Monthly Archives: October 2012

Hell in a hand basket (Halloween my way)

Holy Mother of God, is it Halloween again? Already?  How I could have missed this given the flurry of Martha Stewart Halloween hints that clutter up my email this time of year is a mystery. Perhaps it’s because this is the first year the little Slattern has not been home for the holiday, and as such the first year I have not had to make or even think about costumes. Anyways…in recognition of this, my least favorite holiday, I give you…drum roll please…last year’s post. Don’t be disappointed. It was a corker.

Martha without her makeup. Told ya’.

I hate Halloween. The costume hysteria, the sugar meltdown, the sugar coma, the instant weight gain, the toilet paper in the trees, the stink of scorched pumpkin innards, and that’s before we even begin to deal with the children.

Then there’s the expectation that this, or something very like it, will somehow come into play. Yeah, sure. Imagine a bag of cold oatmeal in a thong and handcuffs for a preview of the appeal of that. Finally, factor in a bunch of cranked up kids and you’ve got a recipe for instant Armageddon, folks.

So how do I cope with it year after soul-destroying year? I think you know, but in case you don’t here’s my strategy. Do with it what you will.

October 27
: Buy candy I think the kids will like, but which really is what I like: Snickers miniatures, Twizzlers, Heath bars, peanut butter cups, et al.

October 28: Emerge from sugar coma long enough to destroy the evidence and trash any remaining food items.

October 29: Replace consumed candy with items I do not like (Charlestown Chew, Laffy Taffy, pixie stix). Eat those anyway, because by now the sugar monkey on my back has become a gorilla and the beast must be fed.

October 30: Join Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous or similar. Plan a gym visit. Begin green tea detox and abandon it three hours later.

October 31
4 pm: Run out to corner store in a panic to replace candy currently stored on my ass or passing through my digestive tract. Find only reject items, such as Good ‘N Plenty, Mary Janes, Red Hots. Buy anyway along with a large bottle of pink grapefruit juice.

5 pm: Dump all reject candy into a large bowl and set on front steps. Too shameful to hand out in person. Turn out all the lights. Retreat to the back of the house with the grapefruit juice and a large bottle of vodka and wait it out with a Real Housewives of New Jersey marathon. By the time the trick or treaters have finished their retaliatory toilet papering and egging for the crap candy, I’m too fat to clean it up and  too drunk to care.

November 1: Back to Betty Ford.

Sports for Girls

C’mon ladies, grab a Lazy Boy and a brew. It’s fun!

I love sports generally, and Boston sports in particular. Not playing so much, but watching them live and on TV. Give me a handy pack, a bag of Lays and a tub of onion dip and I am good to go for an entire Sunday. Put me on the first base line a Fenway, and I’ll sit right there blissed out on peanuts and watery Coors, screaming at the umpires and participating in the wave for nine full innings. I’ve never actually been to Foxboro, but I have my dreams, most of which involve Wes Welker, the Real Housewives of South Boston and mocking chants of “Hey Rex, suck my toes.” I have been to the Boston Garden, but my memories of the occasions are, not surprisingly, a bit hazy. I’ll even listen to sports radio on a long drive, though Mr Slattern, whose brain is larger and somewhat more evolved than mine I’ll admit, prefers me to confine these binges to solo trips. Given the blue-ness of the air and my propensity for enraged commentary, especially when listening to that soppy fool Michael Kay, it is, I suppose understandable.

In any case, as I was saying, I am a fan, and as such am puzzled by the general lack of enthusiasm evidenced by a significant number of my gender. Why anyone in her right mind would watch Sleepless in Seattle at all, let alone instead of a playoff game, is a complete mystery to me. I can only conclude that the Estrogen Disinformation Network is winning the propaganda war, and this will not stand. There is way too much fun to be had on the Sunday sofa, so I’m taking it upon myself to drag my uninformed sisters to the party.

Why I like sports (and you should, too)

There’s drama.


There’s comedy.

Courtesy Bump Shack.


There is even the occasional miracle.


You might just spot a Kardashian in the stands (if you go in for that kind of thing).

Khloe and Lammy via


You get your  heroes and villains all in one place.


Team jerseys finally come in figure flattering styles.

Available from the great guys at Surviving Grady. Click the photo to buy a shirt!


Wearing a cap means you don’t have to wash your hair.



Then of course there’s Tom Brady.

Photo Jim Rogash/Getty Images, via ABC News.

And for the single gals out there who think all the good ones are either taken, gay or hiding, let me offer up this little piece of advice. Get yourselves to a sports bar on a Sunday afternoon, order up a brew (not a diet coke or a glass of white wine) and wait for the party to start. Trust me on this one. You will not be lacking for attention.

What’ve you got to lose?

The best music you’ve (maybe) never heard #2

Support your local mandolin genius: Chris Thile

Now I know what you’re thinking: Mandolin GENIUS? C’mon, that’s really reaching. Piano genius, certainly. Guitar virtuoso, perhaps, but the lowly mandolin? Nah.

Well the folks at the MacArthur genius board of standards do not agree, and this year they awarded one of the much coveted, extremely elusive “genius grants” to Chris Thile, grown-up musical prodigy and collaborator to such middling talents as Yo Yo Ma, Béla Fleck and Dolly Parton.  He plays classical music and bluegrass, and every genre in between with amazing skill. Still not convinced? Have a look at this, then.

Though not musical myself, I have it on good authority that what you just witnessed is completely freakin’ impossible, but there he is, sitting around the apartment in his yellow socks, picking a Bach prelude on his mandolin!

For those of you looking for more accessible musical offerings, give Maestro Thile’s bluegrass and acoustic music a try, under the band names Nickel Creek or the Punch Brothers. I’m also partial to the Goat Rodeo recordings, from which I’ll share the following, my favorite song from the record. And yes, that IS Yo Yo Ma playing the cello.

Want more obscure music recommendations? Try this.

The Kitchen is Closed

The Slattern is out. To lunch.


Like my childhood idol Lucy Van Pelt, I have built a spectacularly un-lucrative business around giving out practical, yet almost entirely useless, advice on a variety of topics. In my case, much of what I’ve written this past year has had a culinary rather than psychiatric focus, though I reckon the frequent side trips through the cesspit of my psyche could also serve as a cautionary tale for the observant reader or licensed mental health professional.  In any case, a stroll through the archives will show you how to make a pie, roast a chicken, whip up a tasty vinaigrette, bake a killer brownie and shake an authentic Sazerac. These are just the highlights, of course, but I think I can say that I have assembled a fair, if bare bones, primer on how to provide reasonably high quality sustenance for both family and friends without losing your mind, which was, after all, the goal I set during the initial planning meeting for Kitchen Slattern, aka one extremely drunken dinner party in the summer of 2011 during which the capable and persuasive Jen bought the name on my behalf and the enthusiastic and persuasive Robin egged us both on. Good times.

“Help me Dr. Feelbad. You’re my only hope.”

So as I say, over the past year I think I’ve made a reasonable contribution to gastronomy, much as Roseanne Barr did for unique musical performances a couple of decades past. As previously noted, a cautionary tale, but a memorable one nonetheless. And though I like writing about food in many ways, I find I may have “shot my wad,” if you’ll pardon the vulgarity, as far as cooking goes. I just don’t have that much more to offer on the subject. In addition, the little Slattern is off at college, Mr. Slattern long ago disavowed mammal consumption and lately is off sugar, salt and cheese, and I have placed my diet and health, for better or hellaciously worse, in the hands of Dr. Feelbad in an effort to lose the “sampling weight” I accumulated while overseeing quality control for such delightful treats as chocolate crinkles, lemon ginger pie and easy clafouti. I miss them all, I won’t lie.

Bottom line here: If I can’t sample, I can’t offer recipes. And though I could set this up as an improve-your-life-through-healthy-eating concern, who would want to read that? More importantly, how would I ever stop drinking if I had to write it? As such, I’m closing the kitchen and making it official. Going forward, I may offer up the odd culinary tidbit, and might even recycle some of the older chestnuts for the holidays, but in general, I’m going to confine my comments to the vast, weird territory that lies well beyond the limits of my cluttery, now under-provisioned, pantry.

Stay with me folks. It could get interesting.


“It was just a Zumba class, Honey”

“Shake that groove thing, Norman!”

Add this, if you will, to the pantheon of history’s filthiest matrimonial lies, right alongside “I was just standing next to my secretary/Mrs. Hot Shorts from next door/the arresting officer when she sprayed herself with perfume,” or, “I have absolutely no idea how lipstick got on my jockey shorts,” or my personal favorite, “Don’t worry, I’ll pull out BEFORE, I promise.” Not that I have any first hand knowledge of these, as Mr. Slattern is a model of propriety and rectitude. But one hears things.

Now, unless you live in the great state of Maine or its environs, the story of the prostitution ring operating out of a Kennebunk Zumba studio may have escaped your notice. I happened upon it only because I was “up home” last week closing up shop at our little hideaway, the chateau debris by the sea, or as we like to call the process, opening up the rodent hostel for yet another festive winter season. So amidst the washing, stowing and folding, imagine my delight at stumbling upon the coverage of this local cause célèbre in the daily local newspaper. Apparently the instructor, one Alexis Wright (which I strongly suspect to be an assumed name) had been trading sexual favors for cash, which is bad enough, but to make matters worse, she had not been declaring the income, and so like Al Capone, was busted for tax evasion, in addition to over a hundred charges of prostitution.

All of this is sad and tawdry, but here’s what has me flummoxed. What woman in her right mind believes her husband when he announces he has lately got a yen for more exercise and has decided to join a Zumba class? For those of you who are not familiar with Zumba, here’s my favorite description:

…a dance class spirited with Latin and international beats, a mix of rhythms, resistance training and hot and spicy aerobic conditioning. Zumba’s combination of interval training and body sculpting in an easy-to-follow dance format will have you shredding calories and grooving your body into super shape. 

Let us, for the nonce, skip over the obvious question of how, exactly, one goes about “shredding” calories and focus instead on the hot and spicy grooving. Look:

Now, can you possibly imagine a group of middle-aged, heterosexual Maine men – even in as cosmopolitan an area as Kennebunk – gathering in a group to do this? Neither can I, though it certainly is entertaining to try. For some reason I get an image of Fred Flintstone trying to rhumba with Charro, and once that picture comes to mind it’s mighty tough to shake it.

“I wanted them all. Every. Single. One”
Courtesy AP via the Portland Press Herald.

This brings me to my second question. What could conceivably be running through the mind of a man who is paying a woman for sex? Now whether it’s a lap dance or the full Lovelace, it is well beyond the realm of possibility that the woman is having any fun. If she were, there’d be no need to tip. And yet, somehow certain male brains seem capable of processing this experience as “I think this young, gum-snapping, surgically enhanced gal likes me,” or at the very least, “I’m prepared to believe she doesn’t despise me or find me pathetic.” Wrong on both counts, buddy. Unless you’re a Brad Pitt lookalike with stack of C-notes the size of a Winnebago and a Lear jet parked outside, there is no way a sex worker of any stripe is going to find you hot, or even lukewarm. Not possible.

So why do it? I guess you’d have to ask someone from the published list of johns (who range in age from 34 to 65, every single one of whom should have known better). Maybe they’d say it was the spicy aerobics that got them all overheated. Or perhaps it was the prospect of illicit relations with a winsome, sweaty fitness buff. Who can say? In the end, who really cares?

In any case, ladies, if your better half ever evinces an interest Zumba, I’d suggest consulting an attorney. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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