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It's a Party! Bring Your Checkbook!

2003-10-15 - 9:34 p.m.


Pretend that you slipped in to a coma--or had your head cryogenically frozen--somewhere around 1985.

No, really, just do it for a second.

Now, pretend that you woke up from that coma or had your head thawed out today, in 2003, and this is what you saw in the headlines.

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger, best known as an evil, murdering robot, is now the governor of California.

2. Prince, or T.A.F.K.A.P, singer of �Pussy Control,�gets caught going door-to-door in Minnesota evangelizing for Jehovah's Witness.

3. Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, sucks so badly now that the only person he can get to collaborate with him is a child molester (R. Kelly).

4. Gary Coleman, chubby-cheeked innocent son of Mr. Drummond, could be the next Rush Limbaugh. (Although, if you were cryogenically frozen in 1985, you wouldn�t know who Rush was.) And, even more shockingly, he�s 35.


Jennifer Lopez, world-class musician and star of "Maid in Manhattan," has a forthcoming greatest hits album.

I know, can you believe it? A GREATEST HITS album.

I mean, isn�t it about time?

Let�s see.... there was that one with her off-key vocals in the background of some rapper dude... And, um... the one about the DJ keeping on playing that song.....

Classics, all around.

I�d hate to have been the guy who had to agonize over which ones to choose. I can only imagine the heaps of valuable material that had to end up on the cutting room floor.

Hopefully they�ll save those gems for a retrospective box set in a year or so.

2. In two days, I have heard Carl Castle on NPR say the words �silicone breast implants� something like 22 or 23 times.


This morning I got up and started to get ready for work and heard him say it, and as I was brushing my teeth after breakfast I heard it again, and then once again in the car on the way to work. So is NPR all about the T & A now, too?


COULD IT BE THE END OF AN (orange-faced) ERA?

Finally, something scientific to back up all the crotchety-old-lady, no-running-with-scissors kind of statements I�ve had to make over the last decade, every time someone has politely pointed out that I wouldn�t have the Pallor of Death if only I started fake-baking.



�IT AIN�T A �PARTY� IF YOU FORCE ME TO BUY SHIT FROM YOU,� by Tornado Ali, Friend or Acquaintance of Too Many Materialistic People.

I don�t know about you, but when I go to a party, I like it to involve drunkenness and debauchery.

Well, ok, maybe I�ve outgrown that a little bit. But still. When I hear the word �party,� I think of one of several things:

1. beer

2. cream-cheese-and-processed-lunch-meat roll-ups

3. vodka drinks

4. overflowing ashtrays

5. someone singing �Thank you, India� loudly, very loudly, by the end of the night.

I do not, however, think of any of the following things:

1. opening my purse

2. pulling out my checkbook

3. purchasing a gingerbread house-shaped candle that smells, of course, like gingerbread; a set of rubber stamps with different types of baby buggies depicted on each one; or a $49 pizza stone.

Do you?

Honestly, do you?

If you answered no, then please, by God, don�t send me �invitations� to your house to do any of the above, on the second list.

Or if you really think you must, then at least don�t call it a party. Say it like it is: �Come to my house and buy shit! If you do, I get more free stuff!�

Speaking of these invitations, the first one I got this week said:

�Learn great holiday cooking tips and add sparkle to your holidays with [name of company]�s new line of holiday products!! Come to the Show [their unnecessary cap, not mine] and see [the host�s] new home!�

And then, in tiny print at the bottom: �Payment in full appreciated. Cash, check, or Visa/Mastercard/Discover.�

The other one was worse: an e-mail letting me know that it�s no longer a problem that I live in a different time zone than the host. She can send me a [expensive kitchen-supply company] catalog, or show me how to order on-line-- and still make sure the host gets all her points!



I was so worried I wouldn�t be able to participate!!

I wonder what would happen if I sent a postcard to all my friends that said: �It�s a party! Are you in the holiday spirit? Then meet Tornado Ali at Barnes & Noble, where she�ll happily point out a new line of books you can buy her!�

Or if I invited a bunch of people over to my house and said, �It�s a party! Now�s your chance to clean Tornado Ali�s toilet and Swiffer in between the blades of the blinds!�

Maybe it seems like apples and oranges to you, but that�s honestly how excited I feel-- as if I were being asked to clean someone else�s toilet--when I get these thing in the mail.

But I guess, if you�re going to insist that you involve me in one of these sell-stuff-out-of-your-house shenanigans, you can invite me to one of those new vibrator celebrations I�ve been hearing such a buzzzz about. (Sorry, couldn�t resist).

But one important question: do they come in a holiday theme?


that was then - this is now

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