Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: I trust airline pilots more than telecom execs

If the stress of booking a flight when there are 1,800 pandemic related cancellations a day isn’t enough, how about the news that even though pilots—PILOTS!—have warned new 5G tech near airports could “harm aviation” …AT&T and Verizon are completing their airport adjacent installations.

“Harm aviation” sounds like a super nice way of saying “will potentially make the planes fall outta the sky.”

Call me crazy but why would I take the word of AT&T and Verizon, who stand to make a fortune once this 5G stuff rolls out, over real-life aviators who have spent their careers keeping us safe in the sky?

That would be like not trusting scientists on the effectiveness of a Covid vaccine, instead believing “angry neighbor man” who claims the virus is “no worse than eating a bowl of bad potato salad.”

AT&T and Verizon are unhappy with the FAA and aviation industry experts who claim the new tech could interfere with onboard equipment like radio altimeters and disrupt flights. Right into a cornfield.

Both companies counter 5G technology is already installed around airports in France, snarkily adding: “The laws of physics are the same in the U.S. and France.”

Untrue. The laws of physics in France waste most of the day smoking in cafes with their free-range poodles, who also smoke. Duh.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete (“Pete”) Buttigieg is leading the fight to delay the 5G until more safety studies are done.

“I’ve got newborn twins, so I haven’t slept in, like, 120 days. Will this make planes fall from the sky? I dunno. Hey! Does anybody else see that moose on the ceiling?”

AT&T head John Stankey (seriously; that’s his name) is now pinky swearing not to deploy 5G around airports for six months.

“We hope that by then, Secretary Buttigieg will be in a better mood. Maybe somebody could get him one of those sleep machine gizmos…” Stankey never said but probably thought.

AT&T and Verizon are only expert at devising fun new ways to jack up your bill. Universal Service Fund? Gross Receipts Recovery Fee? C’mon.

It’s interesting to note the telecommunications giants are only able to use this new tech because they won the C-Band spectrum that makes 5G possible for $80 billion at a government auction. Which really makes that Depression-era glass butter dish I got for a buck fifty that time seem like even more of a bargain.

In general, airlines don’t seem to get much respect for safety protocols. I always feel bad nobody else watches the seat belt demonstration and I always give the stink eye to passengers who have to be told repeatedly—like toddlers—to STOW YOUR DEVICE FOR TAKEOFF. Announced repeatedly, I half expect it to be followed by a stern: “Don’t make me pull this jet over.” Flight attendants can’t buckle up in their weird half seat thing down front if Heather in 18F insists on binging “Virgin River” on her laptop.

So, I lean over and whisper: “Doc Mullins has an incurable disease and Mel is going to secretly get pregnant via AI at the end of Season 3, but she still believes the baby could be Jack’s.” Hahahahahaha.

I’m a rule-follower, particularly where matters of life and death are concerned so I always remember to put my phone in “airplane mode.” Once, I asked Duh Hubby two hours into a flight if he had done so and he said “Huh. I forgot.” Just like it was no big deal to have endangered all 140 souls aboard.

I love that term, “souls.” I never heard it until watching the fabulous plane crash movie “Sully,” the first time. It’s such a sweet way of framing passengers as something more noble. Not Heather, of course, but the rest of us.

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

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Fans of “Sex and the City” reboot need not apologize

A while back, a male friend upbraided me for appearing to joke about the time, years ago, a handsy man many years my senior …grabbed my bottom. As my friend mansplained, “That’s NOT a laughing matter.”

HE was offended.

As the owner of the grabbed bottom in question, I was irritated by a man telling me how to discuss my experience. I chose to share it with humor as I often do because I believe humor is a powerful tool in reclaiming the power over whatever awfulness is currently doing us in.

I told him there’s not a woman alive who hasn’t had to remove somebody’s hand from where it hadn’t oughta be. We get to talk about it however works for us.

I was offended.

He probably meant well but all I could think about was a man who had zero experience in this particular area thought he knew better than I how I should deal with it. Curious.

Last week, I experienced the same irritation reading the acidic reviews of HBO’s long awaited “Sex and the City” reboot, “And Just Like That.”

The reviewers are the nation’s elite critics. They were all younger than me, in some cases way younger; many were male. From the looks of it, most if not all were in elementary/middle school when SATC became a cultural phenomenon in the late ‘90s/early 00’s. The critics were repelled by the downer grief vibe and the (oh, if I had a dollar every time I read THIS phrase…) “cringe-inducing” behavior of Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda. This last seemed to be focused mostly on Miranda’s excruciating demonstrations of (my apologies for this overused word) “wokeness.”

I’m not saying writers should only review shows in their own demo. That’s nuts. Besides, where would you even find critics who spend their spare time stealing fancy cars for street racing, a la “The Fast & the Furious”? And don’t get me started on all things M. Night Shyamalan.

I think it was the patronizing tone that got me. Review after review cited all sorts of high-minded atrocities, flinging about words like “zeitgeist” and phrases like “panicked legacy salvage.” It called to mind an art show catalogue: lots of fancy words leaving you more confused than ever.

Could I have been so completely wrongheaded when I texted a couple of girlfriends: “Run, do not walk, to your remote and find this show!” How was it possible they considered the show “bloated and laugh-free”? Was that how they saw women in their mid-50s?

Mercifully, I found hundreds of reader comments that agreed with me. Viewers who recognized themselves heaped praise on a script showing women in their mid-50s grappling with the landslide of poo their demographic faces every day: raising angsty teenagers while care-taking aging parents and wondering who’s that amiable enough guy sharing a bathroom with me? This is the age where you realize the only person who has asked you if you have plans that day is the grocery store cashier and he’s paid to do that. Pretty sure they never ask a man that. Just the middle-aged woman getting the half-case discount on her Josh Cabernet with the store loyalty card which lives on a key ring beside the keys to her parents’ assisted living apartment.

Because I had my only child at 40, many of my closest women friends are the happy result of bonds formed on the playground. They are 55 now and I’m, weirdly, 10 years older. Math can be so cruel.

Watching Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte navigate their mid-50s reminded me most of us emerge from those challenging years a little bruised but a lot wiser and with the gumption to speak our truth. With humor if we like.

And just like that, I felt much better.

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

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: The health concerns of a “pear-shaped woman”

As a pear-shaped woman, I’m more than a little concerned to read a scientific study reporting we pears are far more likely to have memory problems as we age than the so-called apple-shaped women who carry their fat in their stomachs, not their hips.

This doesn’t even make any sense if you think about human anatomy. Look, I’m no doctor but it seems to me that, geographically speaking, the brain is a lot closer to the waist than it is to the butt. Soooo, ipso facto, presto chango, if fat is clogging up your brain and causing memory loss, why wouldn’t it be a bigger problem churning its way to the brain from the much-closer, uh, waistal area? Well science community? I’m waiting here.

Is it actually possible that, just as some rather heartless readers have suggested to me over the years, all my brains are in my butt?

Researchers believe that the reason larger, pear-shaped women have more memory loss is the TYPE of fat deposited around the hips vs. the waist.

Fat is fat, I always thought but it turns out that butt fat is largely made up of cytokines, creepy hormones that can mess with your memory and brain function. Waist fat, on the other hand, is composed exclusively of chicken-fried steak from Golden Corral and the occasional theater-size box of Junior Mints and does nothing whatsoever to your brain. Although it does wreak considerable havoc with your ability to buy off the rack at skinny-waist boutiques.

It doesn’t seem particularly fair the location of my fat is going to make me forget stuff as I get older. Actually, I’m pretty sure that it’s already started. I was going to tell you a story to illustrate this, but I forget.

One doctor involved in the study said this means “if we have a woman in our office carrying excess fat on her hips, we might be more aggressive with weight loss.” Great. Apple-girl out there in the waiting room gets a free pass while I get a lousy lecture about diet and exercise that y’all know I’m going to forget 20 minutes later on account of that problem I now disremember.

I’m guessing that Sir Mix-A-Lot of “I Like Big Butts” fame will have to revise his famous ode to the pear-shaped woman: “Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake that healthy butt…” Not hardly. Maybe, one day, me and J-Lo can hang out and forget stuff together. She should probably start with “Maid in Manhattan.” We’ll invite that pretty skank Kim Kardashian over, too.

Bottom line, (ha!) I plan to parlay this “my butt is killing my brain” thing into a positive but I haven’t figured out how. I may have to ask my apple-shaped friends with their scary-good memories for help with this.

Celia Rivenbark is on vacation. This column originally appeared in 2015 but she’s banking on pear shapes not to remember a word of it. So there’s that.

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: A peculiar pick for person of the year

So, “Time” magazine’s Person of the Year is Elon Musk. I’m sure we’re all wondering the same thing: Were the Sacklers not available?

No, no. What I meant to say was thoughts and prayers to Jeff Bezos who is probably curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor of one of his many mansions. Life is so unfair, Jeffy.

It should be noted that “Time” (motto: not your Grandpa’s magazine; OK, jk, yeah we are) goes to great lengths to point out the Person of the Year isn’t an award. Rather, the designation “recognizes the person who had the most influence on the events of the year, for good or ill.”

Right. So lemme get this straight. The baby-faced billionaire who got in a peeing match with Bezos with both trying to build a bigger rocket ship to blast rich people into space had the most influence of anyone in America in 2021.

The scientists who developed COVID vaccines, saving millions of lives and staying the execution of the global economy as we know it? The worn-out and weary health care workers tending COVID patients in hospitals across America? Meh. Go build a rocket, losers.

“Time” magazine (motto: “Seriously, we’re cool now; we almost always profile an obscure Broadway producer you need to know about”) did designate Hitler (yes, that Hitler) back in 1938 so the “good or ill” part does ring true, I suppose.

To be fair, which I just hate, Bezos did win the “not an award” back in 1999 but that’s like 80 lifetimes ago in billionaire years. I mean, “Sex and the City” was the biggest thing on HBO back then. Oh. Wait.

1999 was also the year “Time” magazine (motto: “When we run out of things to say, we run 18 pages of photos of the same desert”) made a long overdue change from “Man of the Year” to “Person of the Year.” And later gave the honor to “the computer” which was baffling and really got under the skin of “the refrigerator with craft ice” and “the oven with built-in air fryer” who really thought 2021 might just be their year.

“Time” magazine (motto: “We used to have a humor columnist but humor is so pedestrian when you can use that space for yet another story about Frida Kahlo, who though dead since 1954 continues to be having a  moment as they say”) has named Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Joseph Stalin as Persons of the Year. So there.

(Incidentally, I didn’t mean to offend Frida Kahlo fans; she is hands-down my favorite artist with a unibrow. Work it, girl!)

Predictably, not just snarky humor columnists upbraided “Time” magazine (motto: “If you want a copy of the 1999 Bezos cover, simply visit the office of your local proctologist”) for its choice of the flamboyantly irritating Elon Musk.

One of the loudest critics was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, she of the purse filled with crumpled Kohl’s cash, a tin of off-brand Altoids and a Kleenex from 2011. Warren’s head did that emoji thing where it blows up like a mushroom cloud when she learned of the anointing of Elon Musk.

Warren churlishly but accurately tweeted the magazine’s choice highlighted the need to “change the rigged tax code so the Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else.”

All y’all say “Harrrrumph!”

In announcing the selection of Musk, who publicly played down COVID  and threatened to take away stock options from Tesla workers when they tried to unionize, “Time” described him as an “edgelord” which sounds made up but is a fancy way to say “selfish pork face.”

Finally, to the Sacklers, here’s hoping you win in 2022. If anyone deserves to be in the company of Hitler, it’s y’all.

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

Holiday humor from Celia Rivenbark: Your guide to those confusing party attire rules

It’s the holidays and now that we’re (mostly) back to in-person gatherings, it’s time to revisit those confusing dress code instructions. What, pray tell, is beach casual? Or creative black tie? Or business casual or cocktail attire or, ugh, sporty casual?

I have no idea. What? You thought this was going to be useful? Please. That’s not why I’m here. All I can share is what I think these silly terms SHOULD mean. Onward…

Cocktail attire: Even the venerable Miss Manners recently confessed she’s stumped by this one. So maybe it’s time she was fired. Because it seems obvious cocktail attire means you should wear anything that allows you to drink lustily without damaging fine fabrics. You can wear your Clemson sweatshirt, for example, or really any long- sleeved tee. (But no short-sleeved tees; you’re not a savage!) If you want to class things up a bit, make sure your tee boasts how much you support your local public radio station. Done!

Black tie optional: This one is a bit easier to interpret. The hint’s right there in the title. As everyone knows, black tie means tuxedos for the gents but what is this optional business? I believe this means you can pick either the bottom or the top of the tuxedo, leaving the remaining body part completely exposed. You’re welcome.

Creative black tie: This one’s a fairly new entry into the lexicon of party attire but it’s also simple enough to break down. Think outside the box! Men, wear cocktail dresses (these are anything shiny you can find at Ross for under $30) and ladies, wear a cummerbund over whatever body part you are most embarrassed about. How creative!

Business casual: This may be the most confusing of all, am I right? What does this even mean? Anyone who receives an invitation with this designation immediately despairs of getting it wrong. Are you dressing like you would for work but adding some sort of frivolous twist? Yes, I believe that’s it! Ladies, for example, should wear a nice suit from Talbot’s or Dillard’s accompanied by flip flops to denote “casual”? Yes! You’ve nailed it. Maybe this isn’t as hard as I thought. Let’s continue.

Beach casual: Because I live a mere nine miles from the ocean, this potentially confusing party attire glossary designation shows up with distressing regularity on invitations. My standard approach would be to arrive wearing a bathing suit (maternity OK so you can eat more) and perhaps carrying a bucket of Walmart crab legs as a playful accessory. Gents, of course, should wear swim trunks and an annoying amount of white sunscreen on their noses to add to the merriment. It goes without saying that no one should wear shoes. Side note: Sporty casual simply means wear what you want and add a tennis racket.

Semi-formal: Whew. At last, an easy one! Just dress exactly as you would if you were hauling a tractor trailer of goods across the country but feeling as though you might just pop in on your high school class reunion along the way!

Smart casual: It’s just an educated (ha!) guess but I think this means you should show up wearing a college sweatshirt. If you can get your hands on an Ivy League version, all the better. Also, sew on some elbow patches, smoke a pipe and tell everyone at the party you are “inebriated” and “overserved” rather than “hammered” or “wall-eyed.” This will subtly signal to other partygoers you are “smart.” I know what you’re thinking: Is there a “dumb casual” party dress designation? The answer is, not that I know of BUT if there is, you may be perfectly safe in simply wearing a shirt proclaiming “Let’s Go Brandon,” “Defund Fauci” or  “Guns Don’t Kill People, Alec Baldwin Does.”

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