What the f*ck are you looking at?

A(nother) Love Song to New Jersey

As you know by now, I really do pretty much hate people. Sorry. But it’s true. Because in the everyday, most people have forgotten the simple art of being decent. Kind. How to give a hug to someone who needs it. How to stop to buy lemonade from a kid, even if they’re late and they hate lemonade. How to listen sometimes and not to talk. How to own our mistakes. How to say we’re sorry. How to give a shit. We’ve chosen to be a-holes and liars and one-uppers (pls note use of the “Royal We,” as none of the aforementioned a-holishness applies to me. I am obviously awesome.). But in times like this, when Nature unleashes a Fury that not even New Jerseyans (who know a little something about Fury) can understand, even the a-holes seem overcome by their long-squashed humanity and the innate need to help those who suffer so cruelly. Even when the pain of others’ grief renders us stunned, we come together, a-holes and all. Because we must. So many of our own – friends, neighbors, strangers, even – are quietly enduring their own grief and loss as victims of illness, loneliness, or an unforgiving economy; we can’t help but ask ourselves, “Who do we help first? Who is more important? Who is the least a-holey?” Sometimes the answer is in our backyards. Sometimes it is an ocean away. Sometimes, there is no answer.
By now, I am confident we have all seen the thousand images of horror and devastation in New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Some of us are glued to our televisions, moved by the stories of hope and heroism amid the rubble, mesmerized by the scenes and stories of loss – lives and homes and memories simply swept away. Others, like me, have to turn it off and turn away. The suffering is too great and our hearts can’t hold it. Whether you are a daughter of NJ, like me, or not – whether your friends and loved ones, like mine, still populate the devastated area, or not, what we all seem to share (even the a-holes) is the desire to DO something – to ease the pain of the survivors and somehow wrap our brains around what has been lost. This is heartening, watching people hurt for others. For many of us, though, the pain we feel for our human brothers and sisters is virtually paralyzing. In our hunger to do something, anything, everything – too often we end up doing nothing. In time, our inertia turns to resignation and we move on, ashamed at how handily our good intentions fail us.
As the heart-wrenching news coverage of Sandy begins to wane, we must know that the suffering is still there and will be for a very long time. It will bring out the worst in people, but it will also bring out the best. The outpouring of love and charity in response to this disaster is something very special to this far-away Daughter. Political barriers are, at least temporarily, broken.  Enemies become friends. Rivals become teammates. A-holes become angels. It is a true testament to our capacity for compassion and the human bond we all share that even in these meanest of times, we find our hearts breaking for others and our hands reaching out to help them.
Being so far away feels utterly empty, and the helplessness is nearly debilitating. I am profoundly grateful to all the souls who are saving each other back at home while I watch from afar as they do my job. I am equally grateful to those around the country who are mobilizing to bring relief, supplies, water, food, hugs, hope. Thank you. I often wish there were something bigger than “thank you,” and I guess there is – there is Love. Gratitude. Loyalty. Kindness. And maybe that’s the finest way to repay your selflessness – to just stop being such freaking a-holes.
As for Home, I have to believe it will be fine. The people of our tri-state area are certainly not strangers to devastation, nor are we afraid enough of anything that it ever stops us from doing what needs to be done. To clean up the messes and put out the fires and fill up the holes in our hearts left by haters and hurricanes. We are tough. We shatter, spectacularly, and we put ourselves back together – every goddamned time. This time will be no different. We will come back better and stronger and humbler. We will come back more loving and more grateful for things we never even think about until they are taken from us. We will come back bruised, but not broken. Never, never broken.
So don’t worry about us. Help us, hurt for us, hope for us and cheer for us – but don’t think for one second that that sound you hear is our death-rattle. I assure you, it is our battle cry.
And by the way? You should see the other guy.

November 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a Comment

Bite me. No, seriously.

It’s Vampire Season, folks. Finally. Well, it’s ALWAYS Vampire Season if you’re me, but at this time of year, the rest of the world seems to not only tolerate my bizarre fixation, but to share it. This is fantastic news, because honestly? It’s exhausting trying to nourish a non-seasonal craving – ever tried to find a candy cane in July, when its minty-freshness would make a most refreshing treat? Exactly. This shit just doesn’t make sense. It would obviously be much easier to seduce terminate a sexy-as-hell psychotic immortal murderer using my luscious carotid cleavage as bait during the warmer months, but this is not the hand I’ve been dealt. I have a friend with the titanium nutsack to rock a full-on cape year-round, for virtually any reason at all, and without the slightest concern for societal or seasonal raised eyebrows. He’s all, “Yes, I am wearing a cape. And?” I envy his bravado. And his collection of fine opera-wear.

This is the time of year when I can voice some of my pressing concerns about the undead without people thinking I’m any weirder than they usually think I am. Which is pretty fucking weird, but that’s beside the point. The media have, frankly, confounded me to the point where I don’t even really KNOW the proper way to dispatch a vampire anymore. There are too many choices, too many discrepancies, too many liberties being taken in the modern lore. It’s irresponsible, honestly. I mean, isn’t this *kind of* a matter of life and death? I would simply like a straight answer on a few things. Used to be, a wooden stake through the heart – and ONLY a wooden stake through the heart – would do the trick. And while this method of termination is still considered a fail-safe classic, it seems it’s not our only choice anymore. And let’s face it, who really ever HAS a pointy wooden stake on hand unless you live in Sunnydale or Transylvania or Mystic Falls? Nobody, that’s who.

Speaking of Mystic Falls, let’s check in with the sexy Salvatore Brothers for a moment. Damon is snarky, hilarious, uber-hot and makes the hands-down best Crazy Eyes I have ever seen, ever. Brother Stephan is broody, dark, romantic and deep, which totally doesn’t matter because all you can do is stare at his ass abs. Stephan’s insider-vamp-nickname is The Ripper, due to his savage feeding style and fondness for leaving brutal carnage behind after a kill. And you’re all “Yeah, I’m totally OK with that? As long as he takes his shirt off at some point.” These teen vamps drink a lot of alcohol (in addition to blood) – from very fancy crystal decanters. I like to think it’s bourbon, because that’s totally what I would drink if I were a sexy, misunderstood vampire just trying to fit in. They also eat. Like, food. This is in direct violation of every rule we’ve ever been taught about the undead. EVERYONE KNOWS VAMPIRES DO NOT EAT. GOD!

This is where I get pissy. Because you can also kill these fuckers with wooden bullets and some botanical concoction called vervain. Is vervain even a thing (My spellcheck suggests not.)? And if it is, may I please have some so that I can tranquilize and have my way with kill some goddamn vampires? And the sunlight thing just enrages me. The ever-growing vampire population of Mystic Falls can freely walk in daylight as long as they are wearing a magic ring made for them by the town witch. (Yep. Mystic Falls has witches. Werewolves too. I know, it’s pretty much the fucking awesomest place ever.) Sans ring, things get ugly and the usual sizzling flesh and festering face-melt ensues. The Twilight crew, as we all know, sparkles when direct sunlight is applied. Sparkles. I…can’t…let’s just move on. John Mitchell, the second-hottest-vampire-ever and his nasty undead colleagues on Being Human (UK version, obvsies) don’t seem to even address the sunlight issue at all, which is really inconsiderate, honestly. Because there might be *someone* out there who is earnestly trying to understand, and who feels confused by this glaring omission and cannot really even concentrate on the awesome vampires because they should NOT BE WALKING AROUND OUTSIDE.

*deep breath*


Anyway, I’m totally just pretending to want to know how to kill vampires because that’s what a normal person should do when faced with a ravenous immortal lunatic who is trying to exsanguinate her. But clearly, I am not the only sicko out there. Women go bananas for this shit. The Cullen Crew of Forks, WA has probably saved more marriages than Oprah just by virtue of their utter bang-ability (sorry, fellas – unless you ARE one of the Cullen Crew of Forks, WA, your wife is probably not thinking about you when you’re having sex. Just FYI.). Edward, is of course, everyone’s undead It Boy, but the moment in Part 2 when he removes his shirt and exposes what can only *politely* be called a “Nipular Incongruity,” I’ve devoted my life to trying to unsee that. It’s not going well. Angel? Total babe. Michael from Lost Boys is so sexy that his 80s ‘do actually still looks good on him. Vampire Brad Pitt is just Brad Pitt with like, exponentially cracked-out hotness. Vampire Tom Cruise is….a pale, frilly fancy-man who…yeah. Never mind. Still better than regular Tom Cruise, I suppose. Finally, with no offense to all of the undead eye-candy aforementioned, ALL other vampires are merely immortal buffoons next to the inimitable Gary Oldman, who will always be my top pick for escort to the Prom of Eternal Damnation. His portrayal of the Count is flawless, heartbreaking, super-sexy and terrifying all at once – and does not leave me wondering how I would kill him, at ALL, because I am totally trying to figure out a way to get him to kill ME so I can be his Dark Lady Succubus forever. And ever. And ever. Don’t lie. You do it too.

I could go on, but I shan’t. There is, I believe, only one fitting way to end this post – and that’s with the wise, immortal words of Sam Emerson: “You’re a vampire, Michael. My own brother, a goddamn shit suckin’ vampire. You wait ’till Mom finds out, buddy.” Because she’ll totally want to sleep with you.






October 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

My Top 10 Totally Rational Fears

1. Vomit

My fear of vomit is so well-documented that there is barely need to mention it. However, for those who are not yet aware: I don’t *do* vomit. I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to hear about it, I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to know about it. I certainly don’t want to smell it. I promise you, I will run screaming, even if the vomit only appears on a TV or movie screen. I will not hold your hair back while you do it. I will not clean it up. I will not even talk to you on the phone if you have a vomit-bug, because I will obviously catch it. It is, I am certain, my maniacal aversion to upchuck that has prevented me from becoming a dreadful, slobbering drunk or peyote-smoking berserker – such revelry results all-too often in the blowing of chunks. I have barfed exactly twice since the age of ten – both times from tunafish – and have no plans to do it again, ever. I think we’re done here.

2. Self-Checkout Lanes

Who *isn’t* afraid of these atrocious grocery Dementors? They lure you in with the promise of a quick, line-free escape and total freedom to purchase your embarrassing personal products in perfect anonymity – away from the prying eyes of unctuous checkout harpies (who totally think you’re a slut) and pimply teen clerks (who totally HOPE you’re a slut) – just to hurl you headlong under the Shame Train that only rattles by when the goddamn laser-thingy fails to scan your Yeast-B-Gone, requiring clamorous assistance from the very-same pimply teens and unctuous harpies you wanted so to avoid. You win, fuckers.

3. Umbrellas

It’s the terrible little teeth and ruthless pinching places. Opening is fine – pleasant, even. Makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Click! But closing? It’s a goddamn deathtrap. Hence my lusty embrace of foul-weather – hair, suede and sequins be damned. I’d rather be sodden and woebegone than dry and bleeding out.*

*Please see All You Can Eat Crab Legs Buffet for obvious exception. If you aren’t bleeding, you’re doing it wrong.

4. Squiggly Text Tests

You know, those twisty, illegible letters on the computer that you are supposed to somehow decipher and re-type into a tiny box to prove…what? That you are a wizard with magical eyesight, obviously. Debilitating typing terror? Check. Inevitable failure to reproduce said nonsense letters? Check. Self-loathing tailspin? Check. Enjoy your revenge, you geek bastards.

5. Pull-down Ladders

High atop my list of Personal Horrors and/or Universal Abominations sit these Agents of Certain and Excruciating Demise. Rigged precisely to PLUMMET VIOLENTLY DOWN FROM DIRECTLY ABOVE YOUR HEAD, there is simply no escaping decapitation if you choose to take this death-bait. And if by some miracle you survive the pulling-down portion of the horror-show, just try pushing it up again. Let’s just say the Reaper doesn’t miss twice. If you’re OK with that, knock yourself out. Me? I’m just gonna clear some space in the garage.

6. Steely Dan

I have no explanation. All I have is this creeping dread in my soul every time I hear the awful strains of Doom’s Own Minstrels drifting though the ether. “Hey Nineteen,” in particular, inspires in me a terror akin to bobbing alone in shark infested seas with a bloody stump where my foot used to be. A million miles from shore, in the black of night, and no one’s coming for me. Actually, now that I spell it out? That  sounds like a much better way to go than dying of Steely Dan.

7. Albuquerque

Not the place – before you get all indignant and “New Mexicans are people, too!” on me. Trying to spell it is what scares me. My fear mounts exponentially with every failed attempt to write it properly, and inevitably I just end up putting something like “Abba-Kacky!” so it appears as though I am kicky and convivial. I am neither. I just hate that shit-sucking word – with the fire of a thousand suns, I hate it. “Eighth” is no picnic either, if I’m being honest.

8. Remote Controls*

Since when does everyone have, like, 7 remotes for one goddamned screen? And how does ANYONE figure out which goes to what gadget, and what combination of buttons and handhelds will magically find me my Vampire Diaries?  And what about when you totally cock it up and everything goes black or staticky and you have no idea what you did so you have no idea how to undo it and the noise from the static is making you feel like you need to hide, or kill someone, and all you can do is cry because at this point you don’t even know how to turn it off? Then what? Huh?!

*This particular terror pretty much applies to all technology. And anything with wires. Or buttons. And what the fuck is a USB cord? Actually, don’t tell me. Whatever it is, I’m certain that I’m not prepared to handle it.

9. Skin Suits and the People Who Make Them

So yeah. When I hear the incessant, rhythmic squeaking of the swings from the playground next door I do not assume that neighborhood children are out for a joyful morning romp. I naturally ascertain that I have awakened to the Zombie End Times, and my entire town has been made into a giant flesh tuxedo by axe-wielding survivalists and that perhaps my supple hide is simply being saved for a jazzy ascot. Is that weird?

10. Too-Long Naps

Taking a nap is scary enough, obviously – I’m not doing work! I’m a ne’er-do-well! Why am I so tired? Am I dying? Ohmigod, I’m totally dying – but when it lasts longer than intended, it’s downright terrifying. Especially if you wake up and it’s DARK. Holy crap? It’s nighttime – did I sleep through my whole life? Did I just Rip Van Winkle that shit? Did I miss DINNER? Do I have to go to bed again soon? What day is it? Fuck, I am in SOOOOO much trouble. PLEASE DO NOT TELL MY MOTHER.

Please, friends, feel free to share your deepest fears with me below – it will totally make me feel superior and, I’m guessing? Relatively sane in comparison. Hit it, bitches!


October 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 13 Comments

It’s Like Clue, But With Turds

It’s all in the way you look at it, right? I’ve read enough self-help bullshit literature to know this. The curse becomes the gift, turn the frown upside down, silverliningbrightsideblahblahblahbitemebro. Got it. And I try, I really do. For example, if I hadn’t had such a miserable, lonely childhood, I wouldn’t have turned out so goddamned hilarious and able to entertain all of you (all 3 of you). If my husband hadn’t been such a deranged, manic-depressive douche-wagon, I would never have memorized the Top 10 Signs You’re Married to a Lunatic Handbook, and let’s face it – that shit comes in handy. If I hadn’t sustained irreversible brain damage from a tiny bug bite, I would not be enjoying the lifetime privilege of Being Allowed to Forget People’s Names. See? I’m so positive. I’m like a ray of fucking sunshine.

There’s one thing, though, that no matter how hard I’ve tried, I simply haven’t been able to transmutate, re-frame, or celebrate. Shit. It’s all the goddamned shit. Every. Single. Day. Of my life. Living with a four-legged horde (including a geriatric dog who really never did prefer to shit outside anyway – too cold/hot/wet/far) has sharpened my cleaning skills and bolstered my arsenal of shit-fighting products (my favorite proclaims without irony: “For Pet AND People Accidents!” How convenient is THAT?) to Armageddon-ready. When the End-Times are upon us and everyone else is wondering how on earth they’re going to get that pesky shit stain out? I’ll be smugly buffing away. Don’t come crying to me, people.

Of course, it’s not just shit. Five (five!) house-pets are inclined to produce all manner of bodily expulsions. Nearly every day I discover something which results in either irate profanity or bewildered wonderment – “What fresh hell is this?” I might say, while examining some unidentifiable heap of maybe-ass-cache. Puke, pee, hairballs, blood, farts (I don’t really have to clean up farts, granted, but sometimes it takes awhile to get them out of the couch.) I also *find* things  (like the cleanly-bitten half-a-mouse in my garage the other day; his tiny face frozen in forever-horror as what I presume to be a giant she-wolf named Karma took a dainty bite of his lower torso and decided that particular treat was not worth her trouble – sorry, bro) that I somehow know will show up later in one of the aforementioned media. I have begun to brace myself when I come down the stairs each morning, certain that some mucousy horror awaits my bare footfalls. So here is where my peculiar genius rears it shit-stained head: I’ve begun to be able to predict, to a certain degree, where and what I might find, based on sounds heard in the night, wafting aromas, what is missing from the counter, how many dead frogs/birds/mice/crappyneighbors were pried from their jaws the day before. It’s bloody brilliant. I’m like the Horatio Fucking Caine of Household Accidents. And that’s when it hit me.

Poo Clue. It’s a game. Games are fun, right? Aaaand, there it is. Your goddamned Silver Lining. Now, when I awake each morning, instead of creeping dread and a quivering uvula, I greet the day wearing my  thinking-cap (in my mind, it has a propeller) and get down to the business of solving nefarious ass crimes. It works like this: First, I choose a suspect. Let’s use Bucky for this example. Next, I must determine the location of the evidence BEFORE I step in it, or else I lose. In case that wasn’t obvious. I’m thinking the Parlor. Lastly, I narrow down the weaponry. I’m gonna say…diarrhea. (On days when I’m feeling really smart, I will add a subcategory to the chosen vehicle, like “foamy” or “Jesus Christ, is that my hot pink ear-bud?” but this is risky. Not intended for rookies.) SO, class, today’s sleuthing results in….say it with me: Bucky in the Parlor (I really do have a parlor. So shut the f*ck up.) with Foamy Diarrhea. *end-zone dances to cabinet housing impressive cleaning product supply*

Other possible combinations include: Meatball in the Hallway with a Hairball, Karma in the Laundry Room with Half-Eaten Mouse Vomit (and fuck if that fluffy bitch didn’t steal my last Valium), Lizzie Borden – Geriatric Pug – on the Bed with The Biggest Shit I’ve Ever Seen In My Entire Life (seriously, I could transcribe Anna Karenina on that shit. But that would be gross.), Stevie Nicks in the Kitchen with Pee (at least I think it’s pee. Could be bile. Will have to smell to confirm.) You get the picture.

The great thing is, anyone can play! Pets, children, husbands – you can now make ALL your life’s messes just a little more fun (you’re welcome). And not to toot my own horn (toot-toot!), but if I’m not mistaken, it would appear that I have just invented the only game in the whole history of time where, literally, nobody wins.

And that? Is awesome.

September 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

In a Shocking Twist, My Neighbors Suck

Honestly, it didn’t start out this way. I moved into this idyllic enclave with wide-eyed wonderment and childlike longing for the kind of neighborly closeness and camaraderie that I knew was possible from my fierce devotion to Melrose Place in the early 90s (yes, the classic years: post- Amy Locane, pre- Lisa Rinna. Bitch, please.). That’s right, friends, I did not come in with guns blazing, a’ la Amanda Woodward – plus I could NEVER get a handle on that awesome overbleached, messy sex-hair she rocked, no matter how I tried – nay, I fancied myself more the Matt Fielding of this strange new Utopia…the gentle, humble, selfless, quiet, gay Social Worker that everyone would pull for (granted, I am neither gentle, nor humble, nor selfless, nor nor quiet, nor gay, nor a Social Worker – but this MY blog, betches.). I was nice to everyone. Warm. Complimentary. Hospitable, even – inviting virtual strangers to “drop by anytime,” which, as you can probably gather, is a torture akin to Eyeball Acupuncture for yours truly. But determined as I was to live in harmony among my peers (because let’s face it, chaos can’t stop lovin’ me), I floated in upon gossamer wings – a peaceful pixie angel alighting in a limpid pool of unicorn tears, my goodness beaming brightly upon my neighbors like so much disco glitter. It was fucking exhausting.

And indeed, several months went by before the trouble started. In fairness, it was likely because I was hobbled by a broken foot, emotionally leveled by unfathomable personal deception and wallowing in self-loathing misery most of that time. Translation: I never left the house, and thus had very little opportunity to offend anyone (it’s a numbers game with me). But when Spring rolled around, I slowly began to dip my newly un-casted toe in the pool of the living once again – strolling the neighborhood with my responsibly leashed dogs* while making dramatic, exaggerated shows of picking up their poo and jauntily dangling the full shit-sacs for all to see as I made my rounds, lest anyone think me inconsiderate or cavalier.

*In fact, my leashes and poo-bags and muzzles singled me out as a priggish Mrs. Grundy – smugly parading my prissy ass about like a bustled Victorian school marm lost at a Vegas piercing convention. Leashes? Totally uncool, turns out. Talk about a goddamned backfire.

So imagine my surprise when, one summer evening, I passed the usual driveway-kegger raging on my street (6 drunk, fat dudes in plastic chairs, poised to scout the local talent. It’s SUPER classy.), and, bracing myself for the usual grunts and nudges of cro-magnonesque appreciation that, as a woman, I  live for expect and upon which I base my entire sense of self-worth unblemished moral superiority, was met instead with the following: “Oh, is that the BAD neighbor?” What. The. Fuck. Bro. Surely, there was some mistake. And I happen to know I was having a Good Ass Day – certainly worth a mention from some drunk fat dudes, anyway. They were simply referring to someone else. Right?

I successfully deluded myself until the following evening when, on my walk – clear on the other side of the  development, far from the Driveway Douchenozzles  – I encountered a swingy-skinned middle-aged-plus woman skipping down the road with her wildly age-inappropriate attire and loose, deranged dog, and asked her politely if she could leash or grab him as we passed. She did, but made sure to hiss at me ominously, “EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT YOU….

First of all, harpy, SUPER sexy bucket hat (said no one, ever). And secondly, HUH? What is it that Everyone Knows? I had no voice to question her, so great was my shock. But it got me thinking. What DO they know? Seriously. As I did a mental rundown of likely personal infractions, my panic mounted in proportion to the list….Do they know about my unrelenting crush on Jeff Goldblum? Do they know that I almost never wash the pot after I make pasta? Do they know that my boobs are fake? Do they know that I watch the Disney Halloweentown movies at least once a month, year-round, and that they comfort me, unfailingly? Do they know that I used to collect little pieces of foot-skin as a child and keep them in a lavender velour box, sometimes snacking on them months later (hey, don’t knock it till you try it – that shit is DELICIOUS)? Do they know that I groom my lady parts sunny-side up on the living room floor so I can watch Vampire Diaries concurrently and imagine that one (fine, both – who am I kidding?) of the undead teen Salvatore brothers might come along and make the sadistic agony of undercarriage waxing, like, totally worth it? Do they know that when my doorbell rings, I always pretend I’m not home? Do they know that if I am sick or sad, I sometimes blow my nose in my shirt if the tissues are too far away? Do they know that my heart is perfectly fucking broken by missing my chance to have children? Do they know that when my cat gently kisses my eyelids, the sweetness of it makes me cry? Do they know that despite all my posturing and profanity, I truly and profoundly care what they think of me?

Meh. Probably not.

But whatever it is they do “know,” these neighbors of mine, I consider myself royally rogered. And somewhat unfairly judged – I’m not gonna lie. But I also understand that the only choice or chance I have is to whip up some crazy sex-hair, open a can of Amanda Woodward Certified Whoop-Ass up in this heezy, and sit my curvylicious ass down on the Iron Fucking Throne of Neighborhood Drama, its reluctant – but reigning – Queen.

So bring it, bitches. I know where you live.






September 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Fifty Shades of Disgrace

Yup. I read them. All three. And yes, I feel dirty. Not, mind you, because of the much-heralded “Mommy Porn” contained therein – frankly, I found it all a bit lukewarm – but because I have just given weeks, nay, MONTHS! of my life to the most godawfully written, ploddingly plotted, and cringingly juvenile collection of rot in the entire history of time. With the possible exception of The Bridges of Madison County – but don’t even start me down that country road.

Let’s start with the “author’s” nom de plume, shall we? EL James. Which I still cannot recall without checking the spines of the books. I suppose it was her (gender assumed) intention to create the dullest, most forgettable handle possible in light of the literary horrors she was about to unleash upon the world.  A pre-emptive strike against infamy, perhaps. But honestly? The books would have borne equal scholarly heft if they had been authored “By Bob” or “From the Desk of Cindy.” I absolutely get her need for anonymity, but I, for one, would prefer my S&M romances to be penned by more aptly named vixens, like Mistress Raven Blackwidow or Vinyl Von Vipervenom. It’s not asking much.

Allow me to get all of the righteously indignant “Christian Grey is an abusive, deplorable, mysogynistic sociopath” stuff out of the way now. Of course he is. He’s deranged. Broken beyond repair, controlling, self-loathing, physically dangerous and emotionally abusive. He is also an exceptional stalker (and I know whereof I speak here, having been stalked myself by one of the best and most cunning in the business – NOT a compliment, asshole). But friends, I cannot take this “literature” seriously enough to truly devote any time pondering the larger sociological ramifications of deifying a maniac like this, because clearly, our esteemed author did not. The pervasive moral directive she wants us to osmose is this: He’s rich, gorgeous, and hung like a woolly mammoth. Therefore he is awesome. And I gotta admit – sometimes, he kinda is. I mean, dude has a fully outfitted designer sex playroom! That? IS FANTASTIC. But I digress…

The true object of my detestation is our winsome heroine, Anastasia (Ana, unless she’s In Trouble). Honestly, a more loathsome character in modern literature I cannot possibly conjure, except maybe Lord Voldemort (and to be fair, that poor bastard doesn’t really have a face. I’d be pissed, too.) Ana is juvenile, insecure, petulant, narcissistic, tedious, self-absorbed, and worst of all, boring. She pouts (pouts!) to get her way, martyrs herself every chance she gets (then pshaws ensuing accolades by secretly nodding to her moral superiority), uses her “fragility” to manipulate EVERYONE, and poo-poos Christian’s lavish lifestyle for all of 8 minutes before requesting a $100K car for her birthday and barking orders at the help. Ana even manages to (spoiler alert!) get herself knocked up with an entirely unwanted, inappropriately timed embryo of seriously dubious lineage (Daddy? Is that a flogger or a bull-whip?) and has the supreme gall to BLAME HER SECRETARY. Which obviously begs the larger question: why does this woman even HAVE a secretary? She’s like, 12. And as far as I can tell, she’s been to work twice. Ever.

Ana’s “sexual awakening” is absurd. (For a non-absurd portrayal of such, please read Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. Thank you.) She goes from virgin to self-professed (and self-impressed) Sex Goddess overnight, quite literally. All of the thrashing about and carrying on is actually quite embarrassing, as we are supposed to believe that this recent college graduate who has never even KISSED anyone other than Christian is suddenly transformed into some sort of hyper-skilled sexual savant. Oh, I could scream. And scream I shall, if I am ever forced to face any of the following Ana-isms ever again: Inner Goddess, bespectacled subconscious, “happy trail,” “down there” (seriously, folks – she’s that infantile), Little Blip (the name of her unborn, emotionally doomed offspring), “cupping my sex,” desire-induced “squirming”, exploding, finding release, pubic hair (thank GOD she shaves in Book 3 so we can stop hearing about it), moaning/groaning (cleverly alternated throughout, tricking the reader into thinking she’s got different noises in her repertoire), etc, etc, ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Also, she appears to have very aggressive, unusual nipples, which “elongate” dramatically when tugged upon or clamped. In my mind, there are two pink broken-in-half Crayons affixed to her breasts lengthwise (you’re welcome), and I feel a momentary pang of sympathy for what must be her futile efforts to conceal them in cold weather. Also impressive is Ana’s miraculous ability to have sex 47 times a day without ever contracting a UTI. Me? I’d put Ocean Spray out of business with a tenth of that action.

So yes, friends. I hate myself. Almost as much as I hate Anastasia, Christian, and EL James herself (who reeeeeaally should invest in a thesaurus. And can you arrest someone for criminally uninspired prose and/or serial repetitiveness?). And while I fear I shall never recover my dignity or self-respect after emerging from this fetid vortex of literary dysentery, I can tell you this with absolute certainty: I will TOTALLY go see the movie. Especially if they cast Ryan Gosling.







September 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Made in Jersey. Enjoyed Everywhere.


“Tell me do ya wanna, can you really take the drama, of a Jerseylicious girl like me? I am crazylicious, I am superlicious, I’m the Jerseylicious girl you need!”

First of all, here’s where I recommend that all other theme songs just throw in the towel – this kind of magnificence only happens once. But secondly, there’s some profundity lurking in there among the made-up words and ear-bleeding house beat. We Jersey folk are special, and we know it (and no – I’m not making air-quotes around the word “special”). I mean, how many other States have multiple reality shows devoted solely to the antics of their hair salons, beaches, bakeries, housewives, and Cosa Nostra underworld? None, I tell you. Not one. (By the way, ’tis a gross miscarriage of Nickname Justice that the best ones always go to the MTV miscreants – I refer, of course, to “The Situation:” the Rolls Royce of nicknames – especially when the best I ever did was “Laverne 2000” after a brief mid-90s flirtation with monograms and sassy backtalk.) But I digress – we are Jerseyans. We’ve seen things. We’ve done things. We’ve smelled things. When life or love (or the law) drives us across state lines in any sort of permanent capacity, we are, many of us, lost.

I’ve lived a lot of other places in recent years, some more hospitable than others. I’ve lived where, during huntin’ season, one’s crucial accessory is not a tramp-stamp or Christian Louboutin hooker boots, but a safety-orange Elmer Fudd hat. So’s not to get shot and all. (And while we’re on the subject of Michigan, I just have to say that despite being strongly in favor of equal-opportunity-everything, I still have this nagging little feeling that giving blind people hunting licenses is in no one’s best interest. Except maybe the deer’s.) I’ve lived in places where the discovery of human shit on my property was routine, as was the occasional errant moo-cow. I’ve lived places where I’ve gone a week without seeing another human, and have had to wonder (hypothetically, of course) how much one would have to talk to one’s self before one’s talking to one’s self might cause one to be considered “bananas.” I’ve been imprisoned for days by End-Times Weather and enticed by tiny ghost-twins to come and play with them forever. And ever. And ever. I’ve lived where octogenarians are driven to assault one another over a bag of ice during hurricane season – where elbows sweat and 24-hour curfews are enforced until the “Snake Situation” is under control. I’ve lived where people routinely and without irony use words like “Dag-nammit.” I’ve had to wait in line at gas station restrooms behind bands of prairie-clad Sister Wives while their collective husband (singular) gassed up the tricked-out minivan and stocked up on canned goods. I’ve spent actual time devising plans to scare away earnest missionaries come to save my sorry soul – plans which usually involve alcohol, obscenities, and ritual virgin sacrifice…shit, maybe they’re right.

The fact is, I am quite ill-prepared to handle my Jersey Fury outside state lines. Bird flipping, high-volume profanity, and making “offers one can’t refuse” don’t seem to be effective strategies in the Lesser States. I am a veritable fish out of water almost everywhere I go (or, as I like to think of it, an anchovy out of its extra-virgin) and have little grasp on Who I Am and How To Be. I mean, at Home? There’s no call to “Forgive those who trespass against us.” One simply goes outside with one’s baseball bat and says, loudly and with gestures, “Why don’t you come up here and say that to my face, old man!” At Home, one’s Holiday Spirit is not nearly whole without gridlock, angry shoppers, and perilous parking-lot aggression. I can say with some authority that a New Jersey local has never found herself in line at a craft store on “cue-pon day,” silently begging God to kill her. At Home, it’s never more than a 5 minute drive to the Perfect Slice or some decent deli. At Home, when you need something taken care of – whether it be a simple paint job or something more, um, permanent – everyone’s Got a Guy. And everyone understands that when your friend tells you they’ve Got a Guy, you don’t ask questions. Jersey Grudges are nurtured loudly and lovingly and are almost always temporary (exception: Bad Blood. Bad Blood is forever.). At Home, Mall = Mecca.

So do you see, friends? Do you see why, in these kinder and gentler places, I find myself at sea? No matter where I go that is not Home, I am a stranger in a strange land – where slow drivers (which obviously enrage me) do not throw Slurpees out the window or make the finger-across-the-throat gesture when you give them a show of your finely honed Road Rage – they simply move out of the way or, God forbid, give a small, sincere, sorry-wave. Where people open doors and step aside and give up seats for others. I mean, what am I supposed to do with this? Blend?  Myriad times I have found myself in the company of Those Less Coarse after a routine display of my Regional Inappropriateness as they titter nervously and resort to their banal choruses of “You can take the girl out of Jersey, but you can’t take the Jersey out of the girl…”

And to them I say, always, “Why the F*CK would you want to?”

*fist pump*






August 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Sex and the Shitty

By this time I imagine many of you are wondering HOW on earth a delightful gal like me, Misanthropista, could still be single. (That’s right. Delightful.) It’s not “still” so much as “again.” I was married once. OK, fine, twice. Whatever, judgy.

My first husband was actually a lovely, kind boy who was simply and unexpectedly in over his head. For most of the 358 days we were married, I was either in bed, the hospital, or a Vicodin haze as I began what would become a 5 year battle with Acute Lyme Disease. Poor kiddo. Sickness and health was not supposed to be NOW. He tried, he really did. He was awfully kind when he was home with me – he was just never actually home with me. While his teenage-y social life raged on like a prom-night kegger, I was at home dying. The paralysis, memory loss, and excruciating pain of my illness did not make me a Very Understanding Wife, and I started to leave in my mind long before my body could muster the strength to do it. Then 9/11 happened and as I watched my friends and loved ones disintegrate and rain from the sky on live television, it all became very clear. It took me another month to go – funerals and memorials and vigils filled the days and weeks that followed. Then, nothing. And I left.

I had only one actual relationship between husbands (the tale of Husband Number Two is an abomination unto itself, and will require alcohol and probably restraining orders to tell. But I will, I promise. Someday.), and that was supposed to be It. We were star-crossed from Moment One, and immediately began a gut-wrenching long-distance relationship which would ultimately lead us both to relocate in great dramatic fashion just to “be together.” This boy ignited my heart and stole my sleep and tangled my insides in a way that I had never felt before and certainly haven’t since. It was Love Like You Read About, and I HAD TO HAVE IT. I dropped everything, sold my beloved soul-house, left my family and friends behind and went off on my heart’s own Odyssey.

Onnnnly problem was (which took me a year to figure out), Dude was a raging porn addict with serious Mommy Issues. Eight years my junior, emotionally asphyxiated and so, so broken. But I persevered! I loved him! I would See It Through! We even looked forward to the day that he was “cured” so we could have T-shirts made up saying “I Had A Porn Addiction, And I Beat It.” (Yep, that was all me. Thank you, thank you.) But then (then!) shit got weird. The soulless dolphin-flogging escalated and he spun out of control in every direction, scattering the shrapnel of our life together and breaking everything he touched (except, well, *that.* *That* proved quite sturdy.). He ultimately left me one morning 2 years later with the following announcement: “It’s not me. It’s you. I believe that you’re not good enough for me and that I can do better.” Riiiiiiiiiiight, buddy. Good luck with that.

After a suitable period spent wallowing in his lingering emotional toxins and disinfecting all of my keyboards, I reluctantly entered the Match.com Years. I know it has its virtues, friends – I’ve seen the commercials! But for me it felt like plunging naked into a bubbling cauldron of Lies, Vanity, Snakes, and Someone Else’s Diarrhea. I did it though – I HAD to, my friends said. They wanted me to be happy. Mostly I think they  saw the inherent entertainment value in my suffering, but whatevs. My crusade to find Love, Millenium Style led me through the war-torn landscape of middle-aged Starting-Overs seeking “Best Friends,” Younguns seeking MILFs, Douchebags seeking Models, Strippers Seeking Doctors, and Me, Seeking Someone Who Could Spell. It also resulted in more grainy penis-photo emails from Proud Owners than anyone should ever have to see. I suppose it’s kinda sweet that they thought that might help, yes? No? No. It may not be necessary to mention that this Romantic Jihad resulted in lots of first dates. And not one single second.

A sampling of my deviant suitors, for your enjoyment and in no particular order:

Tearful Todd, who cried at dinner and Only Ate Shrimp. Todd couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t “let him love me” and expressed concern during his shrimp appetizer that his striking resemblance to Keith Urban was hindering his search for True Love. The “ladies” only seemed to want him for his good looks, not his fathomless, dreamy soul. I explained that indeed, I was probably one of those “ladies” and left him crying in his shrimp dinner. Check, please.

Earnest Ponytail Poetry Guy wrote me a “song” on a napkin that had been smudged with some kind of gravy, and handed it to me triumphantly, explaining that my beauty had “taken him somewhere” and the words just poured out of him like holy wine. I don’t remember much about the song now except that it contained the phrase “elbow grease.” Also, it contained actual grease. From the gravy. On the napkin. Someone, please: F*cking shoot me.

Next came Joe, who offered up a quite refreshing package in comparison to most of my other one-dates. Handsome, charming, chatty, intelligent, even a little funny! Joe gave me hope that this was not my personal armageddon, after all, and I thought, hmmm – if HE asks me out again I will say yes. And ask he did – triumph! – even offering up *another* package to sweeten the deal…this one significantly less refreshing. Indeed, somehow Joe’s clammy junk ended up being thrust into my unsuspecting grip during a chaste hug-shake (you know, the awkward hug/handshake hybrid?) which has, to this very day, drastically altered my trust level when extending my hand to anyone, ever. I’ll never un-feel Joe’s Junk. Like a ghost limb…but with Junk. (“Ghost Junk” Copyright Misanthropista 2012).

For brevity’s sake, I’ll wrap things up with a list of the swains whose catchy monikers endured long past the horror of my 12-ish minutes with each of them: Pretentious Tongue-Smacking Wine Snob; Mr. Doesn’t Know He’s Gay Yet, Guy Who Asked If He Might Borrow My Car Overnight, Forgot my Wallet(s) 1-7, Stalker Stephan (pronounced Stef-ON), One-Tooth, Sir “Does The Carpet Match the Drapes?” and a gentleman known simply as “Backne.”

There were others, dear friends. Most of whom never made it to the first date due to calamitous grammar crimes or aforementioned penis jpegs. OH, yes, there were others. However, high upon the Royal Float in my parade of stunning romantic flame-outs sits a fellow who will forever be known, victoriously, to me and my trusty confidantes only as Taco Toe. Yes, he did exactly what it sounds like he did. And no, I did not see it coming. He was very limber. And had spectacular aim.

Yeah, so – that happened.





August 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Why I’m Like This

This is something we all wonder from time to time, isn’t it? Admit it, you know you’re weird, and you know it’s someone’s fault. And while it is tempting (and sometimes necessary) to point judgy, bitter fingers at our childhood caretakers, I’m a steadfast proponent of strapping on our Big Girl and Boy, um, strap-ons, sacking up, and taking responsibility for our own adult shit. With that said, I ask you, dear readers, to think of this entry not as an Ode on Blame, but as a Lovesong to Unintentional Hilarity. (It is also a Lovesong to One Very Beleaguered [but rich!] Therapist in Northern New Jersey.)

So yeah. My mom. She’s *kind of* a piece of work. The primary lesson I learned as a child was that whatever was troubling, bothering, aching, ailing, or itching you was Probably Cancer. My moles and freckles were inventoried on a regular basis, and my mother’s display of laden dread at the appearance of a new one was always Oscar-worthy. Poops were checked for form and consistency. Temperatures were taken on the sly with the seemingly innocent brush of hand against forehead. Swollen glands, headaches, fatigue – no matter how occasional – were all indisputable proof that Death was coming at me from all angles as my mother kept vigilant watch, using her extensive medical reference library as both a shield and a weapon. The clear message being, “You need me. Without me protecting you, you will die. And it will hurt like a mo-fo.” This was enough to keep me poised in a state of quiet, obedient horror for much of my childhood. And yes, by “childhood” I mean “until somewhere around last Thursday.”

Theoretically, this could have been something of a burden on a young lass. But not me. While other, less informed children were sniffling over their everyday “boo boos,” I was expressing my sincere concern over the possibility (probability, let’s face it) that those little playground tumbles and gym-glass collisions – brought on, obviously, by rare but deadly Pediatric TIAs – would result in a spate of fatal subdural hematomata that the school nurse never saw coming. My classmates would surely all be dead by morning.

As I grew older, the threats mounted. Bicycles, cars, sports, air travel, choking, strangers, rogue tidal waves, errant space-debris, “mashers” – to this day, I’ve never heard anyone else use this word, but I consider it a classic nonetheless – all lay in wait, coiled and ready to strike. My college years were defined by the 5-times-weekly greeting cards I received from my mother – much to the envy of my friends and roommates. See, the cards all contained $5 bills – ostensibly, lunch money; but more often than not used to buy cigarettes and Grateful Dead decals for my car – tucked, always, inside a current news clipping about the gruesome demise of some unsuspecting (aka disobedient) co-ed who made the mistake of leaving the house, ever. Detailed accounts of chopped up lady-pieces, kidnapping victims turned to skin-suits, severed limbs from careless car-waving….all peppered my daily intake of information and education. I came to understand that the $5 bills were little daily bribes to Not Do whatever activity led to that day’s featured atrocity. It sometimes worked.

After college I returned to my hometown and sooner than later got my own place. My comings and going were, of course, closely monitored by  my mother on what she called her nightly “Rounds” (NJ State Law, oddly enough, calls it “Stalking”). Every night around 11, I would see the headlights slowly approach my dwelling and come to a meaningful stop. My mother would then make some sort of ingenious 37-point turn in a triumphant maneuver designed to bright-light every inch of the front and sides of my house – most notably, the bushes (evidently a favorite haunt for lurking mashers). When my property was scrutinized to her satisfaction, she would quietly drive away, only to return the next night, and the next. If, by some miracle I was not at home during Rounds, she would simply wait for my return…at which time, she and her headlights would silently illuminate my way, ensuring that I was not bludgeoned to death on my short journey from driveway to doorstep.

On one particularly perilous winter day during graduate school, my mother called me crying – a sure sign that some crafty plot was afoot. Please, she begged, don’t go to school today. IT’S TOO DANGEROUS! I told her firmly that I had an exam and that the matter was not up for discussion – I would wear my seat belt and drive very slowly, but that I was GOING to school. The crying became more fevered as she frantically asked if I still had my polo helmet (a remnant from one of the more peculiar life-enhancing skill-sets I was forced to acquire as a child), which she “strongly suggested” I wear for protection while walking across the snowy campus if I insisted upon disobeying her (did I mention, Graduate School?). As I snidely assured her that I would do no such thing, her hysteria reached a feverish new cant – culminating in a high-pitched, frantic command to fetch my colander from the kitchen and affix it to my head with some shoelaces or fancy gift-wrap ribbon. I shit you not, my friends. I shit you not. You laugh – but this was my life, and it was getting worse. The bright spot in the tale is that somehow this particular benchmark of my Parental Anti-Neglect evolved into a totally awesome and legendary drinking game called, obviously, Colander Head. Similar in nature to Telephone, the last player to fumble the sequence was forced to wear the colander while the rest of us drank from our Solo cups and chanted, “Colander head, colander head! What the f*ck is a colander head?”

Despite her expert surveillance, my mother would routinely become convinced that I was dead at the bottom of my own staircase if I did not return her calls in a timely manner. These fits would usually end in her breaking into and entering my home in search of my crumpled corpse, inevitably setting off the alarm system which I obtained for this reason alone. The day I knew for sure that I had to move away was the day my mother’s break-in resulted in the entire Police AND Fire departments of my small, small town responding to the call and traipsing through my home, radios crackling and weapons at the ready. Alas, they did not find any cagey intruders or my rotting, fileted remains – but they DID find the Playgirl Magazine (opened to centerfold), sequined pasties, penis straws and chain-mail thong I had purchased for a friend’s bachelorette, sitting shiny-and-new on my kitchen counter. It was time, I knew. I had to go.

And go I did. Far, far away and never to return. And though I love my mother dearly and ache for her burdens, they are no longer my burdens. So friends, while we take a moment and together marvel at my (relative) sanity, there’s just one last thing. To the rented-kitchen full of overprivileged twenty-somethings enjoying a raucous round of Colander Head somewhere on the Jersey shore at this very moment: You’re welcome.



July 22, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

My Dog is a Jerk

This is well documented. Astronomical vet bills (mostly of the emergent, *removal* nature, by various means), Petco receipts for designer food and increasingly barbarous contraptions for bark control, failing grades in behavior school, and even a visiting pet psychic (diagnosis: “Hilarious.” WTF?) tell the tale better than I can. But I shall try, for your amusement, dear readers – and to boost your self-esteem. For whatever shortcomings you may assign yourselves, I can assure you that my pet-rearing miscarriages* make your failures and inadequacies look Nobel Prize-Worthy. *please note: I have several other dogs and cats who are lovely and obedient, so let me just head off the judgies and cluckies with a preemptive “Suck it.” I am otherwise good at this.

Bucky. This is the name of my canine vexation. Named, obviously, for the dishiest shortstop this side of my Teen Idols of the 70s Someday Dream Team (the role of shortstop will be played by Willie Aames – but this is a subject for another day), Bucky F. Dent is truly the bane of my existence. Problem is, like most cankers upon the cheek-meat of womankind, he is also adorable. Twinkly, deep brown eyes, explosions of whisper-soft yellow fluff, an earflap-to-earflap smile worthy of an old-timey Gleem commercial, full-body joy wagging and the most endearing tendency to drop to his back and pee straight into the air in helpless elation upon my arrival home from even the briefest of errands – like, say, retrieving the mail – are all components of his Cuteness Kryptonite. Resistance is futile.

A brief rundown of his signature infractions:

Several times per night, Bucky emits a high-pitched, closed-mouth, sonar-like squeaking that only I can hear. This particular brain dagger can mean one or more of the following: he is tired, but not asleep; he is asleep and having a bad dream; he has to pee; he has to poop; he has diarrhea (again); he is hungry (again); he is bored; he is hot; he is cold; he would please like to snuggle. Since the whining will not stop until I have addressed his demands, I am perpetually sleep-deprived and wearing the glazed-over countenance usually reserved for new mothers and post-apocalyptic zombie-folk. Only without the smashing knockers and/or license to feast upon my human tormentors. It pretty much sucks.

Then there’s the barking. Dear God, the barking. If the military torture honchos ever succumb to demands for less “ethically casual” means of inflicting exquisite agony upon our enemies, I will proudly do my patriotic duty and lend them my dog. The searing, unendurable and constant vocal bedlam is the emotional equivalent of a violent fence-post impalement that you are forced to survive despite your devout and fevered begging for God to kill you.

Eating things that should not be eaten, ever, is another of Bucky’s fortes. He routinely parades freshly found bone fragments of ill-fated woodland creatures around like a haughty showgirl before ingesting them as I watch in frozen horror. Oozing dead things are an obvious favorite (did you know that, by some alchemical magic, dessicated lizard carcasses – like peas – seem to reconstitute when commingled with the other key ingredients in vomit? True story.). Cat shit, birdseed, glass, rocks, used (although I prefer *pre-owned*) underpants and feminine products – all on the menu and all acquired by illegal means such as counter surfing and hamper-diving. Luckily, my larger-and-in-charger dog, Karma, can get him to drop almost any of the offending snack choices he’s toting (today, horse poo) and hang his head in shame with one withering, judgmental glare. I have taught her well. Sadly, not even she can discourage the incessant, desperate dry-humping – she (and I) can only watch impotently as he unsheathes the pink lipstick, approaches his target slowly, and erupts into the frenzied thrashing of a pimply teen virgin in a Tijuana whorehouse. It’s a little embarrassing.

The result of all this is that I spend much (most) of every day thinking of ways to outsmart/correct/help/donate to science/discipline/”misplace” him, and failing, with great authority. I am at once beleaguered, beset, and besieged – resigned to defeat and shame for the next 15 or so years of my “nobody-will-ever-love-me-because-of-my-horrible-dog” life. But then, come bedtime, when he smells like Fritos and sunshine and falls asleep smiling, tongue-out with his head on my chest while he gazes at me adoringly, I snuggle into the comforting cushion of banana fluff and know, with certainty, that I will do it all again tomorrow. Gladly.

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a Comment

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