Friday, February 25, 2005

And Now, A Moment of Entirely Appropriate Self-Loathing or: I Am Not A Man

I have brought shame upon myself. I have watched Stars Without Makeup! (Exclamation point theirs, much as I'm a fan.)
There's little I could say to embellish upon the shamefulness of this activity that isn't said in the title alone. It is easy enough to read between the lines of the title alone and see Stars Are People Too Who Could Live Without Us Watching Them Every Single Moment Of Every Damn Day And Do You Think You Look Any Better Without Makeup, Betsy Crane?
No, I for sure do not, and although I now use my married name in my personal life, I use my maiden name here so as not to bring shame upon my blameless husband. I do not think I look good in very many photos at all, and if I had one, I'd post one of me here without makeup, to atone for my shame. There are none in existence that I know of past the age of eightteen, because I am never without makeup outside of my home. Well, that's not totally true, but anyplace other than Jewel, anyway. This is not because I have any concerns that my photograph will be taken. It's nothing more than vanity.
All this said, my only observation was that they really didn't look so bad! For the most part, they looked like normal attractive people, if you don't include the category of photos where they've captured someone making a weird face causing a triple chin that really truly isn't even there. At the beginning of the show, the beginning, they showed a clip of Cher yelling at the photographer something like, "You have no soul!" "You are not a man!" giving me ample opportunity to consider my own soul and turn back while there was still time.
I am so sorry, stars without makeup.

No, Really

I guess I'm just asking what marriage is because my brief experience of it has just been so great that I'm not really even sure I know what it means yet. I get the commitment part. I guess I just meant it in more of either a - conceptual, or a personal way, what it means to whoever. Because what I'm getting is, probably duh on this, but that it's completely defined by whatever two people you're talking about. But I also hear about how much you have to work at it, and I don't feel like we've worked very hard at it at all but that it's still working. So I guess what I'm asking is, is this like, not so much a honeymoon period, but a little, well, okay, you know, my whole thing is that whenever I'm happy, I naturally assume I'm in denial. But I don't want to be in denial right now, I want to really be happy, and I think I might be really happy, unless of course I'm in denial.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Friday, February 18, 2005

Top 10 Things That Are Awesome About My Dad

1. He edits a journal about the Jew’s harp.
2. He married two women named Lois. Of course, Lois Number 2 is awesome in her own right and as far as we all know, was not selected on the basis of her name but rather on these awesome qualities, but it is to everyone’s advantage that she happens to have the Lois name, as we in the family who have unique names know well his tendency to call us by the wrong one.
3. He has a list of top 10 ways he’s likely to die, but which list needs revision since three of them have recently been ruled out (I’m paraphrasing):
a) At the hands of jealous husband Brad Pitt.
b) Fetching flowers for his 117-year-old mother. (Passed away last year at age 104.)
c) Lollygagging while driving. (Which I assert would have been the most likely, as he never seemed to be able to master opening a juice box and actually looking at the road at the same time, but he’s not doing too much driving these days.)
4. He and my stepmother took care of both my grandparents for more than ten years, which is admirable.
5. He knows a lot of stuff about a lot of things, for real.
6. He watches the Gilmore Girls.
7. He’s an active and ardent democrat who was once a republican.
8. He says, “You should do what you want.”
9. And then when you do what you want, he says, “I’m so proud of you.”
10. He’s SOOOOO CYUUUUTE! (Family joke – my father suggests that Lois, my sister and I are short on adjectives other than the high-pitched use of “cute”.)

Disclaimer

This is the part where I belatedly make the disclaimer that at no time do I promise to be consistent in my point of view. I say this because I think Hutchie makes a fine point I hadn't thought about, with regard to advertising being all about being happy (and I say, not just advertising, but entire self-help sections of bookstores, and basically just a culture that promotes pain-free living, aka "no such thing") which has been a pet peeve of mine because I don't think it paints the whole picture, by a longshot. Obviously, no one's gonna buy a product if you say, "This deodorant works, but it probably will not improve your sex life." So I guess what I wanna do here is fine-tune my original posit: Being that life offers an infinite array of experiences ranging from grisly death to exhilaration, I would just like it if, critics or whoever, they, would allow that the joyful experiences are as valid as the horrible ones, in terms of whatever anyone wants to do with their art. Because it seems to me like art and literature are more often than not only taken seriously if it's despairing and gloomy. Which is entirely legitimate, I would just like the joy to have equal time.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Celibacy

I don’t think that’s an option either. But I enjoyed your observation about Rumsfeld and Cheney being conjoined, even if it did cause me to have a really hideous image in my head, death not being an option.

Rad

I cannot dispute what you say, Anonymous, that has been my experience with my life and art, to date, but I have it in my head that it would be really radical if there was suddenly a movement in all art forms where it was all about the joy.

Bibi Galini

My friend Liz has an amazing gift for recalling pretty much any and all pop culture references of the last forty years. Las night she said something along the lines of, "I could have been some kind of a genius if I hadn't used up my memory this way." Anyway, somehow the subject of Bibi Galini came up and here is my promise to you. I'll send you a bright shiny nickel if you can tell me who Bibi Galini is. No Googling.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Why

Why does art, writing, whatever, have to be hard and sad and bad for it to be taken seriously? Why? Isn’t joy a legitimate thing? Do we not want to read about joy? Why not? Will we get jealous? Is it boring? Why? No, really, why?
I will write about my dad soon, and it will be joyful, and I will write about some other people I love, and I encourage you to do the same.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Moms

It wasn’t my intention to get too serious, much less personal, here, but I’m currently admiring some of my other friends (yo what up Anne & Jackie) for their blogging candor, so perhaps on occasion, like today, I will make exceptions.

I read an article last night by a woman whose mother had died. The focus was on the mother’s clothes, how fashion was sort of the only connection they’d had in their troubled relationship. There were bits of it I related to, if I am to tell the whole truth, but the writer said some really unkind things about her dead mother, in my opinion, and I was inclined to write another of my famous unimportant letters to the editor until that thing came into my head about if you’re pointing the finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you. I’ve written extensively about my (now dead) mother, in fiction. She was an amazing character, and I feel slightly off the hook because she had read some of the stuff I’d written about her when she was still alive, and my recollection is that she was amused. When she asked if she was always going to turn up in my stories, I said, “If you keep giving me material!” which cracked her up. Anyway, the point is, I guess I just hope that I’ve portrayed my mother in all her wonderful complexity, and that it comes across, above anything, as intended with the deep affection and loss that I still feel, six years later. The thing that you get after they’re gone, or I did, anyway, is that if she were still here, or rather if she were to come back, I’d do my best to be a better daughter. (Versus, you know, continuing to blame her for my problems when she’s not even here to defend herself.) I was fortunate enough that through the terrible circumstance of her illness I was able to (work toward) putting my expectations of her aside and just loving her while she was still here, and it is unfortunate that it took this illness for me to do so. I suspect my relationship was not so much “troubled” as this other woman’s was, as it was just another complicated mother-daughter relationship. We had our moments, but never, from childhood to adulthood, did I want another mom. She was glamorous, talented, funny and loving, and she may have had her personal demons, but what-ever to myself. Who doesn’t. My mom and I had an amazing time, traveling the world and taking in culture, and in the small things at home, teaching me old-school stuff like sewing and knitting (not cooking so much, sorry Ben) and for every fight we had there were fifty other times when we got the giggles so hard my mom would have to cross her legs so she wouldn’t pee her pants. All this to say that it got me to thinking that my mom, whatever I might have thought when I was, you know, twenty-four, did a fairly spectacular job with me. If I do say so myself. And guess what, I am so much like her it’s not even funny. Or maybe it is. Maybe tomorrow I’ll give a shout-out to my dad.

Straw Dogs

Is a really weird, violent, disturbing movie and I wish it would get out of my head.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day

Rush Limbaugh, or Bill O'Reilly?

Couches or Socks

You know, I live for and on the couch, and I agree that this is a toughie, but I think I'd have to go with socks. As long as big giant pillows are still in play.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Death Is Not An Option

Also brilliant! Personally, I think I'd go with Peter Griffin over Homer Simpson. Camille vs. Susie I need to think about. Oy.
What about Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld? Not as obvious as it first appears, if you think about it.

Friday, February 11, 2005

What’s Better/Who Would Win In A Fight

These are two games I learned from my husband and his friends. For anyone who doesn’t know the rules:
What’s Better requires that one person pose the question about two things/people/places/whatevers, the idea being that whichever thing is better is kept, and the other thing has to be banished from the face of earth forever. The object of the game is to stump as many people as possible. If you boil it down, the easiest way to stump people is to choose two things that are a) really really great (or necessary), or two things that b) really really aren’t. It can also be fun to play with your more gray areas, like c) things that go together so well you can’t bear to think of one without the other.
Examples:
What’s better?
a) Monkeys, or bunnies?
b) Jessica Simpson, or Nick Lachey?
c) T-shirts, or jeans?
Moving on to Who Would Win In A Fight? This is fairly obvious, of course, but the bonus of this game is that you can arm your competitors with whatever suits your fancy, as well as giving them some sort of disadvantage, if that appeals to you.
For example:
Who would win in a fight?
Angelina Jolie with an eyepatch and both hands tied behind her back, or
Jennifer Aniston with a throwing star?
David Foster Wallace with a salad fork, or Dave Eggers with a butter knife?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Dear Lindsay

Dear Lindsay Lohan,
I am old, old as the hills, old as King Tut, if he were alive. I start sentences with In my day and When I was your age and I am sure that this has everything to do with everything in this case, but I’m going to say what I have to say anyway. Button up that shirt, young lady.
Yours truly,
Elizabeth Crane

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Things you might find here:

Things you might find here:
Observations and opinions, arguments and pleas, notes, lists, and tables, appreciation and gratitude, questions and guesses although maybe not so much in the way of answers, but, at the very least, text and images. Nothing about Leonardo diCaprio.

If you’re looking for something serious, you probably won’t find it here, unless you do.

That's all I'm trying to say.

My husband is SO cute.