October 29, 2012

Internet Dating For The AARP Generation

Once you have an AARP card, your dating options are limited. How do you find suitable prospects when you no longer have a homeroom to go to or a local bar where you can hobnob with your peers and throw back shots and shoot darts, and you’ve already exhausted your friends’ (meager) supply of single men who walk upright and don’t drool?
 Where do you turn? Why, the Internet, of course. And what a vast network that is. There are a trillion dating sites to choose from and there’s someone for everyone there, but it will take all your resources to cull the wheat from the chaff – and there’s a lot of chaff. And the older you get the more chaff there is. Sorry, but it’s a fact of life.
If you’re venturing into the world of online dating and you’re over fifty, gird your loins (you’re the only people who will understand that reference) and follow my tips:
First, be sure to pay attention to the photos on the profiles you’re perusing. They will give you big clues about the person’s personality.
For example (IF I had a profile on an online dating site):
Take note of what I’m wearing; it’s important to note that I am not wearing sweatpants, tanktop, bikini or prom dress. I have no tattoos, I am not packing heat, carrying binoculars or climbing equipment, I’m not surfing or riding a motorcycle.
Look at the surroundings in the photo; you will not see any tents, double-wide trailers, deserts, white water or wildlife. I have all my teeth and that is a feature I prize.
When You Should Move to the Next Profile: 
• If you have to go to the library to use a computer
• If you ride a Harley (helmets mess up my hair)
• If you have a picture of you with your daughter in her wedding gown where you’re smoking a cigarette and she’s wearing a strapless gown to show off the gigantic tattoo of Jesus on her chest
• If you write things like, “You are aging like that proverbial bottle of fine wine. I’d like the honor of uncorking your bottle, pouring out a generous draught of your vintage, and then savoring it.”
• If you state in your profile that you’re a disabled ironworker living on social security.
• If your profile says god sent me to you
• If you use smiley faces in your messages
• If you’re wearing a dago-T in your profile picture, or worse, if you’re shirtless (especially egregious if you’re over sixty)
• If the only picture you have is one where you’re taking it of yourself in the mirror with your iPhone
• If you don’t have a profile picture
• If your profile name is lovingyouismygoal
• If you have a beard that can be braided
All kidding aside (I’m not kidding), here’s my number one tip for internet dating, whether you’re 20 or 70: Be more open than I am. You might have to sift through a lot of gravel but you never know when that gem will turn up.

October 19, 2012

Chicago International Film Festival

Every year I vow to read the Chicago International Film Festival magazine early, make my picks and see a shitload more films than I normally do, like at least 10 or 20 of them, and every year I only see one or two or three or four and I'm so disappointed I didn't see more. So I vow to do it right next year. I just made that vow again. The season's not quite over and I could conceivably see a more before it ends on Tuesday. But sadly, I won't have time.
Here's what I've seen so far:

Kern  ** From Austria
A strange documentary about Peter Kern, a morbidly obese (and that doesn't come close to describing the massiveness of him) Austrian actor and filmmaker. Two people set out to create a portrait of his life but at the end of the film you don't know what he's made up and what is true. He's not someone I wanted to know, especially after seeing him naked, which had no purpose, in my opinion, but succeeded in grossing out the entire audience.

Kuma ***** From Austria
Wow. Powerful film with some unexpected twists, about a man who brings a young Turkish woman into his home, ostensibly as a wife for his handsome son, but really as a second wife for himself. Strange? Yes. His wife is dying from cancer and this young woman takes care of her (and him) and their children, and grows to love the family. The two women form an unlikely but close bond but twists of fate change everything for everyone. See it if you can. It's playing again on October 20 and 21.

Any Day Now ***** From U.S. 
DON'T MISS THIS FILM! It'll be in distribution in December. Low-budget, beautifully done film set in 1979 about a drag queen who takes in a Downs Syndrome boy who's been abandoned by his mother. He and his closeted partner end up fighting the legal system to keep the boy. It's a gripping story about love and what makes a family. Stunning performances by Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, and Issac Layva as the young boy.

A Secret World **** from  Mexico
Gorgeously photographed film about a young girl who feels like an outcast, and her journey to find her place in the world. This is a very quiet film, and slow-moving, but it all works. The actor who plays Maria is wonderful. It feels like you are watching her actual life, not a film. Beautifully done.

Numbered ***** From Israel
An emotional documentary that details the lives and memories of some of the survivors of Auschwitz, the only place where they tattooed numbers on the prisoners. For some the numbers are a medal, for others it is shame. For the audience it is unspeakable and humbling.
There was a woman whose father had the numbers and after she sat shiva she them tattooed on her ankle. There was a grandson who had his (still living) grandfather's numbers tattooed on his arm. Very moving.
I don't know how you'd be able to watch this and not want to curl up and sob.

October 11, 2012

Comfort Food For Dessert

I'm a sucker for comfort food of any kind: appetizer, main course, dessert - I love it all. I don't remember where I got this recipe but it's the perfect storm of banana, peanut butter and chocolate all mixed up in a moist, yummy bread. What could be better than that?

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons white sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed or whizzed in food-processor
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons plain fat-free yogurt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips tossed in 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 9X5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray; add a strip of parchment paper to bottom of pan for easy removal.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl. In another bowl or bowl of mixer, mix bananas, peanut butter, yogurt, egg, vanilla, and oil. Fold in flour mixture until no streaks of flour remain, then gently fold in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into loaf pan. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out with few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes; carefully remove from pan and allow to cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

October 5, 2012

Wendi Aarons - The Funniest Mom Blogger Alive

If you've never read Wendi Aarons (her humble self pictured below), brace yourself.

Dear Mr. Thatcher,
I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years,
and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core™ or Dri-Weave™ absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is
that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 in my pants.
Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from “the curse”? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my “time of the month” is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call “an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.” Isn’t the human body amazing?
As brand manager in the feminine-hygiene division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers’ monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Therefore, you must know 
about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, 
my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend’s testicles  into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in capri pants. Which brings me to the reason for my letter.