DOWNTON ABBEY: England’s DALLAS


DowntonDallas

The Super Bowl is so two days ago.  (Madonna, the 80’s called and they want their music back).  Madge pulled it off, but honestly–you’d rather watch the etrade baby.  But now that the Super Bowl is over, what are ya gonna watch?  Downton Abbey may not have enormous appeal for wing-eatin’, Bud-Lite guzzlin’ folk, but give it twenty minutes, and you may just get sucked in.  The show has garnered many emmys, as well as landed a huge young American following.  The brilliant writer, Sir Julian Fellowes, claims to have based the series on NYPD Blue.  At any rate, you haven’t been so hooked on a series since DALLAS.

You lived in London when DALLAS first debuted.

“Don’t ya love Dallas then?” Marcella–the middle-aged next sec over– whispered around the plastic partition.

“What?” you replied, Americanishly.

DALLAS!” she hissed.  “It’s all the rage here.  Don’t ya watch J.R. and all that lot then?

“J.R. who?” you asked, typing a letter using old carbon paper, while attempting to photocopy using a Thermofax machine, before your architect boss reappeared.  “We don’t have a telly in our flat, Marcella,” you replied flatly.  Nor an iron, which she pointed out every day when you entered the office–in a sweet maternal way.

You are missing out,” she singsonged, then sighed.  Once you moved back to the States, you got all entrenched in the Friday night soap.

One rainy day last summer, you hunkered down to watch the first season of DOWNTON with your husband and daughter.  While you all stared non-blinkingly at the screen   forgetting to breathe, much less eat–your son headed to the gym, ate barbecue, re-watched Bourne on his laptop and led a normal existence.  (Earlier, all you of had watched a Bourne marathon).

Last Christmas, after you presented them with the second season imported from the UK, you all grabbed your seats again for another mini-marathon.  Meanwhile, your son headed to Best Buy, Sports Authority, brought us Five Guys take-out and led some semblance of a normal life.  (Earlier, you had all watched The Office for seventeen hours straight).

Instead of sharky J.R. propping his boots up on brother Bobby’s desk and swilling bourbon and branch, you have the courageous Lord Grantham, who, dressed in finery, stands in various rooms of the 72 billion square foot manse, waiting for the next staff member to arrive breathlessly with yet another piece of unfortunate news.  Does the man possess any character flaw?  His lovely American wife, Cora, sits in various rooms worrying about their three spirited daughters.

Instead of dear Miss Ellie, you have the upper-crusty Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith.  Instead of 80’s-cute Bobby, you have dashing Matthew.  Instead of sly, swillin’ Swellen, you have gorgeous, headstrong Lady Mary, who conducts the exact opposite of speed dating.  Instead of voluptuous Pam, you have sneaky Edith, who busts out of her homeliness.  Instead of Lucy, you have Sybil–a beautiful nurse with a rebellious streak.

Then below deck, there’s the staff of the manse:  the avuncular Carson gently thundering orders, star-crossed lovers Anna and Mr. Bates trying to steal moments alone, and sweet dotty Daisy.  Then there’s the evil Thomas and O’Brien cooking up schemes as they smirk, sulk and smoke (somehow managing to do all three at once) at the back door.

Yes, there are a couple of syrupy moments, but nothing that compares to Bobby waking up and declaring the entire Dallas series had been a bad dream.  Aside from suspenseful writing and immense popularity, there any similarities end, you suppose.  You would like to see the Dallas cast when they reunite this summer–what. a. hoot.

You hear tell that Shirley McLean has been asked to join the cast as Cora’s American mum.  Think Steel Magnolias’ Weezer, pitted against Professor McGonagall’s evil twin–on steroids.  You can’t wait for Sir Julian Fellowes to finish penning Season three.  How many plotlines can he balance on the tip of his pen?  Five of which you haven’t cared for, but that still leaves about sixty others.  When it finally ends, you can always go back and rent Gosford Park …

Weezer
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Pinterest for Guys: dudeboard


Snatch (film)

Image via Wikipedia

There has simply got to be a Pinterest for guys.  Hence, you propose the name, dudeboard.  Guys, next time you google, ‘where dem girls at,’ listen to this.  ‘Dem girls’ are sitting sweetly at home or in Starbucks, pinning away.  After logging some 1,748,052 hours of seriously ‘researching’ the pinterest phenom, the results are thus: at about ten p.m., even party girls turn into pumpkins and come alive on this virtual bulletin board, pinning faster than a house a ‘fire.

One night, you tried to keep up.  Honey, you didn’t have a snowball’s chance.  You kept trying to fetch items they’d be interested in, and no sooner did you give them the world, than they done snatched up your goods and repinned you into oblivion.

Snatch. repin. repeat.  Lawd. have. mercy.

The madness began after your daughter mentioned it casually, over Thanksgiving.  “Oh, looks fun,” you said.  And then the night the holidays ended you waded in, slowly, and then fell in the deep end.

The stylist at your salon whispered, “Everyone’s in the back room looking at pinterest.”  You had indeed noticed a great deal of traffic in and out of the break room.  All quite innocent.  She said ‘they were studying how to furnish an apartment on a budget.’  You know good and well they were probably pinning lil Justin photos.

So guys, face it–if you can’t beat ’em, just join ’em.  At least churn up some faux enthusiasm if a female excitedly shows you a bulletin board or two.  Or fifteen.  Even if they display that their greatest hits are ‘channeling Chiquita Banana,’ or their favorite flats from Jimmy Choo.  This does not mean that you will suddenly into one of those Village People.

You can also go so far as to venture out and create your own dudeboard, which may, for example, showcase anything from a selection of barca-loungers, to bronco bustin,’ to small batch Bourbons to microbrews, to various bungy jumping venues, to your favorite burger chains–Five Guys, WhataBurger, In-N-Out Burger, and so forth.   And, just to throw something out there, you could actually create a visually intriguing bulletin board on perhaps the two most lame Sports Center announcers, or maybe the Longhorn vs. Outback saga–you name it.  The world is at your doorstep.  Perhaps different flavors of wings, if you will.  Or, think outside the box and craft a Tebowing board, featuring your favorite different photos.  Bless his lil heart.

So, in summation, dudes–yo–what other winter solsticesque hobbies you got going, that are free.  (You would not truly appreciate the appeal of Etsy).  And yes, you can go to Costco, purchase a full-array 55″ flat screen, call the cronies over for the game, and return it the next day.  But somebody’s gotta pony up for the chips and dip, Solo cups and Jager bombs for the ladies.  

Start 2012 in style–what say ye?

…whoo hoo…gotta go–it’s your move on Words With Friends…

English: Red Pinterest logo

Image via Wikipedia

Pinterest

Image by stevegarfield via Flickr

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Got that ‘reindeer in the headlights’ look?


Wreath up, stockings down, set out old drippy candles that somewhat spread light around.  Tree sort of up, but listing wildly against one wall.  Boxes of lights and ornaments awaiteth, as well as rounds of signing, licking, addressing and stamping cards.

Rustle up to attic and finish bringing down the remainder of ye olde house decorations, and give them a dust and a fluff.

(Washing machine breaks; computer crashes; vacuum cleaner catches on fire; some large creature moves into a corner of your attic; AT & T takes the day off; your cable company takes the week off).

Maketh Ye Last Minute Purchases at Ye Olde Amazon.

Maketh Ye Last Minute Purchases at Ye Olde Best Buy.  Schlep big boxes from big box stores into house.

Lo and behold, the big box trucks began to arrive in ye olde cul-de-sac, to deliver ye olde Amazon goods.  Amazon needs to run the phone, cable companies and post offices.

Wrap, wrap, wrap.

Stand in line at the post office longer than you waited for the iPhone 4s, whilst juggling big boxes.

Steereth your old truck–like it’s a PT7 Cruiser–to Ye Olde Whole Food and purchaseth tenderloin and fixin’s for Christmas dinner.

Later stuck in traffic with groceries melting, visions of holiday decorations dance in your head:  use Christmas runners instead of throws, over backs of chairs.  Stuff blue juniper branches into mint julep cups to line your mantel.  Cream roses and red berries in a glass vase for foyer.  Find white Hypericum berries.  Bring in holly from the back yard  to mix with magnolia leaves from front yard for pot on top of armoire.  Get poinsettias and topiaries from Trader Joe’s for breakfast room.  Buy curly willow…did you clean up after the dog?  Did you RSVP to that thingy?  Didn’t you have a dental appointment this week?…Buy mistletoe…  

Runneth in floral boutique.  As you enter, the diminutive bespectacled owner, Weldon, pops open a can of La Croix.  “Ahh, first beer of the day,” he sighs.

There are folks drinking sparkling water like beer, people,  just to get through the retail season.

You ask him for holiday centerpiece ideas for the dining room table.

“Come on back and take a look at this,” he says, winding his way to the back.  We set off a motion-activated Rudolph on a nearby table top.  “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!” begins blaring in the tiny bungalow, and the deer begins doing the twist.

I’m gonna shoot that damn reindeer,” Weldon stops and says simply, then glances back at you.   He can see you have that hectic, haunted, hunted, daunted, reindeer in the headlights look on your face, that you can’t possibly stay ahead, or on top of it all.  December started without you.

Let’s just breathe in and out, shall we?” he asks.  “That’s my holiday mantra.”

“And perfect for Holiday ADHD,” you agree.

He shows you greenery and berries stuffed into an old French olive jar, and votives on a linen table runner.  Simple.  Done. 

On the way to your next errand, a car dressed up like a reindeer nearly runs you off the road.  Pull over.  Breathe in.  Breathe out. 

Insert “Celebrate Me Home” cd to help your blood pressure plummet.

Stop being lead reindeer and just let. yourself. go. sit. down.  Sit and  sip a hot peppermint mocha frapp, take time out to enjoy the holiday spirit.  

Whoever decided to install a Starbucks inside  Target should be knighted.

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SEC for Dummies: a southern Mom’s cliff notes version


The old Colonel Reb Ole Miss logo

Image via Wikipedia

If you’re lookin’ for info about the Security and Exchanges commission, this article isn’t for you.

This Saturday, Georgia plays LSU in Hot-lanta for the SEC championship.  SEC means we’re talkin’ real, live football.  Football as religion, not sport.  Last weekend, there was the Iron Bowl.  Sound tough?  It is.  No wine and cheese crowd here; they get down.to.business.  And, as for tailgatin’– the Deeper South you go, the thicker the eyeliner, skimpier the sundresses, louder the voices and more likker in the hipflask.

Forget about game rules; we’re talkin’ pure pageantry here.  First, let’s talk about the ‘outfits.’  There’s a plethora of orange, red, purple, garnet, orange, white and black.  Why not wear aqua (pronounced ak-wa in these parts) uniforms for example?  You do love the mardi gras theme that LSU has goin’ on, but to complete the look, they need strands of beads thrown around their necks.

Mascots n’ such:  they got ’em–from hawgs to dawgs.  There are also a whole lotta wild tigers and wildcats, then you got your gamecocks, a bluetick dog named Smoky, some creature that looks like a mad armadillo or wild boar, some fiesty bulldawgs, some fierce snappin’ gators…and then you got your red elephant.   There’s also a Commodore and a Colonel who looks like Colonel Sanders’ son.    You hear tell that the Colonel is being retired and replaced with a Star Wars’ figure named Admiral Akbar… (shouldn’t mascots be at least a little intimidating?)

OK–back to the game.  There’s all manner of neck and spine wrenching, collisions and bodily harm.   You pure-tee cringe as players are thrown up into outer space like stuffed dolls, or trampled by a stampede.  Bulls running in Pamplona must be easier to watch. 

“Is that allowed?” you gasp.

Mom, it’s football,” your son sighs for the zillonth time, “What do you expect?”

Well, you have absolutely no idea; you grew up in deep basketball country.

 “Can their mothers at least be allowed to run out screaming onto the field when their sons are laying crumpled in a heap?” you demand.
Your son shakes his head, “Mom, Mom, Mom.  Whatta we going to do with you?”
Your son played football for two years.  After his last game, held in–not east, but west jesus-– you stood up in the bleachers and declared, “Hallelujah!”  He was spared his life, limbs and spine, to boot.  That spring, he went back to his beloved soccer, scored header goals n’ such, and then, a player ‘headed’ your son’s skull, instead of the ball, and broke his nose.  Go frickin’ figure.
All told, ‘best dressed’ goes to…Vanderbilt (the gold is a nice touch).  Best live mascot?  Can’t beat the War eagle.  Best song?  Rocky Top.  And who doesn’t get teary when they hear, My Old Kentucky Home.  Best cheer?  Woof, woof, woof, woof.  Let’s go Dawgs.
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Don’t. Speed. Through. South. Carolina. (tales from a former faux southern hippie)


Driver's License, 1972

Flashback, Summer 1972.  You and your cousin, age seventeen, are wearing tube tops, bell bottoms and flip-flops, with hair two feet straight down the back and parted in the middle and immense chandelier earrings you’d bought at the Gay Dolphin in Myrtle Beach.  With a swish of hair, you leap into the front seat of your canary yellow Camara and hot-foot it down Highway 17 like Super Fly.  You suck down cokes and crank up Eric Clapton.

Lo and behold, blue lights start flashing from behind, and you pull off on the sandy shoulder, cussing up a southern storm–using words such as dadgummit and dadburnit amongst choice others.

The trooper sidles up to you and asks for your license. It doesn’t help that y’all look like what they call, hippie freaks, which does not bode well with the trooper.  He is as cool as iced tea with his hat clamped around his forehead, and states that you were going 15 over the limit and that and you owe him $100. Cash.

You have no checkbook, no credit card, no cellphone.   You tell him that you have twenty-four dollars and thirty-two cents.  They didn’t cover this in Driver’s Ed.  Can’t they just bill you?   You and your cousin sit Indian-style on the hood, under live oaks draped with Spanish moss.  Bummer.  Man–you were gunning it to get home so you could meet that cute guy Kyle–winged hair,  jean jacket, Frye boots– at the Silver Dollar.

Then y’all get scared.  What’s that movie where hippies travel through Mississippi and never come back out?  Does it count that y’all are really just FAUX SOUTHERN HIPPIES and just dress like the real ones?  After a couple of hours, he gets out of his squad car, takes your cash, and peels off.  No points ever appeared.

Fast forward, 2011.  Age double-nickles, you climb into your old tan SUV to drive home from the beach.  J. Crew top, black jeans, hair  foot long and parted on the side, small chandelier earrings, flip-flops.  As you try to find the beach music station, you pass a parked patrolman.

No. frickin. way.  You’re not real speedy by nature, but this is the only state where you’ve ever been caught going over the limit.

You remember a sweet, nerdy lawyer friend, who’d just left her firm to drive back to her apartment one night.  Soon there was a flashing rack behind her on the highway; she got all nervous and searched for a well-lit spot.  She hesitated for so long that the patrolman in pursuit called for reinforcements, and by the time gentle Julia exited, she was surrounded by 3 squad cars in a Chic-fil-a parking lot, as she quaked in her perm and dark suit–complete with a bow tie blouse, supp-hose and sturdy pumps.

The gas station is chock-full of folks staring at you as you pull in, softly cussing up a southern storm–dadgummit, etc.   Face burning, you scrunch down in your seat like you are seventeen again. Even your children have never gotten tickets.  What are the rules now?  Will he search your car?  What’s in your car?  A humble chicken salad sandwich in tin-foil.  Duffel bag, stale snacks and bottled water, some shirts to take to the cleaners.  Quickly you try to look as Mom-ish and boring as possible.  You gather your hair up into a pony tail, fluff up your neck pillow, take off your aviators, and apply reading glasses.  You re-position your Diet Green Tea and packet of Nabs, and then pull out your license and registration.

He takes your cards and disappears.  With horror you realize your back window sports big fat decals of  South Carolina’s two major football rivals.  Hmmm.  Too late to rip those babies off.  To add insult to injury, your state license plate is their third biggest enemy.

He crunches back over and hands you a ticket.  You can mail in a check.  Your cell phone suddenly sings out, “Bell Bottom Blues,” and you hastily turn it off.  Easy.  Done.

You are the only one of  five sibs who has not attended traffic school;  you gotta hold on to that record. 

Missing that date with Kyle?  Thank God.

South of the Border

Image by J. Stephen Conn via Flickr

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Siri, Where Can You Find Nude Patent Leather Heels?


B-9 Environmental Control Robot ( middle ), in...

(That's Siri in the back) Image via Wikipedia

You just spent a mother-daughter weekend with your daughter…and Siri, the new virtual assistant iPhone app. You are the last. person. on. earth. to be on the scene when some new hip electronic device is launched, but you were desperate.  You were the oldest person standing in line to buy the new iPhone, because your old one died.  While you sat in plastic chairs outside of a strip mall, you all pondered questions to ask Siri:

Is there a restroom inside the AT&T store, because we all bought el-huge-o coffees at Dunkin’ Donuts next door in order to sit outside and wait to buy your services.

If we’d known we’d have to wait 4 hours to buy you, would we have waited 4 hours to buy you?

Can Siri pick up carpool?

Can she text my boss and tell him that I hate him?

At first Siri’s replies sound sorta like those old magic eight balls, that you’d roll over and peer at the bottom for the answer, floating in liquid–her voice being a combo of the robot from “Lost in Space” and Hal from “2001: Space Odyssey.”  It is decidedly so.  As I see it, yes.  Signs point to yes.  Reply hazy, try again.  Outlook not so good.

Magic 8 Ball

Image via Wikipedia

You picture Siri looking sort of pale like your Wii trainer–because they don’t get out much–but sitting erect  at a desk with a headset on, in a pencil skirt, sweater set and heels, as opposed to the ‘Ask Cha Cha’ dude, who you envision sporting a soul patch and wearing board shorts and Reefer sandals, plopped down in one of those round rattan chairs.

Note to Helicoptering Parents:  Here is your chance to pay extra bucks to boss someone around for the rest of their cyber-life.  She never loses her temper, never chews Jimmy Choos, nor slams the door or tells you to shush up.  She can act obtuse at times, although you know deep-down she isn’t.  And she can get a wee bit testy.

That night, your daughter asked Siri for a roasted chicken recipe.

“I do not know of rested chicken,” Siri retorted, suddenly  sassy.

“Where can I find nude patent leather pumps?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Siri answered flatly,  “Strip clubs or attorneys?”

After you got lost the following morning looking for a breakfast place, you both got the giggles.  You asked Siri where a bagel shop was, and Siri started to feel left out, you could tell.  She issued a curt response: “SHAWTY, I do not know what you are talking about.”  (Your daughter admitted that she secretly told Siri your name was Shawty).

Later, your daughter thanked Siri for locating a museum.

“That’s nice for you to say,” she replied flatly.

“Siri, you’re wonderful,” your daughter laughed.

“Was it something I said?”

“We love you, Siri.”

“Oh, stop.”

Other questions:

Where is my Prilosec?  (senior moment)

“Here is your current location.”

Where has my girlfriend done gone.  (Gen X, Y, Z and  A.D.D.)

Here is a place matching ‘my girlfriend.’  It is not far from you.

Where are my car keys?  (senior minute)

I found 12 auto parts stores.

Where the —– are my car keys? (Gen X etc.)

I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.

Siri has now far surpassed Google as your new BFF.

Siri, can you write a post?

http://shitthatsirisays.tumblr.com/post/11569190001

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Mama’s Favorite Sayings: A Beginner’s Guide for Gen X, Y and Z


South Park Library

Image by libraryman via Flickr

The weather’s gotten a wee bit snappy in these parts, in your neck o’ the woods.  But not too chilly yet to sit on the porch for a spell.  Last evening, your friend, Elizabeth upped and said, “Well, I reckon it’s gotten cold enough to kill a hog.”

“Excuse me?” you leaned in closer in case you’d gone deef, as Mama used to say.

“Oh–well my uncle used to say that when it started to get cold,” she said, simply.

Southerners have always been wordsmiths extraordinaire. But y’all need to revive these adages, because they are quickly goin’ by the wayside:

Honey, she was always barkin’ up the wrong tree.

He was caught with his pants down, 

and furthermore, he just. didn’t. cut. the. mustard.

That bug was deader than a doornail.

Don’t just sit there like a bump on a log.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Don’t put your eggs all in one basket.  (this is quite a popular one in your own household)

Well, he’s just dumber than a sack of hammers…

…but I could just eat him up with a spoon.

Well, she just pure-tee flew off the handle. 

He got the short end of the stick, 
And then he went hog wild. 
Then he went at it whole hog. (There seem to be several concerning bugs, dogs, hogs, horses and barns.  Sort of a farm theme, if you will)

Sugar, they got on like a house afire.

He always goes around his elbow to get to his thumb. (as mama often described an uncle)

Great day in the morning, great scott, and good night.   Heavens to Betsy, and Oh.my.word. (You have never heard a Gen X’er say one of these; nary a one.  Goodness, gracious)

I’m going to have a fit and fall in it.

I’m gonna lick the tar out of you, 

But I love the stuffin’ out of you.

He’s nothing but a Johnny Come Lately.

Truth be told, I’ve been running around all day like a chicken with my head cut off.

You scared the living daylights out of me.

There’s more fried chicken than you could shake a stick at.

Long story short, our cousin has gone and gotten as big as a barn.

Well, I wouldn’t do that to save my neck. (this saying alarmed a young, northern acquaintance one day, as she thought you’d had neck surgery)

It’ll only take two shakes of a lamb’s tail. (as she’d whip up a delicious breakfast of eggs, sausage and biscuits)

Katy bar the door, there’s trouble up yonder.  So if you ever hear any Gen X’ers and so forth making these utterances, please thank them from the bottom of your heart.  They have a lonnnnnng road to hoe…

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