Sunday, October 26, 2014

Isn't Real Life Scary Enough?

Hallowe’en costumes these days are a lot scarier than they used to be. I remember princess outfits my mother bought at the drug store. The dress and tiara were made of paper and would end up in tatters by the time I got home after trick or treating. I was a cowgirl for several years, a gypsy once and finally on my last year out, I went as a beatnik.   

Somewhere between two and three hundred kids will collect candy at our house on October 31st. Some of the younger ones will dress as princesses, paupers, pirates and kings. They won’t be too terrifying. In fact, they’ll be doggoned cute. We’ll ask them, “What are you dressed as?” and they’ll say sweet things, like, “I’m a witch!”  “Ooo! Scary!” we’ll say, and toss an extra mini chocolate bar into their little pumpkin bucket and call out, “Bye! Thanks for coming!” as they dance away into the nighttime with their parents cueing them to shout back, “Thank yoooooou!”

The older kids do their best to be totally gross. The walking dead, monsters, mad scientists, Miley Cyrus.  We might say, “Yeah, really frightening,” and acknowledge their creativity, because we know they’ll have assembled their costumes with the particular glee teens get out of shocking adults. They’re not as scary as they like to think they are.

But, this year, with all the absolutely horrible things going on in the world, I’m sure you’ll agree that we don’t need to see anybody in an Ebola HazMat suit. Way too soon.

Some things are way worse than the undead showing up at your front door. You want truly gruesome? You don’t have to look further than real life. Makes your hair stand on end. Here is my list of the “Top Five Costumes I Don’t Want to See This Hallowe’en”:


  1. Telephone Solicitor. Endlessly repeating, “Hello, ma’am. How are you today? This isn’t a sales call, but….” Talk about the zombie apocalypse! For the love of humanity, can no one make them stop?!?
  2. Monica Lewinsky. She’s BAAAAAA-CK! And she has a book to promote. She’s been seen on TV sweetly saying things like, “I was just an intern!” Seriously, do we have to hear the whole sordid tale, AGAIN???? AAAAAAAAGGGHH!!!!
  3. Ernest Ansley. You thought he had vanished! But he’s in the news again! Ernest is the televangelist “faith healer” with the ridiculous helmet-like hair-weave who smacked the sick and suffering who came to him on their foreheads and commanded those foul demons to “Come OUT!”  Folks dropped their crutches and rose up out of their wheelchairs and walked again. Viewers at home participated by placing their hands on the TV screen. If they sent in money and really believed in Jeeee-sus, he’d shout, “HEAL!” and their afflictions would disappear. Scary enough, right? But it was revealed in the news this week that for years he advised his male followers that they should get vasectomies thus ensuring that the money they’d spend on their potential offspring would instead go to Ansley’s church. And if THAT wasn’t chilling enough, Ernest apparently liked to play doctor and make his parishioners drop more than their crutches so he could personally check that surgery had actually taken place. How creepy is that?
  4. Kim Jung Un. Dude. Too scary. Go away! Or maybe he already has?!?
  5. Stink Bug. It’s only a matter of time until these rotten stink-bomb insects invade your neighborhood. They are taking over the world. An invasive species from Asia, they are proliferating at a rapid rate in North America and they are on a mission to move into a State or Province near you any day now. They hide in your curtains and lurk on your window screens. If you try to crush them, they will emit such a stink you will never forget. No animal or bird will prey upon them. They are here to stay. And, believe you me, they will make your spine crawl every time you see one. They are that ugly.

I don’t know about you, but I got the frights just writing this ghoulish list! What’s your worst nightmare? Happy Hallowe’en!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hip, Hip, Hurray?

My word of the week is “hipster.”

That’s because Ken and I spent the weekend in Cincinnati where there are a lot of hipsters, especially in the hotel where we stayed, the uber-hip 21c Museum Hotel, with its ultra-hip contemporary art collection. We had dinner in the amazingly hip, absolutely fabulous, foodie-haven hotel restaurant on Saturday evening, where waiters wore skin-tight jeans with plaid shirts, semi-untucked-in, of course, and one or two of them wore sweater-vests over white Tee shirts. They sported either Amish-bordering-on-Duck-Dynasty beards or their hair parted above the ears with small pony tails pulled up into Buddhist monk-esque top knots. The young woman who seated us had a pierced nose, a short sweater dress and combat boots. defines “hipsters” as “a subculture of men and women in their 20s and early 30s that values independent thinking, counter-culture…..creativity, intelligence and witty banter.” And, even though it was US that defined “counter-culture” way back in our youth, I have read that hipsters think of themselves as the true “outside- the-social-mainstreamers.” They will reject definitions and labels that limit their scope for being uniquely themselves and will disdain all societally accepted status symbols. Excuse me, but isn’t that what we said back in the 70s?

Looking around the room, I leaned in close and whispered to Ken that I was noticing that the diners in the room were almost equally divided between hipsters and….he finished my sentence for me…."people waiting for new hips." “Exactly!” I said, because the other half of the population consisted of “older folks,” closer in age to our own demographic. But, of course, WE are much hipper than those old, sadly un-cool fuddy-duddies in the restaurant. As we nibbled our 12-ancient-grains bread with smoked butter and waited for our carmelized cauliflower with juniper berry compote, it occurred to me that a few characteristics distinguish our age groups.

We Baby Boomers may have invented the “generation gap,” but, let’s face it, a lot of years have intervened since then. And if you have not yet realized that your rebel days have been hijacked by today’s hipsters, I present this handy chart so that you can better understand the gulf that divides us…and really feel like the old fart you are.

Hipster                                                                              Needing a New Hip

Locavore                                                                           Antacid-vore

Quinoa & kale salad with beet chips                           1,000 Islands Dressing          

Zombie Apocalypse                                                         Keith Richards

Craft beers                                                                        Doing crafts

Juice cleanse                                                                     Metamucil

Modern Farmer magazine                                              Farmer’s Almanac

Streaming TV & movies                                                   Closed Captioning 

Joining the local food co-op                                            Joining AARP

Free-traded, grande, soy, caramel macchiato             Decaf

Vintage clothing stores                                                    Talbots

Buddy Holly-esque, ironically lens-less glasses           Progressive lenses

Casual, messy, just-got-out of-bed hair                        Male pattern baldness

Vegan/raw diet                                                                 Bland prep for colonoscopy

Urbanite growing veggies in a window box                 Urban farmer’s market

Obscure Indie music                                                         Fleetwood Mac reunion                              
wikiHow                                                                              Wiki. What?

Hot yoga                                                                              Sit’N’B’Fit

Second-hand argyle sweater vest                                   Down vest/fleece jacket

Group dating                                                                       Date Night

Texting/Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr                                How does this thing work?

Maximum 2% body fat                                                      Weight Watchers 
Fixed-gear bicycle                                                               Porsche

Skin-tight jeans                                                                   Belt up under your armpits

Dachshund                                                                          Goldendoodle

Brooklyn, NY                                                                       Boca Raton, FL

Eco-consciousness                                                             Remembers the 1970s

Well, it’s sobering isn’t it? But never mind. Forty years from now, those hipsters will look back on their 20s and 30s and wonder where their formerly slim hips went. Or they’ll be on a waiting list for new bionic hip replacements. May they look upon the up and coming youth and think, “Ah, I was once just like you.”