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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.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: The Truth Hurts

And I am losing my mind.

Even though I am On Summer Vacation, the English teacher in me never rests, and right now every single fibre of my Being is reaching for a red pen (and a vodka martini, up, slightly dirty, two olives, thank you). And while the teaparty sign carrier felt it unnecessary to hide her cleavage, she wisely hid her face.

Aside from the obvious over-arching fallacy of her sign in toto, (how is it that we are losing our children, now?) let's just look at the rest of the crap that's making me want to start drinking at 1:24 PM, EST:

1. Spelling--Even the vast majority of my highschoolers can correctly spell the verb "LOSING," as in the act of getting rid of, misplacing, or failing to retain. "LOOSING," however, means to set free, and is rarely purposefully used in our modern vernacular. All these teapartiers are huge into FREEDOM, yet this yahoo can't even manage to put the correct number of E's into the word on her sign bearing three iconic symbols of it. What kind of moron spells it FREDOM? And doesn't it look like the S at the end was added later? Like she couldn't remember if the President/Democrats/Incumbents/Sane People were taking away just one or several? Finally, we all know that these wackadoos get all hepped up about The Family and Mortgaging Their Children's Futures, yet this doodah can't even sound out the word enough to put in the "R". What the hell is/are CHILDEN?

2. Punctuation--I suppose I should be placated by the proper use of the apostrophe. In a small way, I am. And I know that punctuation on signage follows broader, more forgiving rules, such as the lack of endmarks being acceptable. But can someone tell me why there is not one single comma in the first sentence, which consists of several descriptive phrases in a list, but there is one in the second sentence, which is a compound sentence consisting of two distinct sentences? Really, the second comma should be, in fact, a semicolon. Or, she could observe the forgiving rules of signage and merely place the two independent clauses on separate lines.

3. Basic Design--Oh, let's be nitpicky while we're at it. (I mean, it's not like I'm going to start in on the sign carrier herself, am I?) The orange Liberty Bell is awkward, isn't it? So big and commandeering there. And the two Statues of Liberty are facing the same way; I'd prefer they both face inward, toward each other. Finally, the flags in the shape of the USA--very obvious and overstated. And slapping them over Lady Liberty is just overkill. And why a pink handle to carry this sign? Urg.

Think of what all we could say if we just started in on the basic philosophy of the sign's sentiments. And because this is America, we have the fredom to do just that! We have nothing to loose, and even our childen can join the debate. What a country!

photo found here
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