Monday, August 31, 2009

What a Ride!

In my too-careful life, I’m sometimes drawn to a contrasting philosophy*:
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, “Woohoo! what a ride!”
I don’t know when Senator Ted Kennedy embraced this philosophy -- maybe after his three brothers arrived at their graves with bodies hardly broken in much less used up -- but I liked Ted Jr.’s remarks along these lines at his father’s funeral last Saturday:
...Ted Kennedy the statesman, the master of the legislative process and bipartisan compromise, workhorse of the Senate, beacon of social justice and protector of the people [...] The storyteller, the lover of costume parties, a practical joker, the accomplished painter. He was a lover of everything French: cheese, wine, and women. He was a mountain climber, navigator, skipper, tactician, airplane pilot, rodeo rider, ski jumper, dog lover, and all around adventurer.
And I loved this line:
Our family vacations left us all injured and exhausted.
There’s so much life in a philosophy like that.

* author unknown; variously attributed on the Internet

Friday, August 21, 2009

David Sedaris, meet Quinn Cummings

I often write book reviews and link to them in a sidebar on the left here -- an individual link if the book is a new release, or bundled in the “See more reviews” if it’s been out awhile. But a new book written by someone who’s been in my Blogroll for my blog’s whole existence? -- that deserves a post!

I loved young Quinn Cummings in the '70s film, The Goodbye Girl, and now that we've grown closer in age (!) I devour her woman-next-door blog, The QC Report. So I'm thrilled with the release of her book of essays, Notes from the Underwire.

Outside, the cover’s image of a woohoo-ing woman on a runaway roller-coaster (pulled from Maidenform’s 1950-60s I Dreamed I … ad campaign*) is prophetic. Because inside, Cummings writes hilariously about her unruly roles as woman, mother, homeowner, pet rescuer … and a few essays about Hollywood. There are touching pieces, too -- when she’s 14 and her mother is diagnosed with lymphoma; when she’s 18 and the early days of AIDS have already claimed a quarter of the men in her neighborhood, prompting her to volunteer on a national support hotline.

Ah, I always want more! -- am glad I have a portion of her blog's archives still ahead of me.

* A little more about Maidenform’s campaign is available here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Great Month for Ad-Men Fans!

I admit to still catching the occasional rerun of the ‘60s TV sitcom Bewitched, and to being happy that the late-‘80s drama thirtysomething is finally being released this month on DVD.

Combine those series into AMC-TV’s retro-‘60s drama, Mad Men, and you’ll find me over the moon at tomorrow night’s Season 3 premiere. For a full immersion, I’m going to add an ad agency-based book -- either Peter Mayle’s memoir-ish Up the Agency, or Joshua Ferris’s workplace satire, Then We Came to the End.