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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Aug 26 1998
Reflecting on Fashion
Fashion is having one of its bohemian moments this fall, and Dog Bites would like to offer one year's free subscription to SF Weekly to the first reader to spot either of these headlines on a fashion story: "The Velvet Underground," or "The Velvet Revolution."

As a special bonus offer, the first reader to be acknowledged with anything other than an icy stare by the staff of the Palo Alto Neiman Marcus will get a copy of the August Elle magazine, just as soon as we're through with it.

In the meantime, we were intrigued to hear of the new "lubing" fad in New York. As we understand it, the idea is to use Vaseline, and plenty of it, to achieve the dewy, glowy, fresh-faced look required to complement the bohemian clothes look. Smear Vaseline all over your face, hair, neck, and chest; add frosted eye shadow, and head off to work. Why not?

For more specific advice, we called Maria Romano -- no, not the Maria Romano who starred in the 1984 Italian prison-sadism flick Caged Women, so stop asking -- a New York "celebrity beauty specialist" only coincidentally on the Vaseline corporate payroll.

"I do celebrity makeovers, and as an artist, I incorporate Vaseline into my work," Romano explains. "This is a multipurpose product. It can be used head to toe."

Some of Romano's Celebrity Beauty Tips:
* Before applying makeup, smear Vaseline all over your face and neck as a moisturizer.

* Smear more Vaseline on your eyebrows to groom them.
* Mix powder blush with Vaseline, then smear it on your lips, eyes, and cheeks.

* Brush Vaseline onto your eyelashes instead of mascara.
* Smear Vaseline onto your cheekbones to emphasize bone structure.
* Smear Vaseline all over your hair.

* Mix Vaseline with sparkly eye shadow then smear it on your shoulders, collarbone, and decolletage. "You know, the upper chest, the cleavage," Romano says.

Isn't there a possibility all this Vaseline could cause fashionistas to, say, slip, or something? After all, SOMA is already filled with girls falling off their own shoes.

Romano dismisses our concerns. "I love looking at a woman who has a little bit of shine, a little bit of dewiness on her skin," she says. "We're not just using this for diaper rash anymore."

We Read Jon Carroll, Even Though We Were Sick, So You Wouldn't Have To
Sometimes -- when your right leg is grotesquely swollen and covered in enormous weeping blisters, you have a fever of 101, there's no food in the house except an antique Trader Joe's frozen vegetarian rice bowl, and all your movies are overdue -- well, sometimes you have to ask yourself why you even bother.

But then you get a note like this: Keep blasting that weasel Jon Carroll! He's almost as sickening as Gina Arnold of the East Bay Express. Why I bother to even read the headlines on his columns is beyond me. But I do. Now that SF Weekly is exposing him as the hack he is, I enjoy laughing at his earnest stupidity more than ever. Jon Carroll is, or should be, the primary reason to NOT learn how to read.

Thank you, Rabbitt Tatum. You don't know what your postcard meant to us.
Now, Dog Bites' recent indisposition has given Mr. Carroll a completely undeserved free ride. Not only that, but he has now gone on another of his many vacations (how many do they get over there at the Chron, anyway?), this time to Canada, which he described in print as "sort of like Laplandia."

Sundry of our readers -- and yes, Paul Mendelowitz, we mean you -- will recall that Dog Bites' native land is, in fact, north of the 49th parallel (or 48th, for readers of Slate, assuming there are any). It was therefore with alarm that we received this news of Mr. Carroll's itinerary, especially since the wireless in our ancestral village has been broken for some weeks now, and we therefore could not telegraph the other clan members to alert them to the star columnist's impending arrival.

All we can do now is cross our fingers and hope that the visit goes well, and that American-Canadian relations are not jeopardized by, say, a fatal reindeer stampede in the Vancouver city petting zoo.

This earnest wish out of the way, we move along to summarizing Mr. Carroll's recent output -- a whole two weeks' worth! We would also like to draw everyone's attention to the fact that, in what may be an attempt to thwart the summarization process, our Jon has craftily begun including several more or less unrelated topics in some of his columns.

Monday, August 10
It's tough to know whether to root for the Giants or the Cubs.

Tuesday, August 11
Satire has its place.

Wednesday, August 12
Local TV newscasts aren't very good.

Thursday, August 13
There is a difference between the plural and the possessive.
Friday, August 14
Volvos are big heavy cars.
(Special bonus sentence: "And still: the Volvo.")

Monday, August 17
Local TV newscasts aren't very good.

Tuesday, August 18
Having nice leather gardening gloves, going for nice hikes, listening to Brahms, and eating fresh produce are all nice.

(Special bonus mention of a kitten's belly.)

Wednesday, August 19
Sometimes talking endlessly about things just makes them worse.

Thursday, August 20
Two topics: 1) There is a war between the sexes. 2) Addiction is bad.

Friday, August 21
Several topics, the most coherent of which are: 1) Japanese English is quaint. 2) The post office is a bureaucracy.

We look forward to the usual batch of Carroll replacement columnists, and especially hope the Chronicle brain trust brings back that smelly sleeping bag guy.

We Channel Jon Carroll, But You Won't Want To
Of course, Dog Bites is actually just disgruntled because we were not asked to write a replacement Carroll column, even though we consider ourselves far more qualified than, say, the sleeping bag guy.

But did we mention that if you get a really, really severe case of poison oak, you have to take Prednisone? And did we also mention that Prednisone causes the worst insomnia possible? No?

Well, for those who miss Jon Carroll already, we spent one sleepless and indeed manic night wondering what it would be like to be him, to write his column, to think his thoughts, to effortlessly toss off those rueful yet deeply tender observations about, for instance, cats, darn them. (Like: How is it that they can tell when you're awake, even if you lie there completely motionless, with your eyes shut? They just know, and start poking you in the chin with their little paws, trying to get you to tickle them behind the ears.)

So you're lying there, tormented by cats (who having become bored with your inert unresponsiveness start wrestling with each other until they fall off the bed, startling themselves so much that they flee in a panic into the kitchen), and you can't get your mind off a parody Gershwin couplet you've composed, completely without meaning to, that goes: Scratching at my lesions/ Crying for no reason. And still no sleep. Then, after a while, the cats come back, and one of them begins to purr, and everything just seems OK in the world.

And then you realize you are completely losing your mind, and have to get up and take several days' worth of the Chron down to the recycling bin at 3 a.m. and have a cold glass of water.

As told to Laurel Wellman

Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail

About The Author

Laurel Wellman


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