A Rose by Any Other (Same) Name

From what I hear, Chrissy Teigen has struggled with her pregnancy. In fact, I think she miscarried. A number of media types and people I know were super chagrined. 

Me, I kinda shrugged my shoulders.

I mean, any time a pregnant woman loses her baby is a tragedy. But on the flip side, what are we to expect when a woman her age tries to have a child? I think she’s in her fifties, at least. The very fact they could conceive, I assume through some in vitro test tube, is a miracle of science. Am I supposed to be shocked that it didn’t take?

Her husband, John Legend, we are told, sat by her hospital bed as complications took hold. A harrowing experience, to be sure.

Wait, John Legend? The guy that butchered a John Lennon Christmas song? He’s married Chrissy Teigen? Cougar much, Chrissy? 

But then I saw a picture of John Legend standing next to some young African American woman in a hospital bed. Is this a stock pohoto? Because that woman looks nothing likethe actress/model I remember from my youth. 

Wait a second… 

After weeks of hearing the story, I finally realized that Chrissy Teigen is NOT Cheryl Tiegs. Two ENTIRELY different people. 

Chrissy Teigen is only 34 years old, which makes a lost pregnancy all the more ghastly.

Cheryl Tiegs, it turns out, is actually 73 years old. So yeah, medical science or no, she ain’t getting knocked up by a wanna-Beatle any time soon.

I’m really bad at the whole “spot the celebrity” game. It bothers Wife incessantly. I can identify a Phil Collins drumfill in a random one-hit wonder from 1987, but ask me to find the similarities in pictures of Jane Foster and Queen Amidala and I’m at a loss. There’s no way it’s the same actress in each role. I mean, the one next to Hayden Christensen is the second coming of Katherine Hepburn, while the one in the MCU is being out-acted by Kat Dennings.

At least Natalie Portman kept the same hair style in those two movies. Nobody will ever convince me that the Laura Prepon who starred in “That 70’s Show” is the same Laura Prepon who has starred in… well, pretty much everything since “That 70’s Show.” After all, the former was a redhead, while the latter has been, predominantly, a blonde. East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet. It’s not like L’Oreal makes a compass.

But obviously visuals weren’t my main issue with Chrissy Teigen and Cheryl Tiegs. Their names are way too close together. If this was a book, it would be the mark of a bad author. For instance, I made it 80,000 words into a WIP before realizing that two of the main characters are named Richard and Robbie. It wasn’t until they were in the same scene together that I realized how annoying it will be to read sentences in which they both appear. But unlike Chrissy and Cheryl, I’ll fix that in the second draft, where I’m pretty sure Robbie will become a Willie or a Billy. What are Chrissy Teigen and Cheryl Tiegs’ excuse for not fixing that shit in post-write?

I had a similar problem the first thousand or so times Daughter watched various installments of the “Hotel Transylvania” franchise. Selena Gomez voices the daughter, Mavis, which initially made no sense to me. She seems too professional an actress to be doing cartoon voiceovers, to say nothing of slumming around with Adam Sandler and his ilk. Aside from the fact that Mavis sounds like a legitimate twenty-something. And cartoons have done a good job of making the characters have similar visual characteristics as the actors that play them. Drac’s facial expressions totally match Adam Sandler, and Johnny has Andy Samberg’s weird sideways mouth.

Speaking of which, Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler in the same movie? Was Adam Goldberg unavailable? Fortunately, I’ve watched enough “Brooklyn 99” (and “The Goldbergs”) to know the difference between them, but only because Adam Sandler is about as distinctive as it gets for a guy who went to college in the early 1990s. Bob Barker once called when I was working in the state Capitol to ask my boss to vote for a spay/neuter bill and my first response was that I loved him in “Happy Gilmore.” He said he expected “Price is Right,” because, I guess, he he figured grandmas were the primary demographic for legislative aides. Who did he think I was, Chrissy Teigen?

I’m sure it shouldn’t shock you to know that, whoever I was thinking played the voice of Mavis, it sure as hell wasn’t Selena Gomez. I finally saw a behind-the-scenes video showing the actors do the voicework and Selena Gomez, would you believe it, is actually a twenty-something who looks a bit like Mavis, her character.

The problem is that I have no idea who I thought “Selena Gomez” was referring to. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I realized Selena Gomez existed as a human being. I never explicitly thought of anyone in particular, but had the general sense of a middle-aged Latina. Perhaps Salma Hayek, because their first names have a lot of the same letters, but I kinda got a Jennifer Lopez visual in my head, which of course looks nothing like Mavis. Or Selena Gomez.

Obviously I know who J-Lo is, and her name is nowhere close to Selena Gomez. But hear me out. She played the original Selena in her biopic. 

Okay, maybe you didn’t need to hear me out, cause that’s all I’ve got.

Obviously Selena Gomez isn’t that Selena, because she died long before “Hotel Transylvania.” But that at least gets me over the “Jennifer Lopez is Selena” hurdle. Add in the fact that Selena Gomez dated Justin Bieber, while J-Lo dated Alex Rodriguez, and I hate both of them. Incidentally, I thought it was Tom Brady that J-Lo dated, but a Google search told me it was the other overrated sports figure in the northeast that I stopped watching ESPN because of. And no, Salma Hayek never dated Tom Brady, either.

To be fair, unlike C. Teigen and C. Tiegs, I never explicitly thought Selena Gomez was Jennifer Lopez. I just had a general idea in my head that Selena Gomez was a fifty-something singer/actress who had been around since the mid-1990s. So maybe I really did just think she was the dead Selena.

Finally, let me head off the potential woke response of me being a typical white male who can’t distinguish between individual members of other ethnicities. Because I can’t tell white dudes apart, either.

Harry Styles is, allegedly, yet another singer and actor. Does anybody do one or the other anymore? I guess most actors stay in their lane, at least since the glory that was Eddie Murphy’s “Party All the Time,” but singers, it appears, must now become actors. I blame it on Justin Timberlake. Or Frank Sinatra. They might as well be the same person. 

Not that I get them confused.

For some reason, Harry Styles pops up in my news feed from time to time. Maybe he’s dating someone? Or has some political view that he needs to inform everybody about? I’m not sure and I don’t want to google it lest I get MORE headlines about Harry Styles – I’m already suffering from a slew of Selena Gomez info since I wrote the first part of this blog post yesterday.

If I had to guess, though, I think Harry Styles is some sort of fashionista. I don’t know if that’s a gendered word. A fashionister? Or maybe fashionisto? fashionistx? As an aside, I heard someone refer to a number of major league baseball players as Latinx, which confused me because I thought we were only supposed to use Latinx to refer to a group with both Latinos and Latinas. Is Latino offensive even if it’s a group of males of Latin American origin? Of course, I’m only asking the white people this, because no person of Latin American origin uses the phrase Latinx because it makes absolutely no fucking sense in Spanish.

Sorry, where was I? Right. Harry Styles. I couldn’t figure out why Harry Styles was making headlines for things like who he was dating or his new hairstyle. I mean, even when the dude was relevant, what, twenty years ago, I would never have called him hip. Hilarious, sure, but he’s tall and lanky, a goofy body frame perfect for physical comedy and not much else.

Have you spotted my train track yet? I was thinking of Ryan Stiles, the improv actor most notable for being on every single episode of “Whose Line is it, Anyway?”, both the English (good) and Drew Carey (bad) iterations. From this mid-40s perspective, he’s the far more important and influential of the Stileses, but I’m slowly coming to realize that he isn’t the ONLY of the Stileses.

It’s tough being me sometimes. Probably even tougher being my wife.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to research the subtle distinction between Jimmy Dean and James Dean.

Dear Other Former British Colonies,

So New Zealand’s thinking of changing their flag to take out the Union Jack, huh? I also heard a rumor that Australia was thinking of loosening their ties with the mother country. It’s the very same “mother” that kicked them out eighty years ago, but hey, baby steps.  Kind of like when Greg Brady moved his room to the attic. And maybe, if either of these moves prove successful, Canada can take its rightful role of “America’s Hat” instead of “Britain’s Toddler.”

As an arrogant American, if any of this happens, I’d be the first one to say “Welcome to the eighteenth century.”

Early in my teaching career, during one of the seemingly bi-annual budget cuts that schools go through, I started looking at which other countries would accept my teaching credential. When I looked at New Zealand, which I had once spent three days in and absolutely loved, I was disappointed that there was no reciprocity with the United States. They WOULD accept a Canuck Credential, or Aussie or South Africa or any number of other nationalities’. But not a Yank.

I tried to bribe a Canadian official with some maple syrup (“Have you met my friend, Aunt Jemima?”), but no luck.

Those other countries are deemed as “culturally similar” to New Zealand, but the United States is not. Evidently the whole “former British colony” didn’t seep into a people’s culture until 1850.

The whole “asking for your independence” thing makes the Commonwealthers aghast. There’s a certain cultural element to waiting until your parents kick you out of the house. I’m sure we Americans were probably a bit too brash – screaming at our parents and running away from home while still in our formative pre-teen years. But really, Kiwis? Y’all waited till your parents converted your bedroom into a game room. Then you still asked if you could just live in the garage.

And none of you three are even independent now. How do I know? Because you still depend on your parents for money.

And last I checked, all y’all still have the Queen on your money.

You also still celebrate the Queen’s birthday. Although you can’t seem to agree on when said birthday is, and it is nowhere near the actual Queen’s birthday, but that’s a post for another time.

I don’t mean to call the three of you out, but you are aware that Fiji finally got around to taking her off their money, right? This is the same Fiji that proudly made up the phrase “Fiji Time,” meaning “when we get around to it.”

“I thought the bus was supposed to get here at 7:30.”

“Ya, da bus get here at Fiji Time.”

Those people beat you to the whole “putting our own people on our currency” by six years and counting. No pressure.

So the Queen’s still on your money after, what, 85 years of independence? That’s a serious question. When did you three become independent? I tried googling Canadian Independence and Google just laughed at me. Then it gave me a whole range of dates, some as early as 1867, some as late as 1982.

But the year 1931 seems to be a regularly agreed upon date. I assume that’s when Britain made you start paying rent. The earlier date was when she told you to get a job, and it wasn’t until 1982 that you had to start paying for your own insurance.

What? You guys don’t have to pay for insurance? What the fuck?

Regardless, just like you aren’t really an adult until you have your own place, you aren’t really a country until you have money featuring people that live there.

Fortunately, I can help you out with that. After all, I’ve visited ALL THREE countries we are discussing. I don’t think there could be any more qualified person on this planet, Kiwi Teacher Credential Board be damned.

Besides, having an American condescendingly tell you how to run things is another one of those “rites of passage” for being a real country.

Since the Queen is currently among the living, I can only assume you aren’t tied down by that pesky “must be dead to be on our money” rule that ties us down in the United States. If we didn’t have this restriction, I’m sure Britney Spears would be leading Harriet Tubman in that “which woman are we going to put on the three-dollar bill” debate.

So it’s a good thing you guys don’t have that rule. Because I’m not sure I could name any historical figures from any of your countries. Wait, the Crocodile Hunter is dead, right?

So without further ado…

Canada: This one’s a little bit tougher than at first glance. The natural assumption would be to pick a hockey player. That’s the first thing that people think of when they hear Canada. And from what we hear, they are even more popular inside Canada than they are outside.

Sorry, Canada, I meant “ootside.”

There are other Canadian sports figures, too. I would suggest a curler, but the more logical person would be Steve Nash.  Not only is he a Canadian athlete, but also owns gyms throughout Canada. On the road to Vancouver, there is a Steve Nash Sports Club right next to a Tim Horton’s, and I think that spot right there is the most Canada spot on the Earth. The only thing that could make it more Canadian would be if, instead of an exact address, it was “Aboot 250 Centre Street.”

Wait, is Tim Horton a real person who can go on your money?

Outside of sports, Canada is known for a number of actors, especially comedians. I think roughly half of the SNL members have been Canucks. It’s a seriously impressive list: Dan Akroyd, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Martin Short, Phil Hartman, Norm MacDonald, John Candy, Seth Rogan. Shit, even Dana Carvey was born in Montana, which is effectively Canada.

But how would you even begin to pare that list down? Plus, the unfortunate fact is that most of their memorable characters aren’t Canadian. Mike Myers is known for an English secret agent, a Scottish ogre, and a teenager from Ohio. Dan Akroyd plays an alien and Norm MacDonald was last seen as a dead Kentucky Colonel.

Music? Bryan Adams defined the 1980s and Alanis Morissette took over the 1990s, but they haven’t been heard from since. A friend of mine told me that Rush was Canadian, which I found surprising. Not that Rush has a particular nationality, only that someone would think of Rush when discussing Canada. Or discussing music. Or really at any time, ever. My biggest problem with the book Ready Player One was how the the guy who created the game was a huge Rush fan. Nobody, I thought, is actually a Rush fan. Much less a big Rush fan.

But wouldn’t it be ironic if Canada put Alanis Morissette on their money? Don’t ya think?

Yeah, I’m going with the obvious one here, Canada. Wayne Gretzky’s going on your money. Maybe Mark Messier and Patrick Roy can go on different denominations

New Zealand: Ooo, this one’s a toughie. Google’s already laughed at me once today. I’m not even sure Wikipedia could help me find any famous New Zealanders.

My own personal famous Kiwi was the cute blonde that worked at the Zorb run when I visited, but I don’t think she was quite currency-ready.

You could put the kiwi bird on there. Or the kiwi fruit. Maybe a kiwi bird eating a kiwi fruit? But that sounds more like the back of money. The front really ought to have a person.

You could put the All Blacks on your currency. I’m sure the average Kiwi would know who they are. But when you try to exchange that money anywhere that doesn’t play rugby, people will just be confused. Plus you can’t have someone wearing shorts on your currency. Sorry.

I guess you’ll just have to put the hobbits on your money. The Lord of the Rings movies are what you’re most famous for.

I’ll be nice and let you guys vote on whether you use illustrations from the books or the actual actors. I assume Sean Astin would let his likeness be used.

You might have a little more problem with Orlando Bloom.

Australia: The world is your oyster, Oz.

There really are a shocking number of Australian actors. Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, both Wolverine AND Thor, not to mention the late Joker. Both of the Crocodiles (Dundee and Hunter). Russell Crowe.

What? Russell Crowe is from New Zealand?

Hold on, let me think.

Nah, New Zealand, you’re still good with Elijah Wood.

And it’s not just actors. Rick Springfield comes from the Land Down Under. As, of course, do Men at Work. So does Kylie Minogue. Most people might throw Kylie into the same category as Rick Springfield and Bryan Adams, as a throwback to the 1980s. Not so. I discovered when I was in Australia that not only is Kylie Minogue still making songs, but the Aussies are fiercely proud of her for it. I’m pretty sure every third song on the radio, and every other video on the TVs at the night clubs, featured the former Locomotion artist.

Keith Urban is the most unlikely Country star ever – not only is “Urban” the worst Country-sounding name, but how the hell does  an Australian get a Southern twang?

Actually, there seem to have been a few Aussies who play American cowboys. Like Russell Crowe in “3:10 to Yuma.”

Wait, Russell Crowe is a Kiwi? Are you sure?

And of course, combining singing and acting together is none other than Olivia Newton-John. I could see a full line of paper currency on her career. Maybe the five would show the good Sandy from Grease and the ten would feature naughty leather-clad Sandy. The hundred might have that memorable character from Xanadu. You know the one. Then all the coins would have the fat people working out in the Physical video.

But something’s missing from this whole thing. None of these people fit that international concept of Australia that the Aussies themselves hate so much. Where’s the “shrimp on the barbie?” I don’t see a Bloomin’ Onion anywhere.

And are we going to advertise the new currency with an “It’s Australian for Money” campaign?

You Aussies are known for getting blitzed, right? And being ready to fight at the drop of a hat? Like the time Russell Crowe got in that bar brawl or threatened that one reporter?

Dammit, Russell Crowe was born in Wellington. Wellington is in New Zealand. I can’t be the only one surprised by this.

We’re going to have to combine some of this Oz stuff together, Australia.

Let’s start with Wolverine. I don’t mean Hugh Jackman, I mean the character Wolverine. Sure, in the comics he’s Canadian. But he’s been played by an Aussie twice. Hugh is nice enough to hide his accent, but the Wolverine in the original X-Men cartoon made Steve Irwin sound like a caricature. So let’s go ahead and put him on your money.

So Wolverine snickts out his claws and we throw some shrimp on them. Then we barbie those shrimp over a fire made out of a few dried-out remnants of the Great Barrier Reef. With a Bloomin’ Onion and a Foster’s on the side. With a Kyle Minogue song playing when you take the money out of your wallet, like when you open those greeting cards. The ten can have the relatively tame “Loco-Motion.” Most people gamble with twenties, so those should play “I Should Be So Lucky.” And, giving truth to power, a hundred-dollar note should sing out “Can’t Get You Out of my Head.”

On the back, you could write, “Did You Know… That Russell Crowe is not Australian?”

So you’re welcome, former British colonies.

You’ll definitely want to re-visit this post if Prince Charles outlasts his mother.