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Monday, July 27, 2009

If You Are Ever Invited To Dinner At The Dept., You May Want To Read This First

Research on the benefits of the Family Dinner is exhaustive and well-known. I don't need the facts, thank you. I live them. I've always insisted on all of us eating together; even now, when everyone's work schedules permit, my boys are seated with us at the table for food and chatter.

Dinner at the Dept. is a family affair and the topics discussed are...well, depending upon the events of the day and the moods of the attendees, wide-ranging. If wine is served, there is a good chance that, as the conviviality increases, so does the absurdity or the grandiosity of the discourse. The veracity of The Baked Potato Incident may or may not be examined. Again.

It is not uncommon for us to hammer out the NBA's mid-level exception and how it applies to the Cleveland Cavaliers this season (or whose Bird rights we have) and then switch to our favorite Agree To Disagreement over the Merits Of The Semicolon.

Perhaps fueled by our academic differences, Jared will fire his second-favorite salvo which has become this:
Jared: American History is boring and stupid.
Me: How can you say that? You are an idiot.
Jared: Mom. Look at the American Revolution.
Me: What about it? What a stupid, broad, idiotic statement that says absolutely nothing.
Jared: Mom. In the French Revolution, people lost their fucking HEADS! In the American Revolution, some tea got wet.
Me: Jared, now you're just picking a fight, and you know it. Way more than that happened. Look at--
Jared: Mom. Take Vlad the Impaler in 15th century Romania. He impaled 20,000 people. That's some serious shit right there.
Me: Oh shut up. Give me a napkin. Rick?
Rick: Jared, shut up and give your mother a napkin.
Sam: I bet I can fit the end of the pepper grinder in my nose-hole.
Me: Okay, go ahead! Just make sure you wipe it off.

Sadly, that last part is one of the more intriguing little diversions we have at the Dept. Dinner Table. None of us is entirely sure when Sam started testing the boundaries and flexibility of his nostrils or why it was that he decided to do it at dinner, but it makes for some pretty impressive entertainment. Usually, Jared prompts it, either by talking about something that bores Sam or by spying something he thinks will or will not fit in Sam's "nose-hole." Yes, it's borderline gross; yes, it's pretty inappropriate for Most People At The Dinner Table. But, no, he's never gotten anything stuck "in there" and no, we are not Most People.

Not too long ago, Jared offered up this topic for discussion: If you could have dinner with 3 people, who would they be? We all had a few minutes to think, and Rick went first. He promptly stole two of my three people, and I wanted to smack him really, really hard. He chose President Bill Clinton, Tom Brokaw and Warren Buffett. I did what any other sore loser would do in that situation. I changed the rules. I said, "Okay. What three people now dead would you choose? Me first!" I immediately chose President Lincoln, Mary Lincoln...and then I was temporarily stumped. Jared and Rick started jeering at me, but I kept my face immobile and inscrutable as I gave the appearance of merely pausing for a coup de grace. I took a deep breath and delivered it: "Edgar Allan Poe." And then I waited for the Laurels Of Admiration to flutter upon me.

"Wow. Solid pick," said Jared admiringly. As well he should. When will he--all of them, really--learn Not To Screw With Me?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"A" Is For Avocado, "B" Is For BFF, "C" Is For Cellphone, And "F" Is For Effing Favicon And "DE" Bane Of My Existence Lately


Sigh. You all deserve so very much better, but I'm mired in Malaise and stuck for a post. If you let me knock out some of the Mind Mould, I promise that I'll deliver up better very soon. If not, then skip over to V's place where there is doubtless something far more cerebral and wonderful and come back later.

Having a...well...let's just say more sedentary summer has made me OCD, I think. I get a little Project Worm in my head and I work it and work it and work it until it makes me insane. Case In Point: this goddam favicon bullshit. I currently have eleventy bits of code in my template that are supposed to put a little martini in the address bar rather than that hideous orange "B" emblem when you bring up the dept. But none of them works. I have read eleventy billion websites, all trumpeting that they are The One with the Easy Foolproof Way. Then I find techy websites that tell me that Internet Explorer 7 (aka "The Great Satan") has a glitch that effs around with favicons and that I have to include a workaround. Yet...there are tons of favicons on tons of sites that I, who employ IE7, see just fine. I have tried Everything. Nothing works. I keep saying, "That's it. Forget it. Just walk away from the keyboard and delete all the sites you have added to your favorites that discuss it. STOP TORTURING YOURSELF OVER SOMETHING SO MEANINGLESS." But I keep screwing around with it. Why? I wish someone would just whisk into my life, do it easily, and put me out of my misery. Failing that, just shoot me.

Last week, the Sunday adverts started already with their Back to S-word sales. ALREADY! Now, it's not that I'm having such a wonderful summer. But it's still summer. It's bad enough that our school is starting back two weeks earlier than every other school in the district due to construction scheduling. Why rub it in, Target and Walgreens and, well...you all know who you are!

Right now, I am wearing fleece pants and my Wigwam socks. The calendar says summer but the weather says, "Screw you, Nance. Your nose is still as cold as a big old Labrador's." These cool nights and days are not so good for my tomatoes, either. As in, what tomatoes?

Another summer obsession--besides endlessly and fruitlessly tweaking my blogs--making and eating guacamole. Why was I never informed of the existence of this wonderful food during my earlier years? The only "avocado" I was aware of was the hideous shade of green during the 1970s that my mother, a fan of the Early American decor craze, insisted upon using to a fault in our living room. My only bitch about avocados (besides their cost) is that they zip through the perfect ripeness stage far too quickly. The Window Of Opportunity with avocados is painfully brief. Please refrain from telling me the caloric damage I am incurring with guacamole. My butt already did.

Rick renewed our cellphone plan which upgraded our phones. This caused me a considerable amount of stress. As you may recall, I am not a fan of cellphones, even my own, and rarely use it. I therefore had a difficult time realizing when it was my own that was ringing. To simplify my life, I set my ringtone to a Christmas carol (Joy to the World) year-round. Upsettingly, my new cellphone does not come with this ringtone, and no one has been able to find a way to install it. One ameliorating factor: Sam was able to put a picture of a cute bunny as the background on this new phone. But I doubt if I will ever know it when it rings. Perhaps it already has.

If you called me and I did not pick up, I'm sorry. I'm not sure I even know how to get your message on this phone, either. Please just email me. Believe me, it's much easier. And you'd be my New Best Friend Forever if you could get my favicon to work, too.

Thanks!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's Called "Priorities," America. Look Into It. And Our Media...It May Be Too Late.

All right. Fair warning. I'm about to unpack the Snark. You know, I've really been Holding It In lately because I cannot tell anymore if it's Hormones or Generalized Malaise or The Lousy Economy or what, so I've just kind of tried to rein in my Irk and release it harmlessly in traffic or by randomly venting at Jared here and there or by taking a few feeble smacks at Sam when he's home (which is about 3.2 minutes a week).

But really, why have a blog if not for cheap therapy? Duh.

Okay. So. WTF has happened to The Concept of JOURNALISM in this country? Has the so-called Mainstream Media just tossed in the towel and become the effing National Enquirer/Weekly World News now? First, we were all held hostage by the goddam OctoMom for eleventy months. Now, I cannot turn on CNN or MSNBC or pick up a previously respected piece of newsprint without encountering yet another lurid piece of reportage on the (I thought) deceased "King of Pop." Despite his arguably sizeable contributions to a myriad of charities, this tragic figure was, first and foremost, an entertainer. One of considerable and vast stature, yes. One whose indelible mark will be left upon the music world, yes. But good heavens. Enough already.

Buried beneath the garish and sensational heap of details surrounding each and every minute bit of this story is the real news of the day: Nevada's Senator John Ensign, whose self-righteous condemnation of President Clinton is now laughable, had his parents buy off his mistress like a common prostitute; security lapses allowed covert investigators to sneak bomb components into 10 federal government buildings and reassemble them in restrooms; Washington, D. C. recognized same-sex unions, just to name a few. Did you miss any of these stories? If you did, don't feel bad. How could you find them? All the major networks, including the music networks, cable news networks, and entertainment networks ran nothing but stories covering the life, death, and more indelicate details of the pop icon. It was inescapable. In 1980 John Lennon, member of the Beatles, another major force in American pop music (and the peace movement, and the anti-war movement), was brutally murdered. I remember it. What I don't remember is this kind of media saturation. In September 2008, major American cinema icon and million dollar philanthropist Paul Newman died. There was nothing near this kind of broadcast coverage.

To be fair, in 1980, there was no Twitter, no TMZ, no Google. There was no burgeoning Internet; CNN had only been broadcasting for 6 months. And let's face it; like the Octomom story, if there wasn't an appetite for it, the media wouldn't give it to the American People.

What the hell is happening out there?

The news media gives more coverage to President Obama's ability to take out a fly than his ability to be a dignified statesman and tackle the problems facing the nation. On MSNBC.com a couple of days ago, I had the surreal experience of watching a panel discussion of whether or not the new Sacha Baron Cohen film "Bruno" would further damage the standing of homosexuals while a second reporter broke in with updates on President Obama's visit with Pope Benedict; at the same time the crawl trumpeted a death during the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona and something about a cervical cancer drug.

Really?

Right now, on three news sites, (CNN.com, MSNBC.com, and ABCNews.com), there are, respectively, 4, 4, and 10 news stories on The Gloved One. This, eighteen days after his death.

Is anyone talking about North Korea? The two female journalists who were sentenced to 12 years hard labor in prison there? How about the fact that there are two senators (Baucus D-Montana; Grassley R-Iowa) already working hard in a bi-partisan fashion on a health care compromise, but both parties are trying to get them to quit?

Sigh.

The press took a Major Vacation during The Angel Of Death's administration because they didn't want to seem unpatriotic. They let him have a Free Pass and look What Happened. Now the press is just getting like a lazy parent who doesn't want to hear his/her kid whine and bitch and so feeds the brat a steady diet of junk food: Happy Meals, soda, Skittles, chips, cheezdoodles, and chocolate doughnuts. We're getting exactly what we want and we'll end up like that greasy-mouthed brat--sitting around in a fat-assed daze, not knowing what happened and looking for a quick fix.

Haven't we learned? There isn't one.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I Was On The Road Again, But Didn't See Willie Nelson, Just Some Other Puzzling Stuff We Can Chat About

Had a bit of a Hiatus there; contrary to Some Popular Belief, I am not nearly as Indestructably Valiant as I might appear. Quite simply, I ran away for a few days. Had to...re-centre. And now, to paraphrase Gloria Gaynor, I'm back from "outer space," and am ready to press on.

So...onward.

Musings from the Road Trip:

Passed a few Fireworks Places, and am once again struck by the signage for these retail outlets. So very...eclectic. FIREWORKS! they blare on the first line. Then, in rapid succession: KARATE SUPPLIES, SWORDS, KNIVES, STUN GUNS, PEPPER SPRAY! What the hell is going on at these places, anyway? I can just imagine the dialog going on inside: "Hey, uh, can I git me a box of them Roman candles and a pair-a those there nunchucks? And I'd like mebbe that taser, but I ain't sure about it." The counter guy says, "Why, go on out back with it, then! I think my nephew or his Rottweiler is out thar somewhars--jes' try it on one-a them!" Sigh.

Saw this thought-provoking sign on a church--can't recall the denomination--and I can't stop pondering it. It said: What you do is not as important as who you are. How do you feel about that? The odd thing is that I've seen the exact opposite sentiment (Who you are is not as important as what you do) on church signs as well. So I'm thinking and thinking about that sign. It kind of irks me. It really does. It gives all these Fake Christians carte blanche, as far as I'm concerned. You know what I mean, right? These holier-than-thou people who say that they're Christians, but then discriminate against gay people, kill doctors, and picket the funerals of soldiers who died in Afghanistan and Iraq to further their gaybashing agendas. Yikes.

Finally, on a lighter--much--note, upon returning home and finally sleeping soundly in our own bed, Rick forgot (again, it must be noted), to turn off the now-unnecessary alarm. We were rudely and annoyingly awakened by its cacophany. The following scene ensued:

Nance: Oh my God. Is that THE ALARM?
Rick: (turning to shut it off. Finally.) Yeah. Sorry.
Nance: Why the heck is it going off?
Rick: I thought I shut it off.
Nance: Well, apparently, you didn't.
Rick: I said I was sorry. You could have checked and shut it off, too, you know.
Nance: That's not my job.
Rick: I see. And nagging and hollering at me is?
Nance: Yes.
Rick: You're fired.
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