Archive | Essays

More Lightbulb Jokes

If the last decade has taught me anything, it’s that I can do everything myself. If the last month has taught me anything, it’s that this isn’t always the best approach.

Like most bad jokes, it all comes down to a lightbulb. I boast about my apartment’s high tin ceilings, but they make it difficult to change the bulbs in my overhead lights. For years I lured tall, handy men into doing my dirty work, all puns intended. Then I had Mr. Oyster, and for a brief moment thought I’d solved all my problems. In the long aftermath of that relationship, I started hiring Taskrabbits, but even the noncreeps proved too forward. Men really do love damsels in distress, or at least preying on them. Continue Reading →

Six Packs & Soft Underbellies: ‘The Outsiders’

Like many growing up in the 1980s, I regarded “The Outsiders,” Frances Ford Coppola’s adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s 1967 young adult novel, as the ultimate babe fest. To date, it may be the greatest shrine to young male beauty ever filmed. Starring Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, and Emilio Estevez at the apex of their hotness, a pre-orthodontia Tom Cruise was the ugliest dude in the cast. Turning flips in the air, popping perfect biceps in rolled-up black tees, lolling cigs out of rosy pouts, and batting long lashes beneath expertly combed pompadours, these boys were so appealing that they triggered early puberty in a whole generation of tweens (then called preteens).

Thirty-odd years later, I dig this parade of Aphrodites even more, and for mostly loftier reasons. Howell stars as 14-year-old protagonist Ponyboy Curtis, so named by dead parents who left him in the care of 17-year-old brother Sodapop (Rob Lowe), a dreamboat of a high school dropout, and biggest brother Darrel (Patrick Swayze), who has forfeited his dreams of college to keep his younger siblings out of foster care. Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Curtis boys live on the wrong side of the tracks – we’re reminded of this from the first scene’s lonely train whistle– and they provide a homebase for all the tenderhearted, rough-hewn “greasers” in their gang. Continue Reading →

Unicorn Venus

Yesterday I had a nightmare that I was forced to consume one of those Starbuck unicorn drinky thingies, as my youngest goddaughter calls them. I woke feeling sick, and not just because the combination of neon food coloring, glitter dust, cream, white sugar, and mango and mocha syrups would put me in all kinds of hospitals. That wrongheaded beverage represents everything toxic and fake in our dystopia right now—especially in our reality TV White house.

Officially, Venus retrograde is over but we’re in its shadow until May 18, which means we’re still wearing Venus Retrograde goggles. Our aesthetics are off, diplomacy is impaired, love connections are misfiring, and bank balances are at an all-time low. It doesn’t help that, with Mercury retrograding in bratty Aries, checks are getting lost in the mail and airlines are throwing cosmic temper tantrums.  We even have a Retrograde President—a unicorn drinky thingie president*, if you want to get technical about it. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy