10 Beauty Tips For Beautiful Beauty

clarabowwithmoneyhairandlips

You can’t watch Bravo, E! and other highbrow TV channels, or pass magazines like Us Weekly or Star in the check-out lane at the grocery store without being bombarded with pictures of the Beautiful People.  How did they get that way?  More importantly: how can YOU get that way?

For the first time ever, secrets once known only to the Beautiful People are revealed to you, the Unwashed Masses.  Here are my 10 Beauty Tips for Beautiful Beauty:

1) Be young.
I recommend being 16 years old. Time, sun and gravity are all fighting against you and they start winning the battle once you pass 20.  Any younger than 16, however, and the benefits of firm, youthful skin are outweighed by the flesh-crawling-creepiness of the realization that the sex god or goddess being lusted after is little more than a child.

If those sexy children are professional models selling beauty and fashion products, however, it’s OK.  This is considered normal business practice.

2) Be rich.
Poor people have to spend their money on non-beautifying items like “food” and “shelter.” This leaves very little spending cash for essentials like $1000 per half-ounce face cream made from baby beluga whale testicles, which elixir is guaranteed to possibly temporarily reduce the appearance of fine lines when viewed in extremely murky light.

In this area, less is never more: more is more.  More money is always more betterer when pursuing beauty.

3) Pick good parents.
Scientists say genetics are perhaps the single most important determinant of health, and the same goes for beauty. It’s crucial to select your parents carefully because when you look at them, you’re looking at your future.  Ask yourself:

        • Do Mom’s jowls keep quivering for 5 minutes after she stops shaking her head?
        • Does Dad’s paunch make people ask when the baby is due?
        • Do the varicose veins on Mom’s legs look like a New Jersey road map?
        • Does the top of Dad’s head resemble the “before” picture in a Sy Sperling Hair Club commercial?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, you may want to consider trading these parents in for better models.

4) Have big lips.
The tiny, bee-stung mouth was all the rage in the Roaring Twenties, but times and fashions change. Now you have no chance at being considered beautiful unless your lips are roughly the size and color of a baboon’s ass in heat.  Good thing you’re rich (see Tip #2) so you can afford to have tissue from dead people surgically implanted in your lips, a procedure known as the “Real Housewife.”

5) Avoid stress.
Stress causes wrinkles which make you look old, which is not young, and therefore not beautiful (see Tip #1.) Some of the major life stressers to avoid are:

        • Jobs
        • Family
        • Friends
        • Thoughts of renouncing your U.S. citizenship if either Trump or Clinton gets in

“How,” you may ask “can I avoid these things?”

If you have already followed Tip #2 and are rich, you are well on your way to minimizing stress.  You can afford to ignore people and situations you don’t like.  You can spend your days at the spa listening to calming, New Age music while pursuing the latest money-is-no-object beauty treatment, like having your body slathered in mud made from pulverized lava from Mount Vesuvius, 14k gold dust and Peruvian llama urine.

It is a tiring regimen, I know, but nobody said that being beautiful was easy.  Anything truly worthwhile in life rarely is.

6) Hang out with ugly people.
Make sure you are always the best looking in any group by only socializing with those who are uglier or fatter than you – preferably both at the same time.  Clever people learn this tactic in junior high and perfect it in high school.

If the ugly people around you are your parents, however, you may be in trouble (see Tip #3.)

7) Avoid the sun.
The sun causes wrinkles which make you look old. As we have already learned (see Tip #1) being young is vital for beauty so avoid the sun at all costs.  The problem is that hot young surfer babes and studs look even hotter with a deep suntan.  Alas, the very thing that enhances beauty in the short run will destroy it in the long run.  This is what we call a Beauty Conundrum.

Your best bet is to lie out in the sun a lot when you’re 16, and then stay that age.

8) Be dumb.
Thinking involves concentration, and most people knit their brow and purse their lips when they do that. These activities lead to wrinkles, assuming your lips haven’t been so stuffed with cadaver tissue that they can no longer move.

Besides, it is a truth universally acknowledged (in every teen movie and Rom-com made in the last 30 years) that smart people always have glasses, pull their hair back in tight buns and wear sensible shoes.  They can’t possibly be beautiful.

There you have it.  Learn my 10 Beauty Tips for Beautiful Beauty and follow them faithfully and soon you, too, will be beautiful.   Couple your newfound beauty with behavior that even trailer-trash would consider tacky, and you might catch the eye of a reality TV producer.  Someday YOU may be one of the Beautiful People staring out at the Unwashed Masses from the cover of a check-out lane magazine.

You’re welcome.

 

 

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Taking My Art On The Road

Some of my work

Some of my work

It’s hard to make a living as a writer, no matter how talented you are.  And if you’re a poet?  Forget about it.  Poetry doesn’t pay.  It may sound romantic to starve in a freezing attic in Paris, but the reality is that life is much more pleasant with a steady paycheck and benefits.

That’s why I took a job with the Department of Transportation; Division of Highway Poetry.

We write the pithy poetry for those LED highway message signs.  You know the ones I mean; they’re either permanently mounted over the highway, or temporarily set up at the side of the road.  They’re programmed with different messages, which sometimes flash to really get drivers’ attention.

I bet you’ve seen some of my work:

  • Click it or ticket.
  • Speed kills.
  • Phone in one hand, ticket in the other.
  • Loose lips sink ships.

The secret to successful highway sign poetry is to make it short and snappy.  Especially short.  You’ve only got a second or two for your message to register before the driver is past it and on their way down the road.

A former colleague of mine, Bud, had a real knack for this, but his stuff tended to be a bit too long for the medium.  You may have seen this poem of his:

This guy I knew once drove distracted,
So his car with another impacted.
His car was a wreck,
He broke his fool neck,
And his pain was severe and protracted.

He was really proud of that one, and rightly so.  It has great internal rhyming and a powerful message.  Alas, it was too much of a good thing.  A driver attempting to read that sign didn’t notice that the semi in front of him had stopped suddenly.  The ensuing 67-car pileup meant the end of the driver, as well as Bud’s career with the Division of Highway Poetry.

You might think that everything that can be said about driving has already been said, but I’ve still got lots of great ideas.  Here are a few ditties I’m working on now:

  • Only a doo-doo head texts while driving.
  • Don’t be a clown,
    Slow it way down.
  • Going slow?
    See the light.
    Drive your car
    In the lane on the right.
  • Knuckle down and buckle up.
  • Only talk when your hands are free,
    Doobee, doobee, doobee-ee.
  • Driving while drinking?
    What are you thinking!!??
  • Use your head or you’ll be dead.
  • Slow or stopped traffic ahead.
    Like that’s different from any other day on this road.
  • “Make sure your tires are properly inflated,”
    She suggested with breath that was bated.
  • What the heck; don’t wreck.
  • Bridge out ahead.
  • Watch for motorcycles…especially in California where those idiots come barreling right up the line between the lanes of traffic on the highway.  What is WITH that crazy, dangerous behavior?
  • You’ll get passed if you’re not fast.
  • Road rage isn’t nice.
  • To be or not to be, that is the question…that some drunken loser may decide for you if you don’t keep your eyes open and drive defensively!
    (*first line courtesy of William Shakespeare.)
  • DON’T CRASH!!!!

This kind of poetry may not have the soul-stirring power of Shakespeare’s sonnets, but I think I am providing a valuable public service.  And I bet even The Bard would have taken this gig had it been available back in his day.  In addition to 4 weeks vacation, we get full dental AND vision.

 

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Dear Travelocity

Stampede over to the Nudge Wink Report today and hear how Travelocity and their interwebz marketing brethren are making my life miserable. Curse the dastards!

The Nudge Wink Report

It ain't easy to run in heels. It ain’t easy to run in heels.

Dear Travelocity,

It’s over between us.

I stopped by your site last week to look at hotels for a possible weekend getaway in Chicago.  Now you won’t leave me alone.   I got two emails from you just this morning asking about my Chicago vacation plans.   I don’t HAVE any such plans.  Those emails arrived in the same batch as one from TripAdvisor, their 15th in the last 2 weeks suggesting not-to-be-missed B & Bs in the San Francisco Bay area.  My mouse must have accidentally hovered over that option on their site a couple of weeks ago.

You’re chasing me like a starving lion after a wounded wildebeest.  Before you can get to me, though, you’ll have to elbow aside the relentless stalkers from Staples.  Their ads hawking paper shredders have been following me throughout the internet ever since I made the…

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Step Away From the 1040 Before Somebody Gets Hurt

Back away.  Back.  Away.  Now.

I’ve got a sharpened #2 Ticonderoga pointed at my jugular, and I’m not afraid to use it.

The floor is littered with broken pencils, crumpled 8863s and tufts of naturally blond hair, pulled out by the roots.  The air reeks of stale coffee and desperation.

I’ll never get my taxes done.

First I have to do federal for daughter #2 as a dependent, then again with her on her own.  After I figure which is best, I need to do federal for me and the hubster.  Then do state of Illinois for me and state of California for daughter #2.

Then pay everyone money.  Lots and lots of money.

I’m an intelligent woman.  For cripes sake, I took both tax and cost accounting in college.  But I can’t do it.  I CAN’T DO IT!

These are the actual instructions for a worksheet from the 1040 instructions.  No, don’t look away, you coward.  In order to fight evil, you must first recognize it.

 

This is the “Simplified Method”, thank goodness! All you have to do is:
1)      Enter the total annuity payment from the Form 1099-R
2)      Enter the cost of the starting plan, except if you completed this worksheet last year.  Then skip line 3 and enter the amount from line 4 of last year’s worksheet on line 4
3)      Enter the appropriate number from Table 1 below, BUT if the annuity starting date is after 1997 then
4)      left hand red and
5)      right foot blue

The IRS is playing Twister with my brain.

I can’t even figure out when I need to send these in.  Aren’t taxes always due on 4/15?  Unless 4/15 falls on a weekend, then it’s the next business day.  Unless the next business day is a holiday in the District of Columbia.  No fooling.  Washington D. C., one city – not even a state – is having a holiday, so the due date has been changed for the entire country.

Happy Goober Days to all!

Well guess what?  I can’t turn my taxes in on Monday, because it’s an important holiday here in Peg-o-Legville.  It’s the annual Goober Festival. We spend the entire month of April celebrating this character’s lasting contribution to American television.  Some also celebrate peanuts, and that’s ok, too.  The point is it’s only fair that NOBODY has to do his or her taxes until 5/1 when our holiday is over.

Why can’t there be one tax?  They could shorten the whole, foul business down to 2 lines on the return:

-Did you make any money last year?
-Send it in.

Shhh.  What was that sound?  Did you hear that?   They’ve got the place surrounded.  The IRS is everywhere, and now they’re coming for me, but I’m not going quietly.   I’m taking their foul minions down with me.  They will all be bloody with pointy pencil pokes and paper cuts before this is through.

It’s too late for me, but save yourselves!  File the short form.

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Got Food? Drink? Incontinence Pads? Time To Call The IRS

onholdphoneandhatNothing is certain but death and taxes. 

(Death occurring while on-hold waiting to talk to someone about taxes is not certain, merely a very distinct possibility.)

Has this ever happened to you? You’re trying to do your taxes, there’s one wee smidge of the tax code you don’t understand, and you call the IRS for guidance. Your call is answered promptly and courteously by a real human being who not only cares about you, but knows the answer and gives it to you immediately.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Good one, right? Sometimes I slay me.

But seriously, folks…

I doubt there is a single person living on this earth who wouldn’t rather have his or her eyeballs plucked out by rabid crows than call the cable TV company, a health insurer, or any sort of governmental agency. But sooner or later we all have to make those calls. That means endless, frustrating hours of on-hold wait time. What do you do when you’ve been in the queue for an hour and you have to pee so bad you’re hopping up and down like a rabbit on speed? Or when your mouth is drier than the testimony at a congressional subcommittee hearing?

Introducing, the On-hold Survival Kit from Peg-Co.

Since I’m an insurance agent in real life, as opposed to a fabulously wealthy, famous writer (which fact is practically a crime against humanity) I spend much of my day on the phone with outfits like The Indigo Plus Sign Insurance Company.  This experience has given me valuable insights, which I’ve used to assemble this vital resource for you.

Beverage Dispenser:  Keep hot drinks hot, cold drinks cold, and both within sipping range with our hands-free beverage dispenser, shown above.  It’s also a fashion statement!

depend_protective_underwear-sm

Bathroom In A Box: After several refreshing drinks, your bladder may be sending out emergency evacuation signals. Now you can go, without going anywhere.

Articulated Grasp Extender: You might as well get some work done grabberwhile you wait, but the Jones file is just out of reach of your phone’s extension cord. Keep the world at your fingertips with our ever-popular grabber dealio.

paddleball

Physical Therapy Resource: Even the most dedicated work-slave needs a break now and then. Have hours of fun and develop your hand/eye coordination at the same time with this sophisticated piece of equipment.

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Gluteus Maximus Minimus Chairius:  Just because your frustration is maximus doesn’t mean your bottom has to be. Swap out your office chair for our exercise ball, keep your backfield in motion and tone up while you’re tuned in to that awful, on-hold music.

sleepingbagExtended Wait Cocoon: You’re in this thing for the long haul, but night is falling and so are your eye lids. Our cushiony, warm, Wait Cocoon comes with a handy access portal so you can bring the phone handset in with you while you stretch out.

With Peg-Co’s On-Hold Survival Kit, you’ll be as comfortable as humanly possible while you endure what some theologians consider the moral equivalent of spending eternity in purgatory. Don’t delay – call today!

And, if you call within the next 30 minutes, we’ll include, at no extra charge, our:

punching bagFrustrational Overloadium Stress Reliever: This little item really comes in handy when a warm body finally comes on the line after you’ve been waiting for 6 hrs and 43 minute.  He or she listens to your complaint/question and then puts you back on hold while they “research your situation.” It turns out this is Corporate Speak for “hang up on you.”

Call now – Peg-Co operators are standing by*!

 

*Unless they’re busy helping other customers, in which case you may experience a brief hold.

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Or Are You Beautiful Because I Love You?

cinderellathrueyesoflove2Few things are more boring than having to listen to someone newly in love go on and on about the many ways their new soul mate is the most wonderful person to ever walk the earth.  Except, perhaps, having to listen to the same person catalog their former beloved’s endless list of unforgivable faults once they have fallen out of love.

I adored Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical version of Cinderella when I saw it on TV as a little girl.  I thought Lesley Ann Warren was the most gorgeous princess ever, and the music was just as lovely.   I especially remember a song that Cinderella and the Prince sang to one another, titled: “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” The refrain continued with a follow-up to the title line, “or are you beautiful because I love you?”

Good question.

The rest of the lyrics are:

“Am I making believe I see in you, a girl too lovely (man too perfect) to be really true?
Do I want you because you’re wonderful, or are you wonderful because I want you?
Are you the sweet invention of a lover’s dream, or are you really as wonderful as you seem?“

These are all reasonable questions, which, apparently, Cinderella and the Prince answered in the negative.   Nope – no new-love bias going on here.   We’re both perfectly, beautifully wonderful.

The King and Queen sing the same song to their son later in the play, trying to caution him to slow things down a bit.  Fat lot of good that did.  Twelve bongs of the clock and one glass slipper later, Cinderella and the Prince were headed for the altar.

We humans are funny. When in the heady, dizzying throes of new love, we have no room for reason, logic or reality. Our hearts rule our heads, and The Chosen One has nothing but wonderful qualities. These are magnified all out of proportion when filtered by the rose-colored glasses of love.

  • Reasonable intelligence is genius.
  • A decent sense of humor is rapier-like wit.
  • Passable good looks become fabulous beauty.

Later, when the bloom is off the rose, all of those person’s faults, real or imagined, assume gigantic proportions. We rip off our rose-colored glasses and put on shit-shades.

  • That little way she has of wrinkling her nose, so cute at first, becomes a tic so annoying she’s practically deformed.
  • His laid-back attitude toward life, so calming in the early years, is now more proof that he is an unmotivated slacker who will never get anywhere in this world.

This tendency to flip-flop perceptions is funny when viewed from outside the relationship.  When children are involved in the breakup, however, it has devastating results. People convince themselves, out of anger and hurt, that their ex is Satan incarnate.  Soon they genuinely believe it.  The person they once couldn’t live without, is now considered unfit to be in the same room with the children they created together.

Fractured and mix-and-match households are the new norm in society.   This makes it critically important for people to try to see their exes in a more realistic light.  They may not want to admit it, but for the sake of their kids they need to keep reminding themselves: their ex is the same person they once valued above all others, even if it didn’t work out between them.  They CHOSE him or her to be the father or mother of their children.

It’s always better for kids if parents concentrate on them after a breakup, instead of their love lives.   This is doubly true when a parent has shown they can’t be trusted to choose a mate wisely.   Someone who insists that their ex has absolutely no redeeming social value is also admitting to being a horrible judge of people.

Those we love are probably not truly as wonderful as they first seem, but neither are all of their good qualities merely the sweet invention of a lover’s dream. Reality is somewhere in the middle of these extremes, even after love has gone and the fairy tale ends.

NBC won’t allow replay of the original Cinderella TV show, the old meanies, but have a listen to the Broadway cast version.

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The World Covers Its Ass With Yoga Pants

yogapantsincathedral2

Women once had a dizzying array of clothing options. There were outfits for day and evening, business and sports, formal and casual. Those days are gone. Now all you need are a couple pairs of yoga pants and you’ve got your ass covered for any occasion.

I’m not terribly fashion-forward, which may explain why it took so long for this phenomenon to register. My first inkling came last Christmas when I texted my brother, Jim, to get gift ideas for my 14-year-old niece, Lauren.

“Yoga pants,” he responded.

“Didn’t know Lauren did yoga,” I texted back, “thought swimming.”

“Not into yoga, just yoga pants. Gotta be lululemon,” he replied.

“Huh?” I inquired.

“Brand,” came the brief response. I didn’t need Skype to see him rolling his eyes in disbelief at what a clueless fogey his big sister was.

The teenager is a hard breed to please, as anyone who has ever had one knows, so I was delighted with such specific directions. I hurried to check out lululemon online. Good thing my bottom was comfortably clad in my usual old, fleece-lined, cotton sweatpants, because that softened the blow when I fell off my chair.   The cheapest pair of yoga pants on the lululemon site cost $85.  $85!

I texted my brother, “Kid gift limit is $35. And $85 tights for 14-year-old? RU nuts???”

He texted back, “What she wants. Gift card?”

No way. I refused to go the route of trading gift-cards. I was determined to get a real present for her to unwrap, something reasonably priced, and which she’d love. I headed for the mall.

You might gather from my earlier fashion comment that I don’t spend much time clothes shopping.  You would be right. I hadn’t been to the mall for the better part of a year, and the changes at the big department stores were a revelation. Retail real estate that once held racks of sweaters, slacks, jeans and dresses now contained mile after stretchy mile of yoga wear.    There were bras, tanks, tops, jackets and pants in colors ranging from basic black to screaming primary.  None of them were cheap; even the sale items were $30 and up.

I picked out a nice pair of pants for $35 and headed for the register, but stopped before I got there. You and I both know that there’s no difference between $35 and $85 stretch pants, but teenagers can be such brand-snobs. What if she didn’t like them?

I sent a gift card.

Since the scales fell from my eyes, I’ve noticed that yoga gear is everywhere. This is clearly the young woman’s outfit of choice.

My niece Jenny and her family came home from New York a couple of days after my trip to the mall, so I told her about my yoga wear discovery.  This was old news to her.  Jenny knew all about lululemon, and said they weren’t even the top of the line. She rattled off a list of the upscale workout vendors that her friends wore. She must have caught me sneaking a peek at the stretchy tank top and yoga pants that SHE was wearing, because she quickly explained that she had just come from the treadmill. Also, she added, she only bought the high-end stuff when it was on sale. Nice to know our sophisticated Manhattanite hasn’t abandoned her thrifty, Midwestern roots.

The yoga pants I’ve seen range from actual pants to coverings so sheer they’re nothing more than pantyhose.  I was walking behind one young woman at the community college the other day, and the intimate movement of her back-end, revealed for the entire world to see in just such a pair of pantyhose, looked like two cats fighting in a sack. I had to bite my tongue not to blurt out that she must have been in a hell of a hurry that morning to forget  her skirt.

I suspect a few women might be dressed this way because they are actually on their way to the gym, but it seems the vast majority are incorporating yoga moves into their daily lives. You’ll see them practicing such poses as:

  • Mother Crane Retrieving Toddler Tossed Fruit Loops at the grocery store
  • Hyena Writing Term Paper On Abe Lincoln at the high school
  • Snow Monkey Hanging Out With Derriere On Display at the mall

I don’t want to be behind the times when it comes to the behind, so I bought myself a pair last week and thought I’d give them a test drive with a brisk walk at the park.  The reflection in my full-length mirror looked nothing like the larger-than-life displays of nubile workout mavens at the store; my back-end was a huge, black, shiny, droopy pancake. I added a sweatshirt that reached halfway to my knees to the ensemble.

With the offending bits covered, I felt very hip and modern in my tight, new yoga pants as I started down the path at the park. About fifty feet along, however, the pants’ wide, low-slung anti-waistband started heading south, taking my underwear along for the ride. I reached under the sweatshirt mini-dress and discreetly tugged them back into place. Twenty feet later both pieces of clothing had worked their way up into places where neither belonged. More tugging ensued. And so it went for the next 2 miles.

The great thing was I got a double workout. I walked briskly for 5 minutes of cardio, and then stopped to stretch with such classic yoga poses as:

  • Droopy Dog Dramatically Diving for Descending Duds, and
  • Crane Creeping into Concealed Crevices.

I’m not sure where this trend will end, but it probably won’t be long before there is a yoga pose (and corresponding outfit) for every one of life’s events, like:

  • Bridezilla Gorilla Mendelssohning With Flowers for weddings, and
  • Crying Mourning Dove for funerals.

As for me, I’ve retired the stretchy duds and gone back to my usual baggy, cotton sweatpants. The world may cover its ass with yoga pants, but I think all would agree that, given the state of my posterior, my best move would be:

  • Water Buffalo Hiding Hiney.
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