Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Reluctant TV Maven

When I fantasize about the questions I will someday be asked by Vogue journalists, I always rehearse my answers so that they will sound a) intelligent and witty and b) spontaneous and off the cuff.

If I were to be asked today by Hamish Bowels or Plum Sykes about what hot new shows I am watching this summer…here would be my answers…get your TiVo remotes poised and ready…

1. The Cut : While Tommy Hilfiger is somewhat of an enigma (he looks gay and designs as good as gay…yet he is most definitely not…), I am gaining more and more respect for him not only as a clothing designer (have you SEEN the new “H” line?...holy hot…Palm Beach here I come!...when I’m 45…), but as a rather decent person. Oh the show…? It’s about various designers and non-designers who are competing for a spot in his company. Why he is even bothering with non-designers is beyond me…but I am loving this show! Not every task is that great, nor is the show that slick…but it does have a sort of “je ne sais quois”…that satisfies the impeccably-opinionated designer in me…

2. Stella: Holy CRAP this is the funniest show around. While I laugh self-consciously at the crass but helplessly funny “Chappelle Show”, Stella is comedic art. Stella consists of Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, and David Swain, three ever-suited “men of leisure” who fall haplessly into hilarious and improbable situations (read: no plot of which to speak). They have amazing A(minus) list cameos, who patiently participate in skits that are scout jamboree worthy. Get your season pass NOW. Don’t let this become another “Arrested Development” story!

3. What Not to Wear: a TLC standard. People of the world…if you need help…and I know you do…for heaven’s sake…watch this show! While I do not pretend to have Stacy and Clinton’s clothing savvy, I’m sure that if we were to meet (as we have in my dreams) that we would become the bosom-est of friends (how would they not appreciate my opinion?). While the show is terribly formulaic, through the wonders of TiVo, I can take in a week-end’s worth in one lunch. I would do ANYTHING to get on the show and have $5000 and Stacy and Clinton at my fashion disposal…but alas…you have to dress REALLY bad to get on…and I REFUSE to wear pants that are too short with huge white tennis shoes!

And there you have it. I am not a TV advocate. I am a “TV Art Enthusiast”…a patroness, so to speak. Seriously…I wouldn’t ask you to watch crap.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Pioneer Day or an Excuse to Get the Kids Out of the House

We celebrate the 24th of July as Pioneer Day because it is the anniversary of the day that the first Mormon pioneer company, led by Brigham Young, caught glimpse of the surprisingly arid Salt Lake valley, and dear Brigham uttered the famous words: “This is the right place.” They entered the desert and made it bloom.

Here’s what Pioneer Day means to me:

Growing up everywhere BUT Utah, Pioneer Day meant getting dressed up in pioneer garb (yes, we had some because I think that as Mormons you are required to keep pioneer outfits in your food storage supply…in case we have to trek back to Missouri or something…), go to some park with as little shade as possible, eat bad picnic food, sweat a lot, be coerced into playing “pull the stick” which requires an uncomfortable amount of physical contact with a practical stranger, asking to go home a lot, and getting cranky.

As a young child, we (the sibs and I) sang songs of the pioneers, heard stories, visited Church history sites, participated in outdoor stage productions depicting said pioneers, and were generally immersed in the idea that pioneers were nothing less than superheroes, which I still do not dispute.

In Utah, the 24th of July is set aside as a state holiday. Most people get the day off work! (Although, if the holiday, ANY holiday for that matter, falls on Sunday, it gets bumped to Monday, like this year).

But it wasn’t until I visited my grandparents in Bountiful for the whole month of July in 1984 that I realized the extent to which Pioneer reverence was carried out. There are parades, fireworks, picnics, and barbeques(and if you DON’T live in Utah, lots of primary and ward activities held in said shade-less parks). Grandma and Grandpa took me and a bushel of cousins to Sugar House Park to watch sky divers, eat candied apples, and see the best fireworks EVA! This is the right way to celebrate a pioneer!

It was a magical day…although looking back, I might not have known it wasn’t the 4th of July. But never mind, I live in Utah now (purely by accident) and I love the extra holiday. I love that people set off fireworks and that I can smell barbeques cooking all day. I love that people still dress up as pioneers and re-enact the trek down the canyon into the valley.

Where ever we end up, will I make my future posterity dress in frilly calico and endure the shade-less July heat? Probably, because I think you cannot be called a true Mormon unless you have experienced this rite of passage or have been refined in the refiner’s fire…and I think this pretty much counts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

This Isn't My Blog to Write: Ribs and Ice Cream

Although this story doesn’t belong to me…I will write it since no one else has…

The other night, Todd and I sat around Kacy and Christian’s kitchen counter, as we often do. We live just around the block, you see. When their kids go to bed, they give us the signal (one ring) and we join them at our usual spot.

Occasionally, we watch a movie or something, but mostly, we just sit and talk. Often, our getting together involves some sort of treat or goody. The other night, it involved New York Creams and cold pork ribs.

Imagine if you will, four adults, a few gallons of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, malted milk, club soda, and pork ribs… It was decadence. It was over the top, heavenly, indulgent eating at 11:00pm at night. You know you have hit a certain level of friendship when there is no embarrassment at how many ribs you can down (for the second time that day) or by the chocolate to ice cream ratio in your shake.

Christian and Kacy are a dream come true…there is no judgment, and always good leftovers.

But, as young children are wont to do…their kids’ heads appeared over the banister…lured by the melodies on iTunes, the peals of party-like laughter, and the unmistakable scent of ice cream. Yes…if you are a child…you can detect the aroma of frozen confections…you lose this ability at puberty…

Now a disclaimer: Kacy and Christian are really good parents. For reals…they do stuff together…quality stuff…they have good techniques…etc. But what comes next is not so much a comment on their parenting, but an epiphany on why we remember what we do from childhood.

So the kids came down on the pretense that they were “hungry.” Oh, foolish children…we know your bellies are not empty… And they enter the kitchen to find grown-ups making shakes and eating ribs. But as everyone knows, shakes and ribs, while fine between the hours of 12pm and 8pm, turn into child-poison soon after 8:15pm. Their only option, the only SAFE option, was to be offered a glass of milk and a roll.

Their first-born son’s eyes were large as he eyed the ice cream and the chocolate while his drink was poured, and in the meekest voice Charles Dickens could have imagined, he asked, pointing to a spill of cream and chocolate, “Can I lick that off the counter?” To which the magnanimous answer was, “Of course, you may…” How could such delights NOT be shared, poison or no poison? And then he was whisked off to bed…

To be sure, their son will not remember all the vacations…all the father/son camp outs, he will sit in his therapist’s dimly lit office and say, “…they had ribs…they had ice cream…and they gave me a roll…THEY GAVE ME A ROLL! And made me lick the counter…”

You know, we do the best we can. Some injustices cannot be avoided. Childhood is not fair. You have to put in your time…pay your dues…puberty sucks…and then college is a disappointment. But then, you get to be an adult…you arrive at the point when you can do whatever you want… We were just giving that kid something to look forward to…something to aspire to. Because if nothing else, being able to eat ribs and ice cream at 11pm at night is really something to live for.