Friday, September 28, 2012

M is for...

M is for...
Meet me in the Woods (with ManBearPig)!

We have a lovely tradition in my family where all the ladies (aunties & cousins) get together for "girls weekends" to celebrate our major birthdays (and sometimes for no good reason at all).

This September, we went to The Woodlands Inn in the Poconos, whose slogan is (a little ominously) "Meet me in the Woods!" My 40th birthday is in December, two days before Christmas, which pretty much makes it impossible for any kind of large-scale gathering. So instead we celebrated on a beautiful autumn weekend, dancing up a storm, shopping, swimming, going over to the Casino (I won $30!) and just enjoying each other. Each girls weekend seems to get bigger and bigger- more costumes, more flair, more goody bags. For my Auntie Skip's last major birthday, we found her a crown, a scepter and a fur coat (she is the "Queen Mum") and now the fur coat has become part of the birthday flair. (Yeah, it creeps me out a little and it's heavy as all get-out.) We do love dress-up. I remember home movies of my mom and her sisters at my grandma's house, going through her closets and parading through the house adorned in the treasures they found.
Grey Gardens, Part II

Anyway, I'm so very, very lucky to have a group of generous, crazy, wild, spirited, funny-as-hell and kind women to pal around with. I'm so proud to be related to all of them.

And this is really a story best told by pictures, so here you go.

Okay, this is the ManBearPig of the title. In the lobby, there's an 8-ft fossil cave
bear skeleton from the Ural Mountains in Russia. Nope. No idea what it's
doing in the lobby of a resort in the Poconos. When my cousin Jennifer saw it,
she exclaimed, "Oh, Al Gore will be so happy to know we found ManBearPig!"

Angry Birds girl was also celebrating a birthday. She was going to
meet up with us later to do SoCo shots, but she stood us up. Too bad.
She understood flair almost as well as us.
We love props.

"Whale tail! Off your port bow!"
The DJ sucked, so Susan took over.

We're a surprisingly athletic bunch.

Ahh, Lewis. We came to the conclusion that this fine gentleman trolls resorts
like The Woodlands looking for bachelorette parties and such. He liked us a lot.
Especially Susan.

Appropriate attire must be worn at all times.
And the piece-de-resistance:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

L is for...

L is for ... Lost Generation?
Loving your friends?
Lots of liquor?
Lobster rolls?
Laughing about Lemon parties?
Late (staying up)?

All of the above. Sort of. (L has been a surprisingly tough letter.)

I've been reading a lot about the Lost Generation of the 1920s- Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dos Passos, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, that bunch. All interesting characters, but the couple that fascinates me most from this time were known more for being fabulous party-throwers and amazing friends more than anything else: Gerald and Sara Murphy. They were the inspiration for several characters in their illustrious friends' books but never wrote themselves. Gerald did some truly avant garde pop art paintings, but the pieces were enormous and he only did a few of them before putting his paintbrushes away for good.

"Gerald Clery Murphy and Sara Sherman Wiborg were wealthy, expatriate Americans who moved to the French Riviera in the early 20th century and who, with their generous hospitality and flair for parties, created a vibrant social circle, particularly in the 1920s, that included a great number of artists and writers of the Lost Generation."

"Some 50 years after meeting Gerald and Sara Murphy, a still dazzled Donald Ogden Stewart wrote: ''Once upon a time there was a prince and a princess: that's exactly how a description of the Murphys should begin. They were both rich; he was handsome; she was beautiful; they had three golden children. They loved each other, they enjoyed their own company, and they had the gift of making life enchantingly pleasurable for those who were fortunate enough to be their friends.''

There was a quote of Sara Murphy's that I was reminded of after I had an absolutely wonderful weekend away in Vermont with some of my friends. After three fabulous days together and five hours of driving, we just didn't want to say goodbye, so anyone who could stayed for pizza and tv after we got home Sunday night (along with some of the folks who couldn't make it away for the weekend). I thought about how rare it is to love your friends so much that you can't see enough of them, and it brought to mind Sara Murphy's quote:

“It wasn’t the parties that made it such a gay time.
There was such affection between everybody. You loved your friends
and wanted to see them every day, and usually you did see them
every day. It was like a great fair, and everybody was so young.” - Sara Murphy

Friday, September 7, 2012

K is for ...

K is for... Kevinisms.

(To those of you who thought K might be for Kardashians, even a rant against, I offer you a middle finger raised in salute and an artfully blown raspberry. While I do rail against the Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse, I also do not want to give them any more attention if at all possible, seeing as how it is like oxygen to them, and maybe if we deprived them of that essential element, they might just GO THE F AWAY.)

Kevin is my brother, a magical creature who twists the English language around any which way to suit him, both intentionally and unintentionally.

Kevinisms are some of his sayings and malapropisms we've heard over the years. I'm sure my sister and my mom will think of more, but for now, here's a starter glossary.

     A Ritz cracker Kevin ALLEGEDLY consumed at the bar after my wedding that had a hair on it that looked like it only could have come from someone’s butt. (He says he thinks he knows who purposely placed it there.) After he unwittingly consumed the Asscracker, it required seventeen 36-oz ginger ales to wash the taste out of his mouth.  (PS- None of this is true.)

Crack your rind
    What can happen to your rectum if you try too hard to fart on demand.

Do you have pickles? /  Doin' the bacon
     What Kevin wrote in a note to Brett (on his Dallas Cowboys stationery) the night he accidentally took too much Prozac.  Apparently, after he'd taken his evening dose twice, Kevin spent the evening hysterically laughing, writing notes to us, and then sitting "Indian-style" on his bed crying after he crashed. He recalls the incident rather sheepishly, but without trauma.

     A mysterious ailment that can only be cured with an ointment called Vanilla Smiles. You can only get Vanilla Smiles at the Dollar General (or as my mother and now Brett call it, the General Dollar).  Vanilla Smiles is very effective at eradicating the Dibbles, but whatever you do, don't get it on your Fireman.

For Cereal & Bacon Bits
     Exclamatory phrase similar to "For serious!" but with more flair.

French Horse
     My dad made the mistake of using the colorful phrase, "You smell like a French whore" in response to someone wearing a lot of perfume or cologne a few too many times. It became, in Kevin's world, "You smell like a French Horse." Which, I'm guessing, is not very pleasant, either.

Generosity Killed the Cat
     I'm assuming you've heard the original version.

Green Mile-ing
     This one's sad, since Michael Clarke Duncan, who played John Coffey in the Green Mile, just died. Kevin was particularly taken by John Coffey's healing skills in the movie. When my mom would get a headache, Kevin would place one hand on her head and open his mouth as wide as he could (which is insanely wide, you'd think he posed for those Reach toothbrush ads where the guy can unhinge his jaw) and pretend to "Green Mile" the headache out of her.

     Hospital. Interestingly, my grandmother also pronounced this word oddly.

     Pronounced "Jimmy." Kevin decided at one point in his youth that he wanted to be called "Jimmy." JIME is how he spelled it when he signed birthday cards and such. (And always capital letters.) We would irritate him by pronouncing "Jime" rhyming with "lime." A favorite little song of that era went, "What's the time, Jime, you big ball of slime?"

     Kevin's name for Troll Dolls. It has something to do with our Aunt Mary Margaret, with whom he sometimes did not get along as a child. He's crazy about her now, and I think he's a little embarrassed of this one. He won't tell me exactly why Troll Dolls are "Margarets."

Menstrual Institution
     Where Kevin threatens to send any of the female members of our family for behaving inappropriately.

Orock Orama
     Our current President. (Did you know he once suffered from the Dibbles?)

     Little bits of fuzz or lint that shed off fabrics and carpet. A noxious nuisance.

Sheltie on the Bone
     "Come in, she said, I'll give you shelter from the storm," sang Bob Dylan. In Kevin's ears, it was, "Come in, she said, I'll give you a Sheltie on the bone."  Apparently at a dog BBQ, leaving the bone in makes it a delicacy.

Squirt Apple Cherries
     Green apple squirts. Diarrhea, basically.
(I'm so used to Kevin using this phrase that I've co-opted it myself and I couldn't remember the original. I had to look it up. I couldn't remember what word came first. May I offer a piece of advice? Never do a Google search for "euphemisms for diarrhea." Here's hoping the Patriot Act people never get a glimpse at my browsing history. Or maybe they should. Serves 'em right.)

     Kevin's imaginary girlfriend and the mother of his imaginary child, Wilson.  While I've never had the privilege of meeting Stacy, she appears to be one unholy bitch. She never lets Kevin have Wilson for the holidays and seems to be doing her best to keep him away from his imaginary extended family. Last I heard, Stacy had a new boyfriend and was moving out west, taking Wilson along. I should also mention that we're not supposed to encourage the Wilson stories but I cannot help myself.

     One summer when we were vacationing on Seneca Lake, a stray dog walked by us on the beach. Kevin took one look at the dog and then told our cousin, Jennifer, "That is a nice dog. I think I'll call him Ted." Jennifer now has a dog named Ted. Coincidence? I think not.

     Genteel term for lingerie and other women's underpinnings. As in, "Don't leave your untouchables thrown all over the floor where I can see them! Jeez!"

Vanilla Smiles
     See Dibbles.

     See Stacy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

J is for ...

J is for Jackass.

(Yeah, so a lot of this post is recycled from a post I made in 2010. But I spent the whole Labor Day weekend with an enormously sore shoulder which led to a stiff neck which wasn't relieved until my sister, the massage therapist, came over and rehabilitated me this afternoon. So bite me.)

My friend LB and I are juvenile.
One of our favorite ways to pass time together is screaming in laughter.
Typically at things that would similarly amuse preteen boys.

Don't get me wrong- we are highly educated, sophisticated, well-read women. Our times together have included museum visits, book discussion groups, and important, award-winning films. But inevitably, we go back to Jackass.

I think we stumbled upon it just channel-surfing. Something about a grown man putting a toy car up his bum just cracked us the hell up.

On vacation in Vermont, we watched Jackass 2.5, and in between groaning and hiding behind our hands, we screamed with laughter like goddamn lunatics.

Before I went to see Jackass 3D in the theatre (yes, it's one of only 2 movies I've ever deemed worthy enough to spend the extra money to see in 3D), LB and I had the following conversation:

God rest his filthy soul.
Me: Dammit, there was something I was going to tell you today that would've made you very proud of me but I forget what it was. Oh! I know! I watched my first episode of A Bit of Fry & Laurie last night! I hearted it to death.  And I'm going to see Jackass 3D tonight!

LB: You can't see me, but I just put my hands up to my mouth and welled up a bit with tears. I AM SO PROUD!!! yayay!! I love that show, tooooo! you are going to have fun. lucky duck. ;) i will be working tonight. wish me luck with the crazy folks!

Me: I will be thinking of you as Bam Margera pees out into the audience in 3D. Did you see the Buffalo Roller Skating clip on the Daily show last week? I'll try to find it and send it to you. HILARIOUS.

LB: i did not see this clip!! send it to me!!  yes, think of me when there is pee!

Me: Is that like you being proud of my #2?
(Note: sometime this past summer, I had three good things happen to me at once. I listed them numerically in a note to LB. She wrote back: "I am so proud of your #2!" Giggles ensued.)

LB: hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. let us not get started on that again... i can go for hours. (that did not come out right. ... d'oh! i said "come out"!!). it's hard not to accidentally talk about poo.

And then the following day:


No, seriously, it was AWESOME. I laughed till I cried.
We must do a jackass marathon next time we hang out.
It had a giant pig eating an apple out of a guy's ass. Does it get any better than that???

LB: I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: Also, they played weiner baseball. Batted a ping pong ball. did you hear that they had the premiere at MOMA in NYC???

LB: OMG. i thought you meant like a hot dog. oh my. ahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa. crack.

i did hear that. i am proud of them boys.

Yeah, we have a problem. But I don't care. It makes me laugh, and that's good enough for me. But I think there's more to it than just a bunch of guys goofing around.  I think there's a great deal of forethought and attention to detail that accompanies each stunt. One scene in the movie has Johnny Knoxville being Mr. Invisible. He's wearing a suit painted like a tree in front of a rainbow to blend into a backdrop. And then he tries to become 'invisible' to hide from a charging bull, but that's beside the point.

And they actually took the time to create an enormous hand on a spring that would snap out of nowhere and "high five" people right over onto their butts. If the only point was to knock people over, you could've done it with a simple board. But they went a couple steps farther and created a real high-five. That's dedication. Yeah, some of it is pretty disgusting and definitely dangerous, but there's such a goodnatured gleefulness about it.  There's a slapstick element to it that harkens back to Buster Keaton.

There have been numerous articles comparing Jackass to performance art, therefore the premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Manohla Dargis' review in the New York Times states:
                 "... there is a certain, sometimes inexplicable, queasy pleasure to be had from watching Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius and the rest of these MTV-sponsored merry buffoons wreak semi-havoc on one another, themselves and an occasional rattled and confused onlookers... At times Mr. Knoxville and his pals seem to be exploring, with degrees of knowing and naïveté, some of the same surrealist terrain described by Luis Buñuel in his memoir, “My Last Sigh.” Buñuel extolled Surrealism partly for its “aggressive morality based on the complete rejection of all existing values”. The Surrealists were responding to church and state, among other forces, while here the guys are reacting to, well, someone sticking something in the nearest hole. But the men’s raucously playful, uninhibited and affectionate engagement with one another’s habitually unclothed bodies can seem like a spit in the face (and elsewhere) to the outside world’s homophobia.

Personally, I think it's the details involved that impress me- like Johnny Knoxville wearing a pink cardigan and old-school rollerskates, dancing to Roger Miller's song before getting knocked to the ground by a buffalo. Or Ryan Dunn dressed like a duck in the Duck Hunting scene. The unnecessary attention to minutiae is THE BEST PART. The buffalo hit is just the punctuation mark to the joke. You don't need elaborate costumes and backdrops to launch a dude on a teeny motorbike over a creek, but it adds so much, and hey- who doesn't like dressing up?

But MOMA-deserving or not, me & LB just like butt jokes and people getting knocked down.
We're ahead of our time, that's all.