I don’t know the name of the artist, but I can tell you this, if I could, this would be front and center in my office. This is my kind of motivational artwork.
Let’s be clear.
I will win the mega-millions Lotto. This was told to me by a fortune-teller at my local carnival this past summer. She also told me I would get a break, and she was right; my bank account is as broke as they come. How did she know!? It boggles the mind. Truly.
The first thing I will do as a mega-multi-millionaire is to run for president. Hold on, someone just told me that’s already been done. Damn.
My next plan as a future Lotto winner is to buy The Perfect House. You know the one; with the swimming pool in the kitchen, the bowling alley in the foyer, and the self-cleaning bathroom? I love New York, and I also love California. I would happily move to either place, or maybe both, if I didn’t have to worry about making a living. That would be the extent of my real estate investments, though, because I’d be traveling all of the time. If it weren’t for my animals…well, and a general lack of funds…I’d never be home as it is. Since this is my future, according to Madame Mystery at the Country Fair, I’m interviewing animal caretakers and looking into buying each pet a mobile home. Just kidding; Rufus the Invincible has a license but he doesn’t drive. Wouldn’t it be great to have enough money to take them with me as I trek the world, though?
I’m not a big lover of stuff. Sure, stuff is great, but instead of buying even more stuff, I’d indulge my laziness. I’d have servants – paid very well mind you. In return for a generous yearly salary, room and board, medical insurance, the whole nine yards, they would have to be on call 24/7. And having lived with myself for quite some time now, I know that I have bad days where I’m …um…grumpy, shall we say? On days when I’m less than my nice self, I’d offer up an extra $200 or so in cash in advance – first thing in the morning (forewarned is forearmed they say) and explain to all and sundry, today I’m a bitch. Sorry. But here’s $200.
One of these well-compensated individuals would be my “runner.” If I want coffee or some of that great carry out seafood from across town, I’d just call the runner. I’d also have a chef, but one that does more than make those frilly little dishes that look like cat food with a piece of sidewalk weed on them. My chef will be as versed in good old home cooking as he is in fine French cuisine. “A big old slab of homemade meatloaf drowning in gravy, Monsieur Snooty, if you please, and a loaf of your finest bread, with chocolate mousse for dessert. And a diet Coke.” At midnight if I’m hungry for a snack or a full-blown meal, I’d just buzz the chef’s quarters. Heck, let’s take it all the way and send the runner to the kitchen for my snack. Oh yeah. I know how to live.
Now, we’ve discussed my mobile pet idea, but of course I won’t be travelling ALL the time…I would eventually make pit-stops at home. So for those times when we are home, I’d hire someone to clean up all the cat hair and hairballs. This would be an awesome job for someone, seriously. I’d pay them well to dump litter boxes and clean up outdoor…errrr, leavings. These dainty hands will never again flick a hairball under the couch, or pour more litter on top of the old in a vain attempt to get out of changing the box. Don’t judge me, you’ve done it too. This person also gets to take my dogs out whenever the need arises. I may just train the dogs to buzz for their caretakers themselves and eliminate the middleman altogether. The middleman being me. Just so you know. Cause I’m lazy.
No more stuck in traffic for THIS Lotto winner. I mean, I might be stuck in traffic but I wouldn’t have the “stuck in traffic driver stress.” You see, I’d never drive myself again…anywhere. I could just lean dramatically back in my seat and sigh loudly, like I did when I was a teenager. Good times.
With all the time and money in the world at my disposal, you’d best believe I would be one sexy, albeit idle, chick. I’d have salon and spa days, and relax on the French Riviera, drink at a café in Tuscany, and hide myself away in a thatch-roofed cottage on the coast of Ireland. You know. Just the essential travel spots. I have already bought a cover shoot for Glamour, in case you’re wondering. Madame Mystery insisted that I would be adored by millions and loved by all. Or was it that I owed millions and would be sued by all? It’s a little hazy, and I was still reeling from the Tilt-A-Whirl.
I would need a hobby to occupy my time. Of course, right? Everyone need a hobby. I’m dangerous with pointy objects, so knitting is out. I’m not very athletic, so sports would be out, too. Thank goodness for that; that last one involved excessive movement. Who the hell wants to do that!? I decided to Google a bit of fancy hobbies, and my research turned up the following.
- Collecting fine antiques: This isn’t your grandmother’s china cabinet here. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on a rare coin, stamp, rug, or piece of jewelry. On top of this, I would need to build a special storage facility and insure the whole thing. Sounds like a lot of work for things I can’t really use, doesn’t it?
- Investing in an art collection: Up until now, I have considered the TV Guide as a valuable artistic statement. Turns out, there are paintings and sculptures that I don’t like or understand for several million dollars apiece. I can own some of this baffling work for myself, if so inclined. I’d pay other people to look at it and make appropriate “oohs” and “aahs.” But then I’d need to get insurance, a security guard, an alarm system. Who has time for all of that?
- Race Car Driving: I kid you not, I could enter the exciting world of race car driving. Probably, the equally exciting world of hospital emergency rooms as well. If I visited the hospital enough times, I would just build a wing in my name…provided I remember my name after the accidents. This fine sport costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars per hour when on the track. That doesn’t take into consideration the medical bills. Blech.
- Boating: Nothing says indulgent like purchasing a boat as big as my house and burning through enough fuel in a half hour to power an entire third world country for a year.
- Gambling in high stakes games: When the opening bid is a million dollars, I think I’ll leave my inner Kenny Rogers on the table and just fold ‘em.
Maybe fancy hobbies aren’t for me? I just couldn’t get into anything like that. Oh wait, I do know one hobby I could get into. I could collect animals – all my favorites: pigs, horses, sheep, chickens, cows, dogs, cats, the works. Emptying out a livestock auction or a shelter, now that I would enjoy. The money I would spend on fuel for a race car each week could pay a keeper to take care of them – and what it would cost to buy a boat or that antique umbrella holder dipped in gold could surely buy the necessary property on which to build a sanctuary to keep them healthy and happy. Now THAT, that I could get into.
When I win the Lotto, I can see myself still being me, only a hell of a lot less stressed…and maybe a few pounds heavier. I’d like to think I’m not one of those individuals that money would change. I’d also sure like to find that out for myself one day.
In the meantime, if you see Madame Mystery, tell her I’m still waiting.
As all my readers know, I’m a Looney Tunes freak. Key word: freak. I know this about myself. And of course, I’m old school Looney Tunes.
There is a new Looney Tunes Show with new animation techniques that I don’t like and voices that try to sound like Mel Blanc but don’t, so I just shunned it altogether.
Now, I thought it’d be okay for today’s generation of kids. If you’ve never heard the “real” voices of these characters – as brought to life by Mel Blanc – could you really tell the difference?
So, one day I walked into the living room to find my daughter watching the show, and I decided what the heck, I’d give it a try.
I admit, I got hooked on the characters. This modern-day Looney Tunes is more of a soap opera than what us “old folks” are used to, but still, it was okay. Not as bad as I thought and certainly more enjoyable than I thought possible once you got used to the animation and the voices.
But then, Lola Bunny came on the scene and my jaw just dropped with shock. Admittedly, I was forewarned by my daughter about Lola’s character, but I was still surprised by how awful her character was. Awful. Let me explain.
Lola Bunny was first introduced as a love interest for Bugs Bunny in the 1996 movie Space Jam (you know the one, where Michael Jordan is transported into the animated world of the Looney Tunes, and has to help the “Tune Squad” play basketball against the “villainous monstars”).
Let me quote Wikipedia about Lola’s character: “She is a tough talking, no-nonsense woman who is extremely independent and self-reliant. She is highly athletic while also incredibly seductive in her behavior.” Okay, so we can do without the seductive part, but the rest was a pretty good role model for kids watching the movie.
Next was a show called Baby Looney Tunes. In this cartoon Lola – like all the other characters, portrayed as a baby – is still intelligent and somewhat of a tomboy.
Now, contrast that with her characterization in the new Looney Tunes Show.
All of a sudden, she has become this complete and utter airhead who exemplifies the “blonde” jokes that are so often bandied about…and then some.
Let me quote Wikipedia again (because, you know, you may think it’s just me over-analyzing these cartoons, but it’s not! Anyone who watches the new Looney Tunes Show can see the complete destruction of her character): “As opposed to her personality in Space Jam, she is portrayed as a scatterbrained, indecisive, gabby young woman who tends to obsess over Bugs, whom she refers to as “Bun-Bun.” She is very dedicated to achieving goals but oftentimes tends to forget what she was doing. She’s unable to settle on a decision, even for something as simple as what she wants to drink. …she is overly talkative to the point of irritation.”
WTF? What happened?
All of a sudden Lola has been reduced from a strong female character to the “comic relief,” and not even good comic relief. At least being demoted for the purpose of decent comic relief would be somewhat acceptable. Yes, I get it, it’s the Looney Tunes Show, but she’s not LOONEY. She doesn’t have Bugs’ obnoxious charm or Daffy’s egotistical flair. She doesn’t even have Taz’s glorious rage. Instead, she’s just a stereotypical dimwitted, airhead female character (cause that’s just what we need more of on t.v.) – and just what is she telling the young boys and girls that are watching this show?
She’s telling girls that it’s okay, even expected, to be dim and uninformed about the world around you and to natter on, chattering about absolutely nothing of importance, because you’re a girl, and if boys like you they’ll put up with it. And they’re teaching boys that girls have nothing whatsoever important to say, so just kind of humor them because, after all, they’re just girls and what more should you expect?
And why is this funny? Someone, tell me – why is this funny?
As all of you know, I love cartoons!
I’m not talking about animated TV shows like King of the Hill or The Simpsons, or even that stuff on Adult Swim. Those are shows intended for adults. I don’t like to adult.
When I was a kid, more years ago than I care to count, the only cartoons available were on Saturday. In fact, “Saturday morning cartoons” were quite the tradition. It’s a tradition that has died out – now that we have cable and satellite, there are channels every day that show classic cartoons – the Disney Channel, the Cartoon Channel, and so on.
So, regardless of when kids watch cartoons, they watch them a lot, and so of course a lot of how they behave can be affected by what they watch.
I have to admit that when I’m watching my cartoons (I’m a Looney Tunes kinda gal), I’m always curious to see how male and female characters are presented in other cartoons.
And I’m thinking of the female characters in cartoons aimed at pre-schoolers. The “educational” cartoons. Just what are they teaching young boys and girls about male and female roles?
Well, watch the opening sequence to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse some time. Each of the characters introduces themselves. The male characters wave or smile, the female characters (Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse) thrust out a hip and raise a hand in a “come-hither” gesture. It can’t just be me.
If you watch these shows, you’ll quickly see that Daisy is a flirt, who uses her “feminine wiles” – i.e. sex appeal – to get Donald to do what she wants. What is this teaching little girls about how they should interact with boys to get what they want?
Ever notice the stereotypical girl characters in these educations shows? For example in Rugrats, the girl Angelica is “spoiled and selfish” – and of course, bossy. (When a boy tells his friends what to do, he’s just “a leader,” but let a girl do it, and she’s just a bossy know-it-all.)
Ever notice in those shows with young male protagonists…the protagonist is usually a genius, while their sister is, if not a bossy-know-it-all, then an airhead? In fact, I can’t think of a pre-school cartoon where there is a girl genius.
Of course it’s not all bad news. Sheriff Callie’s Wild West presents an excellent female protagonist. Then there’s Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins.
But take a look at the other female characters in Doc McStuffins. While they’ve had episodes featuring a Bessie Coleman doll (the first African-American female licensed pilot) and a female rescue helicopter named Rhonda, many of the female characters are stereotypical with voices that just grate on my nerves.
There’s Dress Up Daisy, who speaks in a high falsetto and changes her outfit every few minutes. There’s Gloria Gorilla who loves to hug and who also uses a high falsetto voice. Spritzi Mitzi, the same thing.
It’s interesting to see how female characters have changed, but also in many ways remained the same, over the years.
What do you think of today’s cartoons for kids? Which are your favorites, and why?
Did the movie The Bucket List make “the bucket list” famous? I’m sure you all know what it is – a list of things you want to do before you die. So that you can “feel the fear and do it anyway.” What a dumb motto that is! At least to me. I have no desire to feel fear. In real life anyway. Horror movies don’t count.
Well, I came up with a reverse bucket list – things that I will never do before I die.
- Jump out of a plane
Somebody – I forget who – replied when asked if they’d like to try skydiving, “Are you nuts? Why would I jump out of a plane that is working perfectly?” That’s my feeling on the subject, too. Just why? I put this at the top of my reverse bucket list because if I were ever to do this, I’d be dead before I hit the ground, so…end of bucket list. Easy peasy.
- Go bungee jumping
Second only to my desire not to jump out of a plane is my desire not to go bungee jumping. I mean, really. You get yourself togged up in some harness – I think it ties to your feet or something? – and then you jump off a perfectly good bridge or tower and go plummeting earthward? Then wham, bam, thank you ma’am, your plummet stops and you are jerked back upward. In my mind’s eye I can see it…my nose two inches from the ground before I snap back upward. And with the way my brain works I’d be thinking the whole time about the guy up at the top of that bridge who is probably being paid minimum to make sure the bungee cords are set right, adequate length, perfect weight for the person, etc., and the whole way down, I’d be thinking…”Did he come in sober today?” Or worse yet, “Did he come in hung over today?” And considering I’m afraid of falling (not heights so much mind you, as falling) the ending to this little adventure would be much like the jumping of out of a plane fiasco – I’d be dead of a massive heart attack, or what they used to call just plain old “fright,” before I made it to the finale of this nonsensical free-fall.
So, nope – sorry. Not going to happen.
- Go on a crazy roller coaster
As has been made apparent from the first two things on my list…I’m not afraid of heights. I’m afraid of falling. Falling and being suspended in the air with seemingly nothing to hold me in would give me a panic attack or worse. On something like the Tatsu roller coaster at Six Flags where you’re not even buckled firmly into a normal cart but rather left hanging out in the air freestyle, strapped onto a flying booster seat kind of thing, I’d be dead before the roller coaster came back to earth. You know how people say “Such and such scared her to death?” Yeah, well, that would be me. Now you guys get why this is a reverse bucket list, right? And I don’t know what happens to the vomit one expels in the middle of an upside down whirl on a roller coaster, but I don’t want to find out and I’m sure the people within range of my vomit wouldn’t want to find out either. So, we’ll give this one a pass.
- Go on the Giant Canyon Swing at Glenwood Caverns
This little gem is in Colorado. Their promotional literature states: “Ready for a screaming thrill ride soaring above Glenwood Springs?” Why no, no I’m not. “Launch yourself out into Glenwood Canyon, 1,300 feet above the Colorado River, on the Giant Canyon Swing!” it says. Nope, nope, nope – not going to happen. “If you’re brave enough to open your eyes…” I think you mean, stupid “…your views of the Canyon and Glenwood Springs are breathtaking as you soar through the air at speeds up to 50 miles per hour.” Fifty miles an hour? If I’m going fifty miles in anything it will be in a car on a road! Or a train. Trains are good. And while I realize that we hear of more accidents happening on the roads than on these adventure rides, in my mind’s eye, I can still easily see this “swing” taking off from its girders and flying into the Canyon à la “Final Destination” with me in tow. And while that might be a hell of a ride with an excellent view for a few seconds, just nope.
- Go anywhere near the Kishtwar Kailash road to base camp:
The Kishtwar Kailash is a mountain in the Indian Himalayas…and people try to climb it… “because it’s there,” the fools! Apparently its west face was climbed for the first time in 2013. It’s all very cool when you think about it. But the “road to base camp” is carved out of the side of the mountain and there is no guard rail (obviously) preventing a bus or car from plummeting over the side of that mountain and going down, down, down and down about a few more hundred times. From a video I watched recently, at a couple of points the wheels of a bus traversing this path are only a couple of inches from the edge of the cliff side of the mountain. At one point, not being able to see the cliff’s edge from around a corner they had to navigate, the driver’s helper (or one of the passengers) got out and directed the driver around the curve. Now, that’s trust. This is what you go through just to get to the base camp before even beginning your attempt at climbing what is apparently an incredibly challenging and dangerous mountain.
No, thank you. Onto the reverse bucket list it goes.
- Eat an insect dipped in anything and fried
I don’t care if they are a delicacy in some countries or how much protein people claim they have, it’s a bug. And not only would I not eat an insect dipped in anything and fried, I wouldn’t even eat it if it just came au naturel. No. Just no. No a million times. Bugs need have no fear of being eaten by me. The plus to this is when aliens come to take over the Earth they will know that I was kind to their kinfolk and they won’t disintegrate me or try to eat me like they will everyone else. Oh, they might stick me in a cage in some kind of an interplanetary zoo. But at least they won’t be feeding me bugs.
- Attend anything that calls itself “fashion week”
Have you seen some of the fashions the designers come up with, seemingly to make women look as silly as possible? The clothes that are displayed in the fashion week specials they show on t.v. do not look like the outfits you’d see on “real women” out in the “real world.” Or at least not in the world I live in. But then I don’t have a kajillion dollars, so maybe that’s why. And no-one ever looks happy at these things. The models look petulant and ill-tempered, and the attendees all look as though they’d rather be anywhere else on Earth than at that particular event. I thought clothes and clothes shopping made people happy. But then again…I did mention what these outfits look like, right?
- Go swimming with sharks
I love sharks. I’ve even got an app called Shark Tracker that helps me keep track of my favorite ones. But going swimming with them? My tasty flesh in the same vicinity as all of those lovely sharks with great big teeth? No thanks. I will watch them safely from the comfort of my armchair, or maybe a big, powerful boat that has no chance of sinking. But in the water? No. Just no. Now that I think about it, maybe not even on a big, powerful boat…I’ve seen Jaws. I know how that played out. It wasn’t good. Not good at all. Not to mention the Titanic was a big, powerful boat that was unsinkable. And we all know how well that worked out. Armchair is good. Yeah, I like the armchair.
- Act in a play
Actors say that the adrenalin rush of being on stage – at the end of a play – and getting the applause makes it all worth while. But I’m sure no one would want to pay to see me standing stock still on stage, forgetting to move, forgetting to talk, having to be carried off with a dolly because I’m too scared to move. I will spare myself, and the audience, that, thank you very much.
- Go caving
Some people call it caving. Others call it spelunking. I call it plain silliness. Hey, I’ve seen the movies. I know what happens. Does “The Descent” ring a bell? Okay, how about “The Cave?” Crawling through utter darkness, pressed in by stone on every side, mourning the friends you’ve just lost…having to squeeze through tunnels barely big enough for you and what if you get stuck? Can’t move forward, can’t move backward, having to wait a week to lose enough weight until you can move? I don’t want to lose weight that badly…oh, and the mutated monsters that just ate your friends. Nobody mentions those in the tourist literature.
Imagine how different our daily lives would be if the physics of Looney Tunes were a real thing. I mean, when I was a kid I always thought the world was going to be a lot tougher to navigate, thanks to my favorite Saturday morning cartoon show. I know, I know, I spend way too much time thinking about Looney Tunes. I can’t help it. They’re my late night go-to when I’m too stressed to fall asleep. So sue me.
As things stand, in our Einstein-ian guided laws of space and time, our everyday concerns are pretty reasonable. When we’re driving we watch out for potholes because sometimes roads are old. When we’re walking we look out for gum on the sidewalk because some people are pigs. But if we were in a Looney Tunes life, getting stuck in quicksand or glue traps on the way to work would be more of a concern than they currently are. Oh, and we’d also have to watch out for little supper plate sized black holes people can unfold like napkins and lay on the ground that zip us off into a void in the universe. Step in one of those and, bam! who knows where you’ll end up. There’s probably not any cell service in one of those either, so don’t bank on posting any funny stuck-in-a-wormhole-again status updates.
News about people being caught under falling anvils and grand pianos don’t normally dominate the front page of the local paper, probably because it doesn’t happen very often (i.e.: never at all). And that’s a good thing. I guess. Living in a Looney Tunes world may look like fun what with the ability to walk through the air until you look down, how you can bounce off walls when you’re really happy, and you can make your eyes really REALLY big when you see something you like a lot.
But let’s not be fooled. It is a dangerous place. Threats to life and limb loom around every corner in the Looney Tunes world. When I was a kid I didn’t quite understand the line between the cartoon universe and this reality and some of that has definitely stuck with me. To this day if I see a random balloon flying by (a stray from a birthday party perhaps), I double-check to make sure it doesn’t have a stick of dynamite attached to the string. Why? Because you just never know! Ahhh…if the world was really like this — sure it’d be more dangerous, but revenge plots would be sooo much more entertaining.
I like to think that I’m somewhat intelligent. Somewhat being the key word here. The books I read, while plenty entertaining with rich plot and interesting, complex characters, lean a bit more towards the literary than the commercial side. I have nothing against glittering vampires or convoluted S&M with rich bachelors; they’re just not my thing. I also enjoy movies and shows that require at least some brain activity to understand. If it’s starring Larry the Cable Guy, chances are I won’t be buying a ticket. I’m far from Mensa worthy, but I do need more.
Then again…we all have our guilty pleasures or vices or whatever you want to call them and mine would have to be Looney Tunes cartoons. I love them! Like, love them. Not the new cartoons that are a full half hour and computer generated. Oh no. I’m a fan of the old school Looney Tunes, the ones that lasted four minutes (six tops), were hand-drawn, and featured all the favorites back when they were all voiced by one guy.
Bugs Bunny playing tricks on Elmer Fudd. Pepe le Pew courting a poor bedraggled female cat unfortunately streaked with paint (I always enjoyed Pepe’s consternation when the tables were turned). Daffy Duck spraying spit everywhere. All brought to hilarious life thanks to the vocal genius Mel Blanc. He was the premier cartoon voice actor and launched all of these characters into legendary status. Check out Mel Blanc’s biography some time (who knew he voiced Barney Rubble??). A man of 1,000 voices indeed. If the character isn’t voiced by him, I’m not interested.
In fact, I hate the new Looney Tunes show. It shouldn’t even be considered true Looney Tunes. It’s a pale reflection of the original. I cling firmly to the old, majestic pieces that used classical sonatas and overtures to set the tone. Hell, most of what I know and love of classical music and opera today comes straight from watching these cartoons. They’re short nuggets of pure fun and tomfoolery. I love them so much that, thanks to Boomerang, having them on the t.v. is one of my primo weapons against nighttime anxiety on those occasions when I just can’t seem to shut my brain off from the stressful things I was faced with all day.
I must say, though, that I find it heartbreaking that Wile E. Coyote will always be remembered for his failures instead of his true artistic talent and creative brilliance. (Yes, this is how much I’ve analyzed the cartoons.) He truly was an innovative thinker. He painted fake roads, train tracks (so real that even trains were confused), and used tricks of visual perception to make a flat boulder look like a tunnel. Wile E. constantly rebelled against modern convention and thumbed his nose at the laws of physics on numerous occasions. He built rockets for god’s sake and catapults and plucking mechanisms. All for naught, but the genius was there nonetheless. Suuuper genius.
I also find it sad that Marvin the Martian never once got to blow up the Earth. Had he succeeded it would have sucked for us, but imagine his point of view. Never once did he get to reach the one goal he set for himself in life. It’s tragic really.
While all of those characters have a special place in my heart, my absolute favorites are the Goofy Gophers. Remember them? Perhaps a little further down in the Looney Tunes canon, but they had a style all their own. Snobby and pretentious? Yes. But charming, genial, accommodating, and well-mannered to a T, their prissy aristocratic accents capped off what I found to be a hilarious pair. I loved it. “Shall we hit Elmer Fudd on the head with this hammer?” “Why yes, let’s.” “Indubitably.” Classic!
Maybe my love of Looney Tunes isn’t a guilty pleasure. Maybe the characters are complex enough and “deep” enough to rationalize my love of them. Or maybe I’m just a grown woman who loves cartoon animals chasing each other with dynamite. You decide.