May Movie Previews

The country is experiencing a drought. Not the “Oh, we have no water,” kind of drought; the “Oh, there have been no good movies for months and my brain needs something stimulating, provocative and intelligent to watch before it liquefies and leaks out of my nostrils.” That kind of drought.

The last movie I saw was Furious 7, which was the funnest comedy I’d seen in weeks. If the “dialogue” doesn’t have you rolling in the aisles, the flying car stunts will leave you breathless.

Actual conversation:

Letty: Why didn’t you tell me we were married?

Dominic: You can’t tell someone they love you.

Bwahahahahaha!

furious

(They do look pretty furious.)

Anyway. With the summer movie season just around the corner, I’ve made some bold predictions for what to expect on the silver screen coming up in May.

May 1–The Avengers: Age of Ultron: Expect lots of latex-wearing, smart-ass superheros battling for truth, justice and billions of dollars at the box office. Hint: there are rumors that the Black Widow and the Hulk become an item. Eww?

May 6–I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story: You mean to tell me Big Bird was a costume?!?!?! My childhood is now officially ruined. Next you’ll tell me that Bert and Ernie aren’t a couple.

May 15–Mad Max: Fury Road: (I’m sensing a lot of anger in movie titles.) Characters in this film race, kill and rage across an apocalyptic landscape. I’m expecting chaos, mayhem, lots of gore–and a bald Charlize Theron!!??

charlize

(Even with no hair, Charlize is drop dead gorgeous. Bitch.)

May 15–Pitch Perfect 2: The movie my husband has waited more than two years for. Perky little Anna Kendrick leads a ragtag assortment of preppy white girls as they battle to the death in a worldwide singing competition.

May 22–Poltergeist: The movie that scared the s*** out of me when I was a kid is back with a reboot to frighten the next generation of children. The movie will include that freakin’ creepy clown, the child-attacking tree, a static-buzzing TV set (brought to you by Time Warner) and a whole new reason for your kids to sleep in your bed for two years.

closer

(Dammit, mom! I told you there was something in my closet!!)

May 22–Tomorrowland: Because Disney was running low on funds, they decided to make this movie with George Clooney starring as a reclusive inventor who shakes his fist at co-star Britt Robertson, telling her “Come back tomorrow!”

So buy a trough of popcorn and settle in for an interesting May as blockbusters hit the screen.

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Donate Now and Help a Stranger

blood

What do you do with all the gallons of leftover breast milk your child just won’t drink? You donate it. Yep, joining the ranks of blood banks, hair donation, sperm firms, organ transplants and plasma, you can now donate breast milk. (Well, not me. And probably not most men.)

I guess you just walk into a milk bank (not to be confused with First Security Bank) and they hook you up to the Udderly Eazy Cow Milker 2000. The milk is then stored for preemies or other babies facing a mother’s milk shortage.

This made me wonder. Since I don’t donate blood (eww, needles) and I can’t donate sperm or breast milk, what other things can my body produce that other people might want?

I decided on the following:

  • Sweat: I can strap empty baby food jars under my armpits to catch my sweat because I don’t “glisten,” I sweat like an African elephant. Then I can hand little jars of sweat to those poor women in the gym who wear full make-up, push-up bras and never even glisten while sauntering on the treadmill and talking on their cell phones.
  • Hair oil: One day my hair is just fine. The next day it’s so oily I could barrel it and sell it to third world countries.
  • Leg hair: Each spring I harvest my leg hair. I could possibly bale it and sell it as horse feed. Or learn how to weave it into yarn and make a nice, scratchy blanket.

hairy

(Yep, time to shave.)

  • Fingernails: My nails break so often I should save them and form them into a turtle-esque shell for winter that I can hide in when it gets too cold. And I can paint it bubble gum pink. I could donate a new nail shelter to a homeless person each year.
  • Urine: I could donate my drug-free urine to people caught by surprise in those “random” drug tests at work. But I’m sure this idea is already implemented somewhere.
  • Tears: For drama queens/kings who need more people to cry.
  • Saliva: Suffering from dry mouth? Just take a swig of my donated spit and you’re good to go!
  • Sarcasm: Well, I already donate that enough. In fact, I’m banned from visiting the sarcasm bank anytime during the next year.

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Things Driving Me Crazy Today

Tuesday. The red-headed stepchild of the work week. (No offense to redheads, stepchildren or work days.) If anything can make me insane, it’s Tuesday. Here are the things driving me crazy today:

  • When my hard drive crashes and I have to share a computer with my husband for 2 weeks! Not cool.
  • When cable shows only produce 10 episodes. That’s not a “season” that’s a mini-series, you lazy writers, actors, producers, etc.

Better-Call-Saul1(This is already over?!?!?)

  • Having my hair dryer blow up when I’m getting ready for work.
  • Going to work with wet hair.
  • No one noticing my hair is wet. They just think I styled it with a whisk.
  • Eating a rancid walnut.
  • Getting to work and realizing I left my wallet at home.
  • Not having change at work to purchase a Coke, a handful of Hot Tamales or a bag of Skittles.
  • The way my pee smells after I eat asparagus.
  • Having to untangle my headphones every. single. time.

headphones

  • Wrinkly sheets.
  • Unknowingly trying to use a coupon that expired two days ago.
  • Having the Walmart cashier think you’re a criminal for trying to use an expired coupon.
  • Talking to “service” agents in the customer call center when I need to order recovery disks for my stupid broken computer. I’d rather eat earthworms.
  • Eating earthworms
  • The hypocritical dilemma of loving a delicious steak–but loving animals, too. And hating killing.
  • When I have to re-pierce my right ear lobe every time I wear earrings.
  • That one bird, every day at 6 a.m., singing the same four notes over and over and over and over.

angry

(Yes. Yes, I am.)

You are now free to carry on with your wonderful Tuesday. And by wonderful, I mean not wonderful.

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Ways to Stay Humble During a Book Signing

As all of you have heard (too many times), I recently published a compilation of humor columns surprisingly titled, “Life and Laughter.” Because I now have several cases of books in my garage, I decided to hold a book signing at a local book store* to get rid of several copies of my non-best-selling collection.

But I didn’t want the fame and fortune to go to my head, so I devised several ways to not get carried away with all the fans and adulation. Here are some tips for others in the same literary boat:

  • Burn your forehead with a curling iron the day before the event. This adds an element of humor to your signing as you watch people try not to stare at the 2-inch wide scab above your eyebrow.
  • Remind yourself how fame totally destroyed Susan Boyle. The lady had a freakin’ nervous breakdown! Congratulate yourself on selling only a few books, mostly to family members you paid to be there.

susan

(This is your brain on fame.)

  • Have your husband keep reminding you that there are still several dozen unsold books sitting in the garage.
  • Be sure to wear white pants, and then spill salsa on them immediately.
  • Arrange for a large zit to appear on your chin the evening before the book signing. Watch people try not to quote Austin Powers as they speak to you whilst buying your book. (Replace “mole” with “zit.”)

mole

(“…Yes, nice to mole you… MEET you! Nice to meet your mole! Don’t say mole… I said mole.”)

  • Notice how many people walk into the store, glance at your table, shrug their shoulders and go off to purchase “real” books.
  • Make sure people take photos at the event, reminding yourself that you HATE being photographed and that truly successful authors must endure not just cameras but VIDEO cameras. (Uuuuuuurrrrrr. I just had a horrible chill.)
  • Don’t be insulted when people pick up your book, say something like “So, this is your book. Huh.” then put it back down and wander off to look for Ellery Queen** novels.

Thanks to these helpful tips, I survived the book signing with ego in check.

*For readers not familiar with “book stores,” these shops are places people go to buy books. Google “books” for more information.

**Ellery Queen was a fictional detective and mystery writer. Google “Ellery Queen” if you are under the age of 45.

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Top 5 Reasons to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all you temporary Irish Catholics using this celebration as a day to drink green beer and pinch people. For generations, March 17 has been set aside to honor St. Patrick who (according to legend) chased all of Ireland’s snakes into the ocean, turned water into green beer, wore clothes made of shamrocks and gave birth to Lucky the Leprechaun of Lucky Charms fame.

lucky charms

(They’re magically delicious.)

The Irish have a long, complicated history that I will not describe here. Because it’s long and complicated. Suffice it to say that St. Patrick’s Day is an Americanized version of the religious feast day in Ireland. But there are still several reasons (at least five) why you should observe this viridescent holiday.

1. Eating Irish food. The only reason to eat corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie or soda bread and potatoes is to remind yourself that Irish food really sucks.

2. Listening to Irish music. Throw in your Chieftains or Dubliners CDs to hear Irish musicians, or enjoy the melodic twang of Celtic music, the indecipherable lyrics of Irish pub songs and the insufferable wailing of banshees the Irish call “music.” Remind yourself that Irish music is an acquired taste.

3. Attending parades. Enjoy a Top o’ The Morning as you stand in dismal, rainy weather, waiting for drunk people dressed like leprechauns to stumble down the street whilst singing Irish folk songs (see #2) and urinating in the gutters. The South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the biggest in the country. I’m not sure what this says about Boston.

dog

(After the parade, this dog was found crying by the side of the road.)

4. Finding the Pot o’ Gold. Every child knows if you catch a leprechaun you get three wishes or his pot of gold coins. What children don’t know is that leprechauns are meaner than s*** and will not hesitate to Dornálaíocht the hell out of you. Why do you think Irish people know how to box so well? I spent an inordinate amount of my childhood trying to track down the little green rascals, hoping to find all that gold so I could buy candy.

5. Enjoying a good pub crawl. After all the food, music, parades, leprechauns and shamrocks, real St. Patrick’s Day observers end up sprawled across several tables in the local bar. After being jolted awake by the noisy patrons, these observers crawl (literally) to the next bar for more drinking: Because no religious holiday is complete without a massive hangover the next day.

Bonus. You get to say “Eejit.” Keep things jolly by calling your friends idiots in the language o’ the holiday. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, ye eejits!

irish

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It’s National Women’s History Month. Whatever.

How cute of men to designate March as National Women’s History Month. Because we’re not quite patronized enough.

For every Eleanor Roosevelt or Florence Nightingale recognized for their contributions to society, there are millions of smart, creative, wise women who live below the radar, undervalued and oppressed.

Maybe men feel that if they give us a month to honor our accomplishments, we’ll stop nagging about equality. Maybe if they pat our heads and tell us “Good job” they’ll hope we forget that men continue to get higher incomes, are appointed to more leadership roles and earn more respect in society.

And it’s not just equality, have you watched any CSI episode or police procedural? It seems every episode must include one sexual predator with insane issues who delights in torturing women, and TV shows have at least one scene where a woman in a tank top is tied to a chair.

Women’s contributions are crucial to global success. We run companies. We work hard. We teach our children.  In fact, one study showed that people who give birth are 100 percent women. But whether we’re running for President of the United States or working our hearts out to provide for our families, we’re consistently undervalued.

  • Nearly one quarter of girls in the world will be married before their 18th birthday.
  • In UTAH (!) there is an increasingly high rate of sex trafficking.
  • Many women in the workplace are still told to look pretty, act demure and don’t talk too much.
  • A former employer once called a temp agency, requesting someone “hot.”
  • For every $1 men make in the U.S., women make .78.
  • Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading. MARTHA FREAKING STEWART! Of ALL the Wall Street Executives who completely destroyed our economy in 2007, only ONE man was sent to prison. (Did you read they “Destroyed our Economy?!)
  • When women get upset, men assume we’re hormonal.  Or just bitches.
  • Utah was ranked the second worst state for gender equality.
  • Yesterday, golfer Dustin Johnson won the men’s Cadillac Championship and received $1, 570,000. Yesterday, golfer Inbee Park won the HSBC Women’s Championships, receiving $210,000. (Plus, her name was spelled wrong in the Salt Lake Tribune.)
  • Women earn the majority of college degrees, but only 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOS are women.
  • When NFL player Ray Rice assaulted his wife and was indicted on aggravated assault charges, he wasn’t suspended from the Ravens until MONTHS later, and initially, only for two games. When U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo was drunk and belligerent to police officers when her husband was pulled over for a DUI, she was suspended from the team for 30 days. Immediately. And she wasn’t even arrested.
  • A former employer would routinely and condescendingly ask me, “How’s that little project of yours coming along?” It didn’t matter if I was negotiating world peace or organizing an event. It was always “that little project.”
  • Pictures of Kim Kardashian’s ass still go viral. And we’ve already seen her ass too many times.

Yesterday, the Clinton Foundation introduced #NoCeilings, and #NotThere was used to explain that while we’re making progress in women’s rights, we’re not there yet.

I’m not a man hater, I’m not a feminist, I’m just someone who believes that women are amazing, that men are amazing–and that by working together as equals we could reach an entirely new level of amazing. Strong women don’t need a man’s good opinion to feel validated, but high self-esteem and confidence only get us so far when it comes to equality.

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My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

You really can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies. I’ve been following this recipe for more than 30 years, and the cookies are magnificent every single time; although they’re not always edible.

Just follow these easy steps for delicious cookies (and a kitchen full of mess) in less than an hour. Although the main characters have changed over the years, cooking with my daughters and grandkids is an absolute joy!

Step 1: Get out the heavy, WWII-era electric mixer. It weighs about 50 pounds, so you might need some help lifting it to the counter. But insist that you DON’T need help and try to get it yourself so it topples over, nearly shattering the tile.

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Step 2: Position your chair just right. Make sure no one helps you scoot the chair to the counter. Demand that you do it yourself.

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(“No help! I’ll do it. I’m fine.”)

Step 3: Find the recipe and make sure you have all the ingredients. (Which we didn’t. We were out of chocolate chips, so we improvised with M&Ms. Improvisation is encouraged.) (Make sure to eat lots of M&Ms before dumping the rest in the dough.)

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Step 4: Add 1 cup of butter, 1 c. brown sugar and 1/2 c. sugar to the mixer. Turn it on, scream and cover your eyes saying, “Too loud!”

As the mixer works, smash 2 eggs hard against the counter until they break and start oozing egg whites. Then put them in the bowl. Sometimes a little shell in the batter doesn’t hurt. (Again, INSIST on breaking the eggs yourself. You don’t need help, dammit!)

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Step 5: After adding 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. vanilla, carefully measure 2 1/2 c. flour, and then dump half of it on the floor as you pour it into the mixing bowl. This makes for some creative calculations as you try to determine how much actually made it into the dough.

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(Measured flour: pre-dumping.)

Step 6: Drop BIG spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Use your fingers if necessary, making sure to lick each finger, your hand and the spoon before grabbing more dough. This adds an element of Russian Roulette to your cookie adventure.

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Step 7: Bake at 350 for 10-11 minutes. As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, shove one in your mouth so the lava-hot melted chocolate can burn the skin off your tongue. Repeat as necessary.

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(Ringo the Dog walks slowly toward the cookies, hoping for some dropped remnants.)

After using this recipe for decades, I’ve developed a resistance to salmonella, most cold/flu viruses and scurvy. Enjoy!

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