“I’d take him even if he didn’t have $200 million” 

— Friend at Krystal’s bridal shower about Blake Carrington in Episode 1, “Oil”

Dynasty lasted just nine seasons, but it made an indelible impression on millions of us. It was the Reagan era and, like Dallas and its other rivals, the hit nighttime soap reflected our love for glitz, glamour and greed. I was a teenage Carrington addict, putting the theme song on my answering machine, writing about it for my high school paper and even racing to the news stand on Wednesdays to check the Nielsen ratings in USA Today. (Between this and the French Club, it’s surprising no one knew I was gay.) As the 30th anniversary of the first episode’s airing passes this month, we can see 10 lessons still true today for us — not to mention our new Congress:

This week, I find myself cooking out of habit, then eating nothing or just picking around the perimeter of each nicely plated meal before packing the remains in plastic tubs. I have no appetite but am fixing delicious things, increasingly complex productions that fill my dollhouse-size apartment with perfect smells. In an effort to rationalize this situation, I shift from stewing over heartbreak to focus on science. While earning a nutrition degree, I learned we crave fatty things for their esters – compounds that carry smell and impart taste. From smell and taste, we derive pleasure and comfort, and from fats we derive fuel. The stuff that keeps our mechanical bodies going also plumps our hearts like pillows, in the figurative as well as literal sense. Fats are comforting and clogging. I also learned we crave sugar when there is a lack of sweetness in daily life. All I can stomach right now are Pink Lady apples and endless cups of honeyed hot milk. This indulgence and dependence is risky – artificial sweetness is inevitably succeeded by a bigger crash

You are studiously minding your own business in the library one sharp, grey winter afternoon.

The undergrad is a table and a generation away, typing on his black Acer. Your eyes wander and meet. A clinical glance is exchanged. Some time later you cause a hideous copier jam, which the undergrad happens to witness and very kindly, very messily resolves. Both chagrined, hands blackened.

1. Most cats are smarter than most Americans because most cats like Vegemite.

2. Mothers are always right. Getting orthopedic surgery on a body part on the same day as your partner will make for a really funny (and drugged out) 48 hours. Then the drugs will wear off, whereupon you will discover the futility and pain of trying to have sex with each other and wish you’d listened to both your mothers when they told you that you were completely crazy for scheduling surgery on the same day.

3. Drinking Smooth Move™ tea when you don’t really need to is not a good idea. Drinking two cups is a disaster of leviathan proportions.

4. After witnessing someone throw something wasteful on the ground, particularly a cigarette, it is really fun to chase them down the street and politely say “Excuse me? Excuse me? You dropped something back there.” The offending litterbugs are invariably worried about their iPhone/keys/wallet for about 5 panic-fueled seconds, then really irate/apologetic/apoplectic/embarrassed/amused/abusive. It’s just as much fun to try and guess their reaction beforehand.

5. When handing out your resume at job interviews it helps to have the right phone number included. It’s best to check as soon as you write the resume, and not after an entire year.

6. Sometimes the most counter-intuitive things are the best for us.

7. Crutches suck. There is a reason humans have two legs instead of four.

8. I don’t know what I believe in anymore. Am I an atheist? An agnostic? A Buddhist? A tree-hugging, dice-rolling, naturist?

9. Buying chocolate eclairs earlier in the day in preparation for visitors who will arrive much later is not a wise move. There will be no eclairs. None. And you will want to throw up on your guests. Try not to.

10. Not being able to see Sarah Silverman’s inspired TED talk in which she tries to destabilize the PC world by mentioning the word “retard” over and over again is going to piss me off for quite a while. The fact that TED are not putting it online makes me want to revoke my membership but has resulted in a few good emails to their ‘technical issues’ email address inquiring about “the Sarah problem”.


That’s all. What about you? Anything good?