Monday, February 28, 2005

Fun things overheard in traffic court

"You're charged with going 53 in a 30 mile an hour zone. How do you plead, guilty or not guilty?"

"Your honor, the road I was on was a two lane road. In the eastbound lane, there was a disabled vehicle, an SUV, with the hood up and blinkers on. It was partly on the shoulder, part on the road. I was heading westbound, and I was kind enough to stop and let several cars through. Since I'd stopped, I had to [hahahaha--yeah, right, buddy, you had to] go a little faster in order to get to work, or I'd be late. And I want to know why the officer stopped me, when less than a mile away there was the disabled vehicle. Personally, I am shocked. The driver needed help. She was a woman, a poor old woman...."

My client and I chuckled, and I couldn't help but wonder how I could make his description of the old woman even more pathetic and heart-wrenching. Like, maybe she was wearing only one shoe. Oh, and she was blind, but her seeing eye dog was on the other side of the road.

And that mean ol' cop did nothing, nothing to help her! How unfair life is!

I did like the defendant's logic, though: I do something nice for someone, I get to break the law.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Shoot me before I talk about drive-bys again

Yes, I'm still milking this topic. It's an addiction. I can't stop. I'll finally start thinking about something else (the Oscars, my downward career trajectory, the book on the nightstand I should make more time to read, etc.), but then something or someone (Phantom Scribbler, I'm looking your way) will bring up the hot topic of parental drive-bys again.

On the phone with my dear ol' dad the other day. He's great with his grandbaby, and wants to see him all the time. Well, while we're setting up one of the many (wonderful and helpful, mind you) babysitting sessions, I mention how grateful I am to him because I have a lot of work to do this weekend (upcoming trial). It's then that my dad mentions that I should--are you ready for this?--play with my son.

REALLY? We're supposed to play with them? I thought all I had to do was birth the damn thing and nurse it for a handful of months. You mean I gotta play with it, too? I bet you're gonna say I should also read to it and sing to it, huh? Thank you so much. I had totally forgotten that I should play with my baby! Nevermind the fact that I would rather play with my smiley boy than do pretty much anything else. Nevermind that I work late into the evenings precisely because I want to spend his waking hours reading to him, playing with his Little People playsets, and kissing his chubby toes and feet.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Be my vacuum cleaner

Went to a wedding tonight and heard the best Best Man speech I've ever heard. Possibly the best Best Man speech in the history of Best Man speeches. I can't even begin to describe it or do it justice here. Just the perfect mix of sap and self-depreciation.

It was a pretty cool wedding. One of the readings during the ceremony was John Cooper Clarke's "I Wanna Be Yours." The first stanza:

Let me be your vacuum cleaner
Breathing in your dust
Let me be your Ford Cortina
I will never rust
If you like your coffe hot
Let me be your coffe pot
You call the shots
I wanna be yours


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Butt out, Butthead

Hey, even Achenbach got a drive-by! The busybody wrote the following email on Joel's post about his kids' failure to turn off the lights in the house (I swear I was the same way as a kid, but now I'm the opposite--I turn out lights ALL the time!):

A day after the Kyoto treaty went into effect, with most of the world agreeing to try to prevent further climate change from wasteful emissions of CO2, etc, and this comment about your childrens' lack of education shocks. It should have been quite simple to teach your children in pre-school one plus one equals two: natural resources (for the most part, so far, non-renewable) plus human technology results in household electrical power. In grade one, they could have learned that power generation and usage have side effects on all and should be used respectfully, cleanly, thinking of others, in the same way, I assume, you and your spouse taught them not to do their droppings throughout the house. Shame on them - and on you.

Joel responded somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but I wish he'd made some smartass response to the "droppings" part:

Well, Betsey, we would love to dispose of our children's "droppings," but we've taught them that we need to conserve water, for there is not an endless supply. Since we don't want to teach them wastefulness, but rather only the utmost respect for the other people--like yourself--that we share the planet with, we don't allow them to use the toilet. You see, every flush means one less glass of filtered water for you and your family ...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

And I thought I hated cleaning the bathroom

Sars needs a Roomba... and a maid, too.

I actually don't have a problem with cleaning the toilet. It doesn't skeeve me out. But the shower? With all those tiles? Blech. I am not a tall woman. I'm actually toward the petite end of the spectrum. Meaning, my arms and hands are tiny. Thus, it takes me an inordinate amount of time to clean a shower stall. I may be a fast-scrubbing blur, but all that kinetic energy is confined to very small, discrete areas of the shower. It takes a whiiiiiiiiile.

Nobody likes Milhouse!

I've been inspired by one of corndog's comments to my previous post. What are some of the best quotes from "The Simpsons"?

Corndog says his favorite quote is:

Lisa: I think it's ironic that Dad saved the day while a slimmer man would have fallen to his death.
Bart: And I think it's ironic that for once Dad's butt prevented the
release of toxic gas.

I don't know that I have a single favorite, but some of the ones that spring to mind are as follows (some are only funny in their context--you hardcore fans will recall them):

"Nobody likes Milhouse!"

"Stupid risks are what make life worth living."

"To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems."

"Ketchup... Catsup.... Ketchup... Catsup...."

"I can't believe you don't shut up!"

"Disco Stu doesn't advertize."

"All right, Brain. You don't like me, and I don't like you. But let's get through this, and I can get back to killing you with beer."
"It's a deal."

"Here comes two!" (Used twice, actually; once by Abe, once by Homer)

"Twenty dollars? I wanted a peanut."
"Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts."
"Explain how."
"Money can be exchanged for goods and services."

"Whoa, that's good squishy."

And, the quote I use most often, and it makes me and my husband laugh like idiots:

"I am riding on a bus."

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

God, I love this show

My favorite Toad the Wet Sprocket song was used in "Scrubs" tonight! So this makes Colin Hay, Michael Penn, and TTWS that they've played. Yay.

I spend too much time
Seeking shelter.
World without end
Couldn't hold her.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Don't tell Urbanbaby...*

I took my 17-month-old to see the Winnie the Pooh movie today. It was his first movie (I don't count the few Reel Moms movies I took him to when he was 2- and 3-months old). I'm so proud of him--he was enraptured the entire time. He wanted to sit on my lap rather than on the booster seat next to me, so I held his little warm body on my lap for more than an hour and smelled his hair. Sigh...

*One of the more amazing anecdotes in Warner's now-infamous mommy piece:
"There was something new, too: the tendency many women had to feel threatened by other women and to judge them harshly—nowhere more evident than on Urbanbaby and other, similarly "supportive" web sites. Can I take my 17-month-old to the Winnie the Pooh movie?, one mom queried recently. "WAY tooooo young," came one response."

Mommy drive-bys

You have to read this: Chez Miscarriage has solicited comments about mommy drive-bys, the unintentional (and, all too often intentional) hurtful comments that moms make to other moms for whatever reason (ignorant concern, the need to pump up their own self-worth, some sick desire to belitte others, etc.).

The list is just amazing--but completely believable. Me, I don't think I've ever been the victim of a mommy drive-by. It's possible that I have and have just blocked it out, though. I'll have to ask my husband if he's ever had comments made to him...

Love that XM

Was in my husband's car this morning. He has XM Radio in his car... because I am just that awesome of a wife (it was his Christmas present). I got to hear the following songs:

  • "Dyslexic Heart" by Paul Westerberg

  • "Letter to Elise" by the Cure

  • "Metropolis" by the Church

  • "Waiting for my Man" by Lou Reed, or Velvet Underground (I forget--same thing)

It's sad that in order to get good radio, you have to pay for it.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Poor Bonnie.

Tonight's Simpsons

"This episode contains discussions of same sex marriage. Parental discretion is advised."

Depictions for which "The Simpsons" didn't advise parental discretion:

  • Illegal drug abuse (Homer enjoys medical marijuana)

  • Alcohol abuse (Barney, plus Marge went to rehab)

  • Child abuse (police beating babies with batons, not to mention all the Bart chokings)

  • The startling death of a wife and mother (Maude Flanders)

  • Nudity (lots of butt shots)

Au revoir, les enfants

Gacked from Geeky Mom's site:

France Modern (trois fleurs-de-lis)
You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

My life is defnitely not guided by nihilism--no, not even when I'm at work. Existentialism? Yes, but not in the dressed-in-black, angsty way. (Not since I was 17.) Rather, in the let's-cultivate-our-own-garden way, expressed nicely by Voltaire...

Ack, again with the French!

Oh, and I am so not a hedonist. Although with the amount of chocolate I've been consuming lately, some might argue with that.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


Was at the gym, reading my copy of Parents magazine (lay off, I'm letting my subscription expire next month) and I saw a piece on ways to get your kids off to school without yelling at them. All the tips themselves were fairly practical and I could see how they would decrease stress and save time, e.g., make your kids' lunches the night before, make sure their bookbags and any coats they need are right by the front door, etc.

But the picture that went with the "make your kids' lunches the night before" was what caught my eye. It was a picture of two typical brown lunch bags, BUT the bags were decorated very nicely and painstakingly with different colored magic markers, with the kids' names on each, and each bag was sealed with a different sticker.

I nearly fell off the eliptical trainer, laughing. If the goal of these tips is to help parents become less harried, then why show those perfect Martha-Stewart lunchbags? It'd even be one thing if these were those nylon, reusable sacks. Sure, decorate those. But this was a disposable brown paper bag. So, in other words, the picture implies that Mom should be spending her "spare" minutes every night creatively decorating her children's brown bags. Which, the way I look at it, totally obviates the time you save in the morning by having prepared their lunches the night before.

Why am I watching this?

NBC right now is showing "Autism: The Hidden Epidemic." I need to say right up front that my biggest fear, as far as possible disabilities or disorders were concerned, was that my son would be autistic. And, given my son's young age, it's not like I'm not still somewhat paranoid about this. I think my fear stems from the fact that there's so much we don't know about the causes of autism, and the fact that it can be so hard for the children to communicate their needs, fears and desires, leading to frustration on both the children's and parents' parts. Oy.

I think the show has been done pretty well. It has talked about various symptoms and the different types of treatments, and has shown lots of kids with varying degrees of autism. The only criticism I've had so far:

One of the symptoms is "lack of eye contact." Well, to demonstrate this symptom, the camera showed a mother with her child, and she was saying, "Look at me," and actually physically turning her son's head toward her, only to have him look away again. The problem with that scene: He was turning his head because the TV was on not 10 inches away from him. (This will not turn into a diatribe against kids watching TV. People in glass houses, and all that...) Of course he's going to have a hard time turning away from the TV and paying attention to mom. I hope that parents don't see that and get too worried: "My daughter watches the TV instead of looking at me when I'm talking to her. She must be autistic!" It would've been better, I think, if the producers showed the mother trying to get her child's attention when there wasn't such an obvious source of visual stimulation right nearby.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Too Cheap for Content

Wish I had the paid subscription to The New Republic. One of the articles linked to is a review of the director's cut DVD of Donnie Darko, and the description reads, "The director's cut of Donnie Darko explains too much." I'd really like to read this review. I saw DD in the theater in October 2001, and I got the DVD as soon as it came out. Never wound up seeing the director's cut when it was re-released. I don't think I could get past the fact that Richard Kelly chose not to use Echo & The Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon" for the opening. No song could better capture the mood of the film, in my opinion. It's a beautiful song, but also quite creepy and a little discordant, just like the movie.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school...

Here's my take on the high school meme going around:

What year was it?

What were your three favorite bands/performers?
Bonnie Raitt (what? shut up), Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton

What was your favorite outfit?
Jeans and a t-shirt, same as now.

What was up with your hair?
Same thing that's up with it now. Except no bangs right now.

What did you do after school?
Sometimes I had soccer. But mostly, I either hung out at a friend's house, or people walked to my house.

Where did you work?
I didn't work during the school year. In the summers, I had various office jobs that necessitated the wearing of pantyhose. Blech.

Did you take the bus?
No. I lived pretty much as far away from the school as you could live without being on a bus route. So I either had to walk or snag a ride from an upperclassman.

Who did you have a crush on?
I won't name names, but if you want to know what my type was, my friends decided that my theme song was Julie Brown's "I Like 'Em Big and Stupid." Sample lyrics:

What kind of guy does a lot for me?
Superman with a lobotomy!
My father's outta Harvard,
My brother's outta Yale,
But the guy I took home last night
Just got outta jail.

Did you fight with your parents?
Nope. Never. I'm a freak.

Who did you have a celebrity crush on?
Kevin Kline. Liam Neeson. Ken Branagh--and he's still in my Top Five. Basically, a lot of much, much older men.

Did you smoke cigarettes?

Did you lug all of your books around in your backpack all day because you were too nervous to find your locker?
I thought that was just a convention of bad '80s sitcoms.

Did you have a "clique"?
Yes. And I won't elaborate.

Did you have "The Max," like Zach, Kelly and Slater?
I swear, I watched a lot of SBTB in my day, but I have no idea what "The Max" is.

Admit it, were you popular?
If you mean popular in the literal sense of the word, then yes, because I had a lot of different friends in a lot of different social groups; a bunch of people knew who I was. If you mean popular in the high school sense of the word (and, yeah, I know that's what you mean), then no, I was not one of the "popular girls."

Who did you want to be just like?
Carrie Fisher, post-rehab, post-Paul Simon.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
By 15 I'd given up my acting aspirations, 'cause I knew my dad would freak out. So the goal from there on out was newspaper reporter.

Where did you think you'd be at the age you are now?
I didn't think that far ahead. I still don't.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darnit, my kid likes me

The cover of Newsweek right now proclaims: "The Myth of the Perfect Mother."

In the cover story, Mommy Madness, Judith Warner writes about how moms are falling all over themselves trying to be supermoms, using lots of anecdotes about friends of hers--and about Warner herself--who are all frazzled, harried moms. It very much reminded me of a popular book I really did not like at all, I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. The protagonist of that book was a crazily busy career woman with two kids, a nanny, and a sweet husband. She felt like she was always in a competition with the other moms--the Martha Stewarty moms, with the kids who were always clean and polite and perfect. I read the book when I was pregnant, but even then, I knew I would never be able to relate to this woman.

Don't misunderstand me. I am one competitive woman (while drinking, I've been known to challenge my girlfriends to an arm wrestling match, and you'd best not mess with me during Jeopardy! or I will hurt you). But for some reason, I never saw motherhood as something to get all competitive over.

Anyway, I was speeding along through Warner's article, until I came to the inevitable social critique:

Most of us in this generation grew up believing that we had fantastic, unlimited, freedom of choice. Yet as mothers many women face "choices" on the order of: You can continue to pursue your professional dreams at the cost of abandoning your children to long hours of inadequate child care. Or: You can stay at home with your baby and live in a state of virtual, crazy-making isolation because you can't afford a nanny, because there is no such thing as part-time day care, and because your husband doesn't come home until 8:30 at night.

This is where I always have a problem with these types of articles, the ones that purport to show how hard it is for us moms, because we're left with these two alternatives, neither one good or healthy for all parties invovled. But the reality is, life is not an either/or. The vast majority of us are not limited to two choices. There's a lot of gray in between these black and white contrasts.

Which is not to say that I don't have major problems with how American society treats mothers. Hell, treats families. It certainly doesn't help that folks in the media perpetrate this notion of a zero-sum game. That we can be successful professionally, or that we can be supermoms, but that we can't be both, can't "have it all," because then we're all frazzled and crazy and we go without sleep and the only way out is to maybe one day write a book about it that sells hundreds of thousands of copies so that other harried moms can see themselves reflected and so that the zero-sum idea can be reinforced in our entertainment choices and ha ha ha isn't it funny how the main character purchases cookies from the store for her kid's bake sale--just like me!--ha ha ha ha....

Whew. Later on in the article, before delving into the practical, legislative changes that would certainly help the state of the American family, Warner writes:

For while many women can and do manage to accept (or at least adjust to) this situation for themselves, there's a twinge of real sadness that comes out when they talk about their daughters. As a forty-something mother living and working part-time in Washington, D.C. (and spending a disproportionate amount of her time managing the details of her daughter's—and her husband's—life), mused one evening to me, "I look at my daughter and I just want to know: what happened? Because look at us: it's 2002 and nothing's changed. My mother expected my life to be very different from hers, but now it's a lot more like hers than I expected, and from here I don't see where it will be different for my daughter. I don't want her to carry this crushing burden that's in our heads ... [But] what can make things different?"

And it was this woman's sentiment that made me realize why, perhaps, I just can't relate to any of this. Maybe the big difference is that I don't think my mother expected that my life would be much different from hers. A few key differences, I'm sure she hoped for (she probably hoped that, if I did get married, I wouldn't subsequently divorce as she had). But on the whole, I think my mom was happy with her life, happy with how she was raising me. Of course she must've had periods of doubt, but it was likely triggered by me and my moods, not by the comments of other mothers. I never had the sense that she even cared what other moms did in raising their kids. I know she put a lot of hours into her job, but I also know that she genuinely liked her job (she still does, in fact). She also put a lot of hours into spending time with me: taking me to movies, plays, baseball games. But, importantly, she always made time for herself. She joined a soccer league for women. She took dance classes. Naturally, that meant she wasn't spending her spare time keeping the house spotless or making fancy dinners. But what child would prefer a clutterless home and chicken cordon bleu to a happy, healthy mom?

Which leads me to the other mommy articles: Meet the Slacker Mom by Peg Tyre and Anna Quindlen's The Good Enough Mother. Both of these describe motherhood scenarios that I can more easily relate to. Honestly, after reading I Don't Know How She Does It, I thought, "Well, maybe after I have a child, I'll feel different and I'll suddenly be so concerned about being perfect at everything." And then, when I had my baby and still wasn't like that, I thought, "Well, maybe once my son is in daycare with the other kids, and I see the other mommies..."

Well, it's been a year and a half. I still feel like myself. I still don't give a crap if complete strangers (or even close friends, really) think I'm a subpar mom. I still don't feel the need to put on some show, to make believe I can be a hard-driven attorney, putting in long hours at work, and also be the June Cleaver of my street, baking pies and steam-cleaning the drapes.

I'll let y'all know if that changes, but I doubt it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A little from Column A, aaaaaand a little from Column B

Am I just buzzed, or is "Scrubs" awesomely funny tonight? (See above.)

At the grocery store tonight, there were only a few lanes open, since it was after 10 when I got there. Headed over to the 15 items or less express lane. Of course the jackass in front of me had at least 20 items. And of course, he has to ask for paper, not plastic, 'cause that takes eeeeeven looooonger. Hate. HATE. I thought about picking up his six boxes of frozen veggies and flinging them back toward the frozen foods section.

But, as I've mentioned, I was only slightly buzzed (one and a half beers with dinner). So I just stood there and seethed, shooting harmless hate rays out of my eyes, and sighing audibly.

I am a wuss.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

I think my car would piss itself if this thing was coming toward it...

From Salon:

"For a base price of $225,000 -- nearly twice the Hummer H1 wagon's base price of $117,508 -- consumers can get a basic version of the 10-foot-tall Bad Boy that can drive through five feet of water, climb a 60-degree grade, tow six tons and keep rolling even with a quarter-sized hole in the tire's sidewall.

The price goes up from there, depending on options. Drivers can get infrared cameras that peer through darkness. The flat-nosed cab can be bulletproof, and house a mini-safe behind three leather seats. The dash can include a satellite phone, a two-way radio and a global-positioning system -- all alongside DVD, MP3 and CD players and a flip-out LCD screen.

For $750,000, buyers can get the fully loaded "NBC" version that can, Ayres said, detect and block out fallout from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons by over-pressurizing the cab with filtered, clean air much like an aircraft."

Damn. Since this this is called the "Bad Boy," all my Hummers Are For Dicks bumper stickers will be useless. This would still work OK, though.

Friday, February 11, 2005

You ask me if I have a God complex? Let me tell you something: I am God.

This wire story tangentially reminds me of the movie Malice, starring Nicole Kidman and Bill Pullman. And Sexy Liberal Baldwin, back when he was still uncontrovertably sexy.

Nicole: What do you want?
Bill: What does everyone want? I want the Red Sox to win the World Series.

And a mere...eleven years after that movie was released, they did. Hallelujah, amen, and God bless Derek Lowe.

If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be...

...the owner of a Cold Stone Creamery franchise?
...a copy editor for a midsize newspaper?
...a continuity editor in Hollywood?
...a Zamboni driver?

Probably unemployed.

I'll always be angry, though. Good for the blood.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Lent again

Things I've Given Up For Lent in the Past*
  • ice cream

  • Cokes

  • chocolate

  • candy

  • beer

  • fried foods

Things I Would Like to Give Up For Lent
  • billing my time

  • commuting

  • getting calls from telemarketers

  • wearing pantyhose

  • dealing with asshats

  • picking up dog poop

*Friend and reader justjohn brought to my attention that the way this read before, "Things I've Given Up For Lent," made it sound as though I'd given up all of those things this year. Nononononononononono. I pride myself on my willpower, but there's no way I could give up all my vices simultaneously. I think that's the same reason they let recovering addicts smoke cigarettes in rehab...