Saturday, November 19, 2011

Forever Cringing

'Tis The Season,  Almost.  You can feel it in the air.  The decorations are up everywhere, a sign that the holidays are near.  A little too early for my liking, but there's no denying it.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah or Kwaanza, or all three (Christakwaanzakah) or you celebrate Festivus for the rest'ov'us, it's time.  Time for sales that begin at midnight on Thanksgiving, time to spend more than one can afford, time to watch some commercials on television that usher in the holidays. 

There are the Target commercials featuring Maria Bamford.  She's a great comedian, but gosh do I hate those commercials!  I'm glad I have to see them only between October and Christmas.  There are commercials for cars with a big red bow, there are commercials for jewelry, there are commercials for a Hallmark ornament that counts down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to Christmas. 

Then there are commercials for tacky, tacky knick-knacks that make you so glad that the holidays come only once a year.  For example, The Chia Head.  Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!  As if they didn't extend that stupid concept far enough the first time, they came up with the President Chia Heads a couple of years ago.  What a way to disrespect Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama.  I am thankful too that I didn't see commercials for Snuggies all year round, but they are back.  Snuggies, the blanket with sleeves, now available in your school colors!

Celebrity stylist Carson Kressley, referring to Snuggies, asked the question, "What fresh new hell is this?" 

Well dear reader, welcome to a fresher, newer hell.  It's called "Forever Lazy".  Yes, that's what I said, Forever Lazy. 

Apparently the Forever Lazy has been around since last year, but I wasn't aware.  I first heard of Forever Lazy when I woke up one night last week and couldn't go back to sleep.  I turned on the TV, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a commercial for, you guessed it,  Forever Lazy.  As I watched the commercial in stunned disbelief, the only thought going through my mind was, "Are you kidding me?"  The commercial tells us that if we need to stay warm, we need Forever Lazy.  Forever Lazy can best be described as a hooded fleece jumpsuit for adults, with the feet cut off.  Their website calls them The One Piece Lie Around, Lounge Around, Full Body Lazy Wear.  They come in three stylish colors - Hanky Pinky Fuschia, Asleep On The Job Gray and Workday Blues.  The commercial suggests that all you need to do is get into a Forever Lazy, zip it up and you're all set.  Since your hands and feet are free, you can lounge around and read a book, knit, play a guitar or spend time with your pet.  I don't see how a Forever Lazy enhances any of these activities.  The commercial goes on to say that you can raid the refrigerator, study for a test or play video games in it.  You can also wear it to a tailgate party, outdoors, if you dare to be caught wearing it in public.  If you feel the need to go to the bathroom, the Forever Lazy is fitted with a zipper that runs down the front and what I refer to as a butt-trapdoor, just like they have in a baby's onesie.  But wait, there's more.  If I call now, I get two for the price of one, with a pair of fleece socks thrown in.  If you haven't seen or heard of this commercial, you're in for a treat.  I have posted a video of this commercial for your viewing pleasure.  Don't miss the very end where it talks about two for the price of one.  Enjoy, but please come back and read the rest of what I have to say!

After watching the commercial, I began to think of the many reasons why I wouldn't exactly jump up and want to call or order this product online, not even if a gun were held to my head.  First of all, the name Forever Lazy.  Which brainiac came up with the name, and what were they smoking when they did?  I wouldn't want to order a product that promotes infinite sloth as a virtue.  Then there's the pattern, or lack thereof.  Am I really ever cold enough to be caught in one of these?  Given that I am not exactly skinny, I would look like a huge, pink (excuse me, Hanky Pinky Fuschia) potato.  Thirdly, that whole idea of unzipping the front or releasing the butt trapdoor to go.  Really?  If I were a guy, the unzipping just might work.  But I'm a woman.  Even if I were not wearing anything under my Forever Lazy, it is virtually impossible to use the bathroom without having to disrobe completely.  It just doesn't work.  Think about it.  And if you're a guy, think about going #2 while wearing a jumpsuit.  Who were they trying to kid with,"Has Zippered Hatches in Front and Back, for Great Escapes When Duty Calls"?  The way I see it, you'll end up with "duty" all over yourself.

I really don't know who the target audience for this commercial is.  I really wonder who in their right mind would go out and buy one of these, even at $30 for two plus a pair of socks.  If you do, please help me understand this mystery.  The saddest question to ask ourselves is this - do we want to be remembered as a generation that made the Chia Head, Snuggies and Forever Lazy?  In my mind's eye, I can just see into the future, about twenty or thirty years from now.  A kid will dig up a Chia Head in their backyard.  Another will find a Snuggie in a box somewhere in an attic.  Still another kid will find a Forever Lazy.  All three of them will be laughing their heads off at us.

PS:  I am one blog post away from my 50th.  To commemorate this occasion, I will be giving away a box of my hand-crafted Belgian Chocolates to one of my readers.  To enter, please send an e-mail to  If the winner is from outside the USA, I will need to pick a different prize, one that travels better.   As always, thank you for reading.  Without your encouragement, I would have stopped writing a long time ago.  God Bless!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nothing Green About This Kermet

Last night I went to see local comedian Kermet Apio at Laughs Comedy Spot in Kirkland.  It was the best show I have watched at this venue.

I first heard about Kermet back in the late '90s, through my buddy Bert Vance.  Bert, like me, enjoys the dubious distinction of having as Western-sounding a name as one can have, despite being from India.  Bert told me about this up and coming comedian and said I should definitely go see him if I ever got the chance. 

The next time I heard about Kermet Apio was back in the day when Saturday Night Live on television was followed by a stand up comedy show hosted by Louie Anderson.  I cannot, for the life of me, remember the name of the show, but I don't suppose that's really important.  I happened to be awake the day Kermet was on that show.  I quite enjoyed his routine.  I did happen to come across him a couple of times on television.  He was really funny every time.

I hear that Kermet moved to Seattle to go to the University of Washington.  If I were born and raised in Hawaii, I am not sure I would move from year-round sunshine and sunny beaches to the Pacific Northwest that sees gray skies and rain eight out of twelve months in a year.  When Kermet moved here, he brought a piece of Hawaii with him which his lucky audience got to experience at the Seattle Folk Life Festival during the Memorial Day Weekend.  I watched Kermet on stage with his guitar, singing a Hawaiian song called "Kahealani".  I was stuck by his soulful voice and his skillful guitar accompaniment that held the audience rapt.  Wow, just wow.  This guy was very, very talented.  I never thought that the first time I got to watch him live, it wouldn't be his comedy but his singing I would get to see.  I decided that no matter what, I was going to do whatever I could to watch his comedy live as soon as I possibly could.  Every time I tried, something happened that prevented this from happening.  I even e-mailed Kermet to find out when his next local show was going to be.  He e-mailed me back saying that he didn't think he was going to perform locally the rest of the year.  What a bummer!

That is why I was surprised and very delighted to hear that he was going to be at Laughs, where I didn't have to dress up all fancy like I have to do when I go to Parlor Live in Bellevue.  My friends and I decided to go to the 8:00 pm show on Saturday.  It almost seemed like I wasn't going to be able to make it again due to car trouble, but one of my wonderful friends volunteered to drive out of their way to pick me up and drop me off home.  We got to Laughs and settled down with our drinks and our sweet potato fries to nosh on.  There were three separate opening acts, none of which really made much of an impression on me.  One of them used the f-word way too much and totally unnecessarily.  Another talked about bowel movements and farts.  Somehow, that made me not want to eat any more sweet potato fries.

Then it was time.  Kermet Apio came on stage.   

The first thing that strikes you about him is that he is really tall.  He's not actually skinny, which may be attributed to his love of pie, but he isn't really big either.  In his words, if he went to a Big and Tall store, he would be considered petite.  He talked about what it felt like to grow up with a name that he shared with a frog.  That was the only part of his routine I had heard before, but when one is named Kermet, he can be forgiven for repeating that joke.   Without giving away too much of his routine, one can relate to pretty much everything he talks about.  He talked about listening to a Walkman and the challenge of trying to find a specific song you wanted to hear.  He talked about what it was like to be a father, driving a purple car with two booster seats in the back and stickers all over the windows.  One thing that you come away with from listening to Kermet talk about his family is that he really enjoys being a family man.  I have seen and heard comedians really disrespect their spouse and children just so they can get a laugh, which makes me cringe.  Not so in this case.   

I really want everyone to go watch Kermet if he happens to be in your town.  If you happen to go see him, I want you to enjoy his set, so I don't want to talk too much about his jokes.  What I can say is that I guarantee you that you will find him really, really funny.  He has a stage presence and ease of delivery that comes from years of experience.  His comedic timing is perfect.  From watching and listening to him, you get the feeling that overall he's very humble and is a really nice guy.  If you get a chance to, go see him!  It will be worth your time and money!  

Thank you for the laughs, Kermet.  I can't wait to see your show again.  The next time I'll bring you a pie!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dirty Little Secret

On the evening of October 20th, a group of friends got together for dinner.  Little did they realize that their lives would be forever changed that evening.  

After they finished dinner, the group of friends were outside the restaurant.  An obviously inebriated man came up to them and began harassing one of the girls in the group.  He made some lewd and filthy comments.  Hearing this, her boyfriend (let's call him K) stepped up and confronted the offender, who quickly turned violent.  A heated argument ensued, and the group of friends pushed the drunk man away.  He left, but promised he would be back.  The group of friends didn't give his threats much thought, and went about their evening.  

About fifteen minutes later, the drunk returned.  He had about ten people as his backup.  They jumped out of their vehicles, brandishing knives and swords.   The drunk pulled out a knife and stabbed K in the stomach.  Seeing this, the girls among the group of friends ran back into the restaurant for safety, while one of the boys, let's call him R, blocked the doorway.  The thugs stabbed R four times.  The rest of the evening is irrelevant to this story, except for the fact that K succumbed to his injuries later that night.  Sadly, on October 31st, eleven days after this incident, R died as well.

That's a frightening and sad story, isn't it?  You would think that this occurred really late at night.  It happened at 10:30 pm.  There were many people around when this incident happened, but nobody stepped up to help.  They just stood and stared.  They were probably scared from seeing all those weapons. 

What are your thoughts on this story?  Are you outraged?  Are you wondering where the police were when all of this happened?  Do you want justice for K and R?  

Now what if I told you this incident occurred in Mumbai, India?  Do you still feel the way you do, or do you feel too far removed from the situation to think that there is anything you can do about it?

The ugly truth is that there are many places in the world where this kind of thing happens.  Even though women are now receiving an education, stepping out to good jobs and a great salary and are allowed to dream big, there are still segments within these societies that believe men are superior.  Whether it's this perceived superiority, or whether it is a sense of frustration driven by poverty, some men believe that they have a right to make negative comments and a woman cannot or should not do anything about it.  This isn't right.  Women should not have to apologize for their success.  Women should not be victimized by listening to lewd talk.  Women should not be touched inappropriately.  And yet this happens.  It happens in broad daylight.  It happens with everybody around.  It happens where everyone can see it happen, but chooses to do nothing about it.  That's the dirtly little secret in many countries.  It happens and yet nothing happens about it.  It happened again with this incident, and Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes (the K and the R from the story above) had to lose their lives for doing the right thing by standing up to defend the honor of women.

I didn't not know anything about this incident until earlier this week.  Here I was, in my safe corner of  Washington State, quite oblivious to what was happening in my country of origin, in the city where I was born.  One of my friends on Facebook added me to the Keenan Santos group.  I was mildly irritated by the fact that I was added to a group without my permission.  I went to the group page anyway, and I began to read the posts.  I could detect a sense of hopeless helplessness, but it was soon thwarted by a call to action.  People are joining together to take a stand.  The underlying outrage was calling for swift, street justice for the accused.  The anger was almost palpable and I wondered what could have happened that sparked these reactions.  I went online and found the stories.  I read with horror and was struck by how in a day and age of modern living, an incident so barbaric in its nature can still happen.  

So what can you and I do?  If you believe in prayer, please pray for the grieving families.  Please pray for the young group of people who had to witness their friends being attacked.  Please pray for the people who find themselves in situations like this as onlookers, that they may find the courage to step in to help.  Please pray for healing all around.  There are other things we can do. We can join the Facebook group and show our support as citizens of the world.  We don't have to be from India or know anybody from their to believe in justice for all, which includes everyone, no matter what part of the world.  You can share this story in any way you want to, so that more people are aware of these secrets that exist within more repressed societies.  There is also a petition out there to change attitudes toward women.  There are so many things you can do, in your own small way.  On behalf of Keenan and Reuben I implore you.  Please do something.  It doesn't have to be anything big.  Any action on your part will bring change to parts of the world that really need it.  

Please don't let Keenan's and Reuben's death be in vain.

Links to this story:

One of the first news stories
Keenans girlfriend describes how he was killed
Keenan Santos Facebook Group
Petition For Zero Tolerance Against Sexual Harrassment