Google Something Clever 2.0: September 2012

Sep 26, 2012

My Fancy Weekend


Hi, how was your weekend? Mine was fancy. On Friday night, the boy and I attended an art show. Perhaps you’ve guessed that this isn’t my normal Friday night entertainment (that would be painting my nails while watching “Fashion Police” and drinking Pinot Grigio). I know the artist, so that’s what I was doing there. The trip there was pretty awful, because I hate driving, especially at night, especially on bridges, and especially in Rhode Island (their highways are terrifying). And I had to do all of those things, for two hours, with a slightly hungry child kicking my seat.

I took a picture of this thing at the venue, though.
A house made out of nails! That's neat.
The show itself was rad, but I didn’t take any pictures, because I wasn’t sure if that was appropriate or not.  You can see some of the art at www.FredLynch.com. There were two series of journalist art showcased: drawings done along Paul Revere’s route as it looks today, and drawings of Viterbo, Italy. Some had signs posted next to them explaining the story behind the drawing. Apparently, whenever Fred is drawing out in public, old men flock to him to tell him interesting tales. Reading about what went on “behind the scenes” as he drew really made me feel like I was there. The boy even enjoyed it, mostly because there was a drawing of a slide and there were free cookies.

After the show, I drove over some more terrifying bridges and met my husband at his aunt and uncle’s house, where we spent the night. Guess where we went the next day?

On a sailboat, not a yacht.
I said fancy, not pretentious.

This bitch be yar as hell, right?
Sailing! I told you it was a fancy weekend! I gave the boy some pre-emptive Dramamine and he thought it was delicious. He kept asking for more. What a weirdo. We got a late start, so we set sail soon after unpacking and reached our destination just before sundown. We stayed the night off the shore of a tiny New England island that has about 50 residents and zero cars. The boy spent the evening feeding Goldfish crackers to the fish (and by that, I mean that he threw food overboard against my wishes). He didn’t seem to mind that he had one toy and no TV. He went down to sleep easily, and the grownups stayed on the deck drinking and talking about Kris Kristofferson. Another boat set off fireworks, yay! I tried my best to keep up with my Facebook account and my brand-new Twitter account, which was hard because tiny islands don’t have 4G, and I’m not allowed to tell you guys that I’m on vacation because my husband thinks you’re all burglars.




Breakfast on day two: Bloody Mary for him,
diet go-go juice for me, and water for the boy.
The next morning, we decided to take the dinghy to the island to explore. A dinghy isn’t designed for four and a half people, so Captain Uncle took my husband and the boy to the island first, and planned on coming back to pick up the ladies. Watching my baby float away was pretty terrifying. Captain Uncle came back 20 minutes later and told us that the weather wasn’t really conducive to dinghy rides and walking around on cliffs, so he left us on the sailboat and went back to get the others. At least the boy got to go; we’d already promised a visit to the island the night before, and we never would have heard the end of it if he didn’t get to see it. When they came back, it was brought to my attention that now he had been somewhere I hadn’t. That really freaked me out.

A little while later, I was below deck when I heard strange voices. Boat people are all pretty friendly, since they’re automatically members of the same club. A middle-aged couple in kayaks had apparently paddled up to the boat to meet us, and more importantly, the dog. My aunt and uncle have a Pomeranian who accompanies them everywhere, and let me tell you, he is a stranger magnet. You know when you go out with your kid, everyone wants to stop you and talk to you? It’s ten times worse with a tiny dog.

My husband took this artsy shot of our aunt
consoling me as Captain Suzie kidnapped my son.

So, I’m just climbing up to the deck when I hear the boy ask Kayak Lady (whose real name was Suzie) about her kayak, and she offers him a ride. A stranger wants to take my kid in her tiny scary deathtrap in the sea. Everyone says “Um…” and looks around. They all look at me. Me, the one who almost couldn’t stand to watch him take off in a much more reliable boat with two family members. The boy says he wants to go. I was so bewildered, I couldn’t come up with an excuse. I allowed it. I’m crazy, right? That’s what I was thinking the whole time as they were handing my kid down into the kayak, into some stranger’s lap. At least it was the lady and not the man. She took him for a very slow and careful lap around the sailboat, letting him “help” her paddle while the four of us followed with cameras. He told her he wasn’t done, so she took another lap. Then he turns to her and says, “Captain Suzie, your kayak is slow.” Highlight of the weekend. She eventually returned him and everything was fine.





The boy spotting land... Yes, his hat is attached to him.
Last year, the wind swept his hat out to sea,
and we had to buy a new one.


We got going a little while later and made the two-hour journey back to the marina- excuse me, the yacht club. I got to raise the main sail and drive the boat myself for maybe half an hour. No autopilot- I made the wind my bitch. Okay, the wind made me her bitch at first, but then I got the hang of it. I didn’t hit any markers or bells or other boats. The sea is a cruel mistress and all that.

When we got back to land, we were walking up the dock to the parking lot, and guess who we met up with. Captain Suzie. What are the odds of that? My husband chatted with her for a bit, and it turns out that she lives a couple towns over from us, and works in the town where my husband grew up. So that’s interesting.








The boy fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep even as we removed his shoes and hoodie and put him to bed. We were pleased to discover that the cats didn’t pee or poop on anything while we were gone. We had a delivery race (Chinese for my husband, Papa Gino’s for me- he won) and I watched the end of the Emmys while he watched stupid football. I would live at sea, if it wasn’t for my beloved TV. I guess I’ll have to settle for one weekend a year.

Yes, we dressed like pirates. Wouldn't you?

Sep 20, 2012

Oh, Florida


Florida is batshit crazy, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why people are still moving there. Have you heard about the man who was caught raping a donkey? He honestly doesn’t get what the big deal is. He told the cops that “Florida is a backwards state and people frown on zoophilia here.”

Back in May, we heard the story of the original zombie, Rudy Eugene. Did you know that they still haven’t figured that shit out? It wasn’t bath salts. And Ronald Poppo still hasn’t turned, so it’s looking pretty likely that he wasn’t a zombie, either. Just Florida-crazy.

A couple of years ago, Florida gave us one of my favorite folk heroes, Megan Barnes, who wrecked her car because she was trying to drive while performing some lady-landscaping. The best part? She was on her way to see her boyfriend (naturally), and her ex-husband was riding shotgun and steering for her. Now that’s a helpful ex. Do you think she tried to convince him to drive, and that’s where he drew the line?

Crazy Florida isn’t a new thing, either. Have you ever heard the story of Carl Tanzler? Tanzler was a German count/radiologist (those two fields often overlap, I’m told) who fell in love with his 22-year-old tuberculosis “patient,” Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos back in 1930 (I put “patient” in quotes because he was not really a doctor). Tanzler showered Elena and her family with gifts. The family liked him, but the love was unrequited. When Elena finally succumbed to her disease, Tanzler paid for the funeral and an elaborate mausoleum. The family was still okay with all of this, which in itself is pretty weird. Her mother even gave him a bunch of her hair after she died. Nice friggin’ mother.

A year and a half after Elena’s death, Tanzler stole her body from the tomb, stuffed it with rags, coated it in wax and plaster, and made a creepy mask for it. He kept it in his bed for over seven years. Elena’s sister eventually “heard rumors” (WTF?)  that Tanzler was sleeping with her sister and went to his house to confront him. He invited her in to see Elena, and probably gave her a cup of tea, too. He was arrested, but nobody was all that upset about it, and he served no time. He got to keep the mask, so he used it to make an Elena doll. Of course.

This isn’t just a case of the media over-reporting the crazy shit that goes on down there; Florida has one of the highest per capita incarceration rates in the world. So what makes people there so crazy? Some people blame the fact that it’s mostly a transient state; that is, most Florida residents were not born there, and came there trying to start over after fucking up their first attempt at life. Apparently, way too many people think that living in the state where they once vacationed at age 7 will translate into living like you’re on vacation, every day! Yay!

But no, it’s not just the newcomers. I stumbled across this little gem today, where a Florida native (gosh dangit!) details everything wrong with Florida, and why he really, really doesn’t want you as a neighbor. It starts off making a little sense, since he’ seems to be in the “Yankees are trouble” camp, but by the end, you realize that he’s just as crazy as the rest of Floridians.

So, what is it about Florida? Have you ever been? When you were there, did you drink the local tap water and then feel overcome with the urge to commit a naked or semi-naked crime? Are the giant bugs infecting people with a brain disease? Or is it just too hard to think straight in all that heat and humidity? I welcome your theories.

This post is dedicated to Hillary and Tim.

Sep 19, 2012

I Never Thought I'd Say...


A few ridiculous things I've had to say to my son:

  • "And that’s why we don’t run in the bath."
  • "No, I don’t think Black Sabbath wrote a song about Wolverine." [Extra points if you guess why he asked.]
  • "No, you may not sit on my lap while I’m pooping."
  • "Polar bears are real. Giants are not."
  • "You can't really play rap on a harmonica."
  • "The cat will not steal your toys. She doesn't have thumbs."
  • "Don’t stab your cousin." [Don’t worry; it was a toothpick, the cousin is an adult, and it was done without malice.]
  • "I know it lights up, but a Styrofoam gravestone is just not an appropriate night light."


I know you all have your own; let's hear 'em! Comment, or better yet, email them to me at Jenn@SomethingClever2point0.com and I'll post a sequel with reader submissions. If you have a blog, let me know, and I'll link you.


Sep 17, 2012

PSA: How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are revolting and too quick to catch. Here's how to banish them from your home:

Grab a few ramekins or shot glasses. Pour some apple cider vinegar in them. Cover them with plastic wrap, then secure with a rubber band, because plastic wrap is terrible and it never, ever sticks to anything. Use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the plastic wrap.



The fruit flies will squeeze through the holes to drink the delicious vinegar (?), but be unable to squeeze back out. After an hour or so, they'll drown. Unlike an ant trap, you can track your progress and delight in the deaths of each and every one. Take that, motherfuckers! (The fruit flies, not you.)

Why it Takes Me So Long to Run Errands


Having a baby changes everything. Everyone knows that, and I think it’s Gerber’s slogan or something. When I first had my son, I’d illustrate this point to my childless friends by explaining how difficult it was to return a movie with a newborn (“You can’t just jump out of the car!"). Well, all the Blockbusters are closed now, so here’s a look at what it’s like to run some other run-of-the-mill errands with a three-year-old in tow:

Pet Store

Before kid: Walk to the back of the store. Grab a bag of cat food. Meet a cute dog and pat him. Check out.
After Kid: Walk into the fish department. Remind the boy not to jump in any puddles. Examine no fewer than 15 fish tanks. Remind him not to tap on the glass. Read the names of all the species to him. Stop him from jumping in a puddle. Pick him up so he can look at the “good” fish that are up high. Remind him again not to tap on the glass. Put him down. Watch him step directly in a puddle. Visit the turtles. Remind him not to tap on the glass. Explain that you don’t know their names, in fact, they probably don’t have names because they live at the store. Wait patiently while he names all eight of them. Visit the reptiles. The boy will immediately want to leave this department, because he can sense that I actually want to stay for a minute and check out all the snakes I’ll never have. Visit the birds. Tell him not to touch the cages. Explain that they don’t talk. Dig feverishly through my purse for an antibacterial wipe when he touches the cage. Visit the rodents. Tell him not to touch the cages. Try to distract him from the giant rodent testicles. Explain that the rodents don’t have names, either, but we are not going to name them all right now. Make awkward small talk with the death metal guy buying white mice to feed his snake while trying to keep an eye on the boy. Explain that we cannot have hamsters, because we have cats, and they would not be okay with that. Pull out another wipe when he touches the cages. Stop in the dog toy section and explain that we will not be buying any, because we don’t have a dog. Meet a “friendly” dog who slobbers all over him. Discover that we’re out of wipes. Beg him not to touch his face until we get to the car, where we have more wipes. Point out a cute Chihuahua I’d like to meet, hoping to use the boy as an “in.” He has no interest. Get the cat food. Stand in line. Call the boy away from the dog tag machine four times. Check out.

Target

Before kid:  Walk in. Browse the purses and ladies’ fashions. Pick up a t-shirt. Don’t bother trying it on because I’m skinny and I will be forever; everything looks great on me. Grab some laundry detergent and check out.
After Kid: Walk in. Argue about whether or not we need a cart. Spend 15 minutes in the dollar section debating whether or not he needs a Scooby-Doo coloring book. Riffle through the cartoon character socks to see if they have any in his size. They don’t. Walk past the ladies’ fashions. Sigh. Keep walking. Approach the toy section. Try to distract him by pointing out something in the electronics section (directly across) while pushing the cart so fast, I’m almost running. Fail. Spend the next 45 minutes saying, “Yeah, that’s cool. I’ll put it on your wish list.” (I'll forget.) Enter the grocery section. Approach each refrigerated aisle slowly as he proclaims, “Lights, turn on!” so he thinks he’s really making it happen. Cruise past health and beauty. Tell him for the third time that week that he is not due for a new toothbrush for two more months, and even if he was, we are not getting a Spinbrush; they are awful. Pull up to the pharmacy counter. At his instruction, say hello to each “Target dog” individually (there are twenty, and I must address each of them by the names he just made up). Get prescription filled. Reach the registers. Explain that the $10 impulse-buy Legos are for big kids. “Do you see that number on the corner of the package? What number is that?” “Seven.” “Yes. And how old are you?” “Free ana half.” “Exactly.” Check out.

Warehouse store

Before kid: Walk in. Avoid eye contact with elderly greeter. Grab toilet paper, paper towels, wine and meat. Check out.
After Kid: Stand outside admiring plants for five minutes. Walk in. Try to calm him down when he starts freaking out because there are no “car” carts available. Push the cart part the TVs as fast as possible, because they are showing Ultimate Fighting. Explain that we can look at the exciting seasonal items (usually featuring an ugly $200 inflatable lawn decoration) after we finish shopping. Head directly to wine aisle. Look around to make sure no one is judging me for buying a case of Pinot Grigio with a kid in the cart. Head to meat section. Stop at four sample stations. Try to discreetly steer him away from the Tyson nuggets samples without offending the sample lady by stating my views on Tyson. Fail. Walk past the cereal. Tell him that we do not need any cereal right now, and furthermore, we do not buy chocolate cereal. Ever. Spend 20 minutes in the health & beauty aisle, even though we buy the same four things every other week, because I swear to god they hide them! Visit the seasonal section. Patiently explain that inflatable lawn decorations are not my taste, and when he has his own yard, he is free to decorate it however he wants. Check out. Make awkward small talk with the cashier with impossibly bad teeth who has an unnatural love for my kid.

Grocery store

Before kid: Walk in, zip through aisles with a pre-printed checklist of our most frequently purchased items. Buy $60 of groceries (a week’s worth) in under 20 minutes.
After Kid: Park 500 feet from the entrance, because that’s where the cart corral is. Explain that yes, there is a car cart in there, but it’s buried behind 15 other carts, and I don’t want to rearrange the entire parking lot right now, as we’re running late. Go in. Hope like hell that there’s a car cart in the vestibule. There is. Great. Enter the produce section. Explain that berries are expensive, and he never eats more than half a package before they go bad, so unfortunately, we cannot buy strawberries, raspberries and blueberries today. Try to talk him into choosing strawberries, because they’re the only fruit that everyone in the family likes. Fail. Carefully choose the rest of the produce while saying “Yes, honey, we’ll go see the lobsters” every 30 seconds. Visit the lobsters. Get annoyed when the seafood guy asks if I need any help. Are we the only people who visit lobsters on death row? We can’t be. Visit the deli. Try to figure out the difference between 15 different types of turkey while the boy screams “I want cheese!” over and over. Politely thank the deli worker who gives him a free slice of American cheese, even though he’s a cheese snob and really wanted extra sharp Vermont cheddar.  Discreetly take the slice back from him after one bite and throw it away while they’re slicing the oven-roasted extra-lean barbecue dry-rubbed organic antibiotic-free turkey breast. Enter Aisle 2. Reiterate that we do not need any cereal right now, and furthermore, we do not buy chocolate cereal. Ever. Explain that we have a particular brand of juice that we buy, in big bottles, and we will not be purchasing any 8-ounce bottles of half-juice, half-corn syrup for $2.50 each simply because they are shaped like Iron Man. Go through the next eight aisles trying in vain to find lemon juice, while trying to explain that Spongebob soup and Disney princess soup taste exactly the same, that man is called the Green Giant and no, I don’t know why, we don’t need any chips, we don’t buy cookies; we make them, and shhh that man is not a pirate! He has a boo-boo on his eye. Enter the frozen food aisle. Try to strike up a conversation about Ni-hao, Kai-lan while pushing the cart 30 mph so he doesn’t see the ice cream. Reach the cheese section. Can’t remember which type of shredded cheese we’re out of. Buy Mexican, cheddar and Monterey Jack. Get to the last aisle. Maneuver the giant, unwieldy car cart around the pallet of eggs that is always parked there. Buy enough yogurt to drown in (it still won’t be enough to last more than five days). Zip past the floral department. I’m out of argument energy points, so I agree to loiter there and smell every damn flower for half an hour. Reach the checkout. Realize that I forgot grown-up soup. Go back. Tell him once again that they are out of Spongebob soup, and why does he even care; he’s never even seen that stupid show? Back to the checkout. The teenage boy checking us out remembers us from last time and it kind of makes my day. Go home. Discover that the bag boy put the soup on top of the tomatoes, we forgot bread, and we needed Italian cheese. Fuck.

Sep 13, 2012

The Down Side to Staying at Home


Recently, I wrote a post called "What I Don't Miss About Working." Not wanting you to think my stay-at-home life was perfect, I promised a follow up, so here it is:

You Can’t Call in Sick

True, I don’t get sick as much, now that I’m not working with idiots who sneeze all the time and refuse to get flu shots because they think they cause colds, and my son is not in day care with 5 kids who think that wiping their nose on your shoulder is the highest compliment they can give, but I still get sick occasionally. When you work, calling out sick means a few people (most of whom you hate) have a marginally tougher day covering for you, and you get to sit around in pajamas drinking juice and watching game shows. When you’re a stay-at-home mom, you can’t really call out. I’ve been recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction this week, which means I’ve been sitting on the couch sighing and eating Snack Packs, trying to explain to my son over and over why I can’t play Kinect Sports with him. Sure, if things get really bad, I have the option of asking my husband to stay home, but it’s not all that relaxing when your “work” is five feet away. Imagine how much rest you’d get if you curled up in your office with a blanket and told all your coworkers to leave you alone for the day because you weren’t feeling well. Yeah.

No Motivation to Look Nice

When I worked, I absolutely never left the house without my makeup and hair done. I would make an effort to wear a nice outfit and everything. I’m of the school of thought that you should look your best when you plan on encountering strangers (since that’s their first impression of you), and when you’re going to be with people you hate (so you can show them that you’re better than them). These days, the only people I see on a regular basis are my husband and son, who are under the mistaken impression that I’m beautiful no matter what, and the staff of Target, Stop & Shop and BJ’s, who I really don’t care about impressing. These people are lucky to see me in a clean shirt and a fresh ponytail. I’ll only get “dolled up” if I’m going to a party, or if I know my picture might be taken. On these rare occasions when I get my pretty on, I barely recognize myself in the mirror. I’m always pleasantly surprised with how nice I clean up, and then I feel like a slob for not putting in more effort all the time.

When it’s Your Job, You Have to be an Expert

Nobody is the perfect parent or housekeeper, and if you’re working, you don’t feel that bad when you slack or fail a little here and there. When parenting and housekeeping is your job, you feel pressure to do it well. When I was working, time spent with my son was all about having fun and playing. But now, I’m not just his mom, I’m his teacher. And teaching, if you haven’t heard, is hard. Especially with a kid like mine, who is really intelligent and picks up new things amazingly fast, yet does not like to learn. As soon as he figures out that you’re trying to cram some education in his head, he’s outta there.

When my husband and I were first married, he did the cooking, because I hate it. After our son was born, our schedules changed, and I got home a couple hours before him every day, so it only made sense for me to start cooking dinner. I had a couple recipes, but usually I just made marinated chicken breasts with Knorr Pasta Sides and heated up a can of vegetables in the microwave. On “lazy days,” I’d make Tuna Helper. He didn’t complain; how could he? I was a busy working mom. But now that it’s my job, I feel compelled to make magazine-worthy recipes. Everything is from scratch, and we haven’t had spaghetti in years. We soon discovered that I have a natural talent for cooking. I’m damn good. But here’s the thing: I still hate it. I know some people see cooking as a hobby or an art form; to me, it’s just a bitch.

I’m Uncomfortable Without Him

On the rare occasions when I go out without my son, I feel all out of sorts, like when you leave your purse of cell phone at home. If I run to the store at night or on the weekend and leave the boy at home with my husband, I’m constantly checking the rearview mirror, because I can’t get used to the idea that my backseat is empty. I can’t spend more than 15 minutes at a grown-up party before I’ve got someone cornered, looking at pictures and videos on my phone. That’s a really weird way to feel, and I think I’ll lose my mind once he goes off to college.

I Miss Those Expensive Sandwiches

I can’t remember the last time I had an eight dollar sandwich. There were quite a few fancy little cafes near my old place of business. Mind you, I didn’t get one every day; just when I was feeling saucy, or forgot to bring in a Lean Cuisine. But man, were they good. Of course, they’re only sandwiches; I could easily make one at home that would be cheaper, and probably even better tasting. But there’s just something about unwrapping the wax paper, and the decadent feeling of overspending on something just for you that will be completely used up in less than half an hour.

All that being said, I would still pick staying at home over working any day. At least my house is warm, there are no assholes here, and my kid knows how to sneeze into his elbow.

Sep 11, 2012

PSA: How to Cure the Hiccups



I know this is a weird post, but I wanted to do something nice for all of you.

I've been using this method for ten years, and it has never failed me, not once. I get the hiccups at least once a week, too. Everyone has their own method that usually works, but this works every single time.

Take thirteen sips of something. Anything. Water, wine, lemonade, doesn't matter. And they don't need to be gulps, either. As long as you actually swallow a drop of liquid with each sip, you're good. Do them fast, all in a row, no stopping for a break in the middle.

You're welcome!

Sep 9, 2012

Fall TV is Back!


Yayyy!!! It’s Fall Premiere Week! If you’re new here, I’ll tell you now, I love TV. I love it more than food and sunshine put together. TV is my hobby.  I also love magazines, and I currently subscribe to five- one weekly and four monthlies. That means that I get roughly 100 magazines a year. My absolute favorite, the one I practically wait by the mailbox for, is Entertainment Weekly’s Fall TV Preview* double issue. I’ve been getting my EWs on Saturdays lately, so I was thrilled when my bible arrived on Friday this year. A whole extra day to plan!

I have two DVRs, so I can record up to four shows at once. This is very necessary, as you’ll soon discover. I devour my Fall TV Preview with a pen, a highlighter and Post-it flags. Then, out comes the laptop so I can make my spreadsheets in Excel.

 Seriously.

Not kidding.

Here are the new shows that I’ll be watching this fall. Some of them, I’m really excited for. Some don’t look too promising, but I’ll give them a shot. I have a three-episode rule for new shows. The first episode is typically spent setting up the plot. The second is for getting to know the characters. The third is when they can finally get down to business. So, if a new show seems lame during the first two episodes, I stick it out until the third. There are plenty of shows that seemed dumb originally, that are now among my favorites (a good example would be “The Big Bang Theory”).

Most of these premiere within the next two weeks. You can get more information on the networks’ websites or EW.com, or, of course, buy your own Fall TV Preview.

666 Park Avenue

Sunday, 10pm, ABC Terry O’Quinn (John Locke from “Lost) and Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty” and “Desperate Housewives”) star as the owners of a mysterious (haunted?) apartment building. Awesome. I love them both, and I love spooky shit. I have high hopes for this one.

Partners

Monday, 8:30, CBS Michael Urie (Marc from “Ugly Betty”) and some other dude play a gay-straight duo who are best friends and business partners. I liked Michael on “Ugly Betty,” and I’ll watch just about any sitcom, as long as the premise isn’t about a fat idiot and his bitchy wife (“The King of Queens” did it best; stop trying).

The Mob Doctor

Monday, 9pm, Fox Some doctor owes the mob, I guess for gambling or something, so she treats them on the D.L. This could be rad, or it could be “Gray’s Anatomy.” I’m not even sure I want to see it; I’ll need to see a commercial before I commit. Luckily, Fox is running a preview special tomorrow (at 1:30pm, how weird is that?), so I can make my final decision then.

Revolution

Monday, 10pm, NBC Electricity stops working, and the world has to adapt. As far as I know, there’s no bomb behind it (à la “Jericho”), no zombies (à la “The Walking Dead”), and no aliens (à la “Falling Skies”). Curious. I like all of those parenthetical shows, and the interesting thing about apocalypse-themed shows is that they tend to be more about how the characters overcome the little things, like the loss of electricity, than the actual problem that caused it. So perhaps we don’t need to know the cause in order to be entertained by the effect. Also, Gus from “Breaking Bad” (Giancarlo Esposito) is on it, and he is fantastic.

Ben & Kate

Tuesday, 8:30, Fox Bachelor Ben moves in with his sister, single-mother Kate, to help raise her 5-year-old daughter, who I’m assuming is ridiculously precocious and dimpled. This sounds sort of cheesy, like “Full House” minus Joey, D.J. and Michelle. Well, I always hated Joey and Michelle, and D.J. I could take or leave, so maybe I’ll like it. Sometimes cheesy is good.

Go On

Tuesday, 9pm, NBC I caught the preview of this show after the Olympics, and it looks good. I’ll watch any show with Matthew Perry (yes, I loved “Studio 60” and “Mr. Sunshine”). All of his characters are so similar, I feel like I know him in real life. He seems a lot like me. On his new project, he plays a recent widower forced to attend group therapy by his employer. Tyler James Williams of “Everybody Hates Chris” costars as a member of his support group. I missed him!

The New Normal

Tuesday, 9:30, NBC A single mom with a bigoted grandmother carries a baby for a gay couple. It’s an interesting new family dynamic for TV, and I think it will help red-staters to see that gay people are “just like us.” That is, if their affiliates carry it. NBC in Salt Lake City will not be carrying it, because they find the subject matter “inappropriate.” Ann Romney, get on that, would you? We know you like “Modern Family.”

The Mindy Project

Tuesday, 9:30, Fox Mindy Kalig stars as a successful OB/GYN whose personal life is somewhat sloppy. It sounds a little like “Dr. Ally McBeal” to me, but Mindy was great on “The Office,” so presumably she knows better than to cast a CGI dancing baby as her costar.

Animal Practice

Wednesday, 8pm, NBC A cocky veterinarian with a spider monkey sidekick adjusts to his ex-girlfriend becoming his new boss. Yeah. I saw the preview episode, and it definitely has the potential to be incredibly dumb. The monkey is really over-the-top. But the show also features Tyler Labine (from “Reaper,” “Mad Love,” and the also-dumb “Sons of Tucson”). Tyler deserves a good show; I’m rooting for him.

Guys with Kids

Wednesday, 8:30, NBC Another show I’m not overly excited for. It’s about three dudes who have babies. That’s it. Based on the description and the promotional photo, it kind of reminds me of Jerry O’Connell’s “Carpoolers,” which lasted for half a season back in 2007-2008. It could be good, but…

The Neighbors

Wednesday, 8:30, ABC Remember Jami Gertz? She’s back, and her neighbors are aliens. And they’re named after iconic American athletes, for some reason. This will either be hilarious or a punchline in three weeks. I’m hoping hilarious.

American Horror Story: Asylum

Wednesday, 10pm, F/X I’m calling this a new show, because it has nothing to do with last season. It’s a new plot, new location, and new characters, although many are played by the same actors who were on last season. It’s set in an insane asylum in my home state of Massachusetts, back in the 1960s. It’s run by a doctor who may be a Nazi, and a nun who used to be a slut. There are ghosts and aliens and mutants. I absolutely cannot wait. Check out the teasers on their YouTube page.

Elementary

Thursday, 10pm, CBS Jonny Lee Miller stars in this Sherlock Holmes update, set in America. Watson is now a female roommate/sober coach, played by Lucy Liu. I am not a Holmes fanatic; my only experience is that Robert Downey Jr. movie (which I liked), so I’m not pissed off that they’ve made changes. I like Jonny and Lucy, and I love crime dramas. This should be good.

Made in Jersey

Friday, 9pm, CBS This last one, I’m really on the fence about. A woman from New Jersey works at a NYC law firm, and I guess her family is trashy, and her job is fancy? Hmm… I like the idea of the protagonist living in two different worlds simultaneously. It could be fun. However, Fox putting it on Friday right away is not a very strong vote of confidence.

I'll post again soon about the returning shows I'm excited for. What are you looking forward to this fall? Let me know!

*I assure you, this is not a paid promotion for Entertainment Weekly. However, if EW wants to throw me a few bucks (or a job), I would not say no.

Sep 5, 2012

Dish Network Spammed Me


You may have noticed that I don't get a whole lot of comments. Quit lurking, people! Anyway, I’m always really happy to see comments. Last week, after posting my AGT wrap-up, I was excited to see a comment from a new reader.

“I wish they would have a top 12 this year,” he wrote, “but they have made it the top 6, so only three acts went through. If four would have been able to be passed, Todd Oliver would definitely be in it. I was so mad that Howie didn’t vote him though.” 
Hmm, that’s weird. Anyone who’s read any of my AGT posts ( including the one he commented on) knows that I fucking hate Todd Oliver. A friend of mine likes him, and mentions that fact in the comments every week, but she always acknowledges that I hate him. It’s almost as if he didn’t read this post at all…
He continues: “I was talking to my Dish coworker about it and he was disgusted too.”
Well, that’s odd. Why would you mention where you work?
 “I was so anxious to watch the results that I turned on my PrimeTime Anytime recording this morning-”
Hey! Wait a minute!
“-while getting ready for work and watched it without commercials because I can skip them with Auto Hop now. That saved me enough time to watch the show while getting ready for work and still get there on time; an invaluable way to keep my job!”
Motherfucker!

Now, there may be people out there who really, really like their job, but nobody talks like that without incentive. But there’s no way that a huge company like Dish would stoop to the level of work-at-home scams and penis enlarging pills, right? Could this possibly be sanctioned by Dish?

Yes. Unless this guy has a lot of like-minded coworkers, who totally love their company’s product and also like to comment on blogs without reading them, then yes. You want proof? Click here, here, here, here, here, and here. Those are six other bloggers complaining about Dish employees spamming their comments. And those are just the ones that I found in five minutes of Googling. A couple of these industrious folks have gone all Nancy Drew on Dish’s ass, tracking the IP addresses and confirming that these comments are actually being posted from Dish’s offices in Colorado.

According to some lawyer guy on the last page I linked to, this is all perfectly legal.  Okay, Dish. You know what else is legal? Telling all my readers that your company is the cable TV equivalent of a Nigerian prince scheme, your marketing department is seemingly run by the racist 13-year-olds who troll YouTube comments, and you fucking suck anyway because you don’t carry AMC or IFC. That’s right, no “Breaking Bad,” no “Mad Men,” no “The Walking Dead.” Those are three of the Emmy-winningest, ratings-smashiest, audience-favoritest, critical-darlingest dramas on basic cable ever… And IFC has some good shit, too. Nobody watches “Portlandia” or “Comedy Bang! Bang!”  but me, although everyone should.

So, now you know, Dish is a bunch of bullshit. I implore you to spread the word to everyone you know (the easiest way, I think, would be to share this post). You know what, though? Despite being totally disgusted by this whole ordeal, I must say that I’m just a tiny bit flattered that Dish thinks my blog is worth spamming.