Hello friends! I wasn't kidding last week when I said I was out of town. The last week and a half I was in Italy with my husband Steve. He'd never been there, whereas I had spent a year in Florence while in college (and had traveled there in high school once before for a Latin field trip.) My mom forced me to keep travel journals since I was old enough to write, and the habit has stuck with me. So if you like reading about travels, or looking at photos of Italy, or plan on heading over there anytime soon, feel free to check out my entries on our stops in Naples and Pompeii, Florence, Montalcino, other bits of Tuscany and Umbria, Vinci, Fiesole, Rome and the Vatican and a tiny bit of London.
The following is a story I published recently on the Hairpin. I hope you don't lose too much respect for me after reading it.
I spent my junior year of college studying in Italy in a program that encouraged us to travel as much as possible, so after a field trip to Naples, many of us made plans one weekend to tour southern Italy. After seeing the ruined city of Pompeii, three friends and I checked into a hotel in Sorrento. We were excited because our room, which had two sets of bunkbeds, had a miniature patio attached to it. My friend Chris and I posed for photos on said patio before we headed out to carouse with our other friends.
I wasn’t feeling well that night so we stopped in a Farmacia to find some cold medicine. My Italian wasn’t strong enough to discern whether my meds were the type one could drink on, but Chris, who I should mention was kind of an a-hole, told me not to be a pussy and go ahead.
So, we drank several bottles of wine at dinner, and then we drank more afterwards at a bar with some friends. In fact, we all got pissed.
You don't know this, dear readers, but I'm currently on vacation: all the posts I've published since last week I scheduled ahead of time. You probably are wondering how someone as glamorous and sophisticated as I have my act together as well as I do. Well I'll tell you: I have a few little secrets for making my flights as comfy as can be. Why leave an airplane a stinky, wrinkly sleepy mess when you can do as I do? It's easy! Here are the few things I require:
A good book
I swear by a cashmere blanket. It keeps me warm and is so light and soft! I bought it when I was on vacation in Iceland. Actually, what it is is a cashmere blanket that’s made of other cashmere blankets stitched together, so in addition to the one from Iceland, it is also made from one I picked up in Cortona, one from Java, one from Patagonia, one from Monaco and one that my good friend Martha Stewart gave me for Christmas one year. I can’t fly without it!!!!
Aromatherapy candles. I just ask the stewardesses if they light a little one at my seat. If they say no I tell a little white lie and say that my doctor prescribed them for me for my anxiety. Usually they say yes. The scent of sandalwood or patchouli musk just makes flying soooo much more civilized.
Here's a little something I published recently on McSweeney's Internet Tendency:
Ah! My arch-nemesis, finally we meet, after all these years. Are your shackles too tight? Keep in mind they have to be somewhat tight, so as not to defeat the purpose, but I don’t want them to be too tight. How do you like my underground cavern lair? Is it too dark? How do you like the blacklights?
I admit I would be lying if I said I am not happy to see you. It has been a pleasure doing combat with you all these many years, in our little game of cat and mouse, often aided by explosives, or flying machines, or houses of mirrors. You have been a most worthy foe. In some ways, I will regret destroying something so extraordinary. In some ways, I will really enjoy it. Killing you will be like destroying a beautiful butterfly. A beautiful butterfly who murdered my father and poured acid on my face.
You may laugh, but we are not so different, you and I. OK, actually, do not laugh. Let me continue, please. Stop it. Guard, show our friend what happens when we laugh too much.
Maureen Searcy is a friend I made back at Northwestern's Masters in Creative Writing program. One of the reasons I like her is her gleeful and comprehensive knowledge of the horror genre. I asked her to share her love with you today, the most horrific of days. You can read more of her at her blog LOLHorror!
Do you really want to know why I love horror movies, or do you just want me to make the list? People always want the list, and I get the request all throughout the year, but especially around Halloween. You want the cheat-sheet. You want to know how to get the best scare without putting the work in, without having to watch the boring, cliché, laughable, stupid, and on occasion indefensible* movies that come out.
I can’t tell, is this demeaning or not? On the one hand, this is actually a tasteful outfit. I’m covered up, I’m warm, and nobody can tell that I’m four months pregnant. On the other hand, I am basically embodying a human-sized vagina. Then again, this whole conceit is rather clever, since plugs are referred to as male and female. Once I get home and smoke some PCP, I won’t have to worry about this anymore.
I can’t believe Ernest Borgnine is my father and this is the best work I could get in the entertainment industry.
Hey, this costume is pretty fun! I have a cute bow in my hair! I have nothing to not-smile about! Oh, wait, nevermind.
Kazan the Dog Marvel
Peter the Great
Ace the Wonder Dog
Captain King of Dogs
My lovely colleagues at WBEZ were kind enough to tape last week's Funny Ha-Ha for me, and so today I present to you one of the highlights from the show. Shame That Tune's Abraham Levitan closed the show by taking an audience suggestion for a historical operetta, so he ended up writing a three-part musical about a frisky grandma active in the labor movement sometime in the 1920's. It was very educational. Enjoy.