Friday Faves: What to Watch

The Emmy’s are this Monday and you know what that means: all my TV viewing over the last year is finally going to pay off. Even though I haven’t read or written as much as I would have liked to, I’ll feel validates Monday night when I’ll have watched pretty much every show and nominated actor announced during the show.

If you’re looking for something to start watching this weekend, my suggestion is to find a run down of all the nominations, and just pick something that appeals to you. Chances are, it will be excellent. (My faves: Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime), Killing Eve (BBC) and The Handmaid’s Tale (HULU)).

This summer, I watched a few shows that I can’t stop talking about (hello, GLOW) and finally caught up on the remaining four seasons (read: 40 hours) left of a show I had given up on a few years earlier but suddenly, it felt strangely relevant and necessary to plough through to the end (also: it was worth it).

GLOW (Netflix): Let it be known that I am easily influenced by advertisements. This holds true for wanting to wear Candies high wooden heels when I was, like, 11, and succumbing to the non-stop trailers promoting Season 2 of GLOW every time I signed into Netflix. In the case of the latter, falling prey to ads was an excellent decision. Watching me teeter around with high heels on my baby feet in 1979, not so much.

Okay, what can I tell you? I was afraid this was going to be all T & A, as the show’s title refers to the Glorious Women of Wrestling and is set in the 1980s. Wrong. Instead, you get tons of girl power, layered characters developed so beautifully over the course of the 10 half-hour episodes in each of the two seasons. And if nothing else, just watch it for all that 80s hair and leg warmers.

Ozark (Netflix): How, you wonder at the end of the first episode of Season 2, is this family going to get out of their very terrible predicament alive? How are they going to go the 10-episode distance? The family in question, headed up by parents Laura Linney and Jason Bateman, have landed in the Ozarks after the drug cartel he was laundering money for discovered his partner was an informant and that’s when the shit hits the fan. Again, with the amazing character development, especially Linney and the remarkable young woman who’s running the titty bar they bought to run their dirty money through. She is a force. All I have to say is, much like how Man Men shook out in by end, it’s the women you need to keep your eye on in this show.

The Americans: As I mentioned earlier, I’d given up watching this when I determined it was one of those shows that demanded my attention. I couldn’t multitask (translation: troll Facebook on my phone) and expect to follow what’s going on. So I chose to move on until friends started raving about the last episode of this FX series about a couple of Russian spies in the 1980s (A theme? Maybe.) to pose as an everyday married couple living outside D.C. with their two kids and running a travel agency. On the side, the two run around in a lot in disguises duping government workers into divulging top-secret information and knocking people off in a variety of ways over six seasons. Kerri Russel’s Elizabeth Jennings is a badass.

When the series first started in 2013, it seemed like a quaint throwback to Reagan-era issues. I mean, the Russians at that time seemed about as threatening to our country as Boris and Natasha. Fast forward six seasons and now, it could not be more relevant. In fact, every time I hear a crazy story in the news lately about the UK spy poisoning or this story about the recent Russian defector, I can totally picture Kerri Russell and Matthew Rhyss pulling this stuff off. Couple in all the other Russian stuff in the news (election tampering, social media skewing), and I’d say this show became more and more like Homeland over time. Weirdly prescient.

But the biggest challenge facing this husband and wife spy team, is the choice between family and country. They grapple with it season after season and the final episode of the series paints a clear picture of which they choose. Wonderful.

Sharp Objects (HBO): Did you not watched this 8-episode miniseries this summer? Well, call out of work next week because you have some bingeing to do. Spooky. A soundtrack bursting with moody Led Zeppelin and a cast headed up by Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson, the final episode TOTALLY nails its landing. Make sure you watch it until the last credit rolls off your screen. Then call me if you need to freak out.

Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix): My girls and I were scrolling through Netflix looking for something to watch this summer when we saw that Season 2 of this super-charming 6-episode series featuring the totally goofy Phil Rosenthal, creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, had just dropped. We squealed and sat back to enjoy watching him eat his way through New York, Buenos Aires, Ireland, South Africa, Venice, and Copenhagen. We come for the adventures, all the different types of food he tries and all the friends he makes along the way. But we stay for the Skype session with his parents, Max and Helen Rosenthal, at the end of every episode. Squeeze in Season 1 while you’re at it, and travel along to Bangkok, Saigon, Tel Aviv, Lisbon, New Orleans and Mexico City. What I really love the most about Season 2, is that Phil makes it a point to emphasize that it’s through travel that we get to meet people from all walks of like, which helps us expand our own views and gives us new angles to look at things. Plus, food. Here’s Season 2’s trailer, just for fun:

Won’t You Be My Neighbor (Amazon Prime): About three minutes into this lovely documentary on Mr. Rogers that my daughter and I went to see this summer at a local arty movie theater, she leaned over and whispered, “Are you crying yet?” Of course I was. Now, you too can start weeping as you watch and remember just how wonderful and special Fred Rogers was, as it has recently been released on Amazon Prime to rent for $5.99 (SO WORTH IT). Honestly, I think if everyone in the world watched it, it would be a strong reminder of just what it means to be a human being moving with love and compassion through this world. “The greatest thing we can do is to let somebody know is that they are loved and capable of loving,” you hear Mr. Rogers say and it just about sums it all up. Plus, Henrietta Pussycat and Lady Elaine Fairchild. Talk about blasts from the past. Revisit your childhood (and your children’s if they’re old enough to remember) and watch it tonight.

Disenchantment (Netflix): Probably the opposite of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, this new cartoon series from Matt Groening is The Simpsons meets Game of Thrones and the perfect show to watch with your teenage son. At least it was for me, but I’ve got it easy because often my viewing tastes are akin to that of a teenage boy. But if you love The Simpsons, and I totally do, this 10-episode series is right up your alley, with an elf who’ll remind you of Ralph Wiggum and a demon who steals every episode. The clincher: Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson voices the anti-princess Princess Bean who’d rather die than get married and just wants to live life her way. Also, she’s a bit of a drunk.

Anything else I NEED to watch? Let me know in the comments below!

The Dog Days of Summer

This summer, when he’s not working out with the freshman football team or playing basketball or trying to get something popping most nights of the week, my 14yo son has been making his way through all 8 seasons of That ‘70s Show.

It’s impressive watching the kid plow through all 200 episodes, which — at 22-minutes apiece — clock in at around 73.33 hours. At the rate he’s going, I’m feeling confident he’ll be done by the end of the month. Maybe even this week, if he really buckles down.

He should be this dedicated to his summer reading.

Honestly, this has never been a show on my radar. I mean, I know it’s how Ashton met Mila and where that chick from Orange is the New Black got her Big Break. But it ran from 1998 through 2006 and coincided with some of my prime baby making years. Or, if I wasn’t exactly making a baby, then I was nursing it or cleaning it or driving it to preschool. In other words, I was too busy for TV back then.

Funny story: some time during that period, the house phone rang a little after 9 p.m. and it was another man in town looking to talk to my husband.

“He’s asleep,” I told the guy, annoyed that he’d even be calling the house so late.

“Is he okay?” the man, who only had one child, asked in alarm.


What I probably did was laugh and say he was fine and had just fallen asleep a little early. I probably failed to mention that I wasn’t that far behind him.

So now, thanks to Hulu, I guess I’m making up for lost TV time. It seems at all hours of the day the “Hanging Out” theme some is playing in our TV room followed by about 21 minutes of double entendres and a cheesy laugh track. Every once in a while I find myself pausing as I go past the room and watch for a minute or two. The characters always seem to be hanging out on couches in someone’s basement and talking about getting laid. Or not getting laid. Or wanting to get laid.

I forget how racy primetime TV has gotten over the years. Cheers and The Cosby Show seem downright Disney-like compared to what aired in the following decade.

And I wonder, not for the first time, whether I should suggest that my child get off the couch and go find something better to do. But that’s the great thing about my youngest. When I strongly suggest ask him to do something, he usually just does it. I pop my head in and tell him he’s had enough TV for the day and to go outside and throw the lacrosse ball around and he says, “Okay, Mom,” and turns off the TV and goes out into the heat of the day.

In short time I hear the TV go on again in the TV room and I go in to investigate and find what looks like a scene from a soft porn movie unfolding on my flat screen TV with my 20yo watching from the couch. She’s been bingeing the HBO series “True Blood” and with 80 approximately 60-minute episodes, is giving her little brother a run for his money as she wiles away the hours watching television when she’s not at work or food shopping for me. There are shoes scattered all over the small room and an empty plate on the coffee table from the muffin she ate for breakfast hours earlier.

Unlike earlier summers, I’m trying to be a little less agitated about all the TV watching, provided the children are doing all the other things they really are supposed to be doing. Sure, I’d rather they still just watched shows on Animal Planet or better yet, read a book. But that ball’s in their court now. I’ve modeled plenty of good reading behavior over the years and monitored their TV viewing when they were younger with the same zeal Tipper Gore brought to what the youth of our nation could listen to in the late ’80s.

And, with everybody growing up and moving out, it’s only a matter of time before the only sound in the house will be my fingers on the laptop or my dog crying to come sit with me.

I guess the good news is that all this TV-watching gives our puppy someone to snuggle next to and helps him forget that I’m in another part of the house, trying to write.

And not get distracted by the television.

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Friday Faves: Things I’m Obsessed With This Week

Friends, I know. I am a terrible pen pal. Honestly, this is probably why I don’t have any friends from grammar school. I’m just not great at staying in touch.

But I’m trying to turn over a new leaf.  I’m going to attempt to lift this blog from the hot and humid ashes of New Jersey in July on a little more regular basis. I’m hoping this doesn’t go the way of my knitting career or the time I thought I’d learn to speak Italian. Let’s just say, I remain monolingual.

So while I’m figuring out how to tell you about my second child moving out of the house recently or the surgery I had on my old lady foot, I thought I’d share a few things I am ob-sessed with lately. Here they are in absolutely no particular order:

  • Melissa Clark’s new cookbook, Dinner: Changing the Game. Historically, I’ve stopped actually cooking dinner — like, chopping or roasting — by this time in July. Usually by this point of summers past, we’re eating a lot of hamburgers or takeout. And I can’t tell you the last time I bought a cookbook and back in the day, I used to buy a lot of them. But with the interweb, I find there’s no need to pay for something when you can get it for free online. But this book is worth it and full of tons of great dinner ideas. So far we’ve made both the Harissa Chicken (you can get harissa at Trader Joe’s) and Sausage and Cauliflower (with cumin and Turkish pepper — which you can get at World Market) twice, but my 20yo has gone through and marked about a dozen other recipes with post it notes.
  • Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid. I’m on a reading roll and in under three days gobbled this slim novel that weaves a little magical realism with the story of a city under siege and the plight of refugees.
  • Broken Open, by Elizabeth Lesser. This is literally (okay, not literally) the Bible for figuring out how to make lemonade out of the lemons that life throws your way. I read it 8 or 9 years ago when my marriage was falling apart yet for some reason, it resonates even more now. The quote from Anais Nin in the book’s prelude says it all: “And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
  • This Ted Talk video. 
  • This New Yorker cartoon.
  • Selina Meyer. I’ve been watching Season 5 of Veep and during each episode, think, “I need to write down some of these lines.” The things they say are off-the-charts hilarious and vulgar. But neither pen nor paper was required to remember this beauty, which I’ve used already on numerous occasions (if you don’t like cursing, please do not click).

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Totems From My Childhood

Tfp_aus_vhsDear Boys and Girls,

I am going to try to describe something that might be really hard for you to understand, given the world of instant gratification that you’ve grown up in. For most of your sweet young lives, you’ve been able to watch pretty much any movie or TV show that caught your fancy at any given moment. Through the gentle push of a remote control button, you have access today to an endless number of channels geared towards young’uns, programs recorded on your parents’ DVR or plucked from the Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and all the other magic apps that appear on your flat screen television.

Even way back in the dark ages of the early 1990s, when there were exactly three cable channels geared towards kids (Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel), my children also had an impressive VHS library of shows to choose from and could watch Bambi or Thomas the Tank Engine when the kids shows on our PBS station signed off for the day in late afternoon (I refused to let them watch the stuff on cable back then. #ohhowthemightyhavefallen).

When I was growing up amongst the Mayan ruins of the Triassic period (just go with it), way back in the early 1970s, there were zero cable channels dedicated to kids as there was no cable and we mostly had to get our fill early in the morning during the week and for a few precious hours Saturday mornings (can you imagine?). Other than that, we had to make do with reruns from 20 years earlier (like The Andy Griffith Show and My Three Sons) or old movies.

Of course, it wasn’t until later, like in the 1980s, that we could record shows on VCRs (but honestly, who could ever really figure out how to do that?). So when a show came on TV that you really enjoyed you savored that shizz. It was really, really special.

I remember my mom letting me stay up, a rarity, to watch The Wizard of Oz which only came on once a year (maybe Easter or Thanksgiving?). That was great until that part where Dorothy’s house is caught up in the tornado and Miss Gulch rides by on her bike and then turns into the witch and practically gave 6yo me a heart attack. Christmas specials, like Rudolph and Charlie Brown, only came on once a year and I can’t tell you how many times I’d seen bits and pieces of movies — like Yours Mine and Ours and Charade — but never the full thing from beginning to end. It all depended on when I found it on my TV dial.

And then there were television specials of my youth that aired once or twice and then disappeared like the Carnation Breakfast Bars and Chocodiles of long ago.

This all brings me to earlier this week when a conversation with my 14yo son reminded me of one of my most beloved TV specials from the 1970s: the muppet version of The Frog Prince. I was such a lame little girl that I’d have given anything to be the beautiful Princess Melora, even if I would have to talk wackbards. And I’m pretty sure we had the album at one point because I still know all the words to the songs and a lot of the dialogue.

How do I know this? Because before my son even knew what hit him, I had him trapped on the couch with the laptop resting on our legs watching The Frog Prince on YouTube. He resisted at first, telling me he was no longer into muppets, but I turned on some hardcore pressure.

“This is everything you need to know about me,” I told him, pointing to Kermit the Frog floating in a pond on the computer screen. “Seriously,” I said, pulling him way too close for his liking, “this is the most important TV show of my life.”

And, because he is a really nice boy and was probably tired from his basketball game earlier that day, he snuggled in and watched all 50 minutes with me — songs, corny jokes and all. Not to mention me singing along.

It just made me happy to share that important totem from my childhood and now am just wondering how I can pull off the same stunt with Free to Be, You and Me. I’ll have to catch him off guard again.

Please write with any suggestions and of course, let me know what your favorite shows from childhood were in the comment section below because that kid’s not going to college for another five years and I could really use some other reasons to make him sit a snuggle with me and stop looking at his phone (which you’re probably doing now, too.

Your friend,


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If you were wondering where I’d been lately and considering sending out a search party, you wouldn’t have to look too far. Throughout the holidays and now for hours each night after dinner, I’ve been sitting on the giant red couch in my family room watching the telly. In fact, I was watching so much TV after Christmas my children became alarmed.

“You’re STILL watching television?” my 23yo son said incredulously when he peeked his head out of the kitchen on Dec. 26 to find me sitting on the couch in my pajamas mid-day powering through my fourth hour of Netflix.

I have to admit, I found this reaction to seeing me do what he – and all of his siblings – do all the time quite hilarious. Throughout the fall, when he wasn’t networking or going on job interviews, the guy was sitting in my basement ploughing through, like, a million shows and yelling at the television while playing PlayStation4. My youngest daughter watched all five seasons of Mad Men during her winter break and my 13yo somehow squeezed in an entire season of Parks and Rec on Sunday while was supposed to be scraping stickers off his bedroom door.

But apparently they are not used to seeing their mom do the same. I guess it was weird to see me bingeing on a TV show. But, like a big box of CheezIts, it was hard to stop after just one helping of Jessica Jones. As each episode ended and the little box in the corner came on indicating the next was about to start in three … two … one … I was like, “Okay, just one more.”

What is this Jessica Jones, you ask? Well, number one, it’s super-violent. Like, limb in a Vitamix, violent. There’s sex. Even, kind of, superhuman sex. And it’s very dark. Jessica is a private investigator who’s a rape survivor with some superhuman strength and gets through her days slugging whiskey (sometimes straight outta the bottle). She’s the chick who played Jesse’s druggie girlfriend on Breaking Bad who chokes on her own vomit (with the help of Walter White) in bed. So, I guess things have picked up for the actress a little in this new Netflix-original series because Jessica would kick Walter White’s ass for trying that shit. Please try to get to the end of the first episode and not immediately need to watch the next one. The ending is a doozy.

But things really get good when Jessica’s former captor and all-around-bad-boyfriend Kilgrave – played by the super-sexy David Tennant – comes on the scene in the third episode. He is so bad. Terrible. And funny and strangely likable. I couldn’t believe he was the same actor who played one of the lead detectives in Broadchurch (another series you can, and should, binge on Netflix).

I was sorry when I finished the final episode and despondent that there were no serious plans for a second season. Somehow, the series is linked to the other Marvel Comics-inspired Netflix series Daredevil, but I haven’t taken the plunge to watch that yet, frankly because I’ve been watching way too many other shows.

I’m embarrassed to tell you that I’ve watched these other series in the last month:

  • Sherlock: I never got the whole Benedict Cumberbatch thing. I saw him in a few movies and was like, “Huh.” And then I started watching Sherlock and was like, “I totally get it.” He’s wonderfully nutty and weirdly sexy in a high-functioning ,crazy-person way. Each 90-minute episode is so densely packed, it’s kind of hard to binge on more than one or two at a time. There are a couple of really good bad guys and some twists that I didn’t see coming (although that’s not that hard since I am terrible at seeing things coming). I recommend you watch the three-episodes of each of its three seasons slowly because a fourth isn’t expected to be released until 2017.
  • Mozart in the Jungle: Honestly, I never heard of this series on Amazon until it received a couple of Golden Globe nominations. And because I like to be in the know about these kinds of things, started watching with my daughter while she was home on break. It’s the young ingénue oboist trying to break into a fictional New York symphony and winding up instead the assistant to their new young and kind of eccentric maestro. I wish there was a little more music but it is like a sneak peek behind the curtain and – for godssakes – it has the fabulous Bernadette Peters (who makes 67 look beyond fabulous) so what is not to love? We quickly gobbled up all 10 half-hour episodes of the first season and are now on the final two episodes of the recently-released second season and now that the show took home two Golden Globes (for best musical/comedy series and best actor), I bet lots more people will actually know what an oboe looks like.
  • Flesh and Bone: This Starz original series has pretty much the same premise as Mozart in the Jungle. Just substitute ballet for the symphony and throw in a crazy homeless guy for good measure. But unlike Mozart, they cast real-live dancers for Flesh and Bone and there’s a ton of really beautiful dancing. There’s also a ton of Black Swan-like drama and super-skinny bodies but when the eight, hour-long episodes are over, that’s it. Apparently there are no plans in the work for a second season, so you can have some closure on the fate of the company.
  • Master of None: My kids fell in love with Aziz Ansari after bingeing on Parks and Rec but I never really found him appealing. I thought his character was kind of jerky. But I kept reading a lot about his new Netflix series, on the tail of his recent book investigating modern romance that I thought was fascinating, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Interestingly, after inhaling the whole series and finding it adorable and poignant, I encouraged my kids to watch and each one told me they tried but couldn’t get into it. I think it’s because they’re too young. It’s really aimed at folks old enough to have pondered what it means to commit to one person for the rest of your life as well as the clarity to know when they’re being jerks to their parents. I don’t know if I ever needed to see Aziz simulating having sex with someone but other than that, I really enjoyed all 10, half-hour episodes (well, not so sure about the first, but all the rest).
  • Making a Murderer: I watched the first episode while Googling all sorts of shit on my laptop and soon realized that – much like Homeland – you really have to be focused to know what’s going on. So I held off watching any more and now I’ve read there’s so much controversy over the series, I don’t know if I’m going to continue. What I really wanted was for it to be like the TV-version of Serial, last year’s much-talked-about podcast that thoroughly examined the murder of a high school girl in Baltimore in 1999 and whether her former boyfriend who was convicted for killing her was wrongly imprisoned. I binged like crazy on that – listening in my car while my son played soccer or at the kitchen table during dinner – before the final episode and thought the producers/creators looked under every single rock in their investigation. Instead, I think I’ll turn the TV off and catch up on the new season of Serial, which examines the case of Bowe Bergdahl, who allegedly deserted his Army unit and was held captive by the Taliban for five years. I’ve already listened to a couple and it’s very compelling. So much so that while listening on a two-hour drive home from my dad’s over the holidays, about 15-minutes in my 13yo yelled from the third row, “Hey Mom, can you turn it up?”

Maybe we’ll all give our screens a break and just listen to a story for a while.

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The Upside of Being Sick: Broad City and Transparent

proxyI’ve been sick for the past few days. Not tired with some sniffles or not feeling 100 percent like myself sick. No, this was like legit fever, chills and feeling like my head-would-explode-and-splatter-all-over-the-walls-of-my-bedroom-at-any-second sick.

For days.

I can’t even remember the last time I felt that sick. And I mean, a fever? When does anyone over 12 have a fever? Or maybe it’s more like when does anyone over 12 even think to take their own temperature?

But I came home from a thing at my daughter’s high school one night last week, while I was still pretending that everything was okay, and for some reason thought, “I wonder if I have a fever?” and shoved the thermometer in my ear.


And it’s like I needed that validation. Like it confirmed that feeling like I was going to die was not a figment of my imagination and I didn’t have to power through it. I could stop pretending that everything was fine. It’s like I finally had permission to put on my pajamas and get into bed.

For, like, three days.

At one point, my oldest daughter insisted I get in the shower as she was concerned I was beginning to look like “a homeless person.” It’s my hair, really. When I haven’t washed it in a while the cowlick I’ve got going on in the back gives my hairdo an especially unkempt look. The way it might look, perhaps, if I’d been sleeping on a park bench or on a piece of cardboard set up on a sidewalk.

The upside to all of this lying around was that I got to watch a lot of shows I’d been meaning to get to and even a couple of zombie movies for good measure.

On Saturday, while my younger two kids were away skiing with their dad, my older daughter and I sat on the couch for an entire day watching TV. We watched the zombie movie 28 Days Later and then followed that up with the sequel 28 Weeks Later.

It turns out, I had already seen the first one (I realized, like halfway through) but we decided after a now-steady diet of Walking Dead, the movie was not so scary nor very gruesome. But we liked it enough to keep going and watch the second and even though it starred more famous actors than the first movie (Jeremy Renner, the guy who plays Rumplestilskin on “Once Upon a Time” and Rose Byrne — and ps: what isn’t Rose Byrne in nowadays?), we thought it was pretty dumb.

But we made up for all of that by watching the entire first season of Comedy Central’s “Broad City.”  

You guys. It is so insanely inappropriate — rampant drug use, sexual situations and naughty language — but it had me and my 21yo dying watching these two best friends, Abbi and Ilana, do whatever it is they do all over New York. Later, when my younger daughter came home and watched some with us, she decided she was dedicating her life to becoming Ilana. I mean, who wouldn’t love a show that describes the vagina as “nature’s pocket”?

“Broad City” started as a web series but now it’s a legit 30-minute show on Comedy Central. Amy Poehler, one of my personal heroes, is a producer and directed at least one of the episodes and I saw Abbi and Ilana on The Daily Show not long ago and John Stewart was fawning all over them so get on it now so you can tell everyone you knew them when.

And that brings me to Amazon’s “Transparent.” 


Stop reading this right now and start watching it.

You need to know up front that it, too, is pretty raunchy. Lots of sex.

And I am not Jewish, I did not grow up in Los Angeles and I don’t really know any transgender people but I just TOTALLY GET IT. The whole vibe is fabulous and Jeffrey Tambor’s portrayal of Maura is so lovely and poignant and it’s helped me understand a little of what it must be like to go through life masquerading as someone else. His kids are selfish assholes and his ex-wife, played by Judith Light, is a total character and he’s just trying to be true to himself.

Here’s the trailer:

I can’t tell you how much I loved when he tells his daughter that he’s been dressing up like a man his entire life.


Anyway, I’m now way behind on “House of Cards” and “The Americans” and am all over Netflix’s “Bloodline” when it starts streaming this Friday, so maybe I’ll need to start feeling a little under the weather again.

Um. On second thought, pretty much nothing was worth feeling that bad.

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4 Ways to Waste Time on the Internet Today (You’re Welcome)

IMG_4270It’s rainy here in New Jersey today, super wet and dreary outside.

I love it.

It means that soccer is canceled and I can lie in bed and read my copy of Lena Dunham’s new book (reviewed here by my friend Brooke at Carpool Candy) I ran out and bought yesterday afternoon at my favorite book store guilt-free. And I’ve already bought a ticket to see “Gone Girl” later this afternoon (so excited). But don’t let me fool you, I’ll probably end up spending a lot of time trolling the Internet, too. It’s just what I do.

As is the case, I’ve come across a few items of interest — rabbit holes, if you will — that I thought you might like, too.


You’re welcome.

1.  As has been well-documented on this site, our neighbors moved to Hong Kong this summer for a few years. I’ve never thought about Hong Kong, much less China, much before they left and it’s weird now that the U.S. media has non-stop coverage of the protests going on over there, alternated with the whole Ebola thing. Hopefully the latter does not somehow crop up in my life as well. My daughter sent me this Vlog Brothers video this morning that I think does a super job explaining what’s going on in Hong Kong in just about six minutes. Highly educational.

2. I showed this one to my 11-year-old son the other day and now we can’t stop quoting this video.

3. The first time I ever heard Mike Bribiglia I was in my car listening to This American Life and the story he told was so funny and poignant, I ended up sitting in my car in a Marshall’s parking lot for about 10 minutes waiting to hear the end. I saw him perform live in the the town next door last night and it had me thinking about Bribiglia’s need to always be right. Enjoy.

4. And this is just hilarious:

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Good-Bye Derek Jeter

Flickr: Derek Jeter

Flickr: Derek Jeter

This is how much I loved my ex-husband back in the early days, when — even though I grew up in a family of lifelong Yankees fans and, like every other girl in the seventh grade circa 1979 I was totally in love with Bucky Dent — I turned my back on the pinstripes and became a Mets fan.

That is how crazy love can make you.

I’ll admit though that back then rooting for the Mets wasn’t as much of a stretch as it might be seen as today. The team had just come off of its big 1986 World Series win and Darryl Strawberry was best known for hitting home runs and not his future struggles with substance abuse. Even Jerry Seinfeld made it kind of cool to be a Mets fan when he featured Keith Hernandez in two episodes in 1992 as a potential love interest for Elaine. And also, a possible spitter.

Everyone I knew growing up across the river from the Bronx in northern New Jersey in the 1970s was either Irish or Italian. But everyone was Catholic and everyone was a Yankees fan. I mean, I knew Mets fans existed – kind of like Jewish people—but I just never met any of either until I was older.

But by the time I was in college I’d become estranged from my father and his family and pretty ambivalent about sports in general. Like, I religiously tailgated before every football game during my four years at a big state school but never once, not even one time, did I attend an actual football game. Other than playing running bases and throwing rocks at each outside during lively games of War growing up, my siblings and I weren’t encouraged to play sports of the organized variety. I lettered in smoking and drinking and general jackassery in high school.

But my future ex-husband was a huge sports guy in general and Mets fan in particular and I was so besotted with him in those early years out of college that I’d sit on the couch and watch games with him on TV. We even went to a doubleheader one super-hot July afternoon pre-children – and it was Banner Day which consisted of an endless stream of rabid fans parading their banners around the stadium — and I don’t even think I complained once. I’m sure big plastic cups filled with foamy beer helped.

Once we got divorced, I thought, “Well at least now I can go back to being a Yankees fan,” but it turns out that ship had sailed. It’s not like changing your last name. I just don’t have the same allegiance to the team that I did growing up when my aunts, uncles, dad and brothers cheered for the Yankees. That’s probably what I liked the best then anyway, the legacy of being a fan. Of being a part of a great Yankees tradition.

So I was surprised by my reaction when I saw the new Gatorade commercial featuring Derek Jeter. I get teary-eyed every time I watch it – the way the crowd swarms around him as he walks through the Bronx, the reactions on faces young and old and then the roar of the fans as he enters the stadium with Frank Sinatra singing, “I did it my way” in the background. It’s pretty epic.

Initially, I thought it was just me. That I was easily mesmerized by the whole Jeter farewell tour and the legend he seems to have become. But as my 17-year-old daughter and I were on the final hour of our long drive home from visiting her siblings this weekend and our audiobook (Jennifer Weiner’s “All Fall Down” loved it) finished leaving us time to kill with her bad music and chitchat, I asked her if she’d seen the Jeter commercial.

She indicated she had not and I go on to describe it in detail and I noticed her working on her iPhone and accused her of not listening to me and she’s like, “Mother, I’m just going to watch it on YouTube.”

Mark my words, in a decade there will no longer be any point in actually talking to each other. Conversation will be as outdated as dial-up Internet service and audio cassettes.

And then I hear Ol’ Blue Eyes start to sing and see out of the corner of my eye the flags fluttering atop the Brooklyn Bridge at the start of the black-and-white video and all the excited chatter as fans realize Jeter is standing in their midst. I pulled off the Parkway and paid my final toll as I heard the music swell and the crowd cheering in the final seconds I turned to my daughter to ask what she thought and she looked up from her iPhone at me and I saw her big blue eyes filled with tears.

“Oh my god, that was amazing,” she cried, wiping at her eyes. That was quite an endorsement, coming from someone who is probably even more ambivalent about baseball, the Yankees and Derek Jeter than I am.

On Thursday night, my 11-year-old son will travel to the Bronx with his dad to see Jeter play his last home game. I’m excited for him – for them — to get to witness something what will go down in baseball history.

I now get why my ex – a dedicated Mets fan — would have gotten those tickets months ago. I understand how Jeter’s career kind of transcends your allegiance to a team and whether you even really care about baseball or the Yankees.

Jeter is as iconic as the Yankees, or Sinatra or the city of New York. He’s a true sports hero at a time when they seem fewer and farther between. A feature story in this week’s New York Magazine quotes former Yankees Manager Joe Torre crediting Jeter’s parents for keeping him grounded.

“He felt comfortable in his own skin,” says Torre. “Other players need to be validated. Derek doesn’t need the attention.”

And even though I have a DVR full of shows to catch up on (“Outlander” wedding episode and Scandal Season 3, y’all), I might have to tune in Thursday night and watch The Captain’s last turn at bat.

And if that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.







Dating Naked: The End of the World as We Know It

Credit: VH-1

Credit: VH-1

It’s official: The end of the world is right around the corner.

How do I know this? Because I just learned about a new show on VH-1 called Dating Naked, and if that is not a sign that civilization is about to implode, I do not know what is.

I’ll be honest, I have not watched – nor do I ever intend to – watch the show. I am basing everything on reviews I read about it in The Times and New York Magazine. And I still feel dirty.

I mean, isn’t dating bad enough? Isn’t it hard enough to have to sit at a bar and worry about exposing how many kids you have to your date, much less the state of your abdomen?

And, honestly, what woman really wants to see a guy’s junk right away? I mean, no offense, but that’s a visual really best left to the imagination.

For second date fun-and-games on this new show, couples actually have to move around naked and do stuff like roll around in the ocean in a giant see-through ball and body painting (I don’t even have the stomach to tell you which body part one of the gentlemen uses to create, ahem, art).

Credit: VH-1

Credit: VH-1

But of course, these contestants – or however we need to refer to them – are not middle-aged divorcees but generally folks in their 20s and 30s. I guess they didn’t go to 12 years of Catholic school and feel really good about walking around naked. But still.

It takes a lot of courage to put your heart out there, even in a turtleneck. Why would you want to up the vulnerability ante by doing so naked?

And who would want to watch that?

Credit: VH-1

Credit: VH-1





3 Things I’m Obsessed With This Week

I am an all-or-nothing kind of person. I either REALLY like something or am toally meh about it. As noted in the past here, I’ve applied this philosophy to things like wine and tanning (love) and finding a new job (not so much).

And usually, when I’m really in love with something, I want to tell everyone I run into about it and try to convert them to use/watch/try/wear whatever it is I’m obsessed with. It makes my kids crazy.

Here’s what I’m loving this week and please feel free to share what you’re digging so I can find new things to focus on. Do it for my kids, if nothing else:

 1. Watch What Happens Live

My sister-in-law texted me the other day to tell me Kelly Ripa (ongoing obsession) was going to be on “Watch What Happens Live.” “I don’t know what that is,” I responded and she was like, “WTF?”

Just when I thought I knew everything I needed to know about all-things-pop-culture, this amazing show on Bravo – which is celebrating its 5th anniversary so I am so late to the party – comes into my life. It’s just a super-fun 30 minutes with celebrities drinking cocktails and playing games at 11:00 on weeknights.  It’s hosted by Andy Cohen, who I guess is the mastermind behind all the Housewives shows, which I don’t even hold against him because he’s so adorable I want to be his best friend.

In just the one episode I watched this week, with Kelly and Anderson Cooper (aka: Silver Fox) as guests, I got to hear Kelly ask the Fox repeatedly if he was circumcised and Anderson spill the beans that Andy was a Top (not to be confused with a Bottom and, PS: Who knew that was a thing?).

  1. Essie Bikini Strap

Even though they are attached to my ankles, the only naturally-thin part of my body, I do not love my feet and am loathe to call attention to them. You will not catch me with green or aqua toenail polish on them, but every once in a while maybe a Lincoln Park After Dark if I’m feeling fancy. No, I would rather keep my paws – and my giant, club-like big toes in particular – just kind of clean looking and unassuming. So the pedicure I just got this week with Essie’s Bikini Strap – a nice, pale pink shade – is very pleasing every time I look down at my flipflops and makes me happy. It’s also not too sheer that you can see all the sand stuck under your toenails, which is a plus. I highly recommend it.

It's like the little black dress of toenail polish.

It’s like the little black dress of toenail polish.


  1. Rainmaker app

Over the years, I’ve experimented with different types of background noise to listen to as I write. I have discovered that I can’t listen to music with lyrics and I certainly can’t turn on NPR or Hoda and Kathie Lee. Way too distracting. So I was excited yesterday when I saw a tweet about the Simply Rain app. You can moderate the instensity of the shower and even the frequency of the thunder and it’s super pleasing.  I could just sit and listen to it and not even write. Which is what I think I’ll do right now.

On an interesting side note, when I was trying to come up with some things I’m obsessed with this week and asked my daughter for ideas — stuff she’s heard me talk a lot about lately — she said, “I don’t know. Yourself?”