  I love my friends so much and I can't bear that they have to go through such pain and suffering.  And like Barbara, I am so grateful to be a part of the blogging community.  Some of you I know personally, having had the pleasure of meeting you.  Some I have corresponded with.  But I have no idea who most of you are.  I only know that I love you all. 

Stay healthy, will you?  And send some loving thoughts to everyone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I always knew I liked men

How about this:  At the end of May, I ranted on and on about how important it is to keep yourself healthy if for no other reason than for your kids' sake, and then in my last post I'm telling guys how awesome and sexy it is for them to have a belly.  In the comments section, I even went as far as to tell one male reader, Coach, to yeah, ditch that stupid weight loss program of yours. 

Don't you hate people who talk out of both sides of their mouth?

Hey, don't tell the husb, but I have had Louis C.K. on the mind these past weeks, I think because he's been in the media so much lately.  Anyway, I was thinking about how I can relate to so much of what he says, and then last night I was listening to one of Adam Carolla's podcasts and I was like, WHOA! and had a total epiphany. 

You know who Adam Carolla is, right?  He and his bud Jimmy Kimmel had The Man Show (funny as hell) years ago and he had a syndicated radio show after that, for a while co-hosted with Danny Bonaduce (one redhead I don't find attractive, but he is pretty interesting).  I've always liked Adam Carolla, perhaps because I think he's probably as big a pain in the ass as I am in the way he's perpetually annoyed about everything--he even had a segment on his radio show called "What can't Adam complain about?"  I can so relate.

Anyway, right now I'm reading his book In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks, in which he rants about "the pussification of America."  

"We've become self-entitled, thin-skinned, hyperallergic, gender-neutral, View-viewing little girls," he says on page 1.  Needless to say, we share the same view of helicopter parents.  In fact, I think I agree with just about everything this guy says. 

Hold on, I'm getting to my epiphany... 

Adam Carolla and Louis C.K. are both what I would call "guys' guys."  And, despite the foul mouth and love of dark beer, I identify myself 100 percent as a "girly girl."  I mean to the point of being annoying--I wouldn't dream of leaving the house without lipstick and neither my current or last husband has EVER seen me without nail polish--fingers and toes.  I use exclamation points! That's just who I am.  And I'm a real girlfriend, as in a friend to girls.  I love celebrity gossip and talking about relationships and how fat we are and all the stuff guys hate that we bring up. 
So here's my epiphany.  I realized that I nod my head in agreement every time Louis C.K. and Adam Carolla--and I'll throw Ricky Gervais and Larry David in there, too--open their mouths.  I'm totally with them.  But I can't think of one female celebrity that does the same thing for me.  Not Oprah, not Hillary, not Sarah Silverman... the only woman who comes close is Wanda Sykes.  And don't think it's lost on me that she's gay! 

It's weird because I always fancy myself as having such a feminine perspective (not feminist, sorry) when in fact, maybe I'm more guyish than I think I am.   How can that be???   Now I have to rethink my whole self...

So I'm wondering, whose voices do you identify with?  Who says the crap that you're totally on board with?  Anyone from the opposite gender? 

I'm eager to hear what you have to say!  (Exclamation point!) 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Yep, I like a man with a belly...

Sorry about the abrupt ending of my last post.  It was censored by the blog police, who didn't want the world to see where the poor defenseless Scrabble game woke up the next morning just because I was slaughtering him in what would be our last game of the night.

Some people just don't like to lose...

"It's not easy being married to a blogger," I told my beloved.  (Jeez, it was like the one day he decides to check out my blog...)  But I also told him that I joked from Day One that I'm only here for material, but seriously, what the hell good is being married to an absent-minded genius with ADD and young children when I'm supposed to be in the prime of my freedom years and not being able to write about it?  Hell, I wrote a whole book about my last ex-husband and he had no problem with that at all!

"Well, you should have asked me first," he said.

"You're right, my darling.  Now, can I put the picture back up?"


"And can I post the picture of Louis C.K. on the cover of my Entertainment magazine that you defiled?"

He sighed.  "Sure... I can't help it.  I get jealous."

That devil Louis C.K.

I love that Mike gets jealous, especially of Louis C.K.  Like I'm ever going to meet him, right?  Much less he'd be so smitten by my charm that he'd insist I leave my husband and run off with him so we can do comedy shows on the road together and develop brilliant creative projects.  Like a screenplay about a short-tempered, middle-aged female comic enjoying her freedom years in Las Vegas who marries a middle-aged computer genius with ADD and young children and then decides to chuck it all when the most edgy and successful comic of his day sweeps her off her feet.  Like that's ever gonna happen, right?

Oh, man, I do love Louis C.K.;  I have ever since I saw his first Comedy Central special years ago.  First of all, I have a thing for redheads, which started back in 1966 when I saw Billy Mumy in the first Lost in Space episode broadcasted in color.

Plus, Louis C.K. has what I consider the perfect male body.  I can't help it, but I like a man with a belly.  It's so freakin' manly.  (Guys, forget running and working out in the gym--if you really want to make yourself attractive, sit down and write some jokes.)

Anyway, I could go on and on about Louis C.K.  I love that in November he sold a comedy special to his fans on his website for $5.00--with no studio backing or promoter.  He made more than $1 million; of that, he gave $250,000 in bonuses to people who work for him and donated $280,000 to charity.  Nice.

Now he's selling tickets to his fall tour exclusively on his website.  Every ticket for every city is $45, including taxes and fees.  No Ticketmaster rip-off here.  I think only a performer who's already established a following would be able to do that, but still--this is a guy who appreciates his fans.  That's another thing--he truly seems that if you knew him, you'd think he was the greatest guy on earth.

Granted, Louis C.K.'s brand of humor is not for everybody.  I think he's brave and amazing; Mike doesn't see it at all.  Which is probably why he rolls his eyes when I gush about him.

But have no fear, dear Michael. Even Louis C.K. couldn't tear me from you, you delicious hunk of man.

Handsome devil
And as for the Scrabble game, I ended up salvaging it from the trash and we stayed up playing last night until 2 a.m.  (He won all three games--thank God.)  And after that... well, Mike's right.  Some things aren't meant for the blog.

How about you?  If you're a blogger, have you ever written something that pissed someone off?  What's your take on Louis C.K.?  Are you watching the new season?  What do you think?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's all fun and games until somebody...

Did you have a nice 4th of July?  It was cloudy and a little sprinkly here in Las Vegas, which is very unusual, but it wasn't a washout and kept the temperatures lower than the 100+ norm.

After 40+ years living in upstate NY, I have some nerve complaining over a few clouds, but of course, I did

I spent the day lazing around, enjoying the first day to ourselves since before we left for Albany on June 7, and did whatever the hell I wanted.  That turned out to be sequestering myself in the master suite, watching the new Showtime series, Episodes, with Matt LeBlanc.

I've never been a big fan of Matt Le Blanc (Joey from Friends), but this show is hysterical.  LeBlanc plays a not-so-flattering version of himself--kind of like Larry David's character in Curb Your Enthusiasm)--and he pulls it off perfectly.  If you don't get Showtime, do what I did:  Call your cable company and tell them you're thinking of canceling your service because between Hulu and Netflix, what the hell are you paying for, and ask what they can do for you.  Just by calling, we got three months of HBO, Starz, Cinemax, and Showtime for free.  Give it a try!  I'm a big TV fan, and the premium channels have some excellent programming. 

After a day of blissful non-productivity, Mike and I headed to the LVH, which everyone on earth still refers to as "The Hilton."  We have some friends who are high rollers and they invited us to the VIP party.  Very cool!  They had a buffet spread and a band in the ballroom, and then a bunch of us went up to a penthouse suite to watch the fireworks.  Livin' large!

We're so lucky to have friends who are so kind to us.  And guess how our friendship came to be?  I TALKED TO A STRANGER in Starbucks.  Wasn't I just telling you how important it is to talk to strangers?

After the fireworks, we had a drink in our friends' suite and then... I know you think I'm gonna say we had some fireworks of our own since we finally had the house to ourselves, but... Mike and I broke out the Scrabble game.  The night before, we played until 2 a.m.; he won the first three games and then I slaughtered him in the last game, winning by over 100 points.  I knew he wanted revenge; he likes to win.

So last night I won the first game, and then I was ahead the second game by about 130 points, and then...

Sorry... the remainder of this post has been CENSORED!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Vacation's over, I'm networking today

After three and a half weeks in vacation mode, I've gone to hell with myself, packing on some pounds like I'm the next Bridget Jones.  It's time to buckle down and get back to reality.  I need to get back to my low carb approach to eating, which totally went down the shitter while I traveled from Maine to California, and get back to faithfully replying to comments here on my blog.  (I was doing so well for a while...)

Most of all, I need to secure my next "day job" gig.  I'm lucky that I have two areas of expertise--technical writing and corporate training--but the job market in Las Vegas is still sucking out loud and there aren't a ton of telecommuting jobs out there.

If you hear of something (either writing or training), let me know!  I'm looking for any of the following:
  • A short or long-term contract job here in Las Vegas
  • A telecommuting job that would allow me to work at home
  • A job that requires a lot of travel, with a home base in my office at home
  • A regular employee-type job in Vegas, if the company is cool and I don't have to work with assholes
  • A short-term contract job anywhere in the world, if the company will pay expenses (GE put me up in a hotel for 2 years when I worked for them.)
  • A short-term contract job in Albany or Boise, and I'll pay my own expenses
Of course, I fancy myself as being a friggin' blast to work with.  That goes without saying, right?

Believe it or not, people are sometimes surprised to hear that I "have" to work.  They understand that I can't live on the money I make from book sales or comedy, but think that because my husband retired in his late 30s (computers), somehow that impacts me.  Not so.  I pay toward the rent, buy some of the groceries, and when we take trips, etc., we each pay our own way.  (I nearly shed a tear forking out money for Disney.)  As some of you know, in second (or in our case, third) marriages where you each have your own sets of kids, it's best to keep things separate.

Anyway, fingers crossed that I find something soon. I have expensive taste in beer, and you don't want me to have to start drinking Coors Light.

Enjoy the 4th!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Yet ANOTHER road trip!

As if our trip to California wasn't enough, Thursday morning the boy and I left for Sedona, just the two of us, listening to Weird Al songs and clips of Family Guy all the way.  Oh, and "The Thunder Song" from the new movie, Ted, which, even though it just opened on Friday, I've already seen twice.

As always, I digress...

Anyway, being the good granny that I am, our first stop was the Oasis Lounge, a biker destination in Ash Forks, Arizona, about 50 miles outside of Flagstaff.

My sister Lori and I discovered this place on our first cross-country trip in 2010.  (For a laugh, check out the "giant map" video in this post.)  You'd think it's kind of a hole, but we had the best Mexican meal there of my life and I wanted Connor to get a taste of it.

The first time you sit at a bar should always be with your granny, no?

I stop there every time I go to Sedona, and the food is always amazing.  Connor loved it.  (And aren't we brave to eat Mexican on a road trip?)

Sedona was, of course, spectacular.  We stayed at Sky Ranch Lodge, a mile from the main road up on the Airport Mesa.  I've been there many, many times--it's my favorite place to stay in Sedona.  The rooms are clean, comfortable and affordable, and you can't beat the location. They have a private outside patio where their guests can watch the sunset and enjoy a glass of wine or microbrew beer, and you know that's where I was at the end of the day.

That photo was taken by my new best friend, Joan, and I will cherish it forever.  You know how you meet people and you're like, okay, we are totally gonna be friends for life?  We met Joan and her husband, Mike, during the sunset watch and they were awesome.  They're in the process of relocating from Boston to San Diego, and stopped in Sedona for a few days on their way cross country.  Joan got a transfer starts her new job on Monday and they'll be going through that whole living in a hotel for a couple of weeks until their stuff arrives.   How exciting!

It was such a pleasure meeting those two, so nice to see a couple who've been married for 27 years and are still obviously best friends.  They have two sons in LA who are both doing well, and their kids have made it on their own--we had a lively conversation about helicopter parents.  Mike, who's a reiki master and sea captain, asked Connor a lot of questions about what he's interested in and also imparted advice like, "Do what's in your heart, not what other people want you to do" and "Always go on these trips with your grandmother. You have no idea how much they mean."

We talked for at least an hour or so and then met up with Joan and Mike again at breakfast the next morning.  (Another benefit of staying at Sky Ranch Lodge:  within walking distance, there's a restaurant at the airport and you can watch the planes.)

Wouldn't you love to be friends with them?

After breakfast, I took Connor to Bell Rock, where he had a blast climbing as high as he wanted and I sat and enjoyed the most beautiful vista.

We decided to do just a quick overnight to Sedona so Connor could get back to (my) Mike's kids at home.  And you know we couldn't pass the Ash Forks exit without stopping in at the Oasis for another delicious meal cooked by this little lady.


I even bought a couple of extra burritos to take home to Mike--the food is that good!  (If you go, keep in mind the kitchen is closed on Sunday and Monday.)

On the way home, I asked Connor what was his favorite part of our little getaway.

"The hotel," he said.

"The hotel?"  I mean, it's nice, but...  "What about the hotel?"   

"Meeting those people," he said, referring to Joan and Mike.

Good answer, Connor!   You can visit the most beautiful and exciting places on earth, but it's the people you're with that make your experiences special.  Once kids reach a certain age, "Never talk to strangers" no longer applies.  "Always talk to strangers" is a much better lesson.

My boy goes back to Albany today.  I'll be one sad granny.