29 January 2007

countdown to the scholarship competition

Are you ready?!?! What do you mean, "for what?" Tonight is the Miss America pageant! It moved to CMT a few years ago, which caused me to miss every single promo, thus remaining unaware of the date entirely. Don't let this happen to you.

Some people are confused by my (and my sister's) enthusiasm for the pageant. After all, I was never a pageant queen (I can be really nice, but not for that long at a stretch, and I have a feeling the "handlers" and I wouldn't get along) and I don't have teased hair (not since 9th...okay 10th...grade, anyway). So for the curious, I will list some of the fine reasons for tuning in this evening:

- We don't just watch, we rank. You have to be there from the beginning, because the introductions, cheesy as they are, are your chance to list your top ten. Keep in mind, Mississippi always makes it (as well she should); Miss America is, statistically speaking, never tall (and rarely a redhead); and frozen = not chosen, the smile's gotta be real.

- Evidently, pageant-watching runs in the Howell Family, as our cousin Landon live-blogged the Miss America telecast last year.

- Chris Matthews is a judge. I'm guessing given his *ahem* terrible toughness, he's going to turn out to be totally bewildered by the searing gaze of these driven women.

- It's cheaper than the $95.24 ticket to watch it live in Vegas.

- Miss Tennessee's name is BLAIRE PANCAKE! Really! (What more do you need to know?)

22 January 2007

i'll call them Agatha!

Why do stores name their pants? It seems like this started happening a few years ago, but now everywhere I look, rather than reaching for something in my size, I need to find Marisa or Julie first, and I don't mean the sales ladies. Also, which marketing genius decides which name goes with which pant? The associations don't seem relevant to me...no one's named a high-waisted, full-leg, flowy pant after Katharine Hepburn , neither have they named any clothes after Edith Head (and that's is really silly, since if they did, I would buy them IMMEDIATELY and I'm sure that's true for other people too).

And another thing about this naming business: I feel like we seem to be having a full-scale, retail-wide grammatical breakdown, because no one seems to remember that PANTS ARE PLURAL. I'm not saying I know why, I'm just saying that if you meet a foreign person and teach them the word "pant" instead, you will be doing them a grave disservice. So let's not be confusing and silly about this. Just hand me my Edith Head Party Dress and I'll be on my way.

16 January 2007

are you sensitive to the smell of bitter almonds?

For a month now, an article entitled "Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying" has been one of the top ten most emailed articles on the New York Times website. Though not at all silly, the questions do seem rather "early-relationship" to me, and the fact that so many people seem interested in them reminds me of our group premarital counseling, during which we learned that some couples had not discussed whether or not they wanted to have children (much less if so, when). Going about things this way does not seem to be a good way of maintaining a friendship, much less avoiding a divorce lawyer.

(If this article applies to you, don't panic, but for heaven's sake, please start talking. Once you're done with these questions, imagine your fiance is an alien and explain your planet to him. Discuss his every interruption or confusion, as these are basic matters on which you need not necessarily agree, but absolutely must communicate. Do not get married until you reach the critical balance of having asked all the questions you can think of and being entirely sure you haven't thought of everything you want to know about this person.)

While we were engaged, I was frequently the recipient of totally unsolicited yet fascinating marriage advice. "Focus on his needs. If he's happy, you'll be happy," was an intriguing suggestion, but not highly regarded (as my readers may imagine). On the other hand, I think one of the best ideas was, "Make sure this is the person you could happily have dinner with every night of your life." Well that's it exactly, isn't it? Someone with whom you are comfortable...about whom you could never learn enough...with whom every situation, from Wednesday night pizza to a complicated formal dinner, is more wonderful. That's happiness.

03 January 2007

how about some information pleeeeeeeeeease

My car is dear to me. It is a black 1996 Nissan Sentra with a manual transmission and more than 130,000 miles on it. And while I have, of course, loaned my car to former roommates for trips to the grocery store, etc. and I have been a passenger while someone drove for an hour or two, I pretty much drove each of those miles myself. The Sentra and I, we know each other. Well. Hence I love her even with her peculiarities, which include a radio which does not always display the station. (The lack of working air conditioning is quite another matter.)

Tonight I made a quick run to Trader Joe's, which is just a few minutes away...not a long trip, but long enough to turn on the radio. When I got in the car, a particular song was playing, and while it's not exactly what I'd call a "favorite," it is one of the very few songs to which I know all the lyrics...and so, rather than flip to NPR and catch something useful or stimulating, I stayed on the undisplayed station and rocked out to Paula Abdul.

You know you love it too.