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Top 10 Posts of All Time

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Since I started this blog, in September of 2009 I’ve written about subjects that could only be classified as “random.”   From Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday to the scapegoat phenomenon in families to my affection for those teen demigods of the 80’s (read: Knight Rider.)

What is much more interesting than my oft-impulsive verbal vomit, however, is which posts were most popular. There is no accounting for taste….this may have been random too or affected by the weather.

But here they are nonetheless (cue Paul Shaffer with the drumroll)……..the Top 10 Posts of All Time on http://www.maia1111.wordpress.com

#10 – 2012: The Beauty of Crisis

#9 – Avatar: I See You

#8 – Passages of Great (Wo)Men: Princess Diana

#7 – It’s Complicated – Spoiler Alert

#6 – The Legend of the Scapegoat

#5 – Passages of Great (Wo)Men: Miep Gies   (one of my favorites)

#4 – Crushes from the 80’s

#3 – Certainty

#2 – It’s ON!!!  (battle with my brother to oust caffeine…epic FAIL!)

And………………the #1 post of all time in the blog of random ramblings….

IS………..

Wait for it………………..

Wait………….

For…………..

It………………………

#1 – COCO CHANEL

Thanks for clicking on the links and reading….I hope you were mildly entertained for a few minutes out of your day.

Have a great 2012!

~maia1111

2011 in Review for “You’ve Been Blogged!”

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Portrait of a Pimp: Eas’side vs. Wes’side

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Today, boys and girls, we are going to compare and contrast the mating dances of two vastly different breeds of man: the East Coast Man vs. the West Coast Man, hereafter referred to as ECMs and WCMs.

Below, I will outline the fundamental divergence of attitudes and give storybook examples to illustrate. Upon summary, you may decide whether you want to keep your East Coast or West Coast passport, or whether you want to defect to the other side and start narrowing your focus in the dating pool.

Where WCMs have a sense of entitlement, ECMs sing for their supper without complaining.

It won’t be unusual for good, old-fashioned effort to be a foreign concept for WCMs, they will often woo and court by text exerting the least amount of effort possible and will expect a woman to jump at last-minute requests. “Come on over and jump on!” WCMs are wont to say, fully believing that they are the prize. ECMs are not afraid to pick up the phone, court you and ask you out one or two weeks in advance.

Where WCMs are soft, ECMs are brutally honest & thick-skinned.

Good luck being honest and direct with squishy WCMs, as they can’t handle the truth. They often need to be coddled and suckled (so keep a pacifier in your purse), are prone to whining and complaining while a WCW is charged with walking on eggshells to cater to the malleable ego of a WCM. What a glorious shitstorm of fun! ECMs can appreciate sass and banter, even when interlaced with truthful insults delivered with a smile. You don’t need to hold their hands or spend one hour doing therapy on them after delivering a zinger of a one-liner and putting them in their place.

Where WCMs are feminine energy, ECMs are masculine energy.

If you walk into a bar on the west coast, expect WCMs to ogle you for 20-30 minutes and let you walk out the door without ever coming up to you or asking for your number. If you are on the east coast and walk into a bar, a man will be on you in 5 minutes. If you leave your apartment and walk out onto the street, ECMs greet you with admiring eyes and testosteronal (is that a word?) acknowledgement. In short, ECMs are hunters where WCMs expect to be hunted. WCMs expect you (the bait) to chase them (the fish).

Where WCMs are temporally challenged, ECMs are as dependable as taxes & death.

If a WCM agrees to meet you at a certain time, you will either get a cancellation because he had a better offer, or is too tired to meet, or is in a bong-induced lazy stupor. If you are lucky, he will call you 10 minutes after you were scheduled to meet saying he is 5 minutes away and will finally show up in 45 minutes, thereby wasting an hour of your life. If an ECM says he will meet you at a certain time, you can bet on your unborn child’s eyes he will be there. He deems your time just as important as his. The difference? Manners vs. Narcissism. Manners = Thinking About Others. Narcissism = Thinking About Yourself.

Where WCMs are passive-aggressive, ECMs are assertive & blunt.

If you have dared to crush the ego of a WCM, watch out. You will never know it. They will repress their hostility and get back at you with all manner of passive-aggressive weapons. They might disappear, they might be disrespectful of your time, they might blatantly flirt with other women in front of you or sleep with your sister. But never will a WCM be upfront and state his truth. He can’t walk up to you in a bar, why would he have the courage to be honest? ECMs move at such a rapid clip in their professional lives that they don’t have time to play games or let their blood pressure climb by holding things in. Their operating manual dictates they approach people with: “Are you in, or are you out?” They show you the same courtesy of integrity. You will have no doubt where you stand with an ECM.

Where WCMs are chill, ECMs are shrill.

WCMs are cool with letting life happen to them, doing things on a whim, spending time in the outdoors. ECMs are like a salmon, swimming upstream against the current, preferring  to mold and shape their environment, making things happen. When things don’t go as planned, ECMs will turn shrill and go alpha. WCMs = Whatever. ECMs = Make it happen yesterday.

Where WCMs are feminists, ECMs are traditional.

Don’t be offended when a WCM lets a door slam in your face. He has been trained by aggressive WCWs pre-emptive “I can do it myself, what do you think I am helpless?” school of FemiNazis. He is surrounded by Danielle Steele’s and Jane Fonda’s types who have penis envy, so he hasn’t been trained in the field of manners. If you want a man to stand when you excuse yourself go to the ladies room or open your car door, head east.

Where WCMs are always looking for the next best thing, ECMs are commitment-oriented.

If you are on the west coast datescape, you will notice a disproportionate number of men who commit to women just in time to let them wipe the drool off their mouths. Thanks, but no thanks! WCMs  will decide to procreate at the last possible second, settling down well into their 40s and 50s, after trading in girls like real estate at Mach Speed looking for that elusive mirage of the perfect woman. Their late in life commitment is nothing but a relenting admission that their “perfect woman” myth was all one big, sad illusion. ECMs don’t see commitment or family as weak or settling. They see it as another measure of their personal success and a barometer of how psychologically sound of mind they are. They see what they want and close, no questions asked or nauseating self-doubt.

If I seem to be partial to ECMs, it’s because I am. One caveat however: a midwest or east coast transplant to the West Coast has a shelf life of two years, max. So if you are on the west coast looking for east coast transplants, you must grab them before their milk date expires, because they will soon become tainted by the permissive, feminine energy culture of the WCM, becoming spoiled, entitled, non-committal and narcissistic. Happy hunting (or being hunted!)

10 reasons why we love Bethenny Frankel

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She went on Real Housewives not to become a reality-TV, bottom feeder celebrity, but to sell her product and catapult her brand.

She outgrew the “needing to be financially rescued” default setting and transformed herself from Damsel in Distress to Empress. She used to date men to financially take care of her, then woke up seeing the danger of being the Princess in a Gilded Cage.

She has a confessed history of choosing the wrong guys over and over and finally found the right one, but she paid her dues through trial and error & mismatched engagements.

Everything seemed to come to her all at once (husband, baby, career success, fame) but those around her always knew her as a hustler and a workhorse even while she appeared to be floundering.

She doesn’t apologize for her neuroses. Even while having a public meltdown at her 40th birthday party or snapping off her  father-in-law’s head at Thanksgiving & her raw turkey, beneath the madness you understand her neurotic need to be perfect to feel worthy of love. The important thing is she’s aware of it.

She is more outspoken than a fiery woman being dismissed and chided in a boardroom. Gotta love that.

She is a shining example of persistence, being shunned by the boys’ club who tried to scare her off by barking SkinnyMargarita would never fly. That same company bought her for $120 million. Never underestimate the American woman. It happens so often it’s almost comical now.

She never settled or made decisions based on fear. Forward was the only direction her compass was pointed in. All roads lead to Rome.

She used to live in a 700 sq foot apartment, lived paycheck to paycheck, always took the subway and humbly joined the wealthy Real Housewives, even though she was the only single woman of modest means. Chutzpah will get you everywhere. When she got news of Jim Beam’s offer to buy her for $120 million she broke down in tears telling her husband, “I can’t believe I’m a businessperson.”

Beneath the acerbic wit and sometimes dominating way, lies what is obviously a very genuine person; humane, generous of spirit, and accepting people of all stripes with open arms. Hard on the outside, soft on the inside – the best variety of friend.

Birthday or Not, Bob Dylan is Timeless

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Yesterday Robert Allen Zimmerman stepped into his eighth decade of life.  Seems to me that writing anything about Dylan is almost an insult… as the man’s complexity and mystery defies any verbal description that might be adequate . Throughout his career he has played the roles of bona-fide shapeshifter, wordsmith, imp, and reluctant icon.  In spite of journalists’ attempts to pigeonhole him, categorize him, unintentionally foist labels and attributes upon him, he – like no one else graced with celebrity – has proven the master at outrunning everyone through sheer wit, and has notably avoided the same tragic demise as his peer John Lennon. His voice was no less influential than John’s (perhaps to his chagrin) and in spite of his power, learned how to slink into the shadows and become invisible. This is no accident. He’s basically a glorious version of the Road Runner. Sometimes the Wile E. Coyote he escapes is the parasitic journalist, sometimes it’s the “fans” who try to take a piece of his soul without asking.

Beyond the dexterity with which he has always dealt with the media, he is a Poet of the highest order, a consummate songwriter and lyricist, and is the owner of a singing voice which comforted many and seemed to capture, uncannily, the expansive American frontier, the peace movement, the civil rights movement and the genesis of the blues all at the same time.  Who else can do that? If he doesn’t want to fly straight onto our radar, he won’t. He’ll fly below, he’ll play mental jiu-jitsu and he’ll defy any and all attempts others make to own him; all while being seared into the consciousness of the American songbook.

Just as the most powerful moments often halt one into speechlessness, an homage to Bob Dylan in words seems almost silly. The man is beyond description and protects who he is indefatigably and with – not a shroud – but a veritable fortress of mystery.  Bob Dylan is equal parts genius, poet, rebel and sage.  Commemorate the day by stretching your personal catalogue beyond “Like a Rolling Stone” or  “Blowin’ in the Wind”. My personal favourites are “My Back Pages”, “Ballad in Plain D”, “Desolation Row”, “It’s Alright Ma I’m Only Bleeding” and “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright.”  Great songwriters don’t (or can’t) just write five masterpieces, which makes it a task to whittle down to single digits. Someone once asked Bob Dylan about his songwriting process and he quickly explained, “Oh, I don’t write the songs, I just tune into them.”  Beyond the songs he believes already existed, treat yourself to some beach reading or swim into the laser-like mind of a very right-brained and esoteric artist here.

Happy Birthday Bob!!

“I didn’t come out of a cereal box. ”
Bob Dylan
“The worth of things can’t be measured by what they cost but by what they cost you to get it, that if anything costs you your faith or your family, then the price is too high, and that there are some things that will never wear out.”
Bob Dylan (Chronicles: Volume One)
“People disagreeing everywhere you look makes you wanna stop and read a book. ”
Bob Dylan
“You can never be wise and be in love at the same time.”
Bob Dylan
“He not busy being born is busy dying.”
Bob Dylan
“People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.”
Bob Dylan
“I think women rule the world and that no man has ever done anything that a woman either hasn’t allowed him to do or encouraged him to do.”
Bob Dylan
“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”
Bob Dylan
“Play it fuckin’ loud!”
Bob Dylan
“A poem is a naked person… Some people say that I am a poet.”
Bob Dylan

Poetic Justice for Dominique Strauss-Kahn

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The French have long been laissez-faire with regard to adultery and extramarital affairs, yet such moral laxity could never have been achieved and sustained without the permissive attitudes of women.  Rather than taking responsibility, it seems many Frenchwomen have, in their laziness, created monsters by allowing adultery to grow to epic proportions.  This coddling of their Frenchmen has now infected our shores (thank you, Anne Sinclair)  as 62-year old Dominique Strauss-Kahn has made yet another attempt (surely this is not the first) to cross a boundary and then run away like a two-year old, looking over his shoulder to see if Mommy will react or he will get caught. 

The question that should keep everyone and his wife up at night is, “Why does Dominique think rape and sexual assault is acceptable?” Is he drinking from the same lecherous chalice of entitlement that Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger have sipped?  Is the plan to keep acting out and hurting people – both spouse and victim – for as long as he can until he gets caught?

As a means of trying to understand why Anne Sinclair would fall all over herself insisting upon Dominique’s innocence, we must understand the context. The most obvious reason why so many Frenchmen have affairs is because women allow it and look the other way, practically rewarding them for their disrespectful behavior with their continued presence.  Like it or not, since the beginning of time women have found themselves in the unenviable and tiresome role of policing relationships.  Backs up against a wall, many women have been forced to react in one of two ways: either blow the whistle, slap on  a warning and ultimately walk away from the relationship, or conspicuously ignore and bury their heads in the sand consumed in denial, thereby emboldening the perpetrator to keep treating them like shit and betraying them either emotionally or physically.  In France, raping a woman and forcibly demanding subserviency from an innocent victim bears the same punishment as a minor drug possession or sale might in the US (2-5 years).  Suffice it to say, we are not making the friends with the French with this very public trial of Dominque.  They are doubtless rolling their eyes over the gravity with which we treat rape or any sex crimes in the US for that matter.  It would not be a stretch to imagine that Anne might want us to adopt the very maxim that has allowed Dominique to go off the rails for so many years “Boys will be boys.”

Sadly, that’s not the way we play in the Yankee sandbox.  Beyond Anne’s view of our puritanical morals, she could also be furiously concerned with the lining of her own pockets and the imminent downfall of DSK’s career.  Should he have perhaps thought about that before he savagely grabbed the Guinean maid’s breasts and forced himself upon her in the light of midday?  Now let’s not get carried away here.

True to form, 57% of French believe this is a conspiracy theory aiming to threaten Strauss-Kahn’s political aspirations against Sarkozy. The preference has been to doubt the veracity of a single mother emigrant trying to raise her 15-year-old daughter in the Bronx over holding a Manchild accountable for his actions. 

It is unfortunate that men such as Domnique, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tiger Woods had to experience such a loud thud of reality as a result of their sexual flagrancy.  Their consequences have ranged from ruined careers to soiled reputations to discomfort of looking one’s self in the mirror to potential jail time.  At least Tiger and Arnold engaged in something consensual, one might argue.  Mike Tyson got 10 years for rape; perhaps Dominique will slide through with the same. Would these men have had to experience such dire consequences if their animalistic behavior were nipped in the bud, offense by offense, instead of responded to with a flippant “Oh, isn’t that cute, he’s virile!?”  Time is nothing more than the space between a crime and consequence.  Dominique couldn’t have thought he would keep looking over his shoulder forever. Surely at least one woman would find the self-respect to take a stand and speak for all of the women he devalued. 

In a letter to the IMF board, Dominique Strauss-Kahn denied “with the greatest possible firmness” the allegations he sexually assaulted a hotel maid.  This is too easy. No one doubts for a moment that our dear rogue was firm.  Perhaps  next time, (if our justice system grants Monsieur a next time) taking care of himself in the bathroom would prove the more prudent decision bearing  far fewer consequences. As it was, he could have spared himself the loss of a few swimmers, gotten on the plane peacefully without forgetting his phone and gone back to his wife’s permissive arms.  As it is now, he has destroyed his life in one fell swoop.  Tant pis, tant pis.

Update: It appears our Dear Dominique has wiggled out of trouble this time.  How did he do it? What are the implications? A former IMF employee, Piroska Nagy, told a Paris prosecutor who was assigned to a new sexual assault case he faces back home: “I felt that I was ‘damned if I did and damned if I didn’t’,” she added. Mr Strauss-Kahn was “an aggressive if charming man”, she wrote, with a “problem that may make him ill-equipped to lead an institution where women work under his command”.  

Nay to Bay to Breakers

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Many a  Sunday afternoon, I find myself trapped in a maudlin hell of about five hours long. I am like the ram that gets his horns stuck in a bramble, I tell myself.  When the poor guy realizes he’s stuck, he panics and desperately tries to pull his horns out, only to further enmesh himself. This is what I have come to expect from Sundays.  ‘Tis a bramble one cannot escape quietly.  That’s just the way it is. I can’t crawl out of my skin so why try?  Roll with it. Recently a well-meaning friend reminded a girlfriend and I that Bay to Breakers was coming up on Sunday as he searched our faces for instantaneous traces of glee.  None cometh. I think there may have been a little eye rollage though  if he was looking closely enough. When he breathlessly announced that he fully intended to go to the locus of the shitstorm for purposes of not-so-innocent voyeurism we began to feel sorry for him.

Would it help my Sunday if I joined the masses? Do I really need yet another  example and reminder of the arrested development that permeates our fair maiden of a city? Hmm, let me think about that. Negatory. This Sunday, will however, call for the double pre-empt. One, it is Sunday, two I am expected to click my heels together at the notion of fully grown adults prancing around half-nude to nude and letting out their inner sluts whilst boozefied. Bay to Breakers is an additional Halloween (read: an excuse for women to dress sluttier than they usually do and an excuse for men to profiteer from that fleeting window in time when they don’t have to put in as much effort to spread their seed.) I suppose it works out for everybody?  Kind of?

I don’t mind or judge the revelry, unless I step back for a minute and observe from a bird’s eye perspective what’s really going on, at which point it all seems a bit ridiculous and embarrassing. I decide this is not something to which any stable, grown adult should aspire, so in order to avoid the pathos of the day, I’m projecting myself straight into the safe confines of the cinema house where Mardi Gras beads, opportunists of all stripes and public urination cannot touch me. Jane Eyre and Hanna will protect and soothe me for four whole hours. Le Sigh. Bring on the picture show.

It just so happens that this double feature of two female badasses was the perfect antidote to the day. While the majority of the “runners” spent today showing their pieces parts and costumes en masse, I spent it with two fiercely independent strong-willed characters, Jane Eyre & Hanna the 16 year old CIA-trained assassin.

Charlotte Bronte has endeared herself to many with the story of Jane Eyre and I was riveted by the impenetrable mettle of an abused orphan transformed into steely yet kind governess, into experientially naïve yet maternal lover, into scorned victim of deception, into teacher, into missionary heartbreaker to whom she reports:“I love you like a brother.” Ouch!  Into……. I shan’t spoil the entire ending.  Mia Wasikowska had great pacing and a couple of moving scenes in which she rendered herself Thief of All Tears. Stop making me look like a driveling sap in public dammit! Worth a look if not only for the supporting role of Dame Judi Dench. Or even the witty retorts Jane Eyre delivers to ball bust her boss-turned-lover which, although well-deserved, likely started the home fires burning if you catch my drift. Must see the movie to catch the pun. All’s well that ends well per usual. Kind of.

After revving up my cinematic palate with a Jane Ap-Eyre-Tif, I gorged myself on every minute detail of Hanna – intently. Hanna (with Eric Bana) was a refreshing surprise and my kind of movie. It had everything a girl could want: Stealth, Danger, Suspense, Cinematography El Primo, a blood-pumping Soundtrack by The Chemical Brothers, the CIA, Flamenco dancing & singers for Christ’s Sake (I needed a ciggy after that one and I don’t even smoke), Cate Blanchett in an almost there American accent (although much better than that Katharine Hepburn mess of an accent she tried to pull off in Aviator), the formidable Saoirse Ronan speaking in Arabic, Spanish, Italian & German, a few good chases and a bit of a twist.  The screenplay writer Seth Lochhead conceived the story when he was a student at Vancouver Film School.  Well done, lad.

Although I was still fully clothed when I left the theater and didn’t reek of booze or piss, the path of civilization never did let me down. I think I prefer the sandbox where all the grown-ups and artists hang out.  Avoiding the coarse crowds where everyone revels in how “free” they are for a day made me happy to be chained to my sanity and dignity…and reminded me of a line from that sweet Bob Dylan song, “Ballad in Plain D”:

“My friends from the prison they ask unto me. How good, how good does it feel to be free? And I answer them most mysteriously: Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?”