Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rehab Addict

Rehab Addict is my new favorite tv show.

flickr user edition_of_one

This woman flips historic homes in Minneapolis, but before she puts them on the market, she renovates them to something resembling their original condition.  That is, she tears out all of the ugly things that bad, bad people have done to the houses through the decades, and replaces it with as many period-correct elements as she can. 

Why do people buy historic buildings and mutilate them into modern looking buildings?  If you want something new, get something new (you fucking son of a bitch moron jagweed asshole)!  Leave the old ones alone.  When I was house shopping, I hated walking into a cute 1930s bungalow only to find that it had been gutted and renovated in approximately 1987.  NOT ACCEPTABLE.  Maybe I'm weird, though.  As I have detailed at some point, I grew up in a 1950 time capsule.

Our house was the Phoenix winter home of a mildly eccentric old man who had kept the house in such pristine condition that my dad didn't see fit to change much but the carpet and the strangely cushioned kitchen tile.  All of the furniture and incidental items of the house conveyed, and my dad kept it all.  I was too young then to realize that this was a little weird.  The prior owner had had a daughter (by then middle aged), and one of the bedrooms of the house was still painted pink, with a little pink velvet vanity chair, a ceramic piggy bank in the shape of a cocker spaniel, and a 1950s jewelry box.  These became my things, and I still have the dog.  I still have their pink Pyrex set, '50s egg cooker, monogrammed glasses and so many other random old things that I've forgotten what was theirs.  So what I'm saying is maybe my perception of this situation is different from that of other people.  I'm somewhere between "normal person" and that couple in NYC who live year-round as though the year is 1940.

Anyway, Rehab Addict is full of awesome tricks and easy ways to rehabilitate sad, abused properties.  What I love the most is that she salvages everything she possibly can and puts it to some use.  She seems to mostly deal in Craftsman style, teens-era bungalows, which she picks up on the crazy cheap at auction.  She's doing the good work.  Perfect job.

Monday, June 18, 2012

VB Chat

To recap a recent phone conversation with my dad:

Guys Who Were Tough
Charles Bronson
John Wayne
Steve McQueen
Charlton Heston
Robert Mitchum (my suggestion, confirmed)

Modern Day Guys Who Are Acceptable
Sam Elliott
Gene Hackman
Ed Harris

Guys Who Are Not Tough

Bruce Willis

Now you know.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Downton Abbey makes another nod to Gone with the Wind!  This one was too fond, familiar and noticeable to not be the act of shameless fan.  Probably this guy.

In the scene, a girl is weeping and is offered a handkerchief, at which point she thanks the offerer and notes that she never seems to have a handkerchief in times of crisis.

Like when Rhett gives his handkerchief to a tearful Scarlett while noting that he has never known her to have one during any of the many crises of her life.  So mild a moment, yet so obvious.

I finally had to research this on the internet, and found that I'm not the only one identifying these scenes.  See?  I was starting to wonder if I just see GWTW where it isn't, which would of course be strange and unfortunate.

Regarding Downton Abbey, I am particularly enjoying this because of the era, but it is taxing to care about a soap opera.  Something is always HAPPENING. Also, I'm still watching the prior season, and I'm not sure if other people know this, but the internet contains lots of spoilers for television shows.  So that's also a problem.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SJP in America

So, "Who Do You Think You Are?" is a recent program that showcases the ancestry of various celebrities.  Obviously you can't get something like this off the ground unless famous persons are featured.  With the use of historians, librarians and genealogists, the show traces through various family trees until something remarkable turns up.

I like Sarah Jessica Parker.  Contrary to whatever people think of her due to her roles, it's immediately evident upon hearing her speak that she's an intelligent woman with a reader's vocabulary, oh, and a child named after eminent Victorian novelist Wilkie Collins.  She's not what you think. 

Anyway, she knew almost nothing about her pre-20th century ancestors and assumed her family to be fairly recent emigrants from Europe.  Throughout the program, she finds out that half of her family has been in America since the early 17th century.  One of her female ancestors lived in Salem, MA and was actually accused of witchcraft during the final months of the Salem witchcraft craze.  The only reason this woman was not executed was because the witch-finding court had literally just been disbanded.  Unbelievable to have an ancestor who survived this situation, as the court had executed all of the accused up until its end.  Draw your own conclusions about what would have happened with Sex & the City had this happened...I know it's what you're thinking.  Also, this lends extra gravitas to Sarah's role in the excellent movie "Hocus Pocus".

eh, I can't resist.

Wouldn't it be nice if the people who survived ignorance against all odds developed a resistance to it in future generations, the way survivors of the Bubonic Plague passed to their descendants new immunities to use against similar diseases? 

Anyway, I love this show.  It showcases the unique discoveries you begin making the second you start to scratch the surface of history, whether it's about your own family or not.  And it's extra interesting and special to know that one of your ancestors may have witnessed some significant moment in time, such as when my great-grandmother was on the set of Far and Away, eh, I mean when she participated in a land race in South Dakota in 1904 or so.  Tom Cruise wasn't there.

More people should care about these things, and not just because they want to locate a famous ancestor, although I'm sure that's the motivation for many.  People don't care about history until it's made interestingly or alarmingly relevant to them.  I am sure the recent encroachments on women's health care, contraception and abortion are causing plenty of previously wide-eyed 19 year old girls to realize that the control they have over their own lives is something women have possessed for approximately one half nanosecond, historically-speaking, which may lead them to give a shit about what's been going down with women activists for the last 100 years.  JUST SAYING.  HISTORY IS SERIOUS BUSINESS, DO NOT FORGET IT.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Women

The Women is one of my favorite movies.  It's dizzyingly fast and witty and perfectly acted.  It's one of the few movies that I watch over and over, and I love it more each time.

It was written by powerhouses Clare Boothe Luce and Anita Loos, with some uncredited contributions by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  This may explain the particularly exceptional quality of the script.

In addition to being almost perfectly written (when it is sentimental, it rots your teeth and face off, and the man everyone is in an uproar about is an unlikeable fool), it is as I said perfectly acted.  Rosalind Russell is pure gold and the delight of my life.  She's somehow hilarious, elegant, scathing and ridiculous at the same time.  You may also know her as Auntie Mame.

The movie mostly revolves around the drama between Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford, as one is the wife and the other the mistress of the undesirable man, but includes lots of side action on behalf of Norma's shitty friends.  After all relationships collapse, the women travel to a ranch in Reno for their divorces, and hijinks ensue.  Although Norma's character predictably goes fleeing back to the man after a humbling revelation, she does at least take an initial stand, raging that inequity and lack of trust in relationships is unacceptable and that she will not settle...Until she realizes that being a sad divorcee totally blows for a socialite in 1939 Manhattan.  Well, whatever.

Another small player in the movie is Virginia Grey, whose only scene is one of my favorites.  Joan is on the phone with Norma's husband, cooing and baby-talking at him in the most disgusting of ways as she deceives him into thinking she's a sweet and modest girl just trying to make her way, instead of the vampire bat that she actually is.  Virginia Grey's character is her perfume counter co-worker, who makes about 47 wickedly funny little remarks about the conversation in the space of 3 minutes.  She's also adorably beautiful and seems like she should have had a bigger role.

I like this movie, the end.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Downton Abbey ripped a whole scene from Gone with the Wind.

I noticed.  I'm sure other people did too, but I'm not quite pitiful enough yet to seek out some forum and bitch about it to the rest of my 60 year old soap opera watching Ashley Wilkes loving (they do, I don't) sistren, so I'm going to compromise and bitch here. 

Downton Abbey has been around for a while, but I have just noticed it.  It reminded me of BBC's Manor House at first, but turned out just to be a very well done Edwardian soap opera. 

It was the scene where Matthew or whatever asks Mary to look after his fiancee if he dies in a war.  They are in love with each other ~but won't say so~ and so he asks this stupid thing of her and she accepts with much hesitation and agitation.  "Fine, I'll look after Melanie, er, whatever her fucking name is."

Melanie is, of course, the name of the character in GWTW, whom Ashley (not a female) asks Scarlett (not a stripper) to watch over if he's killed in a war.  Because it's the same scene.


"No, I will not babysit your bitch wife! Ok fine, I will."