I Can’t Help Myself Friday. The Pouty Edition.

Well, I never, said Scarlett O’Hara:

Yesterday’s Health Care Summit.

The only time you might want three jacks is when you are playing cards. Yesterday brought the JACKS together in a friendly bi-partisan setup discussion of the health care bill. See them stamp their feet! Feel their false outrage! Look at the giant health care bill perched precariously in front of Eric Cantor! Would you like to engage in meaningful dialogue on this subject, or shall I just bring you a stunt periscope to peer over your carefully stacked bill?

Crap. The agony of defeat.

Dear Julia,

You see, Lindsay Vonn didn’t really want to crash and break her finger, inadvertently stopping your ski run. Sadly, I think the officials bungled that, but you Twittered and Facebooked about it in the most unbecoming way, blaming your teammate. Not exactly a show of Olympic spirit, Julia. I’m going to have to ask you to turn that tiara in for good.

Kirstie’s getting her freak on again during her appearance on Oprah.

Actually, this picture makes a factual case that women over 50 should not get hair extensions halfway down their backs. Because you are GOING to pout if they look as bad as these do.

Enough with you pouty people! Like February, I’m leaving you in the dust. Or a snowbank.

Because we need to smile going into the weekend, I leave you with my favorite funnyman, who never fails to bring a laugh:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Summit’s Eve
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Vancouverage 2010

Music for Insomniacs

Have you ever played Insomnia Jeopardy? Check out my handy chart, which may be similar to your sleep chart, with minor category substitutions.

Lately, I can’t complain on sleep front. The Olympics have apparently brought fresh air and exercise into my living room, which translates into me thinking I am participating in Nordic events, thus sending me off to a peaceful night of sleep. And yes, I think we all think we can do those tricks with a little practice. The athletic dream never dies, does it?

Speaking of dreams, I read this article in the science section of the Boston Globe, in which a neuroscience professor at Brown claims he’s found a sound that can put you to sleep. REALLY? Sign me up!

Seth Horowitz has teamed with a composer to market various sounds to cure an array of things, including insomnia. I’m not sure if the guy is onto something, but he wrote a piece called Vertigo, in which audience members toppled over, and another threw up. I think that performance must be been a mixed bag of success and audience participation gone awry.

So I went to the website, but alas, there is no sample download of the sleep music, which, I kind of think for $20 bucks they might want to put a sample music track out there as an incentive to spend and buy the CD.

Marketing Tip to Ivy League Neuroscientist’s: Take a page from Amazon, and put some some 30 second clips up on your site instead of sounds that make me want to throw up!

There are a few testaments on the site that the CD works like a charm for babies and small children, so that $20 bucks might be worth it for some harried, sleepless, parents. And, its possible that a guy who wrote a grant proposal titled “Bats with Frickin Laser Beams on Their Heads” might be a secret genius for curing insomnia after all.

Sweet dreams people, however you get it done!

Cheating on Your Book Club

This month, my book club is reading the classic Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte.

I’m not sure how we picked the longest book for the shortest month of the year, but that’s how the fates lined up. Two weeks ago, I glanced at the calendar and looked at the book club date, and realized I could be in a bit of trouble. In fact, as I thumbed through the book, and saw both Volume I and II equaled the length of most books I read these days, and I started to panic. How can I finish this and watch Olympic snowboarding too?

One thought was, (and I hate the fact that it crossed my mind) should I use Cliffs Notes? I’m proud to say the egregious black and gold never has crossed a desk of mine.

I did, however find myself slogging along and thinking, Charlotte Bronte’s style can be so overwrought with emotion. So embellished with flowery Victorian language. I got the the point where Mr. Rochester is uncovered as a bigamist, and I was like:

All right already! Flee to the cold moors and be done with it! Let’s get on with the story, Jane!

I know, I know, that is supposed to be the beauty of reading literature of another time, and the very thing that hopefully sparks discussion at book club. And here I’m being all 21st century impatient with it. Could I possibly chalk that up to a pre-menopausal moment?

Well, I had angst about the Cliffs Notes, but then I found this on-line:

Shmoop is a beta site that is kind of like Cliffs Notes, but it has a couple of advantages. One, it has a sense of humor. There is a part in the book where Jane Eyre is sitting on a bench with Mr. Rochester, and they hear a nightingale sing. Shmoop chimes in with “well that means Significant with a capital S“. It’s fun because you feel like you can nod your head (or roll your eyes like I did) in agreement. One chapter had notes that told me “don’t pay a whole lot of attention to these characters, they are extraneous to the story”. Which Blanche Dumont and her freaky friends were. Glad I dissed them by reading the Chapter Summary, and went on a better part of the book.

The other great thing about Shmoop was this:

Sister Mercy, you can download the notes onto your Kindle and pair them with the book! Sweet Baby Jesus of Bethlehem (thanks for that line, Zadge!) my life is saved!

I have to say, I am REALLY reading the book, but the notes are making it fun and streamlining the reading for me, too. I will be able to meet my book club goal, and drink lots of wine contribute deeply meaningful observations when we meet this coming week.

I still feel strange about my high tech reading – reading on a Kindle, and using Shmoop notes. I just want you to know that there’s still a houseful of books and bookcases I love, and plan to crack open for many years to come.

Olympic Theater

This week’s Olympics have been chock full of personality with a touch of flamboyance. Let’s go to the slopes of Vancouver for a little recap of what’s been going on!

Oh wait, that’s my backyard, which sadly could have more snow than the mountains of British Columbia. Enough about the weather, onto the athletes!

Shaun White got himself a gold medal last night, but I can’t help being reminded of this Fast Times at Ridgemont High cast member:

Dudes, I love it!

Men’s figure skating was seriously the most exciting event. The jumps, the spins, the COSTUMES. It’s like Mardi Gras meets a gayest Halloween parade ever! Who can resist?

A touching tribute to Jethro Bodine. The Clampetts are speechless.

And in the free skate, he may become a vampire.

Can someone page a stylist for the Russian skater other than Rasputin?

Johnny Weir, I’m sure you are going to piss the PETA people off again by wearing fur, but just keep blowing those kisses on the ice! GO JOHNNY GO!

Well, I must get prepped for tonight’s events:

Remember, the Olympics can be a whole lot more than just sports! It’s a fashion show, a costume party and New Year’s Eve all rolled into one! Meet you along the parade route tonight!

When Grammar and Optical Illusions Collide

I like to think that my witty prose and grammar are like the dotted i’s and crossed t’s, and I generally have them aligned.

Lately, I’ve noticed some of my blog entries contain sentences that look like this:

Yes, we’ve all been tripped up by the occasional extra the definitive article in something we are writing. But it makes me cringe when I see it in something I’ve already hit the PUBLISH button on. I start to feel sweat dripping from my armpits as I madly scramble back to fix and restructure the grammar and form in my lowly sentence.

In an effort towards better writing, I have purchased these two helpful books:

The Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing is a handy guide for punctuation and sentence structure. In the chapter on “How to Start Sentences and Paragraphs”, it clearly outlines how NOT to start a sentence.

    A number
    A conjunction such as but, or and, etc.

Fabulous! I regularly break all of these rules! Now when writer block descends, I can stress about the rules, right?

It’s actually a pretty humorous book, and I really liked the section called Internet Intervention, which gives guidance on terms as on-line versus online (it’s online), and another gem called “No Matter what Bush said, it’s not called the Internets”. No, indeed.

The second book I’m reading is Sin and Syntax (How to Create Wickedly Effective Prose). Naturally, that caught my eye, because who doesn’t want to write something funny, poignant, or compelling? This book also addresses many of the same grammar issues, but breaks it down into categories I can totally relate to:

Bones: The grammar sermonette
Flesh: Parts of Speech and Syntax
Cardinal Sins: Sets you straight on disastrous transgressions
Carnal Pleasures: Writing can also work when it defies the rules

I’m pretty sure they had me at Carnal Pleasure here, folks. I truly tend to type at breakneck speed when I have an thought, and sometimes hastily dump it out without thinking it through. And it’s all Carnal Pleasures fault, I’m pleased to say.

Although I can’t promise I’ll be a grammar goddess overnight, I sure plan to improve my writing on all fronts. GAH willing, you won’t be reading blog entries like this anymore:

What? You can’t figure that out? Here’s to better grammar!

I Can’t Help Myself Friday. The John Edition.

This Friday’s theme is John, and John has been a naughty boy this week.

John Mayer has been interviewing, Twittering and generally running his mouth about his ex-girlfriends. Apparently, Jessica Simpson is sexual napalm, and Jennifer Aniston is lamenting the about the good old days when her hair was a major star. Way to stay friends with former loved ones!

Oops, excuse me while I scrape the crud from the bottom of my shoe, I just stepped in John Edwards‘ mess. According to news sources (and you have no idea how loathe I am to call the Enquirer such, but they have been eerily right about this man, yes?) his bimbo girlfriend has moved into the neighborhood, and been promised a sparkler of an engagement ring on that videographer finger of hers. Any chance they’ll move to a deserted island?

You are right. This isn’t someone named John, but she is Jon Gosselin’s ex. And in the rich tradition of the Tiger Woods line of mistresses, (coming to a Macy’s fragrance counter near you!) she is posing for a cheesy magazine cover, dishing on the breakup, and more importantly, Jon’s penis. I can’t wait!

All I can say, is John has left a bad taste in my mouth this week, and I feel the need to cleanse with a Jon that I personally DO like:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Unusually Large Snowstorm
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

Happy Chinese New Year/Valentine’s Day, people!