Archive for May, 2006

May 29, 2006

GOD BLESS AMERICA

This is Beth Anderson, substituting for Hotclue today, since she’s off on vacation in Florida.

I want to take this day to honor all of our service men and women, both past and present, who have given so much of themselves over the years so that the rest of us are free to do all the things Americans love to do on Memorial Day.

The cookouts. The family visits. Steak or hot dogs on the grill, it doesn’t matter what the menu, it’s the human connection that matters. Swimming, if you’re anywhere around water. Watching the Indianapolis 500 every Memorial Day weekend–an American pastime if I ever saw one. There’s nothing else like it anywhere. I don’t think I’ve ever missed Indy since I became aware of it.

I love the Indy 500. The crowds, the balloons, the Air Force flying over. The National Anthem, whether we can sing it or not–it’s still our Anthem and we still sing it. Jim Nabors singing Back Home Again in Indiana. The only thing that comes even close to that is during the Kentucky Derby, when we all sing My Old Kentucky Home whether we’ve ever had a home in Kentucky or not. In both cases, it’s easy to pretend, even if only for as long as it takes to sing it, that we are Back Home Again in those places where life is simpler and neighbors still trade cups of sugar and babysitting and share good times grilling out back.

Even though the vast majority of us right now are very much against having our young men and women in such a far-away, dangerous place as the Mideast, still, they’re there, and we cherish every one of them. They deserve their day.

No war is ever popular. Most of them, in my opinion, should never have happened. But they do happen whether the reasons are valid or not, and we have courageous men and women who go far from home to fight them, giving up all of the things themselves that they’re fighting for.

Some come home okay, although forever changed. Some come home with devastating external and internal damage. And some come home in boxes.

Whether we’re supposed to realize this or not, there’s still the unmistakeable fact that over 2,500 of those boxes have come home with the bodies of our sons and daughters who will never laugh again, or barbecue again, or hold their loved ones again, or see an Indy 500 again. The thought of 2,500 flag-covered caskets all at one time boggles my mind, but we must think of it, because every one of them did what they did for us.

In addition to that, what about countless family members who are left behind to grieve. Our war dead aren’t the only collateral damage, as those who sign us into war like to describe it.

Think about it. For every one of those names on the Vietnem Wall, there are many more people left behind whose lives have also been changed forever, and not for the better.

God bless every one of our Armed Forces, both dead and alive, and all of those in all previous wars who have gone before them.

And God Bless America. We need all the help we can get.

Love on this beautiful day, and thank you for stopping by. Please come back, I know Hotclue would love to see you.
Beth

Happy Holiday | Comments  

May 22, 2006

TAG! Looks Like Hotclue’s IT!

I’ve been Blog-Tagged by Pat Browning, who wrote Full Circle, one of the best books I’ve read in a long time because of her beautiful, beautiful prose. I’ll try to do this blog-tag thing justice, although at the moment I have no idea who to Tag, since it seems most people I know have already been tagged or are now incognito and have had their email addys changed forever–strangely enough, since this blog tag gig started sweeping the Internet. But for right now, here you are:

Q: Name 4 movies you would watch over and over

A: (1) I’ll Take Manhattan, a TV miniseries from Judith Krantz’s novel of the same title. Loved all of her books and all of her TV movies. I wish I could find someplace to buy copies of all her other movies, since I’ll Take Manhattan is the only one I have taped. Why doesn’t she put them out on CD and sell them at Amazon.com? Anybody know?

(2) Sleepless in Seattle. A real feelgood, heart-melting movie. Gets me every time, really touches my romantic spot, which I don’t let out too often. Oh, I have my romantic side (just ask Count Baballallapaloozo) but I really like murder mysteries better. Except for this one. This one’s a keeper. Love it.

(3) Casablanca. If you don’t know why, you’re not reading this blog, because you’re functionally illiterate as well as cold and unfeeling or else very young and didn’t pay attention in History class and you’re still wetting the bed and picking your nose in public.

(4) “7”. A fascinating crime movie that should be watched several times because it’s so fast-moving and there’s so much there you’ll probably miss first time around.

Q: Name 4 places you have lived

A: (1) Baltimore, Maryland–born there, although instead of gold-plating Mercy Hospital because I was born there and making it an adjunct to the Smithsonian, they tore it down. The clods.

(2) Metropolis, Illinois–stayed with my grandmother lots of summers and for a couple of years when I was in second and third grade. This was where I first learned about zombies and fell in love with Delbert Shelby, who was two years older than me. I was eight.

(3) Pekin, Illinois–went to upper grade school and junior high there. I still remember the long evening walks to the park to watch the boys play baseball, when it was still safe enough to walk anywhere in the evening alone. I bought my first bottle of perfume there. Blue Waltz. .14 cents a bottle. So there.

(4) Chicago suburb, Illinois. A nice suburb. We haven’t had too many gun battles in the streets. Yet. Although there was the time the drugstore across the street was robbed and a slight gun battle ensued. The only victim, aside from the drug store of course, was Beth’s and my husband, Stan, who ran around the house screaming for everybody to get down on the floor, didn’t do it himself, ran into the lounge chair in the living room, and got taken to the hospital with a broken toe. Sigh. What can I say.

Q: Name 4 TV shows you love to watch

A: (1) Sunday Morning, because it’s so peaceful and positive, a great way to start a Sunday. I love the last minute, when they show you something beautiful, athough it’s been cut down so much you really have to look fast. I want a whole minute. I’m going to have a parade (with banners and foghorns) in D.C. in front of the White House to protest if I don’t get it. Look out, CBS!

(2) Meet the Press, almost always fascinating, mainly because Tim Russert has the most diabolically gentle but relentlessly probing ways of getting answers from people who don’t want to give right and true answers. You can learn a lot about them just from watching the WAY they answer. Or don’t.

(3) Emeril Live. He’s a sloppy cook and he uses too much parsley but he is fun to watch.

(4) I would have said The Apprentice, but I’m getting tired of watching those whiny brats lie and undercut each other. The only thing that keeps me watching is Trump, and I can’t explain that myself because he’s so pompous. But hey, he’s rich and smart. Gotta give him points for that, right? Plus, his hair seems to be growing in nicely again, after Ivana pulled it all out.

SO–my #4 that I really enjoy would have to be anything on Court TV OR the Saturday night show on NBC where they solve horrific murders every week. I love to watch crime shows as long as I’m not the victim; that might possibly diminish my enjoyment somewhat, especially if it’s based on murder.

Q: Name 4 of your favorite foods

A: (1) Bagels.

(2) Bagels with cream cheese.

(3) Bagels with cream cheese and lox and onions. Red onions, please. They look so nice.

(4) Almost everything else except anything with cooked anchovies. Just shoot me first.

Q: Name 4 web sites you visit daily

A: (1) My stats. Sorry, it’s private, but astonishing (to me). I am amazed and humbled by the number and locations of all my visitors, and I thank every single one of them. Or should that be “every single one of you”. Either way, I’m truly honored to have your attention even if it is only for one .25th of a second.

(2) The New York Times, although I am extremely torqued that they started charging to read all of my favorite columnists and I may boycott them one of these days, as soon as I can figure out whether a boycott of one would make much difference.

(3) The Washington Post. They really nab events of the past day or so AND they don’t charge to read their columnists. (Hear that, NY Times? The POST doesn’t charge.) So the Post gets most of my time. (Somebody pass me another bagel, I’m getting frustrated all over again just thinking about it. They have to CHARGE people to read Maureen and Tom? They need money THAT much?) Maybe we could get the government to subsidize them, it subsidizes everything else. Oh, no, wait. I forgot. Maureen picks on Bushie and Rummy and Chaney. Well, forget a government subsidy, for right now, anyhow. But my time’s comin’. It is. (I believe in Santa Claus too.)

(4) Miss Snark, almost daily. She’s the only one online I know of who is worse than I am about being ludicrously (I think I just made up a word, I should get points for that) outspoken. Oh, I’m sure there are probably others, it’s just that she’s the only one I know of and she is brilliantly snarky. Just being honest here.

(5) Can I have five? I check in on Brian Williams and Kinky Friedman online every day too. They’re both adorable, each in his own way, and I’d have them both on my list of future husbands except that Brian is happily married and I want him to stay happy. But that leaves Kinky. He’s happily single. I might not be quite so understanding about that. Still, they’re both on my list, as are Jack Nicholson and Karzai.

Anybody want to vote on this issue? Which one should Hotclue go after, once the Count is a definite has-been?

Q: Name 4 places you would rather be right now.

A: (1) New York, having lunch with my agent and publisher, surrounded by adoring photographers and fans demanding my autograph. (I did tell you I still believe in Santa Claus, didn’t I?)

(2) Maui, lounging around on the beach, surrounded by hot and cold surfer boys, watching the preparations for tonight’s Luau. (Well, you did ask.)

(3) Las Vegas, in a casino, winning. Yeah, baby! Winning. LOVE the sound of those quarters spilling down into that Dolby Surround Sound-enhanced metal tray. 😉

(4) I once took a very good mind control course where we were all instructed to pick a quiet place where we could be alone and meditate and decorate any way we wished. I chose the inside of a marshmallow. So that’s my fourth pick. The inside of a marshmallow.

Now, I’ve got to figure out four other courageous bloggers to tag. Any suggestions? I can’t tag any of the True Biggies, they’d all jump on my head with their spike-heel boots and scratch me with their diamonds while they scream, “Don’t you have anything to do except games?” Well, no, it’s not like I’m hopping over to New York to have lunch with MY agents and editors every day the way you guys are. Mainly because I don’t have any at the moment.

But my time’s comin’. It is.

Love Y’all, and Thank You so much for stopping by,
The Hotclue

Fun and Games | 3 Comments  

May 14, 2006

HOTCLUE DOES MAMA’S DAY

Ha! I bet you thought I was going to say something like, “Hotclue Does Houston”, right? Who knows, I might yet.

Right now, it’s 2:00 A.M. on Mother’s Day, I can’t sleep and in fact, I’m wired and my Hotclueieness is rolling over me like an eighteen-wheeler hurtling down Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway, so now’s a good time to snitch–I mean, tell you about Beth Anderson, the mother, who doubles as Beth Anderson, the author. A triple threat when you add me to the mix.

Sounds derogarory, doesn’t it. Calling her a mother, I mean.

Well, sometimes it is.

Beth’s the kind of mother who (or is that whom? EDITOR, OH EDITOR!) her children don’t really think of as a mother, but more like an addled woman-child playing hopscotch and tra-la-la skipping through life while she forms tremendous, award-winning bubbles with THEIR bubblegum. I have to tell you, that’s a pretty accurate description, and I take full credit for most of her goofiness throughout her years of somehow coping with motherhood.

I’ve been around a long time, although she didn’t know I was here until recently–well after she started writing, in fact, which probably says something profound about the stressfulness of Writing Novels and Getting Them Published. As soon as I figure out which part is profound, I’ll let you know.

Anyhow, as absolute proof of her innate but unmistakeable outrageousness, she received a Mother’s Day card yesterday from her middle child (which should tell you that the child is hopelessly warped anyhow, even if she wasn’t Beth’s daughter). On the front of the card it says, “When we were growing up, a lot of times running away seemed like a good idea.” On the inside it says, “But you never did.”

Both Beth and I are still laughing about that because it’s so perfect. It says it all. She might even keep that one. Well, it’s possible. (This should give them something to look for when she’s gone, just trying to find it.)

When all four of her children get together, they love to torment her about the time she took one of her grandbambinos down a huge rolling sliding board and got stuck halfway and had to do her inchworm act to get the rest of the way down. They all laughed so hard they peed (somehow tinkled sounds so prissy so I won’t use it) their pants. She never told them this, but I’m telling you now: So did she.

There was the time when she was babysitting two of the grandbambinas and got bored, so she (although I instigated this) said to the girls, “Let’s blow up some balloons and put them in the trash compactor and see how loud they blow up.” Naturally, being the adventurous kids they are, and I’m speaking of all three of them now, they loved the idea. The noise was tremendous, and thus her reputation was established with the little girls when they were at a very tender age. They’ve never fully recovered, although the fact that their other grandmother is perfectly normal should help them out somewhat.

Her son once told her, in a moment of deep reflection, “Ah…you were okay as a mom, you just never grew up.” She’s still trying to figure that out, although she has to acknowledge the wisdom of it. Or maybe she’s just trying to figure out how come he GOT so much wisdom, having sprung, unsuspecting, from her loins.

Her daughters love to say she’s not the normal mom everyone else had, the cookies and milk kind of mom, don’tchaknow, which has resulted in her, every Christmas SINCE they grew up, making tons of cookies, which nobody ever eats, probably because the sight of homemade cookies is so unfamiliar.

Or maybe it’s because once when she made some really gorgeous ones, she wouldn’t let anybody eat them because they were too beautiful to eat. The grandbambinas are still traumatized over that and no amount of cookies now will tempt them. Oreos are just fine, thankyouverymuch. Their parents were raised on Oreos, and as often happens in severely dysfunctional families, the Oreo dysfunction has filtered down to the next generation.

At the risk of becoming maudlin (Oh, God, NO, Beth has something sentimental she wants to say! Please, NO! SCREEEEM!) she wants to say thank you to all four of her children, Debbie, Rick, Barb, and Beth Lyn, for letting her be their mom, such as she is.

It’s been fun, guys. Well, most of the time. And don’t worry. I’m never going to change. In fact, now that you know there are two of me, Hotclue and I will continue conspiring to fill your lives with adventure and oddballness, as well as love.

Happy Mother’s Day, everybody!
The Hotclue
(aided and abetted by Beth every once in a while, when they let her out of The Home.)

Happy Holiday | 6 Comments  

May 10, 2006

Can You Say “NARCISSIST”?

Hello Again, my loves, from the Riviera, where Count Babbalallapaloozo and I are enjoying all the amenities of home (his) on his yacht. Gold fixtures in the bathrooms the size of Beth Anderson’s entire house, a few new hot-and-cold running Elloras Cave-type waitstaff, which the Count hired while I was back in Chicago helping my other, more serious half, Beth, finish THE SCOUTMASTER’S WIFE, outside temps in the eighties, plenty of sun for enhancing my suntan, and we now have a hairdresser on call twenty four hours a day in case the Count messes mine up, which he does. But now it can stay gorgeous, in stark contrast to Beth’s, which certainly needs something, probably a complete overhaul.

But enough about me. Among all the emails I’ve received since I started my off-again-on-again Advice to the Love Crazed blog entries, the one below from someone we’ll call Terry is the most interesting AND the most serious–not that I’m into serious, as you know–but oh, man, is this young woman Hooked On Unrequited Love or WHAT. Give this recent email a look-see:

“Dear Hotclue,
I’m very much in love with a man but I’ve noticed a lot of things lately that don’t seem quite right to me and I thought I’d ask you about them, since you seem to know so much about men.”

(NOTE: Well, she’s right about that. I love them. I’ve made a lifelong study of them.)

“For one thing, he never, ever seems to hear anything I’m saying, unless it’s about him. Whenever anything happens to me or my family, it’s like he distances himself from it and in fact, he doesn’t even hear it no matter WHAT it is. It’s as though nobody but him exists, actually. EVERYTHING is about him, and only him.

“When he’s upset it’s because someone else did something to him. Nothing is ever his fault, according to him, even if it is. He never apologizes about anything, no matter how much he’s hurt my feelings or anyone else’s. Everyone else has to apologize. If I even try to get emotionally close at all, he shies away and I don’t hear from him for a while and in fact, when I do, he’s cold and downright nasty. I don’t understand that.

“I’m so frustrated all the time because nothing I ever say means anything to him. As I said before, he doesn’t even hear it. It’s as though I never opened my mouth. He’s very harsh to the outside world, everything is black and white to him, there’s never any in-between, he has no sympathy for anyone, whether it be just that they’re overweight, or have no money, or have run into what seems to me normal life problems. Everyone has to be perfect in his eyes, but his idea of perfection is almost impossible to attain.

“The problem is, I’m head over heels in love with him. I really am. I keep taking blame for things he causes by his own actions and lies, and I keep apologizing to him just to keep him happy. But nothing really makes him happy unless people all around him are telling him how handsome and wonderful and talented and smart he is. Still, I love him. I don’t see how I can live without him. He’s on my mind day and night. He’s terribly good-looking and I’m terribly physically attracted to him. I CAN’T keep away from him. What can I do to make him appreciate me more?”
=============================

Dear Terry:

Nothing.

He’s never going to appreciate you or any other woman for long. He sounds to me like a classic narcissist.

I could be wrong. You could drag him to a psychiatrist and have him tested, which he’d never stand still for. They seldom ever admit anything could be wrong with THEM. It’s always somebody else.

These people cause everyone around THEM to go to shrinks, sometimes for years, trying to find out why they’ve got such low levels of self-esteem, which is often caused by years of having had their spirits broken by a narcissistic parent. Even shrinks don’t like to deal with them. Ask one if you don’t believe me.

Most of us have some narcissistic traits, but the difference is, the normal person, when you ask them to please lighten up, please try to understand you and have some compassion for your side of things, they’ll respond by trying, at least.

Not this guy. The narcissist only gets worse. Much worse.

They LIKE to make you unhappy. They don’t want to lighten up and they seldom, if ever, do anything they don’t want to. If they do have to, and you were part of the reason, they’ll make your life unbearable because of it.

There’s a lot to be learned about this guy and I encourage you to learn as much as possible about this type of person, because in order to save yourself and your happiness, you need to put this person out of your life. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it, no matter how much you may feel you love him.

Google “narcissist” and start reading all the websites and see if you don’t find his description over and over again. You’ll soon see you can’t help him because he doesn’t want to be helped.

Why would he? He’s perfect, right?

He thinks he is.

There is no happiness in store for you with this type of person, ever. They’ll make sure you’re never happy for long.

Real love is a give and take thing, and this person never, ever gives anyone real love. He’ll take yours and everybody else’s, but he does not have love to give you, because his love is all for himself.

These people make the decision very early in life NOT to love, for whatever reason, and they stick to it. Whether this is caused by lack of love in infancy, or an overabundance of it by doting parents who cater to his every whim, nobody’s really sure.

But understand this now. He does not want to love you back. He will never love you back. He cannot love you back.

He may SAY he loves you at the beginning, but the minute he’s done with that game, he’ll toss you out of his life and never give it another thought. In fact, you can expect him to say very bad things about you to everyone else who knows you, once he’s done with you, because this is one of the traits of the narcissist. This guy will make SURE everyone knows the whole thing was your fault.

They use, then you’re gone and they feel nothing because they don’t see what they do. They’re entitled, you see, and you’re wrong if you object.

I’ve known two narcissists myself and they’ve done nothing but make people unhappy. Don’t ever expect anything resembling compassion or feeling from him because he doesn’t have it to give. You have to treat him like the infant he is, emotionally, and that get old fast, as you’ve discovered.

My advice would be to get him completely out of your life and move on. It won’t take as long as you think to get over him, because you’ll find the relief you’ll feel, once you’re out from under his thumb, will amaze you and make you wonder what you ever saw in him in the first place.

I promise you, this will happen. So get rid of him. Now. Don’t expect him to beg and plead for you to come back, either. He’ll never do it. He has too much pride. He’ll be viciously angry that you dared leave him and he’ll never, ever forgive you, because YOU did something to HIM.

Let him be. You can’t help him. Years of therapy, even if he did agree to have it, won’t help him. Again, ask a shrink if you don’t believe me. I asked one about this. He told me he hates trying to treat narcissistic personalities because they never hear anything but their own words and ideas.

Also, don’t expect him to get better as he ages, because he won’t. Narcissists get worse as they age, because the big thing they cling to is their looks and outward charm–when they want to be charming, which is usually during the seduction process.

But we all know looks deteriorate as we age. This is one thing the narcissist can’t stand, because I’m sure you’ve noticed he thinks right much of his good looks, and brags about how good he looks for his age, and that nobody believes he’s as old as he is. Strangely enough, this is usually true and it happens, according to psychiatrists, because he doesn’t have the same worries the rest of us do.

So put this guy behind you. You’re already more than aware something’s wrong, and you’re right. There is something wrong and there’s not one thing you can do about it except step back and watch the train wreck–unless you want to be in the wreck with him.

Good luck, Terry. You deserve better.

Back in a few days, folks. The Count and I are heading off to London to see a few shows and do some shopping at Harrods while Beth stays home and empties the dishwasher and feeds the cats and…well, those things are really too sordid for The Hotclue to dwell on, aren’t they. Thank God I’m the happy-go-lucky half. 😉

Toodles, and Loads of Love to Y’all,
The Hotclue

Advice to the Love-Crazed | 4 Comments  

May 2, 2006

Oh, Man, Look What’s Going On With Viswanathan Now…

Viswanathan Update:

From: The New York Times, 05/02/06:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/02/books/02auth.html?ex=1147233600&en=e8f0a101d1ba9134&ei=5070&emc=eta1

“Fresh passages in the novel by a Harvard sophomore, whose book was pulled from stores last week after she acknowledged plagiarizing portions of it, appear to be copied from a second author. At least three portions in the book, “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,” by Kaavya Viswanathan, bear striking similarities to writing in “Can You Keep a Secret?,” a chick-lit novel by Sophie Kinsella.”

AND From: The Harvard Crimson, 05/02/06:

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=513204

“Now she appears to have borrowed passages from Salman Rushdie’s “Haroun and the Sea of Stories,” and Meg Cabot’s “The Princess Diaries.” In each of the cases, the passages in question contain similar rhymes and descriptions. ”

Both articles go on to show the similarities. I read them. They are similar. Way too similar. I wouldn’t want to sit on that jury.

Things are getting really hairy for Viswanathan now, wouldn’t you say?

Sounds to me like Desperate First-Time Author Thrown Into a World She Wasn’t Prepared For = Way, Way Too Much Pressure To Perform All the Way Around.

But she went along with it. Photographic memory or not, which I wanted to believe last week when I first heard about it, if you go to the links and read the similarities, you’ll see Viswanathan appears to be in a giant economy-size peck of trouble.

Maybe it’s time publishers started thinking about publishing 25 books at $20,000 each to 25 authors who are really working at turning out original books, instead of 1 book at $500,000 to someone who wrote a thesis so she could get into college and tried (desperately) to turn it into a workable novel.

No schadenfreude here. It’s a damn shame, the whole thing. I feel sort of sorry for Viswanathan, I feel sorry for the authors whose books have allegedly been plagarized, I feel sorry for the agent who almost certainly went into this in good faith, and I feel sorry for the publishers who put so much money into this project only to have to recall the books.

But then, aren’t we always reading, here lately, about huge corporations having to recall products that have turned out to be wrong somehow?

I wonder why this has been happening with such regularity here in the USA. Although actually, no I don’t wonder.

My Take: We have two things going on here.

One: a lot of people siezing on a hot potential opportunity to make a lot of money.

Two: a young woman growing up in the new American culture where too many people, both young and older, seem to think it’s okay to lie and cheat to get ahead.

Growing societal problems, both.

Kind of reminds you of the beginning of The Fall of the Roman Empire, doesn’t it.

Hotclue, Signing off on this one.

The Writing World | Comments  

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