Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Erin Andrews - She Is Not REALLY A Facebook Friend

Confession. I’ve always had a little (major) crush on Erin Andrews. Not in a “Google Image Search” (maybe a few times) sort of way, but definitely in a “got me to watch Dancing With The Stars last year” sort of way. So, when she popped up on Facebook as a suggestion for me to subscribe to, I thought, “Why not. I’m sure she has some interesting insights on the BCS.” Plus, I would quickly (for a dreadfully long time) check out whatever pictures she posted.

Good Lord, did I get an eyeful, and not from her dressed in a gold mini-dress. Oh no. What I glimpsed was insight into the undercarriage of celebrity e-stalking.

Let’s run the numbers.

Yesterday, Erin Andrews posted the following: “Dental X-Rays are a treat.” This seemingly innocuous post generated 677 “likes”, 19 “shares” (which may be the most odd metric of this entire train wreck), and 532 comments. Here is a sampling of the comments:

• “dat ass”

• “Still lying around hotel rooms naked and suing news organizations that report on it? Does anyone really take news/sports actresses like you seriously?”

• I am going to paraphrase this one: “Would you be interested in…” Actually, I can’t. It was two words, the first of which was, “wanna.”

Granted, they weren’t all this insane. Some were even stranger in their casualness. They were written as if the subscriber was an actual “friend.” Things like, “Right? I hate that too. Hope everything worked out!” These types of comments are frightening because they project a relationship that does not exist. In reality, you are posting on a strangers wall. These people are so absorbed in this faux relationship that these casual comments presume an air of connectedness that is delusional on every level.

If I was Erin, I would be less concerned with the guy who wanted to bang me than the guy who actually wanted to know how my dentist appointment went. Both total strangers, one honest and one obsessed. I’m not a sociologist or a psychologist, but this seems like scary stuff.

Most of us know Erin underwent a very traumatic experience when she was videotaped through the peephole of her hotel room door. My money says it was the guy who wanted to know how her tarter build up was.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

(Not So) Great Advice For Calming an Angry Woman

The following advice is not only foolhardy and useless, it is possibly inflammatory – dare I say incendiary? According to “Ask Men’s Health”, one way to calm an angry woman is with phrases like, “It sounds like you’re feeling really irritated” or “You seem to be feeling misunderstood.” What kind of jackass would say this to a pissed off woman? I asked a woman I work with how she would feel if a guy said to her, “It sounds like you are feeling really irritated.” She said, “I would say ‘you haven’t seen irritated you f***er!’”

The entire paragraph, in fact, is as uninformed as someone who thinks the best way to find a surgeon is on Craigslist. Let me highlight the errors:

• “You want to be as open and non-defensive as possible.” Wrong. You physically want to protect yourself at all times. Cowering is advisable.

• “Your body needs to say, ‘I’m on your side.’” Her view is that you could not be further from on her side.  She will never buy this bullshit.

• “Interject only when there is a natural pause in her speech.” First there will be no pause in her speech (and “speech” is a term used very loosely). Secondly, “interject” is interpreted as “You haven’t listened to a thing I have said!”

• “Once things blow over don’t broach the topic unless she does first.” HA! Don’t broach the topic again, ever!

• “If you have a lingering thought or question, let a day or so pass before reopening the conversation.” If you have a lingering thought or question, bury it deep within your soul along with your ego.

So, Steve, from Grand Forks, North Dakota, I would have answered your query differently had you asked me, instead of Men’s Health, what is the best way to calm an angry woman. I would have said; “Steve, you obviously have never dated. There is no way to calm an angry woman. You should sit there and shut up. Do not try to rationalize or plead your case. When it appears it is over, say you are sorry for whatever it is you are accused of (guilt is irrelevant, just apologize.) Never, ever bring it up again. “

But he didn’t ask. Just like Damien from Glendale AZ, didn’t ask me how to avoid gaining weight during the holidays. I wouldn’t have given the advice of “you need a pre-nuptial agreement with your food.” I would have said not to eat so much.

Keep your mouth shut and don’t eat so much may be words we can all live by.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Powdered Hands and a Harvard Degree - Living the Eccentric Life

The most singularly eccentric man I know appears to powder his hands. I can’t be sure of this because I haven’t asked, and if I did, surely he would answer in a way that would provide no insight. But what appears to be baby powder lingers in the creases and folds of his hands – hands that also seem to taper down to almost nothing.

He lives in a very exclusive enclave in Pittsburgh’s east end in a home that was built in 1930 by his parents who hired a very prominent pair of European architects to design the house and every piece of furniture and every fixture in it. As such, it is an architectural treasure.

Sadly, it has fallen into disrepair. I believe strongly it is the result of the current owner, the son of the couple who built it, the eccentric who may or may not powder his hands. Harvard educated and an inventor of some renown, housekeeping is not one of his strong suits. It appears he may have done nothing in twenty years. Carpets are worn, furniture is falling apart and three story draperies are tattered. (Remember, everything in this house was designed and built exclusively for this house.) The house is damp and smells terribly of mildew.

I first met the owner two years ago and have seen him several times since. Every six months or so he calls us about looking at some work on his house. It is the same thing; we go up, we provide pricing, we tell him he needs things done, and we never hear from him until he calls us to give him prices on the same thing six months later.

When he meets you at the door, the instructions are always the same “Don’t touch anything, especially the banisters.” He then turns and gently opens the door using only his powdered (or not powdered) pinky and ring finger. On the way upstairs, you will pass the kitchen that has several bags of cereal on the table. And I do mean bags, as in he takes the wax paper bags of cereal out of the box and arranges them on the table. You will pass by the expansive dining room where once I asked if I could look in. “No,” he said, “I don’t think so.” You will also pass several very large stuffed animals – the kind that make you wince if you actually win at a carnival because they are so large.

Recently, I was at his house with several other contractors. As we were walking upstairs (careful not to touch banisters) one of the other guys asked if he could use the bathroom. The owner, at the front of the line stopped dead in his tracks, lowered his head and inhaled deeply through his teeth, making a hissing sound. I had the feeling that no one had ever asked such a thing. Hisssss his breath went again. The passing seconds were excruciating, everyone waiting on the back stairs, hands prominently in the air. We were all wondering the same thing, is he going to let him use the bathroom? “Well,” hissss, “Um, I guess you could use the one up here.”

I asked him once if he was married. “I was married and have a daughter,” he said. “Oh yeah, are they around here?” I asked. “No,” he said without looking at me, “They are far away.” Far away as in you killed them and they are buried far away? Or far away as in they are running an ex-pat bar in Malawi to stay as far away from you as possible? Either seems possible. Did someone touch a banister?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kids and Porn - Just Another Thing To Deal With As A Parent

Porn rarely catches me off guard. It did, however, when it was on the television in the basement where my kids had recently had a sleepover. Odder still was that, a) it was on fast forward, and b) the kids were outside. It gives an entirely new meaning to the parental mantra, “Get in here and turn this TV off!”

The first thought I had was, “Porn in fast forward is interesting. Did you know that in fast forward a – umm, never mind.” My second thought was, “What the hell is going on here?” My third thought was, “If Bonnie comes down here we are all in trouble.”

I grabbed the remote and hit Stop. A message came on the screen that said “Do you want to delete this recording?” YES! Well, sorta yes. I mean it was porn and it was already there. What am I saying? Of course yes and where are those boys? “Hold on,” I thought, this was no time for overreacting. It was time for thoughtful consideration.

Now, I am not one of those parents who think their kids do nothing wrong. In fact, I always assume they are doing something wrong. So, how do I approach this conversation? And, how do I keep this from Bonnie?

When I thought the time was right and their friends were gone, I had the boys come into the deepest recesses of the garage. (At this point, and for their personal safety, I still thought it was best if this was kept between us men.) “Boys, I know what was on the TV and I am not happy about this.” (And that was partially true, I really wasn’t happy, but they are thirteen, so I do get it.) They pled completely innocent of all charges and were visibly upset.

And then, either the truth came out, or, it was an ingenious lie. The sleepover was being held in conjunction with a pay-per-view MMA event. My son had asked earlier about recording it. Considering I was paying about $3,000.00 for it, I not only wanted him to tape it, I wanted him to burn it onto DVD’s and sell them out of their lockers at school. He told me that he added time to the recording in case the fights ran late. (Now, I have done this myself for sporting events.) So, after the fight was over, they (supposedly unknowingly) began recording “***** *** Like ** ****” (deleted for discretion) that came on after the fight.

This still left the issue of the fast-forwarding. The reason given was that they wanted to fast forward to the main event, friends came over and they went outside, totally forgetting about the fight. This makes total sense. Anyone with kids knows that when friends come over they would leave in the middle of bowel movement.

Problem mostly solved. I had to tell Bonnie. I wouldn’t even have told my wife about this except for one thing. She pays the bills. This meant that our next cable bill was going to be $80,000 and include porn that her kids recorded. She took it pretty well – very well, actually. Much better than had she thought I did it, in which case she wouldn’t have bought any of that bullshit about “oh, it must have accidentally recorded!” Besides, that stuff is DIS-GUS-TING. I can only watch an hour of it at a time. Yuck.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Golden Rule Of Driving With Your Spouse.

There is a car commercial where a young couple is camping and gets rained out. As they speed away, the guy realizes he has lost his sunglasses somewhere along the journey. The couple begins to retrace their steps, laughing and giggling all the way. As the guy is coming out of a cave, he flips his hoodie up and his glasses tumble out. His wife or girlfriend giggles as if to say, “Oh you, so silly!” The guy shrugs his shoulders as if to say, “I know! Silly me!” In reality, that’s doesn’t happen.

Anyone in a relationship, let alone a marriage, knows full well that sort of shit is not funny. Car rides are always one misstep away from a full on donnybrook. Maybe on a first date misplaced sunglasses on a long car ride is funny. On any subsequent trip, misplaced sunglasses can lead to hours of tension and cold stares.

But sunglasses can be a metaphor for many other tenuous devices that can cause strife in a car ride with your “loved one”. They can include: traffic, closed rest areas, bad weather or deciding on a place to eat. (Sometimes it can be caused by something as innocuous as, say, breathing the wrong way.) Trouble usually starts when someone says, “Are you upset?” or, “Don’t be upset.” This is met with an immediate, “I AM NOT UPSET!” Feel the tension descend.

But upon examination, one would find that these triggers are not in and of themselves the problem. The problem is that men and women have difficulty (hate) riding together. We can function perfectly well at a party or dinner – but the ride to and from is many times fraught with a fragility that rivals any mid-east cease fire.

But barring an astounding leap in teleportation technology (and believe me, the men working feverishly on this technology are those who are most likely car pooling with their wives to work), men and women will be driving together for years to come. Therefore, the best advice I can give is, try to ignore each other as much as possible when driving. If this sounds cruel and childish, I will suggest you have either, a) never been in love, or b) do not cherish your relationship. For those of us in longstanding, solid relationships, we have found that nothing says “I love you” like not speaking to each other in the car. (And if you do misplace your sunglasses, shut up about it, I promise you no one will care.)