Consumables #49

Weirdo conversation of the week, started because my mom used the word “tarpaulin.”

Me: Did you hear my mom use the word tarpaulin last week?
Nordic Boy: No. When did she do that?
Me: When she asked you to cover up the patio furniture. She asked you to use the tarpaulin.
Nordic Boy: I thought it was a tarp.
Me: That’s short for tarpaulin.
Nordic Boy: It is?
Biogirl: I have heard of tarpaulin, but I never really put together that that’s where the word tarp comes from. I think of tarpaulin as more old-timey, like a waxed canvas. Like in sailing. Not the blue plastic stuff.
Nordic Boy: Yeah. Or like when waterproofing was done by soaking canvas in gasoline.
Me: What? I have never heard of that.
Nordic Boy: Sure you have. It was mentioned by that guy we saw.
Me: What guy?
Nordic Boy: The one with the glasses.
Biogirl: Ok. And?
Nordic Boy: The one that everyone thinks is dead.
Me: Glasses, and rumored to be dead. Um…
Nordic Boy: We saw him IN THE TEEVEE.
Me: OH! Charles Nelson Reilly?
Nordic Boy: YES.
Biogirl: Really? You got Charles Nelson Reilly out of glasses, maybe dead, a gas-soaked canvas, and “in the teevee?”

With that, I bring you Consumables.

In the Teevee

Life of Reilly
Film of Charles Nelson Reilly’s autobiographical one-man play. He does not dish about any Hollywood types, which was a little disappointing. Isn’t being able to dish about Hollywood types the whole entire reason one would be on the Match Game that many times? Oh well. In the film, he does indeed wear glasses, he does make jokes about people seeing him in public and being surprised that he is still alive, and I did watch the play in the teevee. He also tells a childhood story about how circuses used to waterproof their tents by soaking the canvas in gas, and how one caught on fire and he almost died in it. So Nordic Boy makes PERFECT SENSE.

Lil Champs
My parents are not big tv watchers. They watch World Cup soccer, they watch a lot of news, they may watch a PBS version of Bleak House or something. That is it. (I know, right? How did they spawn me?) So I was shocked when I went to visit them recently and they were hurrying through dinner one night so that they could watch a tv show. The show? Lil Champs. This is a Hindi-language tv show that is like American Idol, but with little kids. It was sort of awesome on many levels, not the least of which was watching my parents so fricking into it. The heartbreaking thing about it though, was seeing the kids’ backstories, which often went something like this: Leela just turned 12 years old. Here is some footage of her completely destitute life. If she wins the show, she will have a chance at life with maybe some clean water in her future, maybe. If she’s voted off this week, well, we don’t know what will happen to her life, since her opportunities are, to understate it, slim. I was a blubbering mess through the whole thing, because I am pampered and wimpy and guilt-ridden.

American Chopper
I don’t know. I just don’t want to even link that that one. Nordic Boy was watching this the other day, and goddamn if it’s not the Real Housewives only with mustachio motorcycle dudes. DRAMA.

I watched a couple of that new daytime show because Anderson Cooper is pretty and I like to look at him sometimes. OK? LEAVE ME ALONE.


Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
I am trying to decide if I really liked this book so much because I really liked it so much, or if I really liked it because it made me feel smart without really having to do anything. I fear it is the latter, but check back with me later on that. Eugenides peppers this whole novel with so many humanities-nerd references that if you get all of them, you can feel smug. So yeah, I got my smugly on a bit too much I fear. Oh-ho! What a clever way to reference Luce Irigary! Haw-haw! I mean, I just wanted to smack myself after a while. That said, the story is about the relationship (dare I say love triangle?) between Mitchell who loves Madeleine who loves Leonard. I never figured out who Leonard loves. It’s basically an intellectualized, sort of depressing rom-com, if that even makes any sense. I did enjoy it.

Bloodroot, by Amy Greene
First of all, I have a bone to pick with whoever wrote the blurb on the back of this book. It makes the whole thing sound like it’s got a bunch of magical realism going on, when really that’s not even the point. Boo, publisher. Anyway. Story about four generations of a family in rural Appalachia. There was quite a bit of melodrama, but I didn’t mind that. I loved reading the language, much of it written in dialect. Writing in dialect is hard to do. Usually it comes off really terrible and condescending and just ick. But this time, I liked it.

Last Man in Tower, by Aravind Adiga
A middle class condo building sits in the middle of a Mumbai slum that developers are trying to gentrify. A developer offers every resident an amount of money that would set them up for life in order to buy out the building and tear it down. The catch is that all residents have to agree. One couple, elderly and disabled, do not want to leave, but feel pressure to comply. Their friend, the dignified retired schoolteacher known as Masterji, tells them that he will take a stand for them. As things progress, the once tightly-knit community of neighbors begins to turn ugly. Suspicions, personal issues, religious and cultural clashes start to rumble under the surface. I was sort of riveted by this book. It’s not a pretty story, but it was compelling.

That’s all I got!
Happy Friday, everybody.

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