Monday, January 30, 2012

The Case of the Runaway Sponge


"Where is the sponge," you kept asking. Over and over. As if it were some mystery or something. So we replaced the sponge yesterday, and today this, THIS, is where I find the new sponge. But in a fetid tub of water.

The poor thing already it smells of the brackish water you left it in. Don't you know that when you leave a sponge wet, it GROWS bacteria?!?
And what grows in a tub full of dirty dishwater? Bacteria. And THEN when you wipe down counter tops, or suck on said sponge out of nervous habit, you're spreading GERMS. And yes, Clark, germs are bad. And if you don't believe me, let's just look at this article on WebMD:

"Allow [sponges] to dry out between uses because most bacteria thrive only in moistness," says Neil Schachter, MD, medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai in New York City, and the author of The Good Doctor's Guide to Colds and Flu.

How long does it take for bacteria to replicate?: In 24 hours, 1 bacterium will be come 8 million bacteria

How many bacteria does it take to become ill?

10 bacteria to millions of bacteria.

So run, Clark, you might be asking yourself, "But how, HOW can I survive this scourge of the home, this permanently wet sponge?"

Well, Clark, you're in luck because Dr. Schachter has the answer:

"Wiping your counters or dishes with a dirty sponge will only transfer the bacteria from one item to another. "Wet your sponge and then pop it in the microwave for two minutes to eliminate the germs that lurk inside the crevices."

So to bring an end to the mystery, the missing sponge didn't just disappear, Clark — it ran away. Our investigative team turned up this comforting photo. Look how dry and curious Sal is, surrounded by nature. Don't you feel better now?

- Your Housemate



When I posted my undying love for you on OKCupid, I thought I'd at least get a phone call. I know we had not yet had our first date, but I thought the heady swirl of semi-inappropriate emotion might bring forth the kind of raw, unbridled emotions normally only felt in romance novels and on soap operas.

Please give this a second chance. And if you look outside your window weeknights 7 to 9 pm, yes, that's me in the 1991 keylime green Ford Escort, Iowa plates. (My brother-in-law works for the DMV and we looked up ever single driver in the county with the first name of Wayne until we got a picture match to your driver's license photo!)

- Hope

Dear Running Lady with Happy Dog

Dear Running Lady with Happy Dog,

Your dog ran up into my driveway this morning, bounding up with all his jaunty big-eyed happiness. I'm assuming he was off a leash because he's running with you. Well what he's really doing is darting off to terrorize hapless birds and innocent chipmunks (who could ever hurt a chipmunk!?) while you jog along, oblivious to the terror campaign being wrought by your incisor-teethed unleashed canine.

Furthermore, you might think that little Blondie is happy and healthy because he looks forward to these daily runs with mommy. Well what happens when Mommy gets a cold, or breaks her leg skiing in Aspen and he has to just lay on the floor pining for the days when he used to terrorize small woodland creatures? If you think that is responsible parenting, I shudder to think what illusions your children must be under.

My suggestion is that you and your dog just stay home so that none of us have to suffer any disruptions in the future. We'll all be much happier that way. You can exercise inside your home on a TotalGym™ or BunFlexer™ or some other such product while Blondy gets his own exercise inside his kennel, or the slippery surface of the bathtub which is really just like a treadmill for dogs. When the clickety-clack of his tiny claws stop, you know he's reached his daily quota.

- A Concerned Neighbor

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Single Syllables Reign in Republican Candidates

Folks, the tally is in. If you want to run for US President on the Republican ticket, you have to have a mono-syllabic name.

Rick, Mitt, Newt, and Ron should prove my case. But let's go a little further. What happened to Michele Bachmann? She had too many syllables in her first name, that's what. And just 50% more than the other candidates. More than enough to turn voters off. Next time, she should run under her high school nickname "Mich."

But it wasn't like people threw her over like bad stew for no good reason, oh no, because Michele was courting disaster from the day she was born. Let's bring in my friend and numerologist, astrologer and plant healer: Julianna De La Fontana.

The other strike against Bachmann was too few letters in that same problematic first name. "The name Michele with just one "L" says De La Fontana, "made voters suspicious. If her name is lopsided, is it possible that her judgment as president might be missing some essential consonants as well?" De La Fontana went on to say that poor Bachmann had another strike against her, this time by too many letters, AND that extra consonant. "The extra "n" in her last name, creates more imbalance than the American public can endure." This of course makes perfect sense as she was the first to leave the race. Such a shame, she had great hair, a winning smile, and ideas we have not seen in politics.

All of the candidates still in the race have one thing in common: monosyllabic first names. Clearly the stars have aligned in some way. Even Rick Perry, now fallen on the wayside, still had some luck with his first name. Ron Paul might be the luckiest with two monosyllabic names, and a folksy manner that harkens back to the earlier time and charm of a man who darn tootin' shoulda run for office: Will Rogers.

But the race will really heat up when one of the four current candidates lands his party's nomination. If Rick Santorum gets the nomination, we'll have a three-syllable last name vs. Barack's two-syllable last name. It just doesn't get more exciting than that.

I'm sure there will be more to come when running mates are chosen. Let the best syllables win!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Please Stop Whistling in Songs

Dear Pop Groups,

Can you please stop whistling in songs? Songs are already hard enough to resist with the catchy lyrics, nearly naked dancers, and riffs that would break the concentration of a Bible scribe. If the Pope has a stereo, I promise you that instead of attending to important issues like blaming AIDS on condoms and shuttling child molesters from one parish to another he's tapping is toes right now to Top 40. And more than likely, it has a whistler in it.

From Foster the People's PUMPED KICKS, to Jason Derulo's IT GIRL and One Republic's GOOD LIFE, it seems like the airwaves have been invaded by whistling. I go to the cafe to work, not have my work interrupted by a tune I can't possibly get out of my head without hypnotherapy.

What's next, a hip hop version of SINGIN IN THE RAIN where a CG Gene Kelly busts a move and breaks out into a rap with a tag credit "feat. Eminmem?" I don't care if you want to see a sky full of lighters, if you feel like a skyscraper, or even a firework, I can't take the catchy tunes anymore.

Can You PLEASE Eat That Chocolate Cake Somewhere Else?!?

Skinny girl in red coat, can You PLEASE Eat That Chocolate Cake Somewhere Else?!? For God's sake, it's February! A month AFTER New Year's Resolution! Don't you have any compassion for the chronologically challenged?!?

Ok, (breathe, breathe). Clearly I need to calm down. But girl in red coat, have the decency to be sensitive to the needs of others. We're not all 20ish with a pixie cut and Clinque™ skin. I know what you're doing with that smile, tossing around your youth like you don't all know we're looking at you. I see the way you're ignoring the "old man in the corner."

What I really love is how you leave part of the cake just sitting there, uneaten, seducing me with it's dark chocolaty goodness. I bet you think that I'd wait for you to leave and then swoop down on the the couch and eat whatever's left over because I have no self control. Well you're wrong you youth-obsessed fountain-of-youth harpee!

I would wait for you to throw it into the garbage, and then I would start a fire in the bathroom and while the staff was busy stopping us all from being burned to death, I'd go into the garbage and eat that cake without one ounce of guilt! Stop looking at me!

Christine, your "Ryan Gosling Window™" is now open.


First, I know you're married, and you already have a son. But I also know that you're a generous woman looking for more in her life than "just marriage." I know that deep down, you are torn apart by the conflict of married life vs. a life with Ryan Gosling. I think I have a solution.

I don't normally read People™ Magazine (Harrison Ford once called it Peep-Hole) ever since it lowered itself from semi-respectable journalism to tabloid imitator. But I was at the gym watching back-to-back episodes of LAW & ORDER and THE CLOSER (I just love that Kyra Sedgwick), when I spotted the newest People™ (cover story MURDER AT THE PALACE. No, THAT story is NOT about Ryan Gosling — center of the male-beauty universe — but from the positioning of the headline (looming black letters emerging from behind Sandringham House), you'd think that the murder happened AT the palace, right there in the Queen's bedroom with her caught over the corpse with an ancient family dagger, but I digress.)

Despite the MURDER AT THE PALACE cover, this week's People™ is really all about Ryan Gosling's window of availability. I know, I know. It may not read like that on first viewing, Christine, but let me break it down for you. By the end of paragraph three of this blog post, you're going to have the kind of God-spoke-to-me clarity normally reserved only for end-of-the-world-date revisionists and Pat Robertson.

Now, Ryan has often stated that his relationships to Sandra, Rachel, and Blake were all victims of the eternal Hollywood struggle between love and work. It's just so difficult to balance international stardom and candle-lit dinners; everyone knows how that is, right. BUT, Ryan has been quoted more than once as saying that once he starts making babies (isn't that cute, like the little ones will just pop out onto a conveyor belt or something), his career will take a back seat. You heard him Christine: IT'S EITHER ONE OR THE OTHER. And here's where your Ryan Gosling Window™ comes in, Christine.

Eva Mendes (just think of your smile, but with darker skin), his new squeeze is "ambivalent" says a source at People™ about kids, while Ryan on the other hand "wants a family." Now Christine, if that doesn't scream Opportunity™, I just don't know what does. PLUS, Ryan loves candy and Disneyland!!!

Well guess who has wide access to candy (you) AND a season pass to Disneyland™ (you)!!!! If there was ever a sign from God that you should pile John and little Henry into your Honda Fit™ and enter into a confusing polygamous relationship as Ryan Gosling's babymaker, this is it!!!

Good luck, Christine. And let us know how it goes!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Garnier Fructis Spot Corrector™? What's Next?

Watch the commercial on Vimeo:

First of all, the name Garnier Fructis is just about unpronouncable, and sounds like something an exterminator might warn you is killing your lawn. "Ma'ma, I'm's Garnier Fructis, please put on this mask, pack one bag and get ready to leave."

Second, these women who supposedly need Garnier's new signature product Dark Spot Corrector™ are maybe mid-30s. Just look, LOOK at their supernaturally beautiful, clear skin. These glamor gals are decades, DECADES, away from anything approaching an age spot. And even if they do get one, they'll probably have their agents and managers outsource it to someone in a third-world country.

Third, the ad announces that the dark spot corrector is "powered by pure, potent Vitamin C," that targets dark spots, age spots, and even acne marks. If I'd known Vitamin C was this powerful, I would have been soaking in Minute Maid™ concentrate all these years.

And I'm beginning to wonder if my parents and I were really drinking orange juice all those breakfasts when I was growing up. I mean, I had some acne, and my parents got age spots. Maybe I should write Minute Maid™ to see if maybe something leaked into the Florida soil in the 70s and 80s robbing their orange groves of vital, miraculous Vitamin C.

Or maybe, like in the commercial, we should have applied it topically... It's kind of mysterious because just look, LOOK at that animation. It's like a combination citrus/transporter that you might see in a StarTrek™ movie if Minute Maid™ were their corporate sponsor.

Gosh, I sure hope that Garnier Fructis didn't seep into Florida's groundwater from some leaky above-ground storage tank that was neglected by a greedy corporation more concerned with beautifying the world through chemicals than complying with safety regulations. If it did, this could turn into a TV movie starring Lindsay Wagner as the the granny/DA whose grandkids are suffering liver spots in high school. And she could battle 70s-superstar Linda Carter as the granny/MILF age-spot free corporate attorney who's opposing her.

And if they got into a cat fight and fell into a tank of Garnier Fructis, well, it could spawn a TV series with younger Lindsay/Linda look-alikes of glistening, age-spot free power babes ready to fight for justice, beauty, and shimmering hair that could launch a whole new wave of products. Garnier Fructis™ this is your chance! Take it! Take it now!

Jen's Been Dumped Again?!?

Jennifer's been dumped again?!? And the same week as the Golden Globes. It just seems like a good girl (get it? a film reference folks, THE GOOD GIRL, get it?) can't get a break. First she's on one of television's greatest successes for ten years where she's earning a million dollars an episode, then her hairstyle is written into the annals of hairstory (get it? History x Hair = Hairstory?), and now this!

I've already written about her Jen's twin trouble!!! No, not twin dates with the Winklevoss brothers (she's WAY too old for them!), but Aniston's pregnancy with twins! That's two times everything (twins= baby x 2 = even more nannies! how will she cope). I just don't know how she's going to do it? A career, hair, and now babies with no daddy. But wait! Wait, maybe there's hope.

What if... and I'm just floating this out there. What if they create a reality show for older women struggling with pregnancy. Instead of MTV'S 16 AND PREGNANT, or ABC FAMILY'S SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER, maybe Oprah could do FORTY-FOUR PREGNANT & A MILLIONAIRE MOVIE STAR.

It's a world we don't get to see much of other than at the tabloid section of the grocery store check-out line. And even just looking at those covers always leaves me hankering to learn more. Does Jen cry herself to sleep like the REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS? But it's worse because Jennifer Aniston is perpetually alone in her tiny 1,761 square-foot apartment. I mean, she used to be able to do that in a 10,000 square foot $38 million dollar house before she left that for Mr. Loser.

I say that you need to get your girlfriends together, get out some ice cream, put on some tunes, put on an impromptu fashion show in your apartment and get back in the groove. I mean, that's exactly what Canadian pop singer Kreesha Turner does in her DON'T CALL ME BABY video. And if she can do, then so can you! In fact, there's even another Kressha Turner video for Jen's new emancipation proclamation. LADYKILLER. (whew! I feel like I really saved somebody some tears today, even if they're just my own!)

I Just Know This is Going to Be a Good Marriage


I know we haven't yet had our first date, but I just know this is going to be a great marriage. From your photo on OKCupid, I can clearly see that behind those sunglasses are warm eyes. The wilderness setting with you across the Mississippi from the camera shows a love of nature. I especially love the one of your one-legged cat being held up to the camera to show that she's also lost an eye. I can't see your face, but I know you're an animal lover too! I can't wait to meet!

- Hope

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tinker Tailor Dismal Walls

I just saw the film version of John Le CareƩ's TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY. Right off the bat, it made me want to move to the Caribbean. There is not a bright light, sunny day, or swatch of colorful fabric in the entire film. It's a sepia smoke-filled fishbowl from which there is no escape.

The story is engaging and labyrinthine, involving the ferreting out of a mole amidst England's spy network at the highest levels. How any of these men managed not to crack under the pressure of wallpaper that would drive a blind man insane is beyond me. "Open a window!" I wanted to shout. Someone in the theater turned on a cell phone, and I thought, "Is that the outside? Thank God! Fresh air!"

In the film, there's some killing, some double-crossing, and lots and lots of barely emoting from Gary Oldman. His portrayal of George Smiley, super-agent, made me wonder if the character had experienced a mild stroke that removed all emotion from his face. Wanna play poker with a pal? This is not your guy; you'll never get anything out of him.

What DRIVE did for thrillers, TINKER TAILOR DISMAL WALLS does for spy films. Forget about gorgeous babes, champagne, signature hotels and exotic locations expected from spy films, this thing is shot in the longest winter in human history. From cloudy England to dreary Hungary and back, there isn't a shred of greenery or sunshine to be seen. In one scene I positive I saw Little Orphan Annie being taken to an insane asylum for even trying to sing about the sun.

While I understand that TINKER TAILOR UNLIT HOUSE is a pretty faithful adaptation to the spirit of the novel and the Cold War, would it have killed them to throw in at least an avocado-green or a wicker-tan every once in a while. Those were very popular in 1973.

I also recently saw MI: GHOST PROTOCOL. I have to say, though I'm not a huge Tom Cruise fan, it's really Brad Bird's touch that rocket-propels this film squarely into entertainment-ville. And whadyaknow, its coincidentally set in sunny, colorful locations like Dubai and India!

There's even danceable music. Stir in a gorgeous babe, and a funny side-kick, and oh no folks, looks like we're at the movies! So if you have a choice between ass-numbing wrist-slitter and high-stakes hi-jinks with a jazzy soundtrack, I'm guessing you don't need Seasonal Depressive Disorder to steer your decision.

- Movie Lover

Dragon Slayer vs. Dragon Slayer

Dear Plaza Theater,

As Atlanta's only remaining independent theater, you should care more about your customers. After a busy day napping, working out, petting my cat, and working on my novel, I thought I'd relax AND support a local business.

What's even better, you were showing the 1981 boy-vs-dragon classic DRAGONSLAYER starring Peter MacNicol who would go on to star in SOPHIE'S CHOICE and TV's ALLY MCBEAL. You sometimes show older films on weekends and my house-mate and I thought how we lucky we were.

I was interested to see an overlooked sword-and-sorcery film deemed "too dark" to be the Disney product it was. And my housemate Clark was interested because he's reading several medieval mysteries and wanted to get a visual look for the grit of the period.

Well only AFTER buying tickets, and AFTER buying popcorn, did I spot the following postcard promoting what was REALLY playing at your theater.

Well Plaza Theater, I think it was deceptive and dishonest. And when we did tell the counter what had happened, they said "What's Dragonslayer from 1981" as if they were too young to have even heard of it. Well you know what?! I think those punks were trying to make me feel old.

But they're the ones who have things wrong. You do not advertise a film with the same name of another film that's only 33 years old and expect everyone in the entire city to know which one it is!

It would be like showing THE PARENT TRAP and not expecting some "old people" to be surprised that Haley Mills was nowhere in it! Oh, don't give me that "Who's Hayley Mills routine"! Next you'll be telling me you don't know who Irish McCalla is, or Pola Negri! Hmph! I've got half a mind to drive by the theater periodically and stare. Stare hard at the tiny little box office and just hope that your business falls off a little more. That'll show you!

- Disgruntled "old timer"!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Nothing Says Date Night Like "THE DEVIL INSIDE"

Not since audiences flocked together to hold hands and make-out in 1973's THE EXORCIST (starring the spunky Linda Blair and 70s-MILF Ellen Burstyn) has there been a movie quite this date-worthy. The trailer alone with its jerky hand-held style, and its depiction of an Italian insane asylum create an atmosphere that will have any date clinging to you like a shell-shocked tornado victim. It's just the perfect combination of lip-locking for the audience, and mother-daughter demonic possession for the film's characters. Just read the quotes from critics:

"The shocks and scares hit like a punch to the jaw," says Steve Barton of DREAD CENTRAL. I mean, just the name of the website itself sounds movie title, doesn't it? And I don't know about you, but I definitely want to be socked in the jaw by a horror movie. I was so scared that I accidentally crushed my drink between my thighs at the sight of the demon/woman breaking her own femur. I also me peed myself. (Thank God the Sprite™ covered the stain).

Joe McCabe at FEARNET says it's "A disturbing new look at the secret world of exorcists." I don't think you really need anything more than a quote from a site called FEARNET. I could not permission to use reviews from SCREAMBLOODYMURDER.COM or EYESTURNEDINSIDEOUT.ORG, but the next review is the clincher.

"This is the film the Vatican doesn't want you to see," says Naibe Reynoso of CARACOL RADIO 1260.
This is THE morning radio station to listen to, so when I heard that they were endorsing a movie that the Vatican doesn't, I was sold. To date, I've seen the movie ever night for the last 40 nights, only skipping the daytime screenings because of work. (And I'm thinking of giving that up to become a "DEVIL INSIDER," my own term for the film's groupies, of which I'm pretty sure I'm the first member here at Atlanta's AMC North Dekalb 16.

The movie is an impressive tour-de-force of shocking sounds, dizzying camera angles, and vomit-inducing scares. My date and I had such a good time holding eachother's hair and patting eachother's backs while letting our fear out ALL OVER the theater floor that I knew we were hooked.

The best news: you don't even have to see the film to enjoy it — the trailer was what first hooked me. When a young woman named Isabella decides to reconnect with her long-lost mother (now living in an Italian insane asylum where she has the freedom to express body modification by scratching her wrists in a fashion normally only seen on someone dragged through barbed wire) I thought, "Heck yeah I want to see this!"

The doctors in Italy apparently don't have any silly restrictions on leaving a relative alone with someone convicted of triple homicide. I mean what could go wrong, right? From looking at the sweet-faced mother, I think all she really needs is a hug. But not before she shows her daughter, Isabella, that body modification isn't just restricted to the outside. Like a good Catholic, the mother shows us that the cross is something that's appropriate anywhere. Even scratched on the inside of the lower lip. (At least you can't ever lose it, right?)

Last is the treatment that the daughter and mother/Maria/Demon-infested-vesicle-of-evil get from the charitable priests/scientists. This is apparently the New Vatican that believes in the union of science and religion — I'd say it's downright "fuzzy."

When the sci/priests show Isabella one of their current exorcism projects in a filthy Italian basement that looks like the Roman's built it for slaves, well, it just shows such promise for her mother's treatment. When that gymnast on the bed does a full back bend, and THEN crawls up the wall, I thought, "Just imagine how flexible her mother will be when they're done!"

Maybe the surest sign that this movie is a horror film is when the poor misbegotten mother sings "Itsy Bitsy Spider." When anyone signs or hums a children's nursery rhyme while strapped to a medical/exorcism table, you just know you're in for quality horror.

So my recommendation is to clear your weekend, just off your favs and start lining up the dates!

- Your Movie Critic

Publishers, I DARE You to Publish Me

Dear Publishers,

Hey, you know what publishing industry? I don't even WANT to get published anymore. That's right, I think I'm moving on to the music industry. After nearly 20 years of you throwing yourself at me, I've had enough.

When you do things like repeatedly play hard to get with personalized rejections letters that say, "While this project is not right for me, I wish you luck in placing it elsewhere," is it really a final rejection? If so, why do I see you at local restaurants with other editors and agents I've been stalking since meeting them at the 94 annual conferences I attend, manuscript in hand. I know, I know, I can be hard to resist, but this year, I'm DARING you not to publish me.

That's right publisher, agents, editors (and even assistants looking to start their own client list), now I'M the one playing hard to get. How about that? Just try to get to my secret location in Decatur, Georgia where the only sign of my presence is the '94 Geo Metro with Kansas plates in the driveway. Bet you can't find THAT with a map. And I have NOT payed local cab drivers to be on the lookout for "New York publishing types" at the airport. And no, I didn't bribe them by giving them my Netflix password. That is absolutely something that I would not do.

So if you want me New York publishing industry, ya'll are just gonna have to come digging around! And you'll be lucky if I have not just jetted off to Nashville where I've been offered a lucrative contract by a recording executive when he heard me singing along to Kenny Chesney on my headphones on a recent Greyhound bus trip. Just wait and see, you'll regret not signing me when you had the chance!

- Anonymous Writer

Yeah, thanks for the chocolate!!!

Dear Heather and David,

First, thank you so much for dinner, but I have a bone to pick. When you say things like "Please come to dinner, we're having pasta," what you're really saying is "We have chocolate." I know this is probably a sensitive subject which is why I'm putting it a blog where maybe one day you will stumble across it and then — after we've all had time to cool down — we can discuss it like rational adults. Because right now I'm a bloated rage-filled sack of anger — how could you do this to me?!

You say, "Oh, the cat will be so excited to see you." But when you step away from the door as you greet me, what do I see but a small bowl of Lindor™ chocolates in the living room partly hidden by a pine-cone decoration leftover from the holidays. If you want to help me with my diet, then you really shouldn't leave Toblerone Minis™ locked away in the upper cupboard that's so easy to get to with a footstool. Seriously, what are you thinking you thoughtless, cruel people?!

I think I might need to isolate myself from further deceptive invitations like, "We're going to a movie, wanna come (to the candy-and-salt-laden-treats screaming at you from behind glass counters the second you walk in the door!!!!)," and "We're going hiking (with bags and bags of trail mix filled with macadamia nuts, chocolate, coconut, and marshmallows that will have you jonesing for it so bad you'll contemplate killing us to get at it)!!"

I'm just not sure if you're the kind of friends I want to have so soon after the start of a so-far- successful New Year of exercise and eating right. I hope you understand.

- Your Friend