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Thursday, December 30, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: History 101 (D-) Design 101 (F)

Can we deal with the smaller sign on the left first? It contains an oft-repeated misquote attributed to Founding Father Thomas Jefferson that has been co-opted by foam-at-the-mouth teapartiers everywhere, and I'm pretty sick of it. Jefferson's actual quote is, "if we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." You can find the quote, in its proper context, here. The original document, even, is here. Interestingly, the aforementioned letter is a peek into Jefferson's brain and ranges into his opinions regarding a strong free press and his distinctly anti-Federalist views. You know those Federalists--the ones who opposed a little document near and dear to the teapartiers--The Constitution.
Also, that sign breaks my Big Rule: Not Succinct.

Now to The Main Event: What a disappointment that sign is, even to the teaparty. It is So Bad on So Many Levels that I might wear out my caps lock key. But humiliate it I must. Onward.

Firstly, from a solely Construction Standpoint, this "sign" is a travesty. Do you see that it is a sign ON a sign? Was this a Take-Home Project, and it still looks this terribly shlocky? I think it's even four sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper gluestik'd onto the posterboard. What's more, I think it is taped onto a snow shovel or some other implement. Look at the size of that handle and the two strips of broad, strapping Scotch tape that are straining to hold it all together. Yikes.

Now let's consider the Graphics on this sign. They are just hurtful to look at. There is a haphazard mix of upper and lower case letters. The positioning of the words is chaotic and thoughtless. The interrogative punctuation mark is, astonishingly, pleasantly wrought, but sags below the word line. And there is the egregiously unnecessary use of three exclamation points. Perhaps this may be acceptable if the teapartier in question is, possibly a seventh-grader discussing Justin Bieber on Instant Messenger, but if not, and if the teapartier is attempting to be Taken Seriously In His Outrage, then he has failed. And I digress. More befuddling is the overall color/design--or lack thereof. The observer is led to believe that the theme is blue & green, yet suddenly a bloody swath is cut by the S in "STOP." But not entirely! Either the red marker (and the blue and green ones, apparently) ran out and the signmaker did not have sufficient saliva to keep it going, or, like so many teapartiers, it had the perseverance of Governor Palin and quit halfway.

Finally, what teaparty sign would be complete without Inept Spelling? Homonyms are such a challenge for this group, ourn't they? There just sew dumb. And they don't have a handle on plurals either. At least they didn't spell it tax's. Then we'd all have to grab our axs and go over their and teach them a thing or too.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One More Gift--But This One Is Already Wrapped

Somewhere amid the noise and cacophany of conversations, under the cookies and wrapping, away from the clutter and tangle of responsibilities, I hope you find One Special Moment For You.
My best wishes for a Happiest Of Holidays--whatever you may celebrate--from all of us at the Dept. of Nance.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Perhaps If You Are Out There Still, You'd Like To Read This, In Which I Simply Chat A Bit About Things In General, And There Are Secondary Characters

This time of year, when most people add to the General Clutter of their lives, I now take the opportunity to get rid of some of my Cranial Clutter by dumping it out here at the Dept. So, ready your Virtual Dustpans and Dustbins and press on.

Today I finally put up all the Festivity on my fireplace mantel. I had to replenish my supply of Overpriced And Classy Candles, courtesy Pier 1. The nice thing about getting my candles there is that they last about eleventeen years since I only use them at Christmastime, the scents are long-lasting and comforting without being cloying, and they come in designery colors other than Rudolph Red and Pine Green. As I was unwrapping them, I happened to read the label on the bottom: Burn within sight, it says direly. Keep away from things that catch fire. Keep away from children. Hm. Seems to me that last part is redundant. I feel like "things that catch fire" sort of says it all. Most children I know do burn.

Continuing with candles, one of the ones I bought was a sort of seaweed color scented with patchouli. I bought it for the color and the size, mainly. I gave it to Rick to smell and said, "This one is patchouli, that typical hippie incense scent. Here, smell and tell me what you think." He said, "It smells like marijuana and protest rallies and--" At that point I just grabbed the candle.

My Creative Writing I students are writing their one act plays. One of them came up to conference with me about a possible idea. He has a propensity for writing horror and always wants a twist ending. Also, everyone has to die at the end. Everyone. The plot is really not important, the machinations are endless, the characters incidental: everything is invested in the twist at the end. The conferences are exhausting, but I find this student delightful in every way. On Friday we had a Typical Nick Conference and, in the middle of it, when I was feeling like a limp dishrag and desperate for a double vodka martini, I stopped him. "Nick," I said. "A conference with you is like eating crablegs. At first it's like a fun adventure, and you love the delicious little chunks you get as you work away. But after a while, you start wondering if it's all worth it for the payoff at the end. You start feeling like you've invested a lot more effort than what you're getting out of it. I adore you, but you are absolutely wearing me out right now. Don't make your play do the same thing to your audience. Know what I mean?" And he absolutely did.

On Friday Rick and I decided to go and bang out the bulk of our Christmas Shopping and then get some dinner. Part of that plan was a Good Idea. The other part was A Nightmare. Shopping went well, but we decided to eat at A Certain Restaurant , and it was rather late for NEO diners, 8:45. Let's just say that the service was...nonexistent, my Cosmopolitan never saw a drop of real cranberry juice, our meals were definitely the tail-end of the cook's pantry, and we left hungry and with everything still on our plates and the meal comped--at well past 10. But one of the most horrifying parts was the buxom blond girl who, left over from a huge party, stood for almost an hour with her two friends directly in the aisleway and in front of another table of diners, talking and laughing loudly and, at one point, dragging a hairbrush through her long hair. It was at that point that I wished I were carrying a licensed firearm and had no moral upbringing. Seriously.

It is snowing profusely right now, and we are under A! WINTER! WEATHER! ADVISORY! Can you possibly imagine that getting a snowstorm in Northeast Ohio is incredibly newsworthy and amazing? It is the lead story on all the Cleveland newschannels. What really kills me is that lots of snow and bitterly cold temperatures in Minnesota led the national news this morning. Really? My sister lived a year in Minnesota, and believe me, we heard all about how much snow they got (lots) and how cold it was there (bitterly). Geeze. Bring me some real news or shut the hell up already, NBC.

You sound like a blog.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Send Me Your Pictures Of A Sane, Warm Hanukkah

Welcome to the Dept., where The Holidays are in full swing. How will you know this? The recycle bin is full of empty wine bottles, I am suffering from alternating bouts of Intense Malaise and Ninjalike Snarkiness, Rick is stopping at Home Depot today to get me a space heater, and I have to keep reminding myself that ringing sound is just Salvation Army volunteers.

Sigh.


After a mild and sinisterly pleasant November, we turned the page to December and Winter immediately slammed into NEO. I'm constantly freezing, it's snowing, I hate it, and naturally, my freshman homeroom has never seen snow before and oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god! "It's only X-number days until Christmas, Mrs. D!" a couple of students chirp out to me daily. Hey, you students. I don't take kindly to threats, and I don't appreciate your tone. Shut up.



How many Loyal Readers remember this post just last year in which I swore, yet again, to downsize Christmas, starting with the tree? So, this year Rick and I go to the tree place and again, I charge him with the responsibility of helping me to choose a smaller tree, since I have no perception of size. He is on board with this. Soon, he is standing trees up and steering me around the tree farm (in, yet again, temperatures of, oh, about eleventy below zero--every year!), and we find a nice tree. We take it home, he puts it in the stand, and...it is another bigass tree! I ask him, "How on earth did you let this happen? AGAIN?" He says, "But it was so light! I could carry it with one arm! I carried it on my shoulder!" WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?! Then he tries to blame me! I can sum this whole argument up by listing jobs we have had: Me, bank teller and teacher; Rick, carpenter and estimator. Case closed.

(actual tree, with Kittens!)

Jared and Sam came over to help decorate the tree. Also under their purview is the nativity scene. As with many family nativity scenes, it has grown over the years to include several, er, characters that were likely not present at the Original Event but have now taken their Places Of Distinction, for one reason or another, in its re-creation at the Dept.


Sigh. I know. I can't even begin to tell you the Origins or the Symbolism behind each and every Individual In Attendance here. All I can tell you is: Baby Jesus is being held by Larry Hughes (left), Zydrunas Ilgauskas is riding the camel, LeBron James is face down in shame under the camel's derriere, yes, that is Pluto (front left), and Satchmo Armstrong is playing the part of the angel Gabriel (right). Oh, and there are, indeed, two Zydrunases (Zydruni?). Think of it as a sort of Cirque du Soleil nativity scene...thingy.

Or maybe it's best not to Think Too Much Of It At All. Any of it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's A Cat Thing: But It's Also A Psychological And Gender-Bias Discussion, Really. And There's A Short Film!

Marlowe

A few truths about Cat Ownership:
1. There is no such thing as a Free Cat.
2. Anything and Everything becomes a Cat Toy...
3. Yet, cat owners will still browse the aisles of and purchase Cat Toys.
4. There is a strenuous and pervasive bias in favour of dogs over cats.
5. No one wants to hear your Cat Story.
6. Cat hair and Cat yak: goes without saying.

Piper
Let's take these Realities one by one and shine the Harsh Light Of Truth upon them.

1. Unless you are an eight-year-old who has a paper route and finds a stray in a vacant lot and then "makes a little house for it" and brings it scraps from your school lunch every day and pretends it is "Your Very Own Cat", then responsibly adopting a cat means getting it checked out by a vet, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and giving it regular meals of decent chow and taking it to the vet when it inevitably needs medical care (and it will). Piper and Marlowe were adopted at the end of May from a no-kill rescue shelter. They were already fixed and had their first round of shots. As of today, the bill on my Deed Of Kindness is up to about $1200. This is only as of May. OF THIS YEAR.

2. Cats will play with boxes, paper bags, milk lids, crumpled paper, string, and Marlowe's all-time favourite, the twist-tie, which she will play endless games of Fetch with. Also strewn about the Dept. are plastic spoons, a Matchbox car, prescription bottle lids, a stick-on bow, a tiny stuffed animal, a large button, some ribbons I tied onto a plastic scarf ring, and some plastic pull-rings from Coffeemate. If I use Aveda shampoo, Piper plays with my hair.

3. This does not stop me from dillydallying in the Cat Toy Aisle at any store that has one. Why? Because I am an idiot, apparently. How many balls can they lose down the basement? "As many as they can bat under the huge, heavy furniture" would be the answer to that. Jared is infinitely amused by the fact that I say that the kittens are "playing soccer" or "playing tennis" merely because that is what the ball is made to look like. The "game" is always the same: they bat the ball around until it goes someplace where they cannot get to it. Sigh. And Piper always carries his fake mouse directly to the water dish where he deposits it to decompose into a sodden, unmouselike mess.

4. How many sinister Urban Legends about dogs are there? When you open up a Sunday advert, count how many more ads there are for Dog Things vs. Cat Things. Does Brian Williams ever praise cats the way he smiles and lauds, "Now that's a good dog!" about a story? Did he cover this great Cat Story? Even President Clinton knew he had to adopt a dog in order to appear more American and stereotypically Family Man-esque. How many men do you see in cat food commercials? In a nutshell, using Studentspeak: Why all the Hating On Cats? or Why Cats can't get No Love?

5. Because of this bias, no one wants to hear your Cat Story. Really. Women who talk about their cats get the polite smiles and then, later, the listeners nod and tsk about how she is Becoming, Perhaps, A Cat Lady. Or, if she is young, she is One Of Those Single Girls Alone With Just Her Cat. You know. One Of Those. Now, if the same person waxes enthusiastically about a beagle or German shepherd, then of course, that is different. Perhaps it has to do with going outdoors to clean up the animal shit. No idea. In one case, you follow along with a little bag in public, and, like a postal carrier, must do it in rain or snow or dead of night. In the other, you stay nice and warm and can do it in the privacy of your own home. Hmmm....

6. Part of The Territory, yet so unwelcome. Honestly, in the case of the hair at least, can they not...hold it in? At least Marlowe, in an incredible display of Innate Politeness, vomits only on linoleum. You cannot teach that. That is just inbred. This trait balances out her persistent and annoying proclivity for leaping onto the counter, despite repeated admonition.

One final note: Last night in an attempt to avoid watching the Cleveland Cavaliers get decimated by the San Antonio Spurs, I happened across a television show on Animal Planet entitled "America's Cutest Cat." It turned out to be a mind-numbing parade of a bunch of kitten/cat YouTube videos, so I abandoned it pretty quickly, even though my kittens started watching it, drawn by the sound of the meowing. One video stood out, though, merely because the kitten was so perfectly named. I'm embedding it here so that you can catch a glimpse of Allen the tabby kitten enjoying his food. (His name is absolutely right for him, isn't it? And it's obvious the owner is a Poe fan; Allen's brother is Edgar. I've decided to overlook the misspelling because it's a touching tribute.)


Sunday, November 14, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: Pot, Meet Kettle

And this guy has the nerve to look askance at the other person's sign?

Buddy, that sign epitomizes "intoleable acts." To paraphrase an old axiom: Idiot, heal thyself.

(And while you're at it, put the missing syllable back into Constitution, that document you teapartiers pretend to know so well and revere so highly. Maybe that beer you're holding has something to do with your inept spelling and lack of basic subject-verb agreement, but I doubt it.)

photo found here

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Letters From The Front (But Don't Get Used To It)

I'm not writing about work very much, as you may have noticed. Things are...well, let's just say it's One Of Those Years. For a Variety Of Reasons. But when you teach at a huge (enrollment, 2000) urban high school, it's hard to overlook such a rich source of blog fodder.

Just a couple of pebbles from The Rock:

This, from a student essay: John Proctor's character has changed dramastically from Act I.

And another mystifying response, also describing John Proctor, the hero of The Crucible: One of his faults that will cause him problems later in the play is that he can't keep his mouth shut when he is speaking.


Add this to the Lame Excuses File:

Jessica: Mrs. D., I'm here to make up my two missing quizzes.
Mrs. D.: Jessica, those quizzes were given over two weeks ago. You're no longer eligible to make them up. Why have you waited until now? You have only two days after each quiz is given. That's standard make-up policy.
Jessica: But I just now got off my crutches!



And this, which was related to me by my buddy Teresa, who teaches Spanish:

Teresa: Okay, class, now that we all know our numbers in Spanish, we're going to learn how to tell time!
Student: What? Why?
Teresa: Because you need to be able to tell time in Spanish.
Student: No, I mean what do numbers got to do with tellin' the time? Numbers don't got nothin' to do with tellin' the time.

But it's not all Desperate. Creative Writing usually brings me back. Here's a nugget from one of my writers, who hit me with this observation the other day:

Gifted Writer: You know, if Irrelevance were money, the United States would be the richest country in the world.

I can think of at least 10 reality show "stars" alone to illustrate that theory.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

So, I Get This Email, And Now You Can Buy Brian Williams' Ties. And They're Autographed!


The Dept. of Nance is pleased and proud to host this guest post today. The interwebs have allowed me to use my powers for Good, and they have brought to me, via The Brian Williams Tie Report Archives, the opportunity to help promote a very worthy cause. If you've ever wanted to own a Bri Tie, or have his autograph for your Celebrity Collection, or if you've lost anyone to cancer, please read with interest the post below about a silent auction benefit for lung cancer research. Who knew that writing little fluffs of frivolity about cravats would put me on such a Kevin Baconesque odyssey?
NIGHTLY NEWS ANCHOR GIVES CLOTHES OFF HIS BACK (NECK) TO HONOR FORMER NBC COLLEAGUE JOAN SCARANGELLO OF "JOAN'S LEGACY"

In a gesture that illustrates his respect and care for his colleagues, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is donating six of his ties--to be auctioned off as one lot--to this November’s silent auction to benefit Joan’s Legacy: Uniting Against Lung Cancer. The ties – all worn on air and signed on the back – will raise money for innovative lung cancer research in memory of Joan Scarangello, a Nightly writer who died of lung cancer in 2001 at 47 and a never-smoker.

Brian, along with Tom Brokaw, will co-chair the foundation’s benefit on November 17 at New York’s Gotham Hall. The party, called the “Strolling Supper with Blues & News” will also feature a performance by blues great Delbert McClinton, the awarding of 14 new lung cancer research grants, the announcement of the winner of the foundation’s journalism award (the “Joanie”) and a remarkable silent auction. Tickets for the benefit start at $300 and can be purchased at http://www.unitingagainstlungcancer.org/ and by calling 212-627-5500. Bids on Brian’s ties and all other silent auction items can also be made online or by phone up until November 17 at noon.

Joan’s Legacy: Uniting Against Lung Cancer is the largest private funder of lung cancer research grants. The non-profit has given more than $7.5 million in individual $100,000 grants to more than 60 institutions in 22 states. In addition, the foundation has committed an addition $5 million to North America’s premier early detection research “dream team” project, Canary Lung.

Lung cancer kills more Americans than any other cancer – and more women every year than breast, uterine and ovarian cancers combined. Yet it receives less funding than any other major cancer because of the stigma of smoking. Today, 60 percent of all lung cancer patients never smoked or had already quit smoking before their diagnosis – and only 1 in 9 of them is likely to live five years or more from the day they find out.

Brian’s donation to Uniting Against Lung Cancer includes the cravat he wore on the October 8 broadcast of Nightly News from Los Angeles, reviewed by The Brian Williams Tie Report Archives as “A Misbegotten Choice from the Underbelly of Fashion.” He is choosing the others more carefully!

Brian’s ties are just one of the amazing silent auction lots. Others include:

· Having your name as a character in the next David Baldacchi best-seller
· Guitars autographed by Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Counting Crows and the Black Crowes
· Front row seats at any Times Square concert from “Good Morning America”
· In-Studio viewing of any NBC “Meet the Press” broadcast in the network’s Washington, DC closed set
· Set visits and cast meetings at “House” and “Two and A Half Men” and “Parenthood” in LA
· Tickets to the “Daily Show” “Colbert Report” “Saturday Night Live” and “The View”
· Fantastic seats for Jets, Giants, Yankees, Mets and Nets games
· Vacations (Napa, Italy, Palm Beach, Nantucket, New York)

...and much more

To see the full list of silent auction items, please visit http://www.unitingagainstlungcancer.org/events/SS2010
TO BID ON BRI'S TIES--call Uniting Against Lung Cancer at 212-627-5500

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Which I Mourn Not Only The Future Of Television Advertising, But A Grizzly And A Really Good Place For Dinner (We Are Nothing If Not Eclectic)

I feel as if it's been a while since I've had a good Brain Cleanse, although I have to admit that I've not been shy about just flinging forth most of my Cerebral Bother at Whomever Is In Its Line Of Fire. My Inner Curmudgeon is pretty much Out, brought to the fore by job stress, omnipresent political ads, clueless dog owner neighbors who, since they cannot control the one yappy dog they already own, have naturellement purchased another, and an ongoing feud with my hair.

But, since it would be Selfish Of Me not to keep you informed, dear readers, let's see what's left for me to nudge out of my grey matter's nooks and crannies.

One continual source of irritation and confusion to me is the commercials for Cialis. You know the ones: a married couple of a certain age are performing a rather mundane household chore like laundry or painting or meal prep. Suddenly, they happen to catch each other's gaze or touch each other's hand. They smile a bit knowingly. The narrator intones: "An everyday moment can turn romantic at a moment's notice." Then, the confines of the house move away magically and they are transformed into an outdoor scene like a beach, forest, or waterfall's edge. The couple are sitting together, caressing. The narrator continues, "With Cialis, you can be ready anytime the moment is right." Okay, how many of you, really, equate outdoors with sex? What was the thought process here, and who did the marketing research for this campaign, The United States Department of the Interior? The U.S. National Parks Service? Smokey the Bear? I don't know about you, but making love at the beach or in the woods presents a set of issues that...well, are not optimal (sand, pine needles, dirt, leaves, etc. Ouch. ). And exactly what kind of exhibitionists are these Middle-Agers anyway that they can't just Do It in the house? Weirdos.

I'll be brief with this one and try not to rant overmuch here about the First Christmas Commercial appearing on OCTOBER 8TH. Which, for those of you scoring at home, is before even HALLOWEEN. The winner this year is KMart, who was hawking their layaway program. (And no, they do not get a pass because technically "layaway" is, by nature, an early Christmas shopping program. There were obvious Christmassy things in the commercial. Verboten!) To say that I was/still am outraged is to vastly understate it. That opened the floodgates, and we have since been deluged with "Holiday Season" ads from eleventy thousand retailers. I received this morning with my Sunday Plain Dealer the Toys *R* Us Big Christmas Toy Book. Pardon me while I projectile vomit all over everything in protest.

On a sad note, my Cleveland Metroparks Zoo recently announced the death of one of its grizzly bears. We had two male grizzlies at our zoo, a father and son, and the one who died, the parent, had been ill for a while. He had already lived a long 35 years, reaching well beyond the uppermost end of the average life cycle of a grizzly in captivity. I mention this story mainly because of the names of these two grizzlies, which I think are absolutely perfect. Please pause a moment with me to mourn the loss of Lester and to wish the best for his son, Warren.

Also sad for me, but in a different way is the loss of Bar Symon, owned by Cleveland's own Iron Chef, Michael Symon. Rick and I liked this nearby restaurant where I could get an incredible marrow bone appetizer, perfect with an ice cold vodka martini. We didn't have to drive into downtown Cleveland or wait forever for a table to get Cheffy Food. Now it's closed--it was in a dying strip mall in a so-so location--and we're back to the Dinner Conundrum every Friday night. (Quick story: Once, a particularly cute waiter at Bar Symon was dancing to the music between table-waiting for most of our dinner stay. He was really getting into it, busting some serious moves. When we left, I sought him out and tucked a couple bucks into his apron. "Thanks for making my dinner so enjoyable," I told him. He laughed and said, "Hey, you're welcome! I'll be here all week!")

And so will I. Please show your appreciation in the usual way. Thank you. Thank you very much. ;-)

Monday, October 25, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: Brevity Is The Soul Of Signage

Yikes.

Listen, teaparty Sign Carrier. Key word here: SIGN. If you have to explain all that crap, then it's just way too busy. Save it for when you all go out later and get drunk on Bud Lites and you're standing around the pickup trucks and you can say, "You know what the Obama Presidency is like? It's like this bigass wall that Obama built between us and the gubmint. And it's all fortified-like, and its mortar is made up of Obamacare's health plan that he forced on us! YEAH! That's the ticket! And, and, and...we need a Superhero, like Ronald Reagan again to come and say...what was that now? Um...buuuurp!...no, not that. Um, Mr. Obama, tear down that wall! We the people have been taxdeded enough already. Yeah. What? Oh, yeah. Gimme me another Bud Lite."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Even On A Getaway Weekend, There Are Some Things From Which One Can Never Get Away...

Scene opens in room of Canadian inn. Rick and Nance are snuggled in bed. It is early morning. The room is slightly chilly.

Nance: (stretches, then quickly huddles back under covers) This is the worst part of the morning. I hate getting out of bed and washing my hair. Too cold. I get chilled. It's why I don't take a whole shower in the morning and take a bath at night.

Rick: (with a sleepy attempt at being comforting) I know.

Nance: (brightly) What if I could snap off my head and give it to you? Then you could just wash my hair for me. Let's say it could be done. Would you do it? Let's break it down into a percentage. What percent of the time would you wash my hair for me?

Rick: (wary; looks at Nance from the corners of his eyes) What, now?

Nance: Would it make a difference if I took away the talking part? If my head couldn't talk?

Rick: You mean it couldn't boss me around and tell me what I was doing wrong or what shampoo to use and all that?

Nance: Yes. The head snaps off and it can't talk. What percentage of the time would you take my head and wash my hair?

Rick: Ten percent.

Nance: (shocked; incredulous; dismissive at this point) Ten percent!? You have got to be kidding! I took the talking part out! I take out the talking and you give me a lousy ten percent?

Rick: Well, how often would you wash my snapped-off head?

Nance: Never.

Rick: Well, then!

Nance: But, come on! You knew that! Look at your head! It's so big and cumbersome. And your hair is so thick. And I take tub baths. When would I shampoo it? No one shampoos in the tub! TEN PERCENT! That's insulting to me, really, when you come right down to it. Ten percent. There are three hundred and sixty-five days in a year. You're talking about a lousy thirty-six days that you would shampoo my silent head for me. That's it. Ridiculous.

Rick: (calmly) I really didn't think you would take the time to do the math.

Nance: Apparently. But I did. I did the math and that's ten percent. I cannot believe that you wouldn't take my silent, snapped-off head into the shower with you more often than that to spare me the discomfort that you know I endure when it's so cold in the morning. My silent head!

Rick: I wish it was silent right now.
End scene.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Is It Just Me? Or...


I had Sam take this picture for me at the mall where he works. It's at a pretzel place. Apparently, one owned by or represented by...wait for it...teaparty interests.

Couldn't resist. Be back soon with a proper post.

Friday, October 01, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: $tupid Is As Stupid Do


Naturally, there's so much to chat about in this picture, it's all I can do to restrain myself.

Yet, I shall.

Let's confine ourselves to merely discussing/dissecting the obviously inept attempt by the woman on our far right (in the ill-fitting and inappropriate white V-neck teeshirt) at making a coherent sign.

We all know that when someone begins with the disclaimer, "I'm not a racist" that we are due in short order to hear something most certainly racist, or at the very least, racially insensitive or culturally ignorant. And here in front of us is a mob of Caucasian individuals--albeit bored and disengaged-looking ones--clustered around, carrying signs aimed at what is surely a non-Caucasian group of people, telling them all that they need to be forcibly removed.

Our next talking point has to be the use of the dollar sign for the "S" in the word "racists." I don't get it. What's the message there? "We're not mercenary and we're not racists, so there's that, too"? "Hey! We could be money-hungry racists, but we're just the regular old middle-class kind of racists who give to charity, so give us a break here"? Is it some sort of Racists' Code? Help me out here. Am I just stupid?

Finally, for those of you who are sitting at your computers/mobile devices incredulously, shouting, "HOLY CRAP! COULD NANCE NOT HAVE NOTICED THAT RACISTS IS SPELLED INCORRECTLY!?": patience is a virtue. I'm getting there.

What would a Prodigy Of The Week post be without misspelling? And this one has two errors to taunt us: the egregious "RA$CISTS" as well as the ever-so cringeworthy misuse of "your," which is so awful, so execrable, so horrifying that I'm not even sure it is a spelling error as much as it is a usage error or just a donkeyheaded mistake by yet another doodah hepped up on Fox and WalMart two-liters.

Hey, you ersatz raci$t lady. Your are idiotic.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Truth About Cats And Dogs

One of the biggest differences between dogs and cats occurred to me as I was on a lovely Saturday drive with Rick recently. We had decided to take advantage of the sunshine and go for a ride "out to the country," as I like to say, to pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables along with some fresh air. As we drove, every so often we would encounter a Dog Head sticking out of a car or truck window, its ears flapping in the wind, muzzle flaps rippling, slobber flying, a look of unmitigated joy on its face.

Dogs love to ride in cars! THEY LOVE IT! You know darn well that all that Dog Owner had to say was, "Hey, Beasley! Wanna go for a ride? In the car? Huh? Huh?" And Beasley just went batshit, jumping up and down and wiggling like a gummy worm with anticipation. It's entirely possible that all Dog Owner had to say was, "Do you wan--...?" and Beasley was already losing it.

Sam's Golden Retriever, Chance, who lived with us here briefly (before he ate a door) is a maniac for car rides. He weighs approximately eleventy hundred pounds and especially loves to go through drive-thrus. The problem is, he is too chatty. Sam can't communicate effectively with bank tellers or fast-food employees because Chance is too busy barking at them through the window or the sunroof. As a result, he doesn't go on many errands anymore. Dogs. They are nuts for car rides.

Cats...not so much. Piper and Marlowe had to go to The Vet (cue ponderous dramatic music) last week for their shots. Let's just say that I didn't even mention a car. Even pulling out The Leash gets them uneasy. Marlowe hunches over and becomes a Cat Statue. And once they are IN the car, it's a constant litany of meows and reassurance. Piper likes to be a neck pillow and Marlowe likes to wander and register her concern and disapproval the entire way there. If I can get them to lie together, they settle somewhat, but every traffic light or turn is an affront. Oh, you say, get a Cat Carrier. Ha ha. It is to laugh.

TravisCat and EmilyCat, the Kittens' predecessors, were not This Way. Travis did not like the car, that is true. But he just gave in to the necessity by turning over his Man Card. He lay on the seat, jammed his head in the space between it and the door, and gave out a loud meow every now and then. I would say kind, reassuring affirmations like, "I know, Travis. We treat you shamefully." Or, "You have every right to be upset, you poor thing." And he'd wail on, one every 10 seconds or so. They'd be less frequent on the way home. We'd pull in the drive, I'd open his car door, and he'd get out, walk himself to the back door, and go in and collapse into a ten-hour nap.

Emily was completely different. She loved the car, most especially Rick's pickup truck. In that vehicle, she sat on his lap, front legs splayed upon the wheel, and stared out the windshield. She was Jared's cat, and when he got his driver's license, he would take her for a ride on her birthday. He'd take her to the McDonald's drive-thru and let her have a french-fry for her treat. Sometimes, he'd take her on a ride if he were taking a friend home. But she was not a fan of having the windows open.

As a personality, I embody traits both canine and feline: I love a car ride, but like Emily, I need the windows up. I can curl up in a nice, warm spot for hours, almost inert, but never napping. I am very loyal and love a routine, but I can be aloof if I am not entirely comfortable. And I will admit to being slobbery, but only when I'm asleep. Currently, my shots are up to date, but I am shedding a little; I'm low-maintenance and require no walking, unless you count shoe-shopping. And that I can do by myself.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: FYI



???????

There is so much Crazy going on here that I can't knot my neurons around it. At this point we can just overlook the implication being made via punctuation that Obama is not Our President's real name--apparently Barack is using an alias for this White House gig--and instead puzzle over this peacenik's intent behind stringing together these Helpful Facts for Our Edification.

Is he sort of a Rampant Anglophile who just likes to point out British stuff? Is he part of a Scavenger Hunt? (Go thirty-five paces north and proceed until you see Random Fact Sign Carrier. Write down what his sign says.) Is he sloshed on Mad Dog 20/20, stumbled upon what he thought was a party (not a Party), and someone was wrongheaded enough to give him a marker and some posterboard?

Wow. Look away. Just...look away.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In Which I Fail To Remember The Name Of The Establishment Altogether...

Dragging myself out of my Exhaustion/Frustration Coma long enough to post this bit of Car Dialog. It is indicative of my Addled Mental State. Summer Brain is one thing; my Brain On Stress is quite another.

Scene opens on Rick and Nance in car. They are stopped at the corner at a red light. The restaurant there is a Friendly's, a family chain restaurant specializing in soda fountain treats. The large sign on the lawn has the removable letters.

Nance: (reading aloud, pronouncing as words) Omized eam akes. That's all I can see from here.
Rick: (doing likewise) I can only see-- Ized am es.
Nance: What do you think it says?
Rick: I'm going to lay bets on "Customized Ice Cream Cakes."
Nance: Oh. Hmm. Wow. Really?
Rick: Why? What were you going for?
Nance: Um, I was going for "Sodomized Team Cakes."
Rick: Ahem. Well. You're gonna lose.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

After 28 Years, I Am A Freshman Again, And Let Me Tell You, It Sucks Even Worse


Oh, dearest Ones. Who knows when I shall ever again be able to coherently form delightful phrases, erudite sentences, or coherent magnificences?

Not Anytime Soon.

Opening a huge new school is...well...fraught with Many Difficulties. And stressful. And without, apparently, printers. Among other things. Sigh.

While we all now struggle to teach via 19th century methods in a 21st century building, I need to conserve my energy and resources, so this space will be in stasis for the time being. Please check back--perhaps over the weekend.

And send patience.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: Space-Saving Submissive Fighter, Not Sinner

Oh, "Julio. The Contractor." (Or Julia, is it?) I struggle more with your overall message than with your lack of SpacingBetweenWords and hastily added "R" which still didn't fix things.

How shall we read that first sign, which seems to admonish you for bringing "Socialism" to us? Or is that resounding NO supposed to be a ban on both "Socialism" and "Julio/Julia. The Contractor"? So confusing!

And that second placard. WerNot GoingToTakeIt seems pretty downright adamant. It's foot-stomping, gauntlet-tossing, InYerFace rabblerousing language, if you ask me. Remember the famous scene from Network when Peter Finch's character Howard Beale rants into the camera and says a version of this very line? I'm sorry, but "humble" isn't really what you're after here. I'm thinkin' you're not understanding the movement. What is your narrative? "Hey! WerNotGoingToTakeThis Socialism. Wer humble. Please let us be capitalists. America is humble. Lee Greenwood got it wrong."?

Maybe "Julio/Julia. The Contractor" should humbly offer a new symbol for the teaparty to haul around to their rallies:

Julio pic found here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Please Resist The Urge To Tell Me "Just Shut Up Already" In The Comments Section. (Remember The Thumper Rule)


If you can possibly stand it, I am going to blather on here and randomly dump all the Head Detritus that's clattering around in my cranium. It's terrible. Honestly, I think I'm at the mercy of so many awful cliches right now (and will someone, for the love of God, tell me how to put the little accent mark on the "e" in Blogger?) that I'm becoming somewhat sad and tragic. I believe I am pre-pre-menopausally hormonal; also that I am suffering from End-Of-Summer Angst; or that I am having a delayed Mid-Life Crisis; and, quite possibly, on the verge of becoming a Bit Of A Cat Lady if I'm not Very Very Careful.

(Some of you may have already noticed that, if I employ the Dash a bit more, I might also be in danger of becoming the Reincarnation of Emily Dickinson.) But--perhaps--I digress.

Next week, I go back to work at The Rock, such as it is. We are in the New Building, but let's face it: if you put leftover spaghetti in a silver bowl, it is still leftover spaghetti. Don't get me wrong, I teach with some of the best people ever and the students there can be a joy. But, realistically, a new building is not changing anything...for me. I can do my shtick in a cardboard box, if necessary. It will be lovely to have a floor with no holes, walls with no chipping plaster, air conditioning (provided that it works, for real), and an environment that speaks to learning rather than mere survival in some cases. But am I looking forward to The Grind again after three months off? No. Unpacking 33 boxes? No. Everything Else? I think you already know the answer.

I spoke about The West Wing in an earlier post, and I'm still watching and enjoying it. My sister used to have a big crush on Bradley Whitford, who played Josh Lyman. She said he had the sexiest walk. Same reason she had a brief thing for Travolta in his earliest days. ( Her big thing was for Patrick Swayze, though. Seriously.) Whitford is in a new show now, and when the previews came on, I didn't recognize him. He looks like some icky stereotype of a small-time PI or liquor store owner with a shady side. It makes me feel bad.

Also making me feel bad: my tomatoes this year are not producing; I'm not paying much attention to my herb garden; we did not mulch the back or front beds; I'm not seriously addressing my Marshmallowyness; I did not get ruthless and clean out the basement crap again this summer. Sigh. I guess this means I'm still not going to heaven.


Best things I did this summer: Get the Kittens. Learn to make refrigerator pickles. Completely relax. Give myself a break. Learn to use the digital camera. Get gently forceful with my stylist about layering my hair more around my face, please. Read the new Emily Dickinson biography. Take all the accumulated change to Coinstar. (Sidenote: How insane is it that BANKS DO NOT HAVE COIN-COUNTING MACHINES? I called both my banks, where I have banked for eleventy hundred years, and both of them said, "Oh, no, sorry. We do not have a coin-counting machine at any of our banks. It all has to be rolled and you have to put your name and phone number on every roll." FORGET THAT BULLSHIT. It was worth it to me to take my two hundred pounds of mixed change to a Coinstar machine and pay them a small percentage.) Go to my neurologist, talk things over, and get my migraine meds readjusted. Zip up to Niagara-on-the-Lake, stay at our favourite inn, visit our friends from Cattail Creek Winery, and also get some more great wines at other places we love. Spend afternoons at my sister Susan's where I swam in her pool and spent time with my mother and my other sister Patti. Take advantage of fresh produce from local farmstands.

Can we talk about My Kittens? Just a Little Bit? I will miss them terribly when I go back to work. I admit that I am a Little Bit Worried about how they will adapt. After all, they're used to having me around pretty much all the time, and we have a very nice routine. They have incredibly distinct personalities, as most pets do develop, and I enjoy them immensely. Naturally, they are The Most Wonderful Kittens In The Whole World, even when Marlowe (the adventurous diva one) can't seem to stay off the kitchen counter when we are not looking (despite being squirted from The Discipline Bottle), and Piper (the affectionate frisky one) plants himself on my or Rick's pillow at daybreak and proceeds to bite at our heads and try to claw our hair out (just playing, of course). They've both grown considerably since you've seen them last. They're healthy and happy and playful. I just happen to have a picture.

Sigh. I know. Despite the fact that he has to curl up about ten times, Piper (the Disembodied Head) loves to sleep in that shoebox. Those two are, as the old cliche goes, thick as thieves. (By the way, I got those shoes at Target--before the boycott--for way cheap on sale.) They're constantly together.

When Jared and Sam (now out and living on their own) come over, they love to spend time with Marlowe and Piper. They are, however, a little concerned that Mom is perhaps a little...er...overinvolved with All Things Kitten. Consider:


Scene opens in livingroom. Nance and Rick are sitting in easy chairs. Sam, 22, over for a visit and to retrieve some things, is observing the kittens playing in the dining room.

Sam: Does Piper like that old Matchbox car I gave him?
Nance: He loves it! And Marlowe never plays with it at all. Must be a Boy Thing.
Sam: I guess.
Nance: (face lights up) Oh! And did I tell you? I'm teaching The Kittens to be bilingual!
Sam: (staring) What?
Nance: Bilingual. I'm teaching The Kittens to be bilingual.
Sam: (slowly turns his gaze to Rick on opposite chair, then back to Nance) No. You didn't. What language?
Nance: Spanish. Watch this. (To Piper) Piper! Donde esta su carro verde?
(Piper looks at Nance briefly, then resumes what he was doing, which was not playing with the green Matchbox car.)
Sam: (shakes head, then, to Nance) You really need to go back to work.

Except, I really don't want to.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: If You Can Read This, Thank...?

Okay, so...WHAT, NOW?

Let's just for one moment--if we can--ignore that first sign (in all its Crazy-Peddling Glory). And the fact that she's got two impossibly wordy signs along the side of a road where, we assume, she is hoping that people driving by in cars going at least 30 miles per hour, will be reading her pithy messages.

What in the samholyhell is going on in that second sign? Thank heaven some part of its blathering lunacy is obliterated because, honestly, it was giving me a sick-headache. At first I thought that, just maybe, the two signs were supposed to be read across; perhaps they came apart in her transport of them from Dodge Caravan or Ford F-150 Extended Cab to streetside. But even then, the message made no more sense than it does when you read it as written: "My name is Hope not The Congress taxing Hope so stop using my name for your (insert paranoid government agenda here per teaparty propaganda)."

WTF, teaparty lady?

And why all the hate for scholiasts? I'm not too sure any are around anymore, in the strictest classical sense, but in my own way, I'm pretty much a scholiast myself, and I'm not aware of having any taxable policies, per se.

At least her hat matches her shirt.

Photo found here

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Dept. Is 5 And I Have A Little Something For You

In spite of dire predictions from Conventional Wisdom, right-wing pundits, Interpol, and several Celebrity Astrologers from all over the Interwebs, the Dept. of Nance is celebrating its Fifth Anniversary!

It's true: the Dept. has been bringing you a fresh perspective on shoes, cows, polar bears, politics, bad fashion, and oh hell, just about everything for Five Whole Years now. Probably you cannot imagine Life Before The Dept., and it's best you not try. Instead, let's have a little revelry to commemorate this milestone.

As Longtime Reader Ortizzle once sagely commented to me: Without you, My Readers, this blog is nothing but an Internet Diary. Therefore, I'd like to include you in this celebration of 5 by asking you to be active participants. Choose any of the following 5 activities/questions to respond to in comments. Or, run with them on your own blog and link to them in comments. Ready? Let's celebrate 5!

1. Did anything of major cultural or historical significance happen when you were 5? In 1964 when I was 5, my older, cooler sister was already a Major Beatles Fan. On February 9, 1964, at 8 P.M., life at my house came to a standstill so that we could all sit around the black and white television and watch The Ed Sullivan Show. When The Beatles came on, Patti was enthralled and I, already in the throes of idol-worship, copied her every move. She was leaned forward, eyes glued on the screen. I didn't know I was watching history then, but I still remember every minute of it.

2. What are 5 things that really, really frost your cupcakes? My longtime readers know I have more than 5 of these, but here are 5 of my pet peeves: flip-flops in public, people dressing poorly in public, inappropriate cellphone usage in public, parents who don't control their children in restaurants, lateness, improper apostrophe usage on signage.

3. Are there ideas, topics, issues in the past 5 years that you wish I had written about but I never have? Maybe you have a great idea or maybe you're curious about something. Let's hear it. It's been 5 years. Why wait?

4. 5 Degrees of Separation? How did you find/hear about/get to the Dept. of Nance? Most of you are Longtime Readers; I have no way of knowing who my lurkers are (Come out, come out--5 years is long enough to hide! Give me a thrill). I'm curious. How did you find me amid the millions and millions of blogs out in the cyberworld?

5. Fab 5. I've got Favorite Posts, of course, and even I'm not vain enough to think that you remember enough of my Archive to have them too. But here are 5 of My Best Ones, in my opinion, should you care to browse:

1. Personal Jesus
2. The Dept. Presents "What Not To Wear" Meets "Hardball"
3. ...But Fear Itself
4. My Latest Obsession: I Stand Up For Mary Lincoln
5. Watching And Thinking About Blueberries

Finally, here's a photo of me standing in front of my grandmother's house, taken when I was 5. It's a bit prophetic, really. I'm blissfully holding a kitten. I have no idea whose it was, then or now. Oddly enough, it looks quite a bit like Piper, my new Boy Kitten, who I very much enjoy holding now. I was always finding stray animals to rescue in some way, baby birds who had fallen out of their nests, sad little wandering kittens, trapped butterflies or moths struggling in spider's webs. I'm sure that after my mother took this picture, she firmly impressed upon me that I was not taking that cat home. And I didn't. One of the few times that I listened to Mom about a pet.



But I digress. (Again.) If there's anything else you'd like to add to help celebrate the Dept.'s Fifth Anniversary, please do! It doesn't have to be 5 things. But it can...!

Oh my, where are my manners? Do have some cake.


(But just a little cake. Remember, I'm trying to cut back.)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: The Three Stooges

Sigh.

Apparently, the following apply:

1. "Big Government" refers to standardized spelling.
2. The Government's version of medical care will even take away the letter H.
3. The dyslexic teaparty sign carrier's chair has insufficient back support.
4. The teapartier on the blanket in the background is even too embarrassed to sit with these morons.

Good call.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rantings Confessions Of A Summertime Fatass

Summer is making me a fatass. Our unusual heatwave (double-digit days in the 90s here in my little corner of NEO just in July alone) coupled with rainforest humidity has turned me into a hermit. My slothfulness has reached Epic Proportion here at the Dept. as I putter around with Little Projects in my airconditioned inner sanctum. Along with the usual duties of light Domestic Goddessing, I do nothing more strenuous than water and garden, play and snuggle with the kittens, catalog the wines in the cellar, and concoct (and then eat) new recipes; all of this threatens to nudge me ever closer to needing a...more generous wardrobe.

It's awful. I feel...marshmallowy to myself. Like I should be wearing a toque and a kerchief and, if poked, should giggle amiably. Probably that would not happen. This exchange might be a bit illuminating:

(Scene opens on Rick and Nance in livingroom, watching television. An ad comes on for Red Lobster, announcing "Crabfest" for a limited time.)

Nance: Wow. Their Crabfest is only for a limited time.
Rick: I heard that.
Nance: Whereas the Crabfest around here goes on pretty much endlessly.
Rick: Lately, anyway.
Nance: Are you lucky, or what?
Rick: Umm...yes?
Voice from TV: We know what you want.
Nance: Sigh. How can that be? Even I don't know what I want half the time.
Rick: And the other half of the time, I don't.
Nance: It's when those times coincide that we're really in trouble.
Rick: Don't I know it.

And I am not one for The Exercise. Ugh. Don't even, as they say, "Go there." No, I prefer a Strict Regimen of Total Deprivation And Suffering. (Total Deprivation for me and Suffering for pretty much everyone who has the misfortune to come into contact with with me for however long it takes before I feel less...doughy to myself.) So save it. Spare us both the dewy-eyed yammering about "endorphins" during some pre-dawn 5K and increased energy and boosted metabolism and hyper mental acuity and all that other bullshit that just makes me batshit and urges me to grab one of my chef's knives and carve a roast out of my thigh.

Been there, done/heard that. Thanks.

Perhaps I should, as my Penance/Hair Shirt, start a new food blog and call it Fatass Food Blog. On it, I'll give the recipes (and post the requisite "food porn" pictures) of the Summertime Wonderfuls that are contributing to my Gustatory Shame Spiral, starting with:

1. Antipasto Pasta
2. Warm Brie with Fig, Onion, and Balsamic Compote
3. Guacamole Supreme
4. Grilled Flatbread Pizzas with Fresh Mozzarella and Homemade Pesto
5. Peanut Butter Banana Bread (chocolate chips optional)
6. Rhubarb Nectarine Crisp
7. Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad

Among others.

And the wine is not helping, I'm certain. Oh, and have you tried this? Very pleasant for an easy little patio refresher, sadly, and part of The Problem. (Once I located the missing cap to my good cocktail shaker. Who put it in the small teapot?)

Tonight, we are going to a party. Luckily, it is Outdoors, and you all know how I feel about Eating Outside. Additionally, they are Beer People. Another benefit. Perhaps my Crabfest will be for a Limited Time Only as well.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: Somewhere A Village Is...Never Mind

There is no way in hell I can resist it when the teapartiers peddle their crazy so blatantly as this, on the back of a (Japanese) Nissan Frontier pickup truck. Allow me to assist you by bringing you the signs' message here, its spelling and punctuation intact:

Sign 1: NEW FORM OF SLAVERY "TAXATION" STATE &FEDERAL
Sign 2: PLEASE LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE THE BRITEAN's DID NOT USA IN GOD "

To which I can heartily reply, "You're goddam right they didn't! Uh...who didn't what now? And how long has it been since you took your medication?"

Listen, I am a creative writing teacher. I am all about Poetic License. But there is No Way that I am going to sit idly by and merely watch as some mouthbreathing heehaw uses USA as a verb. And I'm pretty sure that some deeply religious Christians--and Briteans, whomever they may be--may find that last sentiment a little offensive. Who is this yokel to say that they didn't whatever in God? Or, perhaps USA-ing is not the sort of activity lending itself to being done in His name.

But all sniding aside, a little history is a dangerous thing, and that's all this numbskull has rattling around in his airspace. I'm filled with questions, such as:

1. Just how new do you think state and federal taxes are?
2. Why did you use quotation marks around the word "taxation"?
3. Why is your spacing between words and random punctuation marks so erratic and random?
4. Exactly which "people" are we (or someone) to listen to? All people? Any people speaking about anything?
5. Why is only "Please" underlined? Is the rest of the message less pleading/emphatic?
6. Who is The Britean? What does he/she/it own and why did you leave it off the sign?
7. Why can't you seem to use an apostrophe correctly?
8. What didn't The Britean do in God since "USA" is not really a verb?
9. What is up with that last set of quotation marks hanging way off at the end, all alone?
10. What in bloody hell are you talking about?
11. Is it Patriotic of you to be driving a Japanese-made vehicle while displaying teaparty signs?

Finally, I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised by any of these Prodigies. After all, here are the Wise Words of one of their leaders in Washington, D.C. when speaking of the newly formed tea party caucus: "We are not the mouthpiece of the tea party. We are not taking and controlling the tea party from Washington. I am not the head of the tea party movement." Um. Okay, Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Whatever. Good luck with all of that.

And them.


photo found here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If You Celebrate Christmas In July And Have A LOT Of Disposable Income, Put Me On Your Gift List. If Not, Help Cast The Latest Film!

Oh, where to begin? I am filled with longing and revulsion, nostalgia and anticipation, regret and satisfaction. How could these diametrically opposed sensations all coexist in me at once? I can answer you with one simple reply:

The West Wing.

Please tell me that you were a fan of this show, this Washington, D.C. politics-fest, walk-and-talk brainfood series of 154 episodes that won multiple Emmys and ran for 7 years (1999-2006). This show was Destination Television for me all of those years, and believe me, it took me probably three years to get my mother trained NOT TO CALL ME on Wednesday nights at 9:00, or she would hear me say this when she said Hello and right before I hung up: "Mom, are you kidding? It's time for The West Wing. Goodbye."

Yes, I am serious.

Watching The West Wing made me wistful for a Bartlet presidency. I wanted a President that smart, that passionate, and that much of a great US historian. I wanted that kind of a committed staff in the White House. And when that show went off the air, I was downright bereft. There's never been another show quite like it, and I haven't seen many of the cast members do much of note since. It's as if they know that anything after that would be quite a comedown.

I started thinking about The West Wing when my sister Patti casually mentioned that Bravo network was rerunning it weekday mornings. Not helpful for those of us who work every weekday morning, but this summer, I managed to catch a few episodes here and there in between KittenOlympics and other summertime things. Then it fell off my radar until I saw this little news tidbit regarding the movie treatment of (John Edwards campaign manager) Andrew Young's book The Politician. Aaron Sorkin--the writing genius behind The West Wing--has decided to adapt and possibly direct the film. As much as I hate to have Democratic Dirty Laundry aired on the page and/or silver screen, I am glad to have this slimeball's true nature exposed. I was one of the many who was blithely taken in by Candidate John Edwards, I'm ashamed to say, so I'll be interested to see the development of this movie as well as its final cut.

And, I am already starting to cast the lead. My first thought to play John "Rev. Dimmesdale" Edwards was Robert Sean Leonard (most recently Dr. James Wilson of the television drama House.) But today, after catching two episodes of The West Wing, and falling in love all over again with one of my Original Crushes, I'm not so sure that Rob "I Am So Pretty" Lowe can't do it. Here's a Casting Triptych of sorts, for your perusal. What do you think?


Or, failing either of those two, who would you cast? (I tried to find one of RSL looking suitably prayerful, but alas! Not successful.)

Now I am obsessing over The West Wing, and guess what? TFB, as they say. The price tag for 154 episodes is...well, pricey! And I broke up with Netflix last summer when, er...economics dictated a few changes around the Dept. Not being one to watch telly on the computer, (Rick had to get a new laptop, and it does not use the magic Hulu cable-to-tv-hookup that his other one did), I'll just have to suck it up and catch a few random episodes here and there to get My Fix.

Sigh. Another one of Life's Little Tragedies. How ever do I manage?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: Stop Now, Before You Really Hurt Yourself

If only this man had just gone on to the NASCAR race instead--that's obviously what he is dressed for--but no. He had to stop real quick-like at the Make Yer Own Teaparty Sign Stand at a nearby Ford Aerostar and pop off a zinger on the way.

Impossible to tell, really, where he was headed with this sentiment, which starts off with the bold "Birth CERTiFicT", then degenerates into the completely befuddling "Where OBAMA" followed by what may be another "Where" or perhaps a "When".... Sigh. It's a Whe-something. No matter. Whatever it was going to be, it was going to stand little chance of making sense.

That much, we know.

If only we could all be sure that this poor unfortunate actually stopped right here, forever.

image found here

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How MSNBC.com Made Me Think Of Underwear, My Past, And My Talent For Sleight-Of-Hand

Ever since CNN.com screwed around with its web page format, I have relied more on MSNBC.com as my go-to online News Source. (And do not get me started on how Google News has completely alienated me with its Utter Annihilation. I'm Just Not Over It.) MSNBC.com says it brings me "A Fuller Spectrum Of News."

Holy Crap. They are not kidding.

Today, MSNBC.com boldly proclaimed that I could view something newsworthy called "Biggest Bra Moments." Naturally, I was initially intrigued, as an English teacher and Defender Of The Language, by the ambiguous placement of the modifier. Would I be viewing Moments of the Biggest Bras? Or are these the Biggest Moments In Bras? Because, really, either way, as a woman whose antipathy of this Egregious Garment is well known, I couldn't imagine why MSNBC.com would deem either one newsy in the least. Oh, titillating for the male readership, certainly, but as for the average female readers, it would cause nary a ripple of interest.

I clicked on the link and saw the first few slides of outrageous brassieres: the requisite Madonna cone bra, Lady GaGa's firework-shooting bra, one of Cher's bikini-topped Bob Mackie creations. I was--and remain--largely unimpressed. Those aren't really "Bra Moments" as far as I'm concerned. Those are just costume bikini tops. Maybe when Lady GaGa's started to shoot the fireworks, then okay. But other than that, no Moments. And doesn't Janet Jackson's "Wardrobe Malfunction" at the Superbowl count? Or no, because it wasn't technically a "bra," per se, but more of a corset thingy?

All in all, kind of a disappointment, really. So, I'd like to offer you a brief rundown of some of my Personal Favorite Bra Moments. Because I'm here for You, My Readers.

1. Teenage Idiot Moment: Back when I was probably 17 or so, my friend Marci had a blue Mustang with a sunroof. We used to go joyriding in it on the weekends. We'd sometimes go into downtown Cleveland and just drive around and be Teenaged Idiots. Sadly, this was like 1976, and I would be sometimes--not often--a bit inebriated in this pre-MADD, pre-alcohol-awareness age. One of my favorite things to do was to perform the Take-Off-My-Bra-Under-My-Shirt Maneuver, then fling it triumphantly forth in my hand, stick it out of the sunroof, and wave it around as we drove through the streets of Downtown. Why? Why, indeed.

2. All Summer, No Bra: A few years ago I was pretty sick and then recovering. I lost a great deal of weight...everywhere. The downside was that I looked skeletal. The upside? Basically, no boobs. I spent the entire summer in those little shelf-bra camisoles, which were the only sleeveless things that fit me, and they doubled as bras. Total comfort. Let me tell you: When I can get away with it, I eschew the brassiere entirely for those camis. Bless whomever came up with those. I have about eleventy thousand of them in all different colors. Priceless.


3. Completely Inappropriate Parking Lot Maneuver: Hey, listen. We all have Those Days when a certain bra is nigh unto killing us, and when we have had enough, we Have Had ENOUGH. As soon as I can get into my car, I do the TOMBUMS Maneuver (See #1, above), and stick that Torture Device into my purse. Of course, I make sure that there is No One Around! And I have gotten so incredibly subtle at The Maneuver that it merely appears that I am scratching a spot on my back or adjusting my shoulder seatbelt. Do longsleeves deter me? Ha! It is to laugh.




4. Unfortunately Timed Maneuver: In case you did not click on the embedded link above, here is the story for Your Convenience. If you already did, well, skippity doo dah down. Several years ago, the neighbor women behind us moved away. They did not inform me of exactly when their last day of residency was. One day, as I was performing the ritualistic Removal of the Bra While Still Wearing the Shirt maneuver at my back kitchen window, and was at the Triumphant Flinging of the Brassiere from Under the Shirt move, I caught the eye of our new neighbor who was outside on his deck, inspecting his new backyard. Oops. Strangely, this must not have made much of an impression. He has since told my husband, "In all the years I've lived here, I've yet to even see your wife!" Hmmm.....I am re-reading #2.

It's my feeling that I've been far more edifying on the subject of "Biggest Moments In Bras" (note the cleaned-up grammar) than MSNBC.com. It would be lovely if you could add your Memory Moments as well. If not, I'm sure you can find something to chat about anyway.
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