Tuesday, November 27, 2012


People say Americans are stupider than Europeans because we work 400 days a year and don’t ride on trains.

Oh, and we’re not interested in learning any other language except the King’s speech.

Fine, that last part may be true, but we’re not complete morons. Many of us have general knowledge about the other side of the world.

And what we don’t know, we make up for in obsessive Google searches.

Basically, we know when you’re being sketchy about being all European-y.

Dimitri, a “100 percent Greek” guy my friend Brandie dated, fit the part. He had an accent, a dark complexion and liked cheese a lot.

He moved to ’merica for college and stayed working full-time as a valet at a restaurant. Brandie met him at a bar.

He seemed nice and legitimate at first, and they went on cute dates and he paid for everything. She told him about American culture. He didn’t know a lot of American culture, he said. It was like he had just arrived!

But then she brought him to bar trivia. Glorious bar trivia.
Where you answer a whole bunch of random questions and get drunk.

One of the questions that night was perfect for Dimitri.

“What are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, that, when put together, is a familiar phrase?” the host asked.

“Uh….alpha something,” the teammates offered, thinking back to college fraternities and sororities. “Alpha, zeta??”

Everyone looked at Dimitri.

He shrugged.


Perhaps he didn’t understand the question.

“Um, Dimitri, what are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet?” Brandie asked.

“Uhh…I don’t know,” he said.


“What do you mean you don’t know, you’re Greek!” she cried.

 “Yea, well…we moved to Italy when I was 12, so…”


“So what?? You told me you speak Greek to your parents! You grew up learning it!”

Everyone at the table got really uncomfortable. I mean, isn't that the first thing you learn growing up?? THE ALPHABET??? 

Then an AMERICAN on the  team blurted out, “OMEGA! ALPHA, OMEGA! That's gotta be it!”

“Oh, yes, that’s right,” Dimitri said. “Omega.”

Very good...American.

Not long after that night, Dimitri went "home" to Greece to visit friends and extended family for the holidays. He was gone for about three weeks, but stayed in touch writing emails (in English) saying he was having a great time.

When he returned, however, he was not having a great time. And he was broke.

“I got arrested!” he said. “Arrested!

“For what??” Brandie asked.

“THEY SAID I WAS A SPY!” he said.


Brandie blinked.

“A what?”

“A SPY!” he said. “Because I was using my Greek passport and it was expired. And then they saw my American passport!”

Uhhhh, what?

(Side note: They should have asked him to say the Greek alphabet. Then he would have been put on a short bus rather than jail.)

“I was arrested for impersonating a Greek person!” Dimitri said. “Because I’m really an American citizen!”

Brandie rattled off Bourne Identity movie facts in her head. ('merica!)

“Why can’t you have dual citizenship?” Brandie asked. "You're from there and live here...."


(Uhhh….Google it. You absolutely can. This isn't Cuba.)

Did Dimitri think she was a complete idiot? 

Say he DID get arrested unjustly as an American citizen, wouldn’t he have called the Embassy?

And how did he get an American passport, anyway?? He should have a work VISA, if anything. 

And, finally, really…a SPY?? THAT guy???

None of this added up.

“I’m really confused,” Brandie said. 

“Basically, I might have to owe the Greek government $100,000. So I can’t take you out like I used to.”


There it is.



Monday, November 26, 2012

Cheesy Thanksgiving post

The star dish at my family’s Thanksgiving meal is homemade potato salad, I kid you not.

It’s a dish that our late grandmother had perfected and made often, and each mouthful of celery, green onion and diced eggs with notes of relish is a nod to our childhood.

The potato salad is a required presence. I can say with utmost confidence that if there was no potato salad on the table, people would start asking questions.

“Was there an awful potato accident? An onion shortage?? Don’t tell me you ran out of bowls.”

It’s pretty serious. It’s always the first of the leftovers to be polished off.

Growing up, I never thought potato salad was an odd dish to serve at Thanksgiving. But I now realize that it’s not exactly a common staple like cranberry sauce or stuffing.

Children don’t find the words “potato salad” to circle in Thanksgiving word searches like “pilgrim” and “cornucopia,” for example.

And TV commercials that show a supposed standard American Thanksgiving spread don’t include a mountain of cold potatoes on the table. Hmm. Odd.

(They don’t include gumbo, either. WTF is Campbell Soup’s problem???)

Over the years, we’ve added a dish here and there (Whole Foods “field harvest” rice with cranberries? Yes please!), Banana Pudding (another nod to our grandmother…and mmmmm)…but pretty much, our dishes are locked in.

This poses a problem for guests who come to dinner, because while their (outside) food contributions are certainly appreciated, please don’t get offended when nobody touches your stuffed bell peppers.

It’s not you. We’re just too close-knit to embrace change so recklessly. 

This year, however, THIS year, we shook it up. We added a whole new dish to Thanksgiving.

From inside our very own ranks!! It bumped out the sweet potatoes!!!!

It was all my twin sister Joy’s idea, and any food request from the family vegetarian who won’t  can’t eat the turkey gets Priority One in our house.

Joy decided that we should make baked mac and cheese.


“Mac and Cheese?” we said, frowning, ignoring completely that Mac and Cheese falls under the top 50 classic American Thanksgiving dinner sides.

Joy didn’t help her case when she said the recipe calls for Ritz cracker crumbs on top.

“Who wants to eat crackers for Thanksgiving???” we said. “Pigeons in the park eat crackers!!”

“No, it’s DELICIOUS,” Joy insisted, after having just eaten some at a “friendsgiving” Thanksgiving potluck the week before.

Since Joy was flying to New Orleans for the holiday, and I live here, I was instructed to not only buy the ingredients but make the mac and cheese dish.

It took me forever.

You may remember, I’m a terrible cook.

But even after I made the noodles and cheese look passable, Joy’s vegetarian dreams were ruined once I put the dish in the oven, on a rack above the t-u-r-k-e-y (circle it, kids).


(She was busy chopping the ingredients for the potato salad.)

“Well, what am I supposed to do?” I asked. “There’s no place else to put it.”

 It was Thanksgiving morning.

“The turkey will only take 25 more minutes,” my mom said.

But, lunch was happening in 40 minutes and there was no time to wait.

“GREAT,” Joy said dramatically, then asked if we could put aluminum foil over it like a hat to keep out the “bird smell.”

Once all the food was cooked and the table was all set, the Mac and Cheese looked like any other new person at a table of regulars.

It stood out like a sore thumb.

We all stared at it. The thick orangey rectangle, without its own flowery serving platter.

“What kind of utensil do we use for it?” my mom asked.

We each took a little square, nibbling at it, skeptical of its merits at the table.

 “Give me just a little slice…no, that’s too big,” my dad said passing his plate to me. He got one square inch.

Interesting.” He said after tasting it.

It wasn’t bad, the Mac and Cheese (pats chef on own back). But we probably won’t make it again. We're too ingrained in our traditions and it reminded no one of childhood.

Nostalgia is important in our family, with all of us spread across the country, busy with our own lives. 

It’s comforting to know that we'll have a  familiar meal for the holidays, the same dishes we ate when we were 15 years old, 25 years old and will still eat when we’re 90.

It’s something you can count on.

That, and the fact that the potato salad will never, ever smell like meat.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I saw the cutest picture of a dog the other day, a picture on my friend Stacy’s phone.

It was a picture text from Zack, a guy she had met online but who she had never met in person.

They had discussed his dog, a Labrador/Pitt Bull mix, in their online messages.  He wasn’t lying, the dog was cute. And the little guy was sitting on a fuzzy mat.

It had a curious expression on its face, like how dogs cock their heads to one side and look confused when you ask them rhetorical questions like where you left your car keys.


This dog had that curious expression in the picture, too. Ears alert. Doggie eyebrows raised.

Texting a girl a picture of your cute dog is really a good move. Chicks dig guys who have cute dogs, so says every single romantic comedy, ever.

It’s a foolproof text, too. Nobody’s going to look at a picture of a cute dog and be like UGH.


The picture of Zack’s cute dog was preceded by another text.

“Wanna see something funny?” he had typed. It was his first text message ever to her.

“Sure,” Stacy replied.

Then the photo of his dog.

 And under the photo: “Here’s a picture of my dog watching me take a shit.”



An UGH response to a picture of a cute dog.
Congratulations, Zack.

Stacy actually didn’t respond at all. She stared at the picture in horror. The dog’s face no longer looked cute and curious, it looked grossed out.

No, the dog looked frightened, either by what it was seeing or hearing. 
Or smelling.

DUDE. What guy in his right mind over the age of 14 would think that would be something a girl would want to see/imagine?!!? 

Especially a girl you’ve never met, who you hope to go on a date with???

Instead of asking, “Wanna see something funny,” Zack should have said, “Wanna to see something demented?

Stacy was now picturing this guy, pants around his ankles, taking a massive dump. Playing on his phone. Torturing his poor dog.



Five minutes later, he texted her again.

“Not into that sort of thing, huh?”



Tuesday, November 13, 2012


One of the good things about being in a relationship is that you can talk to that person about your problems.

For example, you can tell them about how you’re stressed about your job, your family, how you never made it as a child actor, etc, etc, and, if they do their boyfriend/girlfriend duties right, they should make you feel better about it.

It’s one of the good things about being in a relationship: You've got a rock.

Now, some people think they can still have that rock once they break up, but NO. WRONG. (Buzzer sound: EEEEEEEEEEEHHH).
That’s one of the rights you waive almost immediately.

This is especially the case if you’re the one doing (or causing) the breakup.
RIGHT??? DUH????

Tell that to Andrew.

Andrew, a repeat offender TOOLBAG (read his story here) continues to baffle with his dumbass-ery.

Andrew was married to my friend Rachel, and decided to not only cheat on her but fall in love with his mistress, who was also married. He kept all this a secret until he was caught red-handed, and now he and his mistress are engaged. Charming.

For some reason, Andrew continues to call Rachel DAILY, wanting to chat, catch up, shoot the shit, ask her how she likes her new apartment, i.e. things that aren’t his business.

Rachel does her best to ignore these calls, because really, WTF cheater loser, but one day Andrew left her a voicemail in a panic. He was actually crying.


Rachel was concerned, thinking there was a huge tragedy. She called him back.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“IT’S…MELISSA!” he cried. Melissa was his little sister, also married.

“What happened??? What’s wrong with Melissa??” Rachel asked, now turning panicky herself.

“She….she…CHEATED on Peter! They’re getting a divorce!” Andrew sobbed, bursting into tears again.


A SLUT!!!!

Um…hello kettle??? You’re black.


Rachel didn’t say anything for a long time.

“Seriously???” she finally said.  

Andrew didn’t pick up on the sarcasm.

“I KNOW!!!” He cried. “I’m so devastated! I can’t believe she did this!!! Mom and dad are so upset!”

(FYI…they must be very proud of both their cheater children.)

Rachel was fuming. Was Andrew really sitting here talking shit about his sister when he did THE VERY SAME THING?!!??  
Is he that far removed from reality???


Either, way, it’s absolutely inappropriate to bitch about this information to your scorned ex-wife. 

Rachel offered no sympathy.

“Don’t you have a fiancé you can talk to about this?” she said.

“SHE DOESN’T KNOW ME LIKE YOU DO!” Andrew sobbed, crying again. “She doesn’t know the family! You’re the one who knows me best!”

Best? Please. He cheated on her for months behind her back.

“Don’t call me anymore,” Rachel said, and hung up.

Dude. For real.

(Divorce) paper covers rock.


Monday, November 12, 2012

The magic of the movies

One of the most satisfying things about being in a “creative” industry is that everyone can see your final product.



(Uh, for example.)

It’s the opposite of say, a doctor, who, yes, can technically show off a living, breathing person he or she saved as a “final product,” but you can’t very well parade that person around to everyone you know or keep them in your purse for special occasions.

And you CERTAINLY can’t put them on a movie theater screen and have everyone you know come see them.

…But movie editors can!!

And that's exactly what my CREATIVE brother, Franklin, did last month when a movie he edited was screened at the New Orleans Film Festival!!!


(OK, so Franklin didn’t actually say that. My twin sister, Joy, and I said that. We were so proud of him it felt as if it were OUR accomplishment, too. Ha.)

Our whole family knew that Franklin had spent a considerable portion of 2011 editing this film, a hilarious doomsday comedy called It’s a Disaster starring Julia Stiles and David Cross.  

During the time he was editing it, we only heard from him during odd hours and sometimes not for days at a time.

During Christmas last year, he brought the early cut of the movie with him on the plane from Los Angeles and we all watched it after our holiday dinner, cheering when his name showed up on the screen.

WOOOHOOOOO!!!! We screamed and clapped, trying not to spill our wine.

“Ok, guys…” he said.

Fast forward seven months and our whole family was together again, watching the same movie, (possibly in the same seating order) only THIS TIME we were at a THEATER surround by friends and family and 100 strangers, watching it on a big screen. It was magical.

We cheered again when his name came on the screen.

“Ok, guys…” Franklin said.

There’s something quite awesome about being able to come back to your hometown and share your work with everyone you know, AT A FILM FESTIVAL, especially a movie that is funny and well-made.

Unlike some other movies I saw at the festival that made me squirm and/or want to burst into tears in the bathroom, the movie Frankin edited was the hit of the weekend!!!

Everyone laughed when they were supposed to!


And then, after the movie, Franklin and the film’s director did a question-and-answer session where all the questions were not questions at all, but praise for making such a great film.


It was especially gratifying for me…I mean Franklin…because our entire family was there to see his hard work pay off.

It’s only about twice a year when all of us are together in the same room.

Family members flew to New Orleans from opposite ends of the country to attend the film debut. Our uncle even flew in from Pennsylvania, his first trip back to New Orleans in over 10 years.

Our mom threw an elaborate party before the screening, with catered food and plates shaped like those rectangular things directors snap when they say “action.”  

There were oversized balloons shaped like film cameras and little gold sequins stars everywhere. We almost put a "You're a star!" banner on the wall.

("OK, guys..." Franklin would have said.)


As we were waiting for the movie to start AT THE SOLD-OUT THEATER, I thought back to Franklin’s homemade movies from high school where we would eagerly watch the final version from the couch in our living room.

(It was especially exciting when Joy and I had cameos in his movies. We were usually cast as “girls screaming.”)

And look at him now!!!

Look at us ALL now!!!

Franklin is still making movies.

And Joy and I are still girls screaming.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


There was this Seinfeld episode where Jerry said that women’s bodies are like curvy little Ferraris and men’s bodies are like Jeeps.

….Functional, Standard, Industrial, Yadda Yadda.

(He was making a point that women should be encouraged to walk around his apartment naked, while men…shouldn’t.)

Ben, this complete tool that my friend Jessica went on a date with, didn’t have that same mindset.

He seemed to think that his male parts should absolutely be center stage, and in fact, SHE should be lucky to have a big Jeep like him.

(OK Ben, like there aren’t other big Jeeps in this world….geez. Go to a locker room.)

 Ben and Jessica met in the most unfortunate way: online. He was new to town and wasn’t even as cute as his online picture suggested. She wasn’t feeling him at all, but he kept flirting and grabbing her and trying to make out.

It was a fourth of July event , and Jessica was looking for ways to slink out of there because if she was going to play grab-ass, it wasn’t going to be with this guy.

She held out for exactly two beers and then quickly thought of something.

“Hey, I actually have to leave and go home to wash my hair feed my dog,” she said. Perfect.

Ben answered quickly.

“Well, I’ll go home with you…I’d love to meet your dog,” he said.


“Ummmm…no…I don’t think so…I’ll just catch up with you later…maybe..” Jessica said, and bolted.
She went home and pet her well-fed dog.

Twenty minutes later, she got a text message from Ben.

“Oh, so you’re not interested in me?” he wrote. “You just LEAVE me here?”

It was an awkward situation. She didn’t want to be rude, but he wasn’t at all her type.

“Well, I had to feed my dog,” she texted back. “But now that you mention it, I don’t think this is going to work out.” She added “You’re new to town and I’m over the touristy thing,” just so she could throw in a realistic excuse.

That’s when the Jeep went into overdrive.

Like, OMG.

Ben sent Jessica a PICTURE TEXT MESSAGE of his HARD PENIS, with a message: “Good luck finding a guy whose dick is this big."



Who texts a perfect stranger that??? 

And where was he?? Still at the party??? 

Was she supposed to look at the picture and fall in love and put her hand over her forehead and say, “OHHH LOOK! MY PRINCE CHARMING!”??

The picture was horrifying.

“Excuse me???” Jessica wrote back.

Ben was ready.

“Yea, have fun dating other guys who can’t even get it up, or satisfy you,” he wrote.


What a horny bastard.

I mean, first off, what the F does HE know about her love life and/or what satisfies her?

Second off, a big d*ck doesn’t excuse someone’s general repulsiveness.

AND AGAIN: Like you’re the only Big Jeep in the world. Gimmie an effing break.

Jessica didn’t write him back, since this guy was certifiable and seemed to think his d*ck was the Messiah.
But she got another text from him a half hour later.

“By the way, that picture is MY property and you may not share it.”


Drive away as fast as possible.


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