Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Prince Louis needs to meet Meemaw

After watching the antics of bonny Prince Louis of Cambridge last week at Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration and Wet Waistcoat Contest, I found myself thinking somebody needs to ship the wee master across the pond so a Southern Mee-maw could, er, correct a few bad behaviors.

Louis, age 4, is a walking, talking meme. He slams his little palm over mom, Kate Middleton’s, mouth to make her stop talking. He rolls his eyes when bored with the exaggeration of a Catskills comic in the ‘50s. Take my monarchy, please.

At the Jubilee, he literally thumbed his nose at his parents during the pageantry. Blimey! The only time Prince Louis seemed composed  was while sitting with his grandfather, Prince Charles Who Will Never, Ever Be King and Nobody Even Cares Anymore Least of All His Own Mother. Perhaps Charles’ sadness, as omnipresent as Camilla’s unfortunate off-white stockings, moves even the tiny tyrant to a rare and respectful silence.

The British press is besotted with Prince Louis, calling him “delightfully precocious” and a “charmer whose crowd-pleasing antics never disappoint.”

Oh, sure they do.

You can’t blame Prince Louis, though. He leads a pretty cushy life from what I can tell. He probably has a child from the village fetched every day to taste his pudding to make sure it’s not too hot.

You can imagine him sitting with his quieter siblings wondering aloud, “I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight.”

All of which means a Southern Mee-maw intervention is needed here. And soon.

Of course, no one spanks anymore so we will need Mee-maw 2.0 for the task. There can be no invitation to “go get a switch” in this modern age. When we know better, we do better. I believe Howard Stern said that.

Once he arrives in mythical Catgut, N.C., Prince Louis will be taught to “straighten up and fly right” not by a proper English governess in starched pinafore and thick-soled shoes but by a genuine Southern great grandma, wearing aqua crocs and a sweatshirt decorated with “U.S. Songbirds.” This is the uniform of a warrior going into battle and it is, statistically speaking, undefeated.

Prince Louis will frown at the bowlful of grits presented him for his first stateside breakfast. His trademark scowl, which is “delightfully iconic” according to royal-watchers and “incredibly annoying” to everyone else, will be greeted with Southern Mee-maw wisdom.

“You keep scrunching up yer face and it’ll freeze like that.”


If he raises his tiny fists to her, she will laugh loudly and remind him “You can get glad in the same clothes you got sad in.”

He is 4, so this may take a moment for all that wisdom to sink in, but he will ultimately understand she’s telling him “Let go of what’s making you mad.”

As he stomps and sasses, she will instruct him “don’t act ugly.” Which is Southern for “stop being a jerk.” She will be moved to tell him she’s ill with him and he will come to decipher that this “ill” has nothing to do with a physical ailment.

By the time he is returned to his loving family, and Megan Markle, Prince Louis will be whipped (not really!) into shape and become the model of decorum. And if he backslides? Help is just an overnight flight away. And it’s got a new pair of crocs.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write to her at [email protected].

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Sorry, but ‘Top Gun’ was a terrible movie

In preparation for watching the splashy sequel to film classic “Top Gun,” I decided to rewatch the 1986 original, remembering it as “great, one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.”


Clocking in at a shade over two (very long) hours, the original “Top Gun” was so cheesy I fully expect to be constipated for the foreseeable future. Sorry, not sorry.

How could my memory of the movie’s greatness be so off? Did I honestly not notice the ham-handed love scenes, directed with the deft touch of a weekend porn producer whose real job was selling burial insurance? Sorry. Final expenses, I meant.

Rewatching a movie you considered “classic” decades later is bound to result in disappointment. I remember sobbing in the theater at the demise of mega-bro “Goose,” played by Anthony Edwards who would, inexplicably, go on to land the role of a decidedly nebbish doc on “ER.”

Watching “Top Gun” for the first time in 36 years makes me question everything I believed back then. Maybe “Take My Breath Away” really wasn’t the greatest romantic ballad of all time. Sigh.

Because the aerial shots were so exciting, much was forgiven, including the truly awful and chemistry-free tongue dance performed by Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise. Lord have mercy. I fully expected him to just start licking her face like a springer spaniel.

“It’s a great story of romance and adventure,” I had told Duh, who never saw “Top Gun” for some weird reason, but who has also never seen “The Godfather” or “Star Wars” so clearly he was a wolf-boy or something growing up.

“We can’t see the sequel until you see this because you’ll be lost,” I told him, prissily.

As the final credits mercifully rolled, Duh looked at me with new eyes. Possibly because he’d tried to gouge out his old ones.

“That was horrible,” he said, holding out his hand, not to hold but to receive the remote.

“In 1986, this was state of the art! Those special effects were cutting edge.”

But it was too late. When I recommend a terrible movie, which happens with alarming frequency, I’m placed in marital movie “time out.” It could take a while to regain trust. Things hadn’t derailed this badly since I recommended the second “Sex & the City” movie, which left him snoring soundly only 30 minutes in.

The jaw-droppingly bad script made me wonder what kind of a writer I was back in 1986. So, I took a look at some old clips from one of my first reporting jobs. On the birth of a mule in a nearby county, this lead sentence: “Her mother was a nag and her father was a jackass…”

Oh dear.

I have to admit it’s not the first time a movie has suffered for the (much) later rewatching. While I adored “Titanic,” 25 years ago, I can’t watch it now because I want to strangle that paper-skinned hag when she drops the “Heart of the Ocean” into the sea knowing the blue diamond the size of a conch shell could’ve ended world hunger. Dotty battle axe.

And don’t get me started on “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which obviously was made before I was born but was a late-bloomer in popularity, not really coming into its own until the copyright lapsed in the ‘70s allowing it to be shown free and often continuously on TV.

Decades later, I maintain Pottertown, a boozy Vegas in the making was kinda great.`

To be honest, the only very old movies I can’t find fault with are “Paper Moon” (1973) and “To Kill A Mockingbird” (1962).  Y’all let me know the classic you once loved that now makes you say “Do whaaaat??”

Unlike a Saturday night in Bedford Falls, this could be fun.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write her at [email protected].

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Hot girl walkin’

Leave it to TikTok to make something as ordinary as taking a walk around the neighborhood sound almost edgy. The “hot girl walk” is officially a TikTok craze. It’s a dubious honor. Last year, hordes of  young folks shocked their parents and orthodontists with another TikTok craze: filing their teeth to look like vampires. Turns out they just looked like IDIOTS.

TikTok isn’t always weird and harmful to your enamel. Much of the time it’s just derivative and unfunny. Which is how less evolved types might describe this column so, yeah, there’s that.

Freezing honey in plastic bottles and then posting videos showing you drinking it at the squishy stage? Just stop. Climbing pyramids of carelessly stacked milk crates? Wake me up for the inevitable compound fracture. Now THAT’s interesting.

The “hot girl walk” was recently detailed in, of all things, “Parade” magazine which may have just officially ended the trend’s hotness. It’s off brand to read about hotness between ads for big-button cell phones, limited-edition pennies worth, uhhh, a penny, and vinegar “cures” for arthritis, am I right?

But let’s not hate on “Parade,” even though it’s admittedly one of my favorite things to do, and turn our attention to Mia Lind, the perky 22-year-old who “invented” walking while hot. Mia is adorably earnest as she explains the three rules of hot girl walk. And, no, they aren’t “You do not talk about hot girl walk.”

Mia explains a hot girl walk is different from a regular walk because you are only allowed to think about three things: what you’re grateful for (nice), goals you’d like to achieve (motivating) and how hot you are (wait; what?).

This is all well and good if you look like Mia Lind but for the rest of us, that last one could devolve into “I’m hot! This is a hot girl walk and I’m really hot! Nope. My bad. Just under-boob sweat…” And from there, self-loathing and questioning taking advice from anyone who has never experienced the heartbreak of thigh chafing.

Lind herself completes a four-mile hot girl walk most days. Whoa. I can’t drive that far without getting tired. So, yeah. Ima change that to, say, one mile, because that’s one of my personal goals!

The premise that you can only think about three things is completely unrealistic. Here’s how that would work for me…

OK, powerful hot girl jammin’ and empowering tunes? Check! Peppy new really old hot girl floral skort from Costco? Check! Willingness to embrace my long dormant or possibly never existed hot-girl attitude? Mmmmkay.

And we’re off! I’m going to think about all the things I’m grateful for. Wait! Got one! I’m grateful the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial is finally over. Alternately gripping and gross, the trial desperately needed a shot clock for the dull parts. At those times, I could only gaze in wonder at that weird Medusa coil Amber had winding around her skull like it was a living, breathing thing. Did she just discreetly feed it a Chee-to? If you’re wondering exactly how shallow I am to fixate on best supporting hair, the answer is “very.”

OK, next up: Achieving goals.

Well, that’s easy. I want someone to look at me the way Johnny Depp’s lawyer looked at him, and he at her. It’s the same way I look at an expertly made banana pudding.

And now I’m starving. I’m grateful I’ve only walked a few yards. I kinda hate Mia right now. She says the true hot girl keeps her shoulders back and stride purposeful. You must not slouch or look as if you don’t think you are fierce.

I’m determined to keep this up because the idea behind it is solid. Unless, of course, Mia says I’d be even more fierce with fangs.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write her at [email protected]


Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Babies and breweries

My nephew and his wife are expecting their first baby next month. They’re excited for all the usual reasons, but I’m happy for them for a much less obvious reason.

You see, it’s easy, and expected, to be giddy at the notion of gently pinching impossibly chubby baby thighs or pondering the adorableness of spit-bubble smiles. And don’t even get me started on the heartbreakingly sweet heaviness of a sleeping baby’s head on your chest.

Can you tell I want grandchildren?

Kidding! This isn’t about me. Which is a sentence I say almost never but really mean this time.

Like all first-time expectant couples, neph and wife have had plenty of advice for months now. Solid, useful, practical advice like “sleep when the baby sleeps,” which never made sense to me. I mean when are you supposed to watch your DVR’ed Real Housewives if you’re curled up at 3 p.m. every day? That’s nuts.

I prefer to impart truly useful, practical advice, the kind of wisdom you may not get at a baby shower game. (Best advice I’ve seen from one of those: “Take your kids to the pumpkin patch. Let them pick out any pumpkin they like but tell them they have to tote it to the car. They will never want to go back.” You’re welcome.)

“This is a sweet, special time,” I will tell neph. “You already have a dog…”

“Where you headed with this, auntie?” he will ask.

“And now, with a new baby AND a dog, well, you pretty much get to spend every weekend at a brewery!”

Sure, you could go to a brewery without a baby or a dog but, if it’s on a weekend and not quite dark yet, you’re going to get some serious side eye.

“Hmmph. She came in here with some other grownup, ordered a hazy double IPA and doesn’t even have a toddler. Some people!” They stare and point just like they do at Disney if you go without a kid. Or so I’ve been told.

These are glorious days to be a new parent.

I’ll have to tell nephew how it used to be in the olden days. Young folks just love that.

“Son, back in 1997, when your little cousin was born, we had to walk to Chuck E. Cheese, uphill, both ways…We were excited not for the pizza—which was thin and hard enough to pop a door lock,–but we did it because it was the only kids’ birthday party destination that sold beer. And we’re not talking some hops-infused ale with notes of juniper and crankcase oil. We’re talking stupid beer. Warm. Yeller. And truly awful.

Neph’s face will go pale at this, of course. Young parents today only know of IPAs, pilsners, sours, stouts and the roughly 15,000 variations of those on tap.

As one of the last of his pals to procreate, nephew only knows of bars turned brewery with tricked-out changing tables where the you know what machine used to be.

More than once I’ve found myself at the newest brewery of the week, marveling at how tiny the babies are. And how big the dogs.

“That one must’ve come straight from the hospital,” I nudge Duh Hubby. “OMG, what is that dog licking off the baby??”

If I’m bemused by this trend, imagine the dogs. Life used to include a weekend outing at a dog park or a romp in the country.

Now, they are silent and bitter looking sentinels beside the ubiquitous stroller. They have a new job they never applied for.

Duke: “Yeah, they came back the other night with THAT. I honestly thought she was just hittin’ the cheesecake a little hard.”

Marma: “Lookit. It hasn’t even gotten its fur yet.”

Duke: I need a drink.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write her at [email protected].

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: A feel-good story for a change…

I spotted the petite gray and white tabby while working on my laptop beside a kitchen window. She was staring at a female cardinal perched on the lowest branch of my ancient cypress tree.

My own tuxedo cats, Joey and Chandler, had also perked up at the sight of a visiting kitty. Indoor cats, they don’t understand food that doesn’t come from a can and wondered why this cute interloper seemed obsessed with a dumb bird. They looked at one another, exhausted by the notion of having to hunt for food and fell into deep sleep on the window seat.

When the tabby turned to look in my direction, I saw she had only one eye. Because of her markings, it looked as if the missing eye had been crudely stitched shut.

“Janine!” I screamed. Like a crazy person. She reminded me immediately of the pitiful but plucky one-eyed character in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

She looked back at the cardinal, and I tapped on the window glass, but weirdly Janine didn’t respond. I would learn later she is deaf. But I’m getting ahead of myself. She stared at the bird for a while longer and when I looked up again, she had moved on. New back-door neighbors’ cat, I assumed. We have coyotes so I’d have to tell them to keep her inside at night.

A few hours later, I was weeding some flowers and realized Janine was on my front doorstep watching with interest. I called to her. No response. I finished my work and moved on.

Janine was in the back yard again when I finally got close enough to get a good picture to text to our neighborhood group. No one knew Janine. How could this be? She was clearly well-cared for, not a typical stray.

I decided to send the picture to a subgroup of neighbor ladies. We get together once a week on someone’s porch for a catch-up. It’s a lovely tradition because it’s that rare group of women that feels no obligation whatsoever to make snacks and turn it into work. We show up with a drink, or not, and sit a spell.

“I’ve seen that one-eyed cat!” a neighbor messaged me. Janine’s picture was posted on a lost pet registry she monitored.

A minute later, she’d found the post and messaged Janine’s mom. And here’s the funny part. Janine, whose real name was “Lil Bit,” lived more than 10 miles away. How did she get from the ‘burbs to my downtown backyard?

The owner texted me immediately. “That’s my cat!!!” She had posted Lil Bit’s disappearance (with a hefty reward) everywhere and scoured her neighborhood nightly. It had been almost two weeks. To say Lil Bit’s owner had lost sleep is an understatement. A mutual friend said she was “devastated.”

I texted, “Are you sure?”  Her photo of a younger Janine wasn’t all that convincing, and I didn’t want to get her hopes up.

“I’ll be there in 15 minutes.”

A public health nurse, she arrived in scrubs with a tin of sardines. A local cat rescue delivered a trap because, by this time, Janine was stubbornly hiding under our house. Deaf. One-eyed. And 10 miles from home. Duh Hubby crawled under the house with Janine’s mom. I did not. I had to, uhhhh, wash my hair.

It took two hours, but Janine was finally, happily in her mama’s arms. None of us could believe it. We hugged and jumped up and down, three strangers now bonded for life.

The next morning, Janine’s mom sent a picture of her happily in her own bed with her best pup friend who had also missed her greatly.

A happy ending in a world that often doesn’t seem to have a lot of them. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write to her at [email protected].