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Even Back Then, Corn Syrup Was Good For You!

DAHLINGS –

I am well aware that I am  not writing.  But rather than recycle old posts, it’s more fun to provide these vintage ads (even the ones without sexy men).  I’m far too busy flogging my novel, “The Abortionist’s Daughter” , available at fine e-platforms everywhere.

Your faithful correspondent’s favorite part is that they are trying to pass it off as honey. Bee Hive, my perfectly shaped behind.

Ciao, Elisa & Fletcher

Fan Fiction For Dummies – A Glossary

DAHLINGS –
I am still going through “House MD” withdrawal, as you can imagine.
With the recent scholarly discussions on fan fiction (fiction written by fans of television shows, movies, computer games and coloring books), your faithful correspondent felt there should be a sort of glossary of terms.  Naturally, given my predilection for “House, MD”, this is my jumping off point.
The first thing one needs to know is that the show’s fans, both insane and regular folk, like to use portmanteau names (the first of them all being Bennifer for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston).  This means a relationship is there, usually romantic or sexual or both. Personally I don’t care for them, but it breaks down to:
House + Cuddy – Huddy  (Hugh Laurie & Lisa Edelstein)
House + Wilson – Hilson (Hugh Laurie & Robert Sean Leonard)
House + Cameron – Hameron (Hugh Laurie & Jennifer Morrison)
And so forth.  It doesn’t matter whether or not it happened on the actual show; these are ways for “shippers” to identify themselves.  Although many prefer the more adult “House/Cuddy” etc. As you have probably gathered from this blog, I myself tend to prefer the House/Wilson friendship.
“Ship” is short for relationship.  Every possible character combination has come up in fanfiction.  Homosexual romance and/or sex is called “slash.”Heterosexual romance/and or sex is called “het”.  Just romance is called “fluff” and usually means a light, cute story.  There are popular genres known as “hurt/comfort,” and “smut,” respectively.  I hope these are self-explanatory.
Now, dahlings, there are various genres of fanfic…there are actually hundreds, but first I shall confine myself first to some spedific House/Wilson “fic”genres.
“mpreg” Male pregnancy. One of the men (usually Wilson) has a baby and he and House raise it.  Don’t even try to wrap your mind around this.
There’s a subgenre of one or both of them being babies, or turning into babies.
Almost all have lots and lots and lots of sex.
Babies?”  “Don’t blame me, I live in the writers’ heads.”
“Post-Finale” Since the finale was left open-ended, with House and Wilson riding off into the sunset, there has been an explosion of fics in which House copes with Wilson’s death, sees his ghost, or cures him.  Some are quite amazingly good.
 “Contractverse” A series of stories based on “The Contract,” where House is tortured and traumatized in exchange for keeping Wilson alive (of course Wilson doesn’t know it).  Later stories have House a physical and mental wreck. I’ve glanced at these, but to be honest, they turn my stomach. 
BDSM – you know what that is.  Readers can ask where to find stories where House or Wilson is “the top”, etc.  For some reason, Wilson is usually the one dominating or humiliating House. 
Speaking of which, some writers write House/Wilson in abusive relationships, usually because the writers themselves are in abusive relationships.  Or concentrate on child abuse, which usually means House collapses into a sobbing heap having an epic flashback,weeping, “No, daddy, I’ve been a good boy!”
Basically, the entire panorama of human experience is filtered through these stories, making this kind of fiction even more id-driven than romance novels. 
Two other genres that are common to many fics of all kinds are:
“First Time”bazillions of these.  Most are much of a muchness.
“AU” – alternative universe.  Anything that doesn’t directly relate to the events or locations of the show.
 
From a small sampling of House/Cuddy “fics,” it seems that the concentration these days is to depart from the show’s plot and have the two characters in an established relationship.  Usually raising Cuddy’s daughter Rachel.  Some of the show’s best and most realistic fanfiction has come from this neck of the woods, in my opinion.

There are also a fair amount of “first time” fics. And lots and lots and lots of sex.
I have never read a House/Cameron fic, so I don’t know the content or genres.  If any writers would like to enlighten me, please do so in the comments.  But I’m sure there’s lots and lots and lots of sex.
 
There also seem to be quite a few “femmeslash” (lesbian) stories involving Cameron and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde).  Since Thirteen was bisexual on the show, it makes a certain sort of sense.
 Probably a fair amount of sex, don’t you think?
 
Recently my assistant Leo was reading some fanfiction.  He remarked to me, “But this has nothing to do with what happened in real life!”
I agreed with him, until I remembered that “real life” was a television show.
Damn.
Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

Have A Helping Of My Novel – Excerpts

DAHLINGS –
I am taking the supreme risk: I am publishing two excerpts from my novel.  “The Abortionist’s Daughter” has been selling nicely on Kindle.  So I am sharing it with you, my darling readers.  
Both are from the first section.  The first excerpt takes place after Melanie, age 22, has first met James, at the local ice cream parlor.  The second is a flashback to her childhood.

Study Of A Young Woman

James took a step closer to her, bent slightly, and kissed her on the lips. Melanie froze in confusion. She knew what she was supposed to do—­slap his face and call him names—but that wasn’t what she wanted to do. Not at all.
 ‘How was that?” he asked, dropping his voice. He looked into her eyes.
 “Are you making love to me?”
 “Yes.”
 “I liked it,” she replied, tilting her face up for more, thrilled with her own daring.
 I’m glad,” he murmured.  He kissed her again, his lips soft, his mouth tasting of a hint of split pea soup. He put his nose in the hair just behind her left ear and took a deep breath.  The feeling of the tip of his nose on her skin was electric.  It had been so long—years—since she had felt a man’s touch.  And that had been back at school, before the trial, chastely clumsy kisses in cloakrooms and in stuffy parlors. 
“’You smell so good,” he said, and kissed her again. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”  He lifted a finger and gently slid it from her chin to the top of her collar.  Melanie quivered.  She was afraid to make a move. She was awash with pleasure such as she had never known. She knew what she was supposed to do.  Melt against him (that was the alternative to slapping his face), but she couldn’t.  Her hands hung uselessly at her sides.

“James, you shouldn’t be doing this,” she whispered.

 “I know.  I can’t help myself.”  He kissed her again, a long, slow, lingering kiss.
 “Please—please stop.”  Her words came out as a little gasp.  She didn’t want him to stop. 
 James took a step back, smiling, holding her arms.  “You are a peach of a girl, Miss Daniels.”
  
 “Thank you.”  Melanie averted her face.  “I don’t know what you must think of me.”  She wanted him to kiss her again!  And again and again.
His left hand ran up and down her upper arm.  She felt as if little shivers of desire were following along with it.  “I think very highly of you.  That’s why I kissed you.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I’d like to see you again, Miss Daniels.  Soon.”  The hand closed around her upper arm.
It was an outrageous request.  He had taken liberties with her.

“I’d like that.”

***************************************************************************************************************

When she was eight years old, one bright late Spring day, Harold Clarice, a classmate, had come up to her in  the schoolyard.  He had an ugly smile on his face. 

“My ma says your pa kills babies,” he announced
.
“Harold Clarice, you take that back!” Melanie demanded.
“Your pa’s a baby-killer,” Harold repeated.
“You clam yourself!”  She felt her face burning hotly.
“Baby killer!  Baby killer!”
“You just clam yourself!”

In a rage, Melanie lashed out at Harold, smacking him in the mouth.  Harold stared at her in shock for an instant, then leapt upon her, flailing with his fists, and they both fell to the ground, biting and punching.  Instantly the other children were around them, screaming delightedly, “Fight!  Fight! Fight!”

“What’s going on here!  Children!”  Miss Chipman, their teacher, stood over them.  Melanie quickly disengaged herself from Harold.  Her white dress was torn, its pink sash hanging in tatters.  Her blonde hair had been pulled from its ponytail and hung loosely at her shoulders.  Harold’s shirtfront was covered with dirt, and blood ran down his chin.  Their classmates hung back, fascinated. 
“She started it!”
“Did not!” 
“Did too!”
 Melanie knew Harold dared not repeat his taunt; he would be punished for using such language. 
Either the other children hadn’t heard him, or didn’t risk saying it themselves.  Miss Chipman made both Harold and Melanie sit in opposite corners facing the wall for the rest of the afternoon.  Melanie was grateful that her teacher didn’t inquire further into what had started the fight.  She had a feeling that Miss Chipman knew.

And there you have it, mon chers.

At the risk of bragging, here are some Amazon reviews.  If you don’t believe me, go here.

“Don’t start reading this wonderful tale if you have anything else to do for a while. It will grab you and keep you enthralled.”


“If you liked An Awfully Big Adventure and/or Tipping the Velvet, definitely give this one a shot!” 

“The author’s evocation of that time period, the abundant showbiz details, and the personal politics of abortion all made it very rich.”

Do both of us a favor and pick up my book at Amazon.  Oops.  Seeing that it’s on Kindle, do download my book.  You’ll thank me later, and I will thank you now.

Ciao,


Elisa & Fletcher

Vintage Clothing and Sex: I Have Written A Novel

DAHLINGS –

You probably do not believe that your faithful correspondent is capable of Deep Thoughts.  (Indeed, some have expressed that in this blog-thing quite loudly).  However, 2011 and 2012 have found me with much on my mind.  Which gives me terrible headaches.
My darling readers have probably been wondering, “What is that fabulous woman doing, that she is not here tending to our fashion and plus-size needs?  Where is she when we need famous people dressing up criticized?”

You may gasp in disbelief, but I have written a novel, “The Abortionist’s Daughter.” Your faithful scrivener was tempted to say that it was written by someone else, but one has to stand by one’s principles (and admit that one is a truly amazing writer, as you all know). 

As was said by another, “She who doth not toot her own horn, her horn shall not be tooted.” And of course I want my horn tooted.

As you can probably tell from my interests, the descriptions of the clothes are luscious, written by an author with an understanding of Fashion In The True Sense.   Silks, satins, drool-worthy beribboned hats, robes with crystal pleating, cotton voile dresses.  From my own experience as an actress,(something my dear darling Mama did her best to forget), the backstage scenes, populated with delightful characters, have been called “wonderfully entertaining.”
Ziegfeld Follies star Dolores, by Geisler
The novel’s backstory is: in 1910, Dr. Horace Daniels is sent to prison for accidentally killing a woman while aborting her fourteenth child.  Women had no access to birth control or knowledge about their own bodies.  The only contraception for women was refusing to have relations.  It almost reads like a harbinger of today’s sexual politics and the steady stripping of the rights of women. 

Medical technology has advanced light years, but the morality and small-mindedness of many have not.

Six years later, his rebellious daughter, Melanie was once the most eligible girl in the tiny Adirondack village.  At 23 she faces the prospect of being an “old maid” and spending the rest of her life living with her disgraced parents. The alternative is marrying a younger boy who is infatuated with her. 

In 1916, the notion that a woman could be independent was nearly unthinkable.  When she meets James, a traveling salesman, she allows him to seduce her.  (The scenes were a little graphic to write, but well, modern times and all that. Besides, I discovered the joys of writing smut.) Melanie agrees to run away with him to New York.

Once in New York, Melanie finds that James has other lovers, including a Broadway star, Gladys Dumbrille.  James is not at all what he seems, in fact he is a great deal worse.  Melanie is drawn into a web of intrigue and lies.  She herself lies to get into a show,”Almonds for Clarissa,” that Gladys is in.  The world of the theater is glorious to Melanie, although most of the glamour is onstage.  She becomes a “dress extra,” the term for actresses who wear their own clothes. Melanie befriends Mercedes La Fay (real name: Betty Ogden), a lively chorus girl who “shows her the ropes.”

Ann Pennington, dancer
However, no matter what Melanie does or where she goes, she cannot escape her past as the doctor’s daughter.  The tale is filled with tough choices, the personal politics of abortion, and yours truly paints a vivid portrait of the era.  

Always wanting to present my very best for you, I researched this tome at the New-York Historical Society, the Adirondack Museum, and of course my own fashion archives.

It has received wonderful reviews on Amazon, where it is available for sale on Kindle.

You can buy the novel here: The Abortionist’s Daughter by Elisa DeCarlo

Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

House Review: 8×21, "Holding On"

DAHLINGS –

My dears, what with watching ‘Holding On’ Monday night and again yesterday afternoon, there is a mountain of soiled silk handkerchiefs in the wastebasket.  Yes, the wastebasket.  They’re ruined during a good cry.  A small group of nuns embroider them until they go blind, fortunately, there are always new nuns.  In that country, any way.
The POTW of the week is a 19-year-old cheerleader played by a 30-year-old actor with the charisma of an armchair.  According to the promo monkeys, there was a SHOCKING SECRET about the patient.  Cheerleader Biff hears his long-dead brother’s voice in his head. Oh. He might be schizophrenic, but probably not. Shocking.  What makes this even more boring is that the team is now Taub, Park and Adams.

In any event, his mother, the Worst Mother Ever, had destroyed all of the pictures of the boy and his name, Christopher, was never mentioned again. However, Cheerleader Biff has secretly kept a picture of his brother.

The actual plot is that Wilson’s cancer is inoperable, and he has decided not to go the chemo route, but live the five months he has left to the fullest.  House of course cannot deal with this.  So he argues; he drugs Wilson with Propofol (the drug that killed Michael Jackson) so that Wilson can experience “death”; he fills the cafeteria with actors to play Wilson’s surviving patients. We know it is a scam the instant House introduces “Mikey.”  Another phony adolescent? Wouldn’t Wilson have recognized them? Why not a simple conversation about how many lives Wilson has saved? They always do that to justify whatever House is up to.

( Note: There is a special circle in hell reserved for the person who invented the “one person starts clapping, then another, and soon everyone is clapping”.) 

Meanwhile, Foreman has gotten House season tickets to the hockey games, “one month after Wilson’s expiration date.”  It’s no surprise that House tears them up and stuffs them down Foreman’s toilet.  What happens later is a surprise, but not the well-written, interesting kind.
Wilson has called Thirteen, who has gone blonde, for advice on how to cope.  She naturally assumes he’s going for chemo, but when he says he isn’t, she’s all like, “Okay.” This despite the fact she’s been doing everything she can to keep her Huntington’s from progressing.  Then she visits House, who’s staring gloomily at a bald patient in the chemo unit, and tells him…to be honest, I forget. The chemo suites I’ve visited are filled with bored people, most with hair, reading magazines.

Once again, the scenes between Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard are poor gold. 

House takes Wilson out for a quiet dinner, where they reminisce, chuckling. (SOILED HANDKERCHIEF ALERT!) It struck me that this type of scene has heretofore always been shown silently. As they reminisce, Wilson starts to rethink his decision.  “Don’t do this to me, Wilson,” House says quietly.  But Wilson is certain that House is conning him so Wilson can be there longer for House.  Once again, it’s about what House needs.  Wilson stands up: “I don’t owe you anything. Our entire relationship has been about you. My dying is about me.”

Wilson storms out, and breaks down crying in his car.  (SO many handkerchiefs, so beautifully played.)  Of course House follows him, and Wilson cries harder.
House: You don’t have to just accept this.
Wilson: Yes, I do have to accept this. I have five months to live and you’re making me go through this ALONE! [Wilson starts crying again]. I’m pissed because I’m dying and it’s not fair. And I need to know that you’re there. I need you to tell me that my life was worthwhile and…I need you to tell me that you love me.

Naturally, House says no.  “Not unless you fight.” 

Some fans have been deeply offended by the characters acting so out of character. In some ways House hasn’t changed.  He’s still trying to get his way, trying to get what he needs and putting himself first.
Foreman lays down the law to Wilson.  When Wilson says, “I’m not responsible for House’s happiness,” Foreman responds that he is.  And that Wilson has had three broken marriages, hundreds of colleagues, thousands of patients, and the only person who has lasted is House. Foreman: “Enduring pain to do some good for someone you care about. Isn’t that what life is?”  I beg your pardon?  Does that even mean anything?  What sort of home lives do the writers have?
During an earlier scene, the bathroom door is opened and we see the sinks overflowing and two frantic janitors.  Did House stuff hockey tickets down every toilet in the hospital? 
The Worst Mother Ever shows up at her son’s room.  But once she hears the name “Christopher” her eyes bug out and she runs.  She really is the Worst Mother Ever.
Cheerleader Biff gets an MRI scan.  When Adams and Park slide him out, as Greg Yaitaines would say, KA-BOOM!  A wall of water descends on them, breaking the ceiling and ruining the MRI. 

The most amazingly symmetrical ceiling collapse ever.

House shows up at the ER, leads the team into Cheerleader Biff’s room, and insta-diagnoses him with some sort of artery thing in his ear.  Take it out, all of his symptoms will clear up.  And he’ll stop hearing his brother’s voice. (ANVIL ALERT)!

Taub tells House he’s being an ass to Wilson.  House loses it and shouts that life is pain, he gets up in pain, he goes to work in pain, he’s considered suicide more times than he can count.

Then House finds out that Cheerleader Biff drank ammonia because he didn’t want to lose his brother’s voice.  (ANVIL ALERT)

Enraged, House runs into CB’s room and proceeds to strangle him, yelling about wanting to live and wanting to die.  Park clocks him with his own cane, and shrieks that sometimes the truth sucks. (ANVILS, SO MANY ANVILS! RUN!)
The Worst Mother Ever has taken Christopher’s photograph, but agrees to give it back if Cheerleader Biff has the surgery.  He accepts fate and loss and all that (ANVIL ALERT) and has the surgery.  But! Amazingly enough!  The Worst Mother Ever takes out a bunch of photos from his childhood.  He starts to cry but doesn’t, while she gives him a bug-eyed smile.  Seriously, this woman is frightening.  I think she wanted her son strangled so she could burn all of his pictures and forget about him, too.

Meanwhile House sits alone and plays the piano, which we have been waiting for all season.  Wilson eats dinner alone.  When he goes to get a bottle of wine, he sees a pack of Oreos.
Wilson turns up on House’s doorstep.  “I’m ready to start the next round of chemo?”
“Why?”
“Because you need me. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing anymore.”
“No. You’re the only one I listen to. And when I stopped, I almost killed my patient.” House says Wilson is smarter than him. He’s not okay that there are only five months left, but it’s better than nothing. House says he won’t tell Wilson he loves him, which Wilson seems pleased about.  Yours truly was disappointed.
Then, of course, the script goes south.  House and Wilson are happily planning a hiking trip, when Foreman enters with the hospital lawyer.  Seems House practically destroyed the hospital by stuffing the tickets down Foreman’s toilet.  Really?  Really?  The plumbers at PPTH are worse than security.  The tickets have House’s name and fingerprints (??) on them.  So House’s parole is revoked.  He’s going back to prison for—wait for it—six months.  When he gets out, Wilson will be dead.

Sucks to be House.  Sucks to be Wilson.  Sucks to be a fan, because next week is the final episode. It’s called “Everybody Dies.”

Random:
Why didn’t Taub and Adams think the picture was child porn?
Why is “misery” the catchall word for any kind of unhappiness?  Don’t the writers have a thesaurus?
Thirteen looks very good as a blonde.
If Wilson dies and House accepts it with serenity, your faithful correspondent is going to have to choke a bitch.

Ciao, Elisa & Fletcher

House Review: 8×20 "Post-Mortem" or, Ferris Wilson’s Day Off

DAHLINGS –

Let me get one thing out of the way: I adore House and Wilson, in case you haven’t already noticed. Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard are perfectly in sync for this ending arc. This viewer is riveted every moment they are on screen.
Now, if only the writing would follow suit.
Once again, the POTW is interesting.  Peter Weller, who directed, appears briefly in the opening scene to call time of death on a young woman.  The body is taken to the morgue, where Dr. Biff, who has OCD if his chart is anything to go by, proceeds with an autopsy while bitching about the doctor who did the surgery.  And then tries to cut open his own brain.  Cue opening credits.

 The best moment in the show.  In the opening.

Meanwhile, Wilson has decided to take a road trip. He buys a $75,000 red car.  (Where’s Doris Egan when you need her?)  Out of the blue, his PET scan will reveal whether or not he lives or dies.  What?  Pardon me? Did they skip five years into the future?  Please, someone explain this.  Continuity is an unknown concept in the House writing room, but did anyone even READ last week’s script?

Last week, Wilson had thymoma, which could be treated with radiation, chemo, and surgery.  He went for Super-Chemo, even though he had a 75% chance of survival with traditional treatment.  Now it’s fatal?
So Wilson goes the tried-and-true bucket list route He drags House along, with Wilson calling himself “Kyle Calloway.”  Wilson is determined to “embrace the shallow.” Which we know will last for halfway through the show.  House and Wilson go to a dive where Wilson gags down an 80 oz. steak and throws it up again.  House arranges a threesome with hookers for Wilson, after having convinced him to go to hair and makeup to have a bald cap applied to make him look more like a dying cancer victim.  Good times.

 Your obedient scrivener feels the way RSL apparently did:

Tweet from Kath Lingenfelter:  Oh man, RSL was not happy with us on this gag.

Oh, Robert, you sold your soul for a mess of pottage.

Someone also explain why the female writers on this show go along with the appalling female stereotypes the show has been trafficking in the past two seasons.  Are they actually men with false names?   Do they have a secret right-wing agenda that all women are good for is sex and…sex?  Are they all former hookers, hoping to bring their deep life experience to the screen?

Does anyone remember the earlier seasons when Wilson was a suave ladies man?  A philanderer?  A “panty peeler”?  They neutered him some time ago, but really.  This is too much.   

Inevitably it all goes wrong.  Wilson sees a funeral procession (ANVIL ALERT), races his car past it, and crashes through a fence and wrecks the car.  What is it with this show and car crashes?  At least no cows were injured during the filming.  Wilson’s wallet is stolen by one of the hookers.  They end up at a bus stop, where Kyle Calloway runs screaming from this script and James Wilson returns. 

There is an old lady with Alzheimer’s at the bus stop, and Wilson is determined to stay with her until the cops arrive.  House and Wilson ride a bus back home.  Wilson talks about a traumatic senior year incident that left him scarred (a girl dumped him for–wait for it–Kyle Calloway).  One can hardly believe he got married three times after that shattering incident.  

Once again, Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard give the script far more than it deserves. Wilson is terrified to return to the hospital and find out his fate.House says, “I could live without Kyle Calloway,” making it more than clear that he can’t live without Wilson.  A tear slipped down my perfectly pink cheek. 
Meanwhile, back to the POTW.  He applied for the slot in House’s team that Chase got and thinks Chase has wasted his life.  Again, what?  Chase has helped save hundreds of lives, killed an evil African dictator, got Epiphany Face last week.  What more do you want, Dr Biff? 

Since House isn’t around, they again swap around the script so Chase can do all of the standard House misdiagnoses and stand up against the rest of the team and Foreman to do what’s right.  In one shot he’s leaning over a morgue table staring downward, in a pose so House-like it’s ludicrous.  “We’re missing something,” he keeps saying.  He even gets his own whiteboard.  Then—Epiphany Face!  There’s a quick explanation that Dr. Biff’s OCD causes him to use way too much hospital soap.  Combined with energy drinks, he went crazy, etc. etc.  There, there, it makes no sense to me either.

Now that he’s learned his own version of Epiphany Face, Chase is ready to move on from PPTH.  Foreman can’t persuade him to stay, so they have an awkward hug.  Chase goes to where House is staring at Wilson’s PET scan, they exchange perfunctory goodbyes, and Chase says, “Let me know how Wilson is.” And leaves.  One more time: WHAT?  Chase has known Wilson for eight years and he walks out?

 I’ve got a new series to star in, “Chicago Fire.” Later.

After Chase leaves, House sees something on the PET scan. From House’s expression, we know it is BAD NEWS.
Your faithful correspondent’s best guess is that Chase will return to operate on Wilson, since Dr. Biff said, “Statistically, you’re the best surgeon in this hospital.”
Again, what?
Random:
Jesse Spencer does a superb job.  He plays the change in Chase from fellow to leader subtly.  However, it leaves almost as big a hole in the cast as Cuddy. When the three remaining fellows are together, they look oddly pathetic.
Speaking of the three remaining fellows, it was such a pleasure to barely see Adams and Park.  Whatever happened to Taub’s babies? No, wait, I don’t want to know.
Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher