Friday, March 30, 2012

I was touched by Danny Devito

I must have seen too many Disney movies because every time I see animals in real life, I think about the cartoon ones from The Lion King.

And when I see big sea turtles at the aquarium, I think of the ones from Finding Nemo.

More importantly, every time I see a Basset Hound, I am immediately reminded of the bellman in the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

(I just realized this is my second blog referencing Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I might have a problem.)

Um. Anyway.

I can’t help comparing real animals to the ones I see on the screen. Perhaps it’s because I don’t spend a lot of time with LIONS, so when I see one, I instinctively want to call it Simba and hold it ceremonially above my head.

My most recent exotic animal encounter was no different. Except, this time, it wasn’t a cartoon character I envisioned. It was DANNY DEVITO. In a penguin suit.

Top: The penguin who lives beneath Gotham City streets wreaking havoc on people’s first born sons. Bottom: Penguins who live at the New Orleans aquarium. 

I got to meet the ones on the bottom because my friend, Emily, an aquarist, visited me for Mardi Gras this year and as it turns out, aquarists hook each other up when they visit each other’s aquariums.

Not only did we go through the back entrance and NOT pay admission, we were invited INSIDE THE TANK for the penguin feeding!!


(Wait, vice-versa. He looked like them. Penguins were around before Oswald Cobblepot, not the other way around.)

But the same waddle, the flippers, the stinky habitat. Did he get an Oscar nomination for that portrayal??

Exhibit 1: Oswald Cobblepot

Exhibit 2: real live penguins

Well, perhpas they're not as angry as Oswald. 
(And...mind the penguin pooping. And my city girl “ewwwww” response.)

Getting to go inside the tank during the feeding was by far the coolest animal-related thing I’ve ever done. 

I even got to touch one!!!!  The feathers felt  like visqueen – waterproof and tight and moisture-wicking. 
Not like feathers at all. Maybe that’s so they can swim without getting soaked.


They made the craziest noises, too. It was like a small dog barking  noise you’d expect more from a seal than a penguin.

Some of the penguins preferred to be fed while bobbing in the water. Some preferred to eat on land. Others took their food and brought it to a hiding spot for later. 

Penguins are not overeaters like beagles are (“going up sir?”), so we had a nice, lengthy feeding time, which was done once the penguins got full and stopped circling the bucket of fish. 

I asked the penguin guide all kinds of dumb questions, blowing my cover as a fellow aquarist, and I was absolutely tickled to hear about the penguin “gay couple” - two male penguins that never leave each other’s side. 

They looked like twins!!!

Listen to that barking!!

(Side note: hearing myself on video makes me want to kill myself.)

The penguins were by far the most exciting things at the aquarium, just like the Penguin was the most exciting character in Batman Returns. 

At least now I have an image of real, live penguins  something more realistic to outweigh my useless movie impressions. 

Now we gotta work on the lions.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Choosing where to eat on a first date is tricky, even in a city as saturated with restaurants as New Orleans.

As someone posted in a group on Facebook last week:

“I’m looking for somewhere to eat tonight that is fairly inexpensive and easy to get in and out of but with good food and isn't too formal. Suggestions please”


Just kidding. 
(Most counter service restaurants you can rule out for a first date.) 

But, you know, it really is hard to hit each of these qualities in a restaurant all at the same time. 

Because if a place has good food, it’s probably expensive and/or formal. 
If it’s easy to get in and out of, it’s probably not romantic.
If it’s a hip, trendy place, then it’s going to be a long wait.

Yuppie problems. 

The thing is, though, that pretty much any restaurant will work. And not just in New Orleans. 

Sure, it’s cute when a guy gets your opinion on where you want to eat, or remembers that you really like sushi, or that you REALLY WANTED TO TRY THAT NEW TAPAS PLACE (uh...for example) ...but just getting taken out to dinner is awesome, period. 

Other girls will agree with me here. would be really hard to screw it up right???? Right???

Meet Scott. 

Scott decided to take my friend Bethany to Outback Steakhouse on their first date. And Bethany is a vegetarian.

“Get a potato,” he suggested.

Seriously. Hahahahaha. 

At least Olive Garden would have had better vegetarian options. Macaroni Grill anyone??

Scott drove Bethany OUT of the cute downtown area that was chock-full of starred, Zagat-reviewed restaurants and headed for the suburbs. 

Bethany had ABSOLUTELY told Scott before their date that she was a vegetarian, and she was miffed that he not only brought her to a chain restaurant, but one that had the name “steak” in it. 
That’s the opposite of thoughtful.

Bethany ordered a Caesar salad and onion straws and shut the menu.

Despite two strikes (chain restaurant, presence of STEAK), Bethany didn’t want to say anything. After all, he was taking her out, and it’s rude to be snobby, right?? 

Then came strike three. 

After a few beers, and watching him inhale steak that he was unable to share with her, Bethany questioned him about his restaurant choice.

“Just curious...why would you bring a vegetarian to a steak place?” she asked. 

“Oh, because I have a gift card from my mom that she gave me for Christmas,” Scott said.


Come on, man. Don't be tacky. Save that for....uh...a late night at the mall. 
Or, perhaps, someone who ACTUALLY EATS STEAK.

Yet Bethany didn’t say anything and watched Scott pay for their first date with a plastic card that had a cow on it. And they didn’t see each other again after that.

The bright side? 

At least the place was easy to get in and out of. 


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why people shouldn’t compare the Saints’ penalty to Hurricane Katrina

I just Googled “bad comparisons” to come up with a more thoughtful way to describe the idiots who are comparing the Saints’ penalty to Hurricane Katrina.

All I could find was the word “ill.”

An “ill-conceived” comparison? An “ill-logical” comparison?


(For those of you who don’t know, Saints players and coaches have admitted to participating in a “bounty” system, where they were essentially paid out of a pool of money if they injured players from other teams and/or took them out of the game.)

It’s all the rage on Facebook.

As punishment, head coach Sean Payton has been suspended without pay for a year, the team lost draft picks and we owe the NFL half a million dollars.

Man, it sucks getting bitchslapped.

But to quote local TV news anchor Sally Ann Roberts as a call for unity: After Katrina when we were down on our knees, we pulled together as a a team.”

B***, Please.
What a stupid analogy.

After Katrina, New Orleanians were UP to their knees in water, asking why this happened, what stroke of fate led this storm to annihilate the city that did nothing to deserve it, other than our coordinates on a map.

New Orleans didn’t do anything wrong. We had a stroke of bad fortune paired with a perfect storm.

The Saints on the other hand....OK nobody throw things at me...DID do something wrong.
Am I the only person on Facebook who will admit to this? (P.S. this does not make me any less of a fan.)

I mean, when someone in my kickball league hits someone in a moment of rage, they get suspended for a game or more.

When I was caught cheating on a Spanish test in high school, I got an F.

Everyone gets a copy of the rules.

So, what exactly are we New Orleanians supposed to “pull together as a team” in post-Katrina fashion to rebuild here?

Our team’s roster????


I mean it sucks, but this isn’t a tragedy. And I don’t think we should be told to feel as if the NFL robbed us of something as meaningful as what Katrina took away. Despite suspending the coach, we still have a team. We still have a season.

The Saints are getting punished for doing something wrong. Something they knew was wrong.

Instead of conjuring up powerful, raw feelings of the injustice and helplessness we felt after Katrina, a better message, SALLY ANN ROBERTS (and others), would be to just tell people to still be fans EVEN THOUGH THEY EFFED UP, just like my mom is still a fan of me even though I was caught cheating (lo siento).

I mean, I'm still a fan of my friend even though she got a DUI recently.

That was “ill”-legal, too.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


There’s a buttload of reasons to cancel on a first date...the day before your first date.

A death in the family.

A car accident.

A last-minute invite to an awesome music show.

A freak accident with your electric razor and now you only have one eyebrow.

These are all acceptable reasons.

NOT an acceptable reason, in my opinion, was an EMAIL I received from Leon, this guy I, who pretty much said he didn’t want to go out with me because he didn’t think I was super duper serious about him...without ever meeting him in person.

I know we met online, but this isn’t Russia. GAW

We had planned to meet at a nice tapas place for dinner.

I was actually really excited about it, since I hadn’t been on a date in months.

Leon, who sent me a message almost immediately after I signed up online, wasn’t even that cute, but I was in no position to be picky.

He messaged me about how he liked that I’m a writer and how did I get into writing? Etc etc.

Someone who was interested in my interests!!??!!

These types of guys exist??? (Ha kidding mom)

I immediately wrote him back.

He worked in outside retail clothing sales (uh yes please) and seemed nice and smart. He also took time to be grammatically correct, which I appreciated.

After two weeks and 15....yes FIFETEEN lengthy messages back and forth, where we talked about how we both got into our respective careers, what we were doing for an upcoming holiday, where we’re from and more, we made plans to meet up.

“Where do you want to go?” he asked.

“Let’s go to that tapas place everybody’s been talking about!” I wrote.

“Perfect.” He said. “Pick you up at seven?”

I don’t get into cars with strangers, so I lied.

“You know, I’m actually headed that way after work so I’ll just meet you there if that’s cool,” I wrote.

“OK, that works, see you then!” he wrote.

I was beyond excited. I even cancelled plans with my mom - giddy as a schoolgirl - to tell her that I was going ON A DATE with someone.

“Well, I hope you’re not getting into a car with him!” she said.


“Remember that tapas place I’ve been talking about forever??? WE’RE GOING THERE!!!” I told her.

But, no. I was wrong. No tapas for me.

I got an email from Leon the night before our date.

Four long paragraphs.

“I know this is completely out of the blue but it has to be said,” he wrote.

I was driving at the time and pulled over to the side of the road to read the rest of his letter on my phone.

“The more I read our messages, the more I get the impression that you are looking for something pretty casual. And I get attached too easily for ‘casual.’”


“I think it is perhaps not the best idea for us to meet up for dinner. I think there is a pretty high chance you will walk away thinking it had just been a nice chat without caring about what’s next.”

So now I don’t care???

How can I care when I haven’t even met someone????


As if that wasn’t enough of a message, Leon continued:

“I’m sure you’re a lovely date but I’m just trying to be more aware lately of what I really want in another person, rather than just taking what is available.”


So, I’m just what’s “available” at the moment?

My heart sank at the busy intersection.

...And that’s how I got dumped without ever going on a first date.

Too bad for Leon, us “casual” bimbos don’t take being stood up lying down.

“If you want an immediate wife try a mail order bride,” I wrote.

Seriously. Haha. I wrote that.

“That seems...a bit harsh,” he wrote back, minutes later.

“Harsh? You’re cancelling a date with me and you’re calling me harsh? OK. Good luck with your big search,” I wrote.

The next day, the DAY of our cancelled date, he wrote, “Would it be a stupid question to ask if there were any chance of starting over?”

I rolled my eyes - not only at his lame attempt to take back the cancellation - but because the correct way to say that is,

“Would it be a stupid question to ask if there WAS any chance of starting over?”


Definitely not marriage material.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012


One of my least favorite expressions used to be “have your cake and eat it, too.”

I didn't get it.

What's the point of having cake if you’re just supposed to stare at it instead of eating it? It was confusing.

Last week, though, I changed my mind.

It’s all thanks to Alan, this guy who dated my friend Julie. Because that expression is the perfect analogy for him!!

He should be on the cover of “I want my cake and eat it, too” magazine!!!! (Uhh...cancel my subscription.)

By cake, I mean women. Alan had all the women in the world and then he wanted
to eat more.

Alan was good-looking, a musician and a serial dater. Several women decided that spending even a little bit of time with him was better than none at all.

On his first date with Julie, he broke down his situation.

“I date a
lot of people and I need everyone involved to be cool with that,” Alan said coolly, super nonchalant. “And everyone already knows about everyone else, so it’s not like I’m lying or hiding anything.”

Somehow Julie found Alan’s honesty endearing and she still went out with him. When he found the time, of course.

Now, I’m not hating on playing the field. But don’t
rub your multiple conquests in your other girlfriends’ faces.

Like, maybe just say you’re busy, end of sentence, on Thursday instead of revealing that you have a super romantic date with someone else.

And, when you realize that a person you’re dating is starting to fall for you in an
exclusive way, you need to address that.

Cut off the hangers-on, perhaps??
Dump everyone and start new?

Not Alan.
Alan turned his bevy of women into a competition.

He had them all hooked --- uh, line and sinker--- including my poor friend Julie.

He would pick and choose them as his date for different things, and then tell everyone else about it.


I listened in horror as Julie told me that only “Sarah” was allowed to go visit his 2-year-old kid, who lived in another state.

Only “Erica” was chosen to watch his dogs when he went out of town
to meet other women on business.

“And everyone is just OK with this???” I asked. No, she said.

She cried and bitched about it (a few times) but Alan would say that he told her about his situation and she needed to either get on board or leave.

Julie said another woman came by his house crying about the same thing as Julie was over, in his bed.

It was so gross.
I’m surprised none of them shot each other.

Despite my “dump the bastard” motivational speech, Julie stayed with Alan.

Several of the other women had started dropping out of the race. It was down to three now, and Julie wanted to be his cake (that he would eat, too).

But she remained stressed out about where she “fit” into Alan’s life.
She certainly wasn’t his kid or pet person. The only thing they had in common was that they liked the same music and she was his go-to date to hear bands coming through town.

Congratulations, I said.

But every girl has her breaking point. After MONTHS of competing with all these other women, Alan finally was ridiculous enough so that Julie opened her eyes.

He was leaving town to go to his 15-year high school reunion. He was going to stay for a whole week to visit his parents and relax.

“Can I spend the night at your place and you can bring me to the airport tomorrow morning?” he asked Julie.

She was thrilled that he chose to be with HER his last night in town.

“Yes!” she said.
The next day, Julie drove Alan to the airport and told him she was going to miss him and call her, blah blah blah.

That’s when she saw Sarah, a.k.a. “I’m allowed to meet Alan’s kid," waiting outside the Delta Airlines entrance.

“What is SHE doing here?” Julie asked, heart dropped.

“Oh, Sarah’s coming with me to the reunion,” he said, taking his bag out of Julie’s trunk.


“Because you drink too much and I don’t want you to embarrass me at the reunion,” he said. “This is more of Sarah’s kind of thing.”



“WHY DIDN’T SHE JUST BRING YOU TO THE AIRPORT THEN???” Julie screamed as Sarah looked over.

“Because I wanted to spend time with
youuuuu before I left town,” he said, trying to be cute.

That’s when Julie realized she was done. DONE.

She wasn’t someone to pick and choose where she could go, or to be his god damn cab driver while he whisked another woman away to meet his high school friends. It was humiliating.

CAKE!!!! CAKE!!!!! CAKE!!!!

“It’s over,” Julie said walking back to the driver’s side.

He smugly replied, “We’ll talk when I get back,” and joined Sarah on their way towards the security line.

Julie meant it, thankfully, and did not give in when a sobbing Alan called months later saying everyone had left him and he was all alone, and “
please!!! Let’s be exclusive! I know that’s what you wanted!!!”

Julie said he sounded so sad, crying into the phone, all alone.

Haha. He was having CAKE withdrawals.

He should have been egged.


Friday, March 9, 2012


My twin sister, Joy, started a new job last month, and on the first day someone stole her lunch.


She called me on her way to Quiznos.

STOLEN, like the TUPPERWARE is GONE!” she wailed.

I laughed too loud and everyone at work knew I was taking a personal call.

“No way!!!!” I said. “Hahahaha No WAY!”

I’ve heard of lunch thieves before, and I’m an avid reader of (lots of office lunchtime “MINE, NOT YOURS” notes on food), but in my seven years as a 9-5er, the only thing that’s ever gone missing was a Diet Coke can or two.

Really, a whole Tupperware container?? Where would someone even hide that?

“...And there are only 14 people in the office!” Joy said, concerned.

This was no huge office building. There was no absent janitor to blame.

“Are you sure you brought lunch to work today?” I asked.

“Yes!” Joy said. “The secretary and I had an entire conversation this morning about it!”


(Now we have a suspect.)

“Maybe someone thought it was theirs?” I suggested as Joy bitched about lunchtime rush hour traffic.

“No, they couldn’t have thought it was theirs,” Joy said. “It was tofu pasta.”


We went over the details.

7:30 p.m.: The night before her first day of work, Joy makes an elaborate tofu pasta dish.

8:45 p.m.: Tofu pasta is eaten and enjoyed (uh, somehow...haha); leftovers are placed in appropriate Tupperware container for lunch.

8:15 a.m.: Joy arrives at work on the first day and is greeted by the secretary. The secretary asks Joy what she brought for lunch, and is curious about her tofu dish. A discussion of vegetarianism ensues.

8:20 a.m. Joy walks into the office kitchen and places food in the fridge.

12:05 p.m. Joy opens the fridge and does not see her Tupperware on the shelf where she placed it. She looks in all the drawers and in the door of the refrigerator. She checks the freezer.

12:10 p.m. Joy walks back by the secretary on her way out to go buy her lunch.

“I’m not crazy, you saw me bring my lunch to work today, right?” Joy asks the secretary.

“Yes! Definitely! The tofu!” she said. (Hmmm...good memory, secretary. Good. Memory.)

“’s missing now,” Joy said.


“Yeah. I put it in the fridge and now it’s gone. So...I’m going to go buy lunch now,” Joy said.


“You know...this has happened here before,” the secretary said, concerned, almost a whisper.

5 p.m. Joy leaves work for the day and her Tupperware has not surfaced. Not placed back in the fridge. Not in the trashcan. She cut her losses.

But the next day, the tofu pasta resurfaced. Figuratively.

Joy was told there was an emergency, mandatory staff meeting at 9 a.m.

The scary boss stood in front of all 14 employees, arms folded.



Joy froze. She didn’t intend to bring this to EVERYONE’S attention. On her second day.

“WE DON'T TOLERATE STEALING IN THIS OFFICE OF ANY KIND,” the boss said. “If ANYONE is caught stealing lunches, they will be fired ON THE SPOT!” he said, making eye contact with everyone.

(Hmmm....maybe he did it.)

People nodded. No one said anything.

9:25 a.m. Text from Joy: “OMG I’m officially the dork of the office”


Indeed, Joy. Indeed.

Although, to be fair, I think the fact that you brought tofu pasta did that all on its own for you.

Where-ever it is...


Tuesday, March 6, 2012


It’s hard to insist that you didn’t throw a bunch of beer bottles at your ex-girlfriend’s car window overnight when:

a.) she just broke up with you

b.) you know the code to get into her apartment complex where her car was parked

c.) you love Shlitz beer more than anything and that was the only brand of beer bottles found at the scene.

I mean, come on. Don’t say that shit Shlitz wasn’t you.

“You’re the only one in the whole world who drinks that!!!” my friend yelled at her ex the next day, and then told him how much it was going to cost to get fixed.

He denied it and then asked her who ELSE she must have pissed off in town. (hahahahaha)

Not only did she have to drop a few hundred dollars, but she got no satisfaction from a guilty party taking responsibility.

Even though we all KNEW it was him, we never figured out how to pin it on the shithead.

It’s so frustrating when it’s obvious someone you're dating did something crazy but won’t admit it.

It’s even worse when you SEE him doing something crazy with your VERY OWN EYES and he still “doesn’t know what you’re talking about.”

This happened to my friend Robin. She and Kenneth had been dating for a few weeks and actually said things with him were going well.

He invited her out one Wednesday but she said she was going to take it easy and do laundry and go to bed early, etc.

...And that’s exactly what she was doing when she got a phone call from a girlfriend who was upset and crying about something.

Robin walked out to her front porch away from the TV so she could talk with no distractions.

That's when she saw a truck with its headlights on halfway down the block from her view from the porch.

A car with its headlights on is always suspicious, and Robin didn’t live in the best neighborhood. She made a mental note.

After ten minutes, the truck hadn’t moved and Robin looked closer. It looked JUST like the late model pickup truck that Kenneth drove.

But, no, it couldn't be.

As her friend continued to ramble into the cell phone, Robin crept off the porch and towards the pickup. That’s when she saw Kenneth’s PERSONALIZED LICENSE PLATE: “ANIMAAL”

It WAS him! What was he doing at her house???

Robin started walking closer and closer and was two parked cars distance away when the truck’s ignigition started and the driver peeled out, pedal to the metal, leaving a high-pitched “EEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRR” in its wake, leaving Robin in its dust.

She squinted at the "ANIMAAL" license plate getting smaller and smaller.

“What the hell was that?” her friend asked.

"I...think that was Kenneth," Robin said.

Kenneth, of course, denied he was there at all.


He said no, that wasn’t him, she must have seen someone else.

She must have seen another ANIMAAL?

Look, if you’re going to be a stalker, get a rental car or something.

Robin tried to get Kenneth to at least admit that a truck with the same make and model and same personalized license plate as his suddenly peeling off when she approached seemed....suspicious.

He didn’t agree.

Confused, Robin didn’t know what to do about Kenneth after that. Was she supposed to get over/forgive this?

She knew what she saw! THE LICENSE PLATE SAID ‘ANIMAAL!’

It turns out she didn’t have to decide. Kenneth decided for her. He stopped retuning her calls and never called or texted her again.


Was he ashamed? Insulted?

How is that SHE gets dumped in this situation?

Maybe I'll buy her a six-pack of Shlitz.


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