Tag Archives: Review

What were They Thinking? The Worst of Craigslist Photos Part 3

26 Apr

What were They Thinking? The Worst of Craigslist Photos Part 3

Back by popular demand, photos that filled me with wonder from Craigslist . . .


1. I’m not just a rusty garbage can. I am an antique. Yes, I have rust spots. That just proves that I’ve got style and pizazz. That’s why my owner thinks I’m worth $50. Is that so much to ask? It IS? Well then you can take your garbage elsewhere.




2. Nothing says “This is a very elegant and serious wooden desk and bookcase set” like having a bunch of papers, post it notes, and mysterious metal items strewn messily across it. But at least it does have a nice nautical theme—the (why?) ship plate on the bookcase/cupboard and best of all, the messily handlettered reminder to “Stay Strong” with an anchor. What IS that? A secret message for the buyers? Such as “Stay strong because this furniture sure isn’t going to hold up much longer?” In any case, I certainly hope it is included in the sale of the set because it is priceless.


3. A moment. Frozen in time. The last days of the cassette tape. This is the exact collection of music a person would probably have on cassette tape. Just looking at all those names—The Cars. Billy Joel. Fleetwood Mac. SPRINGSTEEN! The Cars. Joan Jett. The Carpenters. It’s not as if it’s easy to find anything to actually PLAY these suckers on, but it brings a little tear to the eye to see them all together like that for the last time.


4. This lovely painting of an angel apparently picking a zit on his celestial arm, sitting in some strange alcove that has before it some odd giant candlelike stone thing on the left and the world’s shortest column on the right, is enhanced by the presence of God’s blinding light. Or, maybe it’s just a photographer who was a little too fond of using the flash.


It looks as if the cow, the bunny and the pig are going to be just fine when they are hun up on the wall. But those Teddy bears look as if they’re going to be in for a very unhappy surprise.


Writing Prompt: What objects do you own that DON’T represent who you are?




Five Things I Learned From Real Simple at the Doctor’s Office: A Review

24 Jan

When the first issue of Real Simple Magazine started, I had to check it out. “How stupid do they think women are?” I asked my friend Dan. “Would they start a magazine for MEN called Real Simple?” Seriously. Check out, say, Women’s Health and Men’s Health and Men’s Health is written at at least a tenth grade level, whereas Women’s Health is so low on content you feel as if you’d have to literally chew on the paper to get any fiber from it. And Cosmopolitan! Did you know it was once a fairly well-esteemed literary magazine? It used to be at least a fun read, back in the day. Now it’s pretty much Hos Monthly.

  • “How to make Him Squeal Like a Stuck Pig.”
  • “Man Pleasing Specials That Will Bring Out the Wild Bull in Him.”
  • “How Pepper Spray can Spice Up Your Love Life.”


Ladies, is that really all we’re interested in?


Okay, it is pretty interesting. Nonetheless, isn’t there anything ELSE we’re interested in. Well, when I first got my hands on Real Simple, matters were just as I suspected. I still remember an article by a woman, a respected writer, mind you, who was amazed at the fact that if she filled up her gas tank, she was less stressed when she drove around. Mirabile Dictu! (Or, as they say in Real Simple, “Wow!”) I thought, as I read this, “Honey, are you stupid, or are you just slumming. Or is there something really deep about this observation that I’m just . . . too. . . simple .. .to get.” I mean, do I need “REAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL Simple” Magazine?


Well, over the years they’ve upped their game at least a little, because when I was at the doctor’s office yesterday, thoroughly enjoying the effects of the Percocet plus valium plus Motrin I had taken before my biopsy (which wasn’t as bad as I thought, especially under those condtions), I found ten, possibly twenty, useful pieces of information and now I shall commence to sharing them with you.


  1. CURES FOR A BROKEN HEART. If some jackanapes leaves you for his “office wife” or the so called “intern” at his office, despair not. Readers have offered a number of handy tips to heal you. Among them:
  • Gardening (this wouldn’t do it for me.)
  • Cleaning refrigerator (removing rotting food=symbolic)
  • Dog (I’m not getting one of those poop monsters)
  • Hug from mom (this would work if it were my awesome mom)
  • New recipe (oddly, I could go for this one)
  • “What went right today.” (actually I like this. )
  • “When things aren’t normal, do normal things.” (also good)

Conclusion: My husband had better not leave me.  But if I do, I have at least two and a half helpful tips.


  1. IS YOUR DOCTOR RIGHT FOR YOU? Your medical relationship isn’t all about being a doctor-pleasing Ho. Your doctor actually is supposed to be helpful for YOU. (Say what?) Like, does s/he listen to you? Really!


  1. WHAT BOOK TAUGHT YOU AN IMPORTANT LESSON ABOUT LOVE? I think this is actually a great question, and I’m going to think about it my own self.  Answers ranged from


  • children’s books  like the Velveteen Bunny, which I loathe,
  • the Bridge of Madison County (blecch),
  • to a book I actually adore, The Color of Water. If you somehow missed out on The Color of Water, ohhh—it’s the true story of a white woman who married a black man and had 12 kids, all of whom turned out to be wildly successful. The father leaves the mother, and sometimes the family is so poor that when the mother gets a job in a cafeteria, the kids all wait around until the Mom gets home with leftover sandwiches stuffed into her pocketbook, and then the kids fight over them. As a member of a large family, albeit a middle class one with perfectly adequate food supplies, I can definitely relate to this. But what is remarkable is both the son and his painstaking research and loving-fair-minded assessment (and excellent writing) and this tough, imperfect, quirky woman who pulled off with 12 kids what I find challenging with two.


  1. CHOCOLATES: YOU DO TOO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO GET. When you open a box of chocolates, it’s not like what Mrs. Gump said. Different chocolates have different shapes. (Okay, that’s the kind of tip ALMOST on the level of filling up cars with gas, but slightly better.) Also: America’s favorite chocs in a box
  • Caramel (34 percent)
  • Nut
  • Chocolate ganache.



  • Separate eggs
  • Peel garlic
  • Dispense powdered sugar

Song Review: Hey Baby, It’s a Wild World by Cat Stevens.

21 Jan






1976 Poster (Wikimedia Commons)


Did you ever watch someone acting like a fool in public and wonder, ‘Do you KNOW how you sound?’” One day I was watching a Hasidic couple on a very awkward first date in Barnes and Noble. In our local B and N, this is a common sight—it is such a safe and public place for two young people from an old-fashioned and proper society to meet during the day. For the entire date, the young man yakked constantly while the charming young lady was reduced to responding  “Oh really?” “My goodness.” “Realllly?” “That’s amazing” for two hours. I wondered when he was going to ask HER a question about herself. I’m still waiting.


I thought about this date, because I am someone who got married at an early age and have long been off the market. Yet if I ask my beautiful female friends who are still single what dating is like, their number one complaint is that the guy never asks them a question—or if he does, he doesn’t listen to the answer. I know many women are like this as well, but as I am on Team Girl, that is what I hear. And I suspect that men are generally bigger blabbermouths on first dates anyway, so they don’t look weak, and they can “sell themselves.”


However, as annoying as it is not to be asked a question when you are meeting someone, it can be even more foolish for the loudmouth not to find out what he’s getting himself into in a relationship. As some famous person and a million mothers have said, “When people tell you what they’re like, believe them.” What if the wide-eyed young lady was asked who her favorite hero was and she answered “Lorena Bobbitt,” for instance?


You may wonder what this has to do with Cat Stevens. Well, yesterday I was driving my car, which my younger son commandeers most day to go to cooking school, and I found the secret compartment where he stashes the shameful Mom Music. I found a CD of Cat Stevens (with one hand on the highway making an abrupt turn) and thought I’d wander down memory lane. The first song was the aggravating Ohrwurm (earworm to you Americans) “Hey Baby, it’s a Wild World.” I listened to it and SCREAMED back at it. Because I hate hate hate that song. Not that I think it’s a bad song—it has his unique voice and style, it tells a story, it’s catchy, it’s concise, the speaker has a definite persona, and it kicks the bejeesus out of half the songs my sons like to listen to which seem to all have the same lyrics:  Girl, let’s get out of this club and have some fun tonight, I’m going to do things to you like alright.”  When I hear these songs I don’t know whether to give my Martin Luther King died for THIS? Speech or my Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked her entire life for THIS? Speech. I like to mix it up a little. I know that there are hip hop and rap artists who can use their verbal flair for telling a compelling story, so I feel like a disappointed schoolmarm when I hear the same old story about having meaningless, impersonal sex over and over. Because I DO think words have meaning. And I do not think that kind of short-term thinking is helpful. There are so many serious issues in the world today—and there are even so many joys. So . . . Cat Stevens.


Okay, the story in this song is that a guy is singing a song to his ex-girlfriend, who is leaving him. The lyrics are here in case you forgot them: http://www.metrolyrics.com/wild-world-lyrics-cat-stevens.html

So he sings this song about his hopes and concerns for her. But he does  it in a way that makes her seem weak, shallow, stupid, childish—there’s not one allusion to anything but her looks. He wishes her “Hope you have a lot of nice things to wear” and later, warns, “It’s hard to get by just upon a smile.” Is that what he thinks she did with him? I mean, it is true that you can’t just get by with a smile. You also have to talk.


But the man doesn’t see her as a talker or as an actor in any way. “I’ll always remember you as a child, girl.” He says. No kidding. As if she wouldn’t know, he tells her repeatedly that the world is wild, it’s full of bad things, that even nice things turn terrible, that “friends” can be deceptive, etc. I get that he’s heartbroken and he is trying to make her afraid so she won’t leave and he’s feeling mean because she’s rejecting him, but jeeez. Does he KNOW how he sounds?


The one thing that keeps me from wanting to throw the CD out the window is, well, I still love the song Peace Train, call me corny but I do, and also, I can’t figure out if the man in the song is supposed to be Cat Stevens or if it’s supposed to be a persona of a man like the blabbermouth I witnessed on a date at Barnes and Noble.  A man who never bothers to find out what the inner world of his lover is like, so he can only be utterly shocked that she would flee from under the wing of his protective goodness.


What kind of woman is leaving the man in the song? We don’t know. She’s like Mona Lisa. Enigmatic. Someone who can make a decision. Someone who can elide being controlled by others. All I know is, if anyone sang that song to me, I’d pack my bags twice as fast and have the taxi on speed dial. Because this dude is self-centered and a creeper. I might tell him, “You’re an idiot to remember me like a child. I’m a grown-up person, and it’s your loss you never figured out who I was. In fact, if I were a CHILD I’d still dislike you for not knowing who I was.” (Children are not fools, either).


Writing Prompt: 1. Is there a song that you hate (or love) and why? 2. Have you ever had experience with anybody who hasn’t listened to you at all?