Friday, April 22, 2011

Still Hating Thynneth, But So Loving Paradise

Just when you think it’s time to stop trashing poor Thynneth Paltrow, her blonde T-rex head erupts from the cover of (what else?) Self Magazine and—bam!—you have to—HAVE TO—trash her again. I know I shouldn’t have opened it but when you’re waiting to see your Neuro-Chiro in a room awash with just the one Self and 50 Golf Digests--and you happen to suffer from Unabated Acute Anhedonia—you have no choice but to open said Self and see what new Thynnie-Horrors await.

It was, trust me, the usual fare: an excerpt from her Oedipal Cookbook (The Food Daddy Fed Me While Mommy Worked), the latest update on the state of her butt, and a few tips on How To Spit-Roast Mr. Batali Without His Noticing/Getting Upset. 

This last bit, of course, requires abusing oodles of alcohol, which we all know Gwyneth knows nothing about, but let me just say that the next time she gets the urge to portray human frailty on the big screen, she can leave poor Robert Downey, Jr. alone and put her hard-working hands on a book. 

And I don’t mean a cookbook written for morons, but a novel by a Scottish genius, a woman genius, named A.L. Kennedy.  A novel called, rather perfectly, Paradise.

You know how it is when you discover the world’s best writer and wonder how it was that you, a person bent on reading everything good before the macular degeneration sets in, managed so dumbly to miss her before?  Were my well-read friends (two out of my four Pretend Husbands, never mind the cat and the cowboy) just not telling me? Or were they just too busy not reading girls? 

Never mind, I’m reading her now, and let me just say that as astonished and edified as I’ve ever been by the memoirs of women who’ve tortured themselves via alcohol (Mary Karr’s Lit and the late Caroline Knapp’s Drinking: A Love Story stagger to mind), they are nothing compared to what this writer imparts in every sentence in Paradise.   Plus, of course, she is funny.

The good news is that she has published other books too (I’m reading one now called Everything You Need and so it is) and, due to not being dead yet, can keep right on writing. 

If you care about either writing or drinking or, perhaps better, both, do yourself a big favor and Google her now, and (Brief Note to Self:) Do Not Google The Dreaded T-Rex.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow: Person or Avatar?

Gwyneth Paltrow Works For Success
15 April 2011 12:15:14 PM

In case you were wondering if Gwyneth Paltrow really exists as a sentient being, or is rather more of a half-British vapor, or a very blonde version of Gertrude Stein’s Oakland (“There-is-no-there-there,” Gertrude decried), let me just offer this recent bulletin:

Gwyneth Paltrow "worked her ass off" for the good things in her life.  The 'Country Strong' actress - who has children Apple, six, and Moses, five, with husband Chris Martin - believes some people resent the fact she seemingly has it all because she is not afraid to try new things and says her desire to do her best is often mistaken for her feeling superior to others. 

Do you resent her for seemingly having it all? I didn’t think so, because I don’t either. Besides money and a really nice mother, I don’t see that she has anything much--except for the world’s most delusional outlook which would, in itself, be something to envy, except that it drives her to make revealing statements like this to the actual real life publishing press:

"I think my work ethic is the reason why I'm successful. I think that a lot of people don't want to put in effort and it's easier to not change, not do something good for you, not work on your relationship,
not make yourself a meal, not work out. They're just pissed off at someone else doing that. Everything in my life that's good is because I worked my ass off to get it and to maintain it.

The late James Brown was called—by others, mind you-- “the hardest working man in show business” and perhaps Gwyneth, too, believes she’s James Brown. But she can’t be James Brown if only because James used to get drunk on occasion and shoot up some wives and end up in the pokey. Which, if he’d only pursued an acting career, would have made him a much better candidate to portray the drunk singer in the unconvincing film Country Song. Evidently, Gwyneth had trouble relating to this particular realm of human experience and shared her puzzlement with the press:

“I just couldn’t understand how you could be so drunk that you could wreck people’s lives and then wake up the next day and pretend everything was fine. I struggled with that.”

To be 25 and still not understand that requires a strong work ethic indeed. To be 35 and unable to even imagine having committed some Bad Behavior, and feeling—or not--Deep Rue and Regret, requires that one wield so much self discipline as to have rendered oneself just slightly autistic.

Gwyneth - who has recently released her own cook book, 'My Father's Daughter', and is rumored to have landed a record deal - also admitted she pities her critics as she thinks they are projecting their negative feelings about themselves onto her. 

Okay, let me just say this about pity and Gwyneth’s evident need to invade--and not just by marriage--the Country of Music: The reason her music lacks any conviction is that she’s never cared about music per se; it was merely the country she had to invade (I’m thinking Poland) to get on to the waaaay more strategic Country of Sex. Or, more specifically, to the Country of Seeming to be Very Sexy. Which Gwyneth, for all her hard-working work-outs, somehow manages to completely avoid, as can be seen on her glee-free cavorting on Glee:,

And now, just to be completely unfair:

That was unfair, wasn’t it?  You might say the same thing about a film career that peaks way too early. Gwyneth was still in her twenties when she got the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, and she was brilliant—nay, luminous—in Shakespeare in Love.  She owned that country for a short while and no one even resented her then.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Living Sober On Gossamer Wings

Imagine my shame when I had to tell Dr. Mars that I’d once again failed to fire (fire as in Donald Trump fire) The Cowboy out of my life. Imagine my further chagrin when I told him I was reading (only because The Cowboy, who never reads anything, had suggested I read it) a little booklet called Living Sober.

“It’s supposed to explain why he and I can’t have a relationship,” I told Dr. Mars.

“But you are having a relationship,” he had to point out.

“Well,” I said. “Evidently we’re not.”

Living Sober's pointedly non-aggressive subtitle is: Some methods A.A. members have used for not drinking. One of the myriad methods is going to meetings--which The Cowboy does daily if not sometimes hourly-- another is avoiding emotional entanglements until you are ready to handle them.

There’s a section called “Looking out for overelation” which I misread at first as over-relation, as in Any Relating Puts You In Danger of  Over-Relating Which Is Why You Can’t Risk Having Any Relationship, but later read correctly (and why don’t they hyphenate?) as over-elation. 

Which I took to mean: Do Not Get Too Happy About Anything Lest It Make You Imagine It Is Perfectly Safe to Celebrate With A Martini. 

“Perhaps falling in love with a recovering alcoholic was not the world’s best idea,” I told Dr. Mars.

“And why would that be?” he asked because, well, I pay him.

“Because the problem with me is, I want elation. Not martini elation, romantic elation. And, to tell the truth, I wouldn’t mind feeling a bit of over-elation. Some over-the-rainbow, over-the-top, the-cow-jumped-over-the-damn-moon elation.”

At which point I realized, without any help from the mute and most certainly way overpaid Dr. Mars, why The Cowboy had suggested I read Living Sober. It wasn’t to help me understand him. It was to help me notice that, sober or not, my own brain functions as if it has spent its whole life steeped in cheap gin.

I suppose this realization should have depressed me, but since I think like Ray Milland in Lost Weekend, it actually cheered me—indeed, came dangerously close to over-elating me—as I took it to mean that The Cowboy and I might actually have something in common. 

And commonality leads to relationship, no? 

So maybe some day we’ll get to have one. 

Hope springs eternal in the drunk human breast.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Friend Mildred Fierce

Forget Joan Crawford and Kate Winslet too—if you want to meet the real Mildred Fierce, get a hold of James M. Cain’s novel and prepare to feel completely insane.

I spent all Sunday reading the book in one great gulp from beginning to end. By the time I finished I felt so deranged I had to call Pretend Husband Hank Fitz (who’d just read it himself and then lent it to me) to make sure I’d gotten it right.

“So it’s all her own fault, isn’t it, Hank?” I bleated. “Everything that happens to her—it’s all completely her own heinous fault.”

"Exactly,” said Hank. “It’s a Greek tragedy.”

“And Monty is not even evil!” I said. “He’s just a desultory sex king.”


“And even Veda’s not—well, okay, she’s evil--but what else would she be, given total carte noir?”

“What else indeed?”

“Thank you, Hank, I feel so much better.”

“Good,” he said. “Now how ‘bout that cowboy?”

For a second I thought he meant Herbert Fierce, who’d worked as a stunt rider for the movies before getting so unemployed and depressed that he’d had to schtup Mrs. Biederhof and get thrown out by cranky wife Mildred.

But he didn’t mean Herbert Fierce. He meant The Cowboy I wasn’t going to see any more. The Cowboy I was going to see face to face one last time just so I could deliver that news!

“So--did you tell him?” Hank asked.

“Of course I did. I told him on Friday.”

“Wasn’t that April Fool’s Day?”


Okay, so it was April Fool’s Day but that’s not why I’m still seeing the Cowboy. I have to keep seeing him—I’m Mildred Fierce!  A Mildred Fierce with no industry maybe, but a Mildred Fierce Manque nonetheless.

Hmm. Maybe that’s why Hank made me read that damn book.

Remind me to kill him when I have the time.