This carpet is only for the beautiful people.
So last Sunday the 85th Academy Awards happened, and they were marvelous. All you people who take the higher moral ground and refuse to watch the Oscars, you totally missed out. The show was ridiculous and cringe-worthy and hilarious. Honestly, it was by far more entertaining than actual movies I’ve seen this year. (Ahem, The Watch.)

But don’t worry. I’m not about to go through a play-by-play of Meryl Streep’s attempt to free her wedgie on national television or Jennifer Lawrence’s face plant, though they definitely were some of the show’s finer moments. Another highlight was the tacky use of the Jaws theme song to boot chatty Oscar winners off stage, especially when the crew who won Visual Effects for Life of Pi were trying to bring awareness to the plight of overworked and underpaid VFX houses. Well done, time wranglers.

And though it sounds like I’m just another hater, I do it because I care. Really. I love the Oscars. I loved Christoph Waltz’s classy acknowledgement of his fellow nominees. I loved Jennifer Hudson’s crazy awesome – and live! – performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” (Sorry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, but the jig is up.) And there wasn’t a single moment of Daniel Day-Lewis’s acceptance speech that I didn’t adore. Can he just win every year?

But what I’m beginning to realize is that the Oscars broadcast isn’t the real entertainment. It’s the scathing next-day review of whatever celebrity had the unfortunate honor of hosting it. And apparently singing a truly rousing rendition of “We Saw Your Boobs” is not enough to endear Seth MacFarlane to the Oscar-viewing public. Who knew?

Um… Anyone who has ever watched even five minutes of Family Guy, that’s who. People, this is the man who wrote a film about a beer-guzzling, pot-smoking, girl-ogling stuffed teddy bear. And guess what? That movie has grossed more than $200 million in the United States alone. So it should come as no surprise that MacFarlane would come to the Oscars with his finest and crassest jokes in tow.

Since that memorable performance, I’ve seen numerous headlines calling MacFarlane sexist, misogynistic, a rape glorifier… Seriously? Instead of pointing fingers at the guy who simply called out the fact that some actresses bared their breasts on camera, why not question the filmmakers who felt that seeing those breasts was necessary to conveying their stories? Talk about shooting the messenger. Not to mention the fact that those actresses were likely paid handsomely for their roles. Not to mention x2 that if you look closely at MacFarlane’s bit, the cutaways to Naomi Watts, Jennifer Lawrence, and Charlize Theron show them in attire different from what they wore to the Oscars. Meaning, they taped it ahead of time. Meaning x2, those women were in on the joke. Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

So can we all just lighten up a bit? Look, I’m not saying that singing about women’s breasts is the creative choice I would have made had I been hosting the Oscars. And given the high esteem in which the Academy Awards are supposedly held, it did seem rather odd to do a song and dance number about boobies. I can only imagine what Fred Astaire or Audrey Hepburn would have thought had they been in attendance. That said, I have no doubt that those who were in attendance were more than happy to swap out their indignation for their $50K goody bags and call it a night.

What I don’t get is why people keep signing up for this gig. With the exception of the fabulous Ms. Fey and the magnificent Ms. Poehler – because obviously they can do no wrong – most celebrities get destroyed by the public after hosting an awards show. I don’t think that Seth MacFarlane is misogynistic, though he may very well be masochistic.

Whatever floats your boat, Seth.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Winners never quit and quitters never win.
Nestled between its congested highways, strip malls, and high-rises, Los Angeles has amazing parks and scenic trails. The Eastsiders usually favor hotspots like Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon, while Westsiders typically frequent Topanga and the Santa Monica steps. I live somewhere in the middle, which means one thing: I never go to any of these places.

Well, that’s not entirely true. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I headed to Griffith at about 8 a.m. on a Sunday. It still took over a half-hour to get there. Because it had been more than a year since my last time to the park, it took even longer to find the trail that I kept promising him I knew by heart.

That’s why we tend to stick around my neighborhood. “Zero commute time” is one of my favorite phrases in the English language, so more often than not we just walk through my own neck of the woods. Though my ‘hood isn’t exactly swimmin’ pools and movie stars, I do distinctly recall once walking past a house that had an entire zoo of animals in its front yard. They were fake, of course, but I was so shocked and impressed by the homeowner’s no holds barred tackiness that I was determined to find this abode once more. For several weeks, I dragged my boyfriend up and down and back again throughout a three-mile radius of my apartment. Needless to say, we never found the house again, and I’m pretty sure my boyfriend thinks I just hallucinated the whole thing.

That’s also about the time he suggested we find somewhere else to walk.

I wasn’t willing to waste gallons of $4 gas just to sit in weekend traffic, so I racked my brain to find anything that resembled a hiking trail near my home. And that’s when the epiphany struck – Baldwin Hills!

Technically, I had never been to this park, but driven past it many a time. Given the dozens of weekend warriors that I would see upon each drive-by, I figured the place was legit. However, I had overlooked one crucial aspect of Baldwin Hills… its 282 steps to the top.

As soon as we spied the steps during our first outing, my boyfriend was super excited about them. Me, not so much. It wasn’t the physical challenge of climbing the stairs that bothered me. It was the prospect of tripping and falling down all 282 of them. Which can theoretically happen.

But we climbed them, and I didn’t die. So we came back the following week and climbed them again. I still didn’t die. In fact, I felt kind of good once I made it to the top and viewed the beautiful smog of downtown LA. When we reached the top of the stairs again last week, I was feeling pretty dang awesome until my boyfriend said, “I think I want to do it again.”

To buy some time – hopefully enough for him to forget his insanity – I asked if we could take the long way back down the hill. You know, so I could properly loosen up for the next stair challenge. However, once we finally made it to the bottom, he looked at me with eager eyes and a wide smile. We were doing this.

As I prepared myself once more for the stairway of pain, I got distracted by a father and son duo also making the climb. Cute, right? I thought so, too… until I heard the dad yell, “Come on! Let’s go! It’s a f*cking piece of cake!” after which he promptly dashed up the stairs, all the while berating his young son for his lame-ass climbing abilities.

The poor kid offered up a few weak moans of protest, yet he continued putting one foot in front of the other. In fact, he was going faster than me. By the time I made it to the top, I quickly scanned the area for Commando Dad and kid. While the dad was doing that weird jogging in place thing, his kid looked like he was about to pass out. He was leaning heavily on the railing for support, but his respite was short-lived. His father again began to chastise him: “Come on, let’s go! You don’t need that much time to rest!” The kid staunchly refused to move, and for about 30 more seconds, Commando Dad acquiesced. In the meantime, my boyfriend and I decided to make our final journey down the hill. A few moments later, Commando Dad walked past us with kid in tow.

“You ready? You ready? Let’s go!”

His kid was clearly not ready, but that made little difference to Commando Dad. He started running anyway. Dejected and defeated, his kid finally picked up the pace to catch up with his father. This made everyone nearby, including my boyfriend and me, laugh lightheartedly at this poor kid’s relentless misery.

We still were smiling from Commando Dad’s wacky antics when we passed yet another father and son sharing some bonding time at Baldwin Hills. That’s when we heard the dad solemnly inform his young son, “He’s coming up here right now, and he’s gonna kick your ass.”

Hiking is very different than what I remember it to be.

Image courtesy of smarnad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


"Where's that higher love, I keep thinking of?"


Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! In the spirit of this fine Hallmark holiday, I have yet another tale to tell of my one true love… Target.

Yes, it’s sad that the most exciting stories of my life revolve around Target, but when you spend 165 hours of each week working, eating, and sleeping all in the same place, a trip to the store is très exotic. But today’s anecdote is actually relevant to Cupid and company. For as I was perusing the Advil aisle, who should I run into than Mr. Bachelor himself, Jake Pavelka.

For those who don’t know, Jake is one of the more notorious alums of The Bachelor. Like every other dude who comes on the show to make out with two-dozen chicks – I mean, to find his future wife and soul mate – Jake got down on one knee and proposed to contestant Vienna Girardi after knowing her for a whole two months. Shockingly, they split just three months after the proposal aired.

Naturally, as soon as I saw Captain Jake (trained as a pilot, he apparently still flies the friendly skies, because he was in full uniform), I immediately pulled out my phone to Facebook the world about my celebrity sighting. Before posting my exciting news, though, I did a quick spell check of his last name. And that’s when I saw it… According to the folks at Google, Jake is 5’ 10”.

Nuh uh.

Now, let me first say that I didn’t really regard his height when I spied him. My only thought was, “Must Facebook immediately!” But almost bumping carts with someone gives you enough face time to know where you stand with them, so to speak. And being a decently tall gal – not thyroid problem tall, but a respectable height – I weirdly take note whenever a guy is shorter than me. Which Jake totally was. And I am not 5’ 10”.

Why I was so surprised at the discrepancy between his real height and that which his PR reps tweaked, I don’t know. I’ve lived in LA long enough to realize that most celebrities are never as tall as you imagine them to be. I guess seeing them on the silver screen – or even the small screen – distorts perception. But it’s not just famous folk who lie about their height, age, and Botox.

Allow me to tell you another story… This one’s about a girl who once went looking for love online. She “met” someone. He was perfect. His profile was witty. His emails were sweet and funny. And his one cropped, possibly from 1995, picture proved that he was handsome, too. Oh, and he had listed his height as 6’ 0”, which was perfect since our heroine was a decently tall gal. They exchanged crazy long messages for weeks on end and finally set a date for their first in-person encounter. The girl was oh so excited. Maybe he was The One! She picked out the perfect outfit: a sexy but not sluttish dress, a clutch big enough to hold both makeup and money, and adorable kitten heels. Why not? He was six feet tall after all.

She arrived at the restaurant early and waited nervously for him. After many minutes of nonchalantly fixing her hair in the window and glancing at the doorway, she finally saw him enter. He was exactly as she had imagined… except about four inches shorter.

So I have to tell you something. That girl was actually me. And that date actually happened. Mr. Wonderful(ly Short) arrived, and it was immediately awkward. Not because he was short. That didn’t bother me. It was the lying about being short that was the kicker. Did he think I wouldn’t notice? Surely, he must have done the math. My height was also listed on my profile – my real height. Epilogue: we were seated as quickly as possible and stayed there far longer than any other patron in the restaurant – not because we were having such a great time, but because neither of us wanted to get up and confront the elephant in the room. Or in this case, the shrimp in the room. Oh, snap!

Needless to say, I never saw him again. And unfortunately, he’s not the only guy that I’ve caught in a tangled web of short man deception. In fact, I became so skeptical of the whole online height thing that sadly I drilled my now boyfriend on his stature before I ever met him. And for the record – sappy alert! – he is every inch of awesomeness that he listed on his profile. Hallelujah!

But still I scratch my head and wonder… Why do you fellas do it? Why do you tell boldfaced lies about your height? Unless you can cover your tracks ala Tom Cruise and custom-made shoe lifts, you will never, ever get away with it. Us gals will figure it out, I promise.

Now I know the knee-jerk reaction that most men will have to my inquiry. “Women lie about their weight all the time!” And you would be right. We do. All the time. Probably more than you think. But I will bet my girdle that we can hide our weight indiscretions way better than your tall tales. We have lots and lots of fun devices that will smush, pull, bunch, and smooth out those extra pounds if we don’t mind not breathing for a few hours. And when all else fails, we always have black clothing.

I hear that Jake is now dating Kristin Chenoweth. According to Google, she’s 4’ 11”. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.

P.S. Hugs and kisses to my Valentine, DD… “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height…” Preach it, Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Image courtesy of Ohmmy3d / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


We are the champions!... But no one will care tomorrow.
It’s over. Another season of football is done.

Just a mere three months ago, I was ridin’ high. The Bears were 7-1, and I was certain that this was our year. Well, it didn’t happen. We got smacked by the Texans. Humiliated by the 49ers. Whipped by the Seahawks. And beaten by the Packers. That always stings.

So even though we were first in our division for the entire first half of the season, we didn’t even make it to the playoffs. My hopes were dashed, and Bears fans everywhere were forced to wait yet another year to bring back the Lombardi to Chicago. Even our go-to wellspring that is the ’85 Bears was somewhat tempered when Ditka suffered a stroke in November. All in all, it was a rough year for the Monsters of the Midway. Maybe we could use a Canadian to get us back on track.

And even though Lovie’s firing was a holiday highlight, I had to endure a month more of faking my enthusiasm for the playoffs. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I had plenty of reasons to be excited for the playoffs. Namely, to see the Packers get eliminated from them.

Here’s the deal. The Packers have the Bears to thank for winning the Super Bowl two years ago. It’s a dubious honor to be sure, but it’s true. Last game of the season. The Bears already had a bye, so it was what many would call a garbage game. Except that it’s never a worthless win over the Packers. Every victory counts, and according to trusty Wikipedia, we still hold a series win record of 92 to 88 over our rivals to the north. It would be 93 to 87 had we not lost the game that let Green Bay get a wild card into the playoffs, show us up at the NFC Championship, and swipe the Halas Trophy from us at Soldier Field. Of course, Green Bay did not repay the favor and beat Minnesota in their last game of the season this year so that we too could have our chance at Super Bowl victory.

So it felt oh so good when Green Bay finally succumbed to the 49ers last month. And though Harbaugh’s a complete loon, the fact that the Packers got beat by Jim and company felt like a small victory for Chicago fans, too. (Harbaugh played quarterback for the Bears in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.)

It counts.

Anyway, with the Packers out of Super Bowl contention, I really didn’t have a horse in the race anymore. (My horse was whoever was playing the Packers.) The Falcons are boring. Plus, they’ve pretty much perfected the art of choking in the playoffs. I have family on the east coast who are New England fans, but I want to see New England in the playoffs as much as I want to see another installment of The Fast and the Furious. Then there are the Ravens, who I don’t know much about, except that Ray Lewis is sketch and John Harbaugh is big brother to Jim. Hmm… Okay. That made it interesting. Once the 49ers made it to the AFC Championship, my picks were set. The only thing that was going to make this Super Bowl any fun was seeing an all-Harbaugh fight to the finish.

Despite the fact that I got my wish, it’s always a little sad to watch the Super Bowl when your team’s not in it. Yeah, it’s a great excuse for one last bingefest before you finally make good on your resolution to lose weight, but still… It’s not the same. I can still remember that sweet, sweet first quarter during Super Bowl XLI when the Bears were leading the Colts 14-6. The rest of the game is a little blurry.

And that’s my only consolation. Though the Ravens beat the 49ers just four days ago, you’d have to scour the news outlets to find a single article about it anymore. I’m sure all the Baltimore fans are still raiding their local Targets for as much Ravens gear as they can get their hands on, but their incessant craving for hats and T-shirts and commemorative DVDs will soon pass as well. Because sports fans are fickle. Season after season, we celebrate and commiserate with our teams’ victories and losses. We argue over bad flags and questionable catches. We writhe in pain with our favorite players when they suffer a concussion or ACL tear. For four months – five if you count preseason and six if you’re lucky enough to make the playoffs – we rise and fall and live and breathe with our teams.

And once that Lombardi Trophy is hoisted high once more… We put on Netflix and pass out from the 5000 calories we ate. ‘Merica!

Image courtesy of antpkr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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