Monday, December 28, 2009

Jon Gosselin: Lesson of the Week

Jon Gosselin has a pretty impressive resume that includes legendary fertility, unimpeachable parenting, and the unfathomable irony of creating a tabloid firestorm by cheating on his wife with a tabloid reporter who was assigned to cover the tabloid firestorm of cheating on his wife.

Impressive as these accomplishments are, I believe that his Coup de grace was made possible by the December 26th break-in at his New York City apartment. One of the most heinous crimes to regularly befall the reality TV star, home invasion has also touched the lives of Lindsay Lohan & Audrina Patridge (delicate souls all) and forever altered their sense of safety.

In Jon’s case, the perpetrator(s) entered his upper Westside digs and absconding with his coffee maker and Nintendo Wii amongst other heirlooms. Even more chilling was the fact that someone had taken time to pen a mildly derogatory note and use a butcher knife to pin it to a piece of furniture. In a statement through his publicist, Mr. Gosselin indicated that he called the police and that an “experienced” detective had been dispatched.

Faced with the daunting task of narrowing down a list of people who dislike his client, Gosselin’s attorney has placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Jon’s recently estranged paramour Hailey Glassman by indicating that they would pursue justice to the point of her incarceration. For her part Hailey denies that she is to blame and claims that the entire event is a hoax and “publicity stunt.” She has also accused Mr. Gosselin of stealing her rent money (ah, young love.)

It is against this backdrop that Mr. Gosselin’s attorney was quoted drawing a direct parallel between the apartment invasion and violent sexual battery saying "Jon feels like he was raped.” Not only is such a statement embarrassingly overdramatic, it is jarringly insensitive to victims of such a scarring crime. While I am sure that purchasing another Mr. Coffee at Target will be a difficult healing process for Jon (easily dwarfing, say, a lifetime of nightmares and deep-seated trust issues) I cannot feel that sorry for a man who needs an attorney and a publicist to spin a missing Nintendo Wii.

Perhaps if Mr. Gosselin was not in the habit of distributing copies of his house keys to any semi-eligible twenty-something with basic cable……

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sweet Dreams are Made of These...

Academic studies have indicated that the average person over the age of 10 dreams between 4 and 6 times per night. The reason that this number seems excessive is that 95-99% of our dreams are forgotten the moment that they end. Occasionally, an event will occur that allows us to recall the dream in vivid detail. Personally, I rarely remember my nocturnal adventures and there have been several occasions where I can recall feeling bored in my own dream.

One instance was where I was having a dream about my normal morning routine in glacially-paced real time. It ran something like this:

1. Get out of bed and immediately realize that I am already 10 minutes late

2. Check my phone to see if I have received any messages that indicate I have been fired and /or “corporately reallocated”

3. If step two yields no change in my employment status, I continue to the shower

4. Once in the shower, I divide my time between washing and attempting to find an acceptable water temperature between “Hypothermia” and “Burn Center”

5. Spend 10 minutes agonizing over which SAMS Choice polo to wear

6. Spend another 2 minutes checking for a crotch hole in my pants (it happens, and can lead to mandatory attendance at a special seminar )

7. Flip between Headline News and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew while eating breakfast

8. Brush my teeth

It was at step eight that my dream took a turn for the worse. I placed a dollop of Colgate on my brush and began giving my incisors a once-over while generating what seemed to be an unusual abundance of dental lather. I then leaned over the sink and proceeded to expectorate the excess and wash it down the drain.

Unfortunately, this action was being duplicated in real life, and while still asleep I had produced and ejected a big league loogie onto my face and pillow. The presence of the saliva jolted me from the dream and I took immediate action in order to mitigate any threat that the loogie posed to my second pillow, my comforter, or my wife.

Grabbing the pillow case by its edges, I sprang from the bed and began attempting to separate the pillow from the case by shaking it loose. As a matter of unhappy coincidence, we had just purchased two new pillows that day and our old pillow cases could scarcely contain their impressive polyester girth. The result of this was twofold:

· The case was all but cotton-welded to pillow it contained and was not coming off

· The vigorous shaking motion had only succeeded in distributing my demon loogie to every available surface in a two foot radius

At this point, I glanced toward the bed and found my wife staring at me and likely reconsidering her decision to allow me to someday father her children. I immediately froze and began to assemble an explanation that did not involve me spitting up on myself. Several tense moments passed as I strained to perceive her facial expression through the inky blackness.

To my relief, she said nothing and simply rolled over to face the opposite side of the bed. This meant that either she was never actually awake at all, or felt that it would cause less of a scene to pack her belongings after I left for work the next morning and just leave me a note attached to a man-bib.

I am proud to report that time (and several laundry cycles) has healed all wounds and my dreams continue to occur at infrequent intervals. I face this uncertain future with guarded optimism and the sincere hope that I do not have any realistic dreams about digesting Mongolian BBQ.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe

Last night my wife was in search of a Christmas movie, a quest that invariably leads her to ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” and often leads me to a different part of the house. However, in this case I decided to stick around and see what the television executives had cooked up for the masses on the last Monday before Christmas. What I witnessed last night was a holiday film so terrible that it might actually qualify as a televised hate crime.

The film in question was Santa Baby: Christmas Maybe (also known as Santa Baby 2) and is the much anticipated follow up to 2006’s Santa Baby. For those of you who were fans of the first film, rest assured that this masterpiece is again helmed by Ron Underwood the man who directed such cinematic cornerstones as The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Jenny McCarthy reprises her role as Mary Class (subtle Ronnie, very subtle….) a successful attorney and the daughter of Santa Clause who finds herself taking over from her aging father in order to save Christmas. Hilarity & hijinks ensue as Mary must deal with sabotage and elf union demands (more sprinkles on the cookies.)

As if I even need to sweeten the deal, her love interest is played by Dean McDermott, Tori Speling’s husband and a man who was given 7th billing in the 2001 TV drama Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story. In all fairness, he does manage to bring surprising gravity to a scene where he interrogates a room full of elves with statements like, “Did anyone actually hear Santa Clause say Teri was in charge!?!”

The plot reaches a dramatic crescendo when a rouge elf absconds with Santa’s sleigh (recently equipped with military grade rockets) and has to be chased down by Santa on a snowmobile. The rouge elf then holds Santa’s magical toy bag hostage by utilizing an elaborate pulley system that keeps it suspended over a hole in the arctic ice. In a soul-crushing twist, the elf loses her grip on the rope and the magical toy bag meets with a frigid demise. Fortunately, it is revealed later that the real magical toy bag had been swapped for a decoy that contained only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

It has been a long time since I have viewed a movie so bad that you can actually see the cast and crew coming to terms with the ends of their careers. Even after laying waste to a cherished Judeo-Christian holiday and the possibility of the Dermott / Spelling household filing as “dual income”, the production team at ABC Family is looking toward the future with upcoming projects like Holiday in Handcuffs 2 and The Other Mall.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's All Relative

Recently I was perusing online newspapers and I discovered a story in the New York Times about cousins getting married. The article profiled Kimberly Spring-Winters and her “cusband” Shane Winters, a Pennsylvania couple that fell in love despite the fact that they are first cousins. Since marriages between first cousins are illegal in Pennsylvania, the couple had their official ceremony in Maryland where there are no laws restricting such a union. The article went on to profile several other first cousin couples throughout the United States and the stigmas that they face.

One of the most enduring ideas concerning such unions is the idea that their offspring would be hideously deformed, dangerously unhealthy, and shockingly under-toothed. Recent studies do indeed confirm that the risk of serious genetic defects (spinal bifida, cystic fibrosis) is about 2.8% higher than a non-related couple. While this is significant, the numbers are on par with a woman giving birth in her early 40’s. Infant mortality rates among first cousins are slightly more sobering (4.4 % higher than a non-related couple) but there are some in the medical community that feel these numbers do not warrant great concern.

While I am not qualified to judge the medical concerns, I am fascinated with the social and legal aspects of such a relationship:

Marriages between first cousins are prohibited by law in twenty-five states, but what might surprise you is where it is completely legal: Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Tennessee, New York, California, Maryland, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, California, Alaska, Hawaii, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. all allow the marriage of cousins.

North Carolina, always one to take the high road, has put their foot down and refused to marry double first cousins. This is what happens when a set of brothers marries a set of sisters. Interestingly, we are the only western nation with cousin marriage restrictions, so there must be some allure to it. In that spirit, I have compiled the following list of advantages one would enjoy when married to your first cousin:

· Instead of saying to your spouse “You remember my Aunt Glenda right?” you can just say “You remember your mom right?”

· You child’s school genealogy project will take much less time than their peer’s.

· Either parent can accurately answer the question “What was Grandpa Jones like?”

· Your Christmas present budget for the extended family is dramatically reduced. This is especially true for double cousins.

· Gives you a “hot spare” for organ donation.

· If relation is on the fathers side, your bride can avoid the bothersome maiden name paperwork.

· Ironclad eligibility for your spouse’s Gap employee discount.

· When visiting your spouse in the E.R. and they ask if you are immediate or extended family you can simply answer “Yes.”

· You only have to attend one family reunion every year. Again, especially true for double first cousins.

· When you tell your husband “I feel like I have known you my whole life,” he can answer “That is because you have.”

· You don’t have to constantly wonder “What will my mom think of her?”

· Your spouse has already seen (and participated) in most of your embarrassing childhood photos.

· You can save money by only paying for one login.