Category Archives: Rants

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The misanthrope’s need for personal space

I’m having trouble with space. Not the intergalactic type, but the human kind, as in my personal space. People and things are cluttering it up, and my daily encounters with the lack thereof are wearing me down and cranking me up.

Via printable signs.net

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Hey Kitchen Slattern, you chose to live in one of the most densely populated areas on Earth — of course space is tight. Stop your bitching, why don’t you?” Thank you for your understanding. Let me clarify, it’s not just New York that’s getting tighter, it’s everything and everywhere: my shoes, my car, the distance between restaurant tables, the aisles at Bloomingdales, even the formerly inviolate area around my person. In short, there’s just too much stuff and noise everywhere, and any place that’s not filled with crap is chockablock with nattering, rambling, scrambling humanity.

It is really starting to bug me. Read the rest of this entry

Who put Stevie in charge?

Courtesy Last FM

Those of you who had progressed beyond teething rings and Cookie Monster by the tail end of the Seventies will probably recall the musical and sartorial splendor of Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks. In hindsight both are somewhat cringe-inducing, though to this day I maintain a soft spot for Tusk — it’s the brass section, I guess.

Honestly, guilty pleasure though the record most certainly is, it really gets the solo dance party started, at least after a few Saturday night Sazeracs anyway. Don’t believe me? Toss a couple back and have a look at Mick Fleetwood getting his groove on courtesy of the USC marching band. See if you don’t feel the urge to shake a tailfeather.

Anyways, if it’s all too far back in the murky past for you to recall, let me remind you that along about 1979, platform shoes, flowing raiments, floppy hats, tatty lace and Rapunzelesque locks were already a bit out of date, except on Steven Tyler and the occasional tranny, but our gal Stevie held on to them all well into the next decade, for better or worse.

Steve and the boys, dressed as girls, courtesy sweet-emotionn.tumblr.com.

Now owing to some “personal issues,” Stevie had largely disappeared from the musical/celebrity scene by about the mid to late Eighties, effectively ending her solo career, which I think we can all agree was really for the best. So imagine my surprise yesterday when I was out and about, shopping for suitable attire for an upcoming social event that’s not really formal, but just a little bit dressy — you know the kind of thing, and all I could find were Stevie’s cast off Welsh witch twirly skirts, princess-on-acid maxi dresses (no foundation garment possible with these) and impossible platform shoes.

A typical offering. Via bismilahirahmanirrahim.blogspot.com.

Apparently after all these years girlfriend has assumed control of the fashion industry! Rehab must have included some mixed martial arts training, because she has somehow managed to kick Anna Wintour’s bony backside to the curb, replacing the tasteful Jackie O sheath with the crochet mumu or mini as every gal’s must have wardrobe staple in the process.

Unfortunately, Stevie redux (the sequel) doesn’t look quite as fetching on the middle-aged frame as it did on the teenage one; however, lace minis and swirling maxis were literally all I could find that were fashion forward without being a little black dress, and so I came home empty-handed and more than a tad frustrated.

Granny suit and sensible shoes courtesy Duchess Whatsername and jezebel.com.

I ask you, why is it women over 40 (who are not Demi Moore) must choose between dressing like the Olsen twins or Duchess Whatsername Mrs. Prince Charles? Is there no middle ground?

And why can’t I find a pair of dress shoes that weigh less than fifty pounds? Owing to my lack of stature, I have had to get used to walking in a very high heel, and more often than not I do just fine. But these newfangled platforms are like cement mixers. Have you ever tried dragging a pair of them around? Sure they build up your calves after a couple of days, but really, I have time to separate my workout from my leisure activities, and I prefer to do so whenever possible. Who wants to feel the burn while walking from the table to the ladies room, I ask you?

The final injury is the hats. If the ladies at Bloomingdale’s are to be believed, we should all be topping off our hippie costumes with big floppy hats, a la Rachel Zoe, whom I now believe to be in cahoots with Stevie. Or maybe she IS Stevie. Have you ever seen them together? Think about it and get back to me.

Oh yeah, I could wear that. Via Trendmill.com.

Martha Stewart: The gift that keeps on giving

There are perfectly good reasons why I subscribe to virtually everything Martha Stewart puts out — for free that is. As I have chronicled, the woman makes my ass ache; however, I have found tremendous inspiration in her works. For the snark-minded, she is the gift that keeps on giving.

BLING courtesy of marthastewart.com

So the latest epistle from Martha suggests making a button necklace. I’ll spare you the details, but it looks like this. According to Martha, you’ll need 60 buttons to replicate the dazzling item in the photo. So I checked out Chichester, her suggested source for the buttons, and my suspicions were correct.

Abalone buttons range from $1.75 to $6.70 apiece depending on size.  Now I’m assuming you wouldn’t opt for the saucer-size three inch buttons, but let’s say you go for the half inch ones. At $2 a pop, you’re in for $120 bucks before shipping, handling and tax. Then you have to buy the string, and after that you’ll need about three days to put the goddamned thing together (it requires approximately 125 knots by my count), plus a large vat of Bag Balm to treat the open sores on your fingers. (About $8 for the 10 ounce tub, and if you don’t keep it around the house, you should. It’s miraculous.)

All in then, I’m guesstimating this little DIY extravaganza will run you about $150. That’s three bottles of Veuve Cliquot or an entire case of Ten High with a few bucks left over to throw at your bail for those of you who prefer the liquid measure. And all so that you can proudly sport a necklace that looks like a mentally-challenged, eight-fingered six year-old made it at Y camp, and which you will then have to fess up to having created yourself. Believe me folks, you’re better off with the whiskey.

All of which begs the question, Is it ME?

Among the Active Seniors

Paradise courtesy of sun, sand and the world’s best bartender.

So as you may have gathered by my recent absence and drunken exhortations to buy and consume fruit flavored rum, Mr. Slattern and I recently enjoyed a relaxing stay in the islands. We don’t really go in for the swim-up bar type of destination, preferring instead to do our drinking while decently clothed in the comfort of a chair or chaise, but we’ll make do with a stool when necessary. We found a charming little resort, the Cocodimama in Eleuthera, where we could do just that, and as an added bonus, we discovered that they have very good food and Sammy, one of the world’s great bartenders. Consider the Slattern’s seal of approval enthusiastically given.

courtesy rumpunchrecipe.net

So, all in all it was a delightful getaway with sun, sand, food and drink in copious abundance. Perfect, but for one small, wrinkly fly in our sunscreen: the islands of the Bahamas appear to be teeming with active seniors. Unlike the doddering species of domestic snow bird that infests Florida and other stateside environs (which has already been extensively and hilariously chronicled by my pal Cristy Carrington Lewis), the international retiree apprears to be quite adventurous and engaged with his surroundings and neighbors. Which frequently makes him/her a far larger pain in the ass.

Let me offer you a couple of examples from my recent experience:

Baked Alaska

Swinging and roasting, courtesy Rolf Hicker and simplyforties.com

Mr. Slattern and I encountered Baked Alaska and his lovely wife Mrs. Alaska in the hotel bar while we were engaged in a particularly contentious game of Scrabble – I know what you’re thinking, but we’re word people and the way we play Scrabble, it qualifies as a blood sport, well a drunken blood sport. Sort of like cockfighting without the chickens. Anyways, there we were, at a quiet table by the door, obviously engaged in some serious mental gymnastics while happily partaking of that oh-so-crucial third pre-dinner cocktail, when out of nowhere and completely unbidden, Baked Alaska appeared at our table, officiously peering over Mr. Slattern’s shoulder and effectively smashing both our concentration and our cozy rum glow to smithereens.

“Playin’ Scrabble?” he astutely queried.

We resisted the urge to slap back the usual snappy retort along the lines of, “Scrabble? Heck no, we’ve got a little cold fusion underway here, but no Scrabble.”

He then hovered for the next twenty minutes, interrupting us with the usual line of interrogation — Where you folks from? How long you staying for? What’s your line of work? Would you like to see my wife naked? OK, he didn’t ask us that last one, I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.

In the pregnant silences between his questions and our brief, monosyllabic responses, Baked Alaska offered a wealth of information about himself, including the fact that he was from Alaska, but since retiring had split his time between the tropics and his home base with occasional stops at an intermediate, layover property in Arkansas. And no, I didn’t ask why Arkansas of all the fucking places in the world. I wanted to know, but couldn’t have borne the lengthy real time recitation of the thought process behind buying a house in the middle of fucking nowhere as a stopover on a journey to the ends of the fucking Earth.

Eventually Baked Alaska and his deep golf tan drifted off to another table to pester another innocent pair of tourists, but not before he had so distracted and irritated me that I missed an obvious seven-letter word (INTRUDER into a triple word score) and instead played RUDE for twelve measly points. I still suspect Mr. Slattern of putting him up to it. The man will stop at nothing to win.

Not convinced? Think we’re just a couple of cranky, unfriendly sticks in the mud? Consider this:

Deaf Con Red

Facsimile of Deaf Con Red courtesy the Red and Green Show

Later that same evening, our equilibrium restored, we were basking in the glow of a tasty fish dinner and trying to decide whether to have another rum drink with dessert or in place of it, when our space was once again invaded. Baked Alaska was, by this time, deeply involved in a discussion of irons versus wedges or some equally fascinating subject with the father of a family of eight from Arkansas (“Arkansas? Really! Gosh, we’ve got a place in Hot Springs….”), and Mrs. Alaska had long since dozed off at their table. Our sense of security, however, was as false as it was short lived.

We looked up from our menus expecting to see the friendly waitress all ready to take our order (two more Bahama Mamas and two pineapple pies, please — it was vacation after all). Instead we encountered the ruddy grinning mug of Deaf Con Red. The conversation went something like this:

DCR: “Hey folks, where you from?”

Mr. Slattern: “New York”

DCR: “Eh?”

Mr. Slattern: “New YORK”

DCR: “Sorry?”

Mr. Slattern and me, screaming: “NEW YORK”

DCR: “Oh New York. Never lived there, but the wife loves to visit. Too noisy for my liking. I’m from Somefuckingplace (I’ll be honest, I had already tuned out, or passed out, I’m not sure which) in Iowa. How long you here for?”

Mr. Slattern (forgetting that our interlocutor was deaf, since like me, he had been ever so slightly over served by this point): “Just a week.”

DCR: “Eh?”

Flaming rum courtesy floridarestaurantlaw.blogspot.com.

I’ll spare you a verbatim recounting. Suffice to say the conversation went on like that for some little time, with Deaf Con Red asking questions and forcing us to repeat the answers two, three and even four times because he either wouldn’t wear a hearing aid or couldn’t be bothered to turn it up. I’m willing to wager that battery conservation played a role, but whatever the case, Mr. Slattern and I both woke up at four am on the beach in our dinner attire, hungover, eyebrowless and hoarse, because despite our clear lack of interest Deaf Con Red sat down with us and eventually his pal, Baked Alaska, drifted over too. At least that’s what I think happened. Once the rum starts arriving straight up and on fire, all bets are off.

Because God has a sense of humor, both sets of active retirees were on our homebound flight. It took us a while to puzzle out why they kept calling us Trixie and Froderick, and we were initially flummoxed by some of their comments about our professions, but as the trip progressed, the memories of the evening returned in sickening, lurid detail. On the positive side, apparently, even at this advanced age, I can still pass as a stripper and Mr. Slattern makes a convincing rap artist. Who knew?

The Fast and the Furious: New Jersey Drift

Via Freefoto.com

What the hell is wrong with drivers lately? Are licenses being handed out at Walmart on a “special needs” basis? Has someone dropped a truckload of bath salts in the water supply? Or is it just that we have collectively crossed some kind of invisible behavior line from barely civil to overtly feral? I ask because every time I emerge from a highway on-ramp it seems I am immediately surrounded by the Toads of Toad Hall – their weak brains intoxicated by the rush of speed as they execute a frenzied series of high speed, signal-less maneuvers while talking on the phone, checking their email or plucking their eyebrows. This final activity is not confined to the ladies, either – I frequently have to drive in New Jersey.

It never fails; no sooner do I take to the highway than I am on the receiving end of a constant, escalating series of vehicular assaults that make a NASCAR race look like a geriatric Prius rally on National Put Granny Behind the Wheel Day. The local streets are equally treacherous.

Just so you know, I have driven in some scary ass places, on either side of the road and in panic-inducing conditions including but not limited to blizzards, monsoon rains, black ice and one unforgettable airport run with my in-laws providing a steady stream of helpful safety tips. Even so nothing, but nothing, can equal a few miles on today’s urban highway for sheer, trouser-fouling, mind-bending terror at the hands of gratuitously aggressive psychopaths on a manic UP and lacking any regard for life, be it human (yours) or sub-grade (theirs).

I’ve noticed that there are two recognizable types who are particularly dangerous (I’m talking about drivers who can personally skew the actuarial tables of entire regions): the overextended housewife in the massive SUV and the overcompensating middle-aged man behind the wheel of a minivan. If you routinely attempt highway driving, you will recognize the types. Consider yourselves warned.

Mrs. Apocalypse

To the unknown housewife who cut me off this morning after I obligingly pulled into the granny lane at 75 miles per hour to let her pass, I have a message.

Hey Blondie, put your bedazzled fucking iPhone down and listen up! That massive, white glacier of an SUV you pilot certainly is bangin’ and I’m sure you are, too. But as much as I enjoyed the thrill ride of having your fifty-ton Chevy Apocalypse half way up the tailpipe of my Jetta for the better part of thirty miles, I really must ask that you tighten up your driving skills, especially when you have at least twelve screaming ‘tweens in the vehicle, as you did earlier today.

Mrs. Apocalypse’s Death Star

Listen up Mrs. A, I have now officially had enough of you and your bling mobile, and next time we meet I cannot guarantee that I will show the kind of restraint I did earlier today when I merely love tapped your rear bumper. Though you may not have noticed it from up there in the wheelhouse, you very nearly turned my ride into a belly tank when you abruptly, and with no signal, swerved into my lane in an apparent effort to avoid missing the exit for whichever mall your ass was on fire to patronize.

My little bump was merely an effort to draw your attention away from the phone in your claw and the riot in your backseats and back to the job at hand, namely keeping that tarted-up cruise ship moving without actually killing me or anyone else. It is clear to me that the distractions in your Apocalypse, combined with your complete and utter inability to handle a vehicle that should require a class two license, had long since shorted out your small, bleach-addled brain, overtaken your limited cognitive powers and obliterated what remained of your hand-eye coordination when we encountered one another earlier today. You, Mrs. Apocalypse, have elevated inattention to an art form.

A word of advice: Next time you decide to start your day with that morning cocktail of Valium, Dexatrim and a vodka smoothie, get someone to drive you to your pole dancing class and stay the hell off the road, because you are a goddamned chaos machine.  If ever we meet again you’d best hope it’s not in my neck of the woods, bitch; the Brooklyn Queens Expressway will eat you alive, and I will be first in line at the buffet.

Mr. Minivan

Yo, Senor Caravan, just a quick question: What the hell is up your ass? I can only guess that having to cruise around in that powder-blue teeny bopper transport mobile is so demoralizing, so demeaning, so utterly emasculating that you feel you have no choice but to whip out your unit (yes, I’m sure it’s gi-fucking-normous and it’s a miracle you can even walk) and show the world who’s the man when you’re behind the wheel. How else to explain your excessive speed, hyper-aggression and crazed recklessness?

At rest a benign family car, but in the hands of Sr. Caravan it’s the great white of the turnpike.

Come to think of it, I have never, and I mean NEVER, seen you with both hands on the wheel. Now, maybe you’re busy twiddling the radio dial or touch-texting on the down low, but I have my doubts. In any case, I don’t really care what’s going on below my sightline; in truth, I’d rather not even think about it. The fact remains, however, that since you treat every little run to the soccer field like the final lap at Talladega, you always seem to get up in my grill.

Does it bother me when you refuse to pull over and let me onto an otherwise empty highway? Am I bugged when you swerve out into my lane on a local street, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision, to get around the double-parked Fed Ex truck on your side of the street? Does it fry my ass when you lay on your horn every time I fail to peel out within a nanosecond of the light turning green? Hell yes, you bet your sorry, middle-aged, Dockers-wearing ass it does.

So in the interest of road safety, I’d like to offer up the following: Mr. Caravan, please know that I realize your other car’s a Lamborghini, and I assume you’re just borrowing the little woman’s wheels while your chick-mobile is in the shop. In fact, I admire you for having enough confidence in your masculinity to get behind the wheel of a vehicle sporting bumper stickers that say This broomstick is PMS Powered! and Does this car make my ass look fat? Really I do.

I gave up on the paint job a LONG time ago.

Now would you kindly get the fuck off my rear bumper before I give you a brake job? Because I’ve got nothing left to lose here, pal. My car is fifteen years old and the odometer gave up the ghost at least 80,000 miles ago. Scratches and dents are just the cost of doing business in my world, but I’ll bet your wife doesn’t feel the same way.  You will not enjoy explaining the long ugly scrape or the bashed-in fender to Mrs. Caravan; I know because I’ve seen her screaming at you from the passenger seat.  So put it back in your pants and slow the fuck down, asshole. You have been warned.

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