28 February 2010

"Paint your palette blue and grey" --Don McLean

I spend part of Saturday eating Bertha's mussels.* It is a first for me but I gotta say, I like it. A lot.

Then, the hubs, a friend and I check out the Cezanne exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art. It is not as enchanting as I'd hoped.

First, it is less about Cezanne and more about Cezanne's influence on other artists. So, instead of seeing, say, fifty Cezannes, we see a dozen Cezannes surrounded by fifty pieces from other artists. Yes, I get to see a dozen Cezannes which is twelve more than I've ever seen before, but, a) I discover I'm not that big a Cezanne fan** and b) the audio commentary, that is complimentary with the tickets, goes something like this:

In this early work by Albrecht Foofer,
Two Lemons and a Stuffed Squirrel, you can clearly see Cezanne's influence. Foofer's vertical brush strokes on the topmost third of the left lemon are reminiscent of Cezanne's in Bather with a Hangnail. Notice, too, the vacant gaze of the stuffed squirrel, indicating that Foofer, much like Cezanne and his drive for anonymity in his subjects, was not trying to portray this particular stuffed squirrel, but capture the symbol of the stuffed squirrel, or the every-squirrel. Foofer painted this in 1902, one year after he read a book that had once been chewed on by Cezanne's pet goat.

So, here we are, listening to this pre-recorded drivel at the appropriately marked spots and some Arty Chick is 30 seconds behind me in the audio loop but insists on being 30 degrees in front of me at all times. Picture it, I see the marker on the wall saying "120", so I stand about five feet back, making sure I'm not blocking anyone, and, facing the paintings, I press "120" on my device and listen. 30 seconds elapse and Arty Chick comes over. She sees the marker, presses "120" on her device and then positions herself to block one-third of my view. Then, she starts to rock left and right, like she's got Steven Tyler crooning "Cryin'" in front of her. WTF?!***

This happens at least six times. To me. By her. Even though there are plenty of other people around for her to be rude to, she picks me. At first, I walk away. But after the third time, I stand my ground, annoyed, maybe sucking my teeth a little.**** After the sixth time, I wait to see where she's going to position herself, and go stand in front of her. Because, kids? Nobody is going to stop me from seeing an Albrecht Foofer every-squirrel! NOBODY!!

The question du jour: How do you cut a chick without the docent seeing?

* "Not that there's anything wrong with that." --Jerry Seinfeld

** Forget what you heard, Cezanne did not create Dogs Playing Pool.

*** I pressed every possible number combination. Sadly, no Aerosmith.

**** The universal symbol for Are you kidding me?!

22 February 2010

"Fools give you reasons, wise men never try" --Rogers & Hammerstein

[A Belly Button Brush. Keepin' it clean, folks.]

I've been thinking about the Belly Button Theory lately. Why? Because, invariably, a day or two after I attend a party, I realize I have, once again, failed to check out this theory in action when I was there. It isn't my theory (read: so, really, how good a theory can it be?) but I do like theories, for the most part. Especially, ones named for body parts.

The Belly Button Theory states that, in a social situation where people self-configure (not assigned seating), that regardless of who a man is talking to or standing with or nibbling on, even, he'll orient his belly button in the direction of the person to which he's most attracted.

Here's my thinking on this:

First, I'll bet "Belly Button Theory" is the polite name and that it really refers to where a different part of his anatomy is pointing.*

Second, I don't think I buy it.

I do think you can tell a lot about people by the way they orient their bodies in relation to other people. In fact, a regular game of mine is to try to predict the success of a WaPo DateLab match-up by how the couple looks in the candid picture(s) before I ingest a single word of the write-up. Do they look like they're enjoying being near each other? Are they touching? Do they have matching expressions (Do they both look goofy/happy/whatever?) And you can get a feel for some of that looking at how people are configured at parties.

That said, I think I have detected that frisson from men who have sat next to me or stood at an acute angle, regardless of where they, and their buttons, are facing. I still vote for proximity over button direction. But, as I said, my research is limited. So, clue me in...

Question du jour: Do you buy into the Belly Button Theory?

* I know what I'm thinking, what are you thinking?**

** Spleen? Really? You're going with that answer?

18 February 2010

"Don't know why" --Norah Jones

Lots of bloggy friends get invited to try products for free and review them. Me? Not so much. I guess I'll have to keep buying products and reviewing them on my own until someone notices my superior marketing skills.

Why, here's a product review of sorts/re-enactment of a true conversation.* See if it makes you want to try one...

Me: I tried one of those FullBars today.

Hubby: A what?

Me: You know, I bought those bars that you're supposed to eat an hour before a meal. You eat it and drink water and it's supposed to make you feel full so you eat less.

Hubby: Oh, right. How was it?

Me: Well... it was different.

Hubby: Different?

Me, considering: The taste was kinda funny and the smell was sort of... off-putting... and the texture, gad, the texture was so chewy and dense and sort of sticky that by the end of it--

Hubby: Wait a minute. It tasted funny and the smell was off-putting and you ate it anyway?

Me: Sure! I'm nothing if not committed... or should be committed... or something.

Hubby: So, you finished it...

Me: Yeah. And it sat like a brick in my stomach. Bleah. I can understand why you'd never want to eat again.

Hubby: So, it works!

Me: Well, I'll never eat another one of those, again. So, um, yeah, I guess you could say it, um--no. Just, no.

* Speaking of re-enactments and such, in commercials, when they show a cartoon diagram of some change, do they really need the word "simulation" on it?

15 February 2010

"And me, I'm flying in my taxi" --Harry Chapin

See if you have what it takes to be our cab driver. Here's the scenario...

You are a cab driver. It is Valentine's Day. Your dispatcher has assigned you a 6:30 PM pick up in order to just get your passengers to a 7:00 PM dinner reservation, despite their voiced concerns that this might be cutting it close, what with city traffic and snow-related problems. What do you do?

(The answers from last night's trip are bolded below.)

A. Arrive a few minutes early, to play it safe.
B. Arrive on time.
C. Arrive 10 minutes late.

Knowing that your dispatcher has already called to find out where the hell you are, you greet your passengers with:
A. An apology.
B. A cheery "Good evening."
C. Surly indifference.

Your dispatcher has given you the address so you:
A. Whisk the cab away! There is no time to waste!
B. Show that you've pre-loaded the address into the GPS and assure your passengers that they'll be there soon.
C. Demand the address again.

Your passengers appear to be on a date--well, this is Valentine's Day, after all. You set the stage by:
A. Providing a little light banter and then leaving them alone to chat between themselves.
B. Softly playing a Sinatra retrospective.
C. Blaring the most sexually explicit music you own--and you own quite a bit.

You want your passengers to be comfortable even though it is so cold that the three feet of snow all around you has all the makings of a permanent exhibit. You:
A. Crank up the heat.
B. Inquire as to your passengers' temperature comfort.
C. Drive with your window completely down until one of your passengers says, incredulously, over the buffeting wind, "Is your window OPEN?"

One of your passengers asks if you might turn down the music so he can call and inform the restaurant that arrival will be at least 10 minutes beyond the reservation time. You:
A. Turn the music off.
B. Turn the music way down.
C. Turn the music down just for the duration of the call and then crank it right back up to 11 again, so everyone can enjoy references to "tearing that ass up."*

Oh, yes. It couldn't have been more romantic if it were a Disney-worthy coach and horses.

Which brings us to the question of the day: Let's say, instead of the cab driver, you are one of the passengers in this scenario. What do you do?

* One of the less offensive terms sung.

06 February 2010

"I'm snowblind... can't live without you..." --Styx

[A little bit of shoveling midway through the storm.]

"I love this!"

"It sucks!"

"You'll grow to love winter yet."

*snort* "Sorry, honey, that's not happening."

"Isn't it gorgeous?"

"No, it's not gorgeous. It's a pain in the ass!"

"So, we do a little shoveling. It's a good workout."

"A little shoveling??"

"Okay, a lot of shoveling. It's a winter wonderland!"

"The only wonder is that people live here."

"Jeez Louise. We have power. We have food. We have drink. We have a fireplace. We have each other!"

"We could have all that without two feet of snow!"

"People spend a lot of money to be in this kind of snow."

"People are idiots."

"I find it romantic."


*pulls him by shirt front* "Yes."

"Maybe it's not so bad."

Question du jour: Is snow romantic?

Bonus question du jour: Does anyone do snow angels more than once?

01 February 2010

"It's a nice day for a white wedding" --Billy Idol

[Choosing the appropriate form of wedding announcement can be tricky.]

A local radio station is in the process of giving away a "$50,000 dream wedding package." Last week, the station had listeners vote on which of five couples should receive the package. The winning couple was announced this past Friday. The wedding will take place in one week--yes, this Friday, at the Sunset Room at the National Harbor. Every day this week, listeners are encouraged to log in and vote on various aspects of the wedding.Today, listeners are to log into the station's web-site and vote on one of three bridal gowns, based on pictures of the bride in each. At least they're not forcing the bride to wear a three wolves shirt.

I've attended weddings in excess of $100,000. One particular extravaganza comes to mind. Think not just many open bars but ice sculpture vodka fountains; think skewers of fruit on arrival, and an appetizer hour after the ceremony that had not just tray-passed hors d'oeuvre but stations that included a caviar bar, a sushi bar, a made-to-order pasta bar, a baked potato bar, a carving station and more all before the multi-course, sit-down dinner; a string quartet for the ceremony and a twelve-piece band for the reception, and on and on. They even had a hot pretzel vendor handing out pretzels at 2 a.m. in the parking lot as people left. Only one disappointing aspect: They had plenty of people in monkey suits but no monkeys.

[Yeah, sometimes weddings are more about the bride.]

Still, that's a bit much for me. It was fun to attend but it's not my style. I have been a bride in two weddings. Resources were definitely finite but I was very pleased with both events, all the same. If someone had given me $50,000 with no strings attached to plan one of my weddings, I'd have certainly accepted it.

But they're not giving away $50,000. They're giving away a $50,000 wedding package that is provided in exchange for promotional advertising. That means the bride and groom are told which jeweler they get the rings from, who will be providing the catering, and on and on.

Now, I could have a kick-ass party for all my friends for $50,000, regardless of what options I got stuck with, but a wedding? That's a different thing. Shouldn't a wedding truly reflect the two people involved?

Which brings us to the question of the day: If you were planning to get married, would you hand over all the decisions to someone else so you could get a $50,000 wedding package?