( otherwise known as things that REALLY make me want to scream)
Sept 29, 2005
I live in a nice, middle-class neighborhood and I have mostly nice, middle-class neighbors. We all get along. But when a house goes up for sale in your neighborhood, for better or for worse you enter the "neighbor lottery". Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I recently lost.
A lovely family that lived kitty-corner from us sold their house in December. Shortly thereafter, in moved three old farts. Now, I have nothing against old farts in general. But these old farts have a poodle. I don't know said poodle's given name, so I'll call her "Fifi". These three old farts frequently walk Fifi. Now, this wouldn’t be so bad if the old fart on walking duty walked him/her with one hand and held a pooper scooper or a plastic bag in the other. However, these particular old farts don’t bother with such niceties. And, to make matters worse, they pick Fifi up, carry her past their own newly-acquired and well-groomed lawn, and plop him/her down on a neighbor’s lawn to do his/her business. Then they walk away, leaving said business as a nice surprise for an unfortunate and unwitting neighbor. I literally could not believe my eyes the first time I saw this. Until recently, I hadn't actually caught Fifi in the act of droppage/leakage in MY yard, but a suspicious dark brown patch had begun to grow on our lawn.
Finally, one day last week, I came home from work and lo and behold, there was Fifi, on our lovely next-door neighbor's lawn, just 5 inches from MY lawn. There stood two of the three old farts trying to look nonchalant holding Fifi's leash and NO BAG. Well, I rolled down my car window and said, very politely of course; "I'd appreciate it if you'd keep your dog off of my lawn". The female old fart replied; "He's not on your lawn". Fair enough, so I responded that "I've seen him on my lawn before, and I don't want him on my lawn again". "Oh, well" chimed this ignoramus, "I only do it once in a blue moon". With ever-increasing incredulity I replied that "Once in a blue moon is one time too many since I don't own a dog; reason being: I don't want dogs going on my lawn". Her companion male old fart then huffily picked up Fifi and muttered under his breath as he crossed back to his own yard: "great neighbor's we've got". I was literally stunned, but managed to respond: "A great neighbor would NEVER pick up their dog and CARRY it to a neighbor's yard to do its business!!"
I believe I've made mortal enemies of these new old fart neighbors. Do I care? Not a wee bit. What a group of complete morons.
May 1, 2004
SUV’s (otherwise known as Sports Utility Vehicles). And they just keep getting bigger and uglier and nastier. Excursions, Escalades, Suburbans, Yukons , Navigators and the mother of all big SUV's, the monstrous Hummer.. Where will it end? Will all of my neighbours have personal Greyhound buses parked in their driveways in a few years?? Come on, people, these vehicles are RUDE. Now, I have nothing against the normal sized SUV's such as the Explorer and the smaller Lexus. But the increasingly small group of us who still drive regular-sized cars can’t see around the mammoth vehicles on the freeways, nor can we see past you to back safely out of our parking spots once you’ve pulled your behemoth into the neighbouring “compact” spot (or even get our doors open for that matter). OK, if your job requires you to haul around large objects in your personal vehicle, then I can understand, but you can’t be more than a fraction of a percent of those who actually purchase and operate these super-sized monstrosities. Maybe you have to regularly transport huge loads of lumber, enormous boulders or gigantic pieces of furniture, well then, OK, I do understand. But if you only need an oversized cargo space once a year or so to facilitate picking up an especially large purchase from Best Buy, IKEA or Circuit City – then get a life and rent a U-haul or truck for the day! And heaven help me should one of these gargantuan vehicles ever collide with me in my rather normal-sized Acura TL - I’d most likely be flattened like a pancake. The only saving grace is that here in sunny Southern California gasoline prices have recently soared. It makes me giggle and smile to see these morons filling, and filling, and filling their humongous gas tanks at prices well over 2 bucks a gallon. It almost makes me gleefully anticipate gas prices remaining sky high (I said almost). No wonder most of the civilized world thinks that we Americans are intent on blindly gobbling up the entire world’s supply of natural resources as if they were limitless and we are entitled. A vehicle that gets approximately 4 miles per gallon is just plain not ecologically correct in today’s society. Think about it guys. There are plenty of choices out there somewhere in-between a mini-cooper and a mack truck. Let’s try to show a little responsibility!
Most Reality TV Shows (particularly the recent ones). I’ll freely admit to watching most of the London , Boston and Seattle seasons of The Real World. I started out watching the London season for the background scenery (I am an admitted Anglophile, after all) but I ended up hooked because the London cast turned out to be a group genuinely nice kids/young adults. I actually cared about what happened to them from week to week. But it now appears that the producers of some of the so-called reality programming have gone out of their way to hire the most obnoxious and repugnant “cast” members they could possibly find. Did anyone catch the odious C.T. making a complete and utter fool of himself trying to pick a street fight with a group of Parisian kids in an episode of Real World Paris?. I think I now understand why we are sometimes referred to as “the ugly American” in Europe . I was actually embarrassed for him. I hope when he saw the episode he was embarrassed for himself. Where DO they find these people? As for some of the other so–called reality programs such as Fear Factor, Survivor, etc. the lengths to which some people are willing to go to obtain their requisite 15 minutes of fame will never cease to amaze me. Eat live bugs and/or maggots? Swim in snake-filled swimming pools? Just to be on television? This is entertaining??? I’m sorry, but I think it’s just plain stupid. And as for the “relationship” reality shows - will anyone truly care about Trista and Ryan in a couple of years? I don’t care right now. I’d rather use the time to read a good book. (See my book section J )
Totally Dumb American Remakes of Very Good British Television Programs. BBC’s Changing Rooms with the one-of-a-kind, in-your-face flamboyance of Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen transformed into TLC’s Trading Spaces with its too-perky presenter/hostess Paige something-or-other……Britain’s ½ hour What Not to Wear (presented by the always entertaining and amusingly self-deprecating Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine) morphed into America’s agonizingly long one-hour version fronted by a couple of flat-out repulsive, loud hosts who make my skin crawl (Shut up!!! ????),….. Britain ’s Life Laundry converted to an Americanized version with a title I seem to have subconsciously blanked on. And then a couple of years ago we had Robbie Coltrane’s fabulous Cracker series remade into a U.S. version with the late Robert Pastorelli (in the epitome of laziness, I think the U.S. producers even used the British scripts) and now I hear that Robson’s Green’s truly wonderful Touching Evil series is being redone in a new U.S. version. (I will flatly refuse to watch this one). There is simply no comparison between the Brit originals and the Americanized wannabes. Why can’t American networks hire writers and/or programming executives who are creative enough to come up with their own original concepts rather than just licensing the formats of successful Brit programs? How lame. Hey guys, you just can’t do them any better, or even as well. I have yet to see even one American remake of a British program that improved on the original. The American Cracker wasn’t actually awful, it just wasn’t on a par with its Brit counterpart. I think we can all be thankful that Roseanne’s reported plans a few years back to do a U.S. version of Ab Fab never came to fruition. I shudder to even imagine such a thing.
If I want to purchase something, be it amazing weight loss pills, prescriptions on-line, a new and improved mortgage at a greatly reduced rate, or some miracle cream or pill that will magically enhance or reduce specific parts of mine or my husband’s bodies, etc., then I’m clever enough to seek these things out all on my own without help or guidance from anyone who happens to get their hands on a list with my phone number or e-mail address. The DO NOT CALL list has certainly made my evenings at home more pleasant. Now if we can just get a “DO NOT E-MAIL” list.