Wednesday, February 28, 2007

WoT Favorites: Maurice Benard

Let's all wish Maurice Benard, longtime General Hospital actor, a very happy birthday.

Maybe you haven't watched soaps since your high school days (if ever) and maybe you missed Maurice's many other acting gigs,so you don't necessarily consider yourself a fan.

I invite you to change your mind about "Sonny Corinthos".

Like me, Maurice Benard suffers from Bipolar Disorder. In a forward-thinking move, General Hospital wrote Maurice's real-life illness into his character's storyline.

It's widely believed among people who write papers and conduct scientific studies on such things that soap operas have tremendous influence on society. Presenting a tricky situation like interracial love, AIDS, and homosexuality on a popular daytime soap continually proves the notion that for many people in America, "If Erica Kane can handle it, so can I!"

Which explains why, when my step-mom picked me up from the train station last year, she solemnly described the Bipolar Sonny storyline and told me she at last understood what was wrong with me.

I wasn't upset or mad at her — why would I be? If you don't have some form of mental illness(and let's face facts: 1 in 4 adults in America do), then you know someone who does. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean stigma and ignorance about mental illness are no longer a problem.

Research in mental illness is direly under-funded. So are programs for the mentally ill at every point on the spectrum, from medical care to housing and beyond. Psychiatric treatment facilities are over-crowded, under-staffed, and broke. Let's think about that for a minute: 1 in 4 adults. 1 in 4 adults in America don't have cancer, or diabetes, or muscular dystrophy, yet the lion's share of funding and research goes to diseases and conditions such as these. Not that these are not valid and equally important medical problems, mind you, I'm trying to demonstrate a disparity in research and care. And attitudes. I won't further depress you with the data on comparative death rates, just trust me: it's shocking.

I'm what they call a "highly-functioning" Bipolar person. I lead a pretty normal life, I take my medicine and do whatever my doctors tell me to do, such as therapy and stuff like yoga and tai chi to calm my manic tendencies. I've spent time in psychiatric wards, but it was hardly tragic or scary: I played balloon volleyball and slept a lot. No matter how much I do the right thing I know that my disorder is unpredictable and mysterious, and I will have episodes. Manic-depression been around a long, long time, yet no one really knows why it is, what it is or how to stop it.

Want to know who else besides me and Maurice Benard are Bipolar? How about Jim Carrey, Linda Hamilton, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Evan Dando, Axl Rose, Sting, Ben Stiller...the list goes on

I can't imagine what these actors and musicians risked by going public with their illness, if anything, but I'm nonetheless impressed. It's brave and does society a great service. Jane Pauley didn't do such a great job of raising awareness, but Linda Hamilton, Carrie Fisher, and Patty Duke have. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)works tirelessly to not only raise awareness, but to force change in Washington and champion the rights and needs of the mentally ill, but they have a much harder time raising funds than other medical advocacy groups. Eventually, hopefully, mental illness will be accorded proper concern for its sufferers and better treatments — if not cures — are on the horizon.

My point in all this? Maurice Benard is a terrific entertainer who is kicking ass on raising awareness of Bipolar Disorder and changing opinions about mental illness. He rocks, and today is his birthday.

And so, on your birthday, Maurice Benard, I wish you the happiest of days and hope you enjoy every moment. And thank you.

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Monday, February 26, 2007


At my advanced age I find it's near impossible to disguise or handle disappointment of any kind. It's simply intolerable.

When your slave your ass off for the things you want and need, it's hard to manage the part about depending on someone else to come through for you, or even just someone meeting you halfway. When you do the work and put your trust into someone who blows it, what are you supposed to do?

Suck it up.
Move on.
Don't take it personally.
Chalk it up to experience or "lessons learned".

Personally, I prefer a good, old-fashioned hissy fit. Which is why, when I got upsetting news about backbiting and under-handed skullduggery at my work this morning, I did NOT say to myself, "Oh, we're moving out of NYC in 30 days, who cares?" And when the job I was badly hoping to get in my new town was given to someone younger and less experienced, I didn't say, "Where one door closes, another opens!"

Oh, no, not me. Instead, I've plotted the grisly deaths of a handful of people and spewed venom all day, and I plan to break my booze fast with a beer or two tonight. It's my goddamed right as a feral bitch and I will champion that right to scowling, glaring rottenness until the day I die.

Go ahead, ignore me. Feel free to talk about me behind my back. Laugh at me all you like. But if you disappoint me, you shall feel my wrath.

Superfly is a Buddha. This kind of thing slides right off him. I'm rather jealous about that. What about you — Zen Master or Raging Hellbeast?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Movin' on Out

Superfly is on the verge of accepting a position in Denver, meaning we shall relocate at the beginning of April. Just after Pesach.

Frantically looking for some occupational activity of my own, preferably still in media.

It pains me to leave NYC and my burgeoning writing career behind me but family concerns trump all others.

Rest assured, friends, there will be a ginormous farewell blow-out in NYC and in Lancaster. In the meantime, Supe and I will be making a photographic memory book of the people and places we adore in our hometowns.

Get the word out, and if you want your very own personal invite to one or both of the aforementioned parties, please send your contact information to:

Love to all!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Go see the Snowbizzle Baby doing her farging hilarious act!


"Trouble," said DJ Hitman, grinning mischievously, "you have a twin. A double! She looks just like you, except..."

...she wears our red, curly mane of hair au naturel, avec scrunchies.
...she is shy, quiet and demure.
...she is a terrible karaoke singer, and croaks out country songs.
...she covers our bodacious curves in lumpy sweaters and mom jeans.
...she probably has never been out of Lancaster County in her life.

The Anti-Trouble! I want to meet her so badly, but she's elusive. "Omigod, Trouble! I saw your twin again!" said Mike, "Everyone was saying, 'Is that Trouble?' and I was like, no, no way man." I MUST find this girl — I need to see what other people think I look like, and perhaps glimpse the me that might have been, if my parents hadn't divorced and mom hadn't moved us to the Big City.

Oh, and bet your sweet patoot I'll take photos of us together when I track her down, and post them here!

Do you believe we each have a twin somewhere in the world?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fat, Lard-Cooked Tuesday

Those crazy Catholics. Though, I suppose if you are going to have a Lenten fast, you may as well kick it off Grand Guignol style, eh?

In Lancaster County the overwhelming majority of people are of German descent. Hence the "Pennsylvania Dutch" thing, which is really an enthic-misappropriation, because it's actually duetsch, or German, not Dutch. The Amish speak a regional dialect of German, they do not speak a regional dialect of Flemish.

I digress. For German Catholics, today is Fasnacht, the feast before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. The pious have people over for fasnachts and bible study. For the less pious, a Fat Tuesday DJ/dance and lingerie party is tonight's highlight (Don't forget your beads, girls!).

For us non-German, non-Catholic types, this morning brings the intoxicating smell of jelly-filled, heavily powdered sugared, lard-cooked giant doughnuts. The best are made by little old ladies from the churches, and these are harder to come by and thus hoarded. You simply cannot stuff one more warm, soft, sweet pastry into your mouth but you will, if only to prevent someone else getting it from you. MINE! My precious...

So, anyway, now that I am covered head-to-toe in powdered sugar and have lumps of lead in my belly, I ask you: What will you give up for Lent '07?

I pledge to give up offering beauty and fashion advice to Britney Spears. It's a sacrifice, but I feel I can pass muster on this one.

Do Tell!

Friday, February 16, 2007

'80s Whoop-dee-doo

Hoist the Jolly Roger!

Here are some things no one mentions about the 1980s in the midst of all the, "Omigod! I used to love that song! I wore those door-knocker earrings, too!" hoopla:

1. Reaganomics
2. The Challenger disaster
3. Ryan White
4. Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker
5. Chernobyl
6. Oliver North & the Iran-Contra Scandal
7. Fall of the Berlin Wall
8. Hands Across America
9. Miracle Mets
10. Martin Luther King Day finally recognized as a national holiday

Not that there is anything wrong with celebrating Day-Glo, A-Ha and Thriller.

I spent the '80s being a bad, school-ditching punk runaway. How about you?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gossip is Bad

From Wiki, probably from a learned source before that:

"Lashon hara (Hebrew לשון הרע; "evil tongue," also transliterated as loshon hora) is the Jewish sin of gossip. Lashon hara generally refers to true statements, written or spoken, although untrue gossip is also prohibited. Thus, while truth is generally a defense against slander or libel, it is not a defense against lashon hara.

The main prohibition against lashon hara is derived from Leviticus 19:16 [1] : "Do not go as a gossiper amongst your people". The Talmud (tractate Erchin 15b) lists lashon hara as one of the causes of the Biblical malady of tzaraath. In Sotah 42a, the Talmud states that habitual speakers of lashon hara are not tolerated in God's presence

Gossip is a poison that destroys respect, credibility and friendship. We know it, yet are weak and lazy, too willing to go along with slander and libel because it makes us cool. So we get the ultimate dirt on someone, the scoop before anyone else; how does trashing someone else improve us? It actually can't. It only destroys.

I'm trying so hard to disengage from the world of gossip. It isn't easy: I click on Gawker dozens of times a day, out of habit. I buy US Weekly and watch entertainment news shows, instead of reading or watching something worthwhile. And it all makes me feel depressed, embarassed and dirty. Why do I do it? Hell if I know. I write about cars for a living, don't follow fashion trends, and really don't give a flying fuck about celebrities. It doesn't make sense.

But I know — as much as I know anything — that lashon hara is a very bad thing and will bring nothing of value to my life.

So, I am going on a gossip diet. No Gawker, no Eonline, no US Weekly, no EXTRA or ET, no Jossip, no Defamer, no...Jalopnik. That'll be the hardest to give up. Sure, it's about cars — it's still gossip.

Take a look at the stuff you read, watch and listen to every day: how much of it is gossip? How much of your conversations is given to repeating the gossip you read, watched and heard? Does it bother you?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


*celebratory DDD jiggle*

Not cancer, but cysts and blocked ducts and infection. All easily handled!

...and now back to your regularly scheduled Nor'Easter.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I will receive my pathology results on Valentine's Day.

Fine by me, I hate Valentine's Day. Such dreck, such a disgusting wallet-grab on the part of greeting card companies, chocolatiers and jewelers. What insanely ludicrous pressure put on people to observe and express on this day their love for people by making purchases.

That Christmas thing isn't bad enough for you people? Sheesh.

My people know I love them all day, every day, and vice versa.

That said, I will love to hear tomorrow that I am cancer-free, and I will take it upon myself to open up some bub and tear into some chocolate, if I get that good news.

Just say no to VD.

Wishing you love everyday of the year,


Monday, February 12, 2007


Question from Galleycat: Why Does Maureen Dowd Hate Popular Women?

Answer: Because it gets her mentioned in news stories.

Loath as I am to criticize another feisty redhead, Ms. Dowd isn't making my reluctance to open up cans of whoop-ass on her any easier. She's straying too far into Ann Coulter territory for my taste.

As for "chick-lit"? I read it and enjoy it when it's done well, just like every other genre of literature. When people dismiss it as "inspid" or "fluffy" I tend to suspect their agendas, as is the case here with Dowdy and the guy who really should just shut up completely about the subject — he's so far afield, he's playing outfield for a team in another county.

Women's commercial literature, or "chick-lit", is almost always written by and for women and often — though not always — is light, funny, and covers topics of interest to modern women. Shocking! How disgraceful! Boo!

That Dowdy lumps 'Sex and the City' in with authors such as Sophie Kinsella is stupid and revealing of her lazy reporting: the sleazy TV show and the chick-lit books couldn't be less similar: SatC was written by gay men, primarily, and is unrealistic and mean-spirited. That show probably is more anti-woman than any pink-covered beach book, and substantially less valuable as entertainment. Meanwhile, a good chick-lit book will make you laugh, make you feel real kinship with a fictional character, and make you feel like reading it was well worth your time. Honestly, how much of that do we get in our everyday lives?

So, somebody, please, screw Maureen Dowd. Maybe then she'll shut up about this and go back to being a boring, self-indulgent columnist.

Sorry, Red, you suck.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Frankenboobs and New Coats

Surgery was a huge success and I am recovering nicely, thank you and thank Superfly, he's been a supersweet hunk of a nurse.

Had to resked the big interview Friday but everyone was quite understanding and kind.

Presently resting and buying stuff off EBay. Hello? Scored a gorgeous, fitted camel coat I wouldn't have dreamed of ever buying at retail (600+). Some woman somewhere did buy it at retail and now &mdash because of weight gain or pregnancy or cash shortage — needs to unload this brand new coat. Hooray!

I *heart* Ebay. I haven't sold anything yet, for that information and advice you'll want to consult Superfly, who recently sold-off a "Local Pickup Only" item, the trickiest. Besides gorgeous coats for myself, I've bought halloween costume stuff and hard-to-find toys for my Troublets. It rules!

Coats are hard to buy. Wandering around a mall store or looking at catalogs, it's hard to imagine a puffy, furry blob looking good on you. And buying three coats — one for work and in-between seasons, one for extreme cold, and one you wear all the time, that almost defines you, is time-consuming and maddening.

I have to replace my definer coat. No store or catalog offered what I was looking for. I saw the coat I wanted in a movie from the '60s. When that happens, you can go vintage, or you can go high-end designer. If you're smart, you'll check Ebay.

Speaking of coats that define: In high-school I wore this distressed-leather brown aviator jacket with a fuzzy collar. My older sister sent it to me from a hip store in New York, with some rhinestone pins to adorn it. Yeah, I sure stood out in suburban Denver, Colorado wearing that thing. I love it so much and didn't care that in wearing it to punk shows and parties, exposing myself to people wanting to kick my ass for bucking the painted-black, leather-motorcycle-jacket uniform.

I still mourn that coat. I lost it my senior year, when the ex-girlfriend of a guy I was dating broke into my house and stole it. I know this because I was laying there in bed with strep throat and saw and heard the whole thing, but was helpless to do anything. Payback is a bitch, though, and my little sister's boyfriend &mdash a skinhead — arranged for the girl resposible to have her ass handed to her by a skinhead chick. Extreme, I know, and while the thought was appreciated, I would have preferred just having the coat back to having Brandy throttled in it. Oh, well.

Unrelated, but important: I promise to shove the next girl I see wearing a flappy beaver trapper hat. Stupid Elmer Fudd-looking things.

What's your defining coat?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ah, Youth

Rarely does a myspace page have enough impact to take my breath away. Flash? Slideshows? Meh. However, through the usual mindless click-throughs of other people's myspace friends lists, I found this one, and it sucked all the oxygen from me and from the room in which I happen to be sitting.

Those heady mid-'80s days of punk mayhem. The gathering of rag-tag gutter punks, fashion punks, death punks, skinheads and suburban poseurs for concerts at the Rainbow, the Aztlan, the Cricket, or in the case of bands like hometown faves Uberfall, actually playing in someone's garage. The legendary characters who arose like Tom Headbanger and Denver Dan. I would pick up the latest records and tapes from Wax Trax, scrape together enough money for a late-night meal at Mary & Lou's cafe, and — having finally saving enough money from my stupid cocktail waitressing job at the stupid yuppie Hawaiian coke-whore hangout where I worked — buy a coveted quelque chose at my favorite vintage store, Rudely Decadent.

I had this scary motherfucker Russian boyfriend at the time who hated everyone and despised social interaction with anyone besides me and his Clockwork Orange-channelling friend, plus a couple of party-hearty girlfriends who were way more into gay New Wave than I was — I'm pretty sure that their insistence on dragging me to Norman's all the time to dance like little giddy goth dervishes kept me safe from the fate that befell so many girls in my Denver punk circle: drugs, disease, death.

It's heartening to see so many still alive and kickin', some even rocking the same look they had in 1984. Right on! It occurs to me that I haven't changed all that much myself. Same old Trouble, now part of the establishment.

Back in the day (groan!) I wrote a little ditty about Denver called "Yuppie Cowtown". It's sung to the tune of "Jimmy Crack Corn" and I'm telling ya -- it is brilliant.

In honor of the 1978-1988 Denver Punk Scene I shall wear my Death Cult t-shirt to karaoke tonight and sing a "Wood Beez" shout-out to my long-lost friend Gretchen, she of the Aqua Net abuse and boundless love for gay men. And for Lisa, who dated a Warlock Pincher, for Pete's breakfast burritos sake, a rousing rendition of "Love Cats". Although it's available for karaoke singer assassination, I will sing no Nick Cave, no Joy Division and no Ramones. That's just plain wrong.

Any of you WoT readers sprung from local punk scenes? Tell me about it!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Reality Killed the Video Star

Mostly positive response from my co-workers, my editor, my boyfriend, the TV reporting class instructor and my fellow students on my video demo. Great feedback on how to do better next time, such as:

* Matte lipstick is less distracting

The suit jacket says, "I'm a professional".
The shiny, sparkly lipstick says, "Yeah, a professional stripper".

* When you think your make-up is too thick and your blush too strong, add more.

In a word: splotchy.

* Maintain your voice somewhere between a monotone and baby talk.

Although I am an alto, I whipped out a little Betty Boop midway through my script.

* Restrain your eyebrows

Mine do a booty-dance as I talk.

* Don't squint at the TelePrompter

Everyone agreed on ditching my glasses, but even with the font at its biggest, I had tremendous difficulty reading my own damn script. I asked the assembled crew if they'd help out with a Charity Bikini Car Wash to fund my Lasik. Five people volunteered!

Suddenly, there is political unrest in the video department of my work. Major bigwigs quit, leaving a girl in her early '20s in charge. Yeah, that'll work out well. I don't even know her name, I'm just praying it isn't the "Anchor" who shows up in most of the recent video offerings. She smirks, she flips her hair, she asks interview subjects zero questions, preferring to keep the topic on herself. She is an embarassment.

I have a big interview coming up this week (the day after my breast surgery, whee!) and the video department is giving our department a bunch of grief over borrowing a camera — the interview subject wants us to tape at her office instead of our company studios — and I'm beginning to worry about a departmental power struggle in the works. If it becomes a deal where we get the camera if Miss Smirkenstein anchors the interview I promise to go absolutely apeshit.

This story was four months of research, interviews, writing and editing; I will be damned if I let it become a joke. In my version, you won't see or hear me in the video. I want all of the focus to be on my interview subject, who is indeed fascinating and adds tremendous weight to my story. She is someone very famous, someone used to being on camera and thoughtfully answering reporter questions. Over the course of the last four months, we've become rather friendly and I believe we have a mutual-respect thing happening.

If Hairflip Smirkenstein does the "interview", I'm sure we'll hear all about what kind of clothes Hairflip likes and how she got her hair so shiny. We'll see her wink at the camera and work herself into every frame. Then we'll see me appear out of nowhere and karate-chop her into unconsciousness.

Hairflip may or may not be the youngster in charge of a whole department at our company — she may just be BFF with the girlie — but someone in that department needs to put an end to Hairflip's on-air hijinks. Credibility matters, people.

As for me, the demo tape feedback and newfound critical eye towards on-air personalities (what is up with Meredith Vieira, anyway? Cyborg!), I will work on my broadcast skills until I feel my on-air personality is as winning as my in-person one.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Fame, What You Get is No Tomorrow

Some friends and acquaintances have, either through hard work and sacrifice, luck, or the privileged environment in which they were born, risen to the top of their profession, gained power, fame, fortune, or become notorious. With the exception of the purely lucky, all those people had some sort of plan for reaching their goal.

What few planned is how they would live once they got there. How will you manage your money, your image, your fame? Will you surround yourself with "yes men" and parasites, cutting off the very people who supported you in your rise? Will you indulge your own every selfish, materialistic whim? Will you succumb to vice and quickly lose everything? Will you become a snot-nosed cynic with a barnful of axes to grind and a radioactive chip on your shoulder? Will you decide you're "better"?

No person is better than another; we're just different. As PBS kids shows tell us, we're all special in our own way. As Spiderman tells us, with great power comes great responsibility. As B.I.G. told us, "Mo money, mo problems".

My point — and I do have one — is this: the way things are going, you can expect to have your own moment in the sun. Please plan accordingly.

Related: Bobulah won the gossip contest. It was Jack Johnson who (reportedly, by an extremely reliable source) turned his back on a Make-a-Wish kid who was flown all the way to Hawaii to meet him. His rationale? She was a "crazy" fan.

Hello, Jack Johnson? You're off my IPod.