Blah Blah Blog by Jessica Harper by Jessica
decorative flourish

Archive for December, 2008

Moorish Idol

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Okay, so I admit it, I’m in Hawaii. I feel guilty admitting this to all of you who are wearing six layers of clothing in sub-zero situations, but there it is. Yesterday I was in a bathing suit, floating in turquoise water, observing a moorish idol, while you guys were shoveling your sidewalks.

Perhaps some of you are now asking yourselves, as you scrape the ice from your windshield, what the hell is a Moorish idol? Well, I will tell you, while you defrost your nose.

A moorish idol is a lovely little fish, named by the Moors of Africa who considered it a sign of incoming happiness. They are all over the place here (the fish, not the Moors), which may explain why the Hawaiians I’ve met seem so happy all the time. (Or maybe it’s because they are not wearing six layers of clothing and shoveling sidewalks.)

You can try to harvest a m.i. and put it in your aquarium so you have a little in-house happiness booster but I’m told the fish are notorious for dropping dead when they get aquariumed, and this could have an inverse effect on your mood, which is probably already pretty wretched due to the fact that your hands are frostbitten and your cat is frozen stiff on the porch.

So, I’m posting here a picture of a moorish idol, in an attempt to electronically send you a little happiness in the new year. Sit back, take off four layers, light a fire since the power is out, and celebrate 2009. If you don’t get a happiness rush from this picture, you might want to go the martini route.


Retail Therapy: A Green Christmas

Friday, December 19th, 2008

The photo in this post features my dog, Oliver, reclining before the Christmas tree. The reason he looks so content, full of yuletide glory, is because he just ate most of the ornaments that were so carefully hung on the tree the day before.

I caught him just in time to save a hand-creweled mini-stocking, which he spat out in response to my curse words. I re-hung it, much higher up, along with any other ornaments in pooch range, so the bare bottom half of the tree now looks slightly ridiculous, like it forgot its pants.

Luckily, Oliver did not choose to chew the Christmas lights, because they are very special this year. They are LED lights, and I’ve been bragging about them all over town.

LED stands for, uh, I forget what, except the D is for diode, but the point is, they are energy-efficient, reducing your Christmas carbon footprint (or in Oliver’s case, pawprint) by a whole lot. They last FOREVER; they will still be twinkiling after the apocalypse. And cute? You can see in the photo, behind the silhouette of Mr. Destructo.

You can get these lights, if you haven’t already committed to the other kind (SO last century) at for about $16 a strand. Priscilla Woolworth is the proprietor of this online store that sells lots of fabulous green stuff, like reusable water bottles, photo albums made of recycled plastic, and solar task lights. If you haven’t already bought your boyfriend a yodeling pickle, go buy him a head scratcher at Priscilla’s for $4 and he will love you forever.

I was going to buy Oliver a head scratcher but after the episode with the tree, that dog is getting coal.


Retail Therapy: Christmas Forever

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

If you are appalled by the price or just the fact of Christmas trees, poinsettias, wreaths, mistletoe  and other décor ripped from nature, you might need to check out the realm of the “forever” varieties.

I recently discovered GM Floral Supplies, whose name is way too modest considering its inventory. At this huge shop upstairs above LA’s downtown flower market, you’ll find any kind of Christmas décor and other paraphernalia you can imagine, especially if your taste leans towards the garish.

There are poinsettias trimmed in glitter, made to last about a millenium, along with similarly non-biodegradable wreaths and stuff, and the Christmas trees are spectacular.

They come in all colors, but the pink one is a standout. At $229 it’s pricey, but I saw a real tree at a lot in the valley for $210, and that’ll be dead by Tuesday. You could leave this pink number in your daughter’s room until she goes to college. (Then make her take it with her.)

They also have massive fake icicles suspended from the ceiling, for those desperate to simulate winter in toasty LA, as well as an appealing plastic polar bear, all glittery, dignified, two feet high, for forty bucks. Cheaper and less species-endangering than harvesting one in the wild, by a long shot. (Why am I suddenly thinking of Sarah Palin?)

You can also find Christmas ornaments the size of basketballs, candles, boxes, wrapping paper, and the world’s most astonishing collection of ribbon (I went ribbon rampant.)

If you don’t live in L.A., I’m sure you have a similar venue. If you DO live here, follow my directions to get to this fascinating place. Drive east on the 10 to the 110 North, get off at 9th St., and stay on it, heading south, for a couple miles til you hit Wall Street. (I know, scary, right? Another frickin; Wall Street?) Go left, and down a couple blocks and you’re there. You’ll see people coming out schlepping pink trees.You will be at the flower markeet, just take the escalator up to GM. (I know, scary, right? Another GM.)


The Christmas Of The Yodeling Pickle

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Okay, the economy sucks so it’s a challenging year to buy holiday gifts. I’ll tell you about a few things I found that are cheap and fab.

Since he can’t read English, it won’t ruin it for him if I reveal here that I am giving my dog Oliver a neat set of red and green tennis balls. This is a gift that will keep on giving, although it may also keep on giving carpel tunnel syndrome to me, as he will demand that I throw the balls for him a billion times. ($12)

For people who live in relentlessly sunny places, like Los (Endless Summer) Angeles, seasonal sunglasses are a great bet. They come in a bewildering array of garish styles, perfect cover for that Boxing Day hangover. I will not tell you who I’m giving them to here, just in case the lucky recipients actually read this blog, which is unlikely, so why am I giving the losers a gift anyway but whatever. ($12.50.)

I found a nail kit that’s disguised as a nesting doll and it’s as cute as can be.  It’s a great gift for those on your list who have taken up biting their nails in recent months, while they watch their 401K disappear. So, you know, like, everyone. ($12.)

Okay, so here’s one item that’s a little more pricey, but may be worth it for the right person. It’s a plastic, yodeling pickle. I know, breathtaking, right? Hard to imagine the brainpower that went into the invention of this thing, but it is awesome (hence the steep price) so only the most privileged person on my list will receive it. I have not decided who that will be yet, but I do know someone I’m fond of who shall remain nameless but is Totally Swiss and, not to be a Swissist or anything, but I figure he’s no stranger to the yodel, and he’s also rumored to enjoy the occasional pickle, so if he plays his cards right he will be a contender.

All the above items are available at E.A.T., 1062 Madison Ave., N.Y., or call 212-861-2544.



Thursday, December 4th, 2008

I love Jott, a free  application you can download to your phone. Here’s how it works. When you think of something you know you are in danger of forgetting within seconds (this happens to me a hundred times a day as I am brain-challenged),  you speed dial Jott and at the prompt, leave yourself a spoken message, which is transcribed and sent to you as an email for later reading or storing in your to-do list. For a mere $3.95, you can upgrade to send similar messages to other people.

It’s miraculous: no more texting, just more talking.

There can be glitches however.

While we were at “Quantum Solace” the other night, I stepped out in the lobby to Jott my kids the following message: “This movie sucks.”  (Practicing Jotting was an infinitely better use of my time than watching that big, fat, boring movie.) However, the phone service in the lobby was dicey, with interesting results.

When we got home, I was greeted by my daughter with, “MOM! Do you KNOW what you JOTTED ME???” I had not seen her look so grossed out since our dog ate a lizard. (Actually, being a discriminating creature, he only ate half a lizard, leaving the tail.)
“Why yes,” I said as calm as Obama. “I Jotted you, ‘This movie sucks.’ Why?”

Nora dragged me to her computer to look. My message had been transcribed as follows: “I love sex.”

So, if you Jott, make sure you’re in a full service area, or you might send out a little TMI and then you’ll have to pay for your teenager to go to a therapist.