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Roseanne Barr Living, Doublewide

March 16, 2004|Roseanne Barr | Roseanne Barr is featured in "Home on the Range," to be released April 2.

Now that Martha Stewart is busy with legal troubles, I was thinking that maybe there'd be room for me to step in and fill the vacuum (I still hate the word "vacuum") with some of my "Domestic Goddess" tips, wit and wisdom. I always figured there was room for both of us, but now, with her possibly going up the river, I figure it's time to elbow my way a little closer to center stage, again.

To tell you the truth, and I mean no disrespect to Martha, a lot of what she was talking about most days was a little high-toned for the likes of me and lots of the semi-average women who seemed to relate to my earthy "life strategies." I mean, in today's economy, lots of people's idea of gracious living is "paneling" the entire kitchen in their trailer with contact paper, as I once did in my trailer -- the kind that costs 69 cents per 500-foot roll.

Our trailer, all 600 square feet of it, was a showcase for my "decorating instincts" -- like turning the La-Z-Boy at an angle where my husband could see the TV while still getting the full effect of my yelling long before anyone was talking about feng shui.

Speaking of the kitchen, I mean, it's all well and good to talk about "homemade scones drizzled in local honey," but a good bit of my time was spent trying to create "aha moments" with more humble fare like Spam and SpaghettiOs. When I got successful and actually traveled to fancy Eye-talian places like Rome and Florence, I was surprised that you couldn't find authentic SpaghettiOs on the menus.

Look, I'm from Utah, the original home of the "Domestic Goddess," and women there could teach Martha a lot about cuisine -- especially the finer points of versatile staples like green Jell-O with pears, peanut butter play-dough, crayon cookies and homemade items that you make for 5 cents and have your kids take to the Primary Children's Hospital to give to sick kids.

I know how to use a glue gun in place of a sewing machine and how to hem jeans with a staple gun, and don't even get me started on decoupage. I once decoupaged a table, four chairs, three lampshades and a bathroom floor. I once made French onion soup out of three bouillon cubes and an onion when three of us were broke and hungry. I watched Martha one day and decided to try her homemade macaroni and cheese, and, after going through great pains with crazy ideas like grating your own cheese and sprinkling bread crumbs on top and all that, I served it to my son and grandson. They hated it! They marched over to the pantry, grabbed that familiar blue box and said, "This is macaroni and cheese!" Take note, please, Martha.

Is Martha married? I don't know. I don't want to pry, and I'm not married, these days, but I have been -- plenty of times -- and I think that knowing how to deal with the dumber sex, up close and personal, for longer than you want to, should also be a qualification for being a legitimate lifestyle mentor.

Can we take a minute to talk about the fact that I have five kids, (and a grandson) and I think Martha's had only one? My oldest is 32 and my youngest is 8. Need I say more? In this day and age, when kids can learn how to make a suitcase nuclear device on the Internet (when they're not too busy downloading porn), I think people need a celebrity homemaking consultant with kid-raising chops.

Poor Martha's really got problems. First of all, there was the challenge of finding a jury of her peers. I mean, Oprah's way too busy for jury duty and, the last time I heard, Imelda Marcos was attending a hubris festival in Luxembourg or Brussels or one of them other hoity-toity places and couldn't be reached. Leona Helmsley? Forget about it! She doesn't want to get anywhere near a courtroom, and that's understandable -- besides, like she's going to stop berating employees for what could go on for weeks? I don't think so!

It's way hard for most people to feel anything like sympathy for Martha Stewart, but if I could just offer a word or two of advice to my classier counterpart (she's come a long way for a Polish girl from Jersey), I think she should play down that whole arrogant billionaire thing. She'd be better served by sincerely faking some serious humility. If she should find herself behind bars, sporting a tacky prison-orange jumpsuit, she's going to find that the "ladies" there are not exactly finishing school alumnae. She could be on the short end of a very rude awakening, before you can say, "Let me show you how to macrame a nice cozy for that shiv" or, "I had no idea one can whip up some kickass jailhouse crank with cleanser, Drano and baking soda. How creative!"

Sure, a zillion people are getting away with more than Martha tried to get away with, but, when all is said and done, it looks like she did try to get away with something. Apparently, she was trying to save some microscopic fraction of 1% of her vast fortune, and it has really cost her. I wish Martha well, and I'm pretty sure she's a survivor.

But while she's busy deflecting the slings and arrows of misfortune, as that Shakespeare guy would say, I know a pleasingly plump Jewish girl from Utah, speaking of survivors, who's available to dispense some household hints, provide generous loads of unsolicited advice and slam through a papier-mache craft project or two, if anyone's interested.

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