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High on the list of my favorite all-time songs is Jungleland, that soaring rock n’ roll epic about swaggering guys who have something to prove cavorting with barefoot girls who recline on the hoods of cars right before a knife is raised high into the shadows of a stark night and everything changes forever.  It’s a pure masterpiece of writing, one that ignores typical conventions and instead surges forward with the haunting rhythm of a saxophone, some blaring and unrelenting guitars, and one of the single most beautiful measures of melody ever tinkled on a piano.  Perhaps even more than anything I’ve read by T.S. Eliot – or anything I ever pretended to read, like Beowulf –Jungleland captures the loss of control and the spinning of the self and the disquieting way that literally anything can happen once the sun goes down.

The song’s lyrics are astounding.  They’re poignant and profound in their construction and visceral in their effect.  The words sketch a portrait of a life most of us will never experience; then they beckon us to take a closer gander before we scurry back to safety.  When I hear the song – even today – I feel transported to a place where there’s a glowing Exxon sign hanging high above the Jersey state line, one illuminating the faces of all those poets who don’t write anything at all.  

To even pretend that it’s possible to compare the work of a musical mystic with Bravo Housewives is an exercise in futility, so I will not be wasting my time trying to locate similarities that don’t actually exist between what I see as the newest incarnations of Good and Evil.  But if I really wanted to reach, perhaps I could say that the lines, “Man, there’s an opera out on the Turnpike…there’s a ballet being fought out in the alley,” remind me a tiny bit of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills because brawls are also being fought there, only they’re being waged by morons and none of it is poetic in the slightest.




Remember that scene in Poltergeist when the technician whose job it was to photograph the gazillions of ghosts living and thriving inside the little blonde girl’s closet decided to go into the kitchen late at night to cook himself a steak?  Remember how that steak became infested with ravenous maggots that burst forth from the center of the slab of red meat and the way your pre-teen stomach began to topple and turn as you watched that thing crawl across the white Formica countertop?  Can you also recall what happened next, when the guy went into the bathroom and began pulling the skin off his face in gigantic hunks of blood and tendons until all we saw was a grotesque vision of bone and hollowed-out eye sockets and the sink below him was filled with heaping shreds of plasma-covered muscle?  Yeah, I’d rather watch that scene every single night on a loop and use the sound effects from the sequence as I walk down the aisle on my wedding day than ever fucking hear the word “Munchausen” ever again.



About a month ago – for the first time in more than a decade – I found myself totally obsessed with the NCAA tournament. It sort of started by accident. See, I like to leave the television on while I'm at work so my puppy doesn't feel so alone and I guess I'm willing to pretend that the people on TV make her feel like she's got company. Usually I put on CNN so she can stay informed, but one day I started to grow concerned that her fragile baby canine mind maybe shouldn't be exposed to the tragedies currently plaguing the world – you know, terrorism, people who don't believe global warming is real, Trump's views on women – so I decided to put on a different channel before I left the house. I think Married With Children was airing as I walked out the door at the ass-crack of dawn. I heard a loud roar of canned laughter and the unmistakable growl of Al Bundy and sure, I worried that Tallulah would watch the show and I'd come home and discover she'd shimmied herself into some Lycra and managed to procure a can of Aqua Net and she'd ask me if I knew that Traci Lords could act, but I decided to just deal with those issues if they popped up.

By the time late afternoon arrived and I walked back through my front door, sitcoms from the early-nineties had ended and basketball was on instead. I found myself playing fetch with the dog and getting my stuff ready for work in the morning and doing yoga, all with the TV still on.  The cheers of the crowd and the sound of the rhythmic dribbling offered me some unexpected solace. I didn't go all in – I never drew up a bracket or anything — but I legitimately began to care about the tournament and there were a few teams I started to root for. I wanted University of Michigan, Miami, or UNC to come out on top. Why? Well, there are very good reasons for all my choices!  My ex-boyfriend went to Michigan and I have fond memories of going to those games.  I even remember half of the school’s fight song, yet another little ditty I can’t sing on key. Most of my family roots for Miami so I threw that team into my mix because it's always nice when my family is happy. As for UNC, it's really very simple: the blue they wear is the prettiest shade of blue in all the land. 

I had to DVR the final game a couple of Mondays ago because my top priority was to throw all my concentration at the last part of the Vanderpump Rules reunion. (Yes, it takes a great deal of concentration to describe a collection of leaky douchebags who fancy themselves human.)  With my recap gloriously complete, I finally settled in to watch the game.  I was riveted. After writing about the morons on Bravo, it was inspiring to see people with actual talent appear on a screen in my home – and while I was upset that the team who wore the nice color didn't walk away victorious, it still felt like a lovely way to wile away the late evening hours. Besides, I've found guys line up for you when it's clear you not only don't mind sports, but you show up to watch a game wearing a hot lace bra under a thin tee while holding a bowl filled with the most amazing spinach and artichoke dip known to man.  (The trick is the red pepper flakes.) 

I couldn't help but think about those games and the team rivalries tonight as I watched the season finale of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Sure, on the surface these two forms of entertainment have almost nothing in common, but dig a little deeper. Both the teams and these women have complicated, public histories. Both have fans cheering them on. Both experience the harsh hatred of the public, some of it very much warranted. And I'm imagining that some basketball players harbor vivid fantasies about ripping fellow athletes limb from limb like you know our Housewives dream about on an hourly basis.

As we're at the end (almost – I’m betting there will be a twelve-part reunion where these women can once again discuss arguments that will still not make a bit of sense) of a season that has seemed fucking endless, let's review the blistering battles that have gone down. Since no fight on this show actually gets resolved, the ripples of dissension are still being felt and analyzed. In no particular order of importance – because none of these arguments actually matter – here's a recount of who has hated someone or who currently hates someone:



Once upon a time – I'm guessing during a bright full moon – a production meeting over at Bravo headquarters yielded some magic. The network gathered together a group of women, coined them “Real Housewives,” and threw them on television so we could all stare at lives that appeared awesomely aspirational.  By day, these women brunched and lunched on expansive terraces where the sun beamed brilliantly, providing the perfect amount of backlighting until they all resembled dewy angels who prospered by never eating a single thing.  By night, they entered sprawling closets in their homes that mirrored the appearance of upscale boutiques and selected outfits that could often be described as “glitzy" – or, if we’re talking about Adrienne Maloof, the look might be best thought of as “Christmas-tinsel-chic.”  A bevy of perfectly groomed puppies scampered about their feet as their maids served coffee made from beans that were roasted by hand and their husbands greeted them with warm kisses when they returned home from wherever they ventured each day in order to make heaping boatloads of money.  Vacations were embarked upon year-round and nobody ever questioned if the private jet could hold the weight of so many suitcases.  The Hermes was real and the bonds between the women were strong and the biggest argument that popped up was rooted in the dilemma of whether or not one woman had the audacity to call another woman “insecure.”

That idyllic time is over. Very little remains now of the days spent luxuriating in the sun besides some flowing caftans and a flood of tarnished memories.  When exactly was it that the tide turned into a constant undertow, when the picturesque lives we sighed and wished were our own spectacularly imploded?  Was it when Russell committed suicide and we watched the season before his death play out knowing what the resolution would be and every single time his grim face appeared on television it felt like we were seeing a ghost? Was it watching his allegedly abused spouse starve herself into a trembling pit of oblivion while claiming that being on this show was saving her life? Could the explosion of all that once felt sublime have been caused by the mindless cackle of Kim Richards or the desperate and cruel machinations of Brandi Glanville? All I know is I long for the days when Camille Grammer descended down a grand staircase swathed in couture on Tony night and toasted a man who had already decided to leave her because, devastating as that was, those were the simple days.

It might be a quest to stay on this show and remain perpetually relevant that inspires the current crop of Housewives to battle one another constantly, throwing down empty gauntlets to trigger fights that not one of them can even hope to win anymore. I don't know how else to explain why this group of women – who are clearly not a collection of totally vapid dummies – insist on discussing the same matters over and over again, destroying connections that were at least once enjoyable, even if they were never more than superficial. It's almost sad to see the disintegration of friendships play out before us like an opera produced by Kandinsky and it's made more upsetting that not one of these women at her core is truly awful. What they are, I think, is fundamentally confused. They're confused when they believe every argument will eventually lead to a satisfying ending. They're confused and dismayed that posts on social media will rarely count as undisputed evidence. They were confused when they bought into the idea that what they said off-camera would never be discussed on camera. And they're terribly confused when they expect that everything in their lives will not be consumed and then spit out by friends and enemies alike after they have so willingly blurred the lines between what is real and what is considered entertainment. 




Oh, Kim Richards.  She’s kind of a living and breathing version of that creaky wooden rocking chair that sits on the porch of that nice madwoman who lives down the street, the one who maybe keeps a family of four chained in her basement. Like that chair, Kim’s sort of falling apart. Someone once tried to mend her with a little bit of spit and some scotch tape, but she will undoubtedly cause pain to whomever foolishly chooses to straddle her.  Still–splinters aside–I’d rather spend fucking eternity sprawled across that chair than ever be stuck in the same time zone as one of the vilest Housewives of them all.

Now sure, I understand that Kim Richards is an addict. I also understand that the only reason she appears on this show at all anymore is for a paycheck.  I suppose I used to feel kind of badly for her that her options were so limited that she was forced to pimp out her own questionable sobriety for profit, but the reality is that she’s such a lying and deflecting asshole that I have lost any and all empathy I ever pretended to have. I officially can no longer stand the sight of the woman.  I hate her oddly shaped eyes and how they squint and glare wildly at anyone who has figured out her very obvious truths.  I hate her bony fingers, the ones she likes to point in the faces of women who have decided not to believe a single thing this shell of a former human being says anymore.  I hate the rickety voice she uses to spew out lies before begging for mercy from people who had no idea what they were getting into when they casually agreed to climb into the back of a limo with her.  I hate that she still has the audacity to pretend that she and her family have been terribly wounded by people saying aloud that she started drinking again and that she never even considers blaming herself for all of it since – obviously – her actions spurred the stories and the pain.  But most of all, I hate that the appearance of Kim Richards means that she was never really just a terrible figment of my imagination like I’d convinced myself she was and I really hate how her presence makes me feel something that resembles sympathy for her long-suffering sister, Kyle, a preening specimen constructed primarily out of hair and ego.



It occurred to me recently that there are entire stores dedicated to helping human beings try to outsmart dogs.  Seriously, walk into Petco or whatever establishment wants to charge you money for rawhide and just wander around for a while.  There are aisles and aisles filled with products and, regardless of their lovely packaging, the subtext for most of them is TAKE BACK CONTROL FROM THE ANIMAL YOU ALLOW TO LIVE IN YOUR HOUSE AND SLEEP IN YOUR BED, THE ONE YOU INSIST UPON DRESSING IN SWEATERS OR IN A NICE FLEECE WHEN IT GETS CHILLY. I was at one of those stores last month for the third time in one week and I stood looking for a moment at the array of items in my cart that I'd soon pay for and then lug home:

There was a plastic square designed to hold a wee wee pad in place.  I needed this item so my dog might stop ripping her pad to shreds before swan-diving into the pile of crumpled wee wee pad she created in what I think was an attempt to fashion a plusher fluff pad than the one I'd so lovingly provided.

There were sprays of all kinds. One was to stop her from peeing everywhere. One was to cover up the smell of pee when Plan A went to hell. And one was flavored bitter apple and it was designed to stop her from nibbling on my moldings, which my former dog used to wander by without ever showing the slightest interest.

I had two plush toys with tags attached that claimed the toys were demolition-proof. My puppy demolished all of the moose and half of the chicken in two days flat.

She kept knocking over the dishes in her crate, so I found hooks that promised to hang the bowls permanently. Those worked. I also found her a pretty sweater that she happily romped around in for a while before removing it herself because apparently she spends the time I'm at work practicing to be a stripper.

"How's it going with Tallulah?" a friend of mine asked today.

"She's the sweetest dog in the world," I responded with a smile, "but she's having a hard time with some of the commands I'm trying to teach her."

"Which ones?" he asked.

"You know – just sit, stay, and come."

I bought and read three training manuals. I spent twenty minutes trying to decide which training treats to buy. I debated the merits of chicken vs. bacon. I purchased a leash the "experts" recommended for teaching commands.

My dog sits when she feels like it.

What I've realized is that training anything is really fucking hard, especially when you're doing it during the same months you've decided to cut bread out of your life. The benefits my sweet puppy brings to my life far outweigh the difficult moments, but it's not easy and it's made exponentially worse when you realize you've one again been bested by an animal that weighs 4.4 pounds and that means her brain is only, what, half a pound? I think I just always assumed my larger brain would prevail when it came to which one of us would outsmart one another and prove ultimately victorious. I was sadly mistaken.  

The thing is, I know I have to train Tallulah now. I've listened to all the random adages I've heard over the years! I know it's the journey that's important and that success is 90% perspiration. I also know that it's almost impossible to teach old dogs new tricks and that lesson has led me to start thinking about our dear Housewives. What kind of tricks would I attempt to teach them if they were my pets – and more importantly, what kind of dog would each of them be?

Lisa Rinna looks very much like a cute Yorkie I once knew, so I've decided that's her spirit pup. As for what I'd teach her, it might be nice if she learned how to stop over-apologizing for things she really shouldn’t feel so badly for doing.  Of course, should she piss in the corner of my bedroom in dog form, I'd like her to apologize for a day and a half straight. 

Eileen is clearly an Afghan. I'd brush her daily. And while I have no idea about the mathematical capability of hounds, I'd instruct her to take over the financials of her household because all of these references to Vince's gambling this season have started to worry me.




You know how there are certain words people just hate? The ones that always make me want to tear my ears off and then fling them across a crowded room so I'll never see them again are "moist" and "panties." Combine the two and I'll never eat solid food again. I don't know why it is that those words make me cringe, but the reaction is real and it's probably somehow related to the way they grossly they roll off the tongue and the visuals that I connect them to in my head. At any rate, there are scores of other words that make me smile. "Poodle" is my favorite word of all time and I have no answers for how that came to be. What I do know is that none of us should ever use the words "cunt" and "scary" in front of Kathryn, our newest Housewife, a woman who likes to engage in battles over linguistics in an effort to make her guests feel as uncomfortable in her home as is humanly possible.

We begin this week still in San Diego. Erika Jayne and her liberating gyrations on Pervert Night are just a thing of memory now. Over at Kathryn's San Diego house, a chef is preparing lunch for a group of people who – at best – tolerate one another for payment and – at worst – do not trust one another in the slightest. Think about the conflicts that are a ‘brewing along with the coffee the chef is currently slaving over:

Kyle doesn't like that Kathryn thinks Faye is a cunt – even though Kathryn would never ever use that word and Faye is totally a cunt. 

Kyle doesn't appreciate that Lisa Vanderpump did not decree that Kathryn should be shot after uttering negative words about Faye at their joint birthday party where everybody had to show up in costume just so they would all have something to talk about.

Lisa Vanderpump doesn't appreciate that Yolanda tossed her kids' medical records into her lap at a restaurant like she's some basic bullshit OC Housewife since we all know those ladies are a nickel a fucking dozen and Ms. Vanderpump should be anointed like she's fucking royalty.





The other night I saw God and it turns out he looks exactly like Bruce Springsteen.

I haven't completely figured out if there's a poetic meaning behind it all, but my 30th Springsteen concert was part of The River Tour, meaning he would be playing the entire iconic double album straight through before launching into another full set. I'd missed the original River Tour. I was too young to go to a show, a fact that didn't comfort me in the least when my parents and my sister left the house and promised to bring me back a tee shirt. No joke: I remember almost nothing from the earliest part of my life – and when it comes to the night I had to miss the Bruce show, I can vividly recall the name of my babysitter and that the feety pajamas I was wearing were yellow.

I still have the shirt they brought me. It fits now. I've been to many shows since and I feel nothing but blessed for all of those perfect nights, but still – the River Tour was always the one that got away. 

Then December came. Springsteen released The Ties That Bind, a collection of outtakes from The River. Soon after, he announced that he and the band were heading back on the road for a mini tour and they'd be making two stops at The Garden. Pretending for a moment that I'd actually internalized anything from that time I secretly read The Secret, I entered the date of the show in the calendar of my phone before tickets even went on sale. (I think the pretend-gurus call this action "visualization.") The thing is, I knew I'd end up with tickets somehow. If 29 concerts had taught me anything, it's that I would happily trudge through gigantic cold parking lots looking for scalpers or suck it up and just pay far too much on Stubhub to gain entrance to a cathedral where holy music was played on a black electric guitar.

It was my first stop on the Let's-See-How-Much-I'll-Pay-This-Time ride, but I didn't really expect to come away from Ticketmaster victoriously. So many times I've frozen when it's time to type in that weird computerized security code and then a terrible message pops up to coldly inform me that all the tickets are gone. I think there's also a pop-up that appears that tells me my hair looks shitty at the moment, but my devastation might just be causing momentary hallucinations. This time – for this tour – I got tickets immediately. They weren't the best seats in the place, but it was a sure thing: all these years later, I was going to hear one of my favorite albums of all time played from side to side (to side to side). It could only be better and more memory-inducing if The Garden's floor was covered in a rust shag carpet for the evening.

I can hardly remember the first song he played, so dumbstruck I was rendered the minute he walked onstage and I realized that I was in the same room as someone whose words have defined my entire life. So yeah, the first verse of Meet Me in the City is a little fuzzy, but I recovered quickly and the night was magical. It was almost a little bit bizarre – but in a beautiful, hazy way – to hear all those songs that once played on a loop in my den as I built forts with my sister. Images came rushing back like a wave and the water was warm and still. As we all went along on Bruce's River journey, I found myself going on my own memory tour and I began to understand my past just a little bit more clearly.

There's a real gratitude I feel when words someone assembled and then crafted into a sentence moves everything inside of me. I think that one of my biggest goals is to write that one line that resonates so powerfully within somebody else. It's the dream of sharing that kind of lyrical collective consciousness that I guess I find so damn interesting and during the show, I thought that dream just might come true.

I mention all this because I'm imagining the act of seeing Erika Jayne perform live brings upon the same kind of emotional peace. Sure, the guy's been famous since before I was born, but I'm pretty sure nobody's ever called Springsteen "an enigma wrapped in cash."  No, Erika Jayne is the real legend and I'm guessing that watching her hump that stage will finally convince all of us that real art does exist and I know that she will dazzle me to such a degree that I'll have the immediate desire to leave her show – while she's still singing – go home, and bedazzle everything I own.




Is there a place a nonreligious girl like myself can go to ask for forgiveness for taking last week off and not recapping the episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills when Faye Resnick came face to face with the woman she talked total bullshit about twenty years ago in a book that was written in two weeks alongside one of the editors of the National Enquirer so she could most effectively capitalize off the murder of someone she claimed was her best friend in the whole entire world?  Would it suffice for everyone to know that, even more than I hate the slug-like Resnick, I hate myself for spending last Tuesday night leisurely resting up for the Springsteen concert I went to the following evening instead of watching the Housewives devolve into simmering pits of resentment while the sea monster in their midst sat calmly on a patio she probably decorated?  Can I ever possibly come to terms with the fact that it took me a full day to actually watch that slithering Resnick asshole smile her collagen-pumped grin while telling Kathryn, the new Housewife whose life she tried to destroy a score of years ago for profit, that she looks beautiful? 

Let’s just call a fucking asshole a fucking asshole, shall we? Why split hair extensions and beat around what I’m guessing is a carefully lasered bush?  Faye Resnick is a fucking asshole.  Here are the facts of my case: 

1. She achieved infamy because of her proximity and involvement in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.  This infamy was not a surprising result that befell a shy woman who desperately wanted to keep her privacy.  No, this infamy was garnered strategically by writing a book and posing for Playboy.

2. Rather than mourn the woman she maintained was her closest friend, she wrote a book about that woman’s secrets.

3. She’s really good friends with Kris Jenner and makes sure to appear every now and again on her reality show so she won’t disappear into the void of nothingness that can plague a woman who desperately needs attention. 

4. Kyle Richards considers her to be like a sister.  Score.

5. She once tried to shame Lisa Vanderpump at the woman’s own house where she showed up to a vow renewal ceremony uninvited and honey, you can do a lot of things before I contemplate cold-clocking you across your shaved jawline, but you’d best not fuck with Ms. Vanderpump.

Now, I’ve known for some time that Faye Resnick sucks the humongous sweaty balls of a farm animal during an August heat wave, but I got to be reminded of just how ridiculous a creature she is during the Kathryn Confrontation that never really got off the ground.  First, Faye did not need to be invited to that dinner.  I don’t give a shit if Kyle claims that she invites Faye everywhere and that the world would stop spinning on its axis and angels would stop getting their wings and Mauricio would stop getting covert blowjobs from interns if Faye was left off a guest list. I mean, we have watched Kyle gallivant on this show for years now and Faye most certainly does not go everywhere her raven-haired mistress goes.  No, Faye was there for a showdown she then refused to participate in and she instead chose to sit and quietly nod in a nonsensical fashion as Kathryn (not so eloquently) attempted to call her out for her past misdeeds.  

Faye refused to engage.  She refused to say a single word.  She refused to get up and just leave.  She wouldn't even say that she was sorry or that she had been going through a tough time back then and she made some questionable choices she now has to live with and she would like to apologize for the fact that she is one of the greatest examples of why some entire cultures hate women.  She refused to say pretty much anything even as she had the fucking audacity to stare blankly at the woman sitting before her and then cluck about how pretty Kathryn is, a compliment apropos of exactly nothing.



I have a confession to make:  the image of Yolanda’s bloody implant is slowly destroying me from the inside out.  I’ve had dreams about that thing.  The very worst one involved placing my head dreamily upon a pillow I thought was made out of baby pink cotton candy only to find that the sugary fluff had disappeared and what enveloped me instead was a gelatinous mess of silicone and guts.  Really though, that gooey implant terrified me as much as catching a glimpse of a Pegasus in a movie usually does and a big part of me believes that the implant did not actually come from deep inside Yolanda’s chest cavity as the world-renowned surgeon wearing the colorful baker’s hat would have us believe.  I think there’s a good chance the implant really originates from the dankest and darkest depths of the bottom of the ocean where its kin continues to frolic with mythical beasts that are made entirely of gills and whatever it is that first birthed Faye Resnick.  

I’m hoping (and praying…and chanting…and lighting candles) that now that Yolanda’s implants are out of her body for good, the nightmares will finally cease.  I realize, of course, that the visual revelation of Erika Jayne that has been promised to us tonight could cause a new phobia to burst forth, but I made sure to exercise for an extra hour earlier today so chronic exhaustion would crush fear.  Besides, there’s probably not all that much to be nervous about.  It’s not like I haven’t seen porn before.