Coots Gettin’ Rowdy Up In Here, Up In Here


This pic might cause Ned to release the squirrel, because only Heaven knows what’s got Granny so riled up. Whatever it is, the woman behind her is not keen on it continuing. Did she find the Willy Wonka golden ticket? Is that her bus pass? Perhaps it’s a not-so-silent auction or a Tupperware bidding war? Shouldn’t they all be playing bingo? And what on earth is Rose Marie doing there?

By the way, you guys–did you know Rose Marie is still alive and kicking at 90? She’s older than Dick Van Dyke! Why does he get all the press? That is not very chim chim cheree.

The Heat Is On*

In a few hours, it will be 95 degrees. I dare not doubt the weatherman’s forecast, as I just left the pre-noon outdoors, and it was already volcano-lava-hot. Any exercise must be done in the wee small hours these days.

Despite getting only three hours of sleep last night, and despite the forecast of a Martha Reeve’s heatwave, I donned my jogging apparel, headed to the local soccer park, and began climbing the hills around the perimeter.

Perhaps the path was once grassy, but now it is a knobby rubble of limestone, ripe for ankle injuries and displaced hips. Save a lone runner wearing what appeared to be a long-sleeved shirt made of shimmery black Glad trash bags ( a self-sauna?), I had the path to myself.

As I ascended, I passed evening primroses, Indian paintbrushes, and daisies, bending into candy cane shapes in the 20+ mph winds. I cinched my ballcap tighter, to the point where I almost felt I was being birthed again. Small white butterflies suddenly appeared, staying two steps ahead of me, swerving about like hybrid cars steered by texting teenagers. There must have been a half dozen of them, apparently delighted by spring. So, too, was I, inhaling the syrupy scent of wafting chinaberry blossoms. I love me some chinaberry trees!

Nearby excavators kicked up limestone dust, as they prepared yet another new subdivision, rising like weeds around here. I turned away, shielding my eyes from the dust, avoiding a head-on collision with a shrubby mesquite tree, and noticing my butterfly friends had departed.

The ridge was steep, and my quads ached, but I thought of our friends at church who do marathons in wheelchairs, and, of course, I always think of Nick Vujicic, the motivational speaker who has no limbs. It hasn’t stopped him from enjoying the beach with his wife and son.

When I got to the top, I took in the sight of rooftops stretching to the horizon. There I was, queen of all I surveyed, lording over the peasant village. It felt good, being so high above other things, looking down on the soccer fields, the tennis courts, the swimming pool (getting freshly-chlorinated), and the parking lots. Perspective changes everything.

I jogged my hour, and that was enough. I didn’t want to. But I was glad I did. Did it burn off the calories I ate in a handful of raw pistachios this morning? Probably not. But sometimes Nike is right. Just do it.



* not to be confused with another cattier post, The Heat Is Not On, Glenn Frey

May The Force MD Be With You

A conversation with Sandra led me down the long and winding road to this awesomely bewitching video for “Tender Love.” How had I never seen it?

You don’t have to be familiar with this slow jam by Force MD (one of Pres Obama’s favorite bands) to appreciate all of its levels of 80s gloriousness. Let me break it down in fifteen easy steps. I promise it’s better than “Key Largo.” No, I can’t promise that.

  1. A lone man sits on a stoop with what appears to be swaddling clothes in his lap. Or it might just be a sweatshirt.
  2. A group of stylish young men (in various stages of mulleted Soul Glo hair growth) gather at the foot of a brownstone. Any moment now, Theo Huxtable will pop out of the front door, wearing a shirt sewn by sister Denise.
  3. Suddenly, Rerun from What’s Happening? (who has clearly just left a Jenny Craig meeting) quiets them down–by the power of his index finger, combined with the metallic glow of his F necklace. rerun
  4. He begins to conduct them as he would an orchestra, and they fall into place, snapping and swaying, with a combination of karate moves and sign language that bring to mind a poor-man’s Temptation.
  5. Already I’m in Cosby Show cardigan overload. The graphic prints just make it all the worse.
  6. Oh, no! What’s that? Did they piss a white lady off? No, it’s Rosie Perez, and she stole Nancy Reagan’s blazer. Alert the Secret Service!
  7. They form a soul train toward the window to serenade her, with a bright yellow blazer bringing up the caboose. Now it’s full-on Motown moves and emoting with great fervor.
  8. The lead singer goes into his falsetto, which launches black-and-white cardigan man into his signature “rope-pulling Marcel Marceau” move.
  9. The effect this has on Rosie Perez is not only calming, but seems to be sending her into some Lunesta haze. She inhales while curtains flap in the breeze like a Summer’s Eve commercial.
  10. Doo-wop moves ensue. Suddenly, she smiles, revitalized, looking nothing like Rosie Perez. Her skin is cafe au lait, and so smooth. She must be a Noxzema model.
  11. What’s that? J.J. from Good Times walks up the stairs with Penny. Seems so random.
  12. Then they gather in a campfire circle and sing “la la la la” with more air-snapping and high-fiving, congratulating themselves that the song is halfway over.
  13. They all make fists and bring them down, a precursor to the Billy Blanks Tao-Bo upper-cut.
  14. The Noxzema model is unimpressed, and retires to the bedroom, as the blinding yellow from the chunky one’s ensemble has seared her retinas.
  15. They disband. Yellow blazer departs in search of a bolo tie to complete his look, leaving skinny Rerun behind. Forlorn. Waiting on Rosie. You’ll be waiting forever, son. She’s gone. She’s gone. Just ask Hall and Oates.

Mint Is Busting Out All Over

Springtime April 001

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

–William Wordsworth

April (minus the ominous dark clouds and lightning that never once lead to a drop of precipitation but simply pass over us like the Jake Ryans of the world to the wallflowers at a high school dance) is lovely. As you can see, I have more mint than I can shake a stick at. I doubt I’ll use it for more than one glass of iced tea. What I will eat, and what my best friend and I called “pickles” in our childhood, are these little sour cones:

Springtime April 002I don’t know what they are, but I know you can eat them (pesticide-free!), and you won’t die. Other than that, my plant knowledge is limited. I would never make it on Naked and AfraidI lack any survivor skills, and rather than try to determine which mushrooms are edible and non-toxic, and knowing I’m bound for eternal glory, I would simply shuffle off this mortal coil and head toward heaven’s brunch buffet. Surely they have migas!

However, while I remain in this mortal body, I have already spent (statistically) half of my years–which means half of my Aprils are gone, and that is a shame. Perhaps heaven is eternally April? But then I would miss my Octobers…


Beehivey, Redheaded, and Giddy

Happy 88th Birthday to Charlotte Rae!

You take the good, you take the bad, you take the housekeeper on Diff’rent Strokes and give her her own spin-off, and you’ve got a hit 80s sitcom called The Facts of LifeCharlotte Rae played the housemother of Eastland, Mrs. Garrett. And although Father Time has turned her hair a fetching shade of white…

most of us remember her all beehivey, redheaded and giddy:


You older folks may remember her as Sylvia Schnauzer on the sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?, but she will always be Mrs. Garrett to me.

Like The Nanny‘s Fran Drescher, who was married to a gay man for 21 years, Rae stayed with her husband for an astonishing 25 years until he came out of the closet.


I guess she took the good and took the bad.


Other than the movie about the pig and the spider, as well as an alternative music hit that I used to watch on MTV’s 120 Minutes called “Charlotte Anne,” I have no association with the name. Not all English degree majors have an affection for Charlotte Bronte with two dots above the e.

But the name is winning favor amongst modern day mommies-to-be. Don’t call it a comeback. Okay, call it a comeback. Back in 1999, the name Charlotte was ranked #308 in U.S. Popularity. By 2012, it had zoomed to #19. The most recent information from May 2013 shows the listings as such:

I know, old people’s names, right? Well, history repeats itself. Although I wouldn’t get too excited about seeing Maude up there any time soon.

Two Dorises And A Dixie Lee


To be honest, I’m not sure what the plural of Doris is. Perhaps it’s Dorisi, like octopi. All I know is both of these Dorisi appear to be mature college students. And that’s great to earn your degree when you’re over 22. Grandma Moses began her career at an advanced age yadda yadda yadda whatever. That’s not the point.

The point is Doris Hamman. And her head. Truly, it’s more of a conehead shape, with flora and fauna sprouting from the apex. Not as curious as the Selma Blair forehead, which I previously shared in my Hebrew Hair post, but still.

I don’t get this hairdo either, but I’m pretty sure it has to do with samurais and trickery.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

I was flipping through a new yearbook today at a bookstore (after Easter service and a lunch of pulled pork and brisket), and it’s from 1978, so everyone looked suitably ridiculous, and then BAM!

1978 Tx Women's Univ
1978 Tx Women’s Univ

My eyes widened in wonder and confusion and I said aloud, “I don’t get it!” I even looked around to see if Allen Funt was watching me. No, it’s not homely Alice, who bears a striking resemblance to Ana Gasteyer’s “Delicious Dish” character on SNL.

It’s not even two ladies with the same face named Adrian/Adrienne L. Clay. That’s odd enough. But it’s not as odd as the adjacent living doll…

Dammit, Janice, you're a freak.
Dammit, Janice, you’re a freak.

To make matters crazier, I turned the page and BAM! There was another Raggedy Woman. An Italian one. WTH?


I skimmed through the rest of it quickly and found no other Raggedy Folk, nor any explanation as to why they were there. What could I do? I had to buy it. I had to prove it to you. You see why I don’t get it?

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