Holidays are fun.

Holidays are fun.

Monday, August 24, 2015

So, it's that time of year again..time for Sarah to rage about something new.

Good afternoon!

So it's August. It's late August. Kids are going back to school or getting ready to.  Halloween stuff is starting to litter store shelves, and why not?  It's blazing hot, people are running around trying to cram in this last summer trip and that, why not remind them that it's almost time to stick plastic spiders on their houses and send their kids out into lousy cold weather to beg for candy from strangers?  

August is an odd month here in the US.  We don't really have anything going on.  I mean, it's not May or June, there's no Memorial Day or Mother's Day or Father's day reason to drag out the grill.  And it's not July, so we're pretty much done with fireworks and all things red white and blue.  And honestly, by the time we get to August, many of us have eaten so much food off the grill that "char" is actually considered the fifth food group.

The kids aren't exactly in school, but school stuff has started up just enough to mess with late summer plans.  The weather is usually hot  (although today, here's it's a chilled 60 degrees F.) and so we're schlepping kids around in hot weather to do sports things at school outside in the hot weather.  Not exactly school, but not summer vacation anymore. We're sort of easing into the full blown school year, which for most people fires up September 9.

It's not the Holiday Season, so if you managed to get all your back to school shopping done the week after school let out (you know, the minute the back to school displays went up in stores) then you have no reason to battle the last minute shoppers who are wrestling each other for the only blue folders in the building while in another aisle a mother is trying to explain to her tearful preteen daughter that they got there too late to get the "One Direction" spiral notebooks she wants and she'll just have to suffer through sixth grade with puppies on her cover or...gasp...just a plain color. (Not a battle I have to have anymore, but I did enjoy listening to one mother howl at her darling ducklings during a recent trip to a big box store.  One child demanded the green shoes, which were not in stock, and mom was yowling that "THE BLUE SHOES ARE JUST FINE!" Meanwhile, the other two dears were flinging crayons packs out of the bins so they could find the right ones.  I nearly gagged trying not to laugh out loud.)

Yep, August is a strange month.  Which is fine. We need a month that doesn't have anything to get all up in arms about.  We need a little down time from all the up times we've jammed into a year.

Which is why I have to bring this up before the frenzy gets to be too much.  It's in the early days yet, it's only a whisper, but the storm is coming and I'm girding my loins to do battle once more against something so ridiculous I can believe I actually have to bring this up.


All you people who hate summer are longing for the cool, crisp, autumn air and falling leaves and the smell of fires in fireplaces.  You simply cannot wait to put on long underwear and heavy coats and sweaters.  You have fluffy slippers that you only wear in the fall and they are calling your name. I respect all that, I like autumn as much as anyone.



I started to notice this a few years ago when I got really active on Face Book. People exchanging recipes for pumpkin spiced this and pumpkin spiced that.  Coffee places selling pumpkin spice tea and coffee. Mu husband had a torrid, though brief, love affair with Caribou Coffee's Pumpkin Spiced White Mocha.  Said is was like drinking a pumpkin pie.  Which sounds gross to me.  But whatever.

Why this started to bother me I can't say, but I realized, as time went on, that we as a society were going way overboard with the pumpkin spiced stuff.  I started to make a mental check list of all the pumpkin spiced items in stores.  

Some of them made complete sense and sounded nice, like:

Pumpkin spiced candles.

Pumpkin spiced quick bread.

Pumpkin spiced air fresheners. (In case you can't deal with candles and you refuse to bake.)

Pumpkin spiced coffee creamer.

Pumpkin spiced pop tarts. (not something I'd eat, but I understand the appeal)

Some of them walked a fine line to overload, like:

Pumpkin spiced body spray or lotions. (Hey, I'm going on a hot date, what should I smell like?  How about pie?)

Pumpkin spiced locker fresheners.  (What middle school kid wants to smell like pie?  Oh, wait, I know one guy...)

Pumpkin spiced bagels, and the pumpkin spiced cream cheese to go on them.

Pumpkin spiced teas and coffees. Not the creamers or syrup to put in them, but the teas and coffees themselves. 

Ummmm, why?
There are products that I would never touch but the producers of the product are always looking for new and interesting ways to sell us their crap:

Yeah, the guy on the package doesn't even like this idea.

And then,  there are those things that make me want to scream, and, yes, when I'm in the store and I see them  I do scream:

Pumpkin spiced marshmallows.

Pumpkin spiced pasta  (not veggie pasta, nope)

Pumpkin spiced Pringles.

Pumpkin spiced Dog treats.  Yes, even the dogs get into the act.



Oh, but wait....

Maybe everything does have to be pumpkin spice.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

A tale of two movies: Am I getting dumber?

Good morning!

As many of you know, one of my favorite TV shows of all time is "Friends."  While I was a decade older and settled in the suburbs while Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Joey, and Chandler were living single in New York, the show did bring out countless universal truths.

The one I want to deal with today is movies. Watch this clip and then I'll get to the point.

See, Rachel told people her favorite movie was "Dangerous Liaisons."  I've seen that movie. It's high brow. I've also seen it on stage.  It's still high brow, but it's live and it makes me feel all cultured.  "Weekend at Bernie's"  yeah, not so much with the high brow.

And yet, it's a funny movie that's often referred to in our culture.  Whereas, the last time anyone talked about Dangerous Liaisons was the conversation about whether the play was better than the movie.  (It was, in case you wondered.)

We like what we like.  We know we should like the intelligent, high brow movies, but "Weekend at Bernie's" is the one we re watch time and time again.

Which brings me to my movie viewing last night.  I rented "Mr. Turner."  It's an Oscar nominated film about a 18th century British artist going through his interesting life.  Great cinematography, great actors, great subject.

And I couldn't make it to the end.  I couldn't make it past the first forty five minutes.

I was hating myself, but it was a seriously boring movie.  I mean, really, really dull.

And then Skippy came home, and his friend Leia showed up. They ordered pizza and wings and popped in the 2001 movie "Wet hot American Summer."

The title says it all, there's really no guessing about what's going on.  It's a movie set in a summer camp in 1981.  It's a brilliant spoof on all the non john Hughes films of the 1980's that were simply gratuitous "jiggle films."  I was laughing until I wept. The 20-somethings watching this with me were lost most of the time, so I had to explain much of the film to them.  It was a fantastic 97 minutes.

So, am I getting dumber?

I mean, I love historical movies. I love biopics.  And yet I had no interest in Mr. Turner.  But turn on a teen romp and I was all over it.


Apparently I'm just getting dumber.  I have tickets in the next couple weeks to see "Streetcar Named Desire" and "Othello." Maybe I should give those to someone who would appreciate them while I check out an Adam Sandler retrospective.

Oh, wait! I DO have a Valentine's Day Story!

Those of you who know me know that, while I've been known to write a romance novel or two, (Four) I'm really not that into Valen...