Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Marriage, John Robert's silly question, and Bristol Palin's Vagina



So, last week was one for the books.  I know, y'all are happy for everyone.  We can now discard "Same Sex Marriage" and just call it what it is, "Marriage".  I am all for making things simple.  Me and Martha Stewart - and I can't wait for her book on how to throw a reception for two guys or two girls - are on the same wave length.  Just like twin sisters, except I am the younger of the two of us by a couple decades.

Anyhow, I am happy, except Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, who wrote in his dissent:


“The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs.”

Immediately thereafter, he asked the silliest rhetorical question, ever: “Just who do we think we are?

To which I answer in the common sense fashion possible: We are AMERICANS, you meathead.

And Americans seldom do the easiest things to do, but we chart our own course and we are no one's second fiddle.  Given the chance to have our own King, or elect a leader we said no to the former and yes to the later.  No one had done that before in modern world.

Well, I guess if Justice Roberts had been there, we would have had a King (or at least an Emperor or some such), because that's what the Franks, the Holy Roman Empire and the French had.

I really want to sit down and have a drink with Roberts so we can discuss this.  Because it really was a stupid move on his part.

I have no qualms about honoring other cultures, and weaving the best from them into this great land of ours. But my mother's ancestors did not fight in the American Revolution against the most powerful army of its day and beat the shit out of the British so we could define our social structure according to Kalahari Bushmen.  Oh, hell no.

And did my father's parents leave "The Old Country" and come to America because it was just like the Han Chinese culture?  Seriously?  No, they came here because it was a beacon of freedom for all people, even for Europe's favorite punching bag: the Jews.  They could have to China, but they Cleveland was a smarter way to go.

Heck, how great are we?  We make up with our sworn enemies.  I love the United Kingdom, and the Queen's handbag collection.  English skally boys?  Amusing tricks, I say.  Bangers and mash?  Get enough Guinness in me and anything is possible.

Nor did we do so to honor the Han Chinese, or God forbid the Aztecs.  Hell, had we followed the Aztec model we would still be part of the United Kingdom because we would have just stood by while the British did whatever they wanted to do.

And the Carthaginians?  They were wiped from the face of the earth when they tried to spank down the Romans with elephants for God's sake.

So I don't know who or what John Roberts thinks he is, but the rest of us know that none of us are equal until all of us are equal.

Let me leave you with my favorite moment, which came from the "Chat" section of the Louisville, Kentucky newspaper's coverage of Bristol Palin's latest plight, her SECOND pregnancy without benefit of marriage.  Why do I read the "chat section and message boards"?   Because you never know what the great unwashed will say.  So I give you THIS:

"BRISTOL PALIN I AM NOT SPEAKING FOR EVERYNODY (sic), BUT WHO CARES. THAT IS YOUR VAGINA, IF YOU WANT TO HAUL COAL IN IT, THAT IS YOUR BODY PART, NOT THE WORLDS'. HAVE A BLESSED DAY AND GET SOME CHILD SUPPORT."

Now that is an opinion I can get behind.  No qualms or fussy rhetorical questions.  Just good old common sense.  Now, chew on that, John Roberts.

So, y'all have a blessed day, y'hear?




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Kabuki Theater of Real Estate

We have the Seller, the Buyer and the Agent.  Their roles are set and cannot be broken, lest "things" go awry. 

If you have ever bought a house, in the traditional sense, in the United States, you know that it is not a matter of looking up house, visiting, asking the seller what the prices is, taking out your credit card and buying said house.

No, buying a house is a more white knuckle transaction that involves going to showings, touring through your hosts home, judging their sense of color and decorations, talking about this funny scent or that ugly light and then fuming that the home of your dreams is most likely beyond your purse.

When you do find "the" house, then you enter into a formal ceremony that can last 24 hours or up to two months while the offer is issued on a presented contract, and is either refused with a huff, or silence, haggled over, or - it you are lucky - accepted, but with conditions.

This is a first act of The Kabuki Theater of Real Estate.

In this theater, each person has a role to play.  You have the seller who wants to get rid of said house at the highest price, you have the buyer who want to buy said house at the lowest possible price, and the real estate agent who just worries that something will get in the way of his or her commission.  In certain cases, there may be TWO agents.

After accepting the offer, certain things must happen.  Like Kabuki Theater, there are rules, and if the rules are broken, and tradition is left to wither, unspeakable things can happen.

Chief among these protocols is the tradition that the buyer and seller do not interact directly while the house is "in contract".  Not only that, but if they have to interact, the "action" is always indirect, and through the respective real estate agent - He (or She) is the gatekeeper of communication.  Messages go up, and then they are transmitted back down.  But the agent controls the conversation.   If there are two agents, then they converse with each other, but the seller agent NEVER contacts the buyers agent for any reason, except when the buyer's agent has lost interest in the deal because its almost done.  

This is where we find ourselves.

Today was the Chimney inspection of the "new" old house.  Imagine my surprise when I went to said house to meet our agent and the inspector to find the owners at the house that they were not supposed to be at.   Just like a home showing, the property owner is not supposed to be there - its part of the veil of smoke and mirrors - when there is an inspection going on because if there is an issue, it could become an issue.

The owners were there.  With a plate of fudge brownies.

This cannot be.  Why?  BECAUSE!

In ancient Greek theater the action never takes place on the stage.  No the action takes place OFF stage, then the actors talk what allegedly about it on stage, after the chorus recounts the action.  But there is NO action on stage.  Oedipus does not seduce his mother on the stage.  They do not try and conceive a child.  Their infertility is discussed, but everyone keeps their clothes on because that is what tradition calls for.  Damnit.

However, there was Audrey sticking her head in the fireplace and looking up it with a flashlight saying "This is so silly to pay someone to do what I am doing for free..." and Doug holding out a platter inviting me and Realtor Bob to partake in some Fudgy Goodness.  "They're extra chewy," he promised.

Leaving with the chimney inspector we were talking on the sidewalk - after all I am paying his bill - and here comes Audrey, dressed in red plaids, and face covered in soot (looking like the opening act of a minstrel show) asking "well, are we going to be able to sell this house?"

Realtor Bob, who is adorkable, stumbled over the words found his footing and defty regained control over the situation.  "I'll send a copy to your agent," Audrey looked perplexed.  Remember, she hasn't bought a house since 1965.

Anyway, the chimney passed.  Next up is the home inspection.  Realtor Bob contacted the selling agent and suggested that the Doug and Audrey go out while the inspection is going on.

However, in the great tradition of Kabuki, who knows how this next act will play out.

Anyhow, a moving date has been selected and the Moving company chosen.  So we are going forward, even if forward means taking an unconventional and absurdist path.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sometimes, it isn't all about the bump out



I know that many of you have been wondering "What has Cookie been up to?"

WELL...the husband and have been in quite a tizzy wondering what is to become of us and this house we bought when we moved to Baltimore.  Simply put, it doesn't work for us.  Oh, it oozes charm, no doubt.  But for how we live, it doesn't work for us.

So last year, in an attempt to make the house work for us, we removed the nasty old sliding glass doors on our side porch and replaced them with French Doors.  We also removed the sliding "drive through window" that a previous owner installed, with French casements. We decided that this would be our new back door once we built the deck off the back of the house.

This past February were in the backyard while the dogs romped in the snow around our feet and I said, "Maybe instead of building the deck first, we should talk to an architect about getting the kitchen fixed."  Because the kitchen really needed a total make over.  Seriously.  It's tiny and it is cramped and it didn't work for us.

So we started interviewing architects:

- The first arrived with a silk scarf around his neck and reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright, in a bad way - the way in which the architect creates his vision and owners are left to adapt to his design, and not the other way.  Strike one.  Then he knew nothing about houses designed by the Small Homes Bureau of the American Institute of Architecture.  Strike two.  Then he kicked at our dog Kevin.  Strike three, and he was out.

- The second man seemed like a better fit, assured us that we could get what we wanted, but then proceeded to tell us what we wanted.

- The third architect came in and had us picture this, that and everything else.  We liked him.  When we got his bid, we couldn't afford him.

- The fourth firm we liked very much and we decided to hire them, but postponed the contract signing from after our California trip.

Just before we left for California, I found another house that was perfect for us.  Bigger - much bigger.  In Baltimore County.  But the husband didn't like that it was in a "Village" community, and I had to agree that the village was a tight fit compared to Wide Open Spaces where we live in Baltimore city.  I mean we are literally down the road from a County and Hunt Club, and I happen to like wide yards and leafy vistas.

Our plan for this house involved tearing down the kitchen and rebuilding it, and adding a bedroom above it.  Then we would have added in a bath and a half.  The laundry room would get moved from the basement to the second floor.  The hot water radiator system would get pulled and would be replaced with a all-season forced air system.  Price tag?  $150,000 to $200,000.

We could create the house of our dreams.  It is within reach.  Really.  Nothing hard about it.

Still, we weren't motivated to sign the papers with the architects.  Every day we talked about it, but moving forward with it just wasn't something that we felt was a priority.

A week ago last Saturday we were at the neighborhood progressive dinner and the neighborhood grandparents, Doug and Audrey came up to us and told us they were moving into assisted living.  Now in the eighties, Audrey is a little unstable on her feet and the stairs at their house around the block from our house are too much for her to navigate.

"You should buy our home," said Audrey.  And Audrey has been saying this for two years to us.

I explained we would love to, but that it was too expensive for our budget.   Audrey invited us to the open house the next day, said she would make us a good deal, winked and went on her way.

One the way home from grocery store, I said to the husband "So, you just want to run through their house and see what a house at the top of our budget looks like?

So we did.   It was much bigger than our house, with more land, more features, and FOUR bathrooms.  Now we have ONE bathroom in the house that does work for us.  They have FOUR freaking bathrooms.   More than two people can in their kitchen - by like 20.   And in the basement?  Not one pipe dangling from the ceiling.  Central air?  Sure.   And a DISHWASHER.

We thanked the realtor, left, got home, looked around and I looked at the husband and he looked at me and we both said "Let's call Bob," who is our neighborhood realtor, "and ask him what he thinks.
And Bob came over.

And we talked with Bob.

And Bob said "Look, you can do all the things you want to do to your house and because of the street you are on, I can't guarantee you can get your money out of it.   If you were on Doug and Audrey's street, you could."

And Bob was right.  Because their street isn't a main drag.

(And Bob has a sweet body.  Did I mention that?  Is it evil to objectify your real estate agent?  Discuss.)

And then we put in a low ball offer on Doug and Audrey's house.

And Doug and Audrey saw it was from us and agreed to the deal.

And it was that simple.

And that is the story of how we decided that it is better to move than bump out, and cheaper, too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Snatch This Pebble From My Hand



So Cookie finds himself, and The Husband, in Los Angeles this week on a vacation/research trip that is equal parts both.  The husband humors Cookie's genealogy obsession, and Cookie in turn honors the Husband's desire to walk around gardens, famous and otherwise.  Together, we are a very easy going pair.

So Today, Cookie will trudge through the Huntington Library and Gardens, because the husband gave eight hours of effort towards Cookie's research on Wednesday.  It's a fair trade.

Yesterday, we were guests of the Los Angeles Public Library pouring over a private collection.  The visit was arranged months ago.

This leads me to mention an odd thing about the LA Public Library, Central Division.  They have a rare books and manuscript division.   But you wouldn't know it if you asked the librarians there.

My first visit to the department came in 1990s, about five years after the big fire.   I wanted to access the department because it held several one of a kind items I needed to look at for a project I was working on.  The man I was directed to, "Tom" actually refused to acknowledge that the items were in the collection.  "There is nothing in the collection that are not already in the authors published works.  I persisted - I wanted to see his notes, because as we all know, the notes hold the key to the methodology.

When I arrived at the library for the visit back then, I arrived, and I asked for directions to the rare book and manuscript division.

"I can't tell you where it is."

I explained that I had an appointment.  The person asked to see my ID and left the desk, made a call, came back and said, please wait here.  A man came and I was escorted to the department.  Score one for Cookie.

In 2012, we made the trip here again, and on a visit to the library, I asked again, preface it by saying "I don't have an appointment, and I know that one is needed, but isn't the rare books division around here?"

You would have thought that I had just asked to see Satan.  Her eyes got large as saucers and she defensively said "I can't tell you that."

Excuse me?

"You can't go there."  I explained I had no such intention.   I again asked if the division was nearby, and again I got a "You can't go there."  I again explained that I just wanted to get my bearings.  "I can't tell you."

And in 2013, we played this game AGAIN.

"I can't tell you that information."

This time I came prepared: "It's on the Third Floor of the Goodhue Building, isn't it?"

She was stunned.  Shocked, even!  "I can't confirm that."

Seriously?  Even though its on your web site, you can't confirm it.  Really?

At least in Kung Fu, the kid got a pebble for his trouble.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Could this be MJ's fate?



We hope not (but I couldn't find the female version, so just pretend...)

The spouse is always the last to know, part II



"You see Beverly," started Dr. Levine, "Jerry is sick, very sick.  Oh, he isn't ill in a way that you or I or any other normal person gets sick with the sniffles or the flu.  Jerry is mentally sick.  At some point in Jerry's life, he began to fetishize - the abnormal fixation on an inanimate object - on the feel of silky things that women enjoy wearing.  From there, his illness progressed to women's clothing, and from there to wearing women's clothing.  Perhaps Jerry had a childhood trauma that he buried deep inside his psyche."

"He and his parents have a strained relationship.  And his mother," I rotely explained, "is always meddling in our lives.  She second guesses all of Jerry's decisions on important life decisions."  

"I see.  Just as I suspected.  Now," Dr. Levine continued, "Jerry is unable to contain those thoughts.  He's going to need a great deal of treatment, and perhaps a stay in psychiatric hospital.  But what he needs now, more than ever is a sympathetic wife who understands that Jerry is a good man who can't help himself.  Beverly, can you be that wife?  Without you, Jerry may be lost to a life of depravity.  And your children could lose their father forever.  Is that what you want, Beverly?"

Monday, May 18, 2015

Comments, we get comments....

Even though DHTiSH has been slow of late, we still continue to get comments submitted to old posts. The number one post to this blog involves my love hate relationship with Love It of List It in which I went off on a tear about two old pissy queens who could act their way out of a paper bag.  But, wait, you say, is that also the post in which you called This "reality TV" a fake and a fraud?  Yes it is, I say.  

I mean, come on people, up until very recently, every episode went the exact same way.  You have a couple who needs marriage counseling.  They have vastly, and wildly different tastes and expectations.  You have a whiny guy who is a real estate agent.  And then you have Hillary agreeing to do everything the couple wants, for a set budget, with NOTHING set aside for surprises like bad foundations, poor original construction, things hidden, well you get the idea.  And when these people get mad, she schools them in a shrill voice.  And yes, I called her a cunt.  Now to a gay guy or a certain age, that's a word that cuts both ways.  It can be bad, but, it can also be good.  And with Hillary, who I do like, it goes to the good side.  I'd trust her with my house.

However, there are some people out there who really need to chill.  That post appeared years ago, and I am still getting hate mail and hate comments.  And these are generally from people who have read one post, and have decided that I need to be: 1) castrated; 2) killed or feel the need to 3) call me a mysoginist 4) call me a sexist.

Folks, build a bridge and get over it.  But, if you still need to shake you finger at me, go ahead.  But if you feel the need to threaten me or my safety, then I provide the following instructions:


And if you are Hillary Farr, I do love you.  


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Let's pretend, indeed.


Funny thing about the human mind.  When confronted with events and extreme stressors, it looks for a normal status, and fixates on that.

When the 9-11 attacks unfolded before my eyes in 2001, and my sense of safety evaporated in the crash of the first plane, then the next and the third and fourth and the collapse of the first World Trade Center tower and then the next, my brain chose the moment to find a task as far away from reality as it could go.

So what did I do?  I took apart the 90 year old sash windows in our bedroom and found some sash cord and I replaced the old rotted cords.

Our cleaning lady was at the house that day, and when I asked if she wanted to go home, she said that she felt it was better to keep working.  My husband came home and felt that the yard needed cut.  The sense of security in our nation had gone up in smoke and we found solace in going through the range of motions of the familiar.

Last night, that feeling of helplessness overcame us again.  Watching the rioting start - and it by no means was near of a catastrophe of the 9-11 attacks, nor was it as big and deadly as the Los Angeles riots of 1992 - and then the feeling of helplessness as we watched TV, it rekindled a lot of the same angst and stress of 2001.

For a couple hours, I walked in the shoes of my parents, feeling the same fears and uncertainties that they felt as Cleveland was rocked by riots in its Hough neighborhood, and then the Glenville riots of 1968.

Today my chest is tight, and my hopes are for a quiet quiet night.  At the same time, the events of last night - the riots, the fires, the gunshots, have delivered uncertainty.  The husband's place of business - two mid rise towers on the inner harbour are closed today and tomorrow.  The Orioles are playing ball tonight in Camden Yard, but the stadium will be off limits to baseball fans. I have been called off work for tomorrow.  Two malls are closed and many stores are closing early.  But the birds are still singing and the sun still shines.  Things are off-balance, but they will hopefully get back to something approaching normal.

So, we still wonder what tonight will bring, if anything.

And me?  Well we no longer own that house with the wooden windows, so I can't struggle with sashes and fix pulleys and replace cords and wrestle with sashes.  This new old house has vinyl replacement windows, so there is no escape or outlet for my angst.

I'll just have to get through it, and pretend, just for tonight, that its all so far away.

 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Why, oh why, oh why-o?



As you read this, I am on my way, by car, on my way back to Ohio.

For one week.

By myself.  Without my husband.

But not alone.

You see Cookie has a conference that I must attend as part of my certification process for my new career, so I will be there for a week.

The conference is a four day hoot-n-anny, and it was silly for the husband to take off four days and sit around while I submersed in DNA Genealogy classes.

So while I am by myself, I am not alone.  Oh noes!

I sent out feelers to my friends to say "I'm coming back..." and soon found that my dance card is full to overflowing.

This is what I miss about Ohio - our friends.

One never knows how rich you are in friends until you move away.  Good friends are precious as rubies.  So my meals and evenings are FULL to overflowing.  I consider myself very lucky.

So I will not be sitting in a hotel room alone, nor will I be out getting into trouble.  Just doing research, meeting with old friends -AND- engorging on midwest cuisine.  I should be fat as a hog in week.

On the other hand, the husband will be here, at the house, working on projects.  Winter has finally yielded its unyielding icy grip on the mid-Atlantic and the daffodils have finally bloomed.  So he has his hands full.

But I will miss him and the pups more than anyone will ever know.

Next Sunday, I will be on the road the road again, coming home.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Back in the day...or is it that I am just getting old?



I would venture to say that besides easily identifiable porn hunk Paul Barresi (middle row, on right) that at least two other of these models (top picture middle and bottom picture) either did Playgirl photo spreads and or gay porn (usually at the same time).

There was also a very brief time in the pre coming out days that an International Male catalog would send me over the edge until in the afterglow that I realized that no-self respecting man would wear "The Stoker", a fishnet muscle shirt most favored by overweight men who would go to gay dance clubs because they thought it would make them look "hot".

I personally always like guys in the swimsuit cuts shown in the middle photograph.  Covered just enough.  I never understood "board shorts", and I certainly don't understand these fabric slings that European twinks seem so enamored with that cover the genitals and strap around the leg,  Having seen a couple images of these, sent to me by a female cousin - who seems to think that I drool over these sorts of things because Cookie is "GAY" - I really find them a bit disgusting.

She always seems disappointed that I don't squeal with delight when I get them from her, and she also seems to have a hard time with the concept that while its pure fantasy to look at a fit man, in reality, Cookie prefers someone a bit older than I, with a bit or reality on his body.

"What do you mean you deleted them?  My friend Beth, in Thailand, said that men just go ga-ga over these types of guys," says she, implying that the problem is mine, not in her sending me these images of high school graduate twinks.

I point out that 1) I am not, and never will be in Thailand, and 2) Don't understand mankind's obsession with youth.  It isn't as if a fifty year old man will somehow become anymore vital if a bit of ejaculate from a 22 year old guy gets on him.  He may feel flattered, but thats about all.  And in the end, that semen and his feelings of vitality turn to a watery liquid mess.

Don't get me wrong - Cookie can have very twisted fantasies - but skanky (or otherwise) hairless twinks under the age of 25 are never in them.

Me?  I like men.  Always have.   Always will.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Travel in my future but I am in hot water



So Cookie received the BEST two Valentine's Day presents imaginable this year.

Present Number One:  Since I have embarked on a career change - I mean working at the Beef Bran and Strip Club is a job, it certainly isn't a career - I have had to come up with my dream career and I have settled on Certified Genealogist.   It has been said that while I "can't remember where you put your keys five minutes ago," Cookie can find anyone.  I have been doing this as a hobby for 35 years and why not make big money and make it while traveling to glamorous places?  So to accomplish this, Cookie needs to get some serious research time in under my belt.

To this end, the Husband decided that it would be in our best interest to take a vacation, and combine it with some hard focused research time, which, Cookie can use towards the certification process.  So we are jetting to sunny California at some point in the future.  Felix has been told that we are coming and we hope to see him as well as Lady Donna Lethal.   If that wasn't glamorous enough, Husband is jetting us first class, coast to coast.  

And if that wasn't glamorous enough, Present Number 2 asks how much more could the big guy show me how much he loves me?

But popping for a NEW Hot Water Tank!

A what?

You heard me.  Ville Cookie, when purchased, came with many old things.  And old fashioned kitchen (no dishwasher), a purple bath tub (original to the 1932 construction of the house) and a garage that the doors don't work well.  While we relish the "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" life style, the hot water tank, vintage 1994 approached the end of its lifecycle ten years ago and has been filling up with water and sediment for way too long.   We know this because in the morning, when we are showering, washing dishes by hand or doing laundry, it sounds like someone is setting firecrackers off in our basement.

The loud popping is a bit unsettling, because it shouldn't be happening.  Mr. Bruce, our plumber, informed me (as if I didn't already know this) that the Popping is coming from the sediment in the bottom of the tank heating up and cracking, thus releasing air bubbles.

"You know," say he at $100/hour, "there are two things that leave you house weighing more than when you moved it in: your mattress, and your hot water tank."

In addition to getting rid of two ton Gertie, we are also moving the location of the new one to get it out of the way.  Right now she takes up a leisurely large percent of area that is prime space.  So the tank gets moved, we gain some space and we get more than 10 gallons of hot water at a time.

Imagine, being able to take a shower that is longer than three minutes.

Ain't life grand?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

I am out of hibernation: March is here!



So, where in the Hell has Cookie been, you may be asking?

Well dear ones - you know that I am not a winter person.  So I was being very bear like until March 1st, which has come and gone.  So on March 2nd, I am here for all to bask in my greatness.

Someone, or another, once said that March is the cruelest month because it promises so much, and delivers mostly nothing but cold, wet, soggy weather.

Au contraire!

March is the beginning of the earth's northern hemisphere waking up after its slumber!  Or more to the point - We have made it through the worst of Winter.   Think about it:

1) March snows seldom hang around for a few days, let alone weeks.  It snows and it melts.  And the glaciers occupying the lawns of the suburbs north of Tennessee (except in Minnesota, where it will snow until May 1st) start to retreat.

2) Daylight savings time begins this coming SUNDAY at 2AM.  The down side is that it will be dark at half past crack in the morning for a couple weeks, but on the good side, you get home from owrk when it STILL daylight!

3) And with daylight savings time, grilling season begins!

4) Morning bird song starts up at this time of the year.  And little Robin Red Breast returns to eat worms. Right now we have a brood of dark eyed Juncos, finches, blue jays, wood peckers all dining at our feeders.

5) My camilla in the front garden, aka Camilla Parker Bowles, will bloom.

6) St. Patricks Day is coming, so the bloody Irish (of which I claim 1/16th of my heritage) can  get whatever it is that we need to get out of our systems out of our systems.

7) St. Patrick's Day also means that my evil stepmonster, "Pat" will turn 83 this year, and it makes me so happy that she is growing older with every day.  We are hoping that Pat lives to be 110, partly because I vowed to wear a red dress to her funeral, and mostly because she dreaded growing old and having her looks leave her. (Insert evil laugh.)

8) And TJB at SSUWAT can get down his spring wear and box up his velvets and furs.

So be glad that it is March - we survived.  The worst is behind us!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fall of 1968: Your next car



Top line, New Yorker



Mid-line "300"




Value series Newport


Friday, January 30, 2015

Quelle Horreur: The lie that tells the truth



I want you all to know that this is no "found on Tumblr" interior desecration.  This was taken, by moi, in my father's living room.  My father, was not a man known for his "taste" (if you can call it that) in home decor.  And that is the living room in the house of mirth where I lived from Kindergarten in 1968 until third grade until 1971.

But this lamp is what my Stepmonster, Shark, brought to the relationship.  Tasteful, just like her.

"Don't you love it?  It's art, don't you think?" she asked.

Yes, the woman who told my mother that she was going to redecorate the "kitchen and the bedroom first - because that's where a woman does her best work," moved into the house last touched in 1968 (this picture was taken circa 1995) and redecorated by plunking this thing down in the Living Room.

The picture simple doesn't do it justice.  I showed it, back when I took it, to my mother who stared at it and then said "Of all the women through his revolving do he finally found someone who has taste worse than his - but what is it?"

Good question.  "It's a lamp, but Frankensteinish."

She then tried to figure out what its creator was trying to accomplish.

"Well, it looks like someone took and ugly sofa lamp, and mated it to a pedestal for an occasional table.  But why is the cord coming out of top of the pedestal?  And that shade?  It's too small and ugly.  But there is something so absurd about it, it's funny.  Your Aunt Nan would just die for this lamp."

I asked her what style she would call it and she decided on "Belle Watling Rococo Revival."

At one point the lamp stood in front of the living room picture window.  Thats how I learned about.  I started getting calls from people I knew up in Cleveland, and they usually started with "Have you driven by your father's house lately?"  No.  Why.  "If you do, do it at night."

Finally, one friend described the sight as "A Jewish version of the major award" from A Christmas Story."

This I had to see.  My father and I weren't speaking - one of our many not speaking periods, so I took a business meeting and dinner in Cleveland just to see it.  The house sat at the top of plain hill, no trees to mask the view, and the curtains were parted.  The library of the house - the original man cave where my father's barcalounger sat before the 25" Zenith and where he spent all of his time - was lit up.

But in the living room window on the other side, there it was, lit brightly as to show off its garish curves.  It was beyond ugly.  But it was something so over the top.  As I have written about before, my father and his family members were the Jew's with the faux Louis XVI furniture.  And cherubs everywhere.  Even our Jewish Guilt was colored with faux gold gilt.  So this lamp was  something larger than life and so horrible that it went full circle into right into what we call "camp" - the lie that tells the truth.   It was so horrible, it was magnificent.

The surface, as I would discover, was in gold and copper metallic paint, and the 250 watt bulb illuminated it, so it glowed.  Like Jean Shepherd wrote in Ralphie's voice "we were bathed in the glow of electric sex" when his father turned on the infamous leg lamp, I too felt bathed in the glow from this lamp; bathed in glow of bad taste and Jewish Angst as only our family could do.

On my next visit to see the lamp in the window about a year later, it was gone.  I had hoped that someone had accidentally knocked it over and broken it.  But it was not to be.  Stepmonster, who my mother referred to as the Imperial Concubine, had simply moved it to another location away from the window.

Eventually, when my father was stricken with the first of many attacks that would end his life, I made the effort to overlook his transgressions over me and at me and sucked it up and spent time with him.  These visits were taxing.  Even though I hated him for what he did to me, and my mother, he was still my father.  Though he never drank a day in his life, his liver had cancer and he was dying, all the while the stepmonster was feeding him a diet high in sodium and off plastic plates.  It was on one of those visits when I could get in the house and that was when I took this picture.

We all are going to die, sometime.  It's what our destiny is from the day we are born.  But something that over the top, and that garish deserves to live on.  Maybe it's the Baltimore vibe.  Maybe its living down the road from Divine's grave and up the road from John Waters, but I want it. I want that lamp.

Why?

Because no matter where you go in life, you can never outrun your past.  It may not be who you are now, but your past can't be undone because its part of who you were.  And that lamp is the perfect symbol of the burlesque that was my life in Shaker Heights at one point.  Besides, every house deserves something that represents a joke or is pure "camp" - the lie that tells the truth.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mercury has been in retrograde!



It's been a day like this.

A well regarded coworker found another job in retail that pays better than the Beef House and Strip Club.  I will miss her because she was the type of person you want to work with.  Great ethics, a black sense of humor, and she brought out the best in her coworkers - these just don't fall off the tree with every application.  So not only are we short handed, but one of the regular came in and asked for said co-worker, and when told that said employee was no longer with us, Customer launched on another coworker who was trying very hard to help said Customer.

It was ugly.  People literally stopped what they doing and listened at the rant.

So a couple of us stepped up to back this co-worker up, get this person quieted down and out of the store ASAP.

Later in the day the husband of the crazy bitch came to the store and spoke with the Manager.  The husband explained that the wife was going through a rough bout of menopause and she just felt "horrible".  The manager listened, and told about the apology one by one.

"She going through the change of life," says Manager.

Well what the Hell is she changing into? A Harpy?

"Mehbee," said Manager, "she no want to take the hor-monays."

My mother used to say that Menopause is like "riding a wild bucking bronco to Hell for some women."

So riding that wild bucking bronco to Hell during Mercury's retrograde phase must be some kind of special trip.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

An ugly little secret about Angie's List



Cookie would like to take the fun loving hat off of his head and put on a serious one for a second.

Waaaay back when - twenty plus years ago - in fact, Cookie signed up for a referral list called Angie's list that had just opened up in Columbus, Ohio - the center of midwest consumerism.  My reasons were varied, but as a new homeowner, I didn't know who to call the stuff that was beyond skills.

I can sweat copper pipe and wield an acetylene torch, with the best of them.  But I don't do sewer replacements.  Installing a new toilet is a sinch, climbing on the roof, is not my forte.

So I joined Angie's List.  For annual subscription fee, we could join, call and get referrals to businesses that passed muster.

In turn, we were told, that our information was kept confidential.   The system was kept honest because subscribers paid to be in the system, which was supposed to dissuade false reviews.  Good enough for me - I was in.

Over the years, Angie's List changed.  The organization that vowed not to take ads from service providers started taking ads from A+ businesses.   Then we started getting peppered with email ads.  Deals of the Day that involved Angie's List as the pass-through payment system. The monthly magazine grew less chatty and useful and converted to general, mundane information that wasn't telling us anything about service providers.   In other words, the things that made Angie's List special erroded away.

Well, two weeks ago I, after pestering emails from Angie's List that I had not left a review for Herb's General Amalgamated Contracting, I knuckled under just to stop the pestering emails. I left a glowing review for a contractor, with four out of five stars on the quality of their work on our old house.  But I also said that an estimate for the new place came in way too high and that consumers considering using their expertise should be prepared $$$$$.  We found a local contractor who did the same work for a fraction of their bid, and were happy. Case closed.

Or so I thought.

Last week I started getting calls from the vendor - their manager for social media, "reaching out, after my comments..." and the kicker was "because of the impact on social media..."

Hello?

So, on a lark, I called Angie's List yesterday and asked: "How did the contractor get my name and phone number?"

And the answer was:  "We provided all vendors with the names of people reviewing them."

And that was when my blood went cold.

Here's the thing, I have never written anything untrue about any vendor.  But at the same time, I have a problem with a vendor calling me up and trying get my to change my review - especially a four out of five star one - so that it makes them look better.

I also have a problem with a company founded on keeping clients identifiable contact information confidential, all of sudden providing that information freely.  Especially when they are goading me to write reviews, that they charge an annual fee to other people to access.

So, keep in mind that IF you write a review for Angie's List, they won't share your name with other members, but they certainly will share that information with the business.  Knife+Your Back = Stabbing.

Cookie has cancelled the service, and instructed them not to send me anymore "electronic" promotions, sales, magazines or elsewise.  All communication from Angie's List to me has to be sent in letter format.

Consider yourselves warned.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Snow storm Janis is here...



...and the people of this town are pussies when it comes to snow.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I am going to bed


Got my leopard jammies on...



my lips are moist...


The husband thinks marabou is a bit overdone...


 I hope I don't have those bad dreams, again.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Day Silliness...



...so here is Helen Steiner Rice emerging, ney, *popping* out of her mink cocoon.  Evidently she is done pupating...

There, post number one for a New Year.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Just remember what is most important about this "Eve"



And don't you bitches forget it.

By the way, Cookie is sending out positive energy, good vibrations and checks to our creditors in the morning.

Here's hoping your 2015 is EVErything you hope it will be.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Krab" with a "K"



Being that it is only December 28th, Cookie is stuck in Retail Hell, and that means having to spend a great deal of time in the cultural wasteland that is Reisterstown Road in NE Greater Baltimore, dealing with people who will try to screw you anyway possible.

At the Strip Club and Beef Barn, people are returning things that have evidently been used, poorly reboxed, and then returned without a receipt.  Since I do not own the beef barn, and since we have been told that it is all about the "experience" of "beef" and "strippers" (new readers may be confused by this.  It is a cloaking device so my corporate bosses don't try and shut down my blog) what do I care why they are returning?

I don't.  As unreceipted merchandise, that we normally stock, they get the lowest price in our database.  I dance the dance I need to dance to make others happy.

But I refuse to give these "patrons" the unreasonable, full price.  Why?  Because its morally wrong and practically theft.

"What do you mean this this used sex toy is only worth $4.98," asks a heavily accented grandmother.  "My granddaughter would never buy me a gift that only costs $4.98," she asserts.

I patiently explain that her granddaughter could have paid full retail, $20.95 for the small purse sized vibrating object before it went on clearance in February 2013, but the system is only allowing for $4.98.

"My granddaughter would have not paid just $20.95 for a gift for I, her beloved grandmother.  I am sure you charged her fifty, even a HUNDRED dollars for this cheap item that you now say is worth only the price a gallon of gasoline!"

And this is how it goes.  People bring stuff in the door, and they expect you hand them whatever dollar amount they feel its worth.

Then there are the errant couponers.  Corporate sends out coupons like Typhoid Mary sent out germs.  And they expire.  But the eastern european euro-trash foreign nationals who live in the area don't understand the concept of "expiration dates."

"You," said one angry woman with flaming orange hair (that most certainly wouldn't match anyone's carpet) pointed at me accusingly, as if to imply that I sent her an expired coupon. "You, sent this to me when I was sick in bed and now I demand to use this coupon!"

I explain to her that the coupon she is trying to use expired in October.  "It is not my fault that I have been busy since then!"

All the while, I hear my manager "it's about the experience."  Yet when I ask for the over ride, I get "Well October is a bit far back...."

It's times like this that I want to page the store for "Jack Hughes".

Yesterday, I had one man come into our shop, rudely insert himself into a conversation I was having with another customer about how to use a thumb index (no joke), and insisted that I help him at that moment with his hand-held device.

I excused myself from the befuddled customer I was helping and asked a coworker to help this man, giving her the eye signal that the guy was a handful, and he says, "I don't want no nigger like Obama telling me...blah, blah, blah..."  My befuddled customer, gave the man a sharp look, and went back to the index at hand.  My coworker and I both used our headsets to alert the manager that it was customer "tag" time, and she was it.

Now, just so you not think that I surround myself with crazies, 99% of the people I encounter are normal people.  Its just the 50% with unreal expectations that I kvetch about.

And its not just my store.  You find these people everywhere in the NW corner of Baltimore.  They just don't save it for me.

The other day on my lunch hour, I had to run to the local Giant to pick up something to eat.  While standing at the deli, there were two women standing just behind me.  Their conversation was thus:

Young Woman One: "Look at dat, what is that?"

Young Woman two: "Dat?" pointing with a finger that my peripheral vision picked up along my side.

YW1: "Yeah, that 'krab salad' shit.  They misspelled 'Krab' with a 'K' when it should be a 'C'."

YW2: "My mama says that it's kosher krab so the Jews can eat it."

YW1: "What make it kosher?"

YW2:  "All krab with a 'K' is kosher because it starts with the same letter as 'kosher'...."

There comes a time in everyone's life when you can address someone's stupidity, but that urge is overcome by the feeling "what good will it accomplish.  This was one such moment.  

After a day of "Many unhappy returns", Cookie just didn't care.

Instead I ordered my turkey breast, paid for it, headed to the Cookiemobile and, once seated and belted in, doors closed and locked, I screamed at the top of my voice.

Regaining composure I headed back to the Beef House and Strip Club for round two of my double shift.

Think of me the next time you see an offer for "krab" with a "k".

Friday, December 26, 2014

Well now...

Now the holiday returns are done, and you have shipped the children back to their boarding schools, aren't we relieved its over for another year?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas and welcome to our home!


Aunt Midge is standing by the door, and has dragged our bar over so she can get you started on her mission to spread Christmas cheer.  So do come in and have a glass of mellowed eggnog, minus the nog.




Our brother and our sisters are still decorating with tasteful nudes and bowling balls - so you can join in if you choose - or - ...


... head to the Rumpus Room to hear some Bob Ward toons on the Wurlitzer...



A "boofay" meal will commence shortly...



And my sister Disco Noel has finally arrived...



Just remember, tomorrow is Boxing Day!

From my home to yours, Merry Christmas one and all!




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Party Hell



So, why has Cookie not been posting to the blog so much, you may well be asking yourself.

Well, if you have been following said blog, you would know that Cookie is in sales at the Beef House Strip Club, and Christmas is an busy, bust time of year.  My days are spent consulting with clients, and answering their questions:

Customer: Have you used this dildo?

Cookie: Madam, we carry over 100,000 different dildos, and it would be impossible for me to try them all.  But purple sparkly is a flattering color on you!

and

Customer: Well it looks like your co-workers aren't very keen on helping you out...

Cookie: Madam, that could be because they are helping other patrons with their ball gags.  Now, what kind of brisket would you like to find today?

Customer: Well someone needs to tell your zone manager that they aren't very good at scheduling enough employees.

Cookie:  Would you like me to ring them for you?

Customer: I don't want to get into the middle of this, you call and tell them.

Cookie: Hello, Manager, This is Mr. Cookie in the Beef House.  We have a Mrs. Rosenbloom would like to complain about your staffing of the Pavilion.  "Mrs. Rosenbloom, Manager will be here shortly..."

Enough about my drab existence. You want more? OK.  Last Friday I went to the most unfriendly Christmas Party ever.  Husband is a member of LGBT network at International Amalgamated.  He joined because he thought it would be a boffo way to meet people, and we have met people.  Strange, odd people.

Anyhow, Christmas was at the home of two men who live the "Loft Condo" lifestyle.  You know, RAW brick, RAW steel trusses and beams and ENORMOUS windows for all to see into the Condo while they do outrageous things, with great sophistication.

We were greeted at the door and TOLD to put our coats in the closet, then TOLD to get a drink.  Once we had said drink, made with well spirits, we were TOLD to go up stairs to the living level.  Up in the living level, we were TOLD that they would give us a tour of their "space".  We walked around this enormous room and were told that the air ducts "delineate our purpose spaces."

"Purpose spaces?" asks the husband.

"Well we can't very well call them rooms, can we.  Will you excuse me while I go greet Monica?  You can find your own way back to the Conversation Area.  MONICA!...."

Monica, a woman of color and her bald girlfriend walked in.  Bald girlfriend, Clothilde, shaves her head to shatter the male dominated paradigm for women's fashion.  Monica told us this.  Baldy, who we have tried to chat with before is rather rude.  She looks, and she doesn't engage, but does engage with other "womyn'.  In her path to shattering sex, race and gender paradigm, EVIDENTLY Baldy doesn't include men in that mission.  Fine by me.

Anyhow, I had worked a ten hour shift on my feet earlier in the day, my legs were killing me and I was exhausted, but I put on that support husband smile and chit chatted for about two hours, when my body - which was still 50 days out from surgery - started to get wonky.  I needed to sit and sit fast before my legs went out from underneath me.  Even the husband noted that after drinking three plain old ginger ales (from cans we brought) and dining at the buffet while standing up, that the color had drained from my face.  He looked into the "casual dining purpose space" and saw that a chair had freed up and sent me to it.

No sooner than I had sat down then ol' Baldy said her first words to me: "You aren't going to sit down there.  There is a pregnant woman standing over there," and she nodded at a youngish twenty something with a trim figure. I must have had the "Huh?" look on my face and ol' Baldy reasserted herself by calling to the pregnant woman "Renee, git yourself over her, this man needs to get up and out so you can git off your feet and sit in this chair."

I looked up at the husband who looked at Baldy, who looked at him and said "Find him some other place to sit."  Both offended, we walked towards the kitchen area where there was a food bar and stools when the host came over and TOLD us to move towards the "Social Purpose Space" (reader I am not making this up) because "I spent all this money on this loft and people need to learn to use the spaces."

So the husband and I got up, and moved towards the coat closet, got our coats and left.   The man who runs the group saw this ten minute Kabuki Theatre presentation and looked as horrified as we felt. "Fred's just nervous about hosting, and Clothilde is a lovely person when you get to know her. Please stay.  We thanked him, but I pointed that I really did feel wonkie, and had to work the next day.  "Maybe another time," and we left.

Now, all this said, and ol' Baldy, and the creepy host aside, this group is important to the husband at International Amalgamated because it gets him social access to decision makers.  And the man who runs the group is very nice, and 90% of the people are exceptionally nice as well.   But even the husband was really put out by these people.

On the way home, husband said "Did all that really happen?"  Yes, it did.

Between the host who treated us like circus dogs by ordering us about, and ol' Baldy, I am just fine as long as we can get away from these people.

Just fine indeed.


Monday, December 15, 2014

You have until sundown tomorrow...



...to get that Chanukah tree up and ready for your your eight nights grief  from your parents, cheap presents from your bubbie, and candle lighting.  Good luck, and remember, if the Rabbi comes to call have a sheet handy so you can drape it and just say that the "parrot is sleeping".