I’m rebelling. I’m staging a protest. I’m calling it “Occupy Autumn” and I’m refusing to budge until Dec. 1. Or at least until Thanksgiving’s over. Who’s with me??? I mean, Christmas ads are all over TV, Wal-Mart’s been stocking eggnog for a couple of weeks and my town already has Christmas lights strung up and downtown windows decorated — and all before we barely got out of our Halloween costumes and had time to separate the good candy (anything chocolate, caramel or peanut butter) from the bad (anything that looks as if it came from a basket of restaurant mints). Forget Turkey Day — Christmas*** already has obliterated that quaint tradition and now has set its sights on blasting Oct. 31 out of the holiday rotation. Before you know it, Labor Day will simply be a precursor to the pre–pre-Christmas sales. So, let’s make a stand. Keep your pumpkins and your earth-tone tableware out for a few more weeks. Use those orange dishes and autumn-themed linens right up until December. Let your fall flag fly!
***And by “Christmas,” I mean that whole outspend/out-buy/out-holiday mentality that causes us to go broke and crazy every year about this time. The birth of a baby to a young couple staying in a barn in Bethlehem about 2,000 years ago? That’s a whole different story.
Oh, Crazy Town! How I’ve missed you! The Land of Stars, Sparkles and Sequins … otherwise known as Dancing With the Stars. Welcome back!!! You bring joy and happiness every time you reappear. Aw, c’mon now. You there — I see you rolling your eyes. But have you tried DWTS? Have you actually sat down and watched the fabulousness that is The Journey to the Mirrorball? I have to admit that I’m a late adopter. When it first came on, I thought DWTS was simply about dancing. Wrong, wrong, WRONG! Once you realize that the dancing is only an excuse for the crazy, you can’t get enough. I’m telling you: DWTS is crazy in its purest form. There’s bad music, bad hair, bad jokes. There are various stages of fake tans. There are fake eyelashes unlike any ever seen anywhere. And, the very absolute best of all, there are fashion choices that … well, all I can say is that Younger Daughter and I thanked the Mirrorball Gods of Ultimate Crazy for co-host Brooke Burke’s “is-she-seriously-wearing-that?” dress from Monday’s premier show. It can only get better from here.
I’m a huge fan of Project Runway. (At least I’ve been one ever since Project Runway switched to Lifetime and I’ve been able to watch it since our cable system refuses to offer Bravo. And I’m done ranting now.) I mean, you’ve got sharp objects and shiny fabrics mixed with delicious diva-ness and the Sartorial Wisdom That Is Tim Gunn. What’s not to like? I especially love it when the judges go all crazy eyed. Now, I do not claim to know anything — not one single thing — about fashion. But it always amuses me when the Project Runway judges rail against something a show’s designer has produced when THAT VERY SAME LOOK is making the rounds in the real world. Take Peach’s dinner napkins, for example. In this past week’s episode, our favorite Token Old Lady (and note that she’s younger than I am, please) created an outfit that, yes, is ugly and busy and ill-fitting but definitely is not deserving of the judges’ scorn for her waistline “dinner-napkin” embellishment. At least if this fall 2010 cocktail dress by Nanette Lepore, which made it into the September issue of InStyle magazine (page 324), is any indication. Cat Deeley, where are you when we need you?
It’s that time of the TV year when everything else is background and 7-8 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays becomes sacred. That’s when I lust over watch Jeff Probst preside over the disintegration of carefully molded alliances and then ponder the detached imponderability of Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan. Survivor is my absolutely favorite TV show of all time. I love the backstabbing and lies and conniving and skulduggery — and that’s just the first episode. Amazing Race, for me, is less about the personalities and more about the intriguing idea of racing around the world with only a backpack when it takes me two pieces of luggage just to go to the nearest Big City for a weekend. I watch to learn. And this season on Survivor, we’ve got two Alabama contestants and one from Nashville, Tennessee, so I always root for the hometown folks. I also predict Sandy will be among the first to go and Benjamin will be trouble. In Amazing Race, I’ve got Mark and Michael pegged for an early exit, which is sad because those are my brothers’ names. But if reality TV teaches us anything, it’s that you can’t let sentiment — or honesty or friendship or kindness or any of those other peskily inconvenient values — get in the way. Don’t you love it?
Okay — this is an admission of what a geeky nerd I truly am. In lieu of being with family and/or friends on a Saturday night, one of my favorite things to do is hunker down at home, turn on public television and enjoy Britcoms, those reruns of old BBC half-hour comedies. I love them! I’m a huge fan and they never get old. My favorite is “Are You Being Served?” (pictured) with Mr. Lucas and Mr. Grainger and the original young Mr. Grace — I could do without Mr. Spooner or young Mr. Grace’s brother. I also adore “Keeping Up Appearances” with astounding female comic Patricia Routledge playing off an endearing cast of frustrated neighbors and family plus “Vicar of Dibley” with the amazing timing of actresses Dawn French and Emma Chambers and some of the wittiest dialogue on TV. I also love the upper-class stylings of Penelope Keith in “To the Manor Born” and “The Good Life,” and then there’s Judi Dench slumming and having a blast in “As Time Goes By.” And whenever John Cleese’s “Fawlty Towers” comes on, it’s a gold-star Saturday night. Two stars if “The Office” and “Yes, (Prime) Minister” are on and three for “Absolutely Fabulous.” And if I’m ever lucky enough to find “Doctor Who,” well, I think I would run out of stars.