Monday, October 27, 2008

Thin Ice: An Interactive Observation

My friend, Andy, was lamenting a recent family outing to “Nemo: On Ice.” Why, he wondered, when his son was perfectly happy watching Nemo swim on DVD, should he have to pay $45 a head to watch Nemo swim on ice? I assured him that once a child hits seven or eight, shows “On Ice” lose their magic.

But it turns out ice isn’t just for preschoolers anymore. In their next maneuver to take over the planet one catchy tune at a time, the producers of Disney’s cash cow, “High School Musical,” have taken Troy, Gabriella, and friends from East High to “High School Musical: On Ice!”

Ever the innovators, it seems Disney has broken new ground for more mature shows to hit the ice. And, quite honestly, I’m glad. I think it’s about time someone took “On Ice” to the next level.

They could start with “Sex and the City” which proved timeless this summer, drawing throngs of ladies, gay men, and reluctant boyfriends to the theaters long after Carrie Bradshaw seemed to have closed her book. Surely Dolce & Gabbana can design something fabulous enough for four hotties to triple axel in with a string of men (yes, Samantha Jones, I’m talking about you!) and Manolo Blahnik can branch out into lace-ups – think “Ice-Capades-Meets-Sex-Capades” – and SATC could be resurrected yet again. The title might need some work, though, as “Sex and the City: On Ice” sounds uncomfortably cold.

There are plenty of movies begging for blades and a new audience, the key is picking the right show. For instance, “Gandhi: On Ice” and “Schindler’s List: On Ice” might sound very exciting to watch, as both were fantastic on the big screen, but the starvation diet those characters seemed to thrive on isn’t going to power the typical professional skater for a three-hour-long performance. And I can think of more than one obvious reason why no one should ever produce “Titanic: On Ice.”

So I suppose if I were to pick an Oscar-winner that I wanted to see on skates, it would have to be “Jaws: On Ice,” complete with ice-skating surfers and life guards and starring a giant Zamboni disguised as man-eating sushi. The kids would love it.

And speaking of jumping the shark, what I wouldn’t do for someone to bring us “Happy Days: On Ice.” I see poodle skirts and leather with a juke box off to the side. The whole gang could twist away at Arnold’s and find some way to get Mrs. C all worked up about nothing while Big Al keeps flipping burgers. Yep, yep, yep, just like the good old days. They could bring back the whole cast too, Joanie, Chachi, Ralph, Potsie, and the Fonz. Not Richie Cunningham, though. By then, the demand for blockbusters on blades will skyrocket, and Richie will be too busy resurrecting Daryl Hannah for her big comeback, “Splash: On Ice.”

Although, come to think of it, I’m pretty sure Disney has already done that one. Those folks at Disney are always a step ahead of the rest of us, aren’t they? Why, I bet they’re already putting together the next HSM installment, “College Musical: Broadway Comes to Berkley”.

Hmmm… I wonder if I’m too late to audition for the part of Troy Bolton’s house mom???

(Dedicated to Andy, KK, and Ice Fans everywhere)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Economic Crisis

I’m probably never allowed into TJ Maxx again (long story, that, fortunately, ends with no jail time for me), but on that final trip, I bought a fabulous purse for twenty bucks.

Dave wasn’t impressed.

“If your purse was only twenty bucks,” he said, staring at the receipt, “why were you charged ninety?”

“Darling,” I started, “the first purse I picked up was $130. When I found the $20 purse, I decided to go ahead and buy a pair of black tights and black boots to go with the new black dress I bought last week.”

Blank stare.

“On my birthday?”

Furled eyebrows.

“Fifteen dollars off?”

Head cocked to the side. “Don’t you already have black boots?” he asked.

“Yes, but those are old,” I said slowly, so he would be able to follow, “and I’ve worn the heels down so much I was afraid I might fall on the ice this winter. I’m just trying to save us a little money.”

“By buying new boots?” He still didn’t get it.

“New, safer boots,” I clarified, “that won’t cause costly injuries. Plus, they were on sale, so I saved fifty dollars on the spot!”

“You ‘saved’ fifty dollars?” This was way over his head.

“Yes, I did, but wait, there’s more,” I said proudly. “When I tried on the black tights and black boots with the black dress, I decided the tights and boots would actually look better with a different top, like this hot little satiny number I got for seventy-five percent off!!”

I held the new shirt up to me for him to admire, but he clearly wasn’t as excited as I was.

“Don’t you see? Fifty off the boots, fifteen off the dress, thirty-three off the new top, and one hundred ten with the cheaper purse? That’s almost two hundred dollars I’ve saved in less than a week!”

Damn, I thought, I should have gone into finance. I totally could have come up with a bailout plan…

“Honey, fifty plus fifteen plus thirty-three plus one hundred ten is actually over two hundred,” Rainman replied.

“Yesss, even better! I am a budgeting genius!” I shouted.

“And,” he added, “you really aren’t saving any money by spending it.”

Why is this so hard for him to understand? I didn’t have time to re-do the math for him, though. I simply kissed him on the cheek and smiled as I grabbed my keys.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“To find a new purse,” I said, walking to the door. “I’ll be back soon.”

“What’s wrong with the one you just bought?”

I glanced at my new purse. “This is brown,” I said.

Back to the blank stare.

sigh. “I just told you I bought a pair of black boots.”

Eyebrows furled again.

“I can’t carry this,” I said, holding up the new brown purse, “with these,” I continued, kicking out my right foot, covered in a new black boot.

He started to speak, but I beat him to it. “Oh, don’t worry. I’m not planning on spending all of the $200 I just saved on one purse,” I said, looking back at him lovingly. I couldn’t help but laugh, “that would be fiscally irresponsible!”

Now that I’ve solved the economic crisis, I’m working on a way to end all wars with an international cake-decorating contest and dance-off to be judged by the Dalai Lama, the Pope, and, of course, David Hasselhoff. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mother of the Groom

The scene was not unlike many other wedding receptions across the country. Nervous groom slips the garter off of blushing bride to toss to his single friends. The guys elbow one another, nudging each other to the front of the pack, but their hands never leave their pockets. “Oh Yeah” is playing in the background.

Enter the seven-year-old kid (mine) eager to show off his recently-acquired skills from six weeks of coach-pitch baseball by diving to the parquet dance floor, risking bloody nose and broken glasses to catch a lacy piece of elastic, while the groom’s single friends take a collective three steps back, making said seven-year-old the next man present to take a wife.

And I have been in the market for a Mother-of-the-Groom dress ever since. Fortunately, I have plenty of time to botox the wrinkles, tone the triceps, and find a subdued yet milfy beige number well before his big day.

In the meantime, I am working hard on molding Luke into the perfect catch.

Starting in the bedroom. I’ve got to find a way to get my Mama’s Boy to sleep in his own bed. I doubt his future wife will appreciate waking up alone every morning because Luke drove over to our house in the middle of the night to sleep next to me. He has no clue what he could possibly get from his wife that he can’t get with his mom right next to him throughout the night, and I’m not ready to go into great detail with him. But soon enough, I’m sure, he will replace the picture of me that currently sits on his nightstand with one of Miley Cyrus (but not that tacky one with her dad), and the last thing Luke will want is to wake up next to his mother. I hope.

Dinner, however, should be a piece of cake. Literally. He would also settle for pizza, hot dogs, or cheeseburgers and will eat any vegetable that rhymes with “Flinch Flies.” His beautiful wife can also look forward to an occasional night of fine dining at IHOP for the Funny Face Pancake Combo and a chocolate milk.

There are a few items my future daughter-in-law may need to be prepared to negotiate, though, before heading to Macy’s to register. Whatever they decide as a couple is fine with me, but she should know I’ve told him that as soon as he has his own house he is welcome to adopt an entire litter of Komodo dragons, grow his hair as long as Slash’s, and buy as many tarantulas, light sabers, and Mountain Dew vending machines as he can afford.

And speaking of what he can afford, Luke does not yet have a job. Or a college degree. And he’s still 10 years away from his high school diploma. But no worries. He has a bright future ahead of him --- nearly as bright as the glittery blue plastic ring he found in the Target parking lot a couple years ago and, I assume, can only be saving to give to the lucky lady with whom he intends to spend the rest of his life. He is a forward-thinking boy. Even at his young age, Luke has already ruled out careers as Spiderman (still can’t shoot out a web), Superman (tried leaping a tall building once, luckily he was wearing a helmet), and Jedi Knight (the commute was too far, far away), and has decided on a career in aviation. All he needs now is Lasik and the keys to a 747.

So there’s plenty of work left to do, but I have faith Luke’s future wife will be more than pleased with the end result. In fact, she will be positively giddy with excitement to have such a handsome, kind-hearted and capable young man for her husband.

Her mother-in-law, on the other hand, is a whole different story…

Monday, October 6, 2008

Absence of Newman: An Interactive Tribute

It seems I have a vacancy on my list. You know, the “list” brought to us by the cast of “Friends” in the 1990’s, where each partner in a relationship is allowed a list of (up to) five people he or she is allowed to leave the other for without question or argument.

Dave has long held the same five, a list that is carefully laminated and folded, safe in his wallet, should the opportunity to run away with Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Ashley Judd, Jenna Elfmann, or Fergie (the American, not the Brit) ever arise.

I, on the other hand, have had more of a revolving list kept tidy and orderly on a sort of mental dry-erase board. Several names have come and gone: George Brett, Antonio (Banderas and Sabato, Jr.), and Nate Berkus.

Brad Pitt made the original list until he left Jen for Angie and I removed him in protest of his poor moral character. Then I caught “Troy” on HBO one night and decided Mom was wrong; sometimes what’s on the outside counts more than what lies within, and so Brad is back on. (Though I’ll admit, I’ve probably got a better shot at Nate.)

There are a couple of original names which still remain today (Bono and Harry Connick, Jr.) as well as a near-original (George Clooney). And then, tragically, there is one I was recently forced to remove, the very first man on any list I’ve ever made, Paul Newman.

I was in eighth grade when I first met Paul Newman. Our class had been herded to the school cafeteria for a special treat, where Sister Kathleen, in her infinite and holy wisdom, let us all watch “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, a movie which will long live as one of the most influential films in my formation as a woman with needs.

Paul Newman forever redefined “Cool” and “Fast” with the names “Luke” and “Eddie” and set a high bar for all of mankind in the areas of sex appeal, philanthropy, and organic popcorn. But it was his run from the law with Robert Redford that set him permanently in my heart. I delight in the na├»ve but wishful thinking that, were it not for the 66-year difference in age, he would have left the steak at home and taken this hamburger out for a spin around the race track.

Which brings me back to the list. Paul Newman will not be easy to replace. No other man on earth has such stunning blue eyes that gaze into my very soul or can turn me on with a simple, “Sorry I’m late, I was taking a crap.” The next guy to fill the empty slot has to be able to ride a horse off a cliff, school Tom Cruise in pool, and whip up some killer marinara, and I just don’t think Zac Efron is ready for that – yet.

But according to George Carlin, and he was the king of tact, I have a year before I can tastefully replace a dear departed lover with a new one. So I suppose there’s time to look around, which is a good thing. Because among the many alluring and talented men that walk our planet, there was only one man we called Paul Newman.

(dedicated to Kay)