Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fancy words from a clitoris

Saturday afternoon found me trapped on the couch, impatiently waiting for rain that never came. All week, the weather reports got me excited for the day's alleged thunderstorms (the only thing I miss about South FL). Disappointed, I remained on the couch for hours, waiting for something else to happen.

Determined to find brain candy on the TV, I unearthed nuggets of fun between channels 187 and 190 ("80 Hours of the 80's" on VH1 Classic and a "Prince Video Marathon" on VH1 Soul). Ah, the 80's: permed mullets, acid wash, Peter Gabriel's Africa phase and Prince's little purple boots.

But I soon found something funnier than Glass Tiger's "Someday" video (really, it summarizes everything that went wrong in the 80's). Caught between the two channels like some Balkan nation is CMT, the Country Music Channel (or "the channel I quickly skip over, pretending not to notice").

I'd never watched more than 5 nano seconds of it before; I thought it was an endless loop of "The Dukes of Hazzard." But while skipping past it, I stumbled across a show called "My Big Redneck Wedding."

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

Hosted by a surprisingly-tolerable Tom Arnold, the show follows the nuptials of the red state-iest rednecks who, through some giant legal loophole, are allowed to marry and produce offspring.

Yup, she got a pink shotgun as a weddin' gift. It's a right perty one.

The first episode I saw was about John and Gail, a couple from a place I'll never visit who live in a double wide trailer and deliver newspapers for a living. It was as if they'd won a "who can best exemplify every redneck stereotype there is?" contest. Consider:
* John proposed to Gail by peeing "marry me" on the road one morning.
* They decorate the wedding with beer cans (John drinks most of them the night before to finish the arch in time).
* While writing his wedding vows, John tells his granny that "I'd like to use fancy words but I don't have a clitoris" (i.e. a thesaurus for those with indoor plumbing).
* One of his vows goes like this, "I want to put your love into a locket, 'cause you're hotter than a Hot Pocket. We done it in the backseat and at the zoo, I don't care where we do it, as long as it's with you."
* Their wedding is held at an indoor flea market and includes a mechanical bull ride.
* John gets Gail's wedding gift at a bowling alley out of a claw machine -- a stuffed snow man he paid $38 in quarters for.
* On the day of their wedding, Gail is sent into a tizzy because she can't find her teeth.

A 5-minute clip from John and Gail's episode that includes John's lack of a "clitoris" to look up "fancy words." (View more episodes here.)

After setting the DVR to record future episodes, I realized that it was my lucky day: CMT was in the middle of a "My Big Redneck Wedding" marathon! Other episodes included mud, hog hunting, mud, deer skulls, mud, demolition derbies, mud and a Confederate-flag-waving-truck load of camouflage (every groom wore it and every bride incorporated it into her dress, veil and/or garter).

Between laughs, the fear started creeping up. I began to feel dirty. I wondered, is wearing camouflage one of Jeff Foxworthy's "you might be a redneck if..." jokes?

While I don't own any camo hunting coats, I sometimes wear camo pants to do bullshit errands and hang out. I mean, it was only a month or so ago that I was lamenting the loss of my favorite camo pants in the Grand Canyon (see "I lost my pants in the Grand Canyon" blog entry).

As I got myself off the couch and ready to go out, I announced to my man, "I don't think I can ever wear camo again after seeing that." A fan of camo himself, he reassured me that as long as I don't show up to a weddin' wearing camo, I'm in the clear.

Minutes later, I threw on a camo cap to hide my hair (which had been viciously attacked by humidity from rain that never came). Feeling like a Wal-Mart shopper in Central Florida on her way to buy bullets for the kids, I stepped out into the streets of Brooklyn. Fuhgetaboudit, ya'll.

"Camo cap" is probably a lot more tasteful than it sounds.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Doodle bug (me)

So lately I've been seeing a lot of fake doodling in advertisements and it's really starting to annoy me. At first, I thought it was clever. I even felt a fond wave of nostalgia for the doodling that marks our youthful days. I'm to the point now where I'm starting to resent Madison Ave for doing such a bad job of it.

Case in point:

This is an ad for Kellogg's -- its design is like a giant cereal bowl of doodles kids can never escape.

Now compare that with doodles from my 8th grade yearbook:

Clearly, there's no comparison.

I think back on all the doodles I drew and shared with friends (especially Jenn Grill -- now Ritter -- my best friend and co-conspirator in a 7th grade attempt to sketch and make fun of everyone who lived in Coral Springs, FL).

None of my adolescent doodles mentioned a love of Captain Crunch cereal. Most of our sketches came from a place of pure evil; in fact, the capture of one landed me in detention for a week with "Admiral Asshole" (from the doodle pictured above).

Why would advertisers think they could safely mine such a treacherous shaft? I'm guessing it all started with 2004's "Napoleon Dynamite," whose innocent "ligers" were quintessential dork doodles.

Shortly after the surprise success of that movie, I started noticing t-shirts in Delia's, Urban Outfitter's and Alloy catalogs that were close representations of school-inspired doodles (thy muse being Boredom).

Ah, if only they WERE lifted out of actual notes, I might buy one. Nothing compares to the real thing. No advertising exec can match the evil wit of a bored 13-year-old.

And even if they could, it's unlikely that any corporation would want real doodles selling their products ("be a Cokehead like Kate" with someone snorting a can of Coca Cola off a mirror, for instance).

It makes me wonder: At what point do our doodles cease to be creative, clever, evil and fun? My adult doodle life is mostly my name in a cloud of lightning and bubbles. I've observed other adults doodling those lame-ass boxes within boxes (yawn!). It's sad what becomes of our doodling lives as we age. Does anyone do a good job of it over the age of 25?

Of all the nostalgic doodling going on in advertising now, I think JC Penney does it best (their throw-back "Breakfast Club" commercials are dead-on awesome). Check out their cute take on the classic "doodle heart" renderings we've all scratched at one point:

p.s. Incidentally, Molly Ringwald used doodle "product placement" back in 1984's "Sixteen Candles." Her 3-ring binder has "The Rave-Ups" doodled across the back (she was such a fan of the band that they later appeared in "Pretty in Pink" playing in the background of the club scene). Not sure how successful she was since the only people who bought their album were Molly and her sister, Beth.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Your stoopid

So, my friend Jason Roeder (who suffered alongside me on our high school newspaper after it was hijacked by a harpie) is now posting a very funny video series, "Magical Jason: Secrets of the Professional-Caliber Magician" on YouTube (

His email about the humorous series implored friends to leave comments, ratings, bird seed, etc (actually, his exact directions were: "If you like what I've got so far, please do right by the vids: send or post the link, five-star, comment, etc. If you're unsatisfied, you can just say that you couldn't watch because your operating system doesn't have a required plug-in or whatever. For future reference, I'm VERY easy to trick that way.").

Jason's second video, "Dizzy Ball," slips in a reference to "Space Jam." Nicely done.

As I dutifully attempted to leave a comment, YouTube prompted me to sign in, like some self-important bouncer at a cheesy over-40 night club in Sunrise, FL. Disheartened, I almost clicked back to the kitty porn I'd been viewing when I remembered that I'm a YouTube member.

Thanks to the one video I posted back in January, I was able to leave Jason some encouraging words. My only video is the one I taped off my Uncle Mark's TV of me on the NFL Network asking Tom Brady a question at the AFC Championship press conference (my panties are still drying, BTW). Its posting had one mission: so I could share it with all of my Patriots-loving family and Patriots-hating friends.

"Magical Jason" comments successfully posted, I decided to check out how MY video was doing in the comments/ratings department. Surprisingly, 1,175 people have watched the video since I posted it six months ago (I have a big family but not THAT big). Better yet, THREE people actually left comments.

Excited to see what kinds of comments my super-awesome reporting skills had elicited, I clicked on the video. Not sure what I was expecting but here are the caveman droppings I discovered:

Jeterfan906 (4 months ago)
what a fuckin douchebag any other athlete beside football player and theyd get fined so much there next paycheck wouldnt even come

walkontheocean8888 (6 months ago)
tom Brady is having a shitty day. Suck it Tom!

madness410 (6 months ago)
my name is tom. fuck you.

I've now watched the video three more times to try to understand how these comments apply. I am now giving up. I think the first one, "my name is tom. fuck you." pretty much says it all (although he gets points for correct spelling and punctuation).

Clearly, the bar for YouTube comments is subterranean. I worry that the 15 seconds I took to compose a coherent thought in response to Jason's "magic" was 14 too long. What a loser I am for using logic and grammar. What a waste of capital letters. Using one booger-encrusted finger, I should've just banged out "your stoopid" on the keyboard.

Listen, I get that the rules are relaxed here but are we at the point of being so relaxed that we're comatose? Who started this "if I write it online, it doesn't have to be literate" trend?

Or, is it naive to assume that laziness is to blame and not ignorance? Does the proliferation of email, text messages and IM offer a terrifying snapshot of the illiterate masses?

Seriously, are we THAT stoopid?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Oh no Katy-DIDN'T!

After 6 endless days working with perfectly cute Girl Scouts (and 5 torturous nights spent cursing an obnoxious bug outside my hotel window), I was free to return to gritty reality and NYC on Tuesday morning. I happily made my way down through the woods to my car, which had sat in a cozy parking lot surrounded by a babbling brook, Bambi and bugs since my arrival a week before.

As I sped down the Taconic toward the Saw Mill Parkway and away from Westchester, I noticed a small, bright green spider peeking out from behind my side mirror. Figures, I thought. Could the bug be any other color after a week with Girl Scouts? I wouldn't be surprised if it could spin a web of rainbow sprinkles.

Then, about 4 miles down the Saw Mill, I was shocked to see a gigantic green bug crawling on the lower right corner of my windshield! It was a katydid, the very same kind of bug whose sound was closest to the anonymous one that had annoyed the shit out of me all week (see previous blog, "I'm calling the cicada cops").

The bug on my windshield looked just like the one I heard (whatever that means).

As I sped closer to a 12 o'clock meeting in midtown, I figured the bug would eventually blow away. But, even at 70 mph, the only indication of speed was his antennae blowing wildly in the breeze and an occasional leg shift to steady his grip. Not wanting to be directly responsible for his death, I refrained from using the windshield wipers (I was unsure if this was the same bug whose demise I had been praying for).

About 30 miles later, I merged onto the Henry Hudson (aka West Side Hwy) and paid a toll as I entered Manhattan. Perfect chance for the bug to fly away...but it didn't. I snapped a picture of it as a taxi sped by just south of the GW. The bug seemed just as determined as I was to get to midtown.

This picture cracks me up (and almost inspired me to write a children's book called "Katy-did-it" about the adventures of a bug...almost).

As I exited at 96th Street, I decided to get the bug off my car as I would be parking in a garage and his doom would be sealed in such a place. I pulled over on Riverside Drive where the trees were still thick enough to afford a lush new home for my stow-away.

I figured I could pick him up by the wings and fling him into a nearby tree; however, the second my hand neared his weird bum, he made the most obnoxious noise...the SAME NOISE THAT HAD KEPT ME UP FOR THE LAST 5 NIGHTS!!!

Vengeance was mine.

I began flicking him with glee in my attempts to get him off the car. It was a mixture of joy (to discover the culprit at last!) and resolve (to get this bug out of my life once and for all). The noise became louder and more frequent but still, he refused to fly away.

Thanks to his loud and obnoxious eeh, eeh, eeh's, a group of two well-dressed mothers and their perfectly-coiffed children walking on the sidewalk took notice of my efforts. As he walked up my windshield and over the roof of my car towards the road, I felt their stare. I had to pretend to care. I could not flick him into oncoming traffic. Dammit.

To stop my cruel flicking, one of the mothers suggested I pluck a leaf from the tree and use it to relocate the bug (she'd probably been a Girl Scout). I followed her advice and as I placed the bug into a nearby tree, the group erupted in cheers and high fives (they were all probably Girl Scouts). I left before anyone started singing "Make new friends, but keep the old..."

As I drove away, I fumed about the upper west side momsters thwarting my revenge. But, the anger dissolved when I realized that they probably live in some $4 million brownstone on a block near where I left the obnoxious katydid.

Sleep tight, I hope that bug keeps you up all night!

(L) 96th Street and Riverside where I resolved to rid myself of the bug and (R) the tree where the bug is probably still making a nuisance of himself.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I'm calling the cicada cops

So, I'm staying at a conference center deep in the dark woods of Westchester county (about 45 minutes north of NYC) for a 6-day training gig I'm doing for Girl Scouts of the USA. Each 15-hour day is kicking my ass if only because I have to be up with the sun each day (as opposed to going to sleep right before it peeks over the horizon).

Heavy with exhaustion, I crawled into bed last night around 11:30. Just as my head hit the pillow, a horrific bug started making the most annoying noise right outside the window. (Of course, the windows of my room were open to the night air; I welcome the sounds of my beloved crickets!) It's hard to describe the irritating noise but I'll do my best "hooked on phonics" attempt:

ehh, ehh, ehh
ihh, ihh
ehh, ehh, ehh
ihh, ihh
ehh, ehh, ehh

On and on it went without ceasing. I figured a cicada the size of a cat was behind it. I lay there wondering if it was close enough to swat or set on fire. After 10 minutes, I begrudgingly closed the windows, cursing the evil bug for drowning out the sound of crickets and delaying my sleep.

But even with the windows sealed, the noise persisted as though it was in the room. I covered my head with pillows. No use. WTF? It was hard to believe that here I was, in the middle of a veritable nature preserve (complete with deer, bunnies, chipmunks, and wild turkeys) and I'd have an easier time falling asleep back in Brooklyn.

As a matter of fact, if this bug was a neighbor in Brooklyn, I could've at least called the cops on it. I'm sure its decibels were enough to qualify for a noise ordinance violation. Unfortunately, Bambiland doesn't have cicada cop patrols.

Nearly 40 minutes later, the bug was still ehh, ehh, ehh, ihh, ihh-ing and I'd moved on to wishing hateful things on it. Seriously, as a member of the food chain's basement, there has to be at least 50 things willing to kill and eat this bug. Where were its predators when I needed them? Was the owl busy getting its talons done?

So, now it's Night Two, another long 15-hour day behind me. I just returned to the room after a welcome break off-site with Tania and Tom Tom (who kindly drove here from CT and invited me to a yummy belated bday sushi dinner in Chappaqua -- our server was a very aggressive female Don Ho impersonator).

And who do you think is busy outside my window again?

I'm blogging about this now with the hopes that he'll tire or be eaten by the time I'm done. Plan B? There are 40 teenage Girl Scouts here with me who had 10 tons of sugar earlier tonight at an ice cream social. My guess is that one of them is on a sick enough sugar high that I could entice her into hunting the bug down and killing it.

As a trusted adult (insert evil laugh), I might be able to convince her that there's a new patch available: Bug Exterminator.

Just searched online for the obnoxious bugtard responsible for all the racket. The closest I came was the common katydid. I just find it hard to believe that something this harmless-looking could make such a vile noise:
Obnoxious noise

Don Ho, the source of a different kind of annoying noise (aka "Tiny Bubbles").