Monday, June 24, 2013

A My Name is . . .

Abercrombie? Absinthe? Aflatoxin? Aqueduct? Amoeba?

Well, it could be worse. The product, uh, offspring, of celebrities Kanye West and Kim Kardashian has been given the reality-TV-ready name of "North."  That would be "North West." Duh! She will be called "Nori," which as a type of seaweed is nicer than "Noro," a type of intestinal virus. As her parents have announced, she is their very own little "North Star," and they pose the question, "What is higher than North?" Hmm-mm--mm, I think we can all fill in that blank. At least they didn't succumb to a "K" name. Kaopectate West doesn't have quite the same cutesy ring as "North (Nori-don't-call-me-sushi) West."

N my name is Nori and I need nothing.

I won't be the first or the last to scratch my head over the names that folks, celebrity and non, give to their children. Look, call yourself whatever you want, but have some pity on your kids.

Back in the day, if you were born Catholic as I was, you couldn't be baptized unless you were given the name of a saint.  "Kathleen" was a form of "Katherine," and there are a couple of saints with some form of that name, so that was fine. Fortunately, there was no way I could have been named "Kapok" or "Kwashiokor," even if my parents were the kind of narcissistic louts who would do something like that.  My only complaint was that "Kathleen" was one of the most popular names (#11 in the top 20) the year I was born, not quite the Sophia-Emma-Isabella-Olivia-Ava of its day, but in an Irish-Catholic enclave it probably edged up to second or third. How else explain the fact that of the 21 girls in my grade school class, seven were named some form of Katherine or Kathleen? 

So, I have a ho-hum first name, but at least it wasn't a weird old Catholic saint name that sounds like a disease, such as Namadia (widow and nun), or has a wacky qualifier, like Isadora the Simple.

So, good luck to little Nori. I'm sure she will have many more K-word obstacles to overcome in her life than the somewhat silly name she's been saddled with.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cinema Inferno

The first movie I ever saw in a theater was Alice in Wonderland (Disney not Depp).  In glorious color. It was awesome. I don't remember much about it, but my mother took me and, I think, my aunt, downtown to see it. I'm sure there was no buttered popcorn or Junior Mints in the experience because first, I would have been wearing a clean, starched, and ironed dress, and second, we lived in No-Candyland, except for the occasional Hershey bar my father would sneak in and split among us. No matter. What I didn't know about, I didn't miss. What I did know was that walking into that dark theater and seeing giant cartoons in front of me was pure magic. An American Cinema Paradiso.

Flash forward to 2013.  A new cinema has opened not far from my home.  I wish I could say that I am excited that the musty old multiplex has been renovated and that I look forward to visiting. But I can't. I fear this cranky old crone-nut is not  Showcase Superlux material. The cinema is part of the swanky new "lifestyle complex," The Street At Chestnut Hill, and, apart from my general lack of interest in lifestyle complexes, there is a reason I won't be experiencing the Superlux Experience any time soon.

Not that Superlux has absolutely zero appeal. Even if management can't guarantee that every flick features Superlux Story, Acting, or Direction, I might have been persuaded by the Superlux Seats which recline and have footrests,the Superlux Technology with state of the art bells and whistles, the Superlux Carpeting with no gum stuck to it, and the Superlux Restrooms which must boast red carpet amenities and nary a wad of sodden toilet paper to sully their Superlux Floors.

But the Superlux Experience has one big Superlux Feature that turns it into Cinema Inferno.

It's not  the admission price tag which tops out at a hellish $28, although I do admit to a bit of sticker shock since the last movie I went to cost $7.50.  And, no that wasn't in the year ought-five, it was last Friday evening.  

It's not even the circles-of-hell tiered system of admissions--Lux Lite (a mere $20) and Superlux--with their different levels of cushiness and service, like a plane. (There doesn't appear to be a Geezer Discount, which in and of itself isn't the deal breaker.)

No, It's the diabolical Superlux Food and Beverage Service. Yes, service.  Superluxians can order food and drink right without getting off their Superlux Tushes--and it will be delivered to them by black-clad waitrons at any time. Yes, any time, including during the movie.

Won't that be exciting? Watching all those servers stumbling around with trays full of $9 Margaritas and micro-brews, instead of watching the screen?  Smelling the delightful aromas of appetizers ($8-16) wafting through the auditorium? Hot dog! Every film will be "Smell-o-Vision." (If you want a chuckle, click the link to find out how that technology worked out.)  Will they suspend service at crucial moments? Or will you listen to the big reveal or the deathbed confession over the sound of  "Which one of you ordered the Thai rolls?" I have been both audience and performer in smallish theaters, and I can assure you that someone chowing down a Carnivore's Delight pizza or digging into a mound of malodorous take-out is quite the, um, Experience.  And it ain't Superlux.  Not to mention the to-ing and fro-ing which I would find mighty distracting.

If you create an atmosphere of a cocktail lounge happy hour, no matter how upmarket, how do you think the patrons will behave? Like people who are there to be absorbed in the movie? Or people who are out to par-tay? Will there be Superlux Cones of Silence to drop around them? Or do the waitrons double as bouncers?

I understand the commercial impulse behind all this. There is nothing wrong with wanting people to leave their comfy caves and spend money in your entertainment establishment.  I hope people have a rip-roaring good time and that they feel their triple-digit evening at the movies is worth it. I hope that no one has a plate of pulled pork dropped onto a silk blouse or wind up with a lapful of brewski. I hope that "Sh-h-h" doesn't escalate to "Shut the %@#* up!"

But I won't be there to find out. I recently figured out how to operate the remote controls for the superlux technology that has stood idle here in Trousertown for many a year,  I am more than happy to lounge around the den where the only Smell-O-Vision is the scent of pine trees and the ocean. Where I can loll shoeless, clutching my beverage of choice. Where I can unapologetically binge-watch "Game of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad" and "Duck Dynasty." Best of all? No Cones of Silence will ever be required.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Java Jive

Hi.  My name is Trouserville and I'm a coffee addict.

It started when I was fourteen with a daily thermos of black coffee smuggled into the Notre Dame Academy lunchroom.  In college, my roommate and I were the only ones in the entire dorm with our very own percolator. I am powerless in front of my need for caffeine. (Sob! Sniff! Whimper!)

Oh, give me a (coffee) break!

Just the other day I thought the world was going to hell in a handbasket made of cronuts.  Now I find out that according to the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)--the bible of the anything-for-a-billable-hour psycho-babbling professional--that I may be suffering from a psychiatric disorder.

Oh, wait, actual caffeine addiction didn't make it on to the official list, but, according to a Wall Street Journal article two other caffeine "disorders"--intoxication and withdrawal--got the nod.

This ain't the caffeine talking when I ask: is this the most moronic example yet of the attempts by the psycho establishment to pathologize, and thus monetize for themselves, the ups and downs of ordinary life.  As a side effect of this nincompoopery, actual disorders become trivialized. 

Is there anyone on the planet who ingests caffeeine who doesn't know that if you drink coffee every day and then stop drinking it you may well get a headache, or feel drowsy?  That it's not  a migraine, a brain tumor, encephalitis, Lyme disease, MS or anything else that should cause you to seek medical attention? That you are not headed for the dingbat roundup?

Guess not.  Guess there are some folk too stupid to know that if you want that particular headache to go away all you need is a cup of joe, a cola, or a chocolate covered espresso bean.  

It's nice to know that those poor schlubs can now go to an emergency room and be given a medical and psychiatric evaluation, perhaps including a blood test and an MRI, and then issued  a prescription which will presumably be paid for by their insurance or our tax dollars.  Maybe they can even get a free trip to caffeine rehab.  Instead of spending a buck at the Dunk or a fiver at Starbucks they can be given a prescription for what?  Hundred dollar caffeine pills? Fifty buck espressos?

Wake up and smell the coffee already.  And if you think coffee lovers are a bunch of raving lunatics, you have never heard The Ink Spots singing Java Jive:

I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jiving and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!

And if listening to those cool dudes doesn't help your headache, Dr. Trousers says "Take a chocolate-covered espresso bean, and don't call me in the morning--at least not until I've had my coffee."

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Handbasket File

All official Trouservillians have that file, as in "the world is going to hell in a handbasket." If you don't have one yet, don't worry, it's issued with your Medicare card. Or, if you are natural born crankypants like me, you've had one for years.  Although I abandoned the physical file years ago, the items keep on coming.

Today's entry: Cronuts.  

Just seeing the headline in my sister's email, I assumed it was a new term for crazy-cranky old ladies:  Crone + Nuts. Turns out it is a cross between a donut and a croissant, and in the Big Applecore folks are standing in line for hours to purchase what amounts to a blob of flour, sugar, and grease.  

There are cronuts scalpers who turn around and sell them at a profit.  There are knockoffs: doissants.  And I am sure Mayor/Chief of the Nutrition Police Bloomberg is frothing at the mouth about this latest threat to the health of his city.

After all that standing on line, they can only purchase two because the management has decided to ration them, presumably to avert the Great Cronuts Massacre of 2013 in which thwarted patrons slug each other and the management with whatever the trend-obsessed New Yorker has to hand or foot--designer handbags, iPads, dog leashes, spike heeled Manolos. Or maybe it's just a clever marketing ploy to create scarcity and, thus, cachet.

Okay, maybe I'm old, but I don't get it.  No matter how rare, or how tasty, no baked good is worth waiting in line for.  In my Cape Cod town there is a bakery (closed two days a week) where demented vacationers wait for an hour or so in a line that features voracious green flies, but not so far as I know scalpers, to get a baguette or a croissant.  What for?  The bragging rights? The bread is decent, but it's not the only decent bread in the county.  

If you live in NYC, where a lot of folks live in apartments the size of storage lockers, maybe it does make more sense to stalk a piece of pastry to flaunt your up-to-the-minuteness.

I also think that Americans just like to make a competition out of anything.  If you can't get on to a reality TV show,  you can make your own little drama by scoring the most scarce and trendiest sugar bomb and boasting about it.  

"Those crumbs all over my pants? Oh, that must be the Cronut."  

"Excuse me while I lick my fingers.  Those Cronuts are a bit sticky you know." 

"Oh, yes, we scored a dozen Cronuts . Would you like to buy a raffle ticket? Only a hundred dollars. We're starting a vacation fund. We hear there's a great little town on Cape Cod where you can wait in line for baguettes. "

I'll wave to them as I drive by on my way out of town.

Older Than Dirt?

Not me. For every day that brings some disastrous scientific news about why I am doomed because of my diet, my personality, or my hair color, there is a day like today. A day when they discover something that makes me feel so much better--younger, handsomer, more cosmopolitan.

A couple of months ago it was the baby picture of the universe, which pushed the age of the universe up by a few billion years or so.

Aww-ww--ww! It looks just like a blueberry lemon-lime jelly bean.

Today, I found out that we're all Asian. How sophisticated is that? Asia is where our proto-primate ancestor came from. Then it went over to Africa and came down out of the trees. 

Not only that but it is 55 million years old and looks like something the folks at central casting sent  over for an eco-horror flick.  

I am Tarsier the Elder and I will cut off your snout with this leaf.

Well, all I can say is that even on my baddest bad hair day or my draggiest morning after the night before, I never looked as weird as that particular ancestor.  Then again . . . .

Hate that gray? Fry it away!
My head baking at the hair salon.
No, it didn't turn out hot pink, just brown and blond and red all over.