Monday, February 25, 2013

Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland

The Foxy Fantasy (cue "Lara's Theme" from Doctor Zhivago):

3-inch Heels

The Clodhopper Reality (cue Paul Simon's "Slip Slidin' Away":

3-inch Rubber Soles

I still haven't developed the "bum hockeys" that kept my grandmother, the inimitable Nanny,  off the streets when she was in her nineties, so my preferred mode of transportation is shank's mare. Even in the winter.

For the most part, the fashion boots are ancient history, and I stride along in the hikers or the comfort shoes, but I have to say my neighbors don't make it easy.  Not my neighbors here in the condo complex where all pay our maintenance fees and the driveways, walks, and stairs are plowed and shoveled and strewn with ice melt while we sleep.  

Our landscape company is so assiduous that one clear dry day in January, when there had been no snow to speak of all season, I saw--and heard--one of them with the industrial strength leaf blower, the one that sounds like an Everglades fan-boat, blowing one leaf and a small twig along the hundred feet of driveway behind our building.  When I, ahem, questioned the management company as to why we were spending good money, creating noise pollution, and emitting gasoline fumes to tidy up one leaf, they told me not to worry, that it was included in our overall fees.  

So, no, it is not my fellow owners who are the problem.  It's those poor excuses for citizens who live on the surrounding streets.  Yes, it's cranky rant time, but the more lavish the house, the worse the shoveling.  People, just because you are going to get into your Behemoth 750 tank-mobile to drive down the street to mail a letter, doesn't mean that I don't need to use your sidewalk.  Are you doing so poorly that you have to chintz on the snow-blowing?  Do you tell the guy you hired to clear the snow to ignore anything that doesn't lead from your front steps to your driveway?  Do you ask him to pile the snow extra-high between your house and the next  so the plebeians have to mogul-jump into the street to make progress? Would it kill you provide a curb cut once in a while?  You ought to care about liability, if nothing else, but maybe it doesn't occur to you when you fly off to St. Bart's or Santa Barbara that there are other people on Planet Snow.

Aside to Town Officials:  why don't you send around someone to give them tickets?  There are ordinances requiring sidewalk clearing, and I'm sure the fines could help out the budget.  Maybe you could even cut down on those pesky Sunday morning speed traps along Route 9, you know, the ones near my house. I'd like that very much, please and thank you.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Vatican Stomp (Consider Yourself Warned About Content)

I once responded to an inquiry about my religious beliefs by saying that I was a vague pantheist. When my ex-husband applied to have our marriage annulled after 10 years I told him to list me as a Taoist, and never heard another thing about the Tribunal paying a visit. The fact of the matter is that I am a natural born atheist who was imprisoned for sixteen years in the Catholic educational system.

I wish there were a word other than atheist; no-god-nik sounds so negative, but it will do for now. For anyone who is religious who reads this, please understand that I don't hold it against you, that I really don't understand your beliefs any better than you understand mine, and that I would think it just ducky to agree to disagree on this matter for the moment. I don't proselytize, and I'd like the rest of you to return the favor. But, excuse me, I have some extreme schadenfreude to luxuriate in.

On to the Pope-a-Dope, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Rope-A-Dope. It is with extreme delight that I notice that I have lived to see the day that the His Royal Infallibleness resigns over a juicy, sleazy scandal worthy of the raggiest of the checkout counter rags. Sex! Blackmail! Financial Shenanigans! The trifecta of slime. I can only hope that it might be enough to knock those unsightly celebrity cellulite photos off their covers for a while, and, really, editors, those photos of a snarling Duchess Camilla are so yesterday.

For myself, I am pleased our of all whooping that the Pope and his Vatican gang are being tried in the court of public opinion and found wanting. They have never hesitated to publicly humiliate, silence, and punish those who have the temerity to disagree with their doctrines and policies, from first graders right on up to prelates, so why should anyone hold back now. This time the men in red can't pull that old “render unto Caesar” Twinkie defense—they have broken their own commandments, the ones written in stone many millennia ago.

I know that nothing much will change.  The Vatican is never going to agree to live in the future, Twitter accounts and Prada slippers notwithstanding.  A few more mealy-mouthed apologies will be issued, crimes will be chalked up to human weakness, and no one will admit that the system is flawed.  The boys will keep the "Stinky Girls Stay Out" sign on the clubhouse door.  The conclave will probably elect the African cardinal on the grounds that it will create the illusion of change and divert public attention from the suppurating mess of the scandal.

In the meantime, the notoriety is better for my mood than a bottle of Prosecco (or, as we call it in my house “Prozacco.") So what if it is only a sideshow to the other crimes they have committed and covered up? I have shed enough tears over the abuse scandals. No more hand-wringing. I want to Par-Tay. So, if you're happy and you know it, raise your foot and join me in doing a little Vatican Stomp. Let's see some sacrilege. You know you want to. 

And when you finish with that, take a listen to this:
The original and still the greatest, Tom Lehrer's Vatican Rag

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Post the First: In Which I Receive an Invitation and Inaugurate a Blog

For more than a decade I have been receiving direct mail come-ons from AARP. Right into the garbage bag they have gone along with invitations to transfer my credit card balances, catalogs from retailers I have never patronized, and requests from any number of worthy organizations who would like to send a truck to my house to pick up my household items. (Alas, they never want to pick up the truly unwanted items such as dust bunnies, water-stained ceiling tile, or the musty old suitcases in the storage closet. They only want things like my food processor or my second-best reading lamp.)

The other day, however, I received an actual, shiny, red-white-and-blue AARP membership card, albeit temporary, which is still lying on my desk, tempting me. If I reply within a month and send them sixteen bucks I will be able to take advantage of their many, but vaguely described, benefits including “Representation in Washington and all 50 states.” Sorry, AARP, I don't find that compelling as I really feel I have enough lollygagging, thick-headed, pork-barreling representation in those quarters already.

There is something that tempts me, though.  If I register NOW I will GET A BONUS GIFT. “As a 'thank you' for joining, we'll send you a FREE added bonus—this handy Dashboard Buddy.” A Dashboard Buddy! Who could resist? Doesn't everyone need a Dashboard Buddy? Yes! Yes! It's free. I want it. I need it. Wait! Wait! What the heck IS a “Dashboard Buddy?” (AARP Health Advisory: Excess emphasis and unnecessary “punctuation” IS catching, and there is, as yet, no preventative vaccine.)

It is hard to tell about the DB, because the far from luscious photo isn't very crisp and it's in Black and White because, of course, all Golden Agers are “nostalgic” for the days Black and White. Days when you didn't need to worry if you were the four billionth person to view Gangnam Style instead of the first, and you only watched it because you thought it was someone dancing “The Pony” which you danced when you were thirteen or fourteen and wishing you had white go-go boots and lived next door to Fabian. The days before you needed a handy Dashboard Buddy which appears to be a cosmetic bag missing half of its front panel which is handy for keeping needed items at hand and handily in view on your dashboard. Items like lozenges, or are those coins? A garage door opener, or is that one of those one-function phones with really big numbers on it? Why, the DB looks big enough for stashing a bottle of fiber pills or a slim-profile geriatric diaper. To give AARP credit, they must think I am young enough to own a dashboard, which I assumed was a car dashboard, but maybe “Buddy”is for the dashboard of the electric scooter with a basket thing you ride around on in the grocery store.

Dearest AARP, thank you for thinking of me and my needs for representation and handiness, but I am getting into my de-accessioning years, and unless I can opt out of this amazing free gift, I don't think I can join right now. Maybe later I will crave something drool-proof, an item of durable, easy to clean denier nylon construction which I can use on my seat or the floor of the trunk into which my family has tucked me. I do not deny that I am well into your target demographic. I am over the dreaded hill. I have entered, if not quite embraced, my geezerhood. I have installed klieg-level lightbulbs in my reading lamp. There are plenty of days in which I feel older than dirt, and every day I hear, if not the mermaids, then the one or two lines of poetry I can remember:

I will wear my trousers rolled, of course, because my dwindling butt has made all of my trousers droop and drag along the floor, threatening to trip me up unless I wear a pair of nice thick-soled comfort shoes. And, wearing my rolled trousers, I will blog for you.