Monday, February 27, 2006


OMG, I think Stephen Colbert is reading my blog!!!!

DoN readers, who was it to first bring to your attention the story of the idiot legislator from Ohio who wanted to ban homosexual and transgendered individuals from becoming foster or adoptive parents?

And who was it who begrudgingly highlighted the stunning feat of Lydia "Supermom" Canadian Person Whose Complex Name I Now Forget And Don't Feel Like Hyperlinking To--who fought off the polar bear ready to snack on her street-hockey playing son?

Oh, that would be I, dear Dept. of Nance devotees! Imagine then, my surprise when a scant few days later, one STEPHEN COLBERT OF THE COLBERT REPORT mentions each of these stories in his broadcast. Coincidence? I think not!

Clearly, Stephen Colbert is reading Dept. of Nance for his material.

So now, I wish to openly address one Stephen Colbert:

Stephen, I am, to say the least, flattered. I'm a big fan <blush>. I would think, however, that a bit of a nod to DoN was in order. Simply, it's the right thing to do to credit your sources whether creative or otherwise and, even you have to admit that your "opinions" leaned a little bit heavily upon those of the Dept. C'mon, Stephen Colbert. Don't make me have to get tough. You are on notice, Stephen Colbert!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Some Things Are Just Untranslatable: I'm Over It

Yesterday morning, my husband and I were watching a local news show's segment that was broadcasting live from the Auto Show where the crowd was gathered with bated breath. In a few short moments, we were told, a Chevy representative was going to unveil the Camaro Concept Car!!

"Oh boy!"Jeff the Anchorman said excitedly. "I heard that, in some cases, people cried!"

I looked at my husband. "You have got to be kidding," I said. "Who the hell cries over a car? It's a car for godsakes. A CAR."

My husband looked at me and immediately radiated visible waves of celestial patience. He took a deep breath and settled more comfortably into the recliner. "Nance. Some people are into cars the way you're, plays and art and...that stuff. You cry at plays, right?"

"But, a play is a re-creation of human emotion! It has, at its heart, humanity! It's about life and love and tragedy! A car is a machine and metal and rubber! How can you even compare the two? The people who cry about a car are morons and idiots. How stupid."

At this point THE CAR was revealed. Neither my husband nor I cried. I quickly scanned the crowd as the camera panned the group. Happily, I can report that all eyes were dry. When they cut back to Jeff, he was impressed, but composed.

Later that night, my husband and I went out for dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant. Free from the grip of my once-restrictive battery of medications, I decided to have my first martini in many, many months. Just ordering it made me feel like sneaking a cigarette at Grandma's. It came at about the same time as our appetizer of mussels in a buttery Pernod sauce. I ate a mussel and took a sip of my dirty vodka martini. Lord help me, I got tears in my eyes. My husband was watching me closely; he caught me, dammit.

"Aha!" he said, triumphantly. "Now do you understand about why some people might cry about the Camaro concept car?"

I took another sip of my martini. "No," I said. "Those people are a bunch of assholes."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Who is Lydia Angiou and Why Is She Ruining My Self-Esteem?

In light of my last post regarding parenting, this hits hard. Thanks to moms like Lydia Angyiou of Ivujivik, Quebec, I am doomed to feel inadequate...pretty much forever now. My list of parenting triumphs can never come near hers. Let's just compare briefly, shall we?

1. NATURAL CHILDBIRTH WITH A LABOR OF 15.5 HOURS--for both children who each weighed over 8 lbs. Really, I feel this has to be mentioned, and it has to be first.
2. All homemade Halloween costumes, including a skeleton for which I consulted my college anatomy textbook and made the stick-on felt bones individually--no lie. Also, all costumes were of the children's request, not my convenience, and no, I do not sew and I work outside the home.
3. For both children's first 5 years, the decor of my living room included an adjustable-height basketball hoop and a kid's pool/air hockey table. Our house has no "family room" or "rec room" and those of you who have a house know how much of a sacrifice this is, and in how many ways.
4. I allowed my children to quit Little League when they said it sucked and they hated it and I realized that the only way I could stand watching them be miserable through it was pouring beer into my insulated water bottles and drinking it while sitting in right field.
5. I decorated my kids' birthday cakes to order, even the dreaded WWF Wrestling cake.
6. I used to let them write all over each other (& me) with washable markers when they were bored.
7. I got them out of the house and called the fire department when our doorbell wiring caught fire inside the wall. (My husband got home in time to see a fireman wielding an axe menacingly toward the wall; everything turned out fine and the wall was saved.)

Okay, okay. Enough of mine, and I'm sure that's a partial list (although it took me so long to come up with those that my self-esteem reached a new low). No sense in wandering off into self-aggrandizement. Now, let's take a look at Lydia Angyiou's list. Admittedly, it will be small, because I don't know her at all, except what I've read recently.

1. Fighting off a 700-pound polar bear that was threatening her son.

I am so screwed here.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Don'ts of Parenting, Part I of a Series

Today, my eldest son reminded me of this past example of my stellar parenting. He was a curious 10-year old. I was apparently:
A.) preoccupied B.) drinking C.) feeling silly D.) any combination of the above

He doesn't remember the circumstances surrounding the situation and, once you read the exchange, you'll probably understand why. (I'll be paying for therapy for years.)

Jared: Mom, what happened to the Ice Age?

Me: Things warmed up.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Who Is Jeremy Scott and Why Is He Torturing Me?

I consider myself a foodie. Not only do I love to cook and eat, but I love reading about food, experimenting with interesting recipes and ingredients, shopping at specialty markets, (oh, how I love Cleveland's landmark West Side Market!) and watching The Food Network while harping on the way the various FoodTV people do things. (Love Alton Brown and The Barefoot Contessa; hate Giada Di Laurentiis and Emeril "The Ewok".) In Ohio's frustrating growing season and my ridiculously small yard, I lovingly raise herbs and then, when I just can't use them all fresh, I dry them, pesto them, freeze them, and even give seminars locally on everything I know about them.

Having said all of that, it is still a struggle--a stretch, even--for me to comprehend or even appreciate this:
Yes, those are ice cream cones on her boobs. It is a dress made to look as if someone charged at her bodice with ice cream cones aimed at her breasts and stuck them on, allowing the vanilla ice cream to melt down and cover her torso. But wait, for Jeremy Scott, our designer, is not done yet. Not by a long shot.

Because here is no, not a mermaid! This is sort of the opposite of Melted Torso; here, we have the scoops intact on the breasts, all nicely...pert. And pink. Instead, the entire body is the cone. I have no idea what the all-encompassing tutu is supposed to represent. I have never had an ice cream cone with a gigantic Starlight mint around it. (Nor have I ever had two scoops of booby-flavored sherbet outside the cone, either, but I suppose I'm just being picky now.)
When I was a kid, I was crazy about those Hostess cupcakes: you know, the chocolatey ones with the cream center and the layer of fudgy icing on top with the white squiggles? I always peeled off the fudge icing for last, then dug out the cream filling, then ate the cake, then picked off the squiggles one by one, then rolled up the fudge and ate it. I haven't had one in ages, but I would still eat them this way. Until this dress completely ruined the whole thing for me. Now whenever I see Hostess Cupcakes, I will also see this dress and think of picking at nipples. There, I said it. I hope Jeremy Scott is happy now that he has intruded upon my childhood in such an unseemly way.

Finally, aside from the whole food thing, let me just say this. I really, really appreciate men with longer hair. I am sick of the skinhead look for men. I like men with hair. (On their heads, not on their backs so much. Let's not wander into that territory now.) A man with a romantic, longer hairstyle will automatically hold my gaze longer than any other male in the viewing area. Does Jeremy Scott try to spoil this for me as well? Let me let you decide:

Aside from the obvious question: "WTF is this outfit supposed to be, anyway?", I could weep. This is one extremely attractive male. With lovely, long, romantic locks. Jeremy Scott--WHY?!

Jeremy Scott, did your mother constantly nag at you to stop playing with your food? Were you sick of hearing about starving children in Third World countries? Do you have male pattern baldness, Jeremy Scott? Are you playing a joke on Fashion Week? Did you go to the fabric store too late to score any good material? Are you vision-impaired? Do you hate all your models? Is this a commentary on the bourgeois relationship of middle-class Americans and their need for instant gratification as manifested through fast food? Huh, Jeremy Scott? Because, whatever it is, it's just really ugly. So there.

*thanks to Foodgoat (see my links list) for the heads up on the work of Mr. Scott

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The State of Things--My Hate of Things

I was lamenting what I call my Red State Status when my friend Roger said, "You're the only person I know who plans to move after she retires due to political reasons."

After reading Saturday's Plain Dealer, Ohio did nothing to change my mind. A bill sponsored by 10 Republicans was introduced into the Ohio House last week that would ban anyone determined to be gay, lesbian, transgendered, or bisexual from adopting or acting as foster parents. The bill goes even further and extends that ban to anyone living with such persons who can be determined to fit the description of those described by the terminology above. The bill's primary sponsor is Representative Ron Hood of Ashville, Ohio, who claims that it is aimed at protecting children because studies have shown that children do best in a home where they can be raised by a mother and a father.

I can only imagine what Rep. Hood's next move will likely be should he carry this ludicrous logic to its necessary end. Will a ban on divorce be next? Single parenthood outlawed? Mandatory marriage of pregnant teens/single women and the baby's father, if known? If parentage is not known to a certainty, will DNA testing be state-mandated and state-funded?

Of course not, for this latest legislation is, as one savvy pol put it, "a solution in search of a problem." It was formed in the considerable collateral damage of another of Ohio's Hate Legislation, the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that rode in on the evangelical coattails of the Bush victory in 2004. The same out-of-state and, sadly, rabid Ohio exclusionary right-wing religious groups will make this a confusing separation of church and state issue, another civil rights debacle. I guess they would rather have babies aborted than taken care of by a loving parent who might be gay.

Ohio cannot fix broken school funding, but they can hurriedly push a concealed carry law through in no time flat so that Clem can tote his pistol to the drive-thru. Ohio's governor cannot remember who paid for his golf, but he can certainly remember to stump for the President who ignores every segment of the budget that will keep this state's citizenry and its economy afloat--and which state was it that gave the Angel of Death the Big Chair anyway? Ohio's Attorney General (Republican) cuddled up with the president of the Diebold corporation to score a big deal on electronic voting machines for his state--the same corporation president who said in a fundraising letter that he was committed to "helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president". And, who is running for Governor of Ohio next year as a Republican? That very same Atty Gen'l, Ken Blackwell.

Sigh. Spare me. I can't get outta here soon enough. Ohio, love it or leave it. I can't, so I must.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Forgive Me; It's a Sickness...Separated at Birth II

Am I the only person in the world who noted the coincidence that, not only did these two die within a day of each other, but they also bear a striking resemblance?

Look at the nose; look at the chin; look at the jowl line. I'd have used a more recent picture of Al "Grandpa" Lewis, but the only ones I could find showed him with a big ol' stogie jammed in the corner of his mouth.

After a successful run as the patriarch of a macabre sitcom family, Al ran for the governor of California while in his nineties, you know. And Betty Friedan. She was a feminist pioneer and political machine on her own, founding the National Organization for Women. Who knew that after such divergent lives, they'd end up together with similar aspirations and faces and, well...end together! R.I.P.

**I was going to do a "Separated at Birth II" post with regard to the NBA's Steve Nash and the original Bad News Bears' Kelly Leak character, but saw that it had already been alluded to at least once by a sportswriter as well as a website. See! It's not just me!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Betty Friedan and My Dad...Sorta

I just heard on the news that Betty Friedan died. She was, more or less, the founder of the feminist movement as well as the author of the book The Feminine Mystique, which dared to suggest that some women might not be completely fulfilled in the traditional role of wife, mother, and homemaker. As the news anchor spoke of her life, for some reason I recalled a comment my father made to me several years ago.

I had driven him and Mom to their doctor appointments, and I was waiting with him while my mother was seeing Dr. Gould first. Dad and I chatted politics, as usual. I valued his opinions, and I secretly chuckled at how very liberal of a Democrat he had become as his age had advanced. I don't even remember what we were discussing, exactly, but I made several points that clearly impressed him. He nodded, and then he said it. And I'll never, ever forget it. He looked at me straight in the eye and said, "Nancy, you're good-looking and you're smart, and that makes you bad company for most people." I remember being very taken aback but feeling a little complimented. I just sort of laughed and said, "Well, I certainly hope not!"

Dad was always that way: he admired my forthrightness but was constantly telling me that I "might want to soft-pedal it once in a while." If I went out with one of my male friends while I was engaged, he'd ask me what my fiance thought about it. He used to tell me I didn't need any makeup, but when he saw me without it, he'd later ask my mother if I was feeling okay--that I looked a little "peaked." He thought of himself as modern and enlightened, but he was just a little chauvinistic at heart. I'd like to think that Dad was just being a gruffly proud father, giving me a sort of bristly compliment rather than making a commentary on the evolution of interpersonal relationships.

Now, it's not that I don't know some men who are intimidated by smart women or beautiful women, or beautiful smart women. I just don't think there are as many of those men as there used to be. Why? Because I think that there are so many beautiful smart women now. Girls in high schools prepare for careers, not husbands, after graduation. The two-career family is the rule, not the exception. In many families, the higher wage-earner is the wife.

If there is an afterlife, I hope Betty Friedan and my dad meet up someplace, sit down, and have a few drinks together. They have a helluva lot to talk about.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

This + Summer Vacation = :-)

The cool thing about this is that it's true.

After a far too arduous process, my staff and I finally got our school's literary magazine out this week. Courtney, brand new to the lit-mag staff this year, wrote poems, typed, did layout, and designed the cover. She is also a cheerleader, honors student, and athlete. In her entire life, she has probably never even killed a bee. Here is what she told me:

"Oh my God, Mrs. D! So, I'm sitting in Brit Lit, and in comes this huge guy, right? And he goes, 'Where Courtney? Where Courtney Sobi--and he like totally butchers my last name. And I'm totally scared, but for some reason I like raise my hand. I don't even know I'm like doing it! Seriously! And he comes over to my desk! And this humongous guy looks at me and he goes, 'Hey Courtney. I likeded your pome. In that magazine. Out of all the stuff I read, yours was the only thing I really liked. Yeah. Okay den. I'm out dis piece.' And I'm like 'thanks', and he nods and walks out!"

And I'm totally stoked right now that I had to put it on my blog.
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