Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Reckless spending of other peoples' money

Thought I'd list my most recent iTunes purchases (with the gift card I got for Mother's Day), if only to inspire some people to actually use their iTunes credits:

  • The Forgotten Arm, Aimee Mann

  • No!, They Might Be Giants

  • "The Days of Our Lives," The Blue Nile

  • "Because of Toledo," The Blue Nile

  • "She Saw the World," The Blue Nile

  • "High," The Blue Nile

  • "Vineyard," Jackopierce

  • "Club Foot," Kasabian

  • "Wait for Jane," Tammany Hall NYC

  • "Always on Sunday," Tammany Hall NYC

  • "Turn My Head," Live

  • "Crush Story (Live)," Too Much Joy (wish they had the studio version)

Monday, May 30, 2005

Great bumper sticker

Saw the following on a bumper sticker on today's walk:

Republicans for Voldemort

Laughed my ass off. Had to explain the joke to NSAH, who isn't up on the Potter world. We both agreed that there needs to be a Republicans for Palpatine sticker if there isn't one yet.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Disappointed

I loved M*A*S*H, the TV show, and yet had never seen the movie. Not So Angry Husband, who's seen everything M*A*S*H (movie, TV show, specials) at least a couple of times, and I realized that AMC was playing the movie tonight. Since I hadn't seen it before, we decided we'd watch.

About 15 minutes into the movie, I was struck by what utter assholes Hawkeye and Trapper are. Whereas they play lovable scamps and practical jokers on the TV show, they are horrid jackasses in the movie. Most offensive is the entire movie's treatment of women. Some examples:

Yes, Hot Lips has a bug up her ass. She did on the TV show as well. But here, as soon as she rebuffs Hawkeye and doesn't fall for his schtick, he labels her a bitch. All of the men harass her to no end. Even the way they talk about her behind her back, it's beyond degrading. It's like every (successful) sexual harassment lawsuit I've ever read about.

In another crazy and somewhat nonsensical plot, they convince a nurse to either have sex with or give a blowjob to (I couldn't tell which they were implying) a soldier/dentist. The nurse doesn't want to, but then she lifts the sheet covering the dentist and discovers his ginormous schlong (as a chorus of angels sings in the background). The next scene in which we see her, she's got a tremendous grin plastered across her face. I couldn't stop rolling my eyes--I thought my retinas were going to detatch.

I don't think I need to state that I'm not a prude. But this movie, it's pissing me off. On top of that: it's not that funny at all. Is it supposed to be a comedy? Even a dark comedy? I think I laughed once (at Father Mulcahy--always a fan of his character).

Saturday, May 28, 2005

In praise of spontaneity

Having a wonderful day full of spontaneity.

OK, so the breakfast with one of my oldest friends from high school had been planned for a while. We met at one of the myriad Silver Diners in my area. Me, her and Angry Boy. She hadn't seen him since he was a wee pup, so she was amazed that he's more than half my size now. We had a lovely time. I heard all about her upcoming wedding, and AB merrily munched away on his pancakes and my strawberries as the grown-ups (ha! I'm so not a grown-up) talked.

On the drive home, I was about 100 feet away from taking my exit when I realized that we were very close to the animal farm AB loves. It was still early (not quite 10), and the sun was shining. So I decided to check out the farm instead of going home. Well, the weather was perfect: sunny and warm but with a nice breeze. AB was his usual chatty self at the farm:

"Hi sheeps! ... Bye bye sheeps!"
"Hi goots! ... Bye bye goots!"
"Hi peacocks! ... Bye bye peacocks!"

He had the other parents there cracking up.

Then, tonight, AB and I were on a walk around the neighborhood (well, I was walking, he was riding in his stroller) when I heard music playing. I remembered that there was a little festival going on, so we took a longer detour and wound up checking out the activities. Lots of wonderful fried food smells and grilled food smells. AB loved watching the bigger kids ride the ferris wheel and other rides. He also saw lots and lots of doggies. He greeted each with the familiar "Hi doggy!" On the way home, he asked me to go "fast, fast!" and so I wound up getting some exercise, too. It was a great day.

I feel like so much of my life has to be planned down to the hour, if not the minute. Otherwise, how can I possibly get everything done that needs to be done? That's why I love days like this when I can throw schedules and plans out the window and just do whatever comes to me.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Friday Shuffle -- Kicking off summer

10 songs with "sun," "summer," or "hot"
  1. Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen), Baz Lurhman

  2. High on Sunday, Aimee Mann

  3. Hot for Teacher, Van Halen

  4. Some Like It Hot, Power Station

  5. Summer in the City, The Lovin' Spoonful

  6. Summer of Love, B-52s

  7. Sunday, David Bowie

  8. Sunflower, Paul Weller

  9. Sunshine to the Rain, Miri Ben-Ari

  10. You Are the Sunshine of My Life, Stevie Wonder


Edited to Add: Hand to God, I had not seen Scrivener's post until about 30 minutes after I posted this.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Back in Black

I hit the sack
I've been too long, I'm glad to be back!


Sorry to break out the AC/DC (wish I could put a little lightning bolt in there, but the slash will have to do), but I'm very glad to be back. Work has been quite crazy--which is good. But a lot of things have wrapped up in the past couple of days, so I'm hoping to have a good weekend.

On the way home, I caught Modest Mouse's "Float On" on the car radio just as a car with Massachusetts plates was driving in front of me. So immediately I thought of Phantom and of how much I was looking forward to getting on the "Internets" again.

However, because I'm still coming down, my brain isn't firing on all non-legal cylinders. So I'll amuse myself with this:

Hello, Googlers!
#12 for bad analogies
#9 for bad analogies on www.google.co.uk
#8 for OBX stickers
#1 for licky boom boom on Google and www.google.nl!

My parting thought for the evening: I'm glad that the carseat pad is washable. Otherwise, I'm not sure how I'd get all the toddler puke out.

Monday, May 23, 2005

RIP, Lopez

Very sad about this. One of the best morning DJs I've ever heard has died of cancer. Sure he was funny; but he was also intelligent and compassionate. I can't even remember how old I was when I started listening to him.

Lopez, you'll be missed.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Tearing my hair out...

... because I can't find a case that supports a proposition that I need to make.

And it's after midnight and I just want to go to bed.

And I'm so preoccupied by this work that I forgot to feed our dogs until just about 5 minutes ago (they should've eaten five hours ago).

Ugh.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Kid's Eyes Meme


The out-of-focus eyes of an Angry Boy Posted by Hello

Saw this first over at Phantom's, who saw it at jo(e)'s. Me sheep. Baaaa.

Still rambling about class

Had a good talk with my mom two nights ago (while waiting in a long-ass line to get into the midnight showing of a certain sci-fi movie) about class. She had not heard about the Times piece (she's a middle school teacher and is too busy to read about it right now anyway--grading beckons), but she said it sounded very interesting and that she'd like to read it.

I explained to her about the interactive graphic where you set forth your job, education, income and assets and it rates you. She said she was interested in entering the information from various points in her life, to see how she moved up over time. She concurred with my belief that she'd grown up with working class roots and then moved up to middle class, followed by upper-middle class. Now, if she's not already in the top fifth, she's probably on the cusp.

One thing in particular she told me that I thought was interesting: Even though she would likely have been considered working class or lower-middle class when she was a young girl, she always thought of herself as middle-class. She and her sisters always had everything they needed: clothes, food, books for school. Plus, they had a few luxuries like vacations... it wasn't until my mom was older that she realized their "vacations" were just the result of my grandfather--a U.S. serviceman--being sent to various bases around the globe. She thought they were just vacationing in Italy or Germany, just like a few of the other middle class families they knew.

Another important component of class (at least per the Times) is education. This is another area in which my mom grew up with a middle-class (or even upper-middle class) mentality: It was just assumed that she and her sisters would go to college and get their degrees. I find this astounding because neither of my grandparents had college degrees. My grandfather went to college for one week, disliked it, dropped out and joined the Armed Forces. My grandmother would have loved to have gone to college but was just too poor to afford it. But there was never even a question that their three kids would go, even though the money for their college educations wasn't necessarily a given. My grandparents lived frugally and saved, and by the time their oldest was old enough to go to college, they had enough to send her to a state university. Same with Nos. 2 and 3. (It no doubt helped that they were spaced out four or more years and all attended state schools.) I still think it's incredible, though, that the thought never entered my mom's mind (nor her sisters' minds) that they might not go to a university. It was just something that you did--no alternative.

Anyway, the rest of the story is that my mom graduated from college, started working, started saving, married my dad, had me, left my dad, and kept working and saving. I always had everything I needed, and had, well, a lot of luxuries as well. Sure, we had a roommate in our townhouse for about five years. But the extra money meant we could take fun vacations. (Can you tell a love of travel is in my blood?) By the time I was in junior high, I would definitely say we had reached the upper-middle class.

* * *

The one Times survey question that took me by the most surprise was this: 84% of the people surveyed said they favored programs designed to help people in the lower-class get ahead. So with that kind of popular support, why isn't more being done?

And on a related note, why is Maryland Gov. Ehrlich vetoing a bill that would've required companies with more than 10,000 employees (in other words, Wal-Mart) to spend 8 percent of the company's payroll on health care benefits or give that money over to the state's health care program for the poor?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Wasted away again in Mamacita-ville

Saw this query from a reader in Tom Sietsema's chat today on the washingtonpost.com:

"Hi Tom,

I'd love your opinion on something that happened to my husband and I while having dinner last Saturday night. I am 8 months pregnant and it's quite obvious. My husband ordered a beer and I ordered a non-alcoholic beer with our dinner, which the waiter brought in the bottles and poured into beer glasses. The waiter took the bottles away. A couple was then seated next to us (the tables were close as they are in what seems to be all restaurants these days). The woman noticed my "beer" and began staring at me pointedly and making rude noises. I finally looked over at her and she mouthed "I can't believe you are drinking that. Shame on you". I was flabbergasted. Her husband started shaking his head at me. I tried to ignore this ignorant couple, but they literally stared and commented at me for a good 5 minutes. My husband turned to them and stated that it wasn't any of their business what I was drinking and to please mind their own business. This just increased the level of the comments/stares. I asked our waiter if he could reseat either us or them - he said that was not an option, as the restaurant was full. I asked to speak to the manager and he said he "could not control guest behavior" and would not ask them to refrain, nor would he move us."


The poster goes on to ask Tom whether the restaurant was guilty of bad customer service for not trying to smooth things out. But I wish I could've replied to that woman to tell her what to do if a situation like that arises again in her remaining weeks of pregnancy:

Call the waiter back, and whisper in his ear--so Mr. and Mrs. Nosy McAsshat don't hear you--to bring out the biggest, most fanciful frozen drink (virgin, of course), something that they couldn't HELP but notice. And tell him to keep 'em coming! Then just sip 'n' grin the night away.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Why don't they call it Condescension?

In the Sunday New York Times, I noticed a little blip about a new parenting magazine that's coming out called Cookie. Sadly, I can't remember the quote from the paper, 'cause it made me think, "Whoa, I have to find out about these people!"

I found this page, which describes Cookie as "an upscale lifestyle parenting bimonthly."

Then I read this:
Fairchild CEO Mary Berner insists Cookie, with its niche appeal, will stand out from the crowd. “We felt there was a different kind of parent, who is more urban, definitely working, in a professional/managerial job, and who wanted more sophisticated information,” Berner explained, noting Cookie will target women in their 30s. “It’s not about expensive stuff. It’s about the sophistication level.”


Definitely working. God forbid one of those utterly unsophisticated stay-at-home moms accidently picks up this mag. She probably won't understand all those complex and sophisticated words on the pages....

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Klassy-with-a-K

According to the interactive graphic on class in the New York Times (click on the "Components of Class" tab), I'm in the top fifth. Of everything. Now, I'm not one of those people who claims to be middle class when really they're not. (Ahem, I'm looking at you, Fred Heineman.) But I can't reconcile what I see around me with my being in the top fifth, class-wise. Upper-middle? Sure, yes. But how can I be top-fifth, a.k.a. upper-class or "wealthy"? I eat microwave popcorn for dinner (not every night, but still...). I cut coupons. My husband and I are more likely to shop at Old Navy or Kohl's than Saks or ... well, wherever rich people shop. It's especially hard for me to accept this NYT label because of where I live, and the people I see around me and read about in the local paper every day. People who send their children to tony private schools and belong to country clubs. People with summer homes.

I don't know what I'm trying to say, other than: Can this graphic possibly be correct? And if it is, how long until the other inhabitants of my supposed class level are on to me, calling me out as a trespasser, and sending me back where I belong?

(Can you tell I was raised by a middle-class mom who came from working-class roots?)

Edited to add: GeekyMom is also having issues with her NYT label, so it's not just me! Whew!

Edited again to add: I forgot to mention it before, but I'm home. The Magical Mystery Tour has ended. Huzzah.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Beef brisket and beer in my tummy.

Season 7 "ER" on the television ("Fear of Commitment" and "Where the Heart Is," for those of you who know what that means--mmmm, Goran and Maura).

Bra off, shoes off, feet up.

This is turning out to be a great day.

Monster-in-Law review

Wanda Sykes was the best thing about this movie. And half of her dialogue consisted of saying, "Oh, shit." It was predictable, and the ending was totally contrived. And I figured out the one "twist" or "surprise" as soon as it presented itself. But parts of it were funny. Again, it was all Wanda. I'd like to see her in more movies. All in all, not worth anything more than a rental.

Friday, May 13, 2005

But first, a little roo-roo

OK, before any salacious details about the Magical Mystery Tour, here's something that NSAH thought would piss me off enough that he sent me the link to it while I'm off partying (and he was right, it did piss me off):

Warning: This will piss you off, especially if you are already too familiar with the guerilla tactics of the PG County (MD) Police Department

Aaaanyhoo... Having fun on the MMT. No barbecue yet, but plenty o' margaritas. So many that it actually is taking me a while to type "margaritas"... Later tonight the girls and I will probably go see "Monster In Law." Will let you know how it is. I wanted to see "Kicking and Screaming," the Ferrell soccer flick, but I was outvoted. Damn you, democracy!

So, in the downtime between drinking and movies, I'm reading emails from my work account and laughing about the massive AB poop (it ran down his little bare legs to his shoes!) that NSAH wrote to me about earlier today. Yeah, I don't miss that one bit.

Oh, before I go, here's a list of THINGS I SAW BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD TODAY:
  • Roadside stand selling shrimp

  • Roadside stand selling catfish

  • Dead armadillo (all four feet sticking straight up in the air--hahahahha!)

  • Roadside stand selling swords--yes, swords



This trip is awesome.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Magical Mystery Tour

Following in the great footsteps of the What Was I Thinking Tour and the What Was I Thinking Tour (Preschool Edition), I'm currently preparing for the Magical Mystery Tour. Since it is a mystery (for you all, not for me--I know exactly where I'm going), I will tell you only that I expect to enjoy good company, good barbecue, and good weather. I will also tell you that I will be sans family and will miss Not-So-Angry Husband and Angry Boy...but not too much (see above re: good company, barbecue and weather).

I will not, I repeat NOT be taking my laptop on the road with me... well, maybe. I haven't decided yet. I'll see how heavy my backpack is.

I'll leave you with the following: NSAH and I like our neighborhood and are trying to be better about patronizing local mom 'n' pop stores. Today, NSAH went to the little hardware store, a move I applauded because I despise our Home Despot. Here's the email he sent me when he got back from him trip:

"Nice store except for three things – they play country music, the old-timer working as a cashier is really slow, and the chocolate lab humped my leg. (He was sweet aside from that.)"

Things that make ya go AARRRGHHH!!!!!!!!

Read this NYT article (free subscription required).

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The neocons would have you believe that, as a Democrat, I'm post-modern. That I find value in all belief systems and in all cultures. That I don't disparage other cultures--just because something is different from the way we do things, that doesn't make it wrong.

Well, that very last point is true. But just because something is different from the way we do things, that doesn't make it right, either. The use of "cleansers" in these African countries--even without the huge, glaring specter of AIDS--is inhumane. The quotes from the article make my head explode, especially the "cleanser" who won't use a condom because it'll awaken a bad spirit.

I have no point here--I'm just pissed.

Monday, May 09, 2005

The kids are alright

This post over at MysteryMommy reminded me of the following events, which took place in early November a few years ago:

I had finished all of my Christmas shopping early, thanks to the miracle of the Internet. Angry Husband returns home from an afternoon at the mall. He informs me that he bought a few things for himself, including a CD. I berate him for buying things for himself so close to Christmas (my family members are always harassing me as the holiday draws closer, begging for gift ideas for the enigmatic AH, and I had already given ideas to some of them). He tries to calm me by saying that the CD he bought was not one he ever told me he wanted. I ask him to show me what CD it is. He whips out a Who CD and brandishes it happily.

I run to my closet, where I had stashed all of the presents I'd bought. I whip out the very same Who CD and brandish it smugly. Do I know my husband or what?

(I wound up giving the spare CD to my pop for Christmas.)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Too much too soon

Angry Boy has stopped calling me "Mama." I'm now "Mommy." I'm not ready for this.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Quick post before sleep

Got two Mother's Day cards today, both from my mom. One was a funny one, the (only) type I like to give. I think I can count on one hand the times I've bought cards that weren't from the Shoebox section of a Hallmark. I'm all about the cheap laugh, not so much about the emotions (as AH would likely attest, bless his heart).

The second card was of the schmaltzy variety. Lavender with pink script, big swirling cursive letters, poetry inside. My mom never used to get me cards like this. It's only since I've become a mom that she's gone the sentimental route. Part of me wants to blame this on AB: he's so cute, he's burying us in saccharine. But part of me also thinks (knows) that my becoming a mom--a good mom, a mom who really enjoys being a mother--is something so neat and exciting for my mom to see, that she doesn't think just a funny card will cut it anymore.

She's so silly. I love her.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Cyberreality

Met an online friend for the first time today. She's known me since before I was pregnant, and during the nine months (well, eight months) when I fully lived up to my moniker. The weird thing was that it wasn't weird at all. It was a lot of fun. Plus, it was an excuse to have a nice, slow lunch rather than the typical speedy-lunch-alone-at-my-desk-while-working meal.

Plus, she got me (well, Angry Boy) a really cool present. Looks a little something like this. I love it!

No. 3,000

Thank you, oh anonymous reader, for pushing me to 3,000. I wonder if I have Liz at MysteryMommy to thank. Hers was the referring URL a little after 10 p.m. EST last night. Was that you Liz? If so, thankyouthankyouthankyou!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Some grudges just won't die

The New Republic has a book review of Michael Eric Dyson's latest, which--according to the review--relentlessly skewers Bill Cosby. This paragraph gives you an idea of Dyson's claims:

Dyson betrays his elitism most blatantly in his obvious disdain for Cosby. Though he scrupulously avoids characterizing Cosby as a traitor to his race, Dyson all but characterizes Cosby as, well, a traitor to his race. Dyson traces Cosby's fuddy-duddy criticisms of African American Vernacular English to ignorance and discomfort. Rather than engage Cosby's arguments on these matters, Dyson psychoanalyzes Cosby. It is a classic elitist move, executed elegantly and artfully. Why should Dyson, a tenured academic, engage the arguments of the obviously undereducated Cosby (armed with a doctoral degree, yes, but no endowed chair)? Cosby doesn't even know that Hooked on Phonics has been criticized as ineffective! The fool! As for the notion that smart black youth are criticized as "acting white," Dyson, a scholar with a research budget, has managed to locate like-minded ethnographers who disagree! (If only Dyson subjected his own claims to the same scrutiny.)


Ah, the cooler-than-thou genius that is Michael Eric Dyson… a man who used the words "fuck" and "nigger" in the commencement "speech" he delivered at my undergraduate institution. And, almost as unforgivably in my opinion, made reference to the then-popular song "You Oughta Know" by stating that Alanis Morissette "performed fellatio" in the backseat of a car.

It was a theater, not a car, you asswipe. And thanks again for ruining my graduation all those years ago. I believe you have the honor of having been the first person to say the word "fuck" (oh, and "nigger," too) in front of my then-four-year-old cousin. You must be so proud--I'll bet Cosby has never used the "f"-word in a commencement speech.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Nanny overdose

There are only a few TV shows I watch regularly. "Supernanny" and "Nanny 911" are not two of them. However, I watched both of them tonight. They were very similar, and I don't think that I'll watch either of them again.

"Supernanny" dealt with a Georgia family wiht two boys, ages 4 and 5. These were, for the most part, good-natured kids. My biggest beef with them was that they were rough with the dog--but that's something that the parents should've corrected right away. The big problem was that they threw tantrums every night before bed, refusing to go to sleep unless their mom crawled into bed with them.

Amazingly, it really affected me, watching these kids I don't even know crying out for their mom. I empathized with this mom, and I hoped for her sake that the wisdom dispensed by the nanny would work for her. I really liked the husband, too. He was as actively involved in his kids' lives as their mother. They both seemed like people I would know and be friendly with in real life. When the nanny's suggestions worked (not only worked, but worked amazingly well), I was so happy for these complete strangers. So it's not that I hated this show. Rather, it's that I don't like to have my feelings manipulated by a reality television show.

"Supernanny"... Ugh. I like how this show tries to offer general tips to all viewers (e.g., when giving a time-out or cool-down or whatever you decide to call it, explain to your child why she's getting that treatment). But I was just annoyed by the mother in this show. She really seemed to not like her boys. I don't know that I can explain it. It was just a gut feeling I got. It reminded me completely of this woman who was "grieving" over not having girls. I hope her sons never see a tape of this show, but I think that's naive wishing on my part.

I feel like taking a long, hot shower and then watching Mary Poppins. I had such a crush on Bert when I was a little girl.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Acronyms

You know all those OBX stickers you see on peoples' cars?

Today I saw one that said "GLB." Now, maybe it's because I am the product of a somewhat liberal undergraduate institution, but my first thought was "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual." I got close enough to read the small type under the acronym when we were stopped at a light.

"GLB" is apparently the acronym chosen by Glebe Elementary School.

I find that very funny. I'm immature, I know. I blame the return of "Family Guy," ... which I'm watching right now. Hooray!