Orange County, Sunday Morning

One thing they don't tell you about southern California is how churched up it is.  Maybe it just seems like that – is it possible that local zoning just makes it appear that there's a church of some kind every 500  feet? And they've got the big ones here, too – the Crystal Cathedral, that purpose-driven Saddleback  place, even Benny Hinn is here. Right now, I'm listening to talk radio station KFI 640 AM. It's the "Jesus Christ Show".  Guess who the Host is? Jesus!

I just read that last sentence again. Funny! Only the Catholics will get it.

This is fascinating. Elvis is shaking up some gospel music in the background and Jesus is taking phone calls. The call-in number is 877HOLY HOST. Somebody just called in with a question and now I wish I was paying more attenttion instead of blogging because the words coming out of the radio are ".. when I was 12 years old, my parents had to come get me from the Temple…" . tha's a direct quote from Jesus.  And then something about the Torah, which is being pronounced ta-RAH.

Poppy Time

Greetings from Laguna Beach.


Here's a cellphone shot of the poppy planting at the gate of the apartment complex where I'm staying. One does love the plantings they have going on in this part of the country. I'm not so crazy about the palm tree proliferation but I do like the things that resemble houseplants gone wild and of course things in bloom.

This morning, I was zigging to McDonald's to get some coffee when I made a last minute decision to zag into Von's supermarket instead. All I can say is, that place is no Ralph's. I had no choice but to buy organic milk. I hope I don't get a headache trying to break away from BGH.

Early morning shopping was made more fun by the fact that I was wearing my sleep/slouch around/drive-thru outfit. No one knows me here!

Sweetheart, The Countess Doesn’t Drink Beer From A Bottle

The season finale of the Real Housewives of Orange County ran last night. The end.  Whatever else happened was totally eclipsed by the absolute brilliance that is the Real Housewives of New York.

These two shows have the same basic concept but the differences are far more than East coast/West coast. RHOC has pettiness and sniping; this one, heretofore known as RHONY,  has scheming, smack talk and retaliation.

Let me get it on the record right now: I'm on Team Jill. I love how she gets right into it. There was a dust-up over the summer between the van Kempens and Jill – first he said, then she said. What she said – that Simon was a fall-down drunk – hit the NY Post because she said it to Cindy Adams. She called them right up to say in essence, "I feel bad that it was in the paper but I'm not sorry I said it." then she followed up by saying "I don't want bad blood because of this. Let's put it behind us." That's an adult talking. You gotta love that.

Bethenny Frankel is definately the girlfriend to have as the third party when you're having a strained conversation over the telephone.  Part Greek chorus; part mime, she's good with the instant interpretations ("She's pissed!") and with the exaggerated reactions and facial expressions. No romantic angle for her this week but the previews for next week show her crying, so it won't be a long wait. 

The van Kempens! Strivers! The opening scenes showed them in their messed-up, forever work-in-progress Brooklyn townhouse. Alex was sitting in the basement playroom next to the exposed electric meters. She's stringy and bulbous at the same time and is one of the few people in America who could be made better looking by the application of hair extensions. Here's a tip – don't expose those toes. It's bad enough we have to look at that lightbulb-shaped head of yours.

Babpool Check out the July 4th Hamptons rental they took to keep up with the Joneses. Keep an eye out for the "strangely lavish pool reminiscent of ancient Babylonia." Not too many first-hand reports around about ancient Babylonian pool decor, so maybe it is but if that's the case, I'm pretty sure that suburban New Jersey is chock full of ancient Babylonia as interpreted by Staten-island transplants who made it big in asphalt paving.

 Did you catch that TV in the bedroom action? Even Sybil's mother was less insane. Those kids are doomed. I'm very fond of the moment from last season was when the subject of school came up, someone said to Alex that her son Francois might have a tough time of it because of his name. Alex admitted that she had thought of this and even went so far as to suggest a nickname for him. "I was thinking of Fronk." Fronk!?

Fast forward to the charity fundraiser for Kenyan orphans – not a Kenyan in sight but plenty of Hampton eccentrics. Which is your favorite - the lady with gold lipstick or the man dressed in a pizza shirt? I'm going with the pizza shirt guy, not so much for the shirt as for the wig that was unnaturally black and perched sideways on his head. "I only paint tomatoes."

Oh, that Countess. Love that 3rd person reference. A former model (catalog and commercial) who bagged a Swiss count as his 4th wife, she's now writing a book on etiquette and manners. Pul-eeze. Anyone who's read Dear Abby more than once knows more about etiquette and manners than this one does. Am I mistaken or does good manners mean that you put others at their ease and never make them feel uncomfortable? Would that include the gentle put-down to a friendly offer of a cold beer on a hot night? "Sweetheart, the Countess doesn't drink beer from a bottle." A simple no thank you might have been more graceful.

I must admit to a moment of fear when Jill took to the mike and thanked the group for coming, announced that there were gift bags that contained a 3% discount coupon at her husband's fabric  business and then exhorted everyone to buy fabric from Zarin's.  "Fabric! Fabriiiic! Fabriiiic!" was her closer and she all but screeched it. I should have known better than to doubt her, though, because she immediately turned to her husband and said "There. Are you happy now?" which, as you all know , is the mantra of anyone married more than 5 years. "Are you happy now?" That's our catch phrase. That's on the lunch boxes. that's on the t-shirts. That's in the trailer.  That's on the posters. "Are you happy now?"

Also, a 3% discount?

The Internets Are Suspiciously Calm Today In The Face of All The Excitement

Don't you know what's happening today?

Are you aware that it's the season finale for season 4 of The Real Housewives of Orange County? AND the season premiere of season 2 of the Real Housewives of New York City?

I can hardly breathe.

RHoOC is so much fun to watch. You'd hate it! There are five women desperately trying to hang on to youth by means of poorly done breast implants and addictions to Botox injections. Except for their shiny, shiny faces, their skin is either leathery or age-spotted, they wear as little clothing as possible, they are lacking in intellectual pursuits and are clueless about their family members. Their kids – young adults, really – run the gamut from lazy to disrespectful to outright disgusting and criminal behaviors. There's some very bad parenting going on here. They live a rich life-style with the houses, cars, boats and Rolexes but in reality are on the brink of financial disaster. I know because I read the OC Register.

The newest housewife is the most likable – she seems like a lovely person – but life seems to go on around her without much. The others don't like her and think she's a pothead because she's so dopey all the time, but I'm pretty sure even potheads know if they have air conditioning or not. This one isn't certain, but she does know that "a big machine comes on at night and makes noise." Don't you just love that?

Her shtick is that she's "obsessed with being young" but she's got skin like a rotisserie chicken and wons the prize for Most Visible Tendons. And talk about tits on a stick.

One reason I like this is that they do a lot of filming in Laguna Beach and when I go visit my son, I go to a lot of those same places. Ok, I drive past them, but still.

Now the RHoNYC are another story entirely. These ladies really have the bucks, they are involved with their children and seem to be very fond of their mates. All but one have real jobs of their own and that one is busy being a countess. Countess LuAnn. What a country! A countess with a hillbilly name.

The thing is these ladies are smart. So smart that they're always plotting to get one up on the other ones.  They form bitchy alliances. At least two of the have genuine psychological disorders. Check out Ramona – even without knowing anything else about her, how could you look at those eyes and not know that she's about to make trouble? And she does. And yet, she's got a very nice husband and a decent 12-year old daughter.

Look at this poor thing – Bethany Frankel the Celebrity Natural Foods Chef. Ever hear of her ? No! She's as lean as could be, got a jawline that could cut glass and is a compulsive talker. Here she is cheffing up some rice and revealing the professional secrets, which are "add  liquid until it looks like this" and "cook it until it looks like this". Not sure you can handle it – better leave it to the celebrity professionals.

The poor thing is actually hanging by a thread. Whatever damage was done in her childhood makes her very fragile emotionally, despite her success as a celebrity natural foods chef (who uses coconut milk from a can.)

There's a Eurotrash couple who live in Brooklyn but are striving to climb the NYC social ladder and my favorite one: Jill Zarin. That's what she calls herself: Jill Zarin. Hi, I'm Jill Zarin. Hello – Jill Zarin. My name is Jill Zarin. She seeems like the most levelheaded one and that she can handle any of the other ones when the shenanigans start up.

So there we have it – something for both sides of the fence tonight. You watch RHoOC and wince and think "What a bunch of shallow dummies!" the whole time. then you watch RHoNYC and think "What a bitch!" but you can't help but root for them.

Let's all watch and meet back here tomorrow!

Chances: Slim to None

 While the firms dry clean the garments before they are hired out again,
some kilts are so dirty they are unhygienic for staff to handle … Because of this and the potential hygiene problems, we are politely asking people to wear underwear.

Good luck with that, Scottish kilt-renters.

Two things about men who go without underwear beneath a kilt:

1. I've been around many kilt-wearers in my life and let me tell you that unless they are part of a UK military regiment, only the newbies go without underwear. And you can tell who they are, too, by how much fiddling they do. Applied to this issue, a newbie can include those who rent kilts for special occasions.

2. Here's the other thing: they are not opposed to a public display of the fact that they are not wearing underwear. So if you're curious/interested, don't be shy about looking. For those of you who don't have the near occasion to be around kilt-wearers, you can take a peek here.

Of interest to note is that the term is not going "commando", it's "regimental."

Kilt inspector

Am I The Last Person In America To Find Out About This?

Did you know that there are little push-in tabs on the ends of foil and plastic wrap boxes?


And when you push them in, they hold the roll in place so it doesn't jump out of the box when you try to unroll a piece of the wrap? It's true – I looked on my foil box yesterday, found them right there, pushed them in, and had a transformative experience unrolling the foil.

I tell you – I'll remember that moment forever. Why is this a hidden feature? I guess nobody's making money on it so it's not worth talking about. but you'd think somebody would have made mention of this somewhere along the line. It's big.