Monday, May 29, 2006

RBOWIFLPI: The Official Site of Grant Miller

CPW has been receiving angry letters from readers upset by my recent inconsistencies in posting a Random Blog of the Week (RBOTW). Since it has been over a month since the last RBOTW posting, and certain readers are apparently upset about it, I am changing the name of this program to RBOWIFLPI (Random Blog of Whenever I Feel Like Posting It.)

This way you see, I will no longer be held hostage to your oppressive schedule. For cripe's sake people, don't you know I have a JOB?

Anyway. On to my new RBOWIFLPI: The Official Site of Grant Miller. I stumbled across Mr. Miller, Esq., because we are both friends of and semi-regular commentators on The Company Bitch.

Miller is a stay-at-home dad and is bitter about the journalistic success of his friend, Markos Moulitsas, as described in his March archives. Mr. Miller acknowledges that he is just too lazy to be as driven as Markos, which I both understand and respect. Nonetheless, Miller is clearly growing more desperate for attention and has even promised a free pony to the first 50,000 of his fans who link to him.

Miller has several recurring series that I appreciate, such as his "Meaningless Encounters with Celebrities" along with random stories he describes as the "Worst Things that Have Ever Happened to [Him]" (e.g. his cat catching a mouse - is he a girly man or what?)

But my favorite thing that has ever happened to Mr. Miller is that someone got the idea to start an Unofficial Site of Grant Miller blog that the author uses to taunt and mock Mr. Miller. For example, to counter Miller's "Meaningless Encounter" series, the Unofficial Site boasts its own "Meaningful Encounter with Celebrities" series, claiming that on the Unofficial Site, EVERY encounter with a person has meaning, unlike in the shallow world of Grant Miller.

For all we know, Miller could possibly himself be the second author, as if to play an "ignore that man behind the curtain" joke on us. If discovered, I will consider this an unforgivable offense against his loyal reader(s) which could make another Stephen Glass out of Miller. Then he'll REALLY have nothing to do but wipe snotty noses the rest of his career. (I'm just bitter that I'm not home doing the same.)

But I will hope for the best and assume that the Unofficial Site is bona fide.

Anyhow, enjoy Miller's blog. If he lifts the restraining order he put up on me for cyberstalking him, maybe I'll give him a permalink one of these days. Because we all know that, like Rachael Ray, Grant Miller would be friends with Mindy June & me if he weren't famous & all.

Grant Miller, Esq.

The Mama Gin Files Chapter 1

The "Mama Gin Files" will chronicle the stories of my day-to-day encounters with my mother-in-law, How Gin.

Mama Gin, pictured on the right, with her sister-in-law and first-born son, shortly after her immigration from China. She sees producing offspring as her only duty in life, and having produced five children, she considers herself exempt from any further responsibility to the world. Note the vacant look on her face.

My mother-in-law is demented.

She moved to NYC from China in the 1940s, but never really had to learn much English because she never worked outside the home. Unlike her gregarious, outgoing husband Johnny who spoke good English and had lots of friends and acquaintances from all walks of life, How Gin (whom we affectionately refer to as "Mama Gin") spent most of her US life either gambling at the horse races, or stewing away inside the filthy apartment that she didn't "keep" for her family of five children, the youngest of which is my better half, George. (Referred to by Mama Gin as "Georg-ee-ya!!" in the shrillest, most piercing voice you could ever imagine.)

If Mama Gin were to be evaluated by a team of mental health professionals (and it would take an entire team to deal with her) she would be diagnosed with the following. Note that this list is illustrative, not exhaustive:

1. OCD
2. Antisocial Personality Disorder
3. Borderline Personality Disorder
4. Bipolar Disorder

Unfortunately, she has never been evaluated professionally since she was able to hide away within her family for fifty plus years. Her children have never succeeded at getting her to "see" someone. And, she is able to get around well enough on her own that, at best, she would be seen as an eccentric not bad enough to be institutionalized. Although at least two of her children claim the real reason she can't be institutionalized is that she is too filthy for any home to want her.

I have an entire arsenal of stories to share about living in the same house as Mama Gin for the past seven years. For the newly initiated to the details of my daily life, Georg-ee-ya and I live in a three-apartment brownstone in Brooklyn. Georg-ee-ya and I share the basement; Mama Gin occupies the first floor, and tenants rent the second floor. It's just one big happy family.

It will take some time for you to get to know and understand her unparalleled lunacy, so for now I will just start by telling you that Mama Gin cares about exactly four things:

1. Horse racing
2. Staying as filthy as possible
3. Seeing to it that there is no fire of any kind in the back yard (such as grills, lanterns or tiki torches)
4. Insisting that Georg-ee-ya marry a female and produce offspring before she dies.

Needness to say, Mama Gin is not fond of me, as I am a direct threat to her in at least three of the four areas listed above. Oh the tales you will hear. Brace yourselves, Gentle Readers.

Mama Gin, pictured outside the house in her pink parka, on the morning that an oil delivery truck mistakenly flooded our apartment with 100 gallons of heating fuel. This picture was taken about 30 minutes after Mama Gin tried to send the Haz-Mat cleanup crew away because she doesn't like strangers in the house. These men were wearing gas masks and rubber clothing while they ripped up the flooring of the apartment, yet Mama Gin thought it would be sufficient for me to use her dirty mop to clean up the oil spill. Ruby, George's sister, is pictured on the left. The black barrels contain some of the flooring and walls of the apartment. And those are my legs you see, sitting on the bench in front of the house, in utter despair.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

New format

Due to popular demand, CPW has undergone another template change. This one seems ok except that I don't like that the comments no longer appear in a pop-up window and don't display your pretty little profile pics along with your comments. I'll see if I can fix that. Meanwhile, it takes so much friggin time to make these changes that I hope not to have to do it again very soon.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Oh, dear

I was curious enough that I had to start exploring the Willie Aames Chrisitan vs. Kristian question right away.

While after a cursory research session I haven't found a definitive statement on Willie's opinion on Christ-killers and homosexuals, I did discover that he has spent the last decade in Kansas (home of that brilliant anti-evolutionary school board!) playing "Bibleman," the Kristian Right Wing's answer to Archie Comics!

While not yet a fatal blow to Willie's reputation within the confines of CPW, it's not good news to see that he's in bed with these people.

This blog points out some of the more disturbing aspects of the whole Bibleman phenomenon: most of the villains are either stereotypically Jewish or gay. And they are all most certainly Liberal!

Come back to the five-and-dime, Willie Aames. You can still be a Christian instead of a Kristian without shooting up.

And for those of you who are Christian but attend church with Kristians, would you please start challenging these people from within their own ranks and ask them to concentrate on feeding the poor instead of tormenting the rest of us? Thanks.

CPW's TV Review: E! THS

A while back I blogged about one of my most important hobbies: watching episodes of the E! True Hollywood Story about TV shows I have never seen.

The other night I caught one of these gems about "Charles in Charge." It was awesome. I learned the following:

  • Scott Baio developed an ego problem while he was still on "Happy Days."
  • Willie Aames enjoyed a lucrative TV career even before "Eight is Enough," but then he did the UNTHINKABLE and spiraled downward into drug abuse and lost all his money.
  • Willie then joined AA, joined the cast of "Charles in Charge," found God, and stopped all that bad behavior.
  • "Charles in Charge" featured one pretty girl and one "plain" girl that Charles was in charge of. (Both of them blond, about a size 3 and pretty much identical California girls.) The actress who played the "plain" girl was jealous that she didn't get to dress better.
  • The actress who played the "pretty" girl is a real bitch - you can just tell by her interview.
  • Essentially, the show was really stupid (by Scott Baio's own admission) and I missed absolutely nothing by not watching it.
There, don't I seem more culturally aware now?

What is not clear is whether Willie became a Christian or a Kristian. If anyone wishes to research this and report back to CPW, we have an opening for a Guest Blogger, and are currently accepting applications.

New format needed?

Gentle readers,
Lulu and Sharon (sidekicks to one another, inter alia) have both complained about CPW's new format. I thought it looked nice.

So this post opens an official poll: does CPW need yet another new format?

Only the best for my readers!


Friday, May 12, 2006

She is NOT a "Raytard"!

Mindy June & I both love Rachael Ray. Mindy made note of this in her blog a while back - how we decided that if we lived near Rachael and she wasn't a celebrity and all, she would be our friend.

I love Rachael. She's silly. I love how she does her show in real-time so that you know she's not cheating - she actually cranks out those meals in exactly 30 minutes. I love how she fills every inch of dead air space by making goofy noises. Lots of "woo's!" and that sort of thing.

She's basically a total spaz.

Julia Child she ain't, though. This girl is not about haute cuisine. I've learned a few little helpful kitchen tricks from her, but I certainly don't get excited about everything she does. She's a little too fond of cumin for my taste, and I am SO not signed on to the "wash all your produce the second you get home from the store." DUH! Does anyone actually do that? Produce goes bad at least twice as fast if you wash it before putting it in the fridge.

So you bascially have to add an extra 10-15 minutes to her agenda to account for produce washing, depending on how much you have to deal with.

Anyway, back to Rachael herself. She is definitely a low-brow cook. But she doesn't pretend to be anything else. Her 30-Minute Meals show is about one thing: teaching Americans to prepare ordinary homemade food for themselves every day, and to do it without a lot of ado. Unlike our friend Alton Brown, who has you rolling out pasta on your ironing board and making odd trips to the hardware store to find bizarre utensils to cook with, Rachael just lays it out for you in the real world. You don't need a fresh clean clay flower pot or garden shears to prepare her pork chops with cranberry apple chutney.

I have heard from various "friends" that they think Rachael is annoying. The giggling. The incessant prattle. The wide open mouth smile that makes her look like the Joker.

Yes, I can see how all of those things would annoy some people. And that's just fine with me, because it just gives her more reasons to be MY friend and not yours.

But anyway, I had heard so much general crabbing about her that I grew curious to see how much hatred there actually is for poor Rachael.

Oh my god. There are some real Rachael-haters out there. And they are not kind.

They are ALL OVER HER about absolutely everything. Her mannerisms. Her recipes. Her every kitchen technique. Her garbage bowl. Her frenetic race to get it all done in 30 minutes. The increasing appearance that she is coming unhinged, probably due to exhaustion.

What's worse is that she is regularly referred to as "Retchel Ray" and "Raytard."

Ok, how mean is THAT?

Well, here's to them. I don't care anymore what these terrible people say about her. Bring it on. There is enough Rachael-love out there to counter all of their putrid bile.

Rachael Ray is a Godess of Light. She is my muse. She deserves to be exalted and praised.

I love Rachael Ray!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Two-day work holiday

I took two days off work so that we could go to the country, but we ended up staying home because we have many home-related projects going on that we would like to wrap up. In place of going out of town for 3 days, we decided to spend Monday at the Bronx Zoo, which I had never been to.

I usually hate the zoo because of crowds and hot weather (which it usually is any time I go to the zoo.) Today was a perfect zoo day, however: no kids (school is still in); no lines; and no heat. The zoo was FABULOUS under these conditions.

I vowed not to be irritated at all during the day. I was almost 100% successful, save for the part where this stupid group of stupid parents almost let their stupid kids (Fischer, Hollis and Tava <======== stupid names) cut in front of us to get on the monorail. Grrr.

After the zoo we treated ourselves to a walk in the West Village, cocktails at the Duplex, and dinner at Tartine, a fabulous and tiny French bistro where you are allowed to bring your own wine since they don't have a liquor license.

All in all, a highly satisfactory day.

Tomorrow we will hit Ikea.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sakura 2006

We have an enormous ornamental cherry tree in our back yard. Once a year in the spring it explodes into millions of fluffy pink blossoms, and is quite breathtaking, at least until the blossoms rain all over the yard and turn brown before we've had a chance to sweep and rake them up.

Every year, when the tree blossoms, we celebrate the Japanese festival of Sakura with a dinner party for our Japanese friends. This year we had Emiri with Imran, and Yuka with Vincent.

We also surprised Emiri with a birthday-tiramisu.

For the third year in a row, the weather was inappropriate for dining outdoors under the cherry tree, so we had to bring the party inside by decorating the entire apartment with vases of blossoms.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

War Protest NYC April 29, 2006

Last weekend Jacob's wife Bridget came to visit. George & I attended the war protest in Manhattan with her, where we marched with the Gold Star Families, Military Families Speak Out, and Iraq Veterans Against the War. We got to talk briefly with Cindy Sheehan , who was there to speak with the media and share stories about her son, Casey.