Friday, September 28, 2007

Moms Rule!

Okay, this bit is priceless:

Assuming this is the common experience, then we're all going to turn into our mothers. Which may not be such a bad thing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Books and Cooks: The Other Boleyn Girl


Cover Image


Back to School means we're back to Book Club. For this kickoff, Books and Cooks will take place at Chez mimi, so that means lots of running around and stashing and freaking and spraying and dusting and wiping and vacuuming, which isn't such a bad thing, but harrowing if you try to do it all in oh, say, three hours right before people come over.

But I digress.

Back to the book...Tudor history seems to be on the upswing, what with The Tudors on Showtime (not that watching Jonathan Rhys-Myers is ever punishment) and the release of Elizabeth: The Golden Age on the horizon. It's funny how no one knows much about it except that Henry VIII had a bunch o'wives, and he lopped the heads off two of them. This book takes place during Wife 1 (Catherine of Aragon) and Wife 2 (Anne Boleyn), interspersed with Mistress 1 (Mary Boleyn--that's keeping things in the family) and Mistress 2 (Jane Seymour--not to be confused with the actress of the same name. Mistress 2 eventually becomes Wife 3, but only if you're keeping score at home. *Whew!* I don't know how Henry manages, what with that gimpy leg and all. Guess Mel Brooks was right in History of the World, Part 1: "It's good to be the king."

The interesting thing about Gregory's book is not so much the King as it is the court intrigue surrounding the throne. Power-hungry families (Howards, Seymours). Advisors. Backbiting, betrayal, and bitches, especially that Anne Boleyn. Wow, is she ever an advertisement for only children. Mary, the book's central and most sympathetic character, basically becomes a pawn for her family's ambition. Sleep with the King, they tell her, he thinks you're hot. But I'm married. Not a problem. He married into an ambitious family, he'll figure it out. Besides, he'll get you back when the King picks a new target. Some new target. By the time Mary realizes she's fallen in love with King Henry (this is pre-gimp, pre-rotundity), she's being pushed aside for her sister Anne. And her patient husband dies, so she's stuck on the Howard Family power-struggle chessboard for as long as they seem to think they need her.

It's a big book, a juicy book. It'll make a big, juicy costume drama, too, being released this holiday season. Eric Bana (
watching him is never punishment) as King Henry, so that'll be good. Assorted great actors as Catherine of Aragon, Cardinal Wolsey, etc., etc. But the real fun will be watching Natalie Portman as Anne mop the acting floor with poor, overmatched Scarlett Johansson as Mary. That'll be a sisterly rivalry to savor.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ah, Yes, the Writing Process

Ever wonder what goes through a writer's mind as she's staring off into space at odd times, like in the grocery line or while stuck in traffic? Wonder no more. Imagine that your muse(s) work something like this:

Lord, help us all.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Text Message Morons

You gotta hand it to Celia Rivenbark. Anyone who'd title a book Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank has my undying admiration and gratitude, but I digress. Today Ms. Rivenbark takes on the army of text-messaging zombies at a live theater performance and scores a direct hit. Check out her diatribe here.

Too bad the zombies will be too engrossed to notice. As Ms. Rivenbark notes at one point, "My beef is with the grown-ups. If you're bored with what's onstage, why don't you haul your rude self out into the lobby and text-message yourself into an exhausted puddle? Text-message until the paramedics have to come and sew your stupid thumbs back on. But don't pretend you're getting ready to push the nuclear missile codes and the whole world is waiting. You just told your husband to pick up dog food at Costco. You are a moron."

Now I have no beef with text messaging. They're handy to use if you have to reach someone who's in a meeting and has the ringer off. But, like Rivenbark, I don't see the point of the constant messaging (notice how "text" has become a verb?) when you're in a live venue with real, live people. Like your kids.

As I teacher, I get annoyed with parents who fob off the "teach your children well" advice to an army of caregivers, programs, and sports coaches.
I'm not talking about busy moms--have you ever met a mom who isn't busy?--I mean the ones who get that panicky look when they're forced to spend unconstructed time with their own spawn. Those moms--usually the ones driving expensive SUVs and Pilates-toned within an inch of their designer bag lives--may dress their kids in the latest expensive garb, but they're "raising" a generation that has no idea how to interact with real people. Go to your nearest trendy bistro and take a look-see around the room. When you spot the table with dad on the BlackBerry, mom (who almost always has a $200 highlight job) on her cell, and kids either texting their army of "friends" or vanished into iWorld, you know the people I mean.

Full disclosure: I own a cell phone, a Palm, and an iPod. I have been known to talk on the phone when my kids are in the car. I don't send text messages. Sorta know how, haven't taken the time to master the skill. But I also talk to my children. I was thanked by a fellow teacher in the Publix yesterday because I was making my son do the math to determine whether the Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry on sale at 3/$7 was a better buy than the store brand, and I wouldn't let him use a calculator. Poor kid, expected to divide in his head and talk to his mother live. I torture his sister in a similar fashion. He's ten, she's eight, neither one has a cell phone. Or an iPod.
Oh, the horror.

Come on, grownups. Back away from the electronics for a while. You might find that your children--and the adult friends you ignore in similar fashion--are far better entertainment.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

No, *I* Can Has Cheezburger

LOLcats. Sorry, I just don't get it.

Maybe it's because I'm a dog person.

the dish Design by Insight © 2009