Saturday, April 28, 2012


I consider myself to be rather cool. Despite my vintage age, I pride myself on being up on the cool trends, down with the popular culture, even edgy. Yes, my coolness is one of my finer attributes.

For example, music. Just recently I discovered a new hot female singer. Her name is Lady Gaga. Her music has a good beat and is easy to dance to. I can floss my teeth in record time to “Bad Romance”. To boost my knowledge of this new phenom, I turned to that great warehouse of all knowledge, Wikipedia. Imagine my surprise that Lady Gaga has been around since at least 2008. Why was I not informed?

Not to be discouraged, I found another new talent by name of Adele. Plunging toilets or other unsavory activities are greatly enhanced by the driving rhythms of “Rumor Has It”. Again, I turn to Wikipedia, only to find that Adele has also been on the scene since 2008.

Recently, I watched a rerun of “Saturday Night Live”, and the host was enthusing about the musical guest, Robyn. Who the hell is Robyn? (I know, I know, Wikipedia says she’s been around since 1997).

Two questions disturb my sleep: First of all, why do I not know about these cultural trends? And secondly, why don’t these young ladies have last names? Lady Gaga, Adele, Robyn, Florence (and her machine), Bjork, etc.  Are they foundlings, dropped off at the orphanage by their unnamed parents, forced to go through life with only one name? Does this identity crisis fuel their music? Does it inform the inspiration for their art? Just like Cher?*

It’s not just musical trends that are passing me by. Social media is out of control, and needs to take a time out. I’ve got Facebook figured out, but what about Tumblr? Reddit, Pinterest? I went to the Tumblr web site. It says that “Tumblogs are the easiest way to share yourself”, but there are no instructions on their home page, preferably in a large font. My good friend Wiki tells me, “Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website.” Umm…what?

Pinterest just pisses me off. I had to ask for an “invitation”. (Please sir, may I have another?) A few days later it came, but I was told I had to register through Facebook or Twitter. I refuse to do that, because then Mark Zuckerberg will take my personal information and sell to the Romanians, who are compiling a dossier on me under the heading of “Clueless Boomer”. So no pinboards for me. They would probably just be titled “Things that annoy me”.

So I have a proposal for any of you internet-savvy youngsters reading this. Create a web site for Baby Boomers such as myself who want to stay hip and happenin’. It can be funded by the rich assortment of companies wishing to market to us, hawking such products as Depends, Rascals, and catheters. You can have sections such as Music, Internet, Apparel (no mom jeans!), and Hair (so that we aren’t going around in the same hairdo we wore in the 70’s). It can be updated weekly, no more than that, because we need time to absorb new information. I will take a cut of the profits, of course for providing this great idea.

And use a large font, please. You’re Welcome.

* Cher, also a parentless child, expressed her anguish in the seminal recording, “Half Breed”.

Monday, April 16, 2012


The folks at Restoration Hardware have obviously misjudged the design sense of the Hotflash household. We recently received a shrink-wrapped package of catalogs from them. I put it on the scale. It weighed 5 pounds. It was a set of 3 books, Indoor, Outdoor, and “Big Style, Small Spaces!”

The catalogs were full of fascinating objects. For example, on page 67, there was an iron stag’s head, complete with very large antlers.

Besides the obvious problems of heaving an iron head on the wall, this raises the burning question, “Who wants this?” Here in fly-over country, if you want a head on the wall, you just get a gun, kill a mammal, and slap it on the wall. But maybe those crazy kids on the coasts think this is just the shiznit. Plus it’s vegan.

On page 308, you can find the “Salvaged Wood Vintner's Hutch”. This appears to be a stack of old wood pallets, which does fit the definition of both salvaged and wood. However, this item costs $2995, whereas I know of a dumpster where you pick up old pallets for free.

Page 476 regales us with “French Rope Chandeliers”, which look like macramé on steroids.  I did macrame in the 70’s and it looked tacky then, too.

As I ponder the meaning of life at 2AM, I wonder,”Who designs this claptrap? What are they teaching the kids in design/art/interior decorating/marketing school these days? Is there no adult supervision? Who can afford to buy a salvaged wood vintner's hutch, and do guests say, ‘Hey! That looks like a pile of old wood pallets!’”

We also receive the J. Crew catalog. Again, their marketers have misjudged the denizens of the Hotflash household, thinking we might actually wear (or fit in) these clothes. The J. Crew catalog is full of teensy little girls in teensy little pants, with such whimsical names such as, “toothpick jean” and “matchstick jean”.

There is an exercise in the social sciences called the “windshield survey”, in which you drive around the neighborhood or town you are analyzing, getting a feel for the general lay of the land (not unlike high school when we got in the family station wagon and drove to the A&W Root Beer stand and then the local lover’s lane, where we would honk at our classmates who were actually getting some action). Obviously, the designers at J. Crew never did a windshield survey of my neck of the woods, or they would note that most folks are a tad more substantial than matchsticks. It’s not just my town. I was in Texas last week, and those folks are no toothpicks, either.   

The men’s clothing is no better. The models all look like they came home from college for a funeral and had to wear their little brothers' sportcoat.   Again, as I survey the landscape, I spot no one who could wear these skinny mini jackets. Even child #2, a slender but well-toned young man, could not fit into these clothes. Countless hours of mind-numbing laps as a member of various swim teams have graced him with lats and shoulders that prevent him from sporting that underfed but fashionable look. Apparently one must either have the nutritional status of a crackhead (but with nice teeth, please!) or a muscle-wasting disease in order to wear J. Crew menswear.

Then there are the Athleta and Title 9 catalogs. These catalogs are basically interchangeable. They are full of photos of muscular young women with six-packs and broad shoulders, hauling surf boards and large dogs around.  Many pages are devoted to supporting the racks of these fine young women. But yet again, as I scrutinize the local population, I see neither rippling calf muscles or six packs (except of the carbonated kind).

It is a national tragedy to see how our fashion and interior designers are so out of touch with the real world. I recommend they leave their rarified confines for a tour of Real America, complete with our large butts and Barca-loungers. What a surprise for them! They would skulk back to the coasts, thinking to themselves, "Those people have no taste at all". But then maybe they would make some pants with a little more fabric in them.  For us. Please.