Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It Always Comes Back to Books

book cover of  Who Will Run the Frog Hospital  by Lorrie Moore

I spent the latter part of this morning in the mall and I mention it only because I find that the mall is, well, much maligned. From an architectural standpoint, I can agree, it is a curse: unimaginative in its structure and all-around unappealing where both aesthetics and creativity are concerned. But if your looking to eavesdrop on pointless conversations? There's no better place on the planet. Period.

Here is a perfect case in point.

Time: 11:46 AM
Place: H&M line-up
The Subjects: Two teenaged girls skipping class to buy Third World factory-made clothing. Most of it polyester, all of it bejewelled .

Girl #1: Are you gonna buy those jeans?

Girl #2: Yeah. (pause) Why?

Girl #1 (with an incredulous look on her face) Do you like them?

Girl #2 (with an equally incredulous look on her face) 'Course! (pause) Why don't you?

Girl #1 I think they look retarded.

Girl #2 Then I guess I'll be retarded AND look better than you.


Girl #1: What rack were those on, again?

So funny. And yet so sad. Just like being a teenager.

The whole interaction made me think of a book I read last summer called, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? Written by the incredible Lorrie Moore, the book is one woman's remembrance of an ephemeral teenage friendship. The narrator, Berie Carr, has a marriage that is stuck in a bleakly funny state of suspended collapse and rather than dissect it and ruefully condemn herself for how badly it's all going (that more Jonathan Franzen territory), she, instead, looks back to her girlhood in Horsehearts, an Adirondack tourist town near the Canadian border. There in the summer of 1972, as a skinny, 15-year-old misfit she idolized her sassy, sexually precocious friend Sils, who played Cinderella at a theme park they worked at called Storyland (Berie was a cashier). Told in a series of flashbacks, Berie recounts how she and Sils hung out in small town bars, snuck cigarettes and how, midway through the summer, she is shipped off to Baptist camp after filching hundreds of dollars from her register to pay for an abortion for Sils. The book is a bitterly funny hymn to vanished adolescence and is filled hilarious wordplay, allegorical images of lost innocence and a poignant awareness of how life's significant events often prove dismally anticlimactic. Like a faded pair of bejeweled jeans months after point of purchase.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Picture Diary

Today, in an effort to read my book, I sat on this,


and this.

And so instead of reading..... I did this:

The End.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Excellent Things We Can Learn from the Youngsters

I just returned from a fabulous, yet all-too-brief, weekend in Montreal. The occasion was my sister's 15th Annual 29th birthday and we celebrated it the only way we know how: with good food, good conversation and an ever-so-slight over-consumption of wines, both red and white. Sigh.

This year, though, as an extra-special treat, we dragged along our lovely and impressionable cousin, Amy. Amy -or Dr. Mamie, as I like to call her- is, however, hardly the corruptible youth that I thought her once to be. Truth be told, Dr. Mamie, at a mere 28 years old, on top of being a pediatric resident, taught us a thing or two about how to maximize our fun. Plus, as an extra bonus, she gave me free pharmaceutical samples and introduced me to the following things that made my life ever-more-excellent:

1/ Cash Cab

This is a show on the television box that is best enjoyed after having shopped all day and drunk half a bottle of merlot in the span of ten minutes. It is a crazy and slightly pointless game show in which passengers thinking that they've stepped into a cab, instead find themselves answering trivia questions for - you guessed it! - cash. It is Amy's dream to be in this show and I am going to try my damndest to make it happen for her. Don't ask me how.......

2/ Hobo Drunk

This a term that Amy uses in reference to too much alcohol consumption. It is evocative, funny and politically incorrect. Lethal combination. But where, dear reader, does this fit on the drunkeness scale? Well, according to Dr. Mamie, it goes a little something like this: slightly buzzed, tipsy, drunk, high school drunk , hobo drunk. I am very proud to say that I stayed at tipsy most of Friday and Saturday night. I think.

3/ Shazam

This is a great, free app that the my techno-dealer, Apple, puts out and goes a little something like this: You hear a song. You don't know who sings it. You press Shazam. It tells you. Sweet, huh? I downloaded it as soon as I got home.

There is so very much we can learn from the young......

Can Someone Please buy this for me for Xmas? Thanks.

This is all I want for Xmas. Both the print AND the sentiment. Thanks.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Placenta! It's What's for Dinner.

Lasagna (finished product)
Originally uploaded by jbaugher
I was cruising the internet cooking sites the other day for the perfect lasagna recipe when I came across one that I thought looked perfect. Until I checked the ingredients. Tomatoes? Check. Mozzarella cheese? Check. Noodles? Check. Placenta? Read again. Placenta? Find glasses and read again. (Pause) Bueller? Bueller?

What's up, intraweb? Are people really eating this?

Apparently, yes. After a thorough search on my computer box, it turns out that placenta has all sorts of healing properties for which I was unaware. It can be dried out and used to boost the immune system for those with iron deficiencies, chopped up and baked into ceremonial cakes. The possibilities are endless, apparently. And disgusting, quite frankly.

I remember, not so fondly, that moment just after childbirth when, in possibly the most exhausted I had experienced thus far in my life, I was asked by the attending nurse -in dulcet tones - to push just one more time. Whatever for, was my thought? Wasn't giving birth to a human more than enough? No, came the reply. You also need to push out a placenta. Whaaa?!!!!! It was like asking someone who'd just run a marathon to pop over to the store and grab some milk. And when I agreed to her absurd request, I discovered -to my horror- that she'd extracted a piece of nastiness that would best be described as a Glad bag full of veins that even Jabba the Hutt would find repulsive.

This, my friends, is not the stuff from which lasagnas are made. No! No! No!