Monthly Archives: April 2010

STIFF STUFF: An Adventure In Hair

You can take me out of the eighties but you can’t take the eighties out of my hair!

Does anyone remember Stiff Stuff?  It was the 1980s hairspray with the super hold – it was essentially hair glue.  I bought it by the case and used it religiously.  I could tease my hair straight up in the air and with a few sprays of Stiff Stuff, it wouldn’t budge all day long.

Recently I stopped by my local beauty supply store to pick up some super moisturizing conditioner that I like and there it was.  STIFF STUFF.  Not in the yellow and white can but in a new silver one.  It was on sale for $1.88 and believe me, I was tempted but at the same time very leery.

Could it be the same Stiff Stuff?  Maybe.  Probably, but I passed it by an opted for my new glue What A Tease:  Backcomb In A Bottle by Big Sexy Hair.

My friends always make fun of me because of my hair care products like Big Sexy Hair Spray, Hard Head, Helmet Head and What A Tease.  I think those names are normal – maybe because I grew up in North Jersey with BIG HAIR and a big attitude.

I may have graduated to more expensive versions but it will always be stiff stuff for me!

© 2010 J. H-M. and CultureChoc2010.


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The Good Ole Boys Club In The Workplace

Everywhere I ever worked there has been a Good Ole Boys Club that I’m never a member of for obvious reasons.  It frustrates me that women are so excluded that it creates a secret office buzz about the powers that be.

When I worked in the business world there was a Members Only Club.  It was made up of corner office idiots and middle management J.O.s who were just A**holes with power.  Nothing more.

When I changed my career and plunged head first in the world of education the Men’s Club was and still is ever-present.  Women always feel left out when this institution is allowed to reign.  The megalomaniac heads of the Dick Click are usually pompous, political ass-kissers with agendas of their own.

I have been so tempted to strap one on, walk into the enemy’s den and say, “Can I join now?”  Sadly, I wouldn’t.  I can dream, can’t I?

Men (or political correctness – not sure which) have already taken over so much…. Bring Your DAUGHTER To Work Day for example.  Now it’s take your child to work day.  What are they going to take next?  Our souls?

Anyhow, I’d love to know if you have a DICK CLICK chez vous.  Take my poll we can see if it exists EVERYWHERE – I think it does.  Let’s see how many people are affected by this cancer.

I don’t think it will ever disappear completely but for the futures of our young woman, I hope someone will be able to drop an A-Bomb on it so it destroys it so totally that it will never come back.

Cook Dinner Or CookBook

Food has been the center of my universe since birth.  I grew up with an Italian mother who cooked a major meal every single night.  It didn’t matter if she was out all day, sick, working or just had a chemo treatment, my mom would always cook a healthy meal for my dad and I.

In my blog If I Can Cook… Anyone Can, I told you that I didn’t have any culinary skills until I was 20 – 21.  In fact I didn’t even know how to boil water but I learned to cook in Paris and fell in love with it when I returned home.

I have so many ideas and want to do so many things that sometimes I can’t think straight.  An idea I’ve been entertaining recently is writing a cookbook.  Am I crazy?  I get so many compliments on my food and love to cook that a few years ago I was planning on starting a small catering company.  Needless to say, my bubble was burst by my King of Naysayers and I put that idea on the side.

So what about a cookbook?  I do so much experimentation with food like creating new dishes to wow my husband weekly.  My Sunday Gravy and meatballs rival the best Italian-American cook and my hors d’oeuvre are succulent wonders.  If you have ever been to one of my cocktail parties, you know that the girl can cook.

My husband is so spoiled by gourmet meals nightly that his response to take-out pizza, Chinese or subs is more than negative.  He’s got it made yet constantly takes me for granted and poo poos the fact that I like to go out to dinner during the week.  He says that my place is home.  Bwahahahahahahaha – is all I can say.  Oh wait …I can say that he married the wrong girl.

Let’s say I just went off on a tangent.  Sorry about that.  Back to the cookbook.

The first thing I have to do is compile a list of suitable recipes.  Then I have to test them, photograph them and write them.  I rarely measure so that will be a challenge for me in itself.  I also need a HOOK.  Something to draw in the reader.  Why should you buy my cookbook?  What makes it interesting?  I even have a great name.  At least I think it’s a great name.

In any event, would anyone out there (especially those of you who have tasted my food) buy a cookbook from me or should I just stick to the catering gig?

Comments please.  Thanks!

Addicted To Jerseylicious?

I have to say that I am not a fan of MTV’s The Jersey Shore.  It’s supposed to be about Italian 20 somethings living at the shore but I must say I’m a tad offended.  It makes Italians look bad plus almost none of them are from NJ.  Don’t get me wrong, I know people who are straight out of the show yet I didn’t grow up in that type of family – maybe it’s because my dad was a Metigan and we just didn’t act that way.  Who knows?

The Jersey Shore aside, I can’t help myself from watching Jerseylicious.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.  It takes place at the Gatsby Salon in Greenbrook where I actually got my hair cut once or twice.  It’s a great place, with wonderful owners and a top-notch staff.  I just find some of these young girls so delusional and so fat for their ages (sorry I had to say it).  I don’t get it.  The amount of zebra, leopard and tacky style reign supreme in this Jersey reality show.

Olivia, I actually like.  She seems like a nice girl who is so totally overboard on Jersey style.  Jersey style?  I’m happy that no one clued me in.  Tracy, on the other hand, who clearly experiences delusions of grandeur and whose ass you couldn’t squeeze in on a billboard, is nasty and frankly a real honest to goodness bitch.  Maybe it’s because she’s young.

I remember when I worked at Francosteel in NYC, I used to wear a short, black mini, sky-high heels, a see thru blouse with a lace teddy underneath.  I was young but I still don’t think I looked that extreme.  I guess we all have to grow up sometime.

In any case, I enjoy watching their antics and find myself taking sides and screaming at the TV.  My husband is even a secret Jerseylicious spectator.

Gigi who seems like the sweetest girl is hung up on marrying Frankie, aka Vinny Boombatz.  He’s the type of person from who I’ve always ran the other way.  Cavone or Gavones seems like the operative word.  I wish Gigi luck.

Alexa, The Glam Fairy, seems deluded as to her fabulousness as well.  Pretty girl but full of herself and her immense talent – or is it just confidence?  She seems anti-marriage and completely career focused – not that I find anything wrong with that – but I think she needs a happy medium.

Anthony and Gayle & Christy seem normal and concerned about their businesses.  Why can’t Tracy & Olivia just tone it down.  When they had their make-under the two of them looked fabulous and showed that they have potential for class.  They have to realize that someday – I hope.

I hope that if you haven’t tuned in  to Jerseylicious, that you will and give it a chance.  Big hair, gaudy jewelry and tremendous personalities.  I know I’ll be watching it and wishing that Tracy will get the slap in the mouth that she deserves.  Jersey girls, best in the world.

Don’t Get Your Hair Done On Bring Your Pain In The Ass To Work Day

You all know that I love to be around little kids……NOT! My friends know that I get along great with teenagers but little ones scare me.  Children usually end up liking me but I could never figure out why.  I don’t give them the time of day.

I hated babysitting.  I always liked being around adults as a child.  I never had kids because I never had the urge to be a mom for more that a couple of hours.  I had a husband with 3 daughters so I figured I was set for children – we all know that didn’t work out.  Anyway, when I was a teenager a had a few babysitting jobs for some extra money.  I babysat my cousins, the neighbors kids, etc.  It was torture.  I was 15 years old when I changed my first and last diaper – and it was a doosie!

So being around rug rats is Hell for me because my patience and tolerance is limited.  In the past I have even suggested kennels for kids.  It would be like a 5 star hotel for brats when their parents want to have some quality time together.  I thought it was a good idea.

When I went to get my cut and color today I was hoping for a quiet, gossip magazine marathon.  I wasn’t thinking about “Bring Your Child To Work Day” but maybe I should have been.

I walked into the shop and walked back to the color chair where I saw a cute little girl playing with a variety of toys.  It was the owner’s niece and I thought nothing of it until the not-so-shy 5-year-old decided that she wanted to be my friend.  It’s like when someone doesn’t like dogs and the dog goes right to that person. I’m like that with gamins and gamines alike.

Once I got settled in the chair with my copy of US Weekly, the girl came up to me, stood next to me with no air in between us and started to chat.  When she finally went away I thought I was safe until I went over to get washed out in the sink.  She stuck her germ-infested puss in my grill and started making noises and faces in my personal space bubble.  If that wasn’t bad enough, while the operator was removing my foils, the kid turned the water on full-blast so the unattended hose exploded like a geyser all over my face and my body.

I stayed calm surprisingly.  I wiped myself off with a towel and started to enjoy the hair wash.  My peace was short-lived when the little guttersnipe ran into my arm (ouch!) and actually gave me a black and blue.  WTH?

With a smirk on my face and a bruise on my arm I made my way over to A’s chair for a much-needed cut.  A running child is not a good thing when there are scissors close to your face.  I was nervous wreck but I escaped the pointed weapons only to move on to yet another annoyance.

Of course the pain in the ass had to come right over and play with her horsies right next to my Guess bag.  She tried to move it and put in on the floor and thank God was promptly reprimanded and my purple baby was safe.

I felt like washing my purse and myself down with disinfectant as children breed disease like rats.  Do you think I’m being too harsh?

© 2010 J. H-M. and CultureChoc2010.

State Farm to State Employee

When you’re a teacher you must love your job.  You don’t have to love it everyday – that just doesn’t seem normal – but life is too short to hate what you.

I’ve worked plenty of jobs before I became a teacher.  In college I worked at State Farm as a file clerk.  I would go out with my boss Ed for lunch and drink Champagne.  When that didn’t work out I started working for Stan at TSV Video – first on Broad Street then on Broughton.   I had a great time at TSV and actually continued to work there in the summer even after I became a teacher.

I worked at Studio One as a tanning bed / toning bed operator then I graduated college and got my first “real job”.  My first job was working in SoHo in New York City for a fat guy named Bill at a French steel company.  His boss was a corner-office American who smoked so much that he smelled like cigarettes and all his white shirts were turning yellow.  He had B.O. too.  You would have thought that he was French – no offense.

I was in the claims department with Gigi and John – a great guy who couldn’t stop staring at my boobs until I started talking to his crotch – then he stopped.  Gigi and I had to translate claims from English into French and send them off to our parent company in France.  It was ok.  I loved going out to lunch to some of my favorite places like The Ear Inn, Marinella’s, Tutta Pasta, The Magic Carpet, Shopsin, etc.  A definite perk to working in NYC.

My next job was at a French cheese company in Midtown Manhattan.  I worked for Philippe and Françoise (and Paul the cradle robber) and shared an office with a girl named Sandra.  We had so much fun in that office.  I wrote poetry, Deb wrote invitations, Diane read Tarot cards….. you get the picture.  I was in the international division and was responsible for accounts payable and receivable and was a liaison with customers in three languages – French, Spanish & English.

I don’t even remember what exactly happened but I received my paycheck and they docked me for week for some reason.  I went in to see Lidia and asked her what happened.  She said, “Paul thought it was fair.”  What?  Docking me for a week without telling me in advance so I could make other arrangements to pay my bills?  Insane.  I was so pissed off that I marched into Françoise’s office and told her that I was going and that I wouldn’t be back.  I walked out on the spot.  When Philippe called me to complain that I “walked out”…. I didn’t succumb to pressure and secured a job at a rival cheese company in NJ.

I must say I hated working in NJ.  My friends stabbed me in my back, my life got  a little bit boring and it was not for me – except I was 2 minutes away from Willowbrook Mall – BONUS!  And to top it off, my old Midtown Manhattan company became our supplier.  How awkward was that?  But it all worked out.  This job was the straw that made me go back to school for my Master’s and teacher certification.  I would come home crying to my parents every day – I was a nervous wreck.  I developed severe IBS, went out on disability and never came back.  Thank God.

So now I’m a teacher and I love it.  Sometimes you forget why you do what you do – especially when you’ve tried everything and you’re at your wit’s end with a student.  No work, disruptive – you name it.  You call guidance.  You call home.  You give detention.  You give them a referral.  Then one day when you think you’re done with the kid, you write him off as a lost cause and then fate intervenes.

On the same day you think that you’ve had enough, it so happens that he has detention after school with you.  You couldn’t get through during class.  You try to get through to him after school.  Then he starts, in a matter of fact way, opening up to you and telling you everything that’s going on at home – and it’s horrible.  My heart was breaking today as I listened to this kid tell me heart-wrenching stories about his home life.

I talked to him one-on-one and may have gotten through – only time will tell.  He thanked me 3 times before leaving my room today – I’m not sure why but I hope our chat helped him get some things straight in his head.

Walking out of the building today he was on my mind so much that I shared the situation with my friend and could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I choked up just thinking about what my student had to go home to.  I jumped in my car before anyone could see past my crumbling brick wall or notice my soft spot for troubled kids.

I’ve been on both sides of the career fence.  The kids make it all worth it even though you want to brain them sometimes.  People say that you never know what really goes on in someone’s house.  I believe that and I know if I knew half of the things that were going on in my students’ lives, I would turn to a pile of mush.

Wii Porn: A Wii Wank For All

When you think about Wii and the Wiimote you don’t necessarily think about porn, unless you’re me.

Think about it…. the controller makes noise, vibrates, rumbles and shakes – a virtual plethora of masturbation and co-masturbation.  What more does a dirty mind need?  It takes party games to a new level.

So I started to research the fascinating subject of Wii Porn and found so many interesting tidbits – obviously I’m not the only perv around.  Feel free to click on the links I provided.  Some are spoofs and some are real.  I just wish I thought of it first.

Nintendo has even launched an interactive Wii Porn Site.  You can’t make this stuff up!

So next time you’re playing with your Wii you might want to try it out and let us know.

Is Wii worth the effort or should we just stick to our BUNNIES?  You decide.

    Are you there God? It’s Me Jackie.

    Ever since I lost my mother my relationship with God has taken a beating.  Frankly, I’m pissed.

    I watched her suffer for so many years with cancer.  It weakened her body and her spirit and my faith in God.

    I’m sad because she grew up without a dad to watch over her.  He bled to death when she was 18 months old.  I’m annoyed that she was not always treated right by her relatives when she was but a child.  I remember a story she told me:  She asked her grandmother if she could please have a  banana because she was hungry.  Her grandmother said to her in Italian, “You can’t have that banana because you’re not a son of a Grasso.”  What the hell is that all about?   I can’t even imagine my grandparents ever saying that to me.

    I’m angry because her childhood was cut short when the social welfare people pulled her out of school at 15 years old so that she could go to work to support her grandmother, her mother and herself.  She never had an education and was forced to be THE adult.

    At 15 years old, shouldn’t our parents be taking care us?  My mom and dad did.  I know I didn’t grow up wanting for anything and had a completely different life than my parents; but aren’t kids supposed to be kids?  Shouldn’t they be allowed to have fun and play and not work to support a family?  At 15 years old my biggest concerns were what shade of blue eyeshadow I should spread across my eyelids, how would I get that certain guy to like me and how could I outsmart my parents so I can continue with my philosophy of life and not theirs.

    When I pray now (yes I still pray) I find myself praying to my mom for strength, guidance and protection.  I rarely address JC if ever, anymore.  My mom has become my God.

    I went to my Aunt Gladys’ wake last night.  Uncle Mikey, her husband,  just died in November and my dad lost his best friend.  When I was listening to both the nun and the son talk about her going back home to Jesus, though emotional, I felt myself internally rolling my eyes and getting more and more cynical.

    When mommy died I was worried about her.  I didn’t know where she was or if she was out of pain.  I worried about her well-being whether she was on this earth or not.  I stressed that she was okay or not okay – or I didn’t know what.  I was confused and doubtful.  Maybe that had something to do with my husband (born and raised Catholic) who believes that when you go in the ground, it’s the only place that you’ll ever be.  He does not believe in Heaven or Hell or much of anything.  It deeply saddens me.

    My relationship with God may be damaged but my “faith” is still strong.  When strange things started happening I felt a sense of relief that she was peaceful, out of pain and in Heaven with everyone else.  Maybe she’s even with her father that she didn’t know.  Maybe she’s playing cards with my Aunt Mimi and Aunt Tootsie or sitting on a porch swing just BS ing.  Or maybe her soul has been recycled and has been put on this earth again to live yet another life.

    I may never know until I die too.

    Yesterday on my way up the Garden State Parkway I was listening to my IPOD in my car.  It shuffles the almost infinite number of songs it possesses.  I stopped at the cemetery to visit Mom.  We had a long talk.  I told her that I was going to Aunt Gladys’ wake.  I told her that Johnny Maestro died at 70 from cancer.  (We were Brooklyn Bridge groupies.  We followed them everywhere.)  I talked about a host of other goings on, said bye and left.

    My mood being a tad somber, the song that was playing was a definite 90’s dance music mix and too loud for me at that moment.  I hit the “next song button” and all of a sudden I heard Johnny Maestro singing My Prayer.  My mom’s favorite.  She requested that song every time we saw them and they played it for her.

    I immediately started crying.  I knew she was listening.  I knew she was trying to tell me something.  I sobbed all the way to my dad’s and as I pulled into his street and into the driveway, the song was over.

    When Phyllis died a part of me died with her.