Episode 178: "One of the Few Living People That Has A Ghost"
August 1, 2014
Origin of the episode title
Let's just get right to it: In this week's episode, Julie RANKS FRUIT. Listen to this provocative and controversial ranking of the top 30 fruits in her life and weep! Also, MATT BERMAN is here to talk to us about his new book, JFK Jr., George, & Me. Enjoy the unique POV of Camelot through the eyes of the art director of George Magazine and, in the process, enjoy the chat about: what the 90s were like, how blue Carolyn Bessette's eyes were, the time Barbara Walters AND Barbra Streisand were both difficult cover models if you can believe it, and how once Herb Ritts thought it was funny to stuff a sock in Cindy Crawford's pants.
Plus: Mario Lopez's slippery food slope now that his shoulder has been injured! A serial killer's way with lotion on patients! Nana, from Peter Pan, and how her arc is more important than the casting of its lead! And a man on the street who thought Julie was pregnant and expressed as much.
Also! I can't emphasize this enough: FRUIT WILL BE RANKED IN THIS EPISODE.
- This episode opens with a prayer of concern for Mario Lopez' metabolism.
- Julie went to see Hedwig with NPH again and ran into Mr. Belding.
- Top 30 Fruits
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Hello. Hi everybody. It’s Julie Klausner back for another episode of HWYW.
July is over. It’s August now. August, the month of Augusto. I had a very dense week of events, concepts and ideas. I should mention, before we go any further, that Mario Lopez has injured his shoulder. He has been ordered by his doctor to take it easy. That is not easy for him. As he tweeted he’s a high energy ADD kind of guy. The other thing that is important is the doctor said the only exercise he can do is the bike. He can’t move his upper body. Mario Lopez, who has publically experienced many food-based shame spirals on twitter, is concerned he is going to get really fat. So this is sort of like our Pledge of Allegiance, let’s close our eyes and think of Mario Lopez and his convalescence and send him…let’s pray to whatever represents god to you that his metabolism acts speedily in this recovery process. Amen.
I saw Hedwig again on Wednesday. Tom Scharpling took me to see Neil Patrick Harris in it. These are his last 20 performances before Andrew Rannells takes over as Hedwig. It was fabulous, so good. Oh my god what an incredible experience. It was an interesting mix of people in the audience. There were ladies who go to everything; they may have been at Wonderful Town. Then there were people that were really excited to be there. We had incredible seats in the middle of a row by the stage. There were a bunch of people in the row who got out of the way when we came in, except for this one really large guy who I ended up being seated next to. He was on my left. Tom was on my right. I did not so much as touch my left armrest the whole time. He was hogging it. Every once in a while our arms would touch, ugh! I was so into the show that I didn’t spend that much time being mad about it. It wasn’t great. When we went in to sit, everybody stood up and got out of the way except for him like if he were a sea lion or walrus he would have leaned his tail to the left instead of waddling off the rock to let the polar bears go through.
After the show we got to go back stage because Mr. Scharpling knows Mr. Patrick Harris. While we were waiting for him we were hanging out by the stairs. There was a very obese man, who was loud; taking photos with Lena Hall who plays Yitzhak was there. He was taking photos with her. At one point he handed me his phone and asked if I could take his photo with a young girl who I pray was his daughter. I realized while I was taking his photo that it was Mr. Belding. He said, “I was sitting next to you. You were really into the show.” Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! He had this coin around his neck, not a coin but a large medallion. If the Ba Da Bing were divier and in the Poconos, that is sort of what he looked like he had just come out of. Then he thrust his hand out and made eye contact with me and said, “Dennis Haskins.” I said, “How do you do?” I revert to icy when I am trying to establish that great of a distance between myself and another human. I wanted the whole experience to end and soon enough it did. Also Gloria Estafan passed us. Then I said, “Oh she’s small.” Tom Scharpling said, “Well there’s your monologue.”
I will never be able to shower enough because rumor has it, this is unsubstantiated, I did not experience it first hand, I also am summarizing. I haven’t seen Anthony Atamanuik’s show in a while but, Anthony is a very funny guy who does a lot of stuff at the UCB in New York. He has a great one man show about his time in Los Angeles when he was doing a lot of drugs when he was out there working for Jim Henson. He ends up at a strip club one night with Dennis Haskins. Again this is all alleged. No one can sue me, or it will have to be a settlement. I’m butchering the story most likely but he said that he saw Dennis Haskins in a strip club and he didn’t recognize him at first. It was one of those that would be Mr. Belding if he weren’t morbidly obese. At one point Mr. Belding leaned over and said, sort of conspiratorially said, “If you give them a $20 they’ll let you put your finger in their ass.” Knowing that and then combining it with the double revelation of that’s him and oh my god my arm touched his arm was horrible! But we go on. We can’t go on. We must go on. Meanwhile I’m reading the book Hotel Rwanda was based on. I guess I’m just saying heroism is relative.
That was Wednesday.
Part of me wanted to run into a cast member of Saved by the Bell just so I could ask about Mario Lopez as a youth, but not that one. Anyone but that one--the ghost of Aaron Spelling over that one. The ghost of Candy Spelling, one of the few living people that has a ghost, I would have preferred to run into. Was it always M&Ms and popcorn I’d ask her? “Sure, but back in the day we had all kinds of junk food out for the kids,” she’d say. “We had a craft service table. We’d have Pop tarts, those little mini-cinnamon rolls and Mari (Maybe she called him Mari) would just go to town on it, chomp chomp-salty sweet. Then he’d be holding his stomach, ‘Moan, I’m so fat.’ We didn’t have twitter then. We only had hallway twitter. That’s what we called the set of the hallway at the Saved by the Bell High School. That was the name of the high school from the show. That’s how Mario would let people know he’d eaten too much.” Then I’d say, “Ghost of Candy Spelling please leave me alone, I’m trying to shop at CVS.”
I told you guys about that haunted CVS right? The one that exists on the site of a former billiards establishment frequented by a lot of Asians taking smoke breaks outside. I wonder exactly how many were... There’s a section of this haunted CVS that is lousy with ghosts. I guess what I know now is that I think they were stabbed. Hotlips went the other day to buy a smoothie, they have smoothies. The biggest part of CVS is the beverage section so I assume they have all kinds of smoothies. He said it was haunted too. He said, “I’m a skeptic and it is definitely haunted.” Thank you for that.
I finished The Good Nurse. It was fabulous. I strongly recommend it. It is a great true crime book about a guy named Charles Cullen who killed a bunch of people in his fourteen years working as a nurse in hospitals all around New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He killed between 4-400 people. He had dead eyes. That was a good story. Our friend Emily Altman sent me a copy. She’s one of those girlfriend things where you are so glad you have them. You have brunch and she says, “You have to read this.” Then you get an email later, “What’s your mailing address?” Oh, I don’t know why I’m giving my friend my address but I’ll just do it, and then forget it immediately. Then the book arrives. Aw, that was sweet.
He was clearly a sociopath, but Emily pointed out that on top of that he was an annoying co-worker. He just moved chairs from the break table into the storage closet over and over again. He’d come back to work and the chairs were back in the break room and he’s be annoyed about it. Can you imagine how annoyed the employees around him must have been? “Great, that asshole’s moving chairs again, I hope somebody else dies soon. It will give us something to do, something to bond over.” That what the other nurses probably thought. Tone detail the author left in that is so gross. The other nurses teased him about putting too much Keri lotion on the patients after they were bathed and powdered. He’d put too much lotion on them. The nurses called Charles Cullen’s patients his ‘Butterball Turkeys,’ so sleep tight. The Real Housewives New York City Reunion was great. Holy cow! I feel like Luann has become Dorothy from the Golden Girls and maybe from the Wizard of Oz, we don’t know. The Peter Pan stuff is intense. I don’t really know what to say. I don’t know what to feel. Everyone is talking about Jenny Brokaw (?) playing Peter Pan in the NBC live, the way they did The Sound of Music live. NBC is taking it upon themselves to take old musicals and televise them. I like the idea but I don’t like the musicals they are choosing. I have never been into Peter Pan, certainly not in its musical incarnation. I never really understood the appeal of a middle aged woman pretending to be a little boy. Then again I’m not a sex pervert.
I remember the Disney version only because I was obsessed with the sheepdog. I remember I though Nana was a very appealing character. I remember her more than anything else from the story. In retrospect Nana really has the most on her plate when you think about what was going on there. There was an upstairs room where all of the kids slept. The dog slept in that room as well, ostensibly to protect the kids from intruders. Lo and behold one night a flying lady-boy approaches and to a dog that is aggressively confusing. First of all you’re bred to herd. That’s what you know. You circle a group and make sure it stays together. Also as a house pet, all dogs when they grow up in houses with children are guard dogs to some extent. They know that their job is to protect the children that are ostensibly the dog’s wards. Then one night, everyone is sleeping, everything’s fine, Nana hears a noise. Evolutionarily she’s programmed to become alert and see what the threat is. There is a grown woman in panty hose and makeup that exists only to contour, not feminize your eyes or lips. There’s so much visual information in front of the dog. Then the scent information is overwhelming. If I were that dog and I was woken up by Allison Williams playing Peter Pan, Mary Martin playing Peter Pan, Sandy Duncan playing Peter Pan or Sandy Duncan in plain clothes eating Wheat Thins, if I were a dog and I witnessed that I would jump out the window to my own death. Honestly, I think that is a heroic move because you are leading by example. You are telling the children I don’t understand this, you can’t understand this. You shouldn’t understand this. I was wrong about this world. The world is a vampire. Follow me, it’s time to die.
With that in mind I offer my services to NBC’s casting department if you need help finding a sheepdog or just looking at sheepdogs I am available.
I am on the Approval Matrix TV Show I think next week or the week after. It’s on the Sundance channel. I was a panelist along with the great Willie Geist a critic from TV Guide and Whitney Cumming whom I‘d never met before. Whitney and I sat across from one another and we talked about classic television. That was the subject of that particular show and there was a little back and forth and conversation. You’ll see it. It’s a good show. It’s smart and has a lot of potential.
I don’t know if they will edit this part out, but I remember we were talking about I Love Lucy. Willy Geist brought it up in the context of you ladies will love this example of classic TV—I Love Lucy. I said, “Eh.” I’ve never really been a fan of that show. I am sorry, by the way, if that really bothers you. I remember that was on TV when I was growing up when I was home sick from school. I thought I don’t need to watch this; there are so many other reruns I could be watching. I could be watching Three’s Company or Mama’s Family or literally anything else. I found I Love Lucy incredibly boring and not fun. When she was in situation where she’s make funny faces in pancake makeup they were always really stressful. Her husband treated her like an infant. I didn’t like it. I said, “Eh,” and the Whitney Cummins said in response, “But she has your hairstyle.” That was the first big laugh of the taping at the time.
It was almost as if the audience was relieved, oh my god! I was caught off-guard. I’m reasonably quick-witted. I’m like a Toyota Camry. That’s about my speed. I don’t usually put myself in situations where I need to think of comebacks. I go through life avoiding debate and conflict. I like being provocative, both sensually and sexually, but also saying things that might be too true to deal with, man. Then I also like running away when I’m disagreed with. She said, “She has your hairstyle.” The audience laughs and what I should have said is, “That’s racist.” There’d be at least a chuckle--redheads on redheads kind of stuff. But what I did say instead was, “You wish!” That didn’t make any sense. Sigh. “She has your hairstyle.” “You wish!”
My osteopath emailed me a link to his first published poem. Let me repeat that. My osteopath emailed me a link to his first published poem. It was on the Huffington Post and it was very good. Do you know what? The weather’s nice inside this New Yorker cartoon that I suddenly live in. I had a moment this week earlier where I was waddling down the street because my legs hurt. I pay a woman to force me to work out my legs and buns because there are some parts of my body that are very strong and there are some parts that are so weak they border on atrophy or that they don’t exist, they muscles aren’t even there. I have a person that I see on occasion. She forces me to do terrible things with objects I’d never even learned the names of until recently like kettle bells. I was in a lot of pain the next day. I was very sore. I was waddling down the street wearing an empire waist dress, which for those of you who don’t know is sort of a high waisted dress; it’s sort of a baby doll dress but more form fitting, longer dress. I was walking slowly down Mott Street because I was uncomfortable and a man approached me. We were both about to walk into each other if one of us hadn’t stepped aside and he saw me. Then he made a gesture out of stepping to the side and saying, “After you.” I said, “Thank you.” As I past him he said, “Congratulations on your baby.”
Honestly it wasn’t something I put together until I was half a block down. My mind just couldn’t process all of the elements. It’s how Temple Grandin will talk about the way cows see a puddle or the light reflecting off of the chain but they don’t see that they are in a slaughter house. I saw the tree and the curb. I saw the breeze and the dry cleaners and then I realized that the man had just called me pregnant. That wasn’t fun. Wow, that’s a spicy meatball. To any woman, I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care what your body issues are or aren’t if somebody calls you pregnant. What is that Twix commercial? Got a moment? I tweeted about it because you just have to laugh and share these experiences.
I always like to say that you have to share life experiences with your twitter followers in order to live a fuller life. I sort of went back and retraced my steps mentally. By then the guy was gone. I couldn’t chase him down and say, “Hey?!?” But I did put together that 1) He looked homeless and a little crazy, 2) As I mentioned I was waddling and wearing perhaps an unflattering dress, 3) The final detail I sort of soothed myself with—I wasn’t in full body panic by the way. I’m not telling you this story so that I get emails, “Your stomach’s so flat.” It’s ok. I just know that my natural state is not that of a pregnant woman. It’s ok. It was just not a great way to end a Monday evening. The other detail of the story is that when he said that we were in front of a planned parenthood. I don’t know. Maybe this is more covert anti-abortion technique. Maybe these pro-life wackadoos, maybe they have recruited random men to say things to women they think are going into get abortions like, “There’s nothing more blissful than motherhood,” and then walk away. I don’t know. I don’t know but I pray.
I pray first for Mario Lopez’s food issues to be under control. It’s a difficult time for him and his shoulder and his family I will say it was a good thing I hadn’t seen Boyhood at that point because I would have burst into tears. I saw the new Richard Linklater movie Boyhood that is nothing like anything I have ever seen before. If you are familiar with what critics have been saying about it, David Edelstein wrote, “I don’t know if Boyhood is the best movie I have ever seen but I know my life is now divided into two sections—before I saw Boyhood and after I saw Boyhood.” I know that sounds a little bit over the top but I completely see what he meant after seeing it. It was absolutely incredible, astonishing. I have never seen anything like it. It is by far the most realistic movie I have ever seen. What it does on the edge of documentary and scripted is fabulous. It is just unbelievable. I am rambling inarticulately but I couldn’t recommend it more.
I also want to mention if you are a lady and you have your period do not see Boyhood. That’s all. I cried for, it’s three hours and it feels like twelve years and like five minutes. There’s a lot of sporadic crying that you stop keeping track of. It’s all good crying. See Boyhood.
Before we introduce our guest my pal Matt Berman who wrote an interesting book about his time as the art director of George Magazine and what it was like working with JFK junior who ended up being a good friend of his. It’s a great work memoir and has a great insight into that time period and New York City. Before I further introduce Matt Berman I ranked fruit. I had a minute today and I was thinking about fruit it’s a very exciting time. In the summer, I don’t need to tell that the most exciting fruits are at their most exciting. I feel strongly about fruit. I really like fruit. What I have done is made a list of the top 30 fruits. I have ranked them, I’m not saying this list is perfect because it is definitely but it is pretty close. I am just going to go through the list from the bottom to the top and I’m going to talk you through it. This list is meant to provoke. This list is meant to be challenged. This list is meant to blow minds.
I don’t know how to use how was your wiki. I just know how to read it and appreciate it. If you guys want to figure out how to have a conversation, if there’s a fruit thread that you can start with a message board and you discuss this, I am more than willing to read what you have to say about this list. You have to understand, will it influence me? Possibly. Will it force me to change my mind? Never. You can’t do that to any person.
Here’s fruit. Here is it ranked. Let’s rank fruit. Fine.
30. Guava—I have never had a guava. That might be unfair but I have heard they are sour.
29. Plums, tart—I have some plums in my fridge. By the way not every one of these fruits is going to have this long of an explanation. When it is summer I tend to go a little nuts on the stone fruits. I have them in my fridge. Sometime they’re not even ripe. But guess what a week into it, they are ripe, they are cold and I guess this week I got so bum plums. I got some plums that turned out to be tart instead of sweet. I was furious when I bit into one. It just ruined my afternoon, at least plum-wise. So I put tart plums really far down on the list only because, in retrospect I was mad in biting into something I had hoped would be sweeter today. Maybe tomorrow I will feel differently.
28. Papaya—I don’t care for the texture. I find it very clay-like and the taste doesn't pay off.
27. Persimmon—I don’t think a ripe persimmon is anything more than a sweet tomato, but not even a sweet tomato because a tomato has at least a tomato flavor. Persimmons are merely sweet.
Now we are going to get into the shit. Are you ready? I’m ready. Let’s go.
Let’s go on. I will say blueberries can be mealy and mangos can be stringy and leathery. I don’t think the taste of either, frankly pays off for those textural risks.
24. Coconuts—I don’t know why it’s plural.
I feel like a coconut can be tastier than a grapefruit. Coconut meat is not tastier than grapefruit meat. A coconut, I couldn’t sit down with for breakfast the way I could with a grapefruit.
Now I am feeling like a made a mistake. Pomegranate is special. Its outside is like the rind of a book. Kiwis, I really like a kiwi but sometimes my mouth is a little spicy while I am eating a kiwi and I think ooh...am I allergic to kiwis? Probably not.
18. Non-watermelon melons—that is honeydews and cantaloupes
17. Pear—The humble pear. I was worried about separating pears from apples but then I realized I was being psychotic and I was also doing my synesthesia thing by associating an apple and a pear with Ernie and Bert. There’s a fun insight into my Heathcliff junkyard brain.
16. Grapes, green
15. Lemon—That’s a wild card but you have to understand that is a lot of different criteria going into this list. One of the criteria with a lemon is obviously I am not going to open it up and eat it for breakfast even if I had all of the Splenda in the world I wouldn’t do that. But when I think about what I would do without the flavor of lemon in my life and it would be a bigger loss for me than it would to never eat a pear again.
12. Strawberries—So orange is after strawberries because a bad strawberry or a tasteless strawberry, basically a strawberry that doesn’t taste like anything and may as well only be the white top or the white middle is not as big of a bummer as a bad orange. A bad orange will ruin your entire day and it will turn you off to oranges for a while. A great orange is wonderful assuming you don’t have any dry skin around your mouth. Whatever, citrus does what it does. It’s not like I have open sores, that’s not what I was getting at. A great orange is great is my point. But a bad orange, one that is room temperature is just off, it’s sweaty and a bummer and the citrus isn’t sharp as if it has given up like an old rubber band that has lost it’s elasticity. That’s a day ruiner. That’s why orange comes after strawberry. Strawberry is #12, orange is #13 and raspberries are #14. By the way I will mention that my experience of strawberries comes from having grown up on the east coast and when I was in California I understood what strawberries are. There you go California I gave you a little... you can take that to the bank I suppose.
11. Grapes, red
10. Banana—Oh shit we’re in the top ten now. All right now we’re not fucking around everybody. Now we’re serious ok? Top Ten 9. Tomatoes—oh shit! Tomatoes came out of nowhere. Why are tomatoes before bananas? Because if I couldn’t have spaghetti sauce I wouldn’t have a reason to live but if you give me cheerios and there’s no bananas in it am I going cry like a little baby? No! I’ll have my Cheerios with milk dummy then afterwards I’ll have some red grapes.
8. Clementines—a bad Clementine, while a disappointment, will not ruin your day because the odds are you have a whole box or bag more of them. I was going to say like a lotto ticket but the odds are better, they are much better. A bag of Clementines in the winter is a bag of all winning scratch-offs, not all, but Clementines are good and nice.
7. Plums, sweet—Is there anything nicer than a sweet plum? You bet there is not. That one guy wrote a poem about them. Forgive me. The plums were in the refrigerator but they were so cold or something...I read stuff besides Buzzfeed. Sweet plums are #7; I don’t care if they are red, purple or pluots. That’s where plums live, #7
This is going to fuck people up but let the games begin
6. Apple—I’m not 100% confident where apple is because a life without apples would be less comfortable than with what I am about to go into as the top five fruits of all time but the top five fruits transcend comfort and take life into a state of joy and play. That to me is what fruit is really about for people. If I were a bear an apple would be like chocolate cake. I am not a bear. I’m a lady. I will chop up an apple any time of the day if I am hungry and have it with a piece of cheese. Do you want me to be all Michael Pollen about it? Do you want me to talk Granny Smith versus Red Delicious? Those are both shitty apples. Even people who make pie know that. My finger instinctively went into a pointing gesture. You can’t see me but I just got angry. You eat Fiji apples, you eat honey crisps and you eat gala apples and you have a nice life. You hope they are crisp. Guess what? They usually are. Apples are the bread of the fruit world. Boom. Done. Understood. Fine
Let’s go into the top five. We’ll have a guest on and a normal experience. Top five fruits—drum roll....
4. Pineapple—Am I comfortable putting pineapple before apple? Not really. But is there something pineapple does that apples can’t? Absolutely.
3. Nectarine—Necatarine goes above peach because of fuzz, but I posit to you if I took off the fuzz of a peach and chopped up the peach meat and then did the same thing to a nectarine would you be able to tell the difference? I don’t know if I could. I’d be too goddamn happy to start differentiating because that would be using a side of my brain I wouldn’t care to be using. At that point I would just be eating a nice fruit and having a good afternoon on a hot day. My point is nectarines and peaches are great. The fuzz is the thing that separates them and the pineapple is in the middle.
We are in the top two. Are you ready? Do you know what’s #1? I started this list just knowing what was #1.
2. Watermelon—Am I biased because we are at peak watermelon season right now? Absolutely. Am I in a routine that involves buying a giant watermelon at Whole Foods for $5, taking it home with me and butchering the meat of it and cutting it’s seedless juicy girth into chunks to store in 3 big tupperwares in my refrigerator so that I can snack on cold sweet seedless watermelon whenever I care to? Does that put this fruit at #2 maybe higher than it would be at a different time of the year? Yeah probably, that said is biting into a fucking...is there no pleasure more sublime?
The #1 fruit of all time, maybe it’s summer influenced and maybe it’s not. I don’t think it is. I have thought about this clearly but I want you to know that I take this pretty seriously.
1. Cherries—Cherries are the #1 fruit for a couple of reasons. Their flavor never disappoints. It is what red tastes like to people. Red is the most important color. “She has your hairstyle.” It’s an important color, you put things in red when you want people to notice them. Cherries represent sexual relations. Cherries are both crisp and juicy and tender to the touch. Cherries are sweet. Cherries are sexy. Cherries remind you of times that are better than other times and finally (she said causing people to smile with joy) the reason why cherries are the #1 fruit also has to do with not only Americans (George Washington with his ax and tree and so forth) but because cherries can be enjoyed raw and in a pie. Pies go hand in hand with fruit frankly more than vegetables do.
By the way I will never do a vegetable list like this because I don’t care about vegetables. Not you artichokes, I like you but let’s not take the spotlight away from cherries. Congratulations to cherries. That’s it. I have ranked fruit.
Our guest is Matt Berman. You are about to meet him now. Enjoy this interview with my pal Matt Berman.