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Photo Credit: Splash News Online via People magazine

It’s Friday, the very best day of the week. Not only has the work week bid us adieu, but we have a whole new slew of movies to look forward to this weekend. Some good. Some bad. And some, we still have to wait a coupla months to see, but Kristen Wiig is so worth it.

You can catch “Saturday Night Live” major player Wiig in Paul, that odd little movie where Seth Rogen voices an alien (the hubs confessed earlier today that he’s wanting to see it–outed!), and/OR you could look ahead to seeing the Emmy-nominated comedienne in Bridesmaids, opening in theaters May 20–just in time for wedding season.

Wiig, along with the wig she dons in this film, is reason enough for me to watch this film, but check out the list of supporting characters: Melissa McCarthy (“Gilmore Girls,” Life As We Know It, and currently of the much talked about “Mike & Molly”), Maya Rudolph (YEAH!), Ellie Kemper (lovable and kooky Erin on “The Office”), and Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”). By the by, Jon Hamm was actually Kemper’s high school drama teacher back in St. Louis. Wild!

I’ve made no bones about the fact that I am quite fond of funny women for they are da bomb in my world. It takes a whole vat of talent and intellect to be that hysterical, and so I am happy to give snaps to the ones who do it so well, like say, the comedy goddess that is Tina Fey.

Something that’s stayed with me during this awards show season is Aaron Sorkin, a (Golden Globe, Oscar) winner for his adapted screenplay of The Social Network, said to his daughter during his Golden Globe acceptance speech, “Honey, look around, smart girls have more fun, and you’re one of them.” Tearing up just a bit. Two at once can do that to you.

Smart, funny girls do tend to have more fun because they always get the joke, especially when they’re writing it. Beauty may be fleeting, but I think the lovely Betty White’s last couple of years are proving that funny has staying power.

Here’s a list of the colleges and universities these funny ladies attended:

Tina Fey – University of Virginia

Kristen Wiig – University of Arizona

Ellie Kemper – Princeton University, University of Oxford

Maya Rudolph – University of California

Just sayin’.



Look who has a new memoir-like-ish book Bossypants coming out on April 5. It’s the mother of the daughter Alice who coined, “I want to go to there.” That’s right. Tina Fey, the crush of Twilight hunk Robert Pattinson,  is letting the laymen in on the inner-workings of her comedic/twisted/genius mind, and I for one, am ready to say, “Yes, please! I want Cheezy Blasters! I want to go there with you to the place where Jon Hamm is at once irresistibly handsome and awkward, as only you, oh, crazy-talented ’30 Rock’ creator and writer, could make him.

Here’s a description from the publisher:

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

Well, count me in funny lady with the man hands. Count me in and give me five–or seven. Those hands are big enough for seven–and totally necessary for holding a Cheezy Blaster.

My friend Chris left for a cushy spa resort vacay a coupla weeks ago, leaving behind his very preggo wife Bethany–not to mention the rest of us. I kid. Chris  was headed out to the TED Event in Palm Springs, Cali, and I’m just the teensiest bit jealous. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad he got to absorb the thoughts of some of the greatest thinkers America has to offer 18 minutes at a time, I’m just… jealous I couldn’t, too.

The thing is, I can! And so can you! No, the TED Event is over, but all of the A-list speakers (Bill Gates, anyone?) and their talks are available for the rest of us online. Brilliant. After Chris graciously let me in on the fact that this year’s talks will be online soon, I decided to check out what the previous years had to offer and found this little nugget from 2007…

It’s only the one and only J.J. Abrams, the genius co-creator, executive producer, writer, and director with little projects like “Felicity,” “Alias,” Mission: Impossible 3, and “LOST” to his credit, chatting it up about creativity and technology and writing and filmmaking and imagination and Tom Cruise’s nostrils! It’s all there. Here, actually.

Turns out Abrams credits his Grandpa Harry, who gifted him with a Super8 camera and the tools of imagination, for helping to drive his love affair with storytelling and mystery. Toting along Tannen’s Magical Mystery Box–a gift from Gramps back in 1976–as a prop for his 18-minute talk, Abrams noted that the box of magical goodness had never been opened and that he never intended to open it. WHAT?! What’s in the box? See where this is heading… What’s in the HATCH?!

At one point, Abrams says (this is not verbatim, folks), “Mystery is the catalyst for imagination,” and that “Sometimes, mystery is more important than knowledge.” And with that, I, along with the TED participants, ‘got’ Abrams and his style of storytelling. The sense of wonder. The excitement and tension. The superior storytelling. The gift of NOT knowing all the answers and being in control of the story. The relationship that comes from having to trust the storyteller who’s whispering the nuggets of truth to you at his discretion, because after all, he’s the one writing the story; therefore, he knows when it’s best to reveal the good stuff and how to do so.

I’ve just been schooled.

Behar and Armisen on SNL

So I got sucked into “The View” this morning, not for the stories, but by the shockingly accurate Joy Behar impersonation Fred Armisen gives on “Saturday Night Live.” How you say, DEAD ON? I mean, SERIOUSLY. Truth be told, I’m not such a fan of Behar; she just seems so angry, and defensive, and harsh–but hey, guess who can also find herself in that territory? Gulp. Still, how great of a sport was Behar for doing the sketch WITH Armisen? For reals.

Also shocking, I gotta say, was Barbara “Babs” Walters’ inability to process what their guest, Hiroshima in the Morning writer Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, was saying about her story as a mother. How do you get to be so successful as a journalist by constantly inserting your own judgment and agenda and NOT listening? The subject matter was painful enough, and it was clear the other co-hosts were trying to get Babs on board with what was being said in the interview.

I’m not the only one. One VIEWer (sorry, too easy) commented on the show’s blog:

I am a mom of two and i am completely offended at Barbara’s constant verbal attack on the author. She clearly formed her own opinion of her before actually listening to her. Never once did she say she did NOT love her children or want them anymore. What she said was she did not want to have children in the first place for fear of losing herself in them and not having her own identity. All mom’s have had a moment or two where they felt like they were drowning in the sea of what it really takes to be a good mom. Next time open your ears and listen before forming your own judgment.

Sigh. If only we’d all ‘open [our] ears and listen’–put me at the top of that list, fo’ sho’. Which, oddly enough, brings me to a bit of surprising wisdom by another guest on “The View,” one Sarah Silverman. I know, I know. The oft-abrupt and offensive comedienne was so tame (for her) and poised (again, for her) on the show, even dressing so for the occasion. I was impressed. Don’t get me wrong: Silverman is incredibly bright, articulate, and funny. She just pushes the envelope too far for me–like inside out. (I’m okay with ‘prude,’ so go ahead.)

Anywho, when asked what she thought about Rizzuto’s story, Silverman was quite gracious and quoted the great Fred “Mr.” Rogers saying, “Fred Rogers once said, ‘There’s nobody you couldn’t love if you heard their story.'”

And with that, my morning was turned a bit upside-down. Stop with your own judgment, ME. BRAVO, Fred. Go on with your fine self, Sarah. C’mon, Babs. Good for you, Joy. And Mr. Armisen, WOW. Just Wow.

I stand (sit) humbled.

Katsushita Hokusai painted the Tsunami wave off Kanagawa in 1829-1833

The hubs made it to bed last night just before 2 am, exhausted from a late night of editing, and weary from the news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. So much for a restful sleep. The images from Japan are surreal and make me thankful for the comparatively slow (read: torrential) downpour causing the 500-year flood here in Nashville last May.

One of the first stories I read about the tsunami, came from MSNBC and, at the time, read like this:

TOKYO — A magnitude 8.9 earthquake — the biggest in modern Japanese history — slammed the island nation’s eastern coast Friday afternoon, unleashing a 23-foot tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland and prompting a “nuclear emergency.”

According to Japanese police, 200 to 300 bodies were found in Sendai, the coastal city closest to the epicenter. Another 137 people were confirmed killed, with 531 missing. At least 627 people were injured.

Overall, dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter.

“The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference…

Little more detail was given then, but we all know the devil is in the details, in the stories that will be told from surviving and not surviving this disaster, and so we pray the people of Japan truly feel the prayers of millions for their safety and well-being.

Being a word nerd, I was interested to learn from one news program that the Japanese word “tsunami” means “harbor” (tsu-) “wave” (nami). May Japan find a safe harbor in the light of this tragedy.


Lesson #1: The Canadians were hip to this a long time ago.

Lesson #2: My friends are super duper smart and stuff.

Lesson #3: If it’s good enough for Mark Ruffalo, it’s good enough for me.

Eight years ago, we lived next door to a couple of Canadians–a Canadian couple, if you will. Delightful, they were, but their large composting bin in the back yard, well, the hubs and I didn’t get it. What a coupla hippies. I kid!

Last week, I visited my friend Cari, who had a glass jar of castaway food composting away: egg shells, banana peels, apple cores, etc. Brilliant, useful, and ever so elegant (Cari). The composting bin was, too.

A few days ago, I finally got around to watching indie fave and Oscar-nominated flick The Kids Are All Right, a film featuring beautiful gardens throughout as well as starring heavyweights like Annette Bening, Julianne Moore (LOVE), Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and one dapper Mark Ruffalo. While the movie was well done to be sure, what I walked away with was a new desire to get going and growing me a garden.

And folks, I loves me some Ruffalo. He’s smart, a talented actor who makes great choices, has a fantastic wife who designed their beautiful home, he actually grows his own organic garden, and, well, I may or may not have decided to name one of our twin girls after his daughter when I saw the name in print. Actually, we didn’t name her after–

We were inspired is all.

So take the name, the Canadians, the Ruffalo, and the film with the gardening, and guess who finally decided to get her composting on and nearly a decade later?

Guilty. I get it. I get it. I REALLY get it. Composting is good for the environment, and the key to a successful garden,  which we’ve been trying to grow here at the homestead in the middle of Nashville, TN.

Enter this nifty diddy compost bin from

And guess what showed up today? Here she is next to

the coffee maker, just to give you a gander at the size.

And here’s the uh…”goodness” inside. Well, it’ll make for good soil.

The hubs also built a couple of these guys for compost in the back yard:

Good soil means fantastic veggies are in my future.

All thanks to good friends.

Oh, and the Canadians.

And the Ruffalo.

(Wasikowski and Ruffalo in The Kids Are All Right.)


At risk of sounding uber shallow, I’m going to boldly admit what you already well know if you’ve spent any time here at Master of What?: I am clearly inspired by pop culture, film, television, books, music, reality TV (ahem, cough…  cough),etc. Without intending to do so, many of my latest posts have fallen into this vein, so I’m just gonna go with it already.

With that in mind, I must clue you in on a little goings on here at the casa, that of our first year of a real, live garden in the back yard. Oh, sure, we’ve dabbled with the jalepenos in pots, the herbs from the kitchen window, and the hanging tomato plants that have yielded zero, repeat, ZERO tomatoes. But this is different, and all because of a little film viewing.

Ever watch a film or TV show and end up wanting to live in the actual setting? Work where the characters work? Dress how they dress? Fantasize about using their kitchen to make French pastries and roast chicken and pies? Listen to their fun French music wearing Ralph Lauren and French-inspired stripes while eating safe-for-consumption-gluten-free-croissants? For me, such a wonderland exists in Santa Barbara, California as depicted in It’s Complicated, the 2009 film starring Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, John Krasinksi, and one Meryl Streep, the talentless old hag–ha! I kid, I kid! I loves me some Meryl, y’all.

(See what I mean about the kitchen?)

The thing with the divine Ms. Meryl is that she can sometimes come across as just a smidge smug to some, like, say, the hubs. But imagine actually being “the Meryl,” the one so many critics and artists have called the greatest actress of all time, and you try to stay humble. Seriously. And while no talent is worthy of godlike stature, no one can deny a God-given talent like hers. I mean, she’s just ridiculous.

(Check out those twinkle lights!)

As for It’s Complicated, well, it’s hysterical, to me at least. I love this film, and it’s one of the very few I can watch over and over and over again, along with You’ve Got Mail and Something’s Gotta Give. They’re not life-changing movies, but I want to go to there, know what I’m sayin’? Where I most want to hang out is in Meryl’s backyard in the film, where there’s just the most gorgeous garden, dripping with veggies. Wearing a sweet little floppy hat, Meryl’s character flits from plant to plant, plucking tomatoes and surveying all her hard work. Oh, and looking effortlessly gorgeous to boot.

(I want that floppy hat.)

Because of our (limited, very limited) past experiences with gardening and my obsession with a film set, the hubs went to work creating the beginnings of our little garden, which will–fingers crossed!–spring forth with kale, corn, peppers, cucumbers… and tomato plants like my inspiration, Meryl. Minus the incubating plant-lettes (That’s how the French would say it, right?) inside, here’s where we are today…

Some have noticed a loss in real estate…

While others still run blithely about, nary a care in the world.

Still, the other asks, “Why?!,” and emotes sad, soul-searching glances.

Though, in truth, Basset hounds look like this 99.9% of the time.

(That’s a real scientific number.)

It’s not much yet, but with a little luck, and a green thumb, chicken poop, and compost,

this is where we hope to be one day:

Sigh. If Alec Baldwin were to show up, well, then this “30 Rock” fan would be one happy girl.

Anybody wanna give this gardening novice some tips? I’m all ears, and hopefully, green thumbs, up in here.

What’s that you say? Charlie Sheen’s behavior is more despicable than defensible? Alas, I couldn’t agree with you more with regard to his behavior, after all he did say something about tiger blood running through his veins. It becomes quite difficult, indeed, to defend someone when they keep spouting sound bytes like that. If only Mr. Sheen would actually insert his foot in his mouth then, and only then, might we all experience a reprieve from his barrage of verbal grave digging from the Sober Valley Lodge.

Despite his morally reprehensible behavior, which includes trying to raise his twin 2-year-old boys with live-in former porn star goddesses (that’s truly something one cannot anticipate writing–ever) and biting the “Two and a Half Men” and the hands that have fed and kept him fat with pay, I am deeply saddened by the position the actor finds himself in. This is what happens when your professional successes eclipse your emotional ones. When the “YES!”-people surrounding you could in actuality give a rat’s patootie about whether you live or die or rot in jail or rehab–just keep paying me, yo, and keep frontin’ this par-tay lifestyle. Ever heard of a fella named Michael Jackson?

Question: Is anyone saying anything good or true or real to this man?

Answer: Not sure, but he did just add one million Twitter followers in a day. No doubt to track his crazy rants in real time.

Not that there aren’t folks who care about Sheen. Take his father, for instance, “West Wing” actor Martin Sheen, who recently explained how he approaches his son’s troubles these days. Papa Sheen told London’s The Telegraph he handles things, “With prayer. We lift him up and we ask everyone who cares about him to lift him up, and lift up all those who are in the grip of drug and alcohol abuse, because they are looking for transcendence.”

And no more could I laugh at the blatant ridiculousness splattered across the Internet. Charlie Sheen is a son who means very much to his father (not to mention a Father), and it sounds like Papa Sheen is far beyond the embarrassment addiction can bring upon a family. Desperation is probably more like it.

Hear me when I say, I’m totally grossed out by Sheen’s grossy grosserton actions, but no one is “winning” by my laughing at his mistakes and life junk, especially because I’ve got plenty of my own.

I’m starting to see Charlie Sheen not as some sorry character whose life is laugh-worthy because he’s not a character. He’s ruining his life and the lives of his children, all because he’s completely enslaved to addiction and an ego-centric lifestyle no one has been able to shake him of. Sheen’s been looking for an identity in success and money and women he’s attracted to and God knows what else–an identity that will reap zero gain or reward. In truth, I’m no better or worse than him. We  both try to attach significance to things that don’t matter. The difference, I suppose, maybe, is a community and family who are constantly reminding me this world is temporal. Fleeting. It’s going bye-bye. And that makes me want to join Papa Sheen in praying for his prodigal, ’cause honestly, minus the tiger blood, it takes one to know one.

Seriously? Tiger blood? Okay, I can’t not laugh at that one.

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