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Monday, May 28, 2012

In Which A Mainstream Retail Outlet Seemingly Legitimizes Black-Market Child Trafficking (And On A Sunday, Too!)

Scene opens on living room.  Nance is in her huge chair, browsing the Sunday advertisements, while Rick, on couch right, peruses Sports section.  The cats are chasing each other throughout the house, threatening respective mugs of coffee and tea.

Nance:  Anything good in the paper?
Rick:  I'm only looking at the Sports.  The Indians are getting killed--again--by the White Sox.  I don't know what it is about that team.  The Tribe just cannot get past them.
Nance:  At least we smacked Detroit around...hey.  Here's a thing.  Macy's is having a sale on babies.  They're forty percent off.  Look.  (shows Rick the ad pictured above)
Rick:  Huh.  So...you can get...let's see...a white girl baby or a white boy baby. 
Nance:  Well, what do you want for forty percent off?  That's why there's not much of a selection.
Rick:  That's for sure.
Nance:  Says here their names are Carter, Levi, and Nautica.  And more.  Well, I don't think much of the names.  They sound---
Rick:  --Levi?  Well, to me that sounds---
Nance:  ---Jewish?
Rick:  No, I was going to say Amish.
Nance:  Yeah, it does sound Amish, too.  And Nautica...
Rick:  Kind of a theme name.  Like the kid will grow up to be a sailor.
Nance:  Well, you know, when we went to Friendship APL and got Piper and Marlowe, they had names already--really terrible and awful and dumb names that I hated.  I just renamed them.  I'm assuming that whoever buys a Forty Percent Off Baby at Macy's can do the same.
Rick:  Does it say these kids come already potty-trained?  Because Piper and Marlowe were already litterbox-trained.
Nance:  (leafs through ad)  Hmm.  No, but the girl is pictured in here walking, so it's a distinct possibility.  Hard to tell.  Diapers now aren't as bulky as they used to be, you know?
Rick:  Doesn't matter, actually.  It's not like we're going to get one anyway.
Nance:  No, but I do need a pair of brown sandals.

End Scene

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

So Much Stupid And So Little Time! Whence All Of These Bad Ideas?

Oh, Readers!  Did you ever get the feeling that you were the Only One On The Job anymore?  Certainly you recall how many times I have renewed my offer to make the Dept. of Nance a bona fide department.  I am offering it again, for I have borne witness to so much Stupid, so many Bad Ideas lately, that it is patently obvious to me that Someone has to do Something.  Here now:

Example A:  This past weekend, our Cleveland NBC affiliate had a segment on its Saturday morning infotainment show about what not to get moms for Mothers Day.  It was clearly a "package" feed that they got from another affiliate because every mom in it had a pronounced Southern accent.  They all looked as if they were in a store parking lot (Walmart?) and were interviewed at the sides of their vehicles or in them.  "Don't get appliances!" one woman said in a dire voice.  Another woman drawled, "I hate gift certificates or gift cards. There doesn't seem to be much thought in those."  One greyhaired lady with very few teeth said cheerily, "I jest want hugs and kisses and all mah fam'ly around!"  At the end of the segment, our local anchorwoman said, "For those of you taking Mom out to brunch, Ruby Tuesday's has a free cookbook for every mom!"

Wow.  Message there?  Here's your meal out, but as of tomorrow?  Get back in the kitchen where you belong!  Really, Ruby Tuesday's?  And, on Fathers Day, will they get a cookbook? Bet not.  Spare me.  What a load of cliché and stereotypical bullshit. I said as much--and plenty more on this theme--to Rick as I went in to grab a shower.  Then, I turned around and said, "And!" to which he said, "I knew you weren't done."  But really, how condescending.  "Here, little ladies.  Enjoy your meal out, but let's remember what Being A Mom Is All About.  Now scoot back in there and tie that apron real tight!" Grrrrr....!

Example B:  Because of Hormonal Fluctuations and The (Now Hopefully Permanent) Cessation Of Sanguinary Hostilities, I have been having intermittent migraines.  I awoke with a real bitch of one last week, and struggled to make use of my migraine medication.  Let me just say that the people at Maxalt "have a lot of 'splaining to do" about their product and may they rot in everlasting circles of Migraine Hells   engage in a little R&D toute de suite so that others do not suffer in kind.  Here is a little Photo Essay to demonstrate.  (And imagine yourself in Excruciating Agony while two pleasant but hungry cats annoy the hell out of you.)
1. First, you have to try to pry this open.
2. To get this, the second package.
READ THOSE DIRECTIONS!
3. NOW, IF I can peel this off, I can push the
melty little pill onto my tongue and LIVE.
Really, Merck&Co?  Don't you have any Migraine Sufferers on board over there at all?  Do you honestly think I can even see those directions, let alone fold on that fucking line, then have the patience to locate an almost nonexistent notch, tear it--OR USE SCISSORS--all in order to THEN OPEN ANOTHER FUCKING PACKAGE?!  As my students used to say, "Somebody needs to get real."

Example C:  Much of the time, I simply cannot stand to think of using my dreadmill (hence the name).  The weather has been temperate, so I do my walking outdoors in the 'hood.  I try to time it so as not to disturb the local schoolchildren with my presence.  I have to tell you, though:  it's boring walking the same routes over and over.  In order to break the monotony, I give myself little tasks and little things to look for, like a Quirky Scavenger Hunt.  I wasn't on one of those when I saw this Quintessential Bad Idea, however:


This is just So Bad on So Many Levels, that I'm almost in awe of its Badness. I mean, come on.  What, exactly, is the thought process here?  All right!  Those damn kids want a trampoline, we'll give them a trampoline!  I've told them and told them we don't really have the room, but they just won't shut the hell up.  The city says we have to have a safety fence, and damn it, we do!  Not safe for them, but oh well!  And I swear to God, the first one who impales himself can just walk to the hospital for all I care!  And if they want those branches trimmed, they can goddam well do it themselves, the little shits! 

In the front yard of this house were a ton of kid toys.  And bikes and happiness.  But that back yard. Yikes.  Interestingly, there is another house in the neighborhood with a scary trampoline setup almost identical to this one.  I was all set to photograph it as well, but they put up one of those cage-net thingies that completely encloses the trampoline, rendering it much safer. I was devastated because this trampoline had the bonus of a nearby garage gutter.  Alas.

But, really, parents? Allow me, if you will.  TRAMPOLINES + PICKET FENCES = KID KEBAB (NO GOOD).

Had to be said, apparently.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Saturday With St. Patsy

On Saturday I had the opportunity to renew my Good Daughter Merit Badge.  Rick and I went and picked up St. Patsy at the Lakehouse where she spent a week with her sister and ladyfriend, and transported her back home.  I'll let you decide if I earned it.

Scene I.

Main room of lakehouse.  Older woman is bustling to pack up a mountain of luggage, baskets, tote bags, a cooler, etc. in preparation to leave.  Younger woman observes with dismay, but wisely chooses not to remark upon the volume of stuff.  She is, instead, having a glass of chardonnay.

Nance:  Mom!  You'll be happy tonight! Guess what's on TV!
St. Patsy(looks up expectantly; is honestly excited) What?  Give me a hint.
Nance:  It's a Tragic Heroine Double Feature tonight on one of the old movie channels! Guess what's on.
St. Patsy:  (smiling; really happy now) No!  You mean on TNC?
Nance: (laughs)  Mom!  What the hell is TNC?  It's "TCM" or "AMC".  Turner Classic Movies or American Movie Classics!  But yes, one of those, and I think it's AMC.  Doesn't matter; you can look at the guide. Guess the movies.  Remember, both are tragic female leads.
St. Patsy: (now completely not packing at all; unable to multi-task) Oh, well! Has to be Camille.
Nance: (proud, but a little surprised) Yes!  Camille is the first one.  What's the second?
St. Patsy: (leaning on a barstool now; thinking really hard)  Now...is it...well, don't I even get a hint?
Nance: (teasing) What a wimp.  Okay, here's your clue:  Same leading man in both of them.  Robert Taylor.
St. Patsy:  (frowns; then brightens)  Oh!  Oh!  Gotta be D-Day 6th of June!
Nance: What?!  How is that a Tragic Heroine Movie?  Now you're just grasping at straws!  I'm so disappointed in you.  I could not be more--
St. Patsy:  (interrupts)--well, what's his character's name?
Nance:  I don't know!  Besides, that's not even fair.  Here's your next clue:  He is military and she--
St. Patsy: (triumphant)  Oh, Waterloo Bridge!  Oh, boy.  I will be crying tonight!  I better have plenty of tissues. 
Nance:  I know, right?  I knew you'd be happy.

Scene 2. 

Interior of car on the ride home.  Rick is driving, Nance is up front, St. Patsy is in the passenger seat, crowded by several pieces of luggage that would not fit in the hatchback of the Prius.  Nance and St. Patsy have been reminiscing about the myriad car trips of her youth.

St. Patsy: (fondly) Remember taking the long way with your father down 511?  It was way out of the way, but you kids put up with it because he would stop at the ice cream place and get you all a twist cone.
Nance:  Yep.  I remember.
St. Patsy:  There were a lot of cows that way, Nance.  (very bright and happy now) And those goats!
Nance:  What?  Why would you say that to me?
St. Patsy:  Say what?
Nance:  About the goats.
St. Patsy: What about them?  There were always a whole bunch, remember?
Nance:  Mom!  I really cannot believe that you would be so cavalier in your mention of goats to me, considering my Childhood Trauma with them!
St. Patsy:  What childhood trauma?
Nance:  (turning fully around in her seat; indignant)  What childhood trauma?!  Don't you remember that travelling petting zoo at the mall when we were little and we went in to it and that goat ate my favorite dress that Grandma made me?  How upset I was? How do you not remember that?  Oh. My. God, Mom.
St. Patsy:  (giggling) Oh that's right.  I do remember that.
Nance: (aggravated and wounded) Holy crap, Mom.  That was traumatic for me.  And you are laughing! (more laughter from the backseat)  Wow.  I bet if it was Patti* who had her favorite dress eaten by a renegade goat, it would be a whole different story. Because Patti-- *(note: Patti is the eldest and perceived favorite daughter)
St. Patsy:  (interrupts) --Oh, Nance!  (begins to mock-sing a tragic violin/movie music interlude) Da da daaaa da da, da da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Nance:  (horrified at her callousness) Mom! Really? First you don't remember my childhood goat trauma and then you mock me?
St. Patsy: (calm) But I remember your attraction to cattle.

Finis.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Welcome To Helpfultown, USA. Our Motto: If You're Not Happy, We're Not Happy!

Even though my plans are to leave it in the not-too-distant future, I have to admit it:  my town is such a helpful, nurturing little town.  For example, this billboard, strategically placed at the railroad bridge:
If you're even thinking about it, we can help.  Help with...?  But, in any case, the train tracks and height of the bridge there might just be all the assistance you require.  But hey!  Just a few yards away, if you level your gaze to a traffic sign, you get something a bit more catchy, a bit more...hip to help you work things out:

You know?  He was more than just a poser from South Texas and Miami; that Vanilla Ice really knew about Life.  Who knows how many people could be saved from Thinking of Suicide if they'd just Collaborate And Listen?

Or, if all else should fail, look down a bit more and to the side, where yet another helpful hint awaits.  Simple, basic, and to the point, sometimes it helps to just


...though your heart is aching...smile, even though it's breaking...when there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by...if you smile...

But let's say you don't.  You just cannot "get by."  Well, fear not, My Town Travellers!  Sojourn but a little longer--a block longer, across from a Walgreens, as a matter of fact--and find respite in

Could this place be any more accommodating?  We just want to help you to be The Best You That You Can Be!  Happy Trails!
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