Saturday, February 28, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I've become so disillusioned with so many television shows over the past year or two. So many favorites have let me down, and hard. It's difficult when you've become invested in a character and he gets killed off, or a plotline suddenly veers off unexpectedly and "jumps the shark." Or even a nightly lineup gets shuffled around, and there goes "Destination Television!" Sometimes, the network simply cancels a show right out from under you. It's bitter, so bitter. But this time, I have to do all the dirty work myself. I have to break up with someone who I used to enjoy spending time with. I liked her down-to-earth chatter and her no-nonsense but still good food. I'd come home from school, change into my comfies, grab something to drink, and plop on the couch and spend a half hour with down-home Butter Goddess, Paula Deen.

But not anymore.

Now Miss Paula has joined the ranks of Giada DeLaurentiis and Sandra Lee as my Armageddon Brigade of Kitchen Idiots. I cannot stand to watch any of them, even to sit and constantly criticize, snipe, harp at, and malign them as they "cook."

Here, therefore, is my open Dear Paula Breakup Letter to Miss Deen. Sigh.

Dear Miss Paula,

Believe me, it pains me deeply to have to write you this letter. For years, I watched you faithfully and enjoyed you immensely. How fearlessly you tossed stick after stick of butter into every recipe! How your Holy Trinity remained Butter, Mayonnaise, and Canned Creamed Soups despite our nation's Obesity Epidemic. I defended your folksy southern pronunciations: "spatchler" for spatula; "awl" for oil. I even overlooked your use of "cheese" as a verb, as in "Y'all can wait for the last fifteen minutes to cheese your casserole", meaning "to top with cheese." I simply grinned indulgently when you constantly looked obliviously into the camera as you massaged oil into a cut of pork and said rapturously, "Y'all know how I like to rub my meat." I simply ignored your use of the term "tin foil" even though foil has not been made of tin for...well, EVER.

But when your popularity began to soar in the past couple of years, something happened. You began to market your Countrified Schtick Personality. And magnify it. Suddenly, your accent became more pronounced. Down-Home Expressions peppered your commentary like Cajun seasoning. You got another show, Paula's Party, and on it you acted like a Saturday Night Live actor doing an extreme caricature of you. On crack. And Spanish Fly.

And then there was the crap you started making on your regular show.

I think one recipe says it all: Cheesy Ham and Banana Casserole. Good Heavens. The title alone is gut-wrenching, but the ingredient list (deli ham, bananas, bacon, cheese, potato chips, and, for that little je ne sais quois, nutmeg) is enough to set anyone off on a vegan and Luddite lifestyle. Urk.
At the risk of losing readers--and my own gastric wellbeing--here is a picture:
What were you thinking? Were you hoping for instant inclusion in The Gallery of Regrettable Food?

In any case, it's over between us. I can't have any self-respect and go on watching you, and I can't have any love for food and go on watching what you do to it. Goodbye, Paula Deen, goodbye.

Moving on to Anne Burrell,

Saturday, February 21, 2009

If You're Not Stressed Already, You Can Read This Post And Jitter Vicariously

If you're like me--and believe me, I sense your panic through the Interwebs already just at the thought of that--you've been feeling kind of stressed lately. And it's not any one thing, either. It's an all-over, total-body workout sort of stress that makes you feel as if one minute you're wading through wet concrete with a toddler strapped onto your back, and the next minute as if you're wearing rollerskates and careening downhill. After drinking a double-shot of espresso. In a Red Bull.

I get you. Hoo, boy do I get you.

When I get like this, everything's a crapshoot. There might be dinner; there might not be. I might make it past 7:30 pm before I fall asleep, mouth open like a 90-year old rest home resident on the couch; I might not. And work? Let's not even go there. I cannot even begin to tell you what it's like because every single teacher at my school is living this too. I've never heard so many creative uses of The Eff Word in the lounge in my life. And while many of them are, in fact, coming from me, a helluva lot of them aren't.

While I've got a bit of a head of steam built up here and you're a nice enough audience, I'm going to blow some off. You know, work through it a bit, and see if I come out on the other side. Here goes.

HEY! I get that the weather here has sucked really bad since Christmas. We've had the worst, coldest, snowiest January on record. Some people have not been able to take down their Christmas lights/decorations. But it's February, so WHY ARE YOU STILL TURNING THEM ON? Also, we did have several days above 40. Couldn't you take the wreaths off your houses at least? Holy crap. Who are you people, anyway? How holiday-challenged are you?

GO AHEAD! I'd like to take all these self-righteous republicans and tell them to go screw themselves. I'm sure you've heard the latest: some republican governors are loftily asserting that they will refuse the federal government's stimulus package funds. This is, to quote the ageless cliche, cutting off their nose to spite their face. Something tells me that if Alaska and Louisiana (those poor, poor people--again abandoned by an idiot republican politician!) don't want the money that's coming to them, I bet my state of Ohio will be glad to take their share.

AAARRRGGGHHH! Speaking of shares, I'm finally getting mine, and I'm talking about grey hair. I turn 50 in May, and heretofore I have not had much grey hair that's noticeable. Thanks to the stress levels I've been enduring in the past several weeks, there has been an Explosion Of Grey Hair on my head. I pointed this out to Rick today as we were out running errands (shortly after I pointed out--for the umpteenth time--that he was still over-accelerating our hybrid, thereby reducing its fuel efficiency; it was even at the exact same place that I pointed it out the last time! When will he learn?). Rick said (without even looking), "You can't turn grey in such a short time, Nance." I said, "Certainly you can. If someone is under extreme stress, she can turn grey practically overnight. It's been documented and scientifically proven." He smiled and said, "One of my customers told me I've gotten a lot greyer lately." This is typical. It is A Rick Strategy when he doesn't want to argue with me. It is called Divert The Topic Away From Nance. Sigh. At least I prefer this strategy to the other one he employs which also follows the smile. It is called Chuckle And Tell Nance She Is So Cute.

PFFFTT...Well, I feel a little bit better. At least it's the weekend. And this winter can't last forever, can it? And pretty soon, I'll probably stop watching the news, except to see Brian Williams' tie. That might help. And the grey hair? Oh, hell.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Politics Inspire A Revival Of The Snarku! (All This, And A Long Weekend Too! Hey, That Rhymed!)

The Muse is upon me, Dear Readers, but I'm still feeling pretty snarky about a lot of things, especially the Political Landscape. This can only mean one thing: it's time to revisit the Snarku. For my longtime readers, you may recall this poetic form that I created back in the summer of 2007. For those of you who are new to the Dept. or who may not recall what the Snarku is, here's a quick refresher.

The Snarku retains the original syllabic structure of the haiku: the first line is 5 syllables, the second line is 7 syllables, the third line is 5 syllables. But, the Snarku differs in that it is 2 stanzas, not just one. This allows the writer/crafter of the Snarku to really build up and then blow off the head of steam he or she has about the topic being expounded upon. The only other "rule" of the Snarku is that by the end of it, there should be some residual sense of snarkiness.

Now then, let's get snarking, shall we?

To The Minority Party, In Hopes That They Recall Their Status

Hey! Republicans!
Reality Check--

Your way didn't work.
In fact, you broke the country.
Now let us clean up.

Their Sense Of Entitlement Is Breathtaking

Here's an idea
For all U.S. senators
pay your damn taxes!

Don't try telling us
"Oh, it was an oversight."
We're not idiots.

Take The Gloves Off

Honeymoon's over, Barack!
(They're sore losers.)

We all saw you try.
Now it's time to kick some ass.
(We'll take down their names.)

Vanity, Thy Name Is John

What's with Boehner's tan?
This guy is from Ohio,
Capital of Clouds!

How vain is this man?
Foundation? The tanning bed?

Go ahead and get your Snarku on in the comments section. Or your plain old Haiku. You'll feel cleansed and poetic. Kind of like a...colonic for the soul. Or not. ?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Stop That Stimulus Vote! I Want To Add A Few Billion To Combat Rampant Stupidity

All right, everyone. The time has come for the Dept. of Nance to answer the call of, hold on. Make that The Call Of Duty (there, that's better; if ever the shift key were called for, this is it). There is just way too much Stupid going on out there, and it is High Time that someone did something about it. It's patently obvious that no one else is stepping up, so once again, I am offering my services. Certainly, President Obama can do far worse than to offer me a position in his Administration. My credentials are above reproach, my wardrobe is impeccable, and my admiration of President Lincoln and his wife is indisputable.

But I digress.

My point, and I am well on my way to making it, is this: Stupidity is once again running free in America, and the media is perpetuating it as a legitimate news source rather than calling it what it is or, better yet, ignoring it because it is...stupid. My job, which I will eagerly and cheerfully undertake, is to smack down the stupid. Immediately and with great zest. If necessary, I will provide intelligent commentary, replete with polysyllabic words just to counter the effect that the stupidity may have had.

Had I already been on the job, here are a few Stupid Things I would have already taken down.

Item: The No-Jacket VS. Jacket in the White House Controversy. "Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all for coming. Let me assure you, President Obama is never unaware of the gravity of his responsibility, both to this great nation and to the Office of the Presidency. His sartorial presence is but a miniscule part of the Oval Office, a room in which the defense of your rights, the Constitution, and the refurbishing of America's image across the globe must take priority. At this epoch of economic distress, it may be that the visual metaphor of your leader sitting down in shirtsleeves, ready to roll them up and engage in hard labor to get you back to work, is perhaps more encouraging than you know. Now haven't we all got something far more deserving of our distress? Because, really, this is, in a word, stupid. Good day."

Item: "Everything I've ever needed to know I learned through sports," chirped Sarah Palin to Esquire magazine. Among other g-dropping, folksy, inexplicably goofy things. Really, Sarah? Everything? You know, Esquire, after she said that, I would have stopped the interview. Because that's just stupid. I've never played sports in my life. Millions of people, millions of them much smarter than both Sarah and I are, never did either. This quote is the equal of Sporty Sarah's avowal to Katie Couric that she did, in fact, read "all of the newspapers." Why is the media still covering this woman? I'm torn here, you know? On the one hand, she's a complete embarrassment to the republican party, and if she's their face and frontrunner for 2012, I couldn't be more delighted. On the other hand, however, she sets Women back about 200 years every time she opens her mouth. She might need a little Back-Room Stupid Smackdown: "Look, Sarah. I know you cannot possibly help yourself at this point, and I appreciate any woman trying to run a little game on the Big Boys in politics. But do yourself a favor and read a hardcover book, subscribe to a newspaper and read it, and since I know people like you subscribe to Reader's Digest, start doing the "Word Power" section. If possible, try not to speak any more until you perform these small tasks. Thank you."

Item: Octuplet Mom Is Swamped With Media Deals. Because so many people want to know how they can be the unemployed single parent of 14 kids, and live with their parents, yet claim that their childhoods were "dysfunctional" and that they "just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that [they] really lacked,...growing up." That they "...didn't feel as though, when [they were] a child, [that they] had much control of [their] environment. [They] felt powerless." Remember, this woman's parents (who perpetrated the claimed dysfunction) now live in the home and provide child care! The Octomom, 33-year old Nadya Suleman, is now being repped by a public relations group who is sifting through book and TV deals. The PR firm has already had to discount published reports that one offer was for Suleman to host a television show on parenting. Now that would really have been the Epitome Of Stupidity. But this whole thing is stupid, stupid, stupid from beginning to end. And don't even start with that "Who are you to judge" bullshit. I'm a rational, sane person, that's who. And if you're 33, living in a house with your parents, have no job, already have SIX KIDS, then you don't go and have EIGHT MORE. PERIOD. Especially if part of the reason you were out of work is because of anxiety over the last time you had a baby. And because your back is injured. Do you know how much backwork is required in being pregnant and caring for SIX kids, let alone EIGHT? And what the hell happened to Doctors' Ethics? A big dose of STUPID, that's what. I don't know if a plain old Verbal Smackdown will do it in this case. I might just have to get physical.



This is only a small sampling of Recent Stupidity that needs to be smacked down. Michael Phelps, grab a towel and get over here. Your poor mother.
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