Ms. CRANKY'S HAT, well, one of them

Ms. CRANKY'S HAT, well, one of them

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ms. CRANKY ON TOO MUCH USE OF THE SAME TERMS ON TV (or, anywhere else, for that matter)

Ms. Cranky has trouble with people repeating things, like she didn’t hear them the first ten times.  Ms. Cranky fears she attracts this type of repeating person but Ms. Cranky also has problems with TV people who get ‘hooked’ on a certain word or phrase and use it over and over.  Like, there was a time when Ms. Cranky enjoyed the word ‘venue’ and thought it downright spiffy but, then, over and over the TV newscasters and interviewers and such began using this really nice word to the point of nausea. 
Now, Ms. Cranky, who is a tiny snob, won’t use that word (‘venue’) even when it’s the most appropriate word to use which it sometimes is.  Ms. Cranky, as some of you know, performs at certain, ahhh, ‘places’ (theaters, clubs, dive bars, etc.) herself and has been tempted to use the “V” word but will not --- her lips are sealed.  It takes a lot to get Ms. Cranky really turned off on something but once she’s turned off, that’s it --- goodbye ‘venue,’ sorry it’s not your fault, I really liked you but you but you got manhandled.
The word of the moment on TV that’s really annoying Ms. Cranky and is being bandied about wildly, is ‘backstory’ which, again, is a perfectly fine word to describe the, like, back story of someone’s life and when Ms. Cranky first heard the word used she thought it very clear and telling but now she just about gags when she hears it, particularly on some early evening entertainment TV shows (you know who you are!).  About every third word, or, so it seems, is ‘backstory.’  Come on guys, get another word, it’s a big country out there and you’re TV stars and you have staffs and there are dictionaries and thesauruses (? Is the latter able to be pluralized?) 
Cooking shows are the worst for repetitiveness of words; Ms. Cranky once counted the same word used 11 times in one 30-minute segment.   But, that’s for tomorrow’s column, let’s not mix metaphors or overused words here.  Ms. C. doesn’t want to appear tooooo whiny, you know.  She’ll tackle (now, there’s a wonderful word, actually --- so vivid, so lusty-sounding) cooking show word abuse tomorrow, the good Lord willing and all.
Until then, Cranky thanks you for stopping by.  Have a great evening, morning and such.  The weather should improve and the annual Atlantic Antics Street Festival is in Brooklyn this Sunday which is a brilliant highlight of life here in this wonderful city.  Don’t miss it, if at all possible. It will not disappoint. The Antics might be crowded here and there but everyone’s in a good mood and the crowds eventually flow and the ATLANTIC ANTICS will not, cannot, disappoint. (Unless, you’re a total malcontent but, then, you probably wouldn’t be reading this column if you were!)

Ms. Cranky
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Ms. CRANKY short ---

 Brooklyn Book Fair behavior, almost perfect, but for a few jerks
It’s hard to get upset at the wonderful Brooklyn Book Fair, now in its sixth year, especially because last year’s Fair had a severe rain storm right in the middle which was sad as so many events and booths are outside and they had to close up but this year the weather, though cool, ‘held’ as they say and it was a great day.
But, even there at the hallowed Brooklyn Book Festival, even hearing the wonderful writer Jhumpa Lahiri who received the “BoBi award”, speak at St. Ann’s and The Holy Trinity Church, a magnificent building; Cranky was shocked to see people misbehave.  Well, everyone wanted to see the writer as she spoke, of course, but some people took their desires so seriously they wiped the rest of us out.
We’d all be sitting in a row in a pew, leaning forward to see and hear and, someone, often a fully grown adult someone, would decide to stand up so that they could see better but, then the rest of us, would have to look at them, not the famous writer speaking (the woman in the bright red jacket, you know who you are!).
Cranky found this behavior flabbergasting and in such a supposedly sophisticated crowd,  that because you wanted to see, you’d stand in front of lots of other people who also wanted to see and block their view, but, it happened and not just a few times. 
But, Cranky was sustained not only by the caliber of the reading and interview but by the beautifully-colored stained glass windows of the stately Church and at one point, the sun must have come out from behind a cloud, because the light through the windows got suddenly extremely bright and it was a very moving moment.  So, Ms. Cranky will try to focus not on the thoughtlessness of grown adults standing in front of those of us sitting and blocking our view but on the sun streaming through the many-colored windows --- a virtual apparition.

Thanks for stopping by.  Don’t forget to attend the next great Brooklyn event, the Atlantic Antics Festival on Sunday, October 2.  It’s always a total delight.

Ms. Cranky
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


When Ms. Cranky first moved to New York, she was thrown out of her three-month sublet like two and a half months early.   But, Cranky was still nice then, having just moved from Philadelphia, or na├»ve, something like that and left the apartment (she had a written contract, the whole thing!).  Now, Ms. Cranky would just change the locks and say “See you in three months when the contract is finished!”  Her dear friend put her up in her high rise building for several months which was wonderful; there were cute doormen and everything.  Ms. Cranky would often come home from work and see huge bouquets that had arrived for residents and bury her face in them.  She couldn’t get enough of the beauty of them and the smell.  One time, the doorman told Cranky --- “You know sometimes they don’t even come down to pick the bouquets up.”  And Ms. Cranky was astounded, --- say ‘no' to a bouquet --- how could you?  She’d be happy with one lousy bloom.
Ms. Cranky grows flowers all year long on her windowsill and in her kitchen.  In the summer many plants go out to the fire escape (don’t worry, firemen, they’re in a corner, not blocking anybody!).  Ms. Cranky also gardens in a local community garden and just about falls over when she gets near her roses and bright purple morning glories.  On her recent vacation, she bought new seeds (17cents, how could you not?)  and is planting them later today, hoping they will have time to grow before the frosts come.
Cranky admits to liking flowers with a scent best.  Her orchids, a wonderful gift from the guy on the first floor, don’t have a scent and she loves them but wishes they did smell; they look like they should.
Cranky once told her old boyfriend that she didn’t like hydrangeas because they didn’t smell and her old boyfriend (notice the use of the word ‘old’) looked like he was going to cry.  She never did that again.  She’s since learned to appreciate the buoyant bushy flower and has heard how you make them bluer etc. by adding certain elements to the soil from hydrangea aficionados.
But, even if one didn’t like hydrangeas or daffodils or anything, a gift is a gift, a fan is a fan, and gratefulness is a wondrous virtue.   Hey, poor dear man who tried to give a thoughtful gift to Madonna --- anytime you want to drop flowers off to Ms. Cranky, she’d be delighted, any kind except those ones that look like red and purple brains, they’re the only flowers Ms. Cranky actually doesn’t like, but if you, by mistake gave them to her, she would never let you know.  She’d just ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ and be so grateful for your thoughtfulness and make you glad you went out of your way to be kind and giving.   Maybe Lourdes is being trained better --- let’s hope!
Thanks for stopping by everybody --- remember to ‘stop and smell the roses’; sorry, couldn’t resist.

Ms. Cranky, September 13, 2011

P.S. Ms. Cranky, all these years after being put out of her sublet, still cannot walk down that particular street in Brooklyn where it occurred.  It was and is a beautiful street and it’s near where Cranky lives now but it was so traumatic an event.  It had been such a huge move for Cranky to leave her small home and friends of over 20 years and she was so excited about being here and then it all turned hurtful so quickly.  Ouii.  People need to act better, don’t you think?  They really need to SHAAAPPPE UP.  But, nobody reading this.  Thanks again for stopping by.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ms. CRANKY --- a short announcement, a must-see 9/11 play, SWEET AND SAD at the Public Theater through September 25

Ms. Cranky saw a wonderful play tonight, September 11, 2011 and wants to let everyone know.  She doesn’t think she can describe it --- you just have to go!  And, it’s reasonably priced (you all know how cheap Ms. Cranky is, well, frugal is a nicer word to use!).
There is this family getting together, making food, setting tables, deciding that the tablecloth is stained and they need a different one.  It’s set today and they talk of 9/11/01, other parts of their lives and what they saw on TV that morning --- the reading of the names, the beautiful new Memorial and what they did in their churches to commemorate.
The play’s so vivid you can touch it.  You feel you know the people immediately and are part of them.  Cranky hadn’t eaten much all day and the food on the tables made her miserably hungry.  But, when she tried to quietly open a protein bar when the set went dark, a guy near her turned and glared so hard that she put it away --- so much for his 10th anniversary spirit!
The family in the play gets a lot of serious 9/11 stuff across but in a family setting with all the incongruities that provides --- sibling rivalry, snide remarks about things unattended to, asides about sibling’s spouses, and, mostly  total changes of subject in mid-sentence --- we all know it and  that’s why the audience laughed so heartily.
The beauty of the play besides the serious and loving messages it imparts is that it portrays ‘how we are.’   We’re talking along thinking we have something really profound to say and that everyone’s mesmerized and, then, we’re totally interrupted by ‘pass the gravy and you really need to change your shirt!’
Richard Nelson, the playwright is Ms. Cranky’s new hero.  Sweet and Sad is at the Public Theater all week.  Wow, what a ride.  When they said it was an hour and 55 minutes uninterrupted, Cranky started to panic.  But, it seemed like half an hour --- the actors talked like real people talk; they jumped up from the table and moved around, waved their arms, opened another bottle of wine and told their stories --- in a roundabout way --- but, that’s how family stories usually go.

Ms. Cranky
11:30 p.m.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Ms. Cranky apologizes for being out of touch for a while.  She was on vacation in the south of our country where her family and some good friends have landed.   She will be posting on this blog more actively soon.
On vacation, there’s not much to be cranky about.  You sleep late, swim a lot which Ms. Cranky loves to do and she got to see her wonderful three grandnephews often, their two gorgeous new puppies, their sweet older dog and ‘Famous,’ the rabbit and then with her friends in another area, three more lovely children, one of whom tried out his brilliant magic tricks on her.  She can still see Andrew’s beautiful and innocent-looking eyes as he asks --- “Are you sure your  card’s red?” and, though Ms. Cranky wanted to outsmart his tricks, she would always end up saying the wrong thing and he’d work his magic on her.  That boy is just so convincing.
With her family, there were myriad football practices and actual games as well as lacrosse practice, so Ms. Cranky spent a lot of time in beautiful suburban parks, amazing parks and, though she’s not a great sports fan, she loved the “Americana” of it --- the families out with their kids, lugging equipment, the coaches so serious and eager, her oldest nephew gave a heart-rending speech one day after their team lost. He’s a volunteer coach. Her other nephew is a teacher and coach in a school.  She’s very proud of both of them. 
All these sports events are a lot of work and discipline, a lot of washing of uniforms and finding cleats.  And, then the kids get home to homework fairly late.  But, the family thing and being outdoors, the color of the sky, the sweet smell of the grass --- it was a wonderful tableau. Ms. Cranky who has never been much of a sports fan came back feeling that there are lots worse things a person could do with their time.
But, you can get pretty cranky about the traffic in those gorgeous southern areas!  You could sit in your car forever it seems so Ms. Cranky was glad to get home and hop a good old bus yesterday.  She’s had enough traffic jams for a while but it’s always good to get away and it’s always good to be with young children and soft dogs and travel gives such perspective, it gives you a chance to remember people and things you might have forgotten in the hubbub of daily life.

So, Cranky’s back home and revved up for fall and its many offerings in this great city.  Her calendar is already full for next week. And this Sunday she will be joining with other New Yorkers in remembrance of that horrendous, unbearable day 10 years ago though it seems impossible that it’s been that many years. 
At the time of the tragedy, Ms. Cranky was working at a magazine that had a huge rifle on display and dead animals hanging from the walls and right over her desk a set of antlers.  Ms. Cranky needs to work badly and cannot afford to say “no” to a job but this magazine was a hunting magazine and Cranky’s a total animal lover.  But, on that day of all days, it was better that she be where she was than where she usually worked which was directly across the highway from the World Trade Center or she would have looked out the window and seen things that no one should ever ever see and that no one should certainly have ever ever gone through. 
So, Cranky sat in that magazine office after all her colleagues went home (she could not get through to her neighborhood till later that night), all upset with huge brown deer eyes staring knowingly over her.  It was an incongruous situation at best, that job.  But, on the most incongruous day ever, Cranky tried to make the most of it.  She was afraid and lonely in the now empty offices but she was more afraid to go outside.
Ms. Cranky is glad to be home and after Sunday’s many remembrance activities, she’ll get cranked up again and write more columns.
But, for now, she wishes you a happy end of summer and joins with all in your thoughts, feelings and prayers this Sunday.
My best to all the families and friends directly affected by September 11, 2001.  There are no words.  But, then, there never were.

Ms. Cranky
September 8, 2011