Sunday, December 30, 2007

Get Behind me Satan

Nothing says merry christmas like getting rid of your devilish area code number, eh? Myself, I love calling the local Papa John's because the last part of the phone number? 666. SATAN'S PIZZA! No wonder it tastes so dang good, all covered with the mark of the beast...

We briefly looked at a house for sale with the house number "666"... we decided against it because, cute as a button, it was built out of asbestos. Nope. Even though I'm sure that would provide ample protection against the hellfire and brimstone, I was not interested in living in a possible carcinogenic abode. Recently, though, I drove by and noticed that the new owners had had the number changed to 669. Hmm. Interesting choice, is it not? Apparently Satan was no good, but spicy sexual practices? Right on.

Anyway, I was listening to the BBC the other night and heard this report about a town in Louisiana that struggled for FORTY years to get their area code changed from the dreaded prefix "666." Now residents can opt for the placid, non-Antichrist summoning "749." Yawn.

Their mayor explained that after four failed attempts, they are just so glad to have the new number because ""This is a good town. ... We're good Christian people.".

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays


Christmas memories...
...lying under the Christmas tree, staring up into the branches and thinking it was like a little forest of lights, a magical world...
...the painful burn of hot peanut brittle under my hands as I stretched it, pulled it, making thin little threads of sugary goodness...
...dim-bright mornings, waiting for my sister to finish putting on her makeup so that we could open our presents...
...the first year I played Santa, staying up till 3 am wrapping and getting everything ready... and my son's eyes when he saw all the presents...
...candles in church, the hot wax dripping onto the circular cardboard protecter...

I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sweaters should not light up. No.


Ewww. As if the dreaded Christmas sweater couldn't get any worse: Now they light up.

Frickin' battery pack sweaters, with visions of migraines dancing in my head... I hoped the image would magically twinkle with lit up goodness... no such luck. Imagine those presents dancing amid little battery flashes of light. Isn't that festive? Don't you want one?

ACK! I stumbled upon them in the Steinmart flyer... but had to settle for this equally monstrous example from thesepurveyors of crap.

Wine with Everything, Please.


Since I drive the back roads of the county at wee morning hours, I have been craving something contemplative and lovely... and thus began my current obsession with Iron and Wine. I can't stop listening to Our Endless Numbered Days. I love the Calexico collaboration, In the Reins. The melancholy steadiness of that EP runs through my veins like a throbbing caffeine substitute... how strange to find clarity and awareness in what is essentially contemplative. In the past, I woke to the screams of Frank Black or the tongue twisting lyrical imperative of Steven Malkmus.

Somehow the gentle lullaby of Sam Beam permeates my darkened car and calls out the morning from the inevitable mist. Yawn. Coming awake in a quiet consciousness.

And so I picked up Shepherd's Dog this weekend...

Still listening, still absorbing... the groove of sound is very similar and yet wildly more layered, more intricate.

I love this album as a whole entity: Each song leads into the next, building and creating a contemplative mood. "Carousel" hearkens back, sound wise, to Our Endless Numbered Days. "House by the Sea" is a steady building groove that details some Odysseus-like lover's triangle.
My favorite tracks are "Resurrection Fern" and "Flightless Bird, American Mouth." In the first, Beam weaves a melancholy story of two lovers, their lives apparently dried up and dead, living like ghosts...but underneath the outward appearance is the promise of resurrection, the unfurling of life returned.
"In our days we will live like our ghosts will live/pitching glass at the cornfield crows and folding clothes(....)" And we’ll undress beside the ashes of the fire/Both our tender bellies wound in baling wire/All the more a pair of underwater pearls/Than the oak tree and its resurrection fern"

"Flightless Bird, American Mouth" has a soaring quality that brings a catch to my throat no matter how often I hear it... just lovely. The progression of the music carries it from a quiet, introspective start into a blossoming ballad, the lyrics underlined by the instruments. It's the perfect closing song; cryptic, longing, and melodic. Sigh. I could listen to Sam Beam breathe (ala "Cinder and Smoke") and be happy.

Now I’m a fat house cat
/Cursing my sore blunt tongue / Watching the warm poison rats/ Curl through the wide white fence cracks/ Kissing on magazine photos/ Those fishing lures thrown in the cold and clean/ Blood of Christ mountain stream/ Have I found you?/ Flightless bird, brown hair bleeding / Or lost you? / American mouth/ Big bill, stuck going down

(lyrics from www.sing365.com)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Sound of Silence



"As cellphone use has skyrocketed, making it hard to avoid hearing half a conversation in many public places, a small but growing band of rebels is turning to a blunt countermeasure: the cellphone jammer, a gadget that renders nearby mobile devices impotent."



(New York Times Technology: "Devices Enforce Cellular Silence, Sweet but Illegal")

Apparently, many people, fed up with the constant onslaught of private conversations in public space, have resorted to purchasing illegal "jammers, " a device that sends out a powerful radio signal that renders nearby cell phones incapable of communicating with cell towers. Basically, you hit a button and the neighboring phones go dead. Some of the more expensive jammers can be left on to create a cell phone dead zone.

Though I understand the desire to instantaneously cut off people's self absorbed cell phone conversations, I also find it equally self absorbed to assume that by vigilante "jamming" you are somehow providing a public service of sorts. Umm, no... instead of tolerating others' rudeness, you are asserting your own agenda front and center.

I hate hearing other people's inane chats. But at the same time, cutting off phone function seems harsh...downright invasive, and bordering on tyrannical. Who are you to decide if someone's phone conversation is superfluous?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered



In honor of Halloween, I just have to give a nod to the incomparable Elizabeth Montgomery. SIGH.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Possible Insanity

For those of you who are interested to know what's filling my time as of late (because I know you just sit around, waiting for me to ramble on about some mindless crap in my head): I am teaching again. I may be crazy. I may never surface from under a stack of Scarlet Letter copies. I may end up sniffing overhead pens and slowly, rhythmically banging my head into a concrete wall...

or hey, it might not be so bad. My optimism is boundless, is it not?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We DO NOT spank, shake, bite, pinch, push, pull, slap, etc.

So, I'm filling out forms for after school care for my son when I come across the sheet on "Discipline and Behavior Management Policy."

These are real, people. I had to sign this form. There was a benign, touchy feely section on the things they "DO"--ie, listen to the children, praise, reward, stay consistent, etc. The opposite side was thus:

WE:
1. DO NOT spank, shake, bite, pinch, push, pull, slap, or otherwise physically punish the children.

2. DO NOT make fun of, yell at, threaten, make sarcastic remarks about, use profanity, or otherwise verbally abuse the children

3. DO NOT shame or punish the children when bathroom accidents occur.

4. DO NOT deny food or rest as punishment.

5.DO NOT relate discipline to eating, resting, or sleeping.

6.DO NOT leave the children alone, unattended, or without adult supervision.

7.DO NOT place the children in locked rooms, closets, or boxes as punishment.

8.DO NOT allow discipline of children by children.

9.DO NOT criticize, make fun of, or otherwise belittle children's parents, families, or ethnic groups.


Umm. Okay. Doesn't this stuff go without saying? I mean, BOXES?!

However, they are missing my mother's crucial behavioral device: the venerable FLYSWATTER.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Adventures in Children's Books


Lately, going to the library with Miss S. has been an adventure in controlling my temper. She is just so THRILLED to be surrounded by books, she can't contain herself... or her urge to push them off the shelf, grab them out and flip through them, or bounce about on the little book stool as if it were some kind of trampoline. SIGH. She is still learning library etiquette (although she does say "Shhhhh!" in a dramatic stage whisper when we reach the children's room).

So sometimes we get well chosen, age appropriate tomes with lovely illustrations and thoughtful stories. Other times we just get whatever crap we can and get out of there as quickly as possible.
Today was a lesson in survival; we ended up with Laurent De Brunhoff's Babar's Little Girl.

Now, I didn't grow up with Babar the Elephant. As I recall, I checked out one Babar story when I. was a baby and was disturbed that Babar marries his cousin, Celeste. Nice. Incestuous elephants. The perfect bedtime story!

So I wasn't expecting much in the way of charm when I brought this one home. Still, I wasn't expecting creepy, vaguely penile child molester camel characters to appear and "play" with Babar's precious little runaway daughter, Isabelle.
The story, condensed:

The book opens with big ole pregnant Celeste lying in the forest. A baby appears beside her: Isabelle. Everyone loves Isabelle because she is just so charming and active and darling. One day, she comes across a turtle stuck under a very large hippopotamus. She and her siblings ask the hippo to move, and when he refuses, they push him away, saving the grateful turtle. Awww. Isabelle has a big birthday party and gets headphones and roller skates. Yay. She takes off on her skates, finds a kitten, and doesn't come home for dinner, earning her the admonishment to not run off again. Woo. Then, one day, while the family is in the forest, little Isabelle wanders off on her own. She finds an old man in a boat and asks him to give her a ride; he obliges. Then, she marches up to a large house and knocks on the door of two weird old men who look strangely penile and imposing. Boover and Picardee can't wait to "play hide and seek" with Isabelle and she entertains herself in a room that is covered in mirrors. Um, okay? Then she does yoga with the two dudes, after which they decide to teach little innocent Isabelle how to play poker. Yeah. Nothing is more refreshing than a jazz trio and a little tap dancing, so they do that, too. Finally, they watch tv in their basement and there is Babar onscreen, pleading for the safe return of his daughter. Since the two men are having their car fixed, they decide to hang glide Isabelle back to her palace. Yep, hang glide. Both men kiss her goodbye and make excuses and leave quickly before meeting her parents. Isabelle is the envy of her siblings because of her marvelous adventure. The end.

Umm. This book is so wrong on so many levels. I felt creepy just thinking about these pedaphile men wanting to hang out with some strange, lost little girl, and the message of the book is, Look what a fabulous life Isabelle has, running off from home and doing her own thing! How cute she is! How adventurous! (Now, according to Amazon, these creepy men are "old family friends." Hmm. The book is definitely not a stand alone piece, then!)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Leg on a Grill

Only in North Carolina: segment #216 in a laundry list of news of the NC weird:

MAIDEN,NORTH CAROLINA:

"Shannon Whisnant purchased the grill during an auction Tuesday at Maiden Plaza Mini Storage. Lawing’s company lawfully auctions off items stored in the units of delinquent renters if they do not collect the items or pay rent. About 100 people showed up for the auction.

After buying the grill, Whisnant took the large cooker home and began cleaning it, said Maiden Police Capt. Tracy Ledford. When Whisnant lifted the top, he found a human leg from the shin to the toes. Dissatisfied with his new purchase, the freaked-out Whisnant brought the mummified leg back to Maiden Plaza Mini Storage."--Hickory Daily Record

And just why was this disembodied leg mummified and stuffed in a grill? Well, the original owner kept it for "religious reasons." Shoot; why not get it bronzed?


Monday, September 24, 2007

Dreaming; Reading



While rinsing my coffee cup this morning, a swirl of golden leaves jettied through our backyard, catching in the Japanese maple and polka-dotting the brown grass. Fall is coming, even if the heat is still unbearable.

* * *

The other night, I came across some old dream journals. Reading through the bizarre filters of my subconscious, I thought about how long it has been since I actively kept up with the elaborate alterworld of my dreams.

All of my life, I have dreamt vivid, often ritualistic dreams, with reoccurring characters and adventures on a grand scope... Kind of like a free mini-series in my very own head.

Since having children, however, I have focused more on the sleep itself than the dreams that harbor there. Still, I figure it's worth a try to revisit the old habit of pen and paper at the bedside.

* * *

In other alternate realities, I just finished Gaiman's American Gods and I have to say, I truly enjoyed it. Pulpy and a bit overblown, it is a fun read that delves into mythology and the nature of America. I did wish for pictures, however.

Now I'm knee deep (or is it skin deep?) into Alex Kuczynski's Beauty Junkies, an eye opening (lifting?) exploration of the fervor for cosmetic surgery. Well researched and insightful, I am in the chapter on the nature of beauty and this quote struck me:
"Yet beauty speaks to such basic, deep longings, that our search for it remains the most insistent force in our lives. It is an expression of the divine, a symbol we hold up against the inevitable humiliations of mortality." (p. 115)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Washes your Brain as Well as your Dishes!


As if we didn't have enough products headed directly for a landfill:

Still, I was completely baffled by the new product I saw this weekend: Dawn Simple Pleasures with Air Freshener Base. Umm, why? It's dish detergent! It's an air freshener! It's BOTH!

Seems like a bad idea, to me. For one, the air freshener is on the base of the bottle, where it will inevitably get wet. Secondly, why? Are dishes so stinky? Does the drain need cleaning? Have people never heard of baking soda?

I read the company website and was surprised at how fiercely devoted Dawn purchasers are. These people are hardcore, professing that they will (and I quote):"Love Love Love It! The smell is great, cleaning power is great, overall, GREAT! I Deffiantly will buy over and over again. Reccomended to all my family and friends! A product that always be in my kitchen!"

Yeah, lady. You go ahead and defiantly buy your fake-o smelling dish soap. Or how about this enthusiastic reviewer in Alabama:
"This product far exceeds my expectations.Wonderful,functional idea but the simple pleasures in life are really what gets us through the day.Every time I go into my kitchen I pick up the bottle of dawn simple pleasures and enjoy it's design and aroma.Aromatherapy really works.Thank you,Dawn for giving me simple pleasures plus satisfaction that I have a quality product in my home that thinks of new ways to indulge me.This product ,for me,is a neccesity and a luxury."

Oh, to have dish soap that "gets us through the day!" Egad. These people don't need dish soap, they need a therapist!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Holy Milk Prices, Housewives!



Guess I'm having sticker shock at the dairy case... but since when did hormone filled, run of the mill cow's milk warrant a 6 dollar and 13 cent price tag? Gasp. Groan.

(And yeah, I bought the store version instead. Oh: and it was Walmart. Curse me as you will.)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!


In my pursuit of the perfect Glinda the Good Witch costume (a seemingly unending quest, as women apparently don't routinely purchase elaborate pink ball gowns with puffy sleeves and then donate them to Goodwill... and much is the shame!), I keep thinking about the Land of Oz Theme Park, a quirky and defunct tourist attraction once atop Beech Mountain, NC.

The Land of Oz was exactly what it sounds like: a theme park based on the movie, with a yellow brick road, Dorothy's house, and various movie and book themed vignettes, like the Emerald City (no longer there) and the witch's castle (still there). It was in operation from 1970-1980, but it eventually fell into ruin. People looted and vandalized, and it wasn't until 1990 that there was a local push to preserve and restore what was left of this once magical mountain kitsch.

I first encountered the idea of the place in high school, when a friend showed me photos of his parents on their honeymoon to--where else?--the Land of Oz. Having always loved the film, it captured my imagination. Several years later, I visited the "remains" that are housed at the Appalachian Cultural Museum in Boone, NC--there were some leftover concrete mushrooms, segments of the yellow brick road, and a history of the local attraction.

Now the park is only open 2 days a year, the first weekend in October. The park has food stands, memorabilia galore, and of course, people in costume. Every year, someone from the original film is a guest of honor, though there are no details on this year's guest. Though I've never been, there are some pretty thorough descriptions on Roadside America (how I love that site!). Thousands of people come and stand in long lines for the opportunity to walk the yellow brick road. I'm twisting my husband's arm even as I type!

Bonus fun: Any time of the year, you can rent Dorothy's House and stay atop Emerald Mountain...

(photo from www.emeraldmtn.com/oz)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Privette and his Privates


Good grief. One of the things about living in a small town is that you get used to the same, self righteous candidates repeatedly winning offices that they should have vacated decades ago. Case in point: Coy C. Privette. He's the kind of politician that southern stereotypes are built on: former state legislator, retired Baptist preacher, and current county commissioner, he is self righteous, unabashedly right wing, and full of cockiness (as you'll see), never afraid to condemn others for failing to agree with his views.

Apparently he was more cocky than previously believed. Privette was caught with his pants down, so to speak, when the prostitute he gave BLANK checks to tried to cash them. Concocting some cockamamie story about how his wallet was stolen and he had "no idea" who the person, Tiffany Summers, was, Privette initially tried to brush off the indiscretion. Unfortunately for Privette, Summers had a camera phone, with pics of the two of them.

The short and long of it is this, viaThe Independent Tribune:Privette on two occasions allegedly paid the prostitute with checks then reported those checks as stolen, officials said. He then backpedaled and pled guilty to "six counts of aiding and abetting prostitution."

His punishment? Via local blogger, Left on 49:
Rowan County district attorney Bill Kenerly agreed to defer prosecution which means if Privette meets the conditions of the court orders, the charges against him will be dismissed. Those conditions include supervised probation for the next year, completing 48 hours of community service, paying court fees and continuing psychological counseling that he had already initiated (some people might say there are other republicans who also might benefit from psychological treatment).


Of course, the biggest news of all is that Coy Privette thinks his privates are well, private. He thinks people will just "forget" about the fact that he had sex with a prostitute six times. In fact, he plans to continue to serve the constituents of Cabarrus County as commissioner, despite the fact that area newspapers, the Republican Party of NC, the Cabarrus County Republican Commission, and fellow County Commissioners have called for his resignation. Any reasonable thinking person would conclude that the man needs to focus on his personal problems and repairing his reputation more than he needs to strut around local meetings and barbecue joints. Seriously, who wants this politician dandling their baby on his knee? Lord knows what else he's been dandling.

Will Coy Privette do the decent thing and step down? Unbelievably, there is no law in place to force him to do so, so it is ultimately his decision. Guess we'll see what happens--but knowing Privette's attitude in local politics, I can't see him leaving willingly.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Great Expectations

So. It's a long weekend, perfect for kicking back and... doing home projects. ACK! My better half and I are tackling a new task this labor day: re-taping our ceilings. Since we moved in seven years ago, we've said, "Wouldn't the ceilings look better if they were re-taped and painted?" Now, the moment of truth. As with anyone who lives in an old house, you become well versed in stuff you never thought you'd know how to do (i.e, I can patch a hole in plaster like nobody's business). So, we'll learn by doing, and I'm certain that by the time we get to the last room, we'll be pros. Right? Right. (I'm trying some positive thinking here, people!) Meanwhile, lord help us as we try to finagle fiberglass tape across wallboard joists.


In other news:



DO NOT BUY THE NEW RENTALS EP, "The Last Little Life." I REPEAT: DO NOT BUY IT. Sure, you might be like me, nostalgic about the two gems that Matt Sharp gave to the world, "The Return of the Rentals" and "Seven More Minutes." Yes, my son heard that stuff in utero, the pounding beats of "Hello, Hello" ushering in the millennium and a completely new path in my life. Suffice it to say: those days are gone. Over. As irretrievable as the garnet ring I once left on a dorm room sink. "The Last Little Life?" Well, the title is telling; they've managed to squeeze the last little life left in their musical ability into a small, embarrassingly awful turd of an album. Matt Sharp needs to hang it up and go home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Getting Sentimental...err... STAYING sentimental.

Woke up this morning with an old Doors' song stuck in my head: "Summer's almost gone..."

Where did our summer go? Last weekend, we were in VA and inadvertently ended up in the rush of VA Tech students outfitting their dorms/apts. Egad. Target was crawling with impossibly young people, carts piled high with rubbermaid totes and cheap kitchen gear. M. and I were shopping for Pokemon t shirts (no, they don't carry them) but instead were caught up in the flood of freshman. Did we ever look so green, so lanky? Can it really be so many years since that was me, stupid and scared and impossibly excited about my first foray into the world outside my parents' domain?

Next Monday, our once tiny baby boy will enter second grade. It seems shocking, really. Shocking in that I AM THE MOTHER OF A SEVEN YEAR OLD and shocking in that the time has passed so quickly. I don't really know how we got here; from Ben Folds Five to TMBG's Here Come the ABCs!

Still, I'm beginning to settle into this thirties thing. I can no longer pretend I'm "just out of college," particularly with a resume that includes seven (count 'em) years of stay at home motherdom. Suddenly, I reference things like an old person--oh, that was only a few years ago! I say, only to reconsider and realize that it was over a decade ago.

Summer's almost gone. Man, time passes.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Chomp on This


Just wanted to share a picture of I's birthday pinata: a Mario Party Seven Chain Chomp. We spent the better part of the week before his party putting it together, but he loved it. Wish I had pictures of its demise... it ripped in half and was worn as a headdress, but of course.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Vomit, Revisited.


Meg and Jack White, circa crazy
(This pic's from Paste. Is that really the White Stripes, or are they some extras from a Harry Potter film?)

I know I said I hated it, but like a dog returneth to its own vomit...
I keep listening to The White Stripes newest, Icky Thump, and trying to figure out how it can be a White Stripes album. Some of it has grown on me, much like mold grows on a wet tile. Some of it remains problematic.

The Pretty Good:

There are some songs that were easy to enjoy: the title track thumps along (lovely pun, eh) in that White Stripes way, full of energy and catchy lyrics. On first listen I liked the campy "Conquest" and its silly story. Repeated listens make me feel like I'm listening to some sort of ridiculous mariachi/emo tune, and yet that's not necessarily a bad thing. Hmmm. "Bone Broke" is classic White Stripes. Screamy Jack White, pounding Meg, and enough crafting to carry the song (ie, there's a melody and a chorus!). "Little Cream Soda" is just great. I would have put it much earlier in the album, to keep people listening for gawd's sake. Oh well, oh well, oh well!
I love the guitar throughout the album... especially on "Catch Hell Blues."

The Hard Worn Maybes:

However, some of the tracks that I really loathed at first have grown on me(or maybe I'm just getting worn down at this point). "You Don't Know What Love Is--You Just Do as You're Told" is so syrupy that it's pleasant enough, but essentially like a B side, fun thing... not the second song on an album.
Initially, I was underwhelmed with "300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues." It felt insufferably long and tedious, an indulgent Jack White bluesy bit. However, the more I've listened to it, the more I've enjoyed the languid mood it illicits. Kind of a moody little groove that suits driving.
"Prickly Thorn but Sweetly Worn" is out of left field. The whole bagpipe thing is bizarre. I can't decide if I'm having a Sting moment or if someone slipped some Jethro Tull in the stereo when I wasn't looking.
Rag and Bone" is so silly that I truly enjoy it. It seems like a hidden track, though. Again, the placement of songs on this album is baffling. I love the spoken word aspect of the lyrics.
"Effect and Cause" is kind of fun. Not great, but fun. It rolls along with its clever words, making me think of "I'm Lonely (but I ain't that Lonely yet)" off of Get Behind me Satan.


The Mold (not Bob):

I hate "Baby Brother". It makes me think of Jerry Lee Lewis meets Rev. Horton Heat with a heavy dose of Brian Setzer hairgel thrown in for good measure. It's frantically rockabilly and ridiculous. Bleh.
"St. Andrew(This Battle is in the Air)"? Ugg. I don't understand. I read an interview with The White Stripes in this month's Paste and Meg White explained how, in constructing this song, Jack wrote a string of things down and then had her read them aloud at random. Fair enough. But why the silly distorted voice? It's embarrassing to listen to.



Obviously,I need something new to listen to. Yes. But I's new Pokemon cd is just not cutting it. (One song raps the Pokemon names, and I'm paranoid that I'm going to bust out with some Jigglypuff.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Repave Paradise, Put up a Starbucks

Thanks to my sister, I ended the evening on a sour note:

Joni Mitchell signs with Starbucks.

How can the woman who sang about the proliferation of asphalt condone the company that opens Starbucks inside of every strip mall, kiosk, and bathroom stall (okay, that's an exaggeration) across America? Egad. If we are stardust and golden, then I guess we're also caffeine and sleep deprived.

Of course, I nearly choked on my home brewed coffee (thank you very much) when I read about SONIC YOUTH...frickin' SONIC YOUTH releasing a compilation album on the Starbucks label.
Still, at least Sonic Youth's is just a compilation... not a full fledged record. There's something just infinitely odd to me about the death of independent record stores and the apparent fortune to be made in the mass market appeal of coffee beans, decorative mugs, and oh, yeah... music cds. Maybe I'm being a stick in the mud (quite likely), but it seems so incredibly wrong for Joni Mitchell, folk singer extrordinaire, to be peddling her album at what is essentially the McDonald's of coffee shops. Shouldn't she be writing a song lambasting Paul McCartney for doing such a thing? Granted, her albums haven't been edgy since...oh, the seventies? But Turbulent Indigo was pretty good stuff (especially viewed alongside the horror of her eighties albums... the misery!).
It comes out in September. Guess I'll buy it alongside a cafe mocha and a big ass brownie. I'll need something to drown my disbelief.

The Darjeeling Limited



After Ken made me wax nostalgic over my Jason Schwartzman obsession, I had to pop on over to imdb.com to see what might be in store for he of the mostly-bad-film-choices-and-yet-god-love-him actor.

Turns out Wes Anderson's latest film opens September 29th. Sigh. It's like a double dose of happiness... or make that quadruple dose, with Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson thrown in as well.

You can see the trailer here: The Darjeeling Limited.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Silly Rabbit, Trix aren't for kids?

"Trying to persuade critics the industry does not need government regulation, 11 big food companies, including McDonald’s, Campbell Soup and PepsiCo, have agreed to stop advertising to children under 12 products that do not meet certain nutritional standards. Some of the companies, like Coca-Cola, have already withdrawn all such commercials or are in the process of doing so. Others, like General Mills, said they would withdraw them over the next year or so, while a handful agreed to expand their self-imposed bans to radio, print and Internet advertising."
--Brooks Barnes, The New York Times: "Limiting Ads of Junk Food to Children" July 18, 2007



Gee, if it weren't for the friendly people down at Kellogg and General Mills, I would never have guessed that Pop Tarts, Trix, and Froot Loops weren't good for kids. I mean, if something comes in a color wheel unknown to natural food and tastes like pure sugar, it can't possibly be bad for you, right? Why bother looking at those annoying little boxes filled with nutritional information...the kiddies like it, so it must be wholesome!

Are people losing their minds? Do we really think that junk cereal is the key to childhood obesity?

Child Advocacy groups apparently think so. The folks over at Commercial Free Childhood feel that there is a link between what children see on tv and what they put in their mouths. In a study of 152 kids between the age of 5 and 11, the participants were involved in two different experiments. In the first study, they watched ten toy ads followed by a cartoon. Afterward, they were allowed to graze from a table of snacks. Two weeks later, they watched ten food ads followed by a cartoon and allowed to snack.

"Notably, in the study of older children, kids who were overweight or obese not only ate more after viewing food ads, but they were more likely to eat sugary and high-fat foods. “This suggests that overweight and obese children are more susceptible to the messages they are exposed to through food advertising on television,” says Emma J. Boyland, an author on both studies and researcher at the University of Liverpool’s Human Ingestive Behaviour Laboratory."

Hmmm. I'm no ingestive behaviour researcher, but I am not certain that obesity is that clear cut. The children they are referring to are at the upper end of the ages they studied--9 to 11 year olds. By that age, habits are deeply ingrained. I would find the study more provocative if they showed a comparison between how much the children consumed after simply watching tv with no ads. I am a woman who will work out for 45 minutes and then go eat 2 decadent chocolate brownies. It doesn't matter that I've been watching fit tv where all the ads are for forlorn diet foods and weight loss pills. Given an array of foods on a table, I go for the chocolate. Might these children simply be exercising their right to choose what they like and are used to?

Growing up, I ate junky cereals...about once a year. Every summer, one of the highlights of visiting my aunt in Ohio was the stash of Coco Puffs and Flav-o Ice, two items that my mother banned from our own home. I would eat two or three bowls of chocolately goodness at a time, reveling in the fact that my morning breakfast cereal produced a bowl of chocolate milk. YUM.

Even in the ancient days of the 1980's, morning cartoons were filled with commercials for crappy food items. I longed to eat Cookie Crisp, but my mom merely scoffed at the idea of cookies for breakfast. The thought--! Instead, I ate boring, slightly more nutritious cereals like Honey Nut Cheerios or Frosted Mini Wheats. Yes, the commercials were seductive. The key opponent to this aggressive advertising was my mom. She didn't hold any stock in serving sweets for breakfast, so she exercised a simple right: she didn't buy it. Consequently, I didn't eat it.

Eliminating junk cereal commercials from children's programming does not eliminate the more pressing fact that SOMEONE IS BUYING THIS STUFF FOR THEIR KIDS AND LETTING THEM EAT IT. We don't need to legislate or push for social action on the part of companies; we need to push for parents to do their job and keep an eye on what and how much their kids are eating. No one can pretend they thought Trix was healthy; come on! Wringing our hands as if television has more impact on our kids than we do is relinquishing the power we have as consumers and parents to make choices for our families. Perhaps it is because confronting our own, darker issues with food consumption, nostalgia, and the inability to stick to our guns in the face of a whining child is a lot harder than pointing the finger at Big Bad Cap'n Crunch.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Moon Child or something like that.




Last night we introduced I. and the cousins to the magic of The Neverending Story. Sitting on the couch, cuddled up with the kids, I realized just how long it's been since I saw the film, and what an impact it had on me way back when I first saw it in... 1984?

While watching, I kept thinking of how the film had imbued itself in my brain, and I was also surprised at its similarities to other films/books in the genre. For instance, when Atreyu ends up falling off the luck dragon and landing in a crumbling castle on the outskirts of The Nothing, he discovers murals depicting his recent past and, most importantly, what is about to happen. Amid the rock walls and the trailing ivy, the setting was remarkably reminiscent of the scene in The Dark Crystal where Jen and Kira read the stone walls and learn the role of the gelflings in the crystal's prophecy. Additionally, when Atreyu then stabs the the wolf G'mork, I thought of the scene in C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when Peter must kill the wolf and take his place as a warrior and man. Something about the Empress's scenes, filmed so dreamily and with the light emanating from her, were reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, when Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy she's always had the power to return home. Here, the Empress calls out to Bastian that he, in fact, has had the power to save Fantasia all along.

The first fantasy film that I can remember seeing is The Wizard of Oz, with The Dark Crystal being a close second. Chalk that up as my first non-human crush, because I was smitten with Jen. (Even at the tender age of 7 I was a little embarrassed to be hung up on a puppet, but there you go...it explains a lot about my future with men hung up on comics, Babylon 5, and the like.) Gelflings became a favorite game between me and my best friend, and we spent many a summer afternoon re-enacting scenes and creating our own. (Note: this was not a form of fan fiction, I swear. I was a kid, for goodness sake!) Coupled with Star Wars philosophy, I ended up with a very eighties insight into the grey areas of good and evil, the interwoven nature of our best and worst instincts. No wonder I became a frickin' English major...but I digress.

So now we're on an eighties fantasy kick, at least within the realm of what an almost 7 year old should see. Next on the list is Labyrinth, with the stellar casting of David Bowie and a jail bait Jennifer Connelly.

As for the these millennium kids and their opinion on The Neverending Story? They loved Falkor and the Rock Biter and, as my eight year old nephew put it, "I wish The Neverending Story really was never ending... because then it wouldn't be over!"

(picture from www.theneverendingstory.com)

Monday, July 02, 2007

and the pee goes on...

Just in case you ever wondered about the glamorous side of staying home with your kids, let me give you a little inside peek at the marvelous fun of 24 hour days with your darlings:

Potty training a 2 1/2 year old, in a few easy steps!

Step one: Buy potty at age 18 months and allow child to play with it, hoping it will spark interest. Ditto with the potty training books, pants, and dolls. Watch child lose interest in about 4.5 minutes. Exhale and regroup.

Step two: After weeks of appearing nonchalant while secretly biting fingernails in hopes of actual success, watch child successfully use potty for both pee and poo and then promptly lose interest for the next 6 months! This part is loads of fun, I promise!

Step three: Wait for summer to arrive. Invest in good beer and a chocolate stash. Wax nostalgic about Sisyphean tasks.

Step four: Roll up rugs, cover bed in waterproof pads, and break out the super cute butterfly panties specially chosen by said 2 1/2 year old... and STAY HOME. Indefinitely.

Step four: Amidst the cabin fever, develop incredible biceps from wiping up pee accidents all over the house. Wash clothes umpteen times. Clean bathroom religiously. Pray.

Wait, there's supposed to be an end to this training? Yeah, well... I'll get back to you on that one.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The run down...

Rented:

Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest: Nah. It's been so interminably long since I watched the first film that this one was hard to follow. It was full of things rolling around, which may have looked okay on the big screen but looked super-fake on the small one... and our netflix copy kept skipping full minutes, which, though normally problematic, was no big loss in this case. The only reason to see the film? Johnny Depp, of course. He doesn't even have to act--I could just look at him in eyeliner and rings and be happy.

Listened to:

The White Stripes newest, Icky Thump--try as I might, I can't get into this album. Three or four songs are memorable, with the rest seeming so on the fly as to be indulgent. The hooks are lean, the lyrics are lugubrious, and after The Raconteurs debut, how can this shite pass? It begs the description: Icky Thump is just plain icky. Oh well oh well oh well!

Read:

The Memory Keeper's Daughter: Save me from another trite emotional girl book filled with alcohol, depression, and broken families full of secrets. This one has the added bonus of random third person omniscient statements about time period, lest one forget that "It was 1964. Women didn't question their husbands" or some heavy handed editorializing statement about lactation or Down's syndrome. And yet, I can't put it down... the conflict! I am one of those people who has to read from start to finish, no matter the muck I may encounter in the middle. This one's pretty mucky, but I'm drawn in all the same... must be my trite emotional girl hormones kicking in, eh?

Monday, June 25, 2007

alli? more like foe

Thanks to my dear friend Lorri for sending me to angryaussie.wordpress.com where I proceded to laugh my ass off at his discussion of the "treatment effects" of the new diet pill, alli. Apparently, and I kid you not, alli helps you lose weight by negative reinforcement; ie, if you eat fatty foods, you fart oil or, if you're really lucky, completely crap your pants. Yep, that's some "treatment effect."

Monday, June 18, 2007

Boot Camp for God

On the last leg of our drive home from the Midwest, we rolled the windows down. The soft breeze lifted the evening heat, filling the car with the sense of summer and the soft sounds of traffic and birdsong. I lazily laid my head on the window frame, staring out at our town. M. broke my reverie and pointed to a huge banner framing the entry to a local church: "Army Adventure Camp! It's fun to be in the army of the Son!"

Welcome home, y'all.

My mind immediately flew to the idea of Jesus Camp (which, if you haven't seen, is well worth viewing simply for the shock value of seeing kids in camo waving flags for Jesus, as well as the priceless shots of Ted Haggard before his meth and homosexuality scandal broke and he fell from grace). Still, most publishers have website teasers for their VBS curriculum, so I thought I'd investigate this Army of God propaganda, er, theme.

Apparently this theme goes under several titles, from "Army of God" (hopefully not to be mistaken with the ultra right wing terrorist group, Army of God) to "Army Adventure Camp," and, as near as I can tell, is published by Walk by Faith Press (www.walkbyfaithpress.com) which try as I might, would not load. Awww. I had to read examples on another site, which sums up the program thus: "Army Adventure Camp will train, prepare, and equip your soldiers to stand firm in their faith and fight the good fight in the battle against sin."

Gee, it's good to know that the innocents of our community are being brainwashed in some kind of pseudo boot camp of religious dogma.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Dream of Losing Teeth: on your wrist


Okay, ya'll... just wanted to put in a plug for a very dear friend who makes amazing jewelry. The stuff is all handmade, with meticulous care in each piece (as well as a hefty dose of wit).

Check out the lovelies here: nonferrous.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

If bad things happen, you deserve it?

Over morning coffee this morning, I read this in the opinion page:

"When I battled breast cancer, I was frequently told that God would not take a person as good and loving as I. It might be a nice thing to believe: I was a churchgoer. I'd worked in a soup kitchen, collected for Toys for Tots. I was not Mother Teresa, but then virtue doesn't make one immortal; Mother Teresa died, just like everyone else."
--COLLEEN SHADDOX
Washington Post

Shaddox's column reiterates and retaliates against a popular thought process that is truly one of my pet peeves. Essentially, the thought process goes like this: if you think positive/write it down/visualize it/confess it/pray for it/believe it, it WILL happen! This pervasive belief is perpetuated by fundamentalists and new agers alike, and by many a well meaning person who doesn't seem to see the elements of hocus pocus within their philosophy.

One person told me that, "It's not like God is a candy machine, but if you ask him for specific things and pray vigilantly, he will answer your prayer. It says so in the Bible!" This particular person was praying for shoes for her daughter. I guess I just don't understand prayer in that way. To me, prayer is not about receiving material goods. The inverse of this "good things happen to good people" is that if you are poor,sick, or struggling, it is your own fault for not being a good enough Christian.

When my mom was dying of cancer, several people implied that she must have internalized pain or unresolved stress and brought it on herself. One person gave her a book on how she could heal herself, if she just tried hard enough (the implication being that it's your own damn fault if you die). I guess these callous jerks were trying to compartmentalize her pain into a cause and effect situation so that they could fool themselves into believing that somehow they themselves would never be in her place. If cancer is preventable by diet, meditation, regular checkups, etc, then somehow we feel like the great question mark is lifted--we have ensured our safety, our longevity. No one wants to admit that no amount of broccoli or positive thinking can keep you from cancer. We don't always know why people get incurable diseases. We can't wrap ourselves in a protective bubble and eliminate risk from our lives.

I'm not discrediting the power of positive thinking. It is essential to try to view our lives with a measure of possibility and hope. I'm certainly not advocating that we not try to envision success or happiness in our lives, but I think that when we forget that our attitude is that: an attitude, and not a magic bullet for all that ails our lives, we lose sight of the complexity of the human experience. Often, bad things are not avoidable or punishment for our lack of some prescribed behavior. They are simply bad things.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gettin' Emotional...


Okay, I have to put in a plug for my new favorite CD: Emotionalism. The Avett Brothers have busted out with a remarkably gorgeous album, with lilting harmonies and unabashed, well, emotionalism. The album resonates with the thematic elements of loss, regret, intensity and love... an amalgam of mixed emotions that somehow translate into the most polished album they've released to date. It is gorgeous and adventurous, not afraid to be silly in its honesty. Does it all work perfectly? No. But it gels as a whole piece, which is a new thing for their sound.

As personal as the songs feel, they also feel universal, as if somehow they peeked into your old diary and discovered the regrets of lovers past. It is this intimacy that gives the album its banjo speckled wings. Musically they've stepped up, and it feels like Emotionalism is their first full fledged, cohesive album.


"Each scar makes it harder for me to hurt again."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Snoopy Sno-Cones!!!


Wow--they've reissued the 1979 fun summer toy, Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine.


I have to admit, my old one was hanging around the attic for the past 20 some years... but inoperable, of course. I finally threw it out about three years ago... CHANGE IS HARD, okay?

Ahh, but the sno-cone gods have accepted my landfill offering and lo, now I can buy a brand new one!

Monday, May 21, 2007

In Pursuit of the Hall of Foam, or: Strep on the Beach



We just got back from a lovely vacation, albeit one in which I developed a nasty case of strep throat and had to eat Dora the Explorer chicken noodle soup and sip tea while the rest of the family noshed on fresh grouper and margaritas. SIGH. I read a really terrible novel by Anne Rivers Siddons that I discovered on the second floor bookshelf and I slept without dreaming in a penicillin laced haze.
All that aside, coastal North Carolina is one of the most restorative places I can imagine and it was fabulous just to be at the beach, with the house open and the wind rushing in (and man was it windy!). All the storms the week before had done a number on the beach, so in leui of stairs, we tumbled up and down the impromptu dune, pelicans overhead and myriad fishing boats bobbing on the choppy waves just past the sandbar.

But enough of that. The real meat of this story is my quest for root beer. Yes, root beer. Because last year, when I discovered the signs for Dr. Rootbeer's Hall of Foam in Snead's Ferry, NC (home of the Shrimp Festival! Go here to hear their song!!!) I was smitten with desire. (Wait, can you be smitten with desire, or does smitten already imply desire? Anyway...)
So, this year, I read up about it, got I. all whipped into a frenzy for a gosh darn homemade root beer float (he wanted a black cow, but of course), and even rallied the inlaws to take the trek for a hotdog amid root beer memorabilia. So, we cleaned up, loaded up, and took ourselves on a wild sassafras chase, so to speak.



(photo from HomegrownHandmade which is a pretty interesting site with links to art and farm spots throughout NC)
We wound up and around and down a little ways, past an ancient looking skatin' rink and down toward the water and there it sat, a garishly painted concrete building emblazoned with the promise of hot dogs, pot roast sandwiches, and, naturally, ROOT BEER! It bore one other decoration, however: a puny taped up sign that told us to visit them at their new location in frickin' Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach.

Sigh. So I might actually have to haul the family down to Myrtle sometime, simply for secret recipe root beer.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Beans. Turkish Style.

Okay. I can't stop looking at this food and salivating. I love me some bean dishes (who knew? Long ago when I was a midwestern kid eating pot roasts and steaks in A-1 I would never have imagined going ga-ga over garbanzos, but there you go...) and I stumbled across this site this afternoon: Almost Turkish Recipes.


I especially like the look of those green lentils...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Spidey Girl


Okay, fellow geeks: you know what I'm doing this weekend. It's Spiderman 3 weekend, y'all! But of course, we are too old and curmudgeoned to make the midnight showing, so the weekend will have to suffice.

Though I could pretend that we aren't a comic book lovin' household, why bother?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

ROBOT PARADE




Today's blog is brought to you by the incomparable Henry Eudy and the letter "W." "W" as in What's that Robot reading? Answer: WALDEN.
To see more of Henry's work, go here: www.xanga.com/otherbrotherdarrell

(And yeah. I had to change my dang template in order for you to view this in all its glory.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Lizard Love!

Nothing says good friday afternoon like checking on the peonies and nearly bumping into this:





My son wanted to know if he could touch them. I said, "Not now honey, I think they're busy."

Monday, April 23, 2007

World's Largest Coconut Orchestra

In all the somber news of the past week, what better to focus on than this little tidbit:

5,567 people "clip-clopping" in time to the Python classic, "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life."
And yep, they set a new Guinness World Record.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cottage Eye Candy

Attention male readers:
You might just want to skip this one.


I like to look at other people's houses. I do. I love peeking behind shower curtains, opening medicine cabinets, etc. Yeah. I'm not proud. Over the years I've learned to refrain at times(like when I might be discovered), but I still think about it. But it's not just the hidden stuff behind closed doors--I love to look at how people put things together, at the decor of their home and the innovative (or not) things they've done to put their stamp on their place.

So, I love when magazines feature real homes, little peeks into what people actually do with all the crap they buy and drag home. I love looking on ebay or real estate sites and looking at the virtual tours of other people's houses. Voyeuristic? Yes.

The other day I stumbled across this website,The Old Painted Cottage, which features cottage/shabby chic stuff for the home (which, given my penchant for the 1970's, is a style I can appreciate but certainly never do myself). What intrigued me was the whole section of "Cottage of the Month" photos. Ooo. Peeking into people's personal spaces, seeing how they arrange things and what colors they use--even if it is not how I envision my own space--I love seeing it. I get ideas and also the ever present thought: "These people must not have children, dogs, or tipsy house guests. All that McCoy pottery would be shattered if they did." (If you do happen to look at the section, be sure to scroll to the very end of the page, where there is a photo archive for the past year.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chastity Chic?


You know, having a daughter means you start think about all sorts of things that you might do together--reading girly stuff, painting nails, playing Barbies, having a tea party,etc. Still, it would never occur to me to plan for a Purity Ball. No. Not going to happen.

(FIRST: GO HERE AND WATCH THE VIDEO. DO IT.


Okay. You saw it, didn't you? The girls in ballet dresses floating around a white draped cross? Okay. Now continue reading.)

I first read about these occasions in O magazine and was both repelled and intrigued by the phallic imagery of fathers holding swords over their daughters heads whilst pledging to protect their chastity until the proper beau came along. The idea of virginity as a father's possession seems archaic--and yet apparently, many people find this patriarchal idea appealing because, as the Generations of Light Ministry website (the originators of the first ball in 1998) states, "The whole point of the covenant is about the purpose from a father's heart," Lisa Wilson said. "It's about is responsibility as a father in his heart and mind to model a righteous standard to his daughter, a standard of integrity, honesty, wisdom and discretion." (as quoted from The Gazette, 2001.) Hmmm. I can understand the desire for fathers to be positive role models to their daughters. Sure. But this is no simple father-daughter bonding activity if you ask me. The girls wear elaborate gowns and attend a fancy ceremony where they are given rings by their fathers, rings that symbolize that their virginity belongs to their father alone. They sign contracts to seal this pledge, and then they celebrate by dancing and eating WEDDING CAKE. Umm, is it just me, or does this sound sick and rather incestuous?

The girls are as young as 10 or 11, but some are teenage to early twenties. Most are home schooled and some even vow to never even kiss a boy before marriage. There's a great article from Glamour (yeah, quit smirking) that details the movement and has this disturbing insight into some of the young participants:
"Randy Wilson’s 19-year-old, Khrystian, is typical: She works at her church, spends most weekends at home with her family and has never danced with a male other than her father or brother. Emily Smith, an 18-year-old I meet, says that even kissing is out for her. “I made a promise to myself when I was younger,” she says, “to save my first kiss for my wedding day.” A tenet of the abstinence movement is that having lovers before marriage often leads to divorce. In the Wilsons’ community, young women hope to meet suitors at church, at college or through family connections."
You can read the rest of the article here:Jennifer Baumgardner's Would you pledge your virginity to your father?.
Essentially, these girls are expected to enter into father arranged marriages with nothing more than their pure thoughts to guide them... which sounds to me like it could lead to divorce pretty quickly.

So, what about these mysterious boys who are supposed to appear out of the proverbial woodwork (or pew, be it as it may) and sweep Daddy's little princess off to the hardcore reality of the marriage bed? I guess they don't need to worry about their purity... at least not until they are Daddies themselves and want to control and stunt their little girl's journey into adulthood.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

In Praise of Mini-Eggs

An Ode (of sorts) to my favorite Easter Candy:


Cadbury Mini Eggs. Rather dull in name, you might overlook the purple package amid all the tasty Easter candies filling the holiday aisle. Plus, the name "Cadbury Egg" conjures up images of a miniature version of the hardcore cadbury egg (complete with egg yolk oozy goodness!). Yet, Cadbury Mini Eggs bear no resemblance to the famed egg, nor do they taste anything like it.
Small, poppable, and pastel, they have that satisfying crackle-thin layer of delicate candy coating that gives way to incredibly smooth, sweet cadbury chocolate. SIGH. They are, in fact, one of my all time favorite candies. When my son was inutero, I often ate them for breakfast (must explain his sweet tooth... or perhaps my 60+ pound weight gain that pregnancy... hmmm) accompanied with some half and half coffee (half real/half crap decaf). They are only sold at Easter time, so there is that sense of scarcity that somehow enriches the whole candy feasting experience... eat up, for tomorrow they'll be 75% off and we can hoard them up for the next few months!
My mother used to buy me three or four bags at a time... family sized bags, mind you. I could usually manage to stretch them until... May. Sure, Hershey makes a mini egg that seems similar but don't be fooled. I like hershey eggs. I do. They are reliably hershey kiss-like with a thick candy shell like some kind of m&m proportioned quail egg. Yes. I eat them. But are they in the same league as Cadbury Mini Eggs? Hell no!
Hershey eggs are coarse, shiny things that cheapen the palate. Cadbury eggs are dusky, matte finished, and speckled like REAL EGGS (if real eggs were not only white but blue, pink, and yellow, too...). And the clincher is that they now come in

(drumroll... salivation ensues... clasped hands unfurl to reveal...)
DARK CHOCOLATE!!!

Royal Dark Chocolate, no less. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My new sin

Okay. I know I've been on a religious thing as of late, what with coffins, pentacostal hair and the like, but my friend L. sent me a link to this crazy beta site: www. godtube.com where I watched this:



The whole time I kept envisioning this segment set to Wiggles music, complete with Dorothy the Dinosaur dancing to "Do the Monkey" and tossing banana peels hither and thither, but that might just be because I'm the mother of a 2 year old.

Anyway. I guess youtube was just too dang secular for these folks, so they've started their own video sharing site... with such gems as this parody of Baby got Back that may leave you...speechless.



Baby got it goin' on like the wife in Proverbs 31...

God help us.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Avoiding that Preacher's Wife Look... you know what I mean

Okay... I can't believe these are real suggestions. I have long hair, which I almost always wear up because in that completely illogical way, I prefer my hair long but not touching my face if I can help it. This drives my hair stylist crazy because she cuts these beautiful styles that I then yank up into a ponytail or braid, style be damned. Consequently, I like to figure out new ways to wear my hair up so that it doesn't look quite so much like a pentacostal preacher's wife (though that may be a lost cause). Today I bought this giant bobby pin stick thing and I wanted to see how to use it (impromptu lock picking aside) so I began perusing the www.scunci.com webpage, clicking on the euphemistically titled section "Effortless Beauty." Lo and behold, they have such innovative suggestions as putting your hair into a ponytail at the nape of your neck, braiding the ends, and then pinning it with bobbypins. Umm, that's so difficult to think of that it required a webpage?

Or how about this one: the aforementioned Scrunchie Out on the Town". If that's "out on the town" than I must be kicking it every night, my hair in that same damn hairdo while I nosh on popcorn and m&m's and watch tivoed episodes of One Life to Life. It goes especially well with my evening attire--jammie pants and a tank top, which I'm sure will be all the rage at socialite parties this season. Sheez. Everyone knows you never wear scrunchies out in public because that hasn't been acceptable since...oh, since 1992 or so. They are handy and don't cause damage but style wise, they have been a fashion don't for over a decade.

This one is even more fun, as it must be the "thrifty" style for those who are into economy. Come on, Scunci... do you really think that people are busting the bank when they buy any of your products? The most expensive I've ever seen was no more than 8 bucks, and it was a prommy-thing with rhinestones (the like of which will cost 25 or more at the mall). Satsify your need for cheap by recreating this:


This marvelously cheap hairstyle is made by twisting two sections of hair and securing it with one (count 'em!) mini jawclip. Isn't that amazing?! For ONLY 40 cents you can look like you twisted your hair and clipped it with a minjaw clip! AMAZING! Nevermind that that shit would pop out of my hair and break in a matter of seconds. Not too thrifty for me, eh, Scunci?

You could always just go for the Heidi with ADD look. Everyone knows that Heidi braids are done by having one on EACH side of the head... poor girl. She tries, but she just can't stay focused:

Shoot. I might as well just throw in the towel and dress to match the hair. Not to knock on anyone's beliefs, but I have spent more time than I care to admit looking at really awful clothes that are designed to fulfill the biblically "based" modesty movement. They have whole sections of jumpers! Jumpers, people! Twist on your scrunchie, slip into your not-sexy jumper, tie on some sensible tennies and go, woman! Egad. And of course... they've got you covered: Never fear, freaky modest women. Scunci has an emergency quick fix for that, I'm sure... and it probably involves a fileted scrunchie and some trusty bobby pins.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Rock, Scissors, Paper Coffins!


Looking for that special oomph that will give your gift presence and style? I knew you were. When you have something mediocre, why not present it with a bit of macabre elegance? Yep, that candy necklace will seem like a fine jewelry store item once it's nestled in a smart little coffin.
These would have been perfect for all the flies I buried as a child...SIGH. My early obsession with death led to a little fly cemetery, tucked in beside our woodpile. Imagine if it had included actual burial vessels...! What authenticity! Instead, I had to make due with tearful visits from my dollhouse people and the solemn lone "monument," a plastic white cross on a simple brown base that stood in the center of the grouping. (One Lent, I saved money for world hunger just so I could earn that baby and put it out in my graveyard! Ahh, my early religious training!)


I mean, really, who doesn't need a little paper coffin in their lives? Or, if you're really feeling crafty, you can construct your own 13 piece Hearse Playset. I mean, really, isn't that just the cutest thing ever? (All toys are courtesy www.ravensblight.com, by Ray O'Bannon.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Who Knew? Playing video games makes for a better surgeon?!

Hmm. Now how can a mother argue with more game time if it might make the kid a better surgeon? Granted, I don't think Star Wars Legos is going to help perfect techniques in laparoscopic surgery...but apparently Super Monkey Ball 2 will! Read about the study via the Charlotte Observer.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tips for Living

Just a thought: Don't attempt to bleach your bathtub when you have a massive head cold.

That is all. I will now go attempt to rest whilst listening the the Wiggles cd for the umpteenth time. Ahh. Willabee Wallabee Woe is Me...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Flying mice, squirrel cam, and David Lynch

So, I'm reading about the new David Lynch... 3 hours of dream sequence, non-linear driftings and...rabbits. Do I want to see it? Damn straight. Does it sound like a train wreck of metaphors and stuff that should have hit the cutting room floor? Of course!

You can read about "Inland Empire" here,
or simply watch the trailer:

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Procrastination... and Toilet Paper.




You know, when it's snowy outside and you're sitting inside, cozy and sipping a cup of tea, the mind turns to the history of toilet paper. Yeah, that's right. Toilet paper. Because I am procrastinating in the great rearrangement of our ENTIRE HOUSE, I am instead perusing the hallowed exhibit halls of the aptly named "Virtual Toilet Paper Museum."

Yes, I really did just waste time looking at pictures of toilet paper packages, and let me tell you, it wasn't all a waste (pardon the pun that I know you're thinking of!). I did learn something, like toilet paper as we know it was not invented until about 1880 (meaning on a roll). See? The edification factor alone is enough to make you want to look at products with names like "Good Day"* and "Lucky Dutchman*." Sigh. I found this useless museum via another fun timewaster where you can find directions to make things like a farting poodle. Ahh, ingenuity!
(*Photos are from said museum)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Waxing Nostalgic


(This is the general store, circa 1960 via this link)

So, I've been steeping myself in tea, folksy stuff like morel hunting, and my father's childhood marble games. For whatever reason, the call of my redneck past (there are a hundred ways to cover it) pulls like old style taffy, like I saw in a candy store my aunt took me to when I was far too old to have never seen taffy pulled but I was fascinated all the same. Suddenly I've been writing again, with my heart checking in and my inner critic checking out, and it has been bliss. The tangled stories of my past and present make a boring blog but here is one of the more memorable things I've been toying with:

Remembering a long walk on the parkway that turned into getting lost in the middle of the Blue Ridge, stuck on a dirt road that seemingly led to nowhere but in fact led to a town not unlike the dreamy one in Big Fish... a strange, forgotten piece of backwardness known as Edgemont. There was literally a church, an open air pavilion for picnics and revivals, and a stark white general store that was, as luck would have it, closed. No one was nearby. It was eerily deserted, as if everyone walked out in 1960 and never came back. Luckily for us, someone did, in a beat up old pickup truck that seemed doubtful but was our ticket out of the backwoods. I rode in the back with my dog, longing for nothing more than a drink of water and a paved road.



You can read about the history of the place here. After looking at the pictures of the interior, I am immensely sad that I didn't get a chance to go inside and buy a glass bottled Coke. Heck, I bet they have Cheerwine.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sour Patch Kids vs. Gummy Bears: aka LOTR geekdom

Okay, I know I'm going all prolific as of late, but I just had to post a link to this incredible recreation of the Battle of Helm's Deep (that's from Tolkien's "The Two Towers" for all you none LOTR geeks out there):
CANDY SCALE REPLICA OF THE BATTLE OF HELM'S DEEP .

Love the nerd pathways. Love the tootsie pop catapults. Sigh. I found this, of course, via that portal of all sugary goodness, www.candyaddict.com.

T-Ball on Whole Wheat

While perusing an issue of Parents, I found this gem of wisdom: "Give kids older than 2 some early T-ball practice by playing catch with stuff like a roll of paper towels, a package of napkins, or a loaf of bread" (February 2007, pg. 77). Yep, you read that correctly. A loaf of bread. Doesn't everyone want to toss around a loaf of bread with their toddler? Supposedly, this "soft" catch is a good way to put away your groceries. Ahem. Has anyone at Parents ever soft caught a loaf of bread themselves? My children are not like golden retrievers, designed with soft grasps capable of leaving the bread shaped and intact. No, unless we want our grilled cheese on bread squished half the size, I'll be putting the bread up myself, Parents.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'll have my cake and eat it, too!

Okay... I feel a rant coming on. In light of the new year, what with the glut of good intentions to scale back, pare down, or any other euphemism you want to use for lose weight, I get irritated. Not about people wanting to diet or exercise--that's their personal business. No, it is all the hubbub that accompanies it that gets my goat. "Oh, I couldn't possibly eat that... it's too rich," is the response to a chocolate brownie, while something like a fruit pastry/pound cake/white cake with frosting/pudding/apple pie/oatmeal raisin cookie/chocolate chip muffin/gingerbread etc. is somehow seen as a "lighter" alternative. What? Just because something is not dark and decadent looking, it somehow escapes censure? The lack of cocoa somehow makes it less fat and calorie laden? There is no end to the times when I have been out to dinner with others and they look askance at my chocolate dessert, lamenting how they can't eat that kind of thing, whilst they've consumed a plateful of appetizers, several alcoholic drinks, the entire content of a bread basket, and an oversized entree... but they can't fathom how I can eat chocolate? Hmmm.
I purposely eat less of my meal so that I can have the whole damn piece of cake, calories and all. It's just priorities, people!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Two year old theology



Recent theological progression in the life of a two year old:

S. calls her new baby doll "the baby Jesus." This illicits such comments as, "Mama! Where da baby Jesus go?!" or "Baby Jesus need diaper change." Ahem. Right now, Baby Jesus is crumpled up in a dolly bed with her tights off...so there you go.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

quickie review to begin the new year...

I could blather on about new year's resolutions, with staunch declarations of how grateful I am for the last year and how disciplined I will be in the new one--but none of that is interesting or particularly true (as far as discipline goes!). Instead, here's a briefing on what I've been seeing/listening to since the Christmas gifting frenzy ensued:

Listening:
Death Cab for Cutie--Plans. Bleh. I am so disappointed, I can hardly talk about it. I finally got this album (since I adore Transatlanticism) and what a letdown. Trite, uninspired... should I go on?

Yo La Tengo--I am not afraid of you and I will beat your ass. Wow. Lovely as always and infinitely good for afternoon listening, coffee in hand. Not a title to leave around for the little ones to discover, however. (Mommy, what does this mean? "Beat your ass?")

The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society. Still listening... but definitely a sixties album, when recording could go off on a tangent and travel there for a while with no thought to radioplay. Of course,there's the poppy stuff that glues it together, too (title track, Picture Book, etc.).

Watched:

The Prestige-- We finally saw it! I was a little disappointed (can't discuss unless you've seen it) but I really loved how it was woven together, an illusion about an illusion about an illusion. We love Christopher Nolan...just put "Insomnia" in our queue.

Danny Deckchair--Silly, formulaic, and wonderfully sweet. It is a fun romp, where you know what happens and it's stilted but you like it anyway.

Happy Feet--good but not as fabulous as expected. The big surprise is that Robin Williams is actually bearable!

Clerks II--already beaten to death (no jokes, please...you know who you are) in other blogs, but I listed it here for posterity. Yeah, it sucked, but we had to see it regardless. Rest in peace, Dante and Randall.