Friday, July 29, 2011

You Can't Handle the Truth!

Did you know that Barbie is very nearly a
biologic impossibility?

Yesterday something I saw on Tarte Advertising Inc.’s Facebook page gave me pause, and like everything else that seems minor I let it extrapolate itself into having bigger meaning.

In the UK two ads have been banned because the models featured have been deemed to be so airbrushed as to no longer represent anything factual. And in the UK if your advertising doesn’t maintain some level of “fact” in its representation of what you’re advertising… you’re not allowed to say it. How ‘bout that?  

We here across the pond think that’s absolutely quaint of the UK. I mean, of course we WOULD. We’re the spurned lover who left for freer shores where we can hold up the very essence of perfection and impossibility and make it the imperative.

All self-degradation aside, I did have a moment where I wondered what the deeper implications are of our current ability to airbrush away every single minor flaw and imperfection. We see it everyday, everywhere we look. There is very little that is real in much of what we visualize all day and I wonder if we’ve internalized that process so as to make our private lives airbrushed and Photoshopped in our own minds.

Do we even want the truth anymore, or are we so delicate that no level of reality is acceptable? We don’t want to hear the truth from our leaders, or from anyone in a position of power or influence over us. What we WANT to hear is own ideology parroted back to us. We call it the truth.

In a case of societal bi-polar disorder, there is a movement for morbidly obese people to bring the sexy back to obesity. On one hand we offer up impossibly thin women as reality and then on the the other hand we dedicate ourselves to the celebration of the exact opposite. While I am whole-heartedly in favor of promoting humanity and compassion for the morbidly obese (as they are PEOPLE who should be afforded every manner of respect due any other person) I do not accept that morbid  obesity is something to celebrate, just as I do not think that drug addiction is something to celebrate as “diversity.” These things are illnesses because no person seeks to be 300+ pounds or an alcoholic. Given the opportunity most people want health. However, we don't celebrate a middle way; we are a society of extremes and of false truths...or as some people call them:  Lies.

But we can’t talk about that. It’s not politically correct and it seems harsh towards these communities...why? Why can’t we call things what they are? Why can’t we speak the truth  with compassionate tones and words? The truth is there whether we acknowledge it or not, whether it we airbrush it from the surface or make societies to celebrate its opposite. The Truth stands silently…it doesn’t go anywhere.

Because it’s the Truth.

No matter how the models look on the page it’s not fact; it’s fiction. They are selling an idea disguised as a product. And we’ve bought into the idea with every penny we’ve got. We buy into it every time a politician speaks, and we’ve encouraged them to speak the airbrushed “truth” rather than the Truth because we are so coddled by fantasy that we can no longer stand the unvarnished Truth.

Real women and real men are not measuring up to this impossible imperative that we’ve set for ourselves. Real doctors can’t be Gregory House, MD and don’t solve medical cases in one hour, nor do crimes get solved by teams of people with laser vision, able to find the piece of hair with fingerprints and unwavering DNA evidence among the carpet fibers. But we expect them to because someone presented it as entertainment and we forgot that it’s not the Truth.

So to answer the Tarte question of whether I think more advertisers should follow suit and be more realistic in their advertising: I think yes. I think we could all use a dose of actual reality in all areas. I think it’s time we decided that the lie is not the Truth and that we deserve to hear what’s really real. We have to do it for ourselves, every day, in every interaction. We need to ask ourselves the hard questions and be ready to see the hard realities.

I think we’ll be happier people for it.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Were the 50's Better?

So the days of yore are remembered with nostalgia, with fondness for the days gone by.

HOWEVER...I take one look at a picture like this and I have to wonder: what the hell kind of days were they?

Just what are those two boys planning on doing with that unsuspecting maiden...or do those two boys have a plan in place whereby they'll protect their innocence after that tartlet has fed them all that fried food and carbo-loaded them?

Didn't Coke (tm!) used to contain actual cocaine? I might be offering that urban legend up as fact, but it's Tuesday and I don't concern myelf with FACTS on Tuesdays. I'm sticking with the cocaine story and proposing that these three are in a world of trouble once those cold, refreshing Cokes kick in.

Why were the people of the 1950's so slim and trim anyway? Look at that picnic! My word, that's gotta be a 3,500 calorie lunch! Bob and Jillian would be very troubled by that recreational lunch.

I'm outing the 1950's as an era of depravity. The next time you see your grandparents, I hope you'll think back fondly to this day and realize that they were the pioneers of tosh.0 and have no one to blame but themselves for sexting and tramp stamps!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Script Slap!

If you can read this, you're old.

In the United States teaching cursive handwriting as part of school curriculum is being tossed to the curb. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. Let me explain.

For the most part we use cursive, or script, only for signatures which morph into illegible things of scrawl anyway. Almost anything else is done online or, if you or the entity with which you're dealing is stuck in 1980, you  must print in neat block letters in black ink. So...where is the need for cursive?

We don't write fact we hate actual phone calls at this point. Ever heard of a TEXT? Not only have we stopped utilizing snail mail for anything other than valuable coupons but we've stopped using voices as well. So what's the big deal if we drop coveted school hours devoted to a dead art for something along the lines of more standardized test teaching?

I think I have a theory. In England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Greece...well let's just say Europe in its entirety, one thing tourists like to do is look at old know, the kind are not very eco-friendly; they're not hugely accessible for people of all makes and models, and the plumbing isn't up to code. In Italy you can see buildings and bridges that have stood since the 1200's or so...I mean they're so old! Why on Earth would people KEEP something like that?

Ew, this bridge is OLD and so is the whole town! Get rid of it.

People travel many miles at great financial cost to visit ruins. RUINS! Old things that are BROKEN.... Why?

Here's a thought: maybe it's a good thing to respect the path you've travelled. Vendors sell things on the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy (that's the picture above) and the stuff they're selling isn't old. Just the bridge. See how that works? They keep both.

Why don't Americans keep both? I think we have room in our days, in our towns and in our lives for the "stuff" of our history. Perhaps this doesn't answer the question of whether or not cursive should still be taught in school because maybe cursive will truly become an art form the way calligraphy has, but it's a valid starting point to examine all that we trash because something newer and better has come along.

I believe this country suffers from a history deficiency. We are so quick to tear down, replace or upgrade that we're totally annihilating the path that brought us to this day. Whether or not we ever need to go back is rather pointless in my humble opinion because when we forget our history we are doomed to repeat it over and over again.

And these days it seems our historical memory lasts all of two or three days. (Ahem...this is why LIBRARIES are so important, American peeps!) There is so  much wisdom in the history of our collected years as a nation and we seem to be content to bully through the days without one moment of reflective thought. We allow no other country to have its own civil war for independence, though where would THIS country be if a slave holding country had stepped in and offered help to "Secessionists?" If we thought about our history for half a second we'd be glad we were left alone to slog through our own fight.

We want things too fast and it seems the ability to look back and draw from lessons is too much time to take. Those were yesterday's problems and who care about them now? I think we should.

So where does that leave me on the cursive question? I still don't have an answer. But I do have pause...because not all that is old and outdated is worthless and not all that is old-fashioned is wrong. We owe the rest of the world a great debt for holding onto the debris of the past for us, allowing us to dump whatever we don't need today.

Maybe it's time for us to start carrying a bit of historical weight, and we can start by doing it with a flourish.,,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Birthdays and What I Know


Oprah is striking again…at the end of her magazines, at least what I remember because despite her taking my money I am still waiting for an issue, the Most Honorable Winfrey ends with an anecdote of what she knows for sure. I guess I know some things for sure at this point, although I’m pretty confident that whatever I think I know right now will be different five years from now. So that’s already one thing I know for sure.

Here are a few other things I know for sure:

Fat-free cream cheese is an oxymoron. Unless you’re using the word “cream” as a verb, it has an inherent meaning of FAT. So fat-free cream cheese is an abomination of nature and can be proved by the fact that my dog won’t eat it.

The carton of blueberries should not have to tell me that they are a “cholesterol free food.” Even if blueberries HAD cholesterol in them by some magical feat of science, so what? They’re blueberries!! You can’t make a blueberry bad.

Bacon is never wrong. But that’s not really something I needed to tell you, I’m sure. My birthday BLT is being cooked as I type; I'm really hungry!!

This is pure concentrated genius.

I also know FOR SURE that if you take Grandma on vacation with you don’t be surprised to look back at your condo from the beach and see your laundry, including unmentionables, hanging from the balcony to dry. Grandma grew up during the Depression and knows the benefits of hand washing on vacation. Who needs beachy relaxation anyway?

Jewelry is always, and I do mean always, the answer.

This is all you get today because I’m not spending a lot of time here. It’s my birthday and another thing I know for sure is that on this day I don’t have to strain my brain to make you laugh…I’m practically positive you’re supposed to do that for me.

So get on it!!,,

Friday, July 15, 2011

SLAP! I'm Sick of the Violence!

I think by now I should be some kind of master of the seas...and the rough waters are just about all I can handle anymore. How about you? Are you feeling roughed out too?

There is so much vitriol in the news as politicians are gearing for battle rather than discourse, and people are barking at each other over the battling politicians instead of listening to one another. We're shouting about how awful the job market is, how big industry is prospering while the commoner sinks ever lower. Shouldn't we all be geniuses of the seas by now? Shouldn't a few folks be able to shut up by now?

I appreciate what the saying is teaching: It is through hard times that we learn, but why do there have to be so many and why do we have to be in each other's way all the damned time?

Over on the Facebook page for Dirty Words I asked a question as part of a joke, which I was using to excuse my lack of posting on Tuesday. For full details hop on over and like the page...I think I put up some fairly amusing pictures. But a few of the responses got me thinking about truth and about how we treat each other.

We make choppy waters for one another and I don't think it's because we're out there looking to help each other grow spiritually or emotionally.

The old adage that if you don't have something nice to say then you say nothing at all is dead and buried. We say what we want, when we want, to whomever we want and the consequences are nil; so we think. The consequences are deep and we feel them far more than we let on. After all, if we acknowledge them then our roles in the acts must be considered and I'm betting we're all guilty on some level of being snarky, spiteful or contrary just for its own sake.

What do we "get" from this? What do we get from deriding another person or demeaning their thoughts and feelings because they're alien to us? We think we're being heard but I don't think anyone listens to opposition anymore because it's far too much shouting.

I'm fairly sick of talk radio, news TV, news in general and most of what passes for political discourse anymore. And it's such a shame that EVERYTHING is political.

Education? Political.
Food? Political.
Environment? Political.
Parenting style? Political.
Even buying the clothes I wear can be political.

"No matter what side you're on, if it's not mine it's the wrong side." Right?

I'm It's not right.

I want the water to calm down so I can learn something, so I can hear something, so I can understand something. I want the boat to stop rocking so violently so I can look a problem in its face and walk around it a bit, get to know it and then seek to solve it. Real life problems are not meant to be solved amidst intense turmoil.

As it turns out, to ancient wisdom and ancient sages I respectfully disagree that a calm sea never made a skilled mariner because we need the calm. What I want for the mariner is to have a moment to absorb the lessons of the tumultuous waters while gliding on a silken strand of shimmering sea.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Space Slap!

This is for you can connect the dots.

by a million
wings of fire-
the rocket tore a tunnel
through the sky-
and everybody cheered.

only by a thought from God-
the seedling
urged its way
through thicknesses of black-
and as it pierced
the heavy ceiling of the soil-
and launched itself
up into outer space -

--Marcie Hans

I love this poem for so many reasons, which I am not explaining today because today isn't a lesson in poetry...except that it is. Today we watched the space shuttle "Atlantis" make its final launch and closed the books on U.S. government funded space flight. The fact that we can hurdle a human into space and allow them to live there for a time is nothing short of marvelous in its truest sense: full of marvel. 

However, as with so many other areas of our lives, we seem to overlook the every day miracles; they are abundant. A seedling has no computer, no ground control, no staff of engineers telling it what to do. Seedlings from a bag of birdseed will take root, after sitting in the bag, on the shelf, in a store, for months and months. How do they sit idly for that long and still know what to do when soil, water and warmth reach them? 

Of course there is science behind it, and we can look to the Internet to tell us the intricacies of the process of how…but really how? You can explain the process as often as you like but there is a miracle behind the science. Let’s not discount the million little miracles we don’t notice taking place every single day.  

Today as we look to science at its most celebrated, let’s also remember the magic and wonder of a circulatory system, of a “weed” springing up where you haven’t planted it to make a lacy white flower, of a mother cat knowing how to care for her kittens without so much as a book to tell her what to expect when she’s expecting 9 kittens…let’s celebrate the miracles of every day life that allow us to create things like shuttles to outer space.

Let us take a moment to look to our family of humanity and marvel at the ability to love one another, support one another and care for one another; because if we have the capacity to launch ourselves into orbit, surely we have the capacity to be kind to each other.

 And isn't that a marvelous thing?

* Dots:,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

You're Only Fun to Me if You're Drunk...

Harry Potter has stopped drinking.

I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

To be fair, it’s actually Daniel Radcliffe who’s knocked off the plastering, but that’s a silly detail. He’s a 21 year old “man” who’s made the mature decision that his drinking got out of control at the ripe old age of 21…you know, the age when it becomes legal to *try* alcohol in the US.

I’m proud of Mr. Potter for making the tough decision to stop having any fun in his young life from this point forward. It’s admirable to throw in the towel before he’s even had a chance to revive his sagging career with a stint on Dr. Drew….former-celebrity rehab.

(*Disclaimer: Alcoholism is a real disease and it’s no joking matter, except for the Tuesdays when I don’t have anything else to say…if you are an alcoholic, you should seek treatment, but not here. I’m an idiot and not capable of giving good advice because I’m already drunk, on my own power.)

The real question now is, “How will he ever enjoy an evening out or keep himself in the news if he’s not getting blotto?”

Talent? In this country?!? Pishaw. Who cares about talent? If I’m never going to see his brains peeking out from a drunken foray to the gym in too short shorts, who cares?

Let’s make a small list of stars who are fun and relevant only because they’re trainwrecks under societal pressure and our unrealistic expectations:

The Hoff…that’s David Hasselhoff, who only ever has to eat ONE cheeseburger on his bathroom floor (which probably isn’t true but that’s what I believe, so I’m printing here and making it fact.) If you ask me, that was just using his noggin’ since eating that fast when you’re that drunk may lead to some intense “reflux”…better to be right near the proper receptacle. (I’m sticking with the bathroom floor theory here for entertainment purposes…)

Well that just looks delicious.

Britney…that’s Spears, who had a psychotic breakdown, shaved her head, showed her naticals and lost her kids. What fun! In the prime of her life, really taking advantage of everything out there in the wide world and experiencing it all. She’d look back with regrets if she didn’t. Thanks to Red Bull and vodka, she could.

I, for one, admire her carefree attitude.

Lindsay Lohan, who had NO CLUE that it might seem improper to get schnockered while on house arrest with a leg band for criminal infractions.  In the interest of full disclosure, being hammered wasn’t spelled out as wrong in the conditions of her probation, so it’s the judge’s fault. My word, Your Honor…how is a girl to cope with being out of the party scene if she can’t down some buttery nipples??

Good times! And legally sanctioned!
And let’s end with the Queen of them all, the venerable Miss Amy Winehouse, whose raging case of impetigo, knocked out chompers and black eyes, have never once gotten her down! Think of the bravery she musters every single time she leaves the house to enjoy life to its fullest…it’s a marvel of the strength of humanity.
Nothing says classy
like a knocked out incisor.

So Daniel, my friend (and he is) knock off the knocking off. We don’t care about your “talent”…we want to see you fall off the horse time and time again, so we can lament how child actors always seem to decline into tragedy, and boo hoo that this happens without ever once taking any credit for it. We aren’t impressed with your ability to inhabit a role for our momentary escape from life because we’d rather watch you destroy your own actual life.

Cheers mate!

Get this guy a beer!

* Pix:,,

Friday, July 1, 2011

SLAP! Listen Grasshopper

Previously, on Dirty Words.....

We've talked about getting out of your own inner monologue when you come across someone bothering you. I've told you that maybe a person has hot beans in their lap and THAT'S why they're driving so slowly, or that maybe the person in front of you at the check out line is preoccupied with news of their Wounded Warrior....

So we're supposed to go through life allowing that what may be happening around us has nothing at all to do with us, and no one is working feverishly to stand in our way. Right?

But what if they actually ARE standing in our way?

No no...we'll walk AROUND you....
For the love of government cheese, get out of your own head and remember that people are around us! The yin yang concept informs us that sauntering down a busy street at rush hour is the same internal self-absorption as assuming that the person you see doing it is doing it to you...

See what I did there? Paradox.

You can't be in the middle of the road driving with your turn signal on for three or four miles. You can't stop at the immediate spot of exit from a building to light your cigarette and make a phone call. When you are talking on your cell and you're in a hallway...USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE! Unless you're part of a flash mob, there's no excuse for stopping mid stride at a train station...for anything. The same rule applies to swerving across three lanes of traffic so as not to miss an know another one is two miles down, right? And perhaps, just perhaps, when there is a line 16 deep behind you at the convenience store, don't count out your exact change or quibble over which scratch off lottery ticket you're getting: "Uh, no I want the one a little to your left...little more...little, sorry, I meant the one to the right."

The message is still the same peepers...get out of your head. BE in the world. Be present and awake and see everything happening around you. Don't be so quick to judge why a person is making your travel harder, but don't be the person making travel harder for someone else!

水能載舟,亦能覆舟 (pinyin: shuǐ néng zài zhōu, yì néng fù zhōu)
  • Literally: Not only can water float a boat, it can sink it also. 
  • Equivalent English saying: The knife cuts both ways.

When we aren't in the moment it passes us by and we don't see what's around us. 

So go on, readers! Go out into life and the world and offer it something other than obstruction. Offer it something of value or compassion.

And that's your slap.