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Diatribe: A Real-Life Dolores Claiborne.

Dolores ClaiborneActress Kathy Bates won yet another award this week taking home the Emmy Award in the Outstanding Supporting Actress for a Miniseries or a Movie category for her portrayal of Delphine LaLaurie n American Horror Story: Coven.  I’ve always enjoyed anything that she’s done.  I can quote bits of her dialogue from Misery and Fried Green Tomatoes and I was truly sad when Harry’s Law was cancelled in 2012 after just thirty-four episodes.  One of my favorite Kathy Bates performances would have to be her portrayal of Dolores Claiborne.

The first edition of Stephen King’s Dolores Claiborne was published in 1993 and Bates brought the character to life in the 1995 movie costarring Jennifer Jason Leigh and directed by Taylor Hackford.  Dolores Claiborne tells police the story of her life, including stories from her past involving her volatile marriage and the suspicious death of her violent husband thirty years ealier.  Dolores had given her husband a bottle of scotch and, after he was quite drunk, she provoked him into attacking her and falling down an old well where she left him to die.

In a strange case of life imitating art, yesterday, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a judge sentenced seventy-five-year-old Missouri woman, Alice Uden, to life in prison for killing her husband in the mid-1970s before throwing his body down the shaft of an abandoned gold mine where it remained undiscovered for nearly forty years.

“I’ve tried to atone for it.  I wish that I never would have met him so that none of this ever would have happened.  He was a very frightening man.” – Wheelchair-bound defendant, Alice Uden, sobbing as she addressed the court.

Last May, a Jury found Uden guilty of murdering her third husband, Ronald Holtz, then 25.  She had testified that she shot him in the head with a rifle after he flew into a rage because her toddler daughter was crying.  She claimed he was going to attack her baby and that she was defending her.  They jury was not convinced.

I can’t help but think Kathy Bates could have convinced them.

Are you a fan of Kathy Bates?  Did you enjoy Dolores Claiborne?

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Ovation: Undercover Colors, The Anti-Creep Nail Polish

undercover colors logoI’m a big fan of CBS’s The Big Bang Theory.  Unlike many situation comedies on television, I find the Big Bang writers’ consistent use of intelligent conversation and scientific topics to be amusing without being silly.  The characters are interesting and the actors who portray them are completely believable.  Many viewers might feel that they know people just like them.

In fact, students at North Carolina State University do know people like.  The four chemistry students behind Undercover Colors, a nail polish that changes color when exposed to date rape drugs, has won this year’s Lulu eGames, a university competition for student projects aimed at solving real-world problems.

“Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime.” – from the Undercover Colors Facebook page

stir with fingerWhen a woman uses an Undercover Colors-manicured finger to stir a drink laced with any number of common drugs like rohypnol or Xanax, sometimes known as “date rape” drug, the polish on her fingernail will alert her to the fact that her drink has been tampered with.

The polish is still in the early stages of development, and it isn’t the first idea hoping to give women the power to put a stop to unwanted sexual advances (straws that light up and glasses that change colors are also in the works), but it could certainly be something that many women would use.  After all, most women who will dress up enough to go out for cocktails will undoubtedly pay attention to their fingernails.

the_big_bang_theory-showLeonard, Sheldon, Penny and the gang on The Big Bang Theory don’t spend much time in bars buying drinks but they’re certainly familiar with chemistry labs and could probably create something like this in one episode.

Undercover Colors is accepting donations to help further their research and bring their product to market.  Click here to learn more.

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

Diatribe: Gentlemen, Shouldn’t You Tuck In Your Dress Shirts?

UntuckedShirts that are made with a flat bottom hem are, generally, meant to be worn untucked.  But if a shirt has visible “tails” … the hem is clearly longer in the front and the back than it is on the sides, and not even all the way around … it should always be tucked in.

Wearing a shirt with tails untucked isn’t always out of the question but it can make a man look sloppy and childish … like a boy whose mother made him wear something against his will and he’s going to show her a thing or two, or a drunken groomsman whose had too much to drink at a wedding reception.

Never (please!) wear an untucked dress shirt under a jacket or with a suit.  This makes a man look desperate to appear stylish when the truth is he usually looks like he forgot to finish getting dressed before he left the house.

Some golfers tuck in their shirts to show off their snazzy pants.

Some golfers tuck in their shirts to show off their snazzy pants.

Some shirts with flat bottom hems can be worn tucked or untucked.  For instance, most will agree that a polo shirt can be worn untucked for a casual look or tucked in for a little dressier look.  Their long-sleeved counterparts, the rugby shirts, however, are almost never tucked in.

Turtlenecks are usually worn untucked unless they’re worn under a sports coat or blazer.

Some cowboys tuck in their shirts to show off their buckles.

Some cowboys tuck in their shirts to show off their buckles.

Whether or not to tuck in a T-shirt is a question for the ages.  Some folks love to tuck them in so they can show off their belts or belt buckles while others will think they look goofy.  Some have taken to only tucking in the front of the t-shirt.  I think it depends a lot on the fit of the shirt and the pants that are worn.  Many fashionistas will tell you not to tuck in a t-shirt unless it’s a deliberate style statement.

Some men, for example Zac Efron, don't need a shirt.

Some men, for example Zac Efron, don’t need a shirt.

Before a man can decide if he’s going to tuck in his shirt or not he needs to make certain that it fits.  Is there anything more sloppy than a man wearing a shirt that is clearly too large and the mess he makes when he tries to tuck it into his pants?  Yes … there is!  The t-shirt that’s too small worn by unkempt the man who’s reaching for something on the top shelf.

Do you think men should always tuck in their dress shirts?

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Ovation: A Giant Teddy Bear’s Joy Ride.

99When my oldest niece was born, I had the honor of being present at the hospital.  I was between jobs and fortunate enough to able to help out with odds and ends surrounding the new arrival.  By the time the little miracle finally showed up, her mother’s hospital room had filled with gifts from loved ones and well wishers from across the country.

As anyone who has ever met a newborn baby will tell you, they do not travel lightly.  With car seats, diaper bags and all of the paraphernalia that an infant and a new mother require in their first days together, my exhausted brother-in-law had his hands and his car completely full.  I helped them with their haul in a second car, a convertible, by carrying an enormous peace lily that was sent to the hospital room by a well-wisher.

With the convertible top down, I rode with that peace lily like it was a perfectly normal thing to do.

I made a similar trip through my own neighborhood, early on October, when I purchased an oversized plastic pumpkin

Someone in Alberta, Canada, didn’t find anything out of the ordinary when they drove away from a Costco earlier this week with an enormous teddy bear strapped into the passenger seat of their convertible.

A Reddit user spotted a man at a Costco trying to fit the huge toy animal into his Corvette.  A Costco employee even tried to help as shoppers gathered to watch.  Pictures were posted online with an appropriate caption … “Totally obvious impulse buy? Yep.”

After first trying to put the bear in the car head first, it was ultimately determined that it was best to jam the bear into the passenger seat, sitting upright, and the customer was able to drive away with his new bear.

Nobody knows where the bear was going, but it sure would be a cool story if it ended up being a gift for his niece.  He sure did attract a lot more attention than I did with that peace lily!

Have you ever carried anything unusual in a convertible?

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Diatribe: Can We All, Please, Agree That A Missed Call Is Not The Same As A Voice Mail Message?

Voice MailI’ve been told that, when I talk, I sometimes don’t have a “filter”.  I’ll ramble on and say things that I might not necessarily say if I would stop and give the topic more thought.  Things that I’m thinking become confused with things that I’m actually saying and, sadly, it’s caused me to put my foot in my mouth on more than once occasion.  I’ve learned to write things down whenever possible to give myself an opportunity to think about what I’m going to say before I actually say it.

Needless to say, I do not possess the ability to spontaneously improvise a voice mail message.  If I make a phone call and it “goes to voice mail” I start to feel a sort of panic.  I begin to talk very fast and I hurriedly ramble in order to end the horror as quickly as possible.  Sometimes, I actually hang up without leaving a message.  If this happens, I do not expect a return call.  Here, along with a few other telephone peeves, is why …

“You saw that you missed a call from me!  Why didn’t you call me back?”

I didn’t call you back because you didn’t ask me to call you back.  If you want me to call you back, please leave a voice mail message and ask me to do so.  It’s helpful if you provide information that will allow me to prepare for the return call.  For example:

“Hi, it’s Margaret.  I’m calling to ask if you still have Grandma Lucy’s recipe for her famous sponge marble hot sauce cake.  I need to bring something to the bake sale at the library on Saturday morning and I remember folks used to love that smelly cake.”

Or

“Help!  It’s Timmy and I’ve fallen down the old well off Highway 14 just north of Missy Martin’s Dance School!  My battery is almost dead and you might be the last person that I’m able to call.  I’ve hurt my leg and it’s bleeding a lot!  Please send help right away!”

It’s also unfair to assume that everyone who misses a call knows who the caller was.  Some cell phone carriers will only display names and numbers that are included in the list of contacts stored on the device.  Other numbers may be “blocked” or “unknown”.

“I see that I missed a call from you and that you’ve left me a voice mail … what did your voice mail say?”

I took the time to leave you a voice mail message and you don’t afford me the courtesy of listening to what I had to say?!  Is this the digital-age-equivalent of receiving a letter in your mailbox and calling the sender to ask them to read it to you?  Perhaps you’d prefer that I not call you again?  Please let me know and I’ll make a note.

“Hey, it’s me.  Callmebackrightawayatmphbitrhaigheldf!”

Thanks, “me”, for leaving me a voice mail message.  I appreciate the fact that you care enough about speaking to me to let me know that your call was intentional.  I do get my share of “butt calls”.  I’m afraid, however, that I didn’t recognize your voice so I don’t know who you are.  And the number that you left was a garbled mess because you said it so fast.  I sure do hope you’ll call back again so I can explain why I haven’t returned your call as requested.

I hate voice mail just as much as the next person but it’s a fact of life that we all have to learn to live with.  There are times when I, certainly, don’t have the patience to leave a message.  For instance, when I call someone whose voice mail greeting feels like the opening monologue of a three-act play …

“Hello!  You’ve reached Beverly Bootyshankle in the Accounting Department of Herpstein, Herpstein, Howlermonkey and Jones.  Today is Thursday, August 21, 2014 and I’ll be in the office from 8:30 until 11:30, attending a luncheon from 12:15 until 2:00 after which I’ll be free until a conference call that is scheduled to begin at 4:30.  My hair is up today and I’m wearing big earrings so, if I don’t answer after the first ring, it’s probably because I’ve taken a moment to remove my jewelry.  Your call is important to me so, at the sound of the tone, please leave a detailed message that includes your name, the time of your call, the reason for your call, a number at which you would like your call returned and any other information that you would like for me to have.  Thanks for calling Herpstein, Herpstein, Howlermonkey and Jones.  Have a great day!

I would hate Beverly Bootyshankle.  I wouldn’t leave her a message.  In fact, if I had called her I probably would have hung up before I knew she was going to a luncheon … certainly before I learned she was wearing big earrings.  Her greeting is far too long.  I wouldn’t expect her to call me back!

I bet Beverly sees a lot of missed calls and not very much voice mail.  Maybe she’s on to something.

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Ovation: Lillian Weber Sews Little Dresses For Africa.

Lillian WeberI can’t sew to save my life.  Being an arts-and-crafts sort of person, I’ve learned to piece together different projects over the years using a needle and thread and even, to a small extent, a simple sewing machine but I will never possess the qualifications to compete on Project Runway.

I learned simple, basic sewing skills from my mother, a wonderfully creative woman who often found herself with more adventures in her day than hours in which to complete them.  When we needed a button sewn back onto a shirt, she would lovingly replace it using whatever thread remained in her favorite needle from the last time she had mended something.  Yes, there were times when white buttons were sewn back on to blue shirts with red thread but it was better than not having a button and she did it with so much love and good humor that we really didn’t care.

I’m confident that neither I nor my mother could make a dress from scratch like Lillian Weber.

Throughout the last few years, Lillian has made more than 840 dresses for a Christian nonprofit organization called Little Dresses for Africa that distributes clothes to some of the world’s most vulnerable children in orphanages, churches and schools in Africa.  She hopes to cross the 1,000 dress mark before long.

Lillian Weber is ninety-nine years old and reportedly starts work on a new dress every single morning and, after a break in the middle of the day, finishes the dress in the afternoon.  Even though she makes the dresses quickly, she tries to make each one different and special.

“It is just what I like to do.” – Lillian Weber.

untitledWeber has been sewing dressing for Little Dresses for Africa since 2011 when she and a group of other seniors decided to work together to support the organization.  One lady in the group had seen a documentary about the charity, which has collected more than 2.5 million dresses and distributed them to forty-seven countries in Africa and other countries, and thought it would be a great way to help the children so far away from their hometown in Iowa.

Although Weber will celebrate her 100th birthday next May, she has no intention of slowing down saying she will not quit sewing if she gets to that thousandth dress.  She’ll keep on sewing.

If she sews those dresses with half as much love as my mother sewed on our little buttons, I think those little girls will feel extra special wearing their new dresses.

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Copyright © 2014 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

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