Happy Gnew Year All Ye Gnerds!

As Gary Gnu would say: “Happy Gnew Year all ye Gnerds.”

Make no mistake — we Hominid’s have a lot to be proud of. 2012 was like some Remo Williams obstacle course forcing us to leap from and balance on one wobbly doom-beam after another:

A moon-sized asteroid hurtling toward earth, Iran’s nuclear threat, the Mayan apocalypse, the fiscal cliff, homicidal maniacs on shooting sprees, Honey Boo Boo, and most ruthless of all, Pizza Hut’s proposed pizza-scented perfume.

AND then, Master Chiun sheepishly turns off the lights and makes us do it all again, from the beginning:

But here we are. Stronger than ever because we survived, standing at the cusp of a brand new year ready and able to kick ass and take names. And, while I used to think New Year’s resolutions were a cheap marketing ploy invented by the health club industry —

I’ve come to see a grocery list of life goals to attain over the next 360 or so days as good, plain mental housekeeping.

So, without further adoodley do — here are my resolutions for 2013:

– Get Carl Kasell to the do the home voice message on my answering machine.

– Meet the Click & Clack Brothers

– See any or all of the following animals LIVE in their natural setting:

grizzly bear, mountain lion, elephant, sugar glider, Tasmanian devil, giant land sloth, barrel owl, humpback whale, wild boar, gecko, glow worm, gray wolf, and wooly mammoth, the last one requiring…

woolymammoth– Build a time machine

– Live in the present

– Eat more leafy greens

– Learn to play the hurdy gurdy, ukulele, air guitar, spoons, and or kazoo

– Sharpen my survival skills; read: increase my survival skills from NIL to at least 1. This may include, but is not limited to:

building a fire out of 2 sticks, charming a snake, jarring my own jam, pickling my own yam, learning to read a NON-digital wristwatch.

– Believe in the positive, except when it involves the results to a pregnancy, breathalyzer, and/or STD-test

– Consume fewer things that are wrapped inside other things that are then deep fried

– Stop looking up the extended weather forecast on my smart phone while driving

– Have more patience

– Download “Patience” on iTunes

– Take pleasure in the little things: flea circuses, sea monkeys, hotel shampoo, airplane mini-bottles.

– Stop watching “Dexter” before bed

dexter– Dance more; this does not include pretending to sweep, mop, vacuum, wash the windows, and/or walk on a treadmill while on the dance floor. I’m talking learning the Pasodoble here.

– Stop being scared of the following:

soft pretzels, toe shoes, Costco, Siri, removable shirt collars, ear wax candles, potpourri, AND the untapped, underlying animal madness buried deep within all human beings.

– Stop buying items with any or all of the following attributes:

Has squirrel, robot, dinosaur, Voltron, or MacGyver stencils; is a tea towel, is a tote bag, is crocheted, macraméd, shrink-y-dinked, or etch-a-sketched; is made out of legos, paint chips, colored duct tape, coconut shells, or old soda cans.

– Join my local Quaker chapter for the monthly “Artist Way” meetings

– Become a working member of the local co-op

– Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.

– Get up on stage to perform in front of a LIVE audience; this does not include standing on my bed with a hairbrush microphone and reading aloud to my cat, however constructive his feedback may be.

poppyaudience– Give up the ghost on a “My So Called Life” reunion OR of ever finding out what Bill Murray whispered in Scarlett Johansson’s ear at the end of “Lost in Translation”

– Become a mystery shopper to satisfy spy fantasies

Befriend more people with beach chateaus

Befriend more people with country chalets

Befriend more people with any French-sounding second homes

Befriend more people with second homes in France

– Stop Googling at the dinner table

– Be more adventurous: Going to bed without putting my retainer in is not the equivalent of girls gone wild.

– Start my anti-foodie magazine called “LARD.” It takes the “petite” OUT OF Bon Appetite. First issue columns to include:

Feedbag fashion, buffet etiquette, and Why Buddha is Always Smiling: Because He’s A Tubby Tub

– Memorize all the words to “We Didn’t Start the Fire”

– Get more serious about working out. Eating a Cliff bar and sitting in my gym’s sauna does NOT qualify as an anaerobic exercise.

– Stop measuring my life against the monthly Anthropologie catalog. In the real world, it wouldn’t be feasible to place your wrought-iron bed at the base of the sea shore ANYWAY. Can you say rust erosion OR rogue wave?

That about does it for now. Wish me luck!

And the Sign Says, “Crazy Cat Ladies Need Not Apply”

Hello my fine-feathered frangipanes and welcome to Mailbag Monday. Today’s episode hits rather close to home — soo much so I had to take a few steps back and ask myself: Can I honestly check my ego at the door and keep true to the code of journalistic objectivity?

Final answer: Not a shot in hell! So, on your mark, get set, and Go-Go-Gadget extreme personal bias —

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

What the F is up with single women and cats? I’ve heard of conscription. But is there an unwritten catscription that says any unmarried woman over the age of 26 must adopt a feline and name it something corny like Dumbledorable or Miss Kitty Fantastico?

Seriously — did I miss the memo? Can cats cure cancer or regenerate the ozone layer, because from where I’m sitting, their entire lives consist of eating, sleeping, shitting, and walking all over their delusional lovestruck owners.

Yours,

Sourpuss

My Dear Sweet Sourpuss —

You do realize of course that asking ME (see Poppycock’s Corner) to defend your dig on single-women-and-cats is like asking a homeless person to break a $20. But I can tell you are genuinely befuddled. And so I feel it my duty to at least try and show you another side of the story.

First of all, we don’t “name” our cats. The day we bring them home, we toss them a ball of yarn for which they use to spell out their human handles in string.

As for, “What the F is up with single women and cats?” — I don’t know. What the F is up with hippies and hula hoops; with nouveau douchers and spirit guides; with Nick Nolte and Hawaiian shirts; with hard-core runners and toe shoes; with Eddie Murphy and soul patches; with hipsters and triglycerides; with mandudes and Axe body spray; with dude-itarians and X-box; with ALL dudes in general everywhere and LOAD SOCKS????

The fact is — most of us who haven’t yet achieved a Bruddha-like state of non-attachment — tend to look outward to fill that which is missing within.

And of all attachments out there, the furry felid has always been a world-class resistance-buster. Since the beginning of ever, cats have been exalted for their mystic powers; they were revered by the Egyptian pharaohs, and story has it — the Prophet Muhammad adored his cat Muezza show much, he cut off his own sleeve rather than wake him from sleeping on his arm.

Practically speaking, cats keep our feet and ears warm. They eat roaches and spiders. And in some cases, they even kill demonic, sword-wielding pixie trolls that try and hold our noses when we sleep:

cat's eye

CAT’S EYE

Sure, Sourpuss. I will be the first to admit:  Kitty love can very easily take a sharp turn from laser stick to broomstick. One of my all-time favorite comedians Demetri Martin designed this hilarious line-chart below that illustrates how — at some point — a girl’s cuteness is futile against the time she talks about her cat.
demetri martin

But make no mistake. All ladies who are “crazy” about their cat(s) are NOT Crazy Cat Ladies — categories A and B respectively. There is a very clear fe-LINE between the TWO. And never shall the twain meet.

  • Category A
  • Category B

Simplest measure:

A: Has 1-3 cats, tops

B: Lost count 2 years ago

*************

A: Wears cute Etsy-bought shirts with the occasional, cat-screen-printed graphic.

B: Wears a terry-cloth bathrobe and gardening Crocs

**************

A: Hair is done-up in a neat bob or sweet do
B: Hair is matted and knotted from constant paw kneading

***************

A: Cat sleeps on the bed with her at night
B: Cats sleep on the bed while she sleeps on a waterproof mattress pad on the kitchen floor

***************
A: While out with friends, she devotes 10 minutes to cat-related convo, tops
B: She hasn’t joined her group of friends since the intervention circle 10 months ago.

***************
A: Grocery cart: Fresh veggies, fruits, grains, meats AND a week’s worth of organic cat food
B: Grocery cart: A giant crate of bulk cat food and bottled water… ONLY!

**************
A: Occasional dander-induced sneeze

B: Regularly coughs up a hairball

***************

A: While kissing, she might try and love-bite your upper lip
B: She doesn’t kiss. She shows affection by nudging your nose with her nose

***************

A: She maintains personal hygiene with regular baths and showers
B: She avoids all high-water-pressure scenarios as they scare the kitties

****************

A: While driving to the vet, she places cat in travel-carrier on the seat next to her
B: Her license was suspended after a string of 911 calls reporting a blue sedan swerving down the highway with several cats walking across the dashboard.

*****************

A: Sees a stray cat family with a new litter of kittens on the street — Calls a kill-free animal shelter to pick them up
B: Lures kittens away from their mom with cans of tuna fish to add to her brood

*****************

A: Cradles her friend’s newborn baby boy and rocks him to sleep
B: Tries to hold her friends newborn by the nape of his neck

*****************

A: Takes a spot of cream with her morning coffee
B: Drinks 5 glasses of warm milk a day

*****************

A: At the beach — She tinkles in the ocean
B: At beach — She pees on the shore and kicks a fresh pile of sand over the spot to cover it

*****************

A: She sees one rat in her house and immediately calls pest control
B: She intentionally goes to the pet stores and buys out the snake-feed rats to keep her cats happy

******************

A: She goes to IKEA and buys cute cat toys along with her BORGSJO bookshelves
B: She goes to IKEA and asks customer service if she can just buy the empty cardboard BOXES that the furniture comes in

******************

A: Car bumper sticker reads: “I HEART (CAT PIC)”
B: Car bumper sticker reads: “My child’s poop gave your child a brain parasite.”

Whole Foods HOT-TIE Bar

Tonight, I had an eye-opening experience in the hot bar section of Whole Foods. Here’s the play-by-play:

8 pm:  I assume my regular Friday night position: Right hand shoveling $20 worth of vegan Mac-n-cheese and fried tofu cubes into the re-purposed-from-elephant-poop-take-out-container held by my left hand. I look up and see this very attractive guy heading in my direction with an expression of great purpose on his face.*

*Footnote: Normally, this would describe the billy-club-carrying store security guard coming over to order me to stop sampling the food before I buy it…

But, seeing as this guy is clearly a civilian with no outwardly apparent disfigurements, I carefully start to remove my own concealed weapon from its holster — aka, my deadly smile!

As he gets closer, however, I notice he’s looking a little too far to the left to be focused on me, unless he has a lazy eye, which by no means is a deal-breaker by the way.

8:07: Guy stands 1 inch away, with his back to me AND his face…

TO the cute blonde on his other side.

So, I add another consolatory spoonful of Mac-n-cheese atop my organic (read: “healthy) mountain of food, slip my deadly smile back into its holster, and LUCKY ME proceed to overhear the happy new couple’s entire conversation. It goes as follows:

  • 8:08.1, Guy: “Hey, my name is Sam. What’s your name?”
  • 8:08.2, Girl: “Hey, I’m Amanda.”
  • 8:08.3, Sam: “Cool Amanda. Do you have a boyfriend?”
  • 8:08.4, Amanda: “Oh, um, hee hee, uh, yeah. Yeah I do actually.”
  • 8:08.7, Sam:  “That sucks-and-a-half.  See ya, never.”  (Leaves)

8:09: Amanda (formerly of “Samanda”) turns to me with a vexed air and says,

“Wow! Did you just hear that? That guy was sooooo rude.”

To which I simply nod and shrug my shoulders in sympathetic wonder at the nerve of some people WHILE on the INSIDE, where my true voice lives, I am really emitting a high-pitched vitriol that sends dogs and bats cowering into the darkness. It goes as follows:

“First of all, it wasn’t ‘That Guy’; it was ‘Sam,’ or have you already forgotten. And secondly, no actually, if anyone’s the dillweed in this scenario, it’s you. Everyone knows that getting your dinner from the Whole Foods hot bar on a Friday night is a universal sign of singledom. To do so AND be in a relationship is a great offense and shall be perceived as one by any unsuspecting man/woman misled by such distortion.”

Seriously, though, in all seriousness I’m being serious. There are few (maybe NONE) exceptions to this unwritten code. Forget Whole Foods for a second and the fact remains:

If your FRIDAY night dinner involves a sneeze guard and is bought “BY THE POUND” — You Are Single.

Caveat 1: You are an ER surgeon – in which case you’d be wearing scrubs.

Caveat 2: You are in the middle of moving – in which case you’d be wearing dirt/paint covered sweatpants and a ratty t-shirt.

Neither of which exception applies here, as Amanda was dressed to the six’s in skinny jeans, an Urban Outfitters looking top, and black leather riding boots.

In the end, what Amanda did is not just a snow job, it’s also selfish. It’s like an airplane crashing onto a deserted island, and 2 weeks into the grisly ordeal, the fat guy who had to buy 2 seats just to be able to fly licks the very last plate of remaining food clean while everyone else watches on in starved horror.

CUE: Lord of the Flies, “‘Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!'”

Understand: While there may be an infinite resupply of warm dishes for the Whole Foods hot bar, the already slim pickings at the “Hottie” bar of eligible singles is dwindling at a famine-fearing rate.

To do my small part in reducing the number of future incidents of spoken-for-people-infiltrating-single-people-territory — I’ve created an easy, user-friendly guide to the Universal Signs of Singledom in Women & Men.

single people chart

  • Woman: Unplucked unibrow, chin hair
  • Man: Listening to Nickelback (see also, Creed)
  • Woman: Knitting circles
  • Man: Having bookshelves in your home made out of cinder-blocks/milk crates
  • Woman: Cat fur on your clothes
  • Man: Having a liger avatar in Furcadia that you use to dreamweave and huggle
  • Woman: Having a chinchilla avatar in “(see above)”
  • Man: Using a chip-clip to hold up your sweatpants
  • Woman: Keeping any kind of Entenmann’s Danish/coffee cake in your house when your grandmother is NOT visiting.
  • Man/Woman: Buying your toilet paper at the nearby 711/convenience store
  • Man/Woman: Not having a cellphone on your person
  • Man/Woman: Unmanicured “bush”
  • Woman: Having a strip of “Sticky Paws” (adhesive tape used to prevent cats from peeing on your furniture) stuck to the bottom of your shoes.
**** Editor’s Update: I just came across this article in the September 11, 2012 Gawker. It features the following picture of the Chicago Teachers Union protestors and writes:
“Civility has disappeared in Chicago Teachers Union protests. Truly. Making fun of the mayor’s mother, declare him worse than Hitler, plant evident that he’s having an extramarital affair. But calling him a Nickelback fan? Unacceptable.”
rahm emanuel. Great minds… and all that!