Sunday, May 30, 2010

Misguided Children Now- Sociopaths Later

So, I have to get this off my chest. I was visiting family this weekend for a high school graduation and as with any family -there comes the "other side" of the family. I'd never met any of the "others" and sadly was not introduced (social gaff by the host). As it turned out, being introduced would not have softened the feelings I now have toward them.
This is how it went down. There were a number of younger kids- between 10 and 15. They were a bit rowdy, so I went to see what was happening in the room where the computer was set up. As I entered the hall, I was pushed by a 12-year-old boy and stumbled backward where only the wall saved me from falling on my ass. He did not break stride and somehow my death stare was unable to penetrate him. No one appeared to notice, so I went into the room, checked the computer- and who knows what WAS on it. I was leaning over the office chair to get a better look when the perpetrator returned- pushed me out of the way and sat in the chair. I turned the chair to face me and looked him square in the eye.
"You've pushed me twice. Don't do it again." He gave me a dead look- clearly nothing going on behind his eyes. Stupidity and apathy is a bad combination. It won't serve him well.
Now- at whom should I really be pissed? His parents. Yes. His parents. Why? Because if he were raised properly, it wouldn't have happened once let alone twice, and when I challenged him- even if he were truly obtuse, he'd have recognized his error and apologized.
What aren't his parents teaching him? Hmmm. You want the whole list or just the top 10? Respect others. Respect your elders. Realize you are a member of a family and your behavior is a reflection on your family- you have a duty and an obligation to conduct yourself with civility and decorum. Women are never to be pushed around- regardless of their age. Be kind to others- even when it is inconvenient. Have compassion for those around you. Be aware of others and how your behavior effects them. Don't be an asshole because you WILL get your attitude adjusted for you and if your lucky it won't be by a GIRL. If you are unlucky (and it's clear you are not Clever)- it will be a girl and she will beat you about the head and neck and roundly humiliate you in front of your peers (and be advised- you will NEVER live that down).
Clever parents realize their children are the next generation of parents and need to be given the tools and wisdom necessary to navigate the perilous journey of life- they do not indulge egregious conduct from their children. How many times do I have to say it: Parent first- be friends later.
This little bastard will go down in the hall of fame of football player rapists- he will smack around his girlfriends- give old ladies the finger- cheat, lie, steal- and his parents will be rescuing him his entire life because it's never HIS FAULT. Wake up before his sociopathic tendencies take hold and you wonder from whence came the 42 bodies buried under your house.
I do want to give a nod to Very Clever man I spent some time with over the weekend. He is one half of a parenting partnership with his fiancee and her daughter. They communicate clearly and honestly about his role in the life of the child and have spent time in advance discussing the potential pitfalls of blending a family. This time gave rise to a post for next week on blended families.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Is Late Really Better than Never?

Ok, Clever Tribe- I have news. I am, with the help of two of the most Clever Men I know (Jeremi and Ian Karnell of One to One Interactive), giving So Very Clever an overhaul. Jeremi is a social media paragon and I am thrilled he is going to be heading up this transition. Now, saying that- I am going to have to concentrate on bringing you a new improved site (much more reader interaction- bells and whistles) and editing my first novel (penned with my best friend Alisa)- "Consumed" (in order to get it on the shelves by December of this year, time will have to be devoted).

You can check out The Little Things Publishing page on Facebook for updates on "Consumed," but I plan to keep you posted (bad blog humor). All that to tell you I will be posting new content but not EVERYDAY, so I plan to rerun some of the "favorite" posts. I’ve been told most new readers do not go back through the annals- they just read forward. So, to those who stumble upon a rerun- don’t assume anything. I will change them up a bit.

And here we go- a new phase of So Very Clever (during which I am also tweaking the So Very Clever Groom’s Guide to Surviving the Planning of a Wedding). Please, Clever Guys who somehow survived the wedding planning- give me your stories! E-mail me at

For any of you who are under the misapprehension I’m not a Girlie Girl, you are WRONG! I’m overwhelmed with desire at times for shoes and jeans- love make-up and big hair. However, I am a So Very Clever Girlie Girl with a sense of occasion and know there is a time and place for my alter ego to emerge. That time and that place are NEVER going to be when I’m with a guy (he is not concerned with how to identify a- GASP- fake Prada handbag) or while a man is waiting on me.

Two of my "gifts" and, well, claims to fame are thus- I have a quick turn around when I use the restroom out (and actually am capable of going alone when dining with couples) and (drum roll) from the time I get in the shower to the time I leave the house is under one half hour and … this includes washing hair, drying and styling. I have logged a personal best of 24 minutes but am willing to acknowledge, on that momentous day I already knew what I was going to wear.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hockey & Cigars- YUM

I need to warn you going in- this is going to be a potpourri-esque post. So much to say and So Very little space to do so. First of all, my second favorite hockey player in history, Steve Yzerman, just became a hired gun. Oh, I get it- he said he wanted to be a general manager and he knew it wouldn’t happen in the city in which he spilled blood for nearly 20 years- so he allowed the Tampa Bay Lightning to lure him. Detroit and Michigan have lost so much in the past five to 10 years- I don’t know if we can sustain another blow. My friend Bev might not make it- thank goodness she has a son to keep her going.

OMGOSH- Clever Girls- the Stanley Cup finals are upon us, and soon, the NBA finals as well. For the record- I’m deeply torn as to my pick for the Cup. I love both teams. My heart lies in the Western Conference, but both teams have ended up with boys from Detroit on the roster. One of my favorite Detroit-area men, Darien Hatcher, went from the Dallas Stars to the Detroit Red Wings before ending his career (far too early) in Philadelphia. Former Wing Keith Primeau also retired from the Flyers. Bob Probert went FROM the Red Wings to the Blackhawks and from the Hawks to the Red Wings is legend Chris Chelios. See? I am deeply conflicted. Arrrggg. I have not made up my mind. I must say, I do LOVE Chris Pronger- one of the biggest men in the league. He has been around- from the Hartford Whalers to the St. Louis Blues and now a Flyer.

The point to all this back-and-forthing is this: It is time for you ladies to be So Very Clever. Let me share for you an experience from the other night and let's see if we can’t parlay it into a victory for you.

I was at the Ritz in Dallas, a place I absolutely adore, and dining next to me were 10 people. Nine men and one woman. This was not an unattractive woman by any means, but she was having one HELL of a time trying to break into the conversation. She would try and fail- over and over and over. I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but I assume it was of NO interest to the men, as they didn’t let her get a word in edgewise. Now, I am thinking this was a business dinner as all were in business attire- modest and decidedly disappointing for an evening with Dean Fearing at Fearing's.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another Good Use for a Butane Lighter

OK, Clever Girls- I have got the goods. In order to present you with as much information on the male bonding ritual of smoking cigars- I went to a Very Clever Guy named Sabino for the scoop. Within the “man cave” called Cigar Factory on Inwood Rd in Addison, I was given insider’s info.

Yes cigars smell, yes they can taste bad, but neither of these issues are hard and fast. A good cigar has a compelling aroma and a pleasant taste, not only to the smoker but the kisser. Sexier than a woman who can grill is the woman who can, not only light a cigar properly, but one who is willing to put one between her lips.

Monday, May 17, 2010

When Did Women Become So Very GROSS?

It’s a valid question because, in my experience, it wasn’t always this way. This is not to suggest I am staid, a prude or Puritanical in my views. HOWEVER, there are certain standards of decorum that seem no longer to be observed.

The other night- and I should do this more often because it seems the Clever Tribe prefers to read about social commentary and parenting much more than how to shoot handguns- I found myself at the bar (waiting for a table) in a VERY popular Dallas eatery I’d never been to before.

It had been long recommended for the fantastic pizza. Frankly, I’m a pizza snob, but at the time I was too lazy to make a dinner decision and it did look like it was teeming with social commentary.

Now, I want to qualify the rest of the post by assuring you, I am not being judgmental. When I reference someone’s clothing and hair or posture, it is only to bring further attention to their overall desperation for attention. I think that’s the genesis of all of this- we seem to be set in a cycle where parents are not involved and not giving enough attention to their young girls- this leads to, well …

The first scenario that left my mouth agape was an overdone woman in her late 40s who sauntered in through the open area of the restaurant, unapologetically pushing her way through the crowd (leaving a wake of pissed-off patrons, one of whom dumped his entire glass of red wine down the front of his wife). She positioned herself in front of a table of 10- and this is the part I don’t understand: She bent her knees and all I could think of here is Andrew Dice Clay (for those of you who have no idea who that is- think the least couth, New York or New Jersey Italian dude with a pencant for filthy verbosity), spread her arms wide and lead with, "What the F&%^$!" Those at the table, encouraging her wildly inappropriate and decidedly NOT Clever behavior, went up in vociferous applause as they enveloped her and brought a chair about for her. Now, she was clearly too important to be seated as she stood- holding court- and regaled most of the restaurant (which was already too loud) with a foul-mouthed diatribe about her harrowing day. Now, frankly as the unavoidable content informed me, the worst part of her day was the fact she was a part of it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Unexpected Morning Wood

Clever tribe, today I came face to face with the apprehension some of you have shared with me regarding trying hot yoga for the first time. It was interesting for me as I learned a few things about myself. First, I'm not nearly as fit as I thought I was. Second, I abhor change.

This is how it went down. I approached Sunstone for the 9:30 a.m. class with barely enough time to get a spot only to find- much to my horror- a Wood class scheduled in place of the expected Fire. Now, let me give you some background so you understand fully how traumatic this moment was for me.

When I began my practice two years ago, it was by taking a 90-minute Fire class. I was immediately addicted to the heat and dove in head first. I made my daily pilgrimage to Sunstone to learn and begin strengthening my body after a serious abdominal surgery (and no it wasn’t a tummy tuck). Not so much a creature of habit (though I am) but one who doesn’t enjoy "messing with a good thing," I attended only the Fire 90 class. So, one day, I was terrified to realize I was in a 60-minute Fire class. This is similar, though there are fewer postures that are held for longer periods of time.

My first impulse was to leave, as the thought of not knowing what I’m doing really stresses me out, but it was too late. Class had begun and I didn’t want to be rude.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Facebook Password, Please

OK, Clever Tribe- it’s time to shine some light on the dangers and pitfalls of social media. I’m not yet ready to bully bullies- I am ready, however, to challenge the naivete of parents.

The saddest movement in parenting is the need or compulsion to be friends with our children. Where does this come from? Were our own childhoods so shitty we need our child to compensate for not being popular or not having a ton of friends? This is an incredible burden you are placing on your child. Why? Because they need a parent- not more friends.

If you raise your child to think of you as a friend- that is the most respect you can ever expect from them- so don’t whine later when they are "out of control," "don’t listen to a word you say" or hate you one day and love you the next. This is the nature of adolescent and teen relationships- but you are not a teen- and if you ARE- you likely made a bad decision to become a parent in your teens. While it might have worked out for you and of course you would never trade your child- you still had to forgo SOMETHING by having a child when you were a child.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

For a Good Laugh

In an effort to close the gap on movies men love and those that women enjoy- here is some common ground. Comedy can’t be underestimated. Listed are some classics and new ones every guy will want in the collection.

"Rush Hour" (Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan)

**"So I married an Ax Murderer" (I believe Mike Myers has never been funnier)

"Airplane" (Leslie Nielson really is freaking hilarious)

"Naked Gun" (Leslie, again. Still funny)

"Old School" (another Will Ferrell great- although I think it was a tepid "Animal House" remake)

"Shanghai Noon" (Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson)

"National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation" (the irrepressible Chevy Chase)

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Written in the Stars- Are YOU Reading?

As promised- it’s time to introduce you to the second book by Stella Starsky and Quinn Cox- the follow-up to "Sextrology" is called "Cosmic Coupling" and it’s an absolute must have.

Now, if you have yet to identify, I am most perspicacious and discerning. Therefore, it is a rarity a non-fiction book, concept or author gets my attention. Starksy and Cox not only have my attention, but I am laser focused on the information they are imparting.

I’ve had many ask me why I am so enthralled with these books and the response is simple. This is NOT about painting with a broad brush or flying at 30,000 feet, speaking in generalities and hoping to hit upon something- oh, no. The research they have done translates to intimate, eerily accurate knowledge of our persons- so much so that I had the urge to look the authors up to make sure I didn’t KNOW them.

As stated clearly, Capricorn is a closed book until SHE decides to open up- there might never have been a more accurate statement made about me personally. When one speaks truth- it’s difficult not to listen. I am a painfully introspective person, preferring to look inward for the answers to questions regarding my relationships, which is not to say I am to blame when things sour, but knowing I play an equal part in the creation, maintenance and even dissolution of said bonds.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Being Hot is Not a Substitute for Being So Very Clever

Someone finally challenged me on age and looks. I believe the exact statement was "If I looked like you, I wouldn’t have to be Clever." I had already prepared a response to this, so here it goes.

You are wrong. The Clever initiative defies age (one of the few things that accomplishes this feat without costing you an unmitigated fortune or requiring a legion of doctors), looks and weight. I’d like to restate the Clever initiative because you might have jumped in mid-stream. When I started this blog- the intent was to launch the content for my book "The So Very Clever Guide to Being a Guy’s Girl," but it has become a much more comprehensive concept and I attribute that growth to the guidance and interest from my readers. So, thank you.

I’ve learned being Clever isn’t limited to mingling with men- it extends to parenting, social dynamics and being a purposeful and intentional person. However, to address the reader who thought looking like me would "save" her from having to be Clever, looks will take you only so far and for so long. This whole concept was birthed because of my recognition of the superficial and ephemeral nature of "beauty."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

NHL MVP Finalists

OK, Clever Girls- I know I'm a bit late, though if you are as Clever as you seem, you probably looked this up on your own. Either way, the finalists for the 2009-2010 Jack Adams and Hart trophies have been announced. Again, I'm hoping you have booked a birthday trip for your Cancer man to take part in the NHL awards on June 23rd. Oh my GOSH! Vegas. NHL.

So you know, there is a big difference between being So Very Clever and being a So Very Clever Guy's Girl. As you become involved in the interests of the men in your life, you become a Guy's Girl. The theory here is you become a Girl the Guys not only don't mind but enjoy having around.

The key is not just being IN THE KNOW (you aren't a prop)-but how well you bolster the egos and validate them- even cater to them. All of this is really fun and a great way to show you care. We vote with time- so put some time in. Know what is going on in their favorite sports, make a way for them to enjoy their sports and if you honestly like watching, prove it (but don't invite yourself).

The games on the agenda for tonight

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Caddyshack" is the Most Quoted Sports Film Ever- Get a Pen

Let's continue our "not to be missed" films series. Here are the sports films you MUST see to be a So Very Clever Guy's Girl. Now, this will be excruciating for some of you- I get that. But honestly, most of them have SOME human interest, and if not, maybe some tight pants or cute boys at the very least- something for everyone.
I am telling you- few things in life will bring a man to tears faster than a good sports film- so make sure you divert your eyes. Pulling out a Kleenex or placing a delicate hand on his forearm are NO NOs. Get it? Good. Geez. There is a time and place to acknowledge male tears and during a movie is NOT one of them. Funeral- maybe. Wedding- no, he's crying because you made him come- leave it alone. During a breakup? Giving into the tears means you are about to get sucked right back in, so bow out gracefully and move it.
As a refresher- the asterisks indicate films you canNOT ignore- they are part of the male fabric. The others are elective- but in this realm- I don't advise missing any.

** "Caddyshack" (this is without question the most quoted sports film- so get a pen)

** "Happy Gilmore" (this is MY most quoted sports film. "Is this goal regulation size or what?")

** "Friday Night Lights" (Billy Bob Thornton and Tim McGraw)

** "Rudy" (Sean Astin before "24")

** "The Longest Yard" (original or remake - special appearance by Dan Patrick in the new)

"Slap Shot" (still funny)

** "Invincible" (Marky Mark- remember him in his underwear)

** "61*" (Barry Pepper)

"Brian’s Song" (James Caan. Everyone cries)

"Jerry Maguire" ("You had me at hello." We’ve all heard it too many times.)

"Remember the Titans" (Denzel, Ryan Gosling, racial tension and football)

** "Bull Durham" (Costner, Sarandon and Robbins. Love and baseball.)

** "Mystery, Alaska" (Russell Crowe and hockey)

"Hoosiers" (Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper do small town basketball)

"White Men Can’t Jump" (Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes are hustlers on the court)

"Blind Side" (great compromised- major human interest and lots of fluff)

** "Rocky" (one through one hundred are required viewing)

** "Raging Bull" (this is Joe Pesci's first film role and De Niro gained almost a half of a hundred)

** "The Natural" (Kim Basinger- my all-time girl crush)

OK, Clever Girls- it's Wednesday, which gives you exactly two days to procure four of these films. I wish I could be there when you send him an e-mail or text saying- I rented or downloaded or however you DO it- "'The Natural,' '61*', 'Friday Night Lights' and 'Caddyshack'- you bring the beer." Suggest you hole up on Friday night and Saturday to watch movies, drink the drink of choice and order in.

You are going to have So Very Much Fun this weekend. Think of it as time to sharpen the saw- relax your mind- disconnect with the outside world and connect with him on the inside.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fracas in MLB? Hey, it Happens

OK, Clever Girls- I may have oversimplified baseball a bit. I didn’t mean for it to sound as if it was all roses and sunshine. There are moments when tempers flare and it has gotten UGLY.

Let me tell you what I mean after we cover some terms that might come up.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Flour and Water?

OK, So Very Clever couples- it’s time to talk cake. I was watching "Father of the Bride" a few nights ago, and in addition to being one of the funniest Steve Martin movies ever, I absolutely ADORE Martin Short. Geez. What a freaking duo. Just add Chevy Chase and you have "The Three Amigos."
There was the part when they go to meet Frank ("Frahnk") and are perusing a book full of photos of cakes. The price on the cake Annie and Nina loved was $1,200 and this is what?Twenty years ago? Do the math- and yes, inflation does apply here.

This post is written for the Clever Guys because fact of the matter is- there is little I can do or say that will influence a bride's "taste" in cakes. You either like fondant or you don’t. You either insist upon red velvet (whatever that is) or MUST have chocolate under that white French buttercream. The cake either matters a great deal or not at all- and if it doesn’t, think about the soon-to-be-overdone "cupcake tower"or individual desserts.

Cakes are not essential to the reception, as some couples opt for a less traditional offering, but they still are the mainstay, and like so many aspects of this industry they are a big business. In the south, it is traditional for the bride to design for the groom a cake featuring a favorite hobby, pastime or indulgence (usually chocolate).

Now, guys, I am asking you to be Clever when you want to save money. You can decline the groom’s cake ahead of time (to save money), and a good way to word it is to say you’d like nothing to detract from her (traditionally white) cake. You must know several things about a bride’s cake. Often, they are more like art pieces than food, seamlessly integrated into the overall theme or feel of the reception. They quite often don’t taste good and can cost more than your dad’s first car.

Keep things fun for yourself by attending all of the tastings. Try not to bitch and complain too much about the price because, frankly, in the grand scheme of things (interesting the word scheme), it is a relatively small expenditure. An added bonus to the cake tasting is another opportunity to score big with your future bride and her mother. Generously deferring to their superb taste will earn many, many points that may prove useful at some other time in the preparations.

Pick your battles. Keep your own secret priority list so that you can rub her back and say "Whatever you want, babe" most of the time. This way, she will feel you are giving in to her desires as often if not more than you are voicing your desires. This way, when you want your University of Michigan groom’s cake, which will clash with her pink and platinum color scheme, she will figure out a way to make it happen. After all, you really haven’t asked for much. It’s a system - you need to know how to work it.

Now, Clever Girls? If the thought of his University of Michigan maize and blue groom’s cake prominently displayed next to your statuesque, seven-tier handcrafted cake/sculpture makes you dizzy or light-headed, work out a plan with your band or DJ. After the cutting of the bride’s cake, bust out with "Hail to the Victors" and roll that baby in! Your husband will very much appreciate the fanfare and his college pals will revel in hearing their favorite tune- and honestly, it is the BEST fight song ever.

If you need some recommendations for cake- let me know! I’m a big fan of a few locations in DFW. For more local planning articles, check out these that I’ve written. For more information on the above featured cake- please call Debbie Vaughn of Debbie Vaughn Productions.

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