May 29, 2009

Freak Show Friday: Bobby Trendy

Hello, my loyal spectators! And welcome to the debut post for a series I affectionately refer to as 'Freak Show Friday'! Here, I will feature one lucky (or un-lucky, depending on how you see it) person every Friday that is so strange/bizarre that I just DON'T GET IT! It could be anyone from a wannabe celebrity to an eccentric artist or even a collector of bronzed doggy-doo. I made that last one up, but you get the idea. It will be kept varied and interesting for you, so you might want to go mark your calendars...

My first victim, err, subject is the one and only "luxurious" Bobby Trendy. I think that he first popped-up on the radar back in 2002 when he was shown designing the interior of Anna Nicole Smith's bedroom on the first season of her reality show. Actually, I don't remember seeing very much designing going on in the show. What I do remember is lots of arguing between Bobby and Anna Nicole! They each had their own vision for the room and it was a constant tug-o-war. Plus, Bobby had trouble obtaining furniture and meeting his deadlines. Anna Nicole did not have the patience required to deal with Bobby, but it all made for some entertaining television. I wouldn't WANT him decorating my home, he has awful taste for both interior design AND clothing! I mean, just look at those pics!

"I never will forget, the way you
looked tonight... The lady in red"

I don't think that there's much more to be said about Bobby Trendy, other than he's obviously been out & about making "appearances" in several Hollywood parking lots. The pics clearly illustrate that! And he supposedly has his own interior design company, but the links to his website that I found did not work. It must be the current economy, right?

When I am gay, I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go...

I saved the best one for last, folks! And I think it might be visual proof of just how bad things have gotten for Bobby since the recession.

O.K., are you ready?

May 24, 2009

Spending My Saturday at Traffic School

O.K., here it is! A wonderful 3-day weekend that I could REALLY use because I've been majorly sleep-deprived all week! I'm not sure what that's all about, but it surely isn't anything that a Saturday filled with relaxation and a few naps couldn't fix, right? Well, as lovely as that sounds, it did NOT occur. Why, you ask? My Saturday was, instead, spent at Traffic School.

Here, you can actually see the moment
at which the "cop" spots me breaking the law.
And he is not pleased!

I got a speeding ticket a few months back and it was finally time to "face the music". Fortunately, here in California, you still have the option to either only pay the infraction fee and it will go on your car insurance record (thereby resulting in higher rates) OR you can pay the infraction fee, plus a bit more, for the "privilege" to attend Traffic School and not have it go on your record. I obviously chose the second option and it cost me $300. Talk about "paying the piper"!

Here, he's giving the dreaded ticket.
I don't know why "I'm" smiling...

So, Saturday was when I had to go and serve my 8-hour sentence. And it DID feel like a sentence! The class itself is a breeze because all you do is sit and listen to the instructor, then watch a few videos. That part isn't difficult, whatsoever. It's just the fact that you're spending the better part of a beautiful Saturday sitting in a hot (No air-conditioning!), stuffy courthouse when you could be doing something else! ANYTHING else! But I guess that's probably the whole point, isn't it? I mean, they make it seem like the goal is to improve your understanding of the traffic laws so that you'll be a better driver, etc., but it's really just a punishment! And I think that paying the fine, combined with giving up 8 hours of your life, is probably effective enough to keep most people from repeating the same offense. Of course, not everyone.

Unlike here, class participation was mercifully NOT
required of us at my Traffic School!

I'm just glad that it's over and behind me! I hate having something like that hanging over my head. I've, now, done the time for my crime! Let's hope that I remember all of this the next time I feel the need-to-speed...

Oh, no! Look! Aunt JoAnne is getting a ticket, too!

Photo credits:
*Junior Traffic School (middle 3) by Nina Leen, 1951
*JoAnne Worley w/Cop from 'R & M's Laugh-In' t.v. show

May 22, 2009

JoAnne Worley, The Nutty Aunt I Wish I'd Always Had!

There is just something about the inimitable JoAnne Worley that I find very endearing. Of course, I have no idea what her demeanor is like in real-life, but if she's anything like her public persona I would love to know her! Heck, I'd have her to all my family functions. "That kooky Aunt JoAnne...", we'd say. "She's such a hoot!"

Worley was born in Lowell, Indiana on September 6th, 1937 as the third of five children. Even back in high school, she was developing a reputation for being funny as she was named the 'School Comedienne' by her peers. After studying drama in college, she went on to do many professional theater productions, including musicals. It wasn't until 1968, when JoAnne landed a regular spot on 'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In', that she really broke into the main stream and became a star. After about 2 years on 'Laugh-In', Ms. Worley moved on to making movies and continued to spread her distinctive personality around the T.V. landscape.

Isn't she... pretty in pink?

Growing up in the 70s, I can remember seeing JoAnne (and hearing her trademark laugh) on many a television show. Why, she was on everything from 'Love, American Style' to even 'Love Boat' in the 80s. Then there were also several game shows of which Ms. Worley was a regular on, such as 'Hollywood Squares', 'Match Game', 'Password', and even 'The $10,000 Pyramid'. I would've "bet my sweet bippy" that she had also appeared on 'The Liar's Club', but I couldn't find any record of it. I must have dreamed about that the same night I dreamed an evil Billy Barty was injecting a couple of helpless young ladies with a syringe full of terror...

As a child, I didn't always understand what everyone was laughing about, but just hearing her laugh or suddenly break into operatic song was enough to make me giggle. And the clothes she would usually wear, with all the feathers and/or boas were certainly attention-grabbing! Not to mention, she was obviously a fan of the bouffant. Quite fashionable, really!

I think Big Bird had something to do with this!

Looks like JoAnne's sharing an operatic
moment with Goldie on 'Laugh-In'.

In somewhat recent years, she's done voice work for animated productions such as Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' (she was the Wardrobe/Armoir character) and even the Sony Playstation 'Kingdom Hearts' video game. She's also played both, the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in a stage musical of 'The Wizard of Oz', and Madame Morrible in the huge hit 'Wicked'. And most recently, she even played a bit part on Disney's T.V. show 'Wizards of Waverly Place'. I think JoAnne must have a thing for Oz and wizards!

Perhaps the best thing Ms. Worley has been doing, is her work as the President of Actors and Others for Animals. It's an organization that is dedicated to the promotion of humane treatment of animals. They say their main mission is to try and curb the pet overpopulation problem by subsidizing spay/neuter surgeries, but they do so much more. Please, use the link to see all that they do!

As a kid, I dug everything about JoAnne Worley. Today, especially since I know of her efforts toward helping animals, I really admire her! Now, if we could just have her over for our next family dinner night...

May 18, 2009

An Evening with Kathy Griffin

Just this last Saturday night, my husband and I went to see one of our favorite stand-up comediennes, Kathy Griffin. Her show was at the Orange County Performing Arts Center and the place was packed! SOLD OUT, in fact! Sort of surprising for the largely conservative O.C. when you consider the type of comedy Kathy is known for. But she's got a BIG following, obviously, and she deserves it!

Kathy also has a HUGE gay fan-base, and they certainly "came out" for the show, same as we did. I mean, they were everywhere! It was so nice to be with a crowd of our own peers for a change. Believe me, it's not a common occurrence around these parts!

Anyway, back to Kathy... She opened the show with a video montage of all sorts of different media appearances she's made, everything from bit parts on 'Seinfeld' and 'X-Files' (I know, 'X-Files'? I didn't remember that, either!) to commercials she's done, her stint as the 'Celebrity Mole', and even a role she played in a horror movie! Oh, and of course, her break-through role on 'Suddenly Susan' which I think lasted about 4 seasons. The montage concluded with clips from her T.V. reality show on Bravo, 'Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List', that was most responsible for making her a household name. I'm not entirely sure that the show's name is even accurate anymore. Is she STILL really only on the D-List? I think her popularity has bumped her up the list a bit, by now! Of course, Kathy's an "A" in my book...

The material Kathy covered was all over the map. She talked about having seen Britney lip-syncing in concert, and that led into a story about how Kathy was just "hanging out" with rapper T.I. at Roscoe's Chicken & Waffle House and how she got him to call Justin Timberlake on his cell phone. Let's see, she also talked about Oprah, and then Kirstie Alley's latest guest-appearance on Oprah's show where Kirstie talked about her weight gain since the whole Jenny Craig thing. Of course, she talked a bit about 'The Real Housewives of Orange County'. I think that she probably felt she had to since that was where she was! Tommy and I kinda "checked out" during that part because we've never watched the show. But then she went on to talk quite a lot about her 88-year-old mom, Maggie. That's ALWAYS entertaining because Kathy can't talk about her mom without impersonating her, and she's a real crack-up as her mom!

She also talked about Donald Trump and his 'Celebrity Apprentice' show. And she couldn't talk about that without mentioning Joan Rivers. Kathy really admires Joan, which makes total sense. I know I've forgotten stuff, but you get the picture! She keeps her act fresh and always has new material on the latest pop culture for each show she does. In fact, I don't know that she EVER does the same set twice. That's one of the great things about her!

If you are at all offended by curse words, you should NOT see Kathy live! She doesn't hold back ANYTHING! When she doesn't have to worry about things like the FCC, she just drops the F-bombs like it's Pearl Harbor all over again! And dirty, dirty, dirty... She's got a real potty mouth! And we just loved it!

I hope that we get out and do things like this more often because we had a great time and laughed a lot! You know what they say about laughter...

May 17, 2009

Video Game Fun Time: Nintendo's 'Animal Crossing - City Folk'

When I have the time, I love playing video games! But since I don't really know anyone else that is willing to join me, the majority of my gaming library consists of single-player games. Among those is a game for the Nintendo Wii that I've really been enjoying. It's called 'Animal Crossing - City Folk' and I'd like to tell you about it.

It's actually the 3rd game in the 'Animal Crossing' series. The very first one was for the Nintendo Game Cube system and the 2nd one was for the portable Nintendo DS. This most recent version is, by far, the BEST and most interesting! How do I begin to describe it?

Is that cat talking... to me?!

Well, at the very beginning of the game you meet a talking cat named Rover. He's not the only talking animal in the game, they ALL talk! In fact, the language they speak is Animalese (which sounds very cute when spoken), but it doesn't matter if you're not fluent. Everything said in the game is also subtitled on the screen for those of us who don't speak it. Anyway, Rover will take you on a bus ride to the town that will become your new home. Along the way, he will ask you some important questions such as the current time & date (Everything in the game world runs according to real-time and even has an in-game clock/calendar display. All of our major holidays are included in some way with corresponding special events), your name, and if you're a boy or a girl. You type in all of your answers on a virtual keyboard that pops up. Rover then asks you where you're going, which is strange since HE'S the one taking you on this bus ride in the first place... but it's actually just a way for you to name your town. After typing that in, Rover continues making conversation with you about things like whether you're excited to be moving and what you're planning to do for money. It's not just small talk, however! Each answer you give helps to determine what your character will LOOK like when you get off the bus in your town.

Play as either a boy... or a girl.
And if you're lucky, you'll end up
as cute as one of these two!

The in-game clock/calendar
passes time in sync with the
real world. That is, unless
you time-travel... And you
CAN, in fact, time-travel!

You've ARRIVED! Now, what?

Upon your arrival, Town Hall is the first stop. There, you'll find out about homes that are for sale and get to pick one out. But how will you PAY for it? The loan on your modest little 1-bedroom home will need to be paid back in Bells, which is the game's currency, and you'll earn those Bells by doing various tasks for Tom Nook. This Tom Nook happens to be a friendly raccoon that owns and operates a kind of general store in your town. He's also the man, er, raccoon that sold you the house and that's why you will be working for him to pay off the debt. Does that make sense? It's all really much SIMPLER when you're actually playing!

Stop in at Town Hall if you don't want to be
"sleeping in a van, down by the river".

You'll get a tiny place like this, at first, to call
your "Home, Sweet Home". It gets BIGGER
throughout the game as Nook remodels it for
you. But it's not going to come cheap!

Tom Nook, local shop-owner and task master!
You'd better do what he says or your house
might end up in foreclosure...

In addition to running errands for Nook, there are several OTHER ways to earn Bells. You can take fruit from the trees and sell it to Nook for a handsome profit (100 B each for native fruit, 500 B each for foreign and/or coconuts). There is also a rock somewhere in your town everyday that, if hit with your shovel, will spit out a few thousand Bells like a slot machine! But only ONE a day. And it's always a DIFFERENT one.

Another way to earn some "cash" is to catch fish or bugs with either a rod or a net, respectively, and then sell them to Nook (for an amount which is dictated according to species rarity). You can also go around shaking the trees to see what falls out! Aside from fruit, you might end up with a few Bells or even a piece of furniture for your trouble. Then there's the whole turnip trade market thing, but I won't bore you with THAT!

See the shiny, red apples? They're ripe for
the pickin'... and a-sellin'!

While strolling along the beach, you may find a
coconut. You can either sell it or plant it to get
a palm tree that will bear even more coconuts.
Hmm... what ever WILL you do?

When you feel that you have some extra money to blow, remember there's that new house of yours that's going to need some furnishings! It's time to SHOP, and that's where you'll have FUN letting your inner-interior design talents come out! There are literally hundreds of different items to collect for your home (furniture, wallpaper, flooring, etc.) and NO LIMITS to how you can mix things up. And whenever you grow tired of your current style or theme in a room, just sell those things back to Nook and buy something new! However, the new stuff IS limited to whatever Nook has in-stock on the showroom floor. The good thing is that his inventory changes often. No worries if you want to order something that you had previously because once you have an item in your possession, no matter if it was bought, found, or received as a gift, it is automatically added to your permanent catalog and can be ordered again at any time. You do have to pay for it again, though. While you're into the collecting thing, you can buy all sorts of clothing, too! So, you can make BOTH decorating AND fashion statements.

Nook, using the hard-sell on a hapless shopper.

Let's not forget the neighbors! Tom Nook won't even let you start working for him until you've introduced yourself to all six of the animal residents in town. Some will stay for a very long time while others will get antsy and move out often, being replaced by a completely new animal pal for you to get to know. With a total of more than 200 different characters aside from special event and holiday visitors, you have plenty of socializing to do!

Below, are just a few of the ones you'll encounter.

Clockwise: Mayor Tortimer, K.K. Slider, and Sable & Mable Able

These are a few of the special holiday characters.

Clockwise: Jack, Franklin, and Zipper T. Bunny

There are really so many facets to this game that I could go on for pages and pages! But I must tell you about the main thing that makes this version different. Going into the CITY, of course!

To see the city, you have to hop on the bus again and take a little ride. Once there, you have many choices of what you can do including getting a "new do" at the 'Shampoodle' hair salon, shopping at 'Gracie Grace's' department store, having your fortune read at 'Katrina's', or there's even a theater where you can watch and learn EMOTES. An emote is an emotional expression performed by your character on your command. I've found that they're not at all necessary, but it's still cute to see your boy or girl act out the different emotions!

Steppin' out in the big city, a girl needs to stop
at the salon and get her hair "did".

As lengthy as this little overview has been, it still only BEGINS to cover this fun, colorful and entertaining game! I think, also, that Nintendo has only scratched the surface of the city's potential in 'City Folk'. And I'm sure they fully intend to give us more in a future release, as long as people keep playing these games.

I, for one, WILL keep playing... and playing... and playing...

((( Special thanks to Prima Games and their official 'Animal Crossing - City Folk' game guide for all of the screen shots and info I used in this post. Also, thanks to Nintendo and their artists for creating such a cute, interesting game environment & character designs. )))

May 13, 2009

Yes, I Like Madonna...

Liking Madonna does not make me gay. Nor does the fact that I am gay automatically mean that's why I like her. Make sense? The truth of the matter is that she is a very talented individual who I am drawn to because of her looks, charisma, confidence and music. I just happen to also be a dude who's married to another dude!

I've followed Madonna since her original rise to stardom in the early 1980s. I can remember the first time I ever heard her sing. She was on the radio and I thought that she was black. I guess that there was something in her voice back then that sounded "black"? It might have been just me, but I'd be curious to know if other people thought the same thing. Of course, now she uses her voice a bit differently, but it's still unmistakably Madonna. I know that she worked with a vocal coach while making the movie 'Evita', and ever since then her voice has been noticeably stronger.

This is from her 'Ray of Light' period.
That's one of my favorite albums, BTW!

My two absolute favorite Madonna albums are 'Ray of Light' and 'Confessions on a Dance Floor'. I felt that the latest, 'Hard Candy', was kind of weak. It does have a few gems on it, though! I like the tracks, 'Miles Away' and 'Spanish Lesson'. And, of course, the hit '4 Minutes' w/Justin was fun, but only for about 4 listens! I understand that she's continuing the 'Sticky & Sweet' tour outside of the U.S. through the end of Summer. I don't know where she gets all that energy! You'd think, even as fit and healthy as she is, that her schedule would be completely exhausting. I'm sure that it would be for us "normal" people. But Madge isn't just any mere mortal!

Here, she's posing on the 'Dance Floor'.

I seriously doubt that this dynamic performer takes any kind of enhancing drugs. She's just so into being like a super-human specimen that I can't imagine she would pollute her body in that way. Besides, how could she possibly keep giving such quality output if she was doing drugs? I think drugs of any kind would have such negative effects on her that it would be very outwardly evident.

I presume that Marie Antoinette was her
muse for this photo shoot. Either that, or she's
looking for a dangerous liaison...

I must say that Madonna seems to me like the definitive example of ambition. If only I could have a fraction of the drive she has... But I do wonder sometimes why she's still sooo driven at this point in her career? I mean, her monetary worth is in the millions upon millions and she's practically the biggest living entertainment legend on the planet! I guess that's not enough for her. And I'm glad it's not, because that seemingly insatiable hunger that propels her is what also makes her so unique.

This is an eye-opening read!

I'm sure, at this point, you must be thinking I totally worship this woman. But that is not entirely correct. See, I read the book that Madonna's brother wrote, and assuming that Christopher is telling the truth, I cannot like the private person she is at all! After reading about the way she treated him over the years, it makes complete sense why he would've written the book in the first place. Even if it is like his 'Sister Dearest' done out of revenge, you really can't blame him! I think that it was probably the healthiest thing he could have done for himself. It most likely did for him what it would have taken many years of therapy to do!

No matter how rotten of a person she may really be, I will always like Madonna for being the provocative and exciting performer that she is!

May 11, 2009

Fun with Mom at the Aquarium!

My mom & me

Tommy & his mom

I know this doesn't really have anything to do with pop culture, but I just had such a nice time spending Mother's Day with my mom and mom-in-law that I wanted to tell you about it!

My husband and I took both of our moms to the 'Aquarium of the Pacific' for the day. It's a beautiful aquarium located in Long Beach, California. They're actually celebrating their 10th Anniversary, already. So hard to believe because Tommy and I were there shortly after it first opened and it does NOT seem like it was that long ago! Oh, well. Time flies...

Some of the more exciting exhibits were the Jelly Fish, Sea Horses/Dragons, Sharks and Sea Lions! At the Shark exhibit, you could actually reach into shallow water and TOUCH some of the smaller ones! They felt strange, too! Some were velvety soft and others were rough, almost like sand paper. My mom was cutely apprehensive about reaching in... she didn't want to lose a finger!

The Sea Lions were a lot of fun to watch! You could either watch them swimming under-water through big windows below, or you could go up above and see them whenever they surfaced and/or jumped out of the water. We got to see them being fed, too. They do all kinds of tricks for their food, including waving at the audience, kissing and barking. We were told that the way to tell the difference between a Seal and a Sea Lion is that Sea Lions have visible ear flaps. Seals do have ears, but they're basically just holes in the sides of their heads, without the flaps. Good to know.

This Seal is an exception
because it DOES have ear flaps.

The Jelly Fish were just literally awesome! I think that I could sit and watch them for hours. The way that their delicate forms undulate through the water is completely mesmerizing! Kinda like watching a Lava Lamp, but way more interesting and impressive. I think I heard somewhere that they don't even have brains! So, so bizarre! At one point, while watching these alien-like creatures, I couldn't help but wonder that if something this strange and beautiful exists here on Earth, what must be "out there" on other planets?

Such beautiful creatures...

Another ocean animal that fascinates me is the Sea Horse. I find their little horse-like heads and curly tails so cute! And I like the way they propel through the water with that little flipper/fan sort of thing on their backs. But even better than the way they look, is the fact that they mate for life with the same partner! It's really neat to see two of them swimming around with their tails intertwined, like their equivalent to our holding hands.

This little guy values monogomy.
I wish that more of us humans did, as well.

I'm fairly sure that the Sea Dragon is a close relative to the Sea Horse. You can tell just looking at them, but the Sea Dragon is typically bigger and certainly appears stranger! They have all sorts of little leafy branch-like things covering them and it looks like they have wings on their backs! I think that these were what fascinated my mom the most.

They look like swimming plants...
But they're NOT!

There was lots of cool stuff to see at the 'Aquarium of the Pacific', but I wanted to share with you the things that I found to be most interesting and noteworthy. I hope that you enjoyed my take.

The whole outing was fun, and a great time was had by all on this Mother's Day, 2009!

May 5, 2009

Laughter IS the Best Medicine!

I love to laugh and I think that most other people do, too. I say most because I've certainly encountered my fair share of humorless, old fuddy-duddies! That man above would clearly NOT be considered one... Why some people don't embrace every opportunity to laugh wholeheartedly, I'll never understand!

It just makes you feel so good, and research has found that laughter does actually increase the body's endorphin levels which then results in natural pain relief. The release of those endorphins also causes the adrenal glands to manufacture cortisol, which is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help arthitis sufferers.

But WAIT, there's more!

It's not unusual for people who've suffered long-term depression to recover through laughter. But depressed people aren't usually laughing, right? Well, I just recently found out about something called Laughter Yoga that is being used as therapy for these people. And it's working!

Laughter Yoga was first introduced by an Indian physician by the name of Dr. Madan Kataria with the help of his yoga instructor wife Madhuri, back in 1995. It's not only an exercise routine, but a complete "wellbeing workout"! It combines laughter with yogic breathing. Supposedly, anyone can laugh for no reason without relying on jokes or comedy if it is simulated as a body exercise. When done in a yoga group with eye-contact and childlike silliness, it inevitably turns into real contagious laughter.

The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the human body can't differentiate between fake and real laughter, so one gets the same physiological and psychological benefits! How cool is that?!

Another great thing about laughter is that it's totally universal, with NO language or cultural barriers. Largely because of that, thousands of Laughter Yoga clubs have been popping up in as many as 60 countries around the world!

I'm so excited about this that I really want to join the movement! As it turns out, just this last Sunday (like every first Sunday in May since 1998) was celebrated as 'World Laughter Day'. Grrrr, why didn't I hear about this sooner? There's always next year, I guess... I'd better go mark the calendar!

In the meantime, I plan to find out about the nearest Laughter Yoga club and join it. Maybe, I can even get a certain female friend of mine to come along? Just for laughs, of course!

Special thanks to Laughter Yoga International, the Official Website of Dr. Kataria, for the information about this wonderful topic. If you would like more info and/or want to know how you can "join the club", here's that site's link:

Sorry, about the clown...
This IS Pop Circus, you know!
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