The wind beneath my wings!

I’m a little slow when it comes to television hype. I got into Sex and the City only after watching the series finale. I finally understood why everyone loved Family Guy when watching an episode eight years after it premiered. (I have yet to jump on board The Simpsons train.) And it was only three months ago that I finally saw American Idol.

I never needed to watch American Idol to know who was getting the boot. With each new season, a huge billboard goes up on Pico Boulevard – and I’m assuming other major streets around LA – that displays the headshots of the top ten contestants. And every week, one unfortunate soul gets a huge, humiliating, red ‘X’ plastered over his or her face. So it never occurred to me to tune in until one evening when my boyfriend and I couldn’t find anything good on TV. That’s when we caught one of the audition episodes.

Though critiquing the contestants – especially the crazies – was entertainment enough, my bf and I were fascinated by what the judges had to say… and whether or not we concurred with their opinions. To our collective horror, we seemed to be locked in agreement with virtually every assessment that Nicki Minaj gave to each singer. Also, I discovered an inverse relationship between Minaj’s outfits and her performance reviews: the crazier she looked, the saner her advice was. My boyfriend and I gasped several times at her innate wisdom. She’s like a bleached blonde Buddha.

Carey on the other hand… It’s a good thing that she can sing because that girl cannot give a decent critique to save her life. Most of the time, she simply blurts out a series of “dah-lings” and “you’re so you” and “I love what you’re wearing.” But I can’t really fault her. Though the Mariah of today is a far cry from the chick that came on the scene with “Vision of Love,” she’s still got the goods. Because she’s such a phenomenal singer, though, I don’t think she understands how to talk to someone so obviously below her. It’s like asking Meryl Streep to explain the finer points of acting to Megan Fox.

From what I hear, I missed the heyday of American Idol judging. Apparently watching Simon Cowell eviscerate contestants was entertainment at its finest. Meh…. I tuned into The X Factor once to see what the hubbub was about, but the only thing offensive about Cowell was his ridiculously tight T-shirt.

However, my boyfriend was taking great offense to a certain wannabe Idol: Lazaro Arbos. Now when we first met this shy, unassuming contestant, we were as enamored of him as the rest of America. Lazaro has a stutter, yet he still found the courage and perseverance to audition. You go, Lazaro! So when my bf and I found out that he had made it to the top ten, we were thrilled. But by the next show, we were looking guiltily at one another, both of us thinking the same thing… Lazaro had to go. For the record, Lazaro’s stutter isn’t an issue when he sings, so don’t get all in a tizzy that we’re discriminatory a-holes. Plain and simple, he wasn’t as strong a singer as the rest of the crew. In fact, he was easily at the back of the pack, vocally speaking. But week after week, just like his namesake, Lazaro would keep rising from the dead and live on for another show. And my boyfriend would get increasingly more indignant with each non-Lazaro elimination. Mind you, this is a man who graciously smiles each time that my beloved Blackhawks steamroll his broken down Red Wings, which incidentally happened during each of their meet-ups this season, but I digress… He simply could not accept the fact that America was pity-voting Lazaro to the top.

Though mildly surprised, I accepted it. Dancing with the Stars has already taught me that the American public doesn’t know its cha cha from its samba when it comes to judging good dancers. How else do you explain Kristie Alley, Rob Kardashian, and Bristol Palin all making it to the finals? I figure that American Idol voters know just as little about singing talent. (Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood are statistical aberrations.)

But finally justice was served. Last week, Lazaro got his walking papers, my bf was appeased, and sanity was restored to the American Idol world. If I’m honest, though, watching last night’s episode without Lazaro was a tad boring. Here’s hoping that Mariah and Nicki finally give America what it wants: a stiletto throwing, hair extension pulling, fake fingernail breaking catfight.

Image courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I'm sure he understood.Yesterday a goat’s head was sent to Wrigley Field. My response to the person who did it?

Bravo, good sir. Bravo. Most Cubs fans I know just sit on their lazy asses and moan year after year about our perennially lovable losers. And then there are the ever optimistic – some may say naïve – fans that dream each April of a Pennant run only to have their hopes dashed by June. July if we’re having a really good season. But it takes a real fan to sever an innocent animal’s head and send it anonymously to Wrigley so that his contempt could be known. So again, bravo.

Just one question, though… What exactly are you protesting? Is it that we already have a losing record a mere week into the new season? Is it the overpriced tickets? The lack of parking? The shabby confines of Wrigley Field? Or the fact that we haven’t won a World Series since before the First World War? ‘Cuz there’s that, too.

Or maybe you were simply trying to remove the Curse of the Billy Goat.

That makes sense. After all, the Cubs were already suffering a Pennant drought for almost 40 years when Billy Sianis made his famous claim that the Cubs “ain’t gonna win no more.” Naturally his threat is the exact reason why we’ve continued to fail in winning the World Series for the last 60 years. So perhaps a goat’s head is precisely what the Cubs organization has needed all this time. What fools we’ve been!

And you know, the sacrifice of a goat’s life is nothing when you think about the monumental sacrifices that our players make everyday on the field. Like when Marmol sacrificed our 5-1 lead to the Braves last week, and we ended up losing 6-5. It must have torn him up that night, his only consolation being that he still has a contract for $9.8 million. I also admire his humility when asked about the booing that preceded his introduction at the Cubs’ home opener on Monday. Instead of admitting that he had failed Cubs fans and would resolve to do better, he simply said, “I don’t have to worry about it.” Right on, Marmol. It’s that kind of attitude that will surely get us a playoff run this September.

But back to the goat’s head. What’s a goat anyway? Apparently this animal has an IQ of 60, which is about that of a dog. Keep in mind, though, that this is all according to science… And what has science ever done for Cubs fans? So yeah, you probably killed a creature with reasonable intellect. You might even say that you butchered an animal not unlike your own pet Fido, but whateves. It was for a higher cause, right?

Because when it comes down to it, sports are all that matter. Think about it. What is more important than watching multimillionaires swing bats, shoot balls, and catch touchdowns? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they do it for the love of the game, right? If the players in the MLB, NBA, or NFL were paid the same as firefighters or public school teachers, I have no doubt that they would still pursue the glory of the World Series or Super Bowl just for the fans. And to any naysayer who claims that all baseball players are steroid users and all football players are alleged rapists and all basketball players are consummate philanderers… Like you’ve never done anything wrong. Hypocrite. If you can’t understand why sending a goat’s head to Wrigley Field isn’t a perfectly sane measure to take, you obviously don’t know anything about anything.

One final note to the gentleman behind the goat head prank… If and when the authorities find you, and I sincerely hope they do since anyone with your evident genius deserves his due recognition, be prepared for a firestorm of media attention. Yes, sir, you will reach a status the likes of which Steve Bartman could only dream. So good on you. You deserve every bit of the acclaim that you receive.

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


The customer is always right... about to get b*tch-slapped.Working retail is awful. I say this because I know. I’ve enjoyed an illustrious retail past and have enthusiastically sold everything from garbage bags to showerheads to makeup remover. But by a long shot, working women’s retail is the worst of the worst.

I love my gender and have no plans to change it anytime soon. But let’s call a spade a spade… Women can be a neurotic bunch. I suppose the men folk might get weird about their appearance, too, but women take the cake. You can’t really blame us ladies, though. Once Photoshop was invented, it was over for most of us. Now you can’t turn a corner without finding a billboard or magazine with a gorgeous and totally fake female plastered on it. What that woman looks like in real life, I don’t know and nobody else cares. It’s the finely crafted perfect body you see before you that counts.

Now imagine working in women’s bathing suits.

It was hell. Every 15 minutes or so, I would walk into the fitting area only to find a mountain – and I do mean mountain – of bathing suits piled high in each abandoned room. Though the store had a limit on how many bathing suits a person could try on at a time, I worked the seasonal department by myself, which meant that I was usually outnumbered by women on the edge carrying no less than 40 suits with them into a fitting room.

Women get cray cray when it comes to bathing suits. Fellas, if you want a sneak peek at just how scary your lady can get, offer to go bathing suit shopping with her. Odds are she’ll turn you down quicker than you can say “I’ll buy,” because why would anyone subject themselves to the horror of showcasing her pale and dimpled body under fluorescent lighting no less, but if she happens to say yes… If you make it through the afternoon, you’ve become a man, my son.

I think my straw-camel-back moment occurred the day I realized that someone had tried on two-dozen or so bathing suits during the one time of the month when no woman should be trying on anything that isn’t already in her closet… if you catch my drift. Horrified, I finished my shift and simply did not return the next day. I’m not proud of the fact that I just bailed on my job with no notice, but I draw the line at bodily fluids. I still remember my manager’s voicemail message, telling me that I wasn’t in trouble and could come back at any time. The desperation in her voice made it clear that I wasn’t the first employee to unceremoniously bequeath the seasonal department to a soul braver than I.

So my point with this trip down memory lane? I have mucho respect for those that do work in retail. Because people are awful to you all the time. They don’t care if you’re already waiting on four other customers. They don’t care if you’re two hours overdue for your lunch break. And they certainly don’t care if they hurt your feelings. (I’m looking at you, Robert Schuller.)

Most of the time when I go shopping, I like to fly under the radar. I’m an able-bodied person and can usually find what I need on my own, thank you very much… until I do need help. Like when I was looking for a dress that I had found on a store’s website. Just one look at the overcrowded department, though, and I knew I’d never find anything in that chaotic mess of cotton and polyester. So I walked up to the nearest salesperson, “Could you please help me find a dress that I saw online?”

I took her bored look to mean that she had some time to kill, so I continued to describe what I was looking for.

Her: “I don’t know anything like that.”

Me: “Oh, okay…”

Her: Exaggerated sigh. “Let’s look online.”

She led me to the cash register.

Her: “Find it for me.”

Now I spend pretty much my entire day sitting in front of a computer, but I’m a Mac user. I have as much ability to operate a PC as I do a spinning wheel, Morse code machine, or anything else obsolete.

I looked for an external mouse. Nothing. She then directed me to a two-inch by one-inch mouse pad. I tried in vain to navigate it. She then casually mentioned that it was a touch-screen computer. I began to wonder why she hated me.

Finally I found the dress.

Her: “Yeah, I don’t know anything like that… I gotta go to a meeting.”

And off she went.

I never saw her again, but I don’t blame her. Retail is awful.

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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