Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Texas Ball and Chain Massacre

Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

These are the exact words the grand ol' state of Texas chose to add to it's constitution four years ago to prohibit gay marriage. But those Texan lawmakers are cagey. They knew they couldn't leave the language simple. Some smart-ass sissy boy might find a loophole by procuring a civil union, let's say, and then backdoor his way down the aisle with a welder named Clyde wearing Vera Wang, no less. Oh, the horror! So, to put a stop to the whole magilla, gay marriage, civil union and it's incestuous cousin domestic partnership, the following sentence was added...

This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

These changes were voted on, and not surprisingly, passed into law. That's right, it's in the books.

No gay marriage here. We're a football state, and we barbecue. So, take that, you pansies!

Hold up. Let's look at that again. "The state...may not...recognize any legal status identical or similar to..." Huh? How would that effect the legal status of a heterosexual marriage? For example, is the union between First Party Girl, Jenna Bush and Henry Hager recognized by the Lone Star State? Or has it been smashed to smithereens because of badly written syntax?

And even if Texas doesn't dissolve all marriages--although, truth be told, we all know some couples who would benefit from such a decree--I betcha we haven't heard the last of this.

"What do you mean I owe back payments in alimony? According to our very own constitution, I was never married."

"I'm sorry, since you're no longer technically his wife, the decision to keep Mr. Sourpuss on life support isn't yours. That belongs to his daughter from his first nonwife, and she has daddy issues and wants to pull the plug."

"Yes, if you were still legally her husband, her entire estate would have gone to you, however, since your marriage has been rescinded, all of Mrs. Richerthanshit's assets will go to the Gulf Coast Exotic Bird Santuary."

It tickles me greatly to see a fumble such as this. Nothing takes the bite out of discrimination like good old fashioned stupidity.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Married a Satyr

SEBASTIAN: My daddy's a satyr.


SEBASTIAN: My daddy is a satyr.

ANY STRANGER WHO WILL LISTEN: Your daddy eats Seder?

SEBASTIAN: (With increasing fury.) No. He's a satyr.





ANY STRANGER WHO WILL LISTEN: A senior? A sadist? A sitarist?

SEBASTIAN: No. You are not listening to me. MY DADDY IS A SATYR!!!

As a parent, I never expected to hear that uttered from my child's lips. The problem is twofold. No one expects a little kid to announce that his father is a mythological creature, and many folks don't know what the dickens a satyr really is.

So, let's start by demystifying. In Greek mythology, a satyr is a follower of Dionysus, and on vase paintings is portrayed with with a swinging horse tail and perpetual erection. It wasn't until Roman times when the upper body of a man was attached to the lower body of a goat.

For some reason, the above description reminds me of Danny DeVito. Who is more satyr-like than Louie De Palma, the smarmy dispatcher he played on Taxi? He was a smelly, foul mouthed, sex obsessed man in a cage, always making inappropriate advances to Marilu Henner. Which is probably why Disney cast him as the brow beating satyr Philoctetes, Phil to his friends, in their animated feature Hercules. Who better to eat shrubbery, chew scenery and chase after Nymphs.

Satyrs are described as roguish, subversive and dangerous. They are often depicted with beards and are lovers of wine, women and physical pleasure. (And if you exchange wine for vodka, and women for men, you'd be describing my husband to a tee.)

About four years ago, Michael worked on a USC movie, in which he played...you guessed it...a satyr. From set, he emailed pics of himself in full costume and makeup. Sebastian, who's always had a fondness for monsters and evildoers, was immediately hooked. He wanted to see Daddy at work, a request he'd never made previously. So, of course, the next day, I drove him to the studio. Michael was waiting for us on the street in full satyr regalia, which in Hollywood isn't all that eye popping. And immediately, Bash FREAKED OUT. He clung to me and refused to look at Michael. What seemed kinda cool on the computer screen was quite overwhelming in person.


Today is Michael's birthday. Unfortunately, I am not with him to celebrate. And even though he had his own celebration last night, something to do with a hot tub and a chilled martini in a Styrofoam cup, I wish I were there.

Michael is crazy busy in Palo Alto. He's in rehearsals for a musical called A Civil War Christmas. As he explains it, "I'm playing the black person." Actually, all the actors are taking on multiple roles. So, I imagine he's immersed in memorizing songs, learning blocking and finding the intricate character nuance of Frederick Douglass, or Harriet Tubman, or W.E.B. DuBois, Aunt Jemima, Nipsey Russell, Oprah, or Usher or whoever he's playing. (Can you tell my hold on Civil War history is a little shaky?)

The point is that he is due north about three hundred fifty-two miles, and I am unable to give him a birthday kiss tonight.


And now a private note...

Happy thirty-sixth* birthday, my darling.

The LA Times's horoscope for today's birthday is: Your special charisma will be amplified. It benefits you to bring more to the table in relationships and work, and your enhanced offerings will attract major love and success. March brings a whirlwind of publicity. Your stellar reputation brings financial abundance. A family-oriented event is a must-attend in August. Libra and Taurus people adore you.

Well, when it comes to you, this Libra is over the moon, but Miss Taurus better back the fuck off! Your charisma, stellar reputation, financial abundance and enhanced satyr offerings are ALL MINE! See you in three days!! But for now, I send you a kiss...

*Objects may appear as a lesser value than they actually are.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Mommy

One hundred sounds really old, doesn't it? Come to think, I don't think I've ever met anyone who was one hundred. But this isn't about anyone, and we're certainly not celebrating anything that has achieved one hundred status. I've not made a replica of the Hollywood sign with one hundred sugar cubes, for example, or swallowed one hundred fireflies. This isn't even my hundredth blog entry, it's my seventy-eighth for those of you who are counting. But this is a monumental anniversary, nonetheless. It's Mommy's birthday. And by Mommy, I don't mean Sally, my biological mommy, her birthday is Income Tax Day. No, today Mommy With a Penis is a spry one year old.

Birthdays are usually a time for self reflection, for looking back at the previous year and weighing achievements vs. missteps. It's a good time to create lists for the upcoming year, to meditate on future blog entries. For instance, do I reexplore the train wreck that is Carrie Prejean, or do I stick with anecdotal tales about my family? Do I continue to question the sexual orientation of a certain Maverick, or post more pictures of my son wearing tutus and sparkly shoes, which surely will require years of future therapy? So much to consider. It really is a great time for self evaluation, assessment, trajectory, conclusion.

But, fuck it, I'm not going to do any of that. Don't get me wrong, more than anything I'd like to be significant. I'd like to say something earth shattering about blogging that would make each and every one of you nod your head and gasp. But I got nothing. So, instead, I'm going to thank all of you for being fabulous and sticking with me. It's been a wonderful ride thus far. An E ticket ride to say the least. And it wouldn't have been as fun without all of you. (Well, let's be honest, which one of us really wants to write in a vacuum?)

I'll let you in on a little secret. Mommy With a Penis is going through a change. No, not the change...a change. It's time for a sprucing up. A spring cleaning. A full blown rhinoplasty. That's right, MWAP will soon be under construction. Up till now, I've been content with my stock Blogger template, but it's time to express myself artistically and create a new look. My look. Something bolder. Something more eye catching. Something...penisy. (If you have suggestions, please be sure to leave them.)

Besides the facelift, what does Mommy With a Penis plan to do to celebrate? I'm going to bake myself a cake...

Something cream filled, I think!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tom Cruise is a Raging...Scientologist: Addendum

After I wrote the previous post, Tom Cruise is a Raging...Scientologist, a friend of mine found this very pertinent footage and I had to share.

For all of you Top Gun fans out there, don't blame me for this clip. Quentin Tarantino started it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tom Cruise is a Raging...Scientologist

Tuesday, I was killing time on Hollywood Blvd. while Sebastian was at speech therapy. And scattered amongst tranny wig supplies and bong accessory stores were numerous buildings all labeled with the same name. And in the middle of a Pinkberry-induced false sense of security, I had a disturbing thought. When will LA be renamed L. Ron? In Hollywoodland the words L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology are emblazoned everywhere.

My first brush with Scientology was in Brighton, England some twenty odd years ago. A guy on the street was offering free movie tickets. I didn't have the money to see Angel Heart at the real cineplex, so I thought what the heck. Little did I know it was a Dianetics promotional flick. I don't remember anything about it, except at the movie's end there was an explosion of some sort. Although an engaging special effect, I chose not to partake of the Scientology bundt cake.

In LA I've known many friends, including my husband, who have studied acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, which is connected to Scientology. Michael stuck with it for about six months. When he first started he was landing gigs on episodics, he won an Ovation Award, LA's version of the Tony. It was a fruitful time. And the Hubbites discretely kept their dogma to themselves. However when Michael's star wasn't shining as brightly as they would have liked, he had to be handled, which basically meant he needed a good talking to. They claimed he was blocked, and said, "You must not want it that much." It being success. It being mindfulness. It being a core foundation of Scientology. And that's all Michael needed. He was out of there faster than Tom Cruise could call Matt Lauer glib.


I just completed a six week run of the play, Mom's the Word, which was written by six women, and has been running successfully in Canada (as Mum's the Word) for twenty-five years. Our production had only five actors, and there was the noticeable alteration that one of the moms, yours truly, had a penis. And they didn't dress me as Lucy Ricardo. The producer wanted to include a gay dad's perspective into the mix.

Some tweeking was needed. It was wisely decided that I shouldn't do the monologue about giving birth, nor should I refer to lactation, raging hormones or chapped nipples. Also, my character on the page is Linda, which had to be changed. So I took the letters that are in Linda, threw them in a martini shaker, added an "e" for enigmatic, some vermouth, shook it like a Polaroid picture, poured it out and there was my character's new name... Daniel. Chilled with a twist.

I think I just had a 007/Daniel Craig fantasy.

In order to make the material seem more pertinent, we referenced current events, added familiar Los Angeles landmarks, and freshened up some of the jokes. (I hope I don't get anyone in trouble saying this.) For instance, I had a line that for the life of me I can't correctly remember. It went something like, "Raising children is about as natural as reciting Shakespeare in Japanese."

I'm not even sure if that was the original line or something developed for our show. Either way, it felt flat. And what occurred to me was that LA is the land of things not natural. At one point I changed the line to, "Raising children is about as natural as Joan Rivers' face." Then it was "...as natural as Joan Van Ark's bangs." Then, "...as RuPaul's eyelashes." "...Sandra Bullock's nose." "...Pam Anderson's boobies." You get the gist. It was a line I delighted in because I could pick on a different celebrity every performance.

I would usually get a chuckle which was comforting, but not the belly laugh I desired. I was unsatisfied. And then it hit me. "Raising children is about as natural as Tom Cruise marrying women." Belly laugh every time.

Let it be known that I don't have a deep motive for saying this other than landing the laugh. Really, I'm that much of a whore. It's not like I have first hand experience with Tom. He's never personally sucked my Top Gun. And as far as I'm concerned, his sexual preference is his business. That being said, what should it matter that I'm fouting him? (Fouting: fake outing for the sake of the laugh.) IT'S HUMOR, PEOPLE!!

But if you need me to be more socially relevant, if you need a reason other than humor, how bout this... Since this is a mommy show, imagine I said the Tom Cruise line in retribution for when he raked Brooke Shields over the coals for taking postpartum depression medication after giving birth. If it's none of my business who licks his Twinkie, then it's none of his business how Brooke Shields or anyone else deals with their depression.

One more thing... If Tom Cruise should ever announce he's gay I would hope our culture could accept him with open arms and not see him as an abomination. It would simply be a fact like Tom Cruise has brown hair or Tom Cruise jumps on furniture. He doesn't need to be defined by his gayness. It's just one part of the wacky whole.


For our second to last performance, I was asked by the producer not use the Tom Cruise line because her daughter's manager was in the audience, and he was a Scientologist. I acquiesced and picked on Meg Ryan's cheekbones instead. (Only a chuckle.) Then our last performance came around and once again the producer approached me. She said something like, "Just so you know, there are going to be about eight Scientologists in the audience tonight. And not that you shouldn't say the line, but I want you to be aware of it." And if not those exact words, something equally ambiguous. I decided she was warning me of possible crickets where belly laughs should be, but I decided to brave the Dianetics storm and fout Mr. Katie Holmes one last time.

The line was delivered. Beat. Beat. I thought it fizzled. Beat. Beat. Then there was a lone chuckle. Beat. And as I launched into the next moment, that's when I heard it, the loudest belly laugh of the entire run.

Fun performance, friends waiting for me in the lobby, I was flying high. Then I was ambushed. Three cast mates split me open and told me what for. "She told you not to say that line." "You offended some of the audience." "Those Scientology people are serious. They could go after the producer and make her one of them."

This begs the question, how much power do Scientologists really have? Will Mommy With a Penis be shut down because I've played my own cat and mouse with Mr. TomKat? It seems absurd, doesn't it? But Scientology is strong. It's arm wrestled with freedom of speech before and won. For instance, the following clip is from an episode of South Park that yanked from airing a second time. They deny it was their doing, but we all know something was behind it.

I'm being silly. Nothing is going to happen to me or my blog. It's not like someone dressed as a ninja is going to break into my home and indoctrinate me on the spot. What are they going to do? Sneak up behind me as I'm typing on my computer and...

Please disregard the above blog entry. I was having some sort of delusional break, but I've adjusted my tone scale and now I'm fine. Medication was not needed because I don't believe in psychotropics. Nor do I believe in psychiatry and Tom Cruise is really quite manly. Now, if you'll excuse me, John and Kelly are picking me up in five to take me to a Tupperware party at Kirstie Alley's.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Double-Wattled Cassowary in the Room

My husband is leaving me...well, us. He's leaving us. On Sunday, he's getting on a jet plane to San Jose. (No, he does not know the way, Burt Bacharach, but thankfully the pilot does.) And for the next two months he'll be living in Palo Alto. It's work related. He's going to be acting in a Paula Vogel musical called Civil War Christmas. (Uninviting title if you ask me.) And as we draw near I find myself resenting having to accept his departure.

At first, I tried fiercely to ignore the inevitable. I was in such denial that I only asked him this morning, "What day are you leaving?" And when I look back over the last month, I realize that any time he brought up his encroaching exodus, my stomach tightened and my breath became labored.

We had friends over Wednesday night and Michael came into the kitchen having just read about his accommodations. He was visibly excited and had to share with all of us, "You won't believe this place..."

"Don't," I said, not using the scold voice, but something I had hoped would galvanize nonetheless.

But I could tell by his run on sentence that Michael was overcome,"It's incredible, there's private parking, and a pool, and steam room and sauna, and, look at this, a twenty-four hour gym..."

"Don't," I tried again. This time loud enough for him to glance my way. But he was on a roll.

"...and there's a doorman, and each apartment comes with..."

"No. Michael. Really. DON'T."

Michael stopped. I was finally heard. Michael cowed. The guests knew not to continue down this road. General kitchen discomfort. But my man is a veritable rubber ball, "Who wants martinis?" And so we moved on.

It was this particular episode that made me realize I've got issues. My resentment is real. I resent that he gets to go away. I resent that he gets to do a play and get paid for it. But mostly, I resent that there is that unfinished bit of business.

Michael and I can be humming along just fine, but when we hit that odd pothole we are thrown completely out of whack. We retreat to our corners and, too slowly for my liking, lick our wounds. When we are done licking, we sweep it under the rug. We've been doing this for years. The lump in our rug was unnoticeable at first but now, it feels as if there are so many its underneath that it takes up the whole room.

Even as I mix my metaphors, I realize the lump probably isn't the gargantua I imagine. Logic has been overtaken by emotion. But after taking a breath, I can assure you that my rug lump certainly must be the size of a double-wattled cassowary.

In regards to the meeting today, I put the wheels into motion. I was feeling really great about last night's performance and really shitty about Michael's departure. I was talking to myself, arguing with myself, debating, and that's always a sign I need to unload. So I left a message on his voice mail. "It's time," I said. "We've been dodging this for too long. Being busy is easy for both of us, but you're leaving soon and we need to be a priority for each other."

I didn't layer the facts with guilt. (Well from my perspective, I didn't.) I wasn't defensive. I didn't use the poor me voice. I stated what I wanted, which was time with my man, before he pushes open the bronze gates and heads due north to that mysterious land called Palo Alto.

He texted me back with a time. Ten o'clock today. We've successfully set up our future with voice mail and text messaging.

For those of you concerned, this is not a death knell. This is opportunity. This is clarity. And hopefully, this is a sushi lunch afterwards.

I don't think any mysteries will be uncovered, nor revelations made. We're not an episode of True Blood. But I do think, very possibly, we'll fall in love all over again.

Ah, lookee here, it's ten on the dot.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween: A Postmortem

A mom at my daughter's pre school was enthusiastically passing out lollipops for Halloween. She pulled me close and gushed, "These lollipops had to be special ordered. They're organic and sweetened with beet juice!"

Another mom who was eavesdropping leaned in conspiratorially, "Well, that's going to be a blog entry."

Have I become that transparent? Because, yes, when I heard sweetened with beet juice I immediately filed it away. It's a brilliant mommy moment. Probably only intensified by the fact that never in a thousand years would I consider special ordering lollies that weren't chalk full of sugar. To wit: Sebastian's fifth birthday was bug-themed, and each child left with a goody bag which included a lollipop that resembled hardened amber with an honest to goodness grasshopper caught inside. Maybe that speaks to my character: grasshopper/heaps of sugar, yes; organic/beet juice, no.

Maxie's school celebrated Halloween by going Trunk or Treat. On Friday the kids came to school dressed in costume and paraded in the school's parking lot where they trick-or-treated from some of the parents' car trunks and hatchbacks. Michael and I decided at the last minute we'd participate. After dropping Sebastian off at school, Michael was going to zip to Target, pick up a bag of discount candy and then hustle on over to Maxie's school. Luckily, I drove Maxie to school early, and saw not only were all the parking places taken, but the parents had decorated their trunks with cobwebs, police tape, witch's cauldrons and Styrofoam headstones, AND they were all in costume. (I often forget that we live in the land of set dressers, makeup artists, prop masters and costume designers, and they take their work very seriously.) I quickly speed dialed Michael and yelled into his ear, "Abort mission! Repeat. Abort! We've once again underachieved and if you bring crappy candy we'll look really, really stupid. For the love of Herman Munster, ABORT!"

I'm just going to have to face facts, I'm not a mom who goes the extra distance. I'm a last minute Christmas/birthday present shopper and often times I regift from the back of our closet. I wish I was better at remembering significant dates, better at picking up meaningful thank you gifts, sending heartfelt cards and making casseroles, but it doesn't seem to be in my DNA.

Now, let's pick apart how I shortchanged Halloween...

I was not only content to buy the jumbo mixed bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Malted Milk Balls and Kit Kats, I felt accomplished in doing so. Our neighbor, however, created gift bags stenciled with the kids' names, and in them were toys, stickers and chocolates from Belgium.

Sebastian's school promoted homemade costumes, but we took the easy way out. Michael pointed the kids towards a rack of clothes and said go. Sebastian chose Wolfman, Maxie chose Ariel, both store bought, both made of flammable acetate. Maxie's best friend also went as Ariel, however her costume was painstakingly homemade; it was diaphanous blue and it draped beautifully with seashells hand stitched across the bodice.

And lastly, our stoop was pathetic. Of our four pumpkins only two were carved. And cheap cobwebs from the 99 Cent Store hung unsuccessfully, looking like cotton turds. The house a couple of blocks down did a twenty-two minute Michael Jackson tribute show on the hour. In front of a huge screen with Michael doing Thriller, professional dancers performed the same moves.

It's hard not to feel small.

Come to think of it, we were so late getting this year's pumpkins, costumes and candy that all of our Halloween paraphernalia was already marked down at a discount. Once again, picking through the dregs. When Bash was two, the only costumes available were an elephant and a Powerpuff Girl. (I chose pachyderm over Powerpuff.) It was a bit small, and when he put it on the trunk stood straight in the air like a misplaced erection. To this day, when my husband wants to illistrate my last minute behavior, he will cite this example.

Here's the thing... I'm not like the mom who is concerned about the contents of the candy she hands out. Nor am I like the mom across the street, who went to the ends of the Earth to fulfill her sixth grade daughter's unusual desire to be Dolly Levi for Halloween. That's right, the matchmaker from the musical Hello Dolly! made famous by Carol Channing on Broadway, La Streisand in the flick. The choice may have been peculiar, but the costume was impeccable. And I'm definitely not like the mom from around the corner who threw together a Halloween party at the last moment. The house was artfully decorated with witches and candles and masks, picante pumpkin soup simmered on the stove, and spooky sound effects played as kids bobbed for apples.

And not to reflect every exemplary mommy moment back onto my own novice mommy skills, but deep down, I do long to go the distance. Maybe it's baby steps. Last year, we didn't have 99 cent cobweb turds. Maybe next year I'll shoot for the candy bowl with the moving skeleton hand.