Monday, July 31, 2006

Today in What is Mischa Barton Wearing?

The black nail polish is my favorite touch. It's the little things, you know? What do you figure it costs to get a dress like this dry-cleaned? Do the cleaners have to, like, shine the mirrors? The whole thing looks like some hideous second-grade project.

Pics via Celebrity Nation.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Wunderkind Buys Observer, Promptly Learns Hard Lesson in Journalism

So 25-year-old rich kid and MBA-in-training Jared Kushner bought the Observer today, and, wanting to be taken very seriously right from the start, released this (partial) statement, with lots of big, important-sounding words, to its staff:

We find ourselves at a crossroads in the newspaper business. The balance of printed and online content is undergoing an unprecedented adjustment and the way we deliver our product—first-rate journalism—continues to evolve. Together we will navigate this challenge with perseverance and innovation. The only promise I will make on the business front is to keep a completely open mind. At 25 and with only non-publishing related business experience, I am now equipped with two of the finest tools that a publisher could ever have; (sic) this fine staff, and the inquisitive energy needed to tackle convention.

Convention indeed, Jared. You need a complete clause after a semicolon. What you wanted was a colon.

A hard-won first lesson in championing a print media empire: run it past an editor before you run it anywhere else. They don't teach you that at Stern, kid.

On Fake Babies

While a Jesus-lovin' Mel Gibson works hard to bring Jew-hating back to the mainstream, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are leaving that last-season Judeo-Christian crap in the past where it belongs. The couple is focused on our world's latest Chosen One, taking graven images to a whole new level by allowing their two-month-old child to be depicted in wax and put on display.

Okay. Stop.

Can we talk for a second about how incredibly fucked up this is? Please? I don't care where the profits are going (UNICEF for anyone who thinks this changes anything), this is your child. This kid never had a chance. They never even tried. What could possibly be an acceptable rationale for allowing your two-month-old child to be replicated in wax and thrown in a museum and photographed with tourists for money? They don't need the cash flow, I assure you. If UNICEF needs funding that badly, I'm sure one of them can cough up some dough. Why oh why would a person do this? I feel awkward making judgments on how people raise their children, and I try generally to avoid the topic, but this is really frustrating behavior to me; how is this baby ever going to develop a sense of self when her image is a media sensation before she's really even fully sentient? When she's been defined by millions of strangers worldwide before she even knows her own name? This is how the Paris Hiltons of the world come to exist, folks. These are the ingredients, but they're much more potent here. This girl is in for a long journey, with a lot of hard outer shells and late-life soul-searching.

It's going to be sooo much fun to hear all about it on E!

I'm sure Tom Cruise is teaming with envy, and you'll see Wax Suri on display in the adjacent room just as soon as he and Katie adopt her.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Lisa D'Amato Puts Sky-Rocketing Career on Hold to Help the Little People

It's a snarky headline, but truly, I love this girl. I think she was the best thing that ever happened to Top Model, easily the most talented person to ever grace that show, and I think she should have won the whole damn thing. So when she showed up to support the Top Model writing staff striking for union membership, I didn't even roll my eyes at her pathetic attempt at further publicity. Unless you watch Real World, which I have (thank God) finally officially outgrown (I tried to watch Key West and I just couldn't get through an episode, and I am so proud of myself for that), it's rare these days for reality cameras to focus their sights on someone who is just so fucking drunk all the time. Remember when she talked to a fern? For, like, hours? About how neither of them really fit in anywhere? And then finally Tyra had to come in and give the girls a thinly veiled chat about "vices" and she was like "Do any of you have a vice? Do any of you drink, say, wine? Maybe a lot?" And Lisa raised her hand and Tyra was like "Yeah? Are you a wino?" and Lisa was like "Yeah," and Tyra muttered some inane thing about how vices are something we all have to overcome and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Lisa D'Amato's alcoholism was nipped in the bud thanks to Tyra Banks and the deserving writing staff of America's Next Top Model?

Yeah. That was so awesome.

Hey, Lisa, remember how you spent a good part of last year being billed as America's Drunkest Girl Ever on national television? Remember how all the stupidest and most embarrassing things you said and did while getting totally wasted, alone, in front of a bunch of sober and clueless 18-year-olds was broadcast week after week, captured for time immemorial, for the consumption of the entire country and a smattering of overseas markets? You know who you have to thank for that? You know who made damn sure you looked your very worst every single episode?

Yeah. You go, girl.

Woo Hoo My Sandy Cohen Sighting Made Defamer

I am a huge tool. I know. And his dining partner probably hates me for that "same-age" call, but whatever, I'm going to enjoy this. Have you all heard my OC stories? You haven't? Let me tell you.

Once upon a time, in that blissful long-ago age before the world was engulfed (and promptly regurgitated) by Mischa Barton et al, an unknown, recently greenlit show-that-could called "The OC" began filming in Southern California. The beach scenes were filmed in a little place far outside the Orange Curtain called Hermosa Beach. It's where I play beach volleyball. Anyone who knows me knows I take my volleyball very seriously, so when I arrived at the beach one fine day to find a fake hot-dog stand and camera crews set up next to my court, I was a little disgruntled. When they were causing such a disturbance and fuss that I couldn't even play my game, I was downright pissed off. Go film in the OC, I thought, or at the very least in Malibu. But no, they were filming in Hermosa. They were all there, Benjamin McKenzie, Adam Brody, both of them quite short and skinny (ha!) and talking incessantly on cell phones in between takes. They walked around like they owned the place, very smug without even being famous yet. "I hate you," I'd mutter under my breath, "I hope your show flops."


So FOX aired the show, and of course it didn't flop. And several months later I pull up to what is supposed to be a fabulous seafood restaurant in Marina del Rey, prepared for a lovely evening lobster dinner with my father and my sister, and there is no parking anywhere. There is no parking anywhere because the whole parking lot is filled with trailers and craft services tables. They must be filming a movie, I think. How annoying. I park really far away and begin the long walk to the restaurant, still excited for my lobster. During my walk I notice that they are, naturally, not filming a movie. They are filming "The OC." At my restaurant. With lots and lots of annoying bright lights.

Whatever. I am still going to enjoy my dinner. My plans will not be foiled by "The OC" again. I sit down, and wait 30 minutes for the waiter to take my order, because everyone who works in the place is way too busy watching them film to do their jobs. Then I wait 45 more minutes for my overcooked, gross-ass, $40 lobster. I ranted and raved and got it taken off the bill, but the damage was done. I hated "The OC" for life.

Which is why, when I sat down at dinner last weekend at a table next to Peter Gallagher's, I braced for the worst. But he really was keeping to himself and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the company of that chick, so his presence did nothing to disturb my meal or my evening, but I still thought it was worth telling Defamer about. And they ran it -- woo-hoo!! I have had a very stressful week so you can mock away, but I am going to enjoy this moment.

Mel Gibson Takes Well-Deserved Break from Being Holier Than Thou, Drives Drunk

Way to go, Melly boy! You've earned it. All those years of being so much better than everybody else are bound to take their toll on a man. TMZ reports that everyone's favorite alleged anti-Semite is trying on a new hood -- ahem, hat -- as a drunk driver. According to the report, he was pulled over early this morning in Malibu heading eastbound on PCH (side note: at what point in Malibu does PCH run eastbound?) and blew a 0.12 BAC. The legal limit in California is 0.08, so with a little mathemagic we can definitively state that Mel Gibson's blood alcohol content was 50% above the legal limit. It just kind of rolls of the tongue, doesn't it?

Update: Wow, turns out the "alleged" part was a pipe dream. Gibson spewed anti-Semitic venom at the arresting officer. Elliott Back has the highlights. Apparently the police didn't want to publicize those little details, fearing they'd be "way too inflammatory" in the face of the current situation in Israel. Does anyone ever wonder how much of this shit fell through the cracks before we had bloggers to pick it all up?

This also helps explain his apology today. In it, Gibson claims he "said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable." He also claims he has "battled the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse." Melly old son, plenty of alcoholics in this world do nothing more inflammatory than talk to ferns. It's a vicious disease, sure, but no one believes for a second that you don't hate you some Jews.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Central Park Zoo Joins Elite Ranks of NYC Cabbie Mockers

From the Central Park Zoo official website. I took a screenshot so I can be less devastated when they fix it. Since the print is so tiny on the graphic:

"The new zoo is divided into several different sections which provide the
animals with homes as close to their natural habitat as possible. These
include tropic, temperate and polar zones that house everything from tiny leafcutter ants to the hugely popular polar bears. The zoo is also actively involved the preservation of endangered species, providing a home for rare tamarin monkeys, Wyoming toads, thick-billed parrots, and red pandas. Rumors of a secret exhibit featuring English-speaking cab drivers have never been confirmed."

Someone is soooo getting fired over at Central Park. And someone (hopefully the same someone) is totally getting the blow job he was promised.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Red Snapper in Thai Green Curry with Rice

Now that we have the Lance Bass Madness out of the way, we can get to the really important thing that happened today: my second day of cooking class. Today was fish and herbs. We started by learning about the herbs, and I am now the proud owner of a chart detailing many different kinds of herbs and their many different applications, the entirety of which is largely meaningless to me. For instance, I am now armed with the knowledge that rosemary is appropriate for Mediterranean dishes, but I am totally defenseless when faced with knowing what constitutes a Mediterranean dish. I can't name a one. But they're great with rosemary!

So on to the fish. I learned about lots of fish-cooking words today, like poaching (cooking in simmering liquid), braising (cooking in a larger amount of simmering liquid), sauteeing (cooking in oil), pan frying (like sauteeing but with more oil), and steaming (I didn't take a note on this one). As of this afternoon, I would have identified all these words as synonyms. No more! This class is totally paying off.

Nandita and I selected Red Snapper in Thai Green Curry with Rice today, and (of course) we rocked it. Not really being a fish aficionado, I had plowed gracelessly through life under the faulty assumption that all fish dishes taste essentially the same. This is not true! Our class made eight different fish dishes, all of which tasted way different and way good. This will probably not result in me ordering more fish over the course of my life, but right now I like to tell myself that it will.

Also I am going to start a running tally of how many times during a 3-hour class our teacher, Miss May, can say the words "much more delicious." I took a quick sample today, and she said it 6 times in 5 minutes. She says it a lot. "You can buy your herbs dry, but if you buy them fresh they are much more delicious," or "The fish will be much more delicious if you buy it whole and then skin it," or "If you grill the green beans first they will be much more delicious." In fact, I don't know that Miss May ever says the word "delicious" without prepending the qualifying "much more." She's a fascinating and multi-layered character, that May.

Next week I believe we do poultry, so stay tuned for more of my culinary adventures!

Lance Bass is Gay (Duh)

Unless you have been holed up in your room with nothing but your gin and your Def Leppard albums for the past 15 hours or so, it should come as no suprise to you that Lance Bass is gay. If you had ever even heard of Lance Bass before today, it should come as even less of a surprise. He is gay, gay, gay, in much the same way he's been gay since the very early days of *NSync, by which I mean obviously. If you still don't believe me, TMZ has the video. He's also very much in love with Amazing Race phenom Reichen Lehmkuhl, who is clearly very important right now because the mainstream media is taking the time to spell his name right.

Starting from nearly the minute I woke up, I have received an unending barrage of IMs, emails and phone calls from people relaying this information to me. People who haven't called me in months called me today because Lance Bass is gay. So thank you for that, Lance Bass. Even stripped of your tenuous (and therefore unthreatening and marketable) heterosexuality, you are still giving young women in this country something to bond over. You're that good.

The real news here, of course, is not actually that Lance Bass is gay, because Gawker's been reporting that since sometime in the late 80s. The news here is that Lance Bass had the balls to look a mainstream media member in the face and say it. And that is awesome, and I like the guy so much more now than I ever did when he was boy-banding or faux-Cosmonauting or doing whatever it is that washed-up boy-banders do before they come out to People magazine. I'm impressed with his fearlessness and his sense of self, and also with the example he has set for Hollywood, for closeted aspiring boy-banders everywhere, and for poor Tom Cruise.

In editorial fairness, I should note that the timing of this "revelation" coincides with him pitching a gay-centric sitcom (with Joey Fatone -- whose last name, with some cryptographic magic, can be rearranged to read "Fat One," which is funny because he was the fat one), but I'm so damn impressed with the dude I am not even going to harp on that. Just don't get me started on Kat McPhee's "bulimia."

So there you have it, America: Lance Bass is gayer than the day is long. Now pour some more gin and blast Euphoria again.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ryanis: Back On!

Never content to leave the boundaries of your reality unmolested, Alanis Morrisette and Ryan Reynolds are still groping one another in public places. It's really too much for me to handle.

Why is Tom Green Judging the Miss Universe Pageant?

I suppose the better question is, why am I currently watching the Miss Universe pageant? Why did I TiVo it? But let's let bygones be bygones and deal with the issue at hand: why, oh why, is Tom Green judging it? Some of the judges make perfectly good sense: Bridgette Wilson Sampras, a former Miss Teen USA; Patrick McMullan, photographer and socialite extraordinaire; or Amelia Vega, Miss Universe 2003. Some of them kinda-sorta make sense, like Santino Rice, milking that Project Runway stint until there ain't nothin' left; or Marc Cherry, who singlehandedly reintroduced pop culture to campy with the first season of Desperate Housewives; or Claudia Jordan, a relative unknown but at least a model; or even James Lesure, who people tell me is some manner of actor. Moving another huge step down the ladder of pageant relatedness we find Sean Yazbeck, the adorable Brit who won this season's Apprentice (he called some dude a "wanker" during an interview and I have loved him ever since), who is at the very least international (and his presence is in large part explained by the fact that the Trump empire finances all these shenanigans), and NFL great Emmitt Smith, who has probably banged a lot of hot chicks in a lot of different countries.

Then we have Tom Green. Tom. Green. As far as I can recall, this guy hasn't even seen the inside of a studio since 2002 (an IMDB check reveals that he's done some cameos and failed pilots to pass the time), and the last time he was even marginally relevant to pop culture, he was singing -- poorly -- about all the places his ass had been. Even when we loved him, we loved him as a sort of national class clown, as the antithesis of everything beautiful and classy and articulate and helpful.

Now let's say you're a Miss Universe contestant. You've probably been on the pageant circuit your whole life, wearing bright red lipstick and earrings half the size of your body at age five in the Little Miss Bangkok competition, casting aside best friends and boyfriends and after-school sports and slumber parties and your family's savings in the single-minded pursuit of this dream: you wish to be, for a year, recognized as the woman in this world is the very most beautiful, classy, articulate and helpful.

Who decides? Tom Green.

How does this happen? Could they really find no one better? Does Donald Trump have some sort of vested interest in Tom Green's career? Does anyone? Did someone more appropriate pass, like Paul Reubens, or oh, say, John Ramsey? I understand that folks aren't exactly lining up to get on board Mr. Trump's sinking ship o' pageantry, but Tom Green?

I welcome your thoughts on the matter.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

This is probably the greatest website I've seen in awhile. It's like mySpace for goths. My first instinct was to point and laugh, and I spent some time clicking through all the profiles getting a kick out of the heavy-duty angst. But after awhile I noticed something -- there's a sense of real camaraderie here, to an extent I've never seen matched by another networking site. It smacks you right in the face, perhaps because it's so unexpected when juxtaposed with dark art and occult screen names. It's obvious from the profiles that a lot of these kids (and some adults) are having a less-than-ideal time coping with life right now, but it's cool that they have this forum to express themselves and rally around one another while they try to find their way. Score one for the Internet.

Friday, July 21, 2006

My (Virtual) Plane Ride

Those of you who know me well understand that I am terrified of flying. Those of you who have actually flown with me understand it at an even deeper level, because in my drugged-up drunken haze I have probably done something gracious like stabbed you in the eye with a pencil or poured my wine on your lap. A typical day in which I have to fly goes something like this:

T-12 hr: cry, try to determine whether it is feasible to drive instead
T-5 hr: continue crying, realize it is not feasible to drive instead
T-4 hr: begin drinking
T-3 hr: take the first half of my anti-anxiety medicine (never, ever to be mixed with alcohol)
T-2.9 hr: continue drinking
T-2 hr: arrive at airport
T-1.8 hr: take the second half of my anti-anxiety medicine (never, ever, ever, to be mixed with alcohol)
T-1.7 hr: arrive at airport bar
T-1.75 hr: drink
T-0.5 hr: board airplane and immerse myself drunkenly in a crossword puzzle
T-0 hr: panic, order drink, panic

Clearly this is not ideal. It is an extremely stressful process for me, and I blame it exclusively for the two wrinkles I have discovered on my forehead. Honestly, my heart rate has picked up just writing about it. Just thinking about having to be on an airplane sends my body into panic.

So I, the empowered young up-and-comer that I am, have decided to do something about it. I did a lot of research on phobia therapists in the Los Angeles area, and I decided on this one, the Virtual Reality Medical Center. They use a desensitization process, like most phobia therapists, but instead of taking lots of trips to the airport, they use a virtual reality environment to simulate being on a plane. It sounded pretty cool, and their results have been great. It's pricy ($200 for a 45-minute session), but I decided that if it could help me it would be worth every penny.

I started going there for treatment a couple months ago, and during our first few sessions we worked on using abdominal breathing to control my heart rate. My doctor hooked me up to a biofeedback device, which monitors breathing, heart rate, temperature, etc, so I can watch it all on a computer screen. I learned to breathe using my abdomen rather than my chest, and if I timed the in-and-out just right, I would start to see my heart rate drop to very low levels. It produces an incredible calm, and I started to understand why people want to join monasteries and meditate all day. You'd be so relaxed all the time you wouldn't even mind that you are a monk.

Once you are a breathing superstar (and I am -- my doctor was quite pleased at how well I could lower my heart rate -- and I am such a freaking Lisa Simpson that I called my mother later to brag about this and receive accolades), you get to take your first virtual flight. Today was that day for me. I was psyched.

My doctor took me into my normal biofeedback room (which, I should mention, has several rows of airplane seats set up in it), seated me in the front row of the airplane and hooked me up to the biofeedback equipment. Then he loaded up the VR software. The menu had all sorts of options for a range of phobias -- virtual airplane, virtual large crowd, virtual storm, virtual Vietnam (at this point I wanted to be like "screw the airplane, I want to play the Vietnam game!" but decided that would seem insensitive). We spent about 5 minutes working on my breathing, and then he put the VR helmet on my head.

This shit is super cool. All of a sudden, I was on a grounded airplane. I could turn my head around and look up, down, out the window, behind me, anywhere. There was a magazine in the virtual seatback and I had half a mind to pick it up and read it (I eventually decided that wouldn't work and I'd look stupid). Now normally seeing the inside of an airplane -- even on television -- sends my body into panic mode, but I kept doing my breathing and I felt fine. We began taxiing (the seat starts to rumble a little), and I still felt fine. Eventually we took off, and -- wait for it -- I still felt fine. The plane kept cruising to a higher and higher altitude, and I was looking out the window (something I would never, ever do on an actual plane flight), and I was still okay. Part of me thinks that this was because I was aware that the environment was simulated, but I normally have a very physical reaction to anything about airplanes -- seeing them in the sky, in a movie, reading about them, even writing this blog entry -- anything airplane-related quickens my breathing and starts my heart racing. But as long as I continued to do my special breathing (at which I am a superstar), I was amazingly calm even in the simulated airplane environment.

I am clearly not cured -- as I'd mentioned before, even writing this blog entry has my stomach in knots -- but this is a very, very good start. During our next session we are going to deal with turbulence, weather phenomena, and landing, so we'll see how I handle that. But in general I am very pleased with my progress, and would encourage anyone who has a fear of flying or Vietnam to consider this approach.

Matthew McConaughey Loves Himself

I'd feel bad for him, except, really, dude, there are less public places for a blog darling to do his yoga. So instead I just kind of wish I'd thought to do this first.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I Have Been Soaking My Toe in Ice All Night

In today's modern world, man can walk on the moon, planes can fly at the speed of sound, babies can be conceived in test tubes and naked chicks can protest nanopants, yet the doctors assure me that nothing can be done for my toe. It is at the least sprained and quite possibly fractured, and I limp around the office all day like an amputee, but apparently a very serious toe injury is something you just wait out. For weeks, I'm told. It was suggested that I soak my toe in ice at night and take Advil in the morning. Why do we even have doctors?

Dare to Care: Eddie Murphy and Scary Spice to Wed

It's a really, really, really slow news day, otherwise I wouldn't force this link upon anyone, but Eddie Murphy and Mel C (aka Scary Spice), plan to wed in September. I'm really sorry about this, guys. The least relevant Baldwin got in a car accident, too, but that's about it today.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cooking School

Tonight was so much fun! Unfortunately it takes 45 minutes to go the 11 miles to Culver City in rush-hour traffic, but once I actually got there it was great. The first hour we sat classroom-style and listened to our fabulous instructor, May Parich, teach us about knife skills. I learned all the different types of knives and lots of ways to cut things -- diced, julienne...okay I forget the rest. But I never really understood how people successfully dice things, and May taught us how to hold and cut a veggie to get a lovely diced shape. I know most of you are giggling right now, but this was huge for me.

The next hour and a half was spent cooking one of eight recipes in teams of two. We pulled the recipe out of a hat. My partner (my friend Nandita) and I chose California Chopped Salad. The instructor told as at the start that we had by far the hardest recipe, and that most of the other teams would probably finish first, so they would probably end up assigning some of them to help us finish. We, in all our type-A glory, took this as a direct challenge. We set to work.

We had to roast a beet (it wasn't evil), grill green beans and asparagus (harder than you'd think -- one or two good green men went overboard on the grill), dice just about every veggie imaginable, make a vinaigrette (whisking was involved), crumble bleu cheese, and toss, but we were so on top of it. By the time Miss May came around to check our progress and call in back-up, we were done. Never tell two MBAs they can't finish a cooking task on deadline. May was way impressed. We rocked it.

The end of class was the best -- we got to eat the food. Everyone had done a wonderful job with their recipes; we toasted to Miss May and our own culinary genius, and we chowed down. All in all, a marvelous evening which I am confident is my first step toward my appearance on Top Chef. Can't wait to go back next week!

Brace Yourself

Paris Hilton's single just came on my Pandora box. This is really happening. Hang on tight, kids.

Also, I think there's some sort of tension brewing in the middle east and -- I'm serious now -- Macauley Culkin and Mila Kunis are still dating.

I am off to cooking school for the evening! I will tell you all about it tomorrow! V. v. excited!

Today in Pictures

Enough about the ferret. Can we talk about that dress??

It's About Time: Arkansas Gov. Pardons Keith Richards

In a show of the tolerance and love for fellow man we've come to find all but synonymous with the state of Arkansas, Governor Mike Huckabee proudly joins the ranks of the pardon-happy AR governors who came before him -- he and the state Parole Board approved an application for clemency that will, after nearly 31 painful years, return Keith Richards' good name to an unblemished state. The Rolling Stones guitarist pleaded guilty to reckless driving in the state in 1975, and Huckabee was deeply concerned that Richards' feelings about Arkansas were "marred by a misdemeanor traffic stop." Because, you know, Arkansas is great otherwise.

Jessica Simpson's "Public Affair"

The video premieres tonight on MTV. You'll be able to see it on MTV Overdrive for the first 24 hours after that -- here's a clip until then.

Update: The "star-studded" video is on Overdrive now (thanks, East Coast!). Hey, remember in 8th grade when you and all your girlfriends ran out of boys to call at your slumber party, so you grabbed your mom's video camera and your Madonna tape and decided you'd make a music video to go to "Holiday?" So you curl your hair and you put on make-up and your big sister's cutest clothes and you devise a storyline and everyone has lines and solo dance parts, and your little brother is filming and so his dog has to be in it, too, and you're all very excited about your music video, but you're mostly all new to this whole being-in-a-music-video/dancing-on-camera thing -- which doesn't mean you won't try your hardest -- but you're 28 now and your mom pulled the tape out last week and watching it was so unbelievably awkward? Yeah. It's kind of like that.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lindsay "Lowen" Shills for ProActiv

A daily coke habit gets expensive. Below, La Lohan makes her ProActiv debut, with only the slightest hint of disgust and resentment in her voice. Seriously, why is she doing this ad? Does she really need the money and/or exposure?

Also notable:

1) She pronounces her last name "Lowen," and the voice-over does the same.
2) I think they've sampled Tupac's "Changes" for the background music. Tell me I'm wrong.

In related news: Paris Hilton is still a raging bitch. She's also totally banging Brandon Davis, fresh out of rehab. This girl is class all the way.

And in ProActiv alumna news: Jessica Simpson has a camel toe. Her skin don't look that great either...

Today Could Be Worse (7/18/06)

You could be Christie Brinkley.

I Have Sprained My Toe

The second one from the left on my right foot. Unbelievable. I walk with a limp now. 50 Cent shakes his head, mutters something inaudible, walks off...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Shannon's Kind of Hit-or-Miss

But this one's out of the ballpark. I love this girl. Since blogs began to replace mainstream news media for most of the sub-30 set, we've lost touch, I think, with the blogs of old -- the sordid life stories teenagers swapped on, before we even called them "blogs." It's refreshing to see someone write a blog as a diary again; I commend her for putting herself out there for our voyeuristic pleasure.

Although I am fairly convinced the seemingly genuine excitement surrounding all things Snakes on a Plane is just the whole country teaming up to play a trick on me. At first I thought maybe people were into it in a so-bad-it's-good kind of way, but then I realized they were serious. People are totally psyched for this movie. I don't get it. I so do not have my finger on the pulse of this country.

Update: Okay I lied. This is genius.

Drugs Are Bad, Mm-kay?

This 19-year-old self-described "Bridge Troll" was arrested last week after demanding a $1 fee from joggers and bikers wanting to cross his bridge. It later came out that he was high on LSD, but it doesn't make this any less funny. His friend claims he was having a "bad trip" -- and granted my understanding of LSD highs is limited at best -- but I thought a "bad trip" was one where you, like, are absolutely fucking certain that the hula-hooping alligator laid an egg in your stomach when you talked to her and you have to cut yourself open right fucking now before the baby alligator hatches and eats you from the inside out. Thinking you are a bridge troll just sounds like a regular trip. Or is it just necessarily a bad trip when it culminates in your arrest?

Also, Justin Timberlake is tired of you thinking he's such a fucking square. He can get high with the best of them. He just doesn't, you know, film it and sell it to UPN.

Breaking: Americans Are Getting Fatter!

When I hear about this sort of thing, I tend to tune it out. I live on LA's Westside, hang out in South Bay and venture occasionally into Hollywood if someone else is driving. These obese people storming the nation feel mythical to me, all horned and bearded, unkempt, charging forward into our great nation carrying some manner of pole arm and a chicken wing. I never see anyone beyond a size 6 around here.

I know we hear about the fat people incessantly these days, but MSN had the courtesy and the summer interns to track the stampede graphically, and it's actually kind of sad.

Sadder still is that, while watching this multichromatic masterpiece of investigative journalism, I realized that I don't know my states. On an unlabeled map of the continental US, I can pick out Cali, Arizona, Florida and Texas, and after that I am truly stumped. Befuddled. Not even New York. How did this happen? I feel the system has failed me.

My Cats Are Totally Bulimic

It's true. I swear. I always said that if we continued to talk about how fat they were while they were in the room, they would eventually develop a complex; they did, and it manifested itself in the form of feline bulimia. It's very much the new silent killer.

Nothing substantive has changed; I feed them the same food, in the same amounts, at the same times, like I have for years. The difference recently is that they purge within minutes. It's become a part of my morning routine: get up, feed cats, watch cats eat, hear cats puke, clean up cat puke and look disparagingly at offending cat. I feel so helpless. Nothing I do or say seems to matter. Sigh. This is totally my ex's fault.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Et Tu, Britney?

Does anyone else feel betrayed by her lately? Maybe it's just me. I used to feel such a kinship with her. When she first came out with "...Baby One More Time," the great unheralded domestic abuse diatribe of our generation (I would pay a great deal to hear the Tori Amos cover), I felt she was overrated and overexposed. It was nice to see that the oft-ignored ellipse had finally forced its way into that inpenetrable fortress of pop culture, but beyond that, I felt the song was catchy but otherwise unremarkable. But Britney kept at it, and to some extent I found a place for her in my heart. When she released "Oops!...I Did It Again," I cringed with the rest of the grammar cognoscenti, but I related. I was 19, like Britney, and had suffered my share of heartbreak. I had done it again, I had become caught up in the game, &c. I felt we were really growing up together -- like the way my mother developed an obsession with Princess Di when they were pregnant together (my mom with me, Di with my betrothed, Prince William) -- Britney and I were facing young womanhood head-on, side by side. We were in this together. She had my back, much like Lil' Kim and Christina Aguilera would down the road. "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" really sealed the deal for me, because, YES, Britney, I was not a girl anymore, but I was not quite yet a woman. It was a tough time. I understood you. The Justin break-up was real rough, but I was there with you. I fought tooth and nail for ya, Brit. I was even with you through the Kabbalah, Brit, as a fellow Jew-when-it's -convient, even though I could have told you from the start that Madonna was Bad News Bears. She only wants you when you can help her career. You should have known that. I would have told you. She's on to Lohan now. So sad.

When you married Kevin, I stood up for you. True love knows no social barriers, Brit, and he clearly had weed hook-ups that money can't buy. You can't help who or why you love. I would have advised against "Chaotic," but if you needed the whole world to know you're a stoner, hey, that's kind of like Step One, right? I backed you up. It must be hard to grow up in the spotlight, and you were doing the best you knew how. I was right there with you.

Then you did this, and the whole world realized that Leslie Sloan Zelnick was not as overpaid as we'd previously believed. (Rachel Zoe still is. Please, Rachel, get Lindsay out of the leggings and ballets. No, not later, right now.) Britney, sans publicist, make-up artists and hairstylists: you are a moron. You can take the girl out of Kentwood, Brit, but you can't take the Kentwood out of the girl. You are a gum-smacking, kid-birthing, hick-fucking, algebra-failing, Grade-A moron when left to your own devices. You don't make any sense. You ramble like an drunk. You air-quote everything. You twirl your hair. It is truly crushing. I'd bought into a manufactured image of you, and I was so disappointed when it all came crumbling down. I don't hate you; I'm sure you are genuinely trying to do what's right by yourself and your family, but you are so painfully misguided when it comes to the execution that it's difficult to watch. You are infinitely watchable now no longer as a rock star but as a trainwreck. It's really too bad, Brit.

You're like the guy I never wanted to date in the first place, but he was so confident; he was so sure he could offer me everything I ever wanted, so in-my-face, pushing his product every way I turned; I gave in and said yes. I bought into the hype. You both broke my heart. But it's okay, sweetheart. I forgive you both. I will toss aside my Britney Spears Life Guidebook, pick up the new Christina Aguilera album, and trudge forward, discouraged but never without faith.

Everyone in LA Has a Screenplay

This is not entirely true. To be fair, some of them just have a pilot. But they are all very, very good pilots -- kind of like Sex and the City meets Entourage -- and they all have a very, very well-connected friend. None of them would be doing this if they weren't really confident that they could get this thing sold. Really.

I have neither a screenplay nor a pilot. I'm not much of a writer. What I do have is a limitless supply of solid-gold reality show pitches. My latest is truly a gem: America's Next Top Poet. Here's my vision: you scour the country for 15 aspiring poets. These are people who honestly, as adults, will answer the question "What do you do?" by speaking -- aloud -- the words "I'm a poet." I'm pretty sure you could put these people in a house in the Valley with video cameras and leave it at that, and you have a fairly solid mid-season replacement. But let's take it a step farther and give them weekly poetry-related tasks. You leave them in a room alone with a rusty, dripping sink and let them write a poem about it. Or you van them all to Six Flags (they drive there to everyone's favorite stock footage of the 405 meeting Sunset), stick them on a rollercoaster with a pen and pad and make them write a poem while they're on the ride. You host a spelling bee. You leave them alone with refrigerator poetry magnets and a refrigerator. Even better -- leave all of them alone together with a fixed set of magnets and 15 refrigerators. They can fight over who grabs "parallax" and "gauche" first. They all have blatantly self-appointed names that stretch the boundaries of language and normalcy more so than their poetry ever could -- names like Phurie and Djordj and Seaszhell -- and they meet weekly for elimination ceremonies at the Getty gardens. They read their poetry and they argue with one another over who deserves to go home and why. They say things like "anapest" and "trope" and "enjambment" and "lying whore;" they breach alliances. They are all dressed inanely -- quilted skirts and bike helmets and AC/DC tees -- and you've assembled some panel of utterly unknown "professional poets" to kick one of them off each week. The winner gets $100,000 (to kick-start their poetry "career") and some series of poems run in The Atlantic. Jeff Goldblum hosts. You can't lose.

My contact info is on the blog.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Women who Work at Coast Nails All Have Names

Unfortunately, I appear to be the only client in the place who doesn't know any of them. I've been going there for years for the same fill-and-French (that sounds kinda dirty), and at least a few of them seem to know mine -- they greet me by name when I walk in -- and I haven't the foggiest idea how. Did they get it off of my checks? I have never introduced myself by name to any of them, and I don't really talk to them much while I'm sitting in there. In fact, every time I go in there, no matter which young Vietnamese manicurist I'm paired with, we have the same conversation:

Manicurist: You want French?
Me: Yes, please.
Manicurist: We do gel?
Me: Yes, please.
Manicurist: And cuticles?
Me: Yes, please.
Manicurist (noting that I'm wearing business attire): You work today?
Me: Yes.
Manicurist: Ah.

It goes like this every. Single. Time. I think they like to confirm that I am still employed and then, with renewed faith in the check I will later write out to cash, focus on my nails and engage in subsonic Vietnamese-language conversations with their coworkers (honestly, I will hear what sounds like brush rustling at the other end of the salon, and the woman working on my nails will nod, pick up the third nail file from the left, and walk it over to someone who I swear is fifty yards away from her, yet clearly just requested its delivery -- it's unbelievable and raises all sorts of embarrassing points about how incredibly loud we are as Americans, but I won't get into that right now).

All of this is beside the point. The point is that, on cursory inspection, all the clients in the place seem to have a relationship with these women similar to the one I have. No one is having an animated conversation with her manicurist; there is an obvious language barrier and, to our crude American ears, most of what these women say is inaudible anyway. Everyone has her face buried in a magazine or is talking to a friend. But I noticed something today: they all know the names of the women who work here. A client will walk in, be greeted by name, and say hello back, by name. Here is my question: when does this name exchange happen? I am not unfriendly, I am not cold, I am not stupid, I am not forgetful, but I have absolutely no idea what the name is of a single one of the women who work here. Is there a Coast Nails facebook that someone forgot to send me? Am I not on the Coast Nails happy hour email distribution? Not a single one of them has introduced herself to me. They do not wear name tags. I tip quite generously. What am I missing?

Paris Hilton Lacks Long-Term Vision

I woke up this morning with Paris Hilton's single running through my head. This is discouraging in and of itself, but what's worse is I spent a good portion of my morning routine thinking about the song. It's pleasantly ironic, I think, that a young woman widely regarded as America's Whore chooses to spend the entire three minutes and fifty-four seconds of her first music video writhing around half-naked on a beach singing a song -- a damn catchy song, if we're all being honest -- about how stars are blind.