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Musing #38: Happy HalloWEEn! I’m a slave to pee. (Sorry, Dad.)

Musing #38: Happy HalloWEEn! I’m a slave to pee. (Sorry, Dad.)

Oct 31, 2014

Permit me to set aside the artist’s struggle this month, dear readers. I’d like to discuss, instead, a different ilk of my personal strife; one about which I’ve intended to write since at least 2004. This essay pertains to my apparently thimble-sized bladder. That’s right. We’re talkin’ pee! Because it rules my world. Terrifying. What the hell?! My beloved genius/lunatic father hates it when his children use the expression: “I have to pee.” He finds it extremely vulgar. It seems counter-intuitive that a man with a riotous sense of humor about his own career in proctology should be put off by anything remotely excrement-related, but there’s no accounting for taste. Some things just defy explanation. See what I did there? I crack myself up. I don’t know why he homed in on the word “pee,” specifically. “Piss,” “whiz,” “tinkle,” “urinate” — none of these terms offend him. And, having witnessed the toilet training of five younger siblings, I can aver that he never shied away from ordering toddlers to “pee-pee in the potty.” But dare to utter, post-toddlerhood, that you need to “pee” in Dad’s presence, and rest assured…the term “peasant” shall be spat at you. This is the single worst reprimand in Dad’s parental arsenal; one step beyond the universally-dreaded “disappointment.” To a man obsessed with bathing his scions in high culture, there is nothing quite so shameful as peasantry. NOTE: Dad does not concern himself with material possessions. Thus, he does not allude to money when he hurls the peasant insult. You can be well-bred in penury. You can be a plebeian patrician. It’s about an appreciation for education, or a lack thereof. We have Dad’s “working class” hero, John Lennon, to thank for this. ‘Cause we’re all “fucking peasants as far as [Dad] can see-ee.” The peasant who made this misspelled “peasants.” NOTE: The term “pee” offends, whereas “fucking” does not. WTF?! But enough about Dad, for the moment. Because he is wrong on this point. There is nothing vulgar about declaring that one needs to pee…especially when one pees with the maddening frequency that I do. My excessive urination problem is not like that of a pregnant woman. It’s more like that of an old man with a swollen prostate — yet another...

Halloween on Birch Terrace

Halloween on Birch Terrace

Oct 30, 2014

By Mo Breden As Halloween approaches, I can’t help but remember the many Halloweens I enjoyed growing up on Birch Terrace.  Birch Terrace was one street among many in the group of homes known as Laurel Park.   All the streets in Laurel Park were named for trees, except for one, which was named after the developer.  Laurel Park is located about 38 miles south of Manhattan.  It is basically a suburb of Manhattan, but when my parents moved there in 1957, it was considered “the country”.    Birch Terrace was a neighborhood in the truest sense of the word.  Married couples and their children occupied all of the homes.  Most families had several children and a home with only one child was rare. On most days, Birch Terrace, bustled with activity, kids, playing in backyards, baseball games in the street, riding bikes, laughing, fighting, mostly just a whole bunch of kids having fun. On Halloween, it was insanity!!!  We rushed home from school, got on our costumes and hit the streets till dinnertime.  Everybody returned home for dinner, ate as quickly as humanly possible, then hit the streets again at dark and went door to door until we could walk no further.  Our parents did not accompany us.  The streets were filled with children.  My siblings and I went out as a group, and as we got older we branched off and went with friends.  While we were still little, we had hand me down costumes.  The most memorable of these costumes was the wolf costume; it was a wolf jumpsuit and a thin plastic mask.  I can remember my younger brother sitting on the curb crying because he had lost the wolf mask, this scene has me laughing hysterically as I write this.  We never found the wolf mask, so the following year he went out without the mask, he still got candy, and that was all that really mattered. And about that candy.  We had no trick or treat bags, or pumpkins, we used old pillowcases and we lugged those candy-laden pillowcases all over Laurel Park.  When I was in kindergarten my mother made me angel wings and sprayed them with glitter.  That...

Movie Bad Girl Inspired Costume Ideas

Movie Bad Girl Inspired Costume Ideas

Oct 28, 2014

Halloween is so close I am already doing my make-up…okay maybe that is an exaggeration. Are you still trying to decide what to wear to that party? Even if you have your costume for this year, you can file away one of these ideas for next year. Here are some fun suggestions based on some of my favorite movie bad girls…and boys I have remembered you in this column too. I love Halloween and the chance to wear a costume. I love costumes so much I think that may be the entire reason I entertain as well. Here is a list of some fun gals (and guys) you can be for Halloween night. My favorite little animated diva: Boo from “Monsters Inc” Everyone’s favorite prom date: “Carrie” (if you are going out with the boyfriend or spouse dress him up like Tommy Ross) How about a true classic and a character that is kooky and scary as hell: Baby Jane Speaking of kooky and scary, layer on that frumpy clothing as Annie Wilkes from “Misery” and don’t forget the sledge-hammer. Pam Grier took bad ass women to a whole new level as “Foxy Brown” and the character is the epitome of Movie Bad Girls of the 1970’s. Want something really retro? How about that sexy and deadly showgirl Velma Kelly from “Chicago”? Are you going out with your spouse or significant other? Here are some great pairings. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway rocked it as this criminal couple and you can too! “Bonnie and Clyde” Want something a little spooky? How Morticia and Gomez Addams? John Travolta and Uma Thurman gave brilliant performances as Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace in “Pulp Fiction” One of my favorite mother/daughter teams, Edna and Tracy Turnblad from “Hairspray” Are you going out in a group? I have you covered ladies. For some 1980’s fun go out as those secretaries who fought back against the boss…and won. The ladies of “9 to 5” Pull out some 80’s kick ass fashion and go out as the original mean girls….the “Heathers” Want something more glamorous? Let’s not forget this beautiful trio in “Dreamgirls” I couldn’t leave these ladies out “Bridesmaids” Show...

Gluten-Free: Friend, Fad, or Foe?

Gluten-Free: Friend, Fad, or Foe?

Oct 23, 2014

Are we done yet talking about gluten? I say that tongue in cheek, because no, we probably are not. I think the “gluten vs. gluten-free, which is right, which is wrong, is it about health or weight or what, should I or shouldn’t I” circus is kind of fascinating. It’s also a great example of how once a discussion becomes a hot media item, and is perceived as trendy in any way in the health and food industries, the debate also becomes incredibly polarized and it’s really difficult to disentangle the threads of truth from the wails of emotion… and even harder to figure out what it means for you. Of recent note has been a study done on gluten and something called FODMAPs [1,3] and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. I have read a number of articles in the last month or so that misinterpret the results of this study to draw definitive and emotionally-worded conclusions about gluten and gluten-free diets (more on this below). Most of these articles have been blog posts by authors who are either non-identified or have absolutely no indication of their qualification to be speaking about this topic, and yet they have been widely publicized, copied, and shared, and used by others (who may be unidentified as well) to support their own extreme opinion on the topic. For the record, any time you read an article about a study or health topic, it’s a great idea to consider if the author is qualified to be writing what they are writing, if they are benefiting monetarily from having an opinion, and even go and take a look at the original study, or references, yourself, before taking it in as gospel. This article though, that you are reading right now, is not really about whether or not YOU should eat gluten. That decision would be up to you and your qualified health professional. This article is about the impact of the popularization of gluten-free foods on our health and our perspective on the issue. So without further ado: Friend: For anyone with celiac disease or who avoids gluten for other reasons, the rise in popularity and awareness of what ‘gluten-free’ means is...

31 Movie Bad Girls for Halloween: The Final Chapter

31 Movie Bad Girls for Halloween: The Final Chapter

Oct 21, 2014

This week we are looking at what I consider the classic scary movies featuring Movie Bad Girls. These are movies that to me go hand in hand with the holiday. After that I have cruised the web looking for fun homemade costumes for children this Halloween and have listed some of my favorites. A great costume doesn’t have to be store bought. So here we go and I hope you have fun. October 24 “The Exorcist” (1973) Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow and Linda Blair Rated: “R” contains harsh language, graphic scenes of horror, disturbing images and violence The classic tale of possession and how far a mother is willing to go to save her daughter from the invading spirit. It is brutal and harrowing and one hell of a scary ride. This is quite possibly the most terrifying movie ever made and is my favorite film of all time. October 25 “Halloween” (1978) Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles and Nancy Loomis Rated: “R” contains language, nudity, sexual situations and violence 15 years ago little Michael Meyers brutally stabbed his sister to death. Now he has escaped from the mental hospital and is on his way home to Haddonfield where 3 teenage girls (Laurie, Lynda and Annie) are about to discover the boogeyman is real on the scariest night of the year. October 26 “The Haunting” Stars: Julie Harris, Clair Bloom and Richard Johnson This film is “Not Rated” and contains some intense scenes and mild violence Based on Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House”. This is the ultimate ghost story. Two women, Eleanor and Theodora, are invited to take part in a psychic investigation of a purportedly haunted house by Doctor John Markway. Once they arrive ghostly things begin to happen and it seems the house wants Eleanor to stay…forever. This classic movie may give you more than one sleepless night and is a delightfully chilling treat. October 27 “Friday the 13th” (1980) Stars: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King and Jeannine Taylor Rated: “R” contains language, graphic violence, brief nudity, sexual situations and a scene of drug use. Every campfire story has a beginning and in the...

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