Category Archives: Popular Culture

Jessica Biel’s Restaurant or “Bye Felicia”: Which One’s Worse?

Let’s play a little game.

I’m going to tell you about two things, and you’re going to tell me which one is worse. Ready? Okay, here we go.

1. Jessica Biel is planning to open an “exclusive, organic restaurant for kids”

If your first thought was “who?”, welcome to my blog. I like you.

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Jessica Biel seems like the kind of person you’d accidentally sit next to at a party. You would spend the next five minutes nodding your head and pretending to listen. And wondering why she’s here. In fact, Jessica Biel’s entire celebrity persona can be summed up with “Why is she here?” She’s married to my husband – Justin Timberlake – and I just DO NOT GET IT.

There is just something relentlessly C-list about Jessica Biel-Timberlake. As a heavy consumer of celebrity-related “news”, I put her in the same category as people like Garcelle Beauvais or Lisa Rinna or Jessica Alba and all the people on all the shows on the USA network. Which makes it even funnier that she is the person opening an “exclusive organic restaurant for kids.” Um, what? Is this a thing we need now? Is this a thing the One-Percenters are clamoring for?

This can probably be traced back somehow to Gwyneth. I bet Gwyneth was chillin with Jess one day (Beyonce was busy) and said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could take our kids somewhere exclusive to eat? You know, somewhere where we could get away from the, like, riff raff? Somewhere organic. Exclusive and organic.”

Yep. I just figured it out. Jessica Biel saw an opportunity to – literally – sit with the cool kids and she hatched the idea for a place that’s being called a “Soho House for kids.” Blech.

WORST PART: The place is called – no lie – AU FUDGE!

 

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BREAKING: Chris Martin Consciously Coupling With Costco-Sized Bags of Cheetos

My #FreeChrisMartin movement never really caught on the way it should have but it doesn’t matter now, does it? As you’ve no doubt heard, Chris and Gwyneth are “consciously uncoupling”.

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What’s that? You say “consciously uncoupling” sounds like “divorce”? Wrong! Divorce is for Normals. Divorce is for lazy failures who probably feed their kids breakfast cereal from a box instead of artisanal, locally grown spelt in Malabar chestnut milk, hand-milled by indigenous women. Divorce is for people with office jobs and minivans who drink non-premium beers. Divorce is for people who cook their pizzas indoors. Basically: farmers. (The type Jack Donaghy refers to; not the “young hippies who sell arugula at the market” type.)

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All joking aside, divorce – sorry, “uncoupling” – pretty much sucks. There are bad feelings and painful conversations and months spent wondering how you got from “I do” to “Get the f*** out”. It’s no fun, no matter how well both parties try to behave. There are silver linings, though. One of them is that divorce is sort of The Great Equalizer. No matter how perfectly you try to live your life, when your marriage fails, you’re in the same boat as everybody else.

And that’s exactly where Gwyneth Paltrow heard opportunity knock and told her maid to tell it she wasn’t home. Because announcing the end of a long (by Hollywood standards) marriage was her shot a relatability, something she desperately lacks. It was her shot at erasing statements like “Some days I feel like everyone in the world has plugged themselves into my kidneys. I’m so tired” from public memory.

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Still mad at Bey for this.

But nooope. Gwyneth had the chance to come across like the normal working mom she constantly claims to be and what did she do? She turned the smugness up to 11 by using her lifestyle blog to announce not run-of-the-mill divorce, but organic, expensive, better-than-you “conscious uncoupling”. That’s the reason the Internet exploded in Schadenfreude yesterday. She just makes it impossible to feel for her. She tried to build an empire on telling other people how to live like she does. Gwyneth Paltrow attempted to “curate” a perfect life and found out – like we all do – that life is messy as hell.

So back to Chris. I’m sure he played an equal role in whatever happened between them (no I’m not). But he’s not getting the hate she is. A friend of mine suggested that the marriage ended because she’s an awful person and he’s gay. Nah, I don’t think Chris is gay. I do think Chris Martin is the type of guy who isn’t all that into sex and probably prefers stuff like giving you back rubs and looking meaningfully into your eyes while he strums his guitar for you. He seems like a mellow dude and frankly, it’s very easy to see how a person like that would get completely fed up with the quest for perfection that is Gwyneth Paltrow’s entire existence.

So, Chris? Get INTO it, man. Smoke a blunt, buy gallons of that cheap, foamy ice cream that comes in huge plastic containers. Grab enormous bags of Cheetos! Better yet, buy generic Cheez Puffs. Get some bottom shelf liquor and lose a weekend watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. You deserve it. You’re free.

 

Seven Great Things About Justin Bieber’s Move to Atlanta (Seriously!)

It’s happening, ATLiens. Don’t fool yourselves into thinking they’re just rumors. Word on the street is that Justin Bieber is on his way to the A – and not as a visitor. He’s been seen all over town partying with various full-grown adults who oughta be ashamed of themselves

Sshhh. Be still. Sit with your feelings for a minute. It’s normal to feel this way. The first step is acceptance. Let me help you make peace with the inevitable. Here are seven things that should make you feel better about it.

1. Nene will have a word with him.

In many ways, Atlanta is still a small town. It’s especially small for famous – and “famous” –  Atlanta residents. It’s why you see Alton Brown hanging out with T.I. (I made that up, but it seems believable, right?) If Justin moves here, there is no doubt he will eventually make the acquaintance of Ms. Lennethia Leakes, whom you may know as the larger-than-life Nene from The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Say what you want about Nene, but she does not tolerate foolishness and f**kery. A few minutes with Nene and Justin will be “yes, ma’am”-ing and “no, ma’am”-ing around this city, and getting the home training he obviously lacks.

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Get into it, Nene. Dismiss him when you’re done.

2. Strippers will make a killing.

Our strip clubs are legendary. So many deals are made among the hip hop elite Justin is striving to become a part of that Magic City is like a second office for these guys. Wee Justin will be working overtime to impress and that can only be good news for Atlanta’s single moms.

3. Buckhead Betties are not residential drag race enthusiasts.

Even though JB is working on thugging out his image, with the tattoos and sippin’ lean shirtless in da club (barf), I’m pretttty sure he won’t be moving to Bankhead or Peoplestown, where the real thugs are. Curbed Atlanta has a round up of some of the properties Bieber’s people are looking at and early reports indicate Buckhead will be the lucky winner.

Hollywood tolerates all sorts of hijinks from famous people. Atlanta does NOT. (Remember what happened to Reese?) Most of Atlanta’s new rich live in the far southern and northern suburbs of the city. But people with old money – people who prefer to be described as “wealthy” rather than “rich” – still live in Buckhead and they are not known for their tolerance of bratty pop star shenanigans.  I’d love to see Justin try something like egging the Swan Coach House. SCANDAL. Continue reading

Consider This A Verbal Selfie

Five Things I’m Thinking About Today:

1. Ever since we got back from the beach last week, I’ve put Sublime in heavy rotation. That one album – Sublime, the one that came out right after Brad Nowell died – so perfectly captures the laid back feeling of summer days. Love.

2. Even though I binge-watched the entire series two weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about Orange is the New Black! I keep Googling stuff about the show, checking the cast’s Facebook pages and stalking them on Instagram. My favorite of the OITNB Instagrammers is Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee on the show. SHE IS SO ADORABLE I NEED HER TO STOP! (click the pic for a darling video)

3. I am an occasional smoker. There, I said it. Especially when I have a lot on my mind. (Or have had more than a couple cocktails.) I like the feeling of pausing and just watching the smoke for a few minutes while I take a minute to think. I have also heard – and I think maybe it’s true – that smoking is not considered a healthful activity! So I recently decided to switch to e-cigarettes for at least the majority of my smoking occasions.

My review: not as great as actual cigarettes but considerably less likely to kill me, so, ya know, sticking with it ’til I decide it’s just too weird and that smoking actually sucks and I stop all together.

It’s weird how there’s no set end time with an e-cig. With a real coffin nail, there’s a period of time when you’re smoking and then you’re done because you’ve burned it down. Not so with the e-variety.  An I never thought it mattered to me, but the awkward size of the e-cig is, well, awkward. Instead of feeling like this:

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E-cigs feel more like this:

allisonstopalready(Fans of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will recognize this as the awesomely horrible Allison Dubois at Camille’s Dinner Party from Hell. I could watch that episode over and over and over.)

4. I <3 cover songs. I have devoted ridiculous amounts of time to creating playlists made of nothing but covers of great songs – the more unlikely the cover artist/song combo, the better. (Katy Perry’s cover of MGMT’s “Electric Feel”? Perfection.) So I really enjoyed this list of 21 Cover Songs That Make You Realize How Amazing the Originals Were. 

5. Being tan feels so good, you guys. Like smoking, it’s not great for longevity or the long term appearance of one’s skin. But I love having a real true SUN tan so much! I’ve tried spray tanning and it’s a decent substitute for the sun that first April day you decide to rock a skirt without tights. But honestly: nothing beats the freckly golden glow you get from spending a few hours relaxing in the sunshine.

Preferably with an icy Michelada and Sublime bumpin’ on your system.

 

My Eyes Are Just A Little Sweaty Today: Remembering Amy Winehouse

It’s been two years since Amy Winehouse’s shocking (not shocking) death at age 27. I still listen to her music ALL THE TIME and imagine what it would have been like if she had lived a longer life. I mean, damn: even hanging on til 45 gives you a hell of a lot more material to work with.

So I’m reposting the piece I wrote on Intown Confidential right after she died. Even if you don’t read it, take a minute and watch her sing one of my favorites. When she breaks at around 1:20 – well, just watch . . .

July 23, 2011
So, Winehouse didn’t make it. Couldn’t keep up the fight any longer. Since she was such a tabloid dream, we all saw the dangerous signs of a life in total chaos, but somehow her early death still shocks and saddens. Her music was so meaningful to me and I want to remember her here.
I first heard her sing when “Rehab” was offered as a free iTunes download. I knew nothing about her, and I don’t make a habit of using iTunes to discover new singers but she intrigued me. I admit at first it was her look more than anything else that made me pay attention. That insane beehive, those crazy tats, the pencil skirts? I liked this girl’s style so I gave it a listen. It seems ill-timed to describe my feeling upon hearing her sing as something like addiction but it really was like what people say that first hit of meth is like: “I want more! Now! Again!” I couldn’t get enough of her and I felt something I hadn’t felt since I fell in love with Joni Mitchell in junior high.
Mark Ronson was the perfect producer for her; their relationship reminded me of other explosive artist-producer pairings that brought out the best in both. Her sultry voice with his 60s soul style production – mixed with improbably modern lyrics about her lover making her miss the Slick Rick gig – were intoxicating to me.
I remember throwing around her word (“fuckery”) all through the fall of ’07. Despite what were seemingly enormous differences between us – an about to be 40 mom of two and a superstar trainwreck – I felt like we knew each other in some way. Despite outward appearances, I heard her and knew I had some Amy in me. The way she sang about love and life felt so true and courageous. I admired her recklessness and tattered beauty. Like everyone else, I was sort of fascinated at the paparazzi photos of her in her grimy ballet slippers and running makeup. I wasn’t clutching my pearls, though. In a weird way, I loved her refusal to be anything other than her messy, raw self. In a world in which stars don’t even wear crazy get-ups to the Oscars anymore (I miss you, Cher!) there was something exhilarating about her unwillingness to hide her pain. Continue reading

“Tan Mom” Made a Music Video Because The World Can Always Get Weirder

imagesRemember the “Tan Mom”? Of course you do. She was accused of putting her 5-year-old daughter in (on?) a New Jersey tanning bed. She was a meme for a hot second, both defending herself and wildly screaming at reporters and photographers that they were “all fat losers!”

If you thought she just went back to transforming herself into a human strip of Turkey Jerky, you are incorrect. She’s back and she’s”the cool one.”

Warning: you will require some sort of eye-wash station following the viewing of this video, so start getting that ready now. Or better yet, some Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind type thing that erases your memory. Because what you are about to watch cannot be unseen.

A short list of things you’ll see in this “music” video:

  • doughy young gay men writhing around with and on Tan Mom
  • the inexplicable presence of a young woman with a blonde wig who “dances” with the soft gay men
  • production values that make the average 3rd grader’s PowerPoint on rocks and minerals look like Scorcese
  • Tan Mom in a Party City wig declaring she is “hotter than the Octomom” while having her boobs groped
  • choreography that took under 6 minutes to learn
  • what a $35 wardrobe budget looks like
  • rhyming of “drop my top” with “Mazel TOFF” (yes: toff)
  • at 2:01, a complete “I quit this bitch” to even pretending to lipsync
  • a podium featuring the presidential seal of the United States
  • a woman in the late stages of severe alcohol and possibly drug abuse who, in a better world, would use the profits from this video to pay for a stay in rehab. (Oh. Wait. There won’t be profits.) 🙁 *sad face forever*

 

Sometimes the world seems like a terrifying hellscape.

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mugshot: The Smoking Gun
gif: tumblr

Best of the Blog: An MC to a Degree You Can’t Get In College

Adam Yauch died last year. This is what I wrote about him on May 10, 2012. 

It’s been a few days since Heaven got a little more Adam Yauch.
I’m surprised how much his death is still on my mind. I keep imagining what his parents are feeling, what Mike and Adam are feeling, and what his wife and daughter feel. The loss of someone we love, especially when it’s so new, is too hard for the heart to accept. You wake up thinking for a minute that person is still here somewhere before realizing he’s gone. Forever.
I came across this picture on Twitter:

I can’t stop looking at it.

I look at him and I see all of us. In his eyes, I see that feeling that we have when we’re young: I am immortal, untouchable, never ending. We think our ideas are the freshest and that the world better be ready for us.

But not many of us leave behind the legacy that Adam Yauch did. Between the work with the Beasties, the Milarepa Foundation, and his film company*, his ideas really were the freshest.

I feel lucky to have grown up with him and I’m just sad to see him gone so soon.

(*Weird. Just saw that his company produced the excellent Maurice Sendak documentary “Tell Them Anything You Want.” RIP Maurice.)

Ryan Lochte Is My Favorite Person on TV Right Now

People complain all the time about how negative reality shows are. If they’re not portraying some ethnic or socioeconomic group poorly, they’re glamorizing the shallow values of the nouveau riche. Not to mention all the fighting! Oh, the nasty, nasty fighting.

I agree that there is a whole crop of Kardashian-adjacent television shows that are little more than what my pal Dean calls “hater tv.” But what about when something entirely positive comes along on reality TV? Don’t believe it’s possible?

Well, E! network is broadcasting an uplifting reality show featuring a healthy, well-adjusted young man with developmental disabilities and a supportive group of friends with similar disabilities, as they try to make sense of an increasingly complex world.

Oh. Wait. That’s actually the plot summary of the 2001 Sean Penn film I Am Sam. Sorry, my bad.

What Would Ryan Lochte Do? actually focuses on the day-to-day life of an Olympic superstar as he navigates through a series of highly-orchestrated situations and spreads his dumbass charm around like fingerpaint.

I’m not proud to say that I didn’t watch any of last summer’s Olympic games. Not one event. But I was aware of this Lochte character because obviously the media loved him. I was turned off by his seemingly douchey ways – the sneakers, the annoying catchphrase (“jeah!”), and of course, this:

complexWhen I saw him play a version of himself as a “sex idiot” on 30 Rock, I thought he was cute but I definitely didn’t see him jumping out of the pool and rocketing to Hollywood domination. ryan-lochte-sex-idiotSo, yeah, I started watching WWRLD as hater tv. (Also, I was sort of curious how the producers would show Gainesville, Florida – a town I love for lots of reasons, but mostly because my dad lived there while I was growing up.)

You guys. I didn’t mean to fall in love with this incredibly hot doofus. It just happened!

Here’s the thing about the show: just like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”, no matter how much the producers throw in sound effects to cue viewers when they’re supposed to laugh and feel superior, a delightfully genuine affection between Ryan and his family and friends comes through loud and clear. Ryan Lochte loves his life! It’s refreshing to watch someone so famous seem to love every minute of the life he’s made for himself. Yes, he has God-given talent as a swimmer, but he also pushes himself hard enough and digs down deep enough to become the fastest human being in the water. And that kind of determination and focus is no joke. Continue reading

Legally Stupid: Reese Witherspoon Vs. APD

I love how her eyes are like, "I quit this bitch."

I love how her eyes are like, “I quit this bitch.”

Before we look through the Georgia Department of Public Safety Report together – and oh, we are so gonna do that – let’s take a minute to be thankful that no one was hurt when one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars and her dumbass husband drove drunk through the A late Thursday night.

Because since no one was hurt, we can safely LAUGH and LAUGH and LAUGH about this mess!

If you’d like a look at the actual document, you can download it here, or you can just let me give you the good stuff.

First of all, dang. Reese is really tiny. According to the report, Laura Jean Reese Witherspoon is 5’02” and 105 lbs. Now, it’s possible that Reese shaved a couple pounds off when she filled out the DMV form (something I obviously do not condone) but it’s more likely she’s really that small. Which makes some of the stuff she did that night seem even funnier.

So. Reese and her husband were riding down Peachtree at 12:40 am on Friday, April 19. They were over by Peachtree Battle. [Any guesses where they were hanging out before they hit the road? I don’t know; I actually really want your guesses.] An APD officer noticed a Ford Fusion – wait, stop. Quick laugh break for ballin’ in a FORD FUSION!

Oh well. I guess a Fusion is better than a giant Hummer? Still funny. Anyway. Moving on.

So, Officer No Bullsh*t (you’ll see in a minute) notices that the Ford Fusion – one more time: HAHAHA! – failed to maintain its lane and traveled more than once over the double yellow line. Officer No Bullsh*t initiated a traffic stop and the car pulled over into the Walgreen’s parking lot.

Again, I have to stop the story for a second. In general, I tend to be anti-cop. Sorry, I just am. I know it’s not rational but it’s almost like how some people just have a preference for mayonnaise over Miracle Whip. I just generally prefer to not deal with cops whenever possible.* However! I do love it when they serve up some “sit your ass down” justice to people acting like a**holes. Which is exactly what happened that night in the Walgreen’s parking lot.

Smelling alcohol on the driver’s breath – and also noting “disheveled clothing” – the officer asked the driver how much he’d had to drink. He replied “a drink” (yeah, right) and then looked to his passenger, one R. Witherspoon, to answer when he was asked where the drinks were consumed. She replied that the drink was consumed at a restaurant two hours prior. Girl, stop. Just stop.

I love this kind of crap! Listen, we have ALL left “a restaurant” after having “a drink” “two hours earlier”. We just have. And we probably did not smell like alcohol and fail to maintain a lane in our disheveled clothes! God, could one of these people not ever just say, “Dude, I am WASTED right now. I don’t know what the hell I was even thinking after that sixth shot. Here, cuff me.”

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Linked In Can Suck It and Here’s Why

God, I hate Linked In.

A couple years ago when everyone started jumping aboard the Linked In ship, I was waving from the dock with a cocktail, wishing everyone bon voyage. My initial dislike of it was simple: I thought their design was ugly and boring and also I was an unpaid stay-at-home mom not looking to “network” with other stay-at-home moms.

I can’t remember who sent me the first “Invitation to Connect” but at some point I thought, “Damn, I better swim on out and see if there’s still any room on that boat!” I accepted that Linked In wasn’t the passing fad I thought it was. So I created an account and have maintained the laziest and most blah of profiles, while trying to Beadazzle™ my Facebook and Twitter (and sometimes Pinterest*) on the daily.

Since I’m looking for work in social media now, I’ve done tons of reading about the usefulness of Linked In. And I’ve been advised by people I like and respect to beef up my profile. Damn it. I have to do this now. But first I’m gonna rant for a minute about why I hate it and don’t have to like it and you can’t make me. sam_spratt_300_linkedin_gizmodo_copy

1. I hate self-promotion.

Right now I’m supposed to be writing my own reference letter for an associate (fancy) who is going to sign it when I’m done. I’m having the hardest time! I can write a recommendation for someone else in a quick second but writing about how awesome I am is not coming naturally. And saying that you’re good at things means you create the expectation that you’re actually good at those things! I know, I know: weak. But getting on LinkedIn and coming across like a serious person who knows what she’s doing is haaard, you guys.

2. The endorsements thing is a total scam.

Because of this blog, I get a lot of endorsements that I really, truly appreciate. When I see that someone has endorsed my writing, or web content, or social networking, I feel like it’s a really nice hat tip. But I usually can’t reciprocate. I don’t KNOW if I should endorse your proposal writing skills. ARE you really good at segmentation or integrated marketing? I don’t know because I don’t work with you and I don’t really know what you do! You’re a great pal and I love our chats, but we haven’t talked about your skills in Adobe Creative Suite so I can’t say if you’re good at it!

3. PEOPLE CAN TELL YOU’VE STALKED THEM.w6cRgyY

This is why LinkedIn is just the worst.

Remember a few years ago, everyone was seeing these scammy ads telling you you could see who’s checked out your profile and then it all turned out to be fake because thank God the one thing Facebook hasn’t taken away from us (yet) is the ability to hide our stalking? Well, Linked In totally lets you see who’s checked out your profile. Grrreat.

The problem with this is that let’s say there are only a few people in the world that you would definitely say that you hate. Like, you loathe them. Your interactions with them from more than a decade ago still have the power to get you heated. You may have even crafted a revenge fantasy or two. Then let’s say one boozy evening you decided to google this fool and see what she’s been up to. And LinkedIn comes up first so of course you click on it. Now you’ve visited her profile. She thinks you’re interested in her for good reasons, not bad, shameful, you-should-have-moved-on-by-now reasons. And then BAM! The next day, there it is: your “invitation to connect”! And attached is a stupid note saying something vague about how long it’s been and how glad she is to reconnect. D’OH! You don’t WANT to reconnect with that heifer! But just the fact that she knows you looked gives her the upper hand. And then you cry violently at your life.

In the next few weeks, I am planning to try to do some real networking and self-promoting on Linked In because I know that I need to grow up and accept that it’s important to try to appear professional in order to get people to pay you. But I will be rolling my eyes the whole time.

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*Let’s talk about Instagram another day.