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No Knock, Knock: “Who’s there?”

12 Oct

F9FE48AD-838D-4120-AEE3-DCAF0DAA71A9This is pretty much one of the worst texts any mother can receive from her daughter, but it’s especially panic inducing when said daughter is living in a dorm… in another state… as a college freshman…with no pre-college friends… and is fighting a throat infection. “What could possibly go wrong? She’ll be fine,” I said to a worried Big Daddy months ago to quell  his Daddy-fears swirling around Snakebite leaving for college. When your precious daughter’s chronic shyness and inability to read subtle social cues has limited her exposure to most of the typical lifestyle experiences of average 13-18 year olds, you just worry that her naiveté on a college campus makes her the perfect mark for a certain kind of budding psychopath-narcissist. Apparently it does. Let me tell you about it…

Between 2am-3am last Monday morning, October 2, 2017, Snakebite was roused by someone rubbing her leg while growl-whispering her name with urgency. She propped up and made out a dude standing near the top of her loft ladder and hunching above her bed. He said he was there to check on her, to see if she was feeling better. She was stunned, but told him he should leave. He said that he was hoping to spend the night cuddling with her because it was cold outside. He had walked 45 minutes to get there and thought she was being rude and ungrateful by not inviting him to get cozy. She calmly said he had to go, citing that she and her roommate have an understanding about not having over-night guests without an advance agreement. It’s the time-honored “blame it on the dog” of trying to politely decline a hook-up when you’re a girl who feels uncomfortable, but who is nice enough to want to spare someone’s feelings. Snakebite’s roommate, who was also sick and a known light sleeper, immediately sensed when someone was entering their room. C’N (not roomie’s real name, but I haven’t nicknamed her yet) began to make some sheet rustling noises so that both the intruder and Snakebite would know there was a witness. That’s pretty crafty, really. When he realized they weren’t alone and got nothing but unwavering pushback, he angrily left, slamming the door.

Who was this ‘Whee-hours Creeping Cuddler? Just some guy that she’d only just met the prior Friday while hanging out on campus. (College is in the mountains, so people are constantly standing or lying around outside, just waiting to be interacted with.) That was just 2 1/2 sleeps from this early morning wake-up call. They had hung out, chatted and Snakebite also gave him a ride to the Walmarts to buy some cold medicine; he was coming down with the crud. Snakebite had Snap-Chatted (I hate that app so much), or whatever the kids call it, with him some over the weekend, but Saturday and Sunday was mostly spent inside trying to stave off a developing sore throat.

What do we know about him…now? Well, this boy isn’t a student, he’s on Tender looking for something, he’s on the verge of being homeless because his roommate is sick of his shit and kicking him out of the trailer. He’s unemployed since being fired from his job at the Mexican restaurant next to Walmart. At 20, The Cuddler doesn’t have a car. Word on the street is that he loves and owns pistols. In the three years as an adult in the eyes of the law, he has been charged with assaulting a woman, resisting arrest, manufacturing marijuana, selling or delivering weed to someone under the age of 13 and sundry misdemeanors. There’s no telling how stuffed his juvie record might be. On Twitter he once posted shirtless selfie-mirror pictures to broadcast a chiseled physique accompanied with an a.p.b. diatribe covering how he’d been bullied in high school for being a fat kid, but now he is jacked. It finished with a simple statement that he wants to be “known”. Are you getting the shudders yet? He proudly boasts that he would never date a girl weighing more than 135 lbs. (Good thing he’s on the short size.) One of his Facebook profiles says that he went to “modeling college” in California and was a Hollister “site model” (millennial-speak for Floor Sales Associate at the mall), but when I googled him, I only found a few editions of Fuzzbusted that he had featured in as a “print model”. Is Snakebite crazy for passing on this prize? I mean, who in the hell gets fired from a Mexican restaurant in the mountains? These are the broadest strokes of the whack-a-doodle who fixated on my baby, figured out where to find her and waited until someone either entered her dorm with their magnetic card swipe or exited the dorm and then he just slipped through a closing door. Within minutes of his dismissal from the dorm, a barrage of angry, threatening, pleading, belittling and scattilogical texts began filling Snakebite’s phone.

D1BE8E69-96D5-41C4-89E3-9184B8045D7EWe are grateful that the ‘Whee-hours Creeping Cuddler is no master-mind. This could be a different post, otherwise. Despite having a poor, not so good plan, he still managed to find his way to Snakebite’s top-floor and end of the hall dorm room to shimmy up her loft ladder without her waking up. She had never even told him what dorm she lives in. I can’t imagine that getting caught trespassing, entering, assaulting two girls and communicating threats will garner this parolee any brownie points with his P.O. (parole officer).  The Cuddler should soon be bunking in his own sort of dorm… I hope he provides “companionship” to a very lonely, cuddling cellmate on chilly nights. What’s worrisome is that if this mountain-top moron was able to get himself inside of Snakebite’s dorm room, it must not be too difficult for any determined uninvited guest to get in dorms.

Friends, please, please, please remind your daughters and her friends to never assume that because they are in their own dorm room they are out of harm’s way. Talk with your kids, but daughters, especially, about how:

  1. Not everybody that they meet hanging out in the Quad is a student. As a college freshman it’s difficult to tease apart the nuances between a student who grew up close-by and an up-to-no-good townie who hangs out on a college campus because in a teensy town, that’s the only place that provides groups of similarly aged playmates. Some townies may even seek buttoning down a relationship with a college kid as a ticket out of their shitty town.
  2. Take new paths…literally. Tell your kids to not broadcast their schedule on social media and to switch up their routines when possible. Walk different routes to classes and back to the dorm. Be unpredictable. Notice what people she regularly sees when she’s out moving around. Be with, and visible to, other people when walking any long distances.
  3. Call the University’s golf-cart-student-safety driver to get her to the dorm at night or to her car parked in a far way lot.  It’s also a great way to meet a bunch of nice guys.
  4. Any guy your daughter meets that comes on too strong and too fast with his deeply personal emotional background information, sprinkled with affirmations that she is the sort of girl that brings out his romantic glow, is bad news. Your daughter needs to trot in the other direction. A fella that stakes a claim on a girl at their first meeting usually has some messed-up impulse control disorder, which is commonly found among a sea of other issues.
  5. If a boy that she has recently met quickly develops jealous opinions and beef over her former boyfriends, wants to know her passwords so he can explore her phone for any evidence of potential rivals, evidence of another romantic relationship or disloyalty, tells her about the past girls and women who have taken advantage of and wronged him only to callously leave and/or he complains that the time she spends with friends or family makes him feel lonely and like he’s not a priority…he is a raging unfillable pit of narcissist neediness and your daughter needs to call an Uber.
  6. Screen capture technology is a threatened girl, or freaked out guy’s, best friend. Tell your kids to screen-shot any sketchy digital-age stuff being sent to them. Save it. It may later be just the evidence a judge needs to issue a warrant or a restraining order.
  7. The door should always be locked. Always, whether one is inside or leaving. Don’t ever hold the main door open for anyone who isn’t known to be another dorm resident.
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Hot Body

26 Oct

imgresWhen I contemplate my mortality, I wring my hands over what I’ve done and what I’ve left undone. Who’s with me here? What are my regrets? Will I be leaving my family in a lurch? Have I said everything I needed to? Am I straight with Jesus and God? Will my children be provided for? Will my Girlfriends remember what they are supposed to get out of the house asap? These are pretty deep rabbit holes to fall down and have prompted much discussion among friends and family about “End of Life” decisions.

In an eerily timely fashion, this musing dovetails with the 15th anniversary of my own Mother’s death. Normally, talk of death and funerals would be dour at best, but like Hot Damn, my Mother wasn’t like other girls. After Mother’s first Cancer fact finding MRI in 1990, Carolyn had a realization. Amid all of the jittery nerves, white noise knocking, bad lighting and tight quartered reflections, something became clear to Mother. As is? She was not going to look that great in a casket. For one thing, her hair was a mess and she could see how the wrong shade next to the skin could really wash out a girl’s complexion…probably even more than not being alive. What to do? Carolyn began processing her “visitation look” pronto.

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This is NOT my mother, but wasn’t this lady fab?

Initially, I thought this was a folly. Perhaps the influence of too many male decorator friends? But Carolyn won me over when I was forced to recline flat on the sofa, mirror in hand, so that she could prove her point. There was simply no denying how great my neck and décolleté looked with next to zero gravity. But it was also inarguable that something was lacking. Oh, oh, oh!  How much better would it be with falsies??? Mother had totally nailed it. You gotta come correct with your eye-lash game.

Years later, it was clear the direction Cancer was going, and Carolyn became super proactive in making sure that she was going to be the most fabulous looking “resident” at Patterson’s Spring Hill. Mother picked out the right Home-Going wig, found just the perfect warm shade of coral nail polish, bought long, bushy false eyelashes that would have made RuPaul proud, and even splurged on a new Oscar de la Renta gown, spending an obscene amount of money having it altered accordingly as she shrank. In fact, she gave kudos to Cancer for giving her the waif figure she had spent years eating cottage cheese and chain-smoking trying to achieve. Let’s take a moment to reflect: How great is it that Carolyn found that sort of optimism in her decline? I was even dispatched to get shoes dyed to match the dress, because she was old-school like that. This sort of attention detail is why I, myself, die a little bit every time my kid stands at the door wearing athletic shorts and a stained t-shirt ready to go out to dinner. Sigh.

Every media outlet is chock full of full of stories about violent riots, impending doom, stock market defeat, shootings and apartment fires from overnight. Most of us live in a constant state of bracing for the worst. According to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et. al., a slew of us Americans are now particularly fretful over the certain swift ass-kicking we’re all in for by Ebola. At the root is not just fear that we’re all going to die, but it is compounded with worry that it’s going to happen in the blink of an eye.

It’s all well and good for us to tie up loose ends while having our look pulled together and ready to go as the pearly gates are opening, but what if Ebola strikes and there just isn’t the time, because of the quarantine, to run around and make everything just so. How prepared are any of us for an untimely death, really? I’m not just talking about estate planning, insurance payouts, handing over the safe deposit box keys, or updating living wills. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched the evening news covering a tragic death and my come-away was, “Is THAT the best picture they could find”?  “It’s grainy.” “He looks like a gangster.” “The decedent is clearly 30 years younger in that snapshot.” “Where are her teef?” This is just unacceptable. How does this happen that there are no recent or decent pictures available? It’s a final insult to a “loved” one.

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Girlfriend Carol finds herself especially vexed, not by the emotional strain that her hypothetical sudden death will leave for her people, but by how ill prepared her family might be should she be in need of an impromptu funeral. In particular, will her husband be able to get his grief-striken shit together enough to provide the papers with a totally flattering picture for her, ahem, full page obituary spread? Most likely, that would be a NO. Without direction and pre-planning, none of us will ever get to be obituary chic. However, Girlfriend Carol has a solution: a mandate that once a year we all hire a professional photographer, or an artsy friend with a nice set of lenses, to snap us at our best. Be captured in an elegant setting with soft lighting on a day with low humidity. Be “caught” looking pensive in a field of blooming lavender. Act natural while holding an adorable puppy. If you aren’t pressed for time, get cozy with photoshop. Chisel that jawline, add symmetry to your eye brows, whittle away your batwings, or erase those crows’ feet in a way that Botox never can! The worst case scenario is that you don’t die soon enough and the picture goes on to make a memorable Christmas card, show up on a future senior yearbook page, or it simply makes a wonderful framed reminder on the piano of just how prepared you are. Either way.

Pumped Full of Pumpkin

25 Sep

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Last night I was ruminating about how I hadn’t busted my Fall 2014 hymen yet by savoring the first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season, despite the Starbuck’s gift card that Girlfriend Stacy sent me for my recent birfday. Yes, I just turned twenty nine (again…shhh). Big Daddy threw me some side eye and said, “I don’t understand how you can love everything pumpkin so much, while I know it’s gross”. I was all like, “Um, duh! It’s because I’m a White Girl, and You. Are. Not”. I don’t know exactly why the delicious Pumpkin has become the mascot of White Girls everywhere. Maybe it has to do with our feelings evoked from gazing at Martha Stewart’s face peeking through an elegantly disheveled arrangement of pumpkins and Indian corn or how from an early age we coveted the versatile buckle adorned ankle boots worn by Pilgrim women in all of the the first Thanksgiving depictions which also featured lots of pumpkins, but I think it is just been woven into our DNA somehow.

As such, we are such an easy target. Just adding the suggestion of pumpkin to an offering gets me and a herd of White Girls coming with pupils dilated, tongues swollen and wallets wide open. Me? Personally, I am like the Bubba Gump of pumpkin: baked pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin and cinnamon scented bees’ wax candles, cold pressed pumpkin seed oil, slow roasted pumpkin seeds with sea salt (pepitas if I’m feeling exotic), savory pumpkin soup with a dollop of crème fraîche, maple glazed pumpkin loaf, pumpkin hued cashmere sweaters, jet puffed spiced mallows for when you have to do coffee at home, whipped pumpkin butter, pumpkin spiced harvest ale, even Eggo’s limited edition Pumpkin Spice Waffles…I’m so dedicated that I’ve even had a pumpkin body scrub at the Ritz Spa. It was everything I could do to not lick and inhale myself in front of the aesthetician. 

* And yes, I realize that Bubba Gump is neither White, nor a Girl, but it fit, so just deal. 

Two of only a few major pumpkin missteps that I can carve from recent memory have come from the brain-trust of Pontiac, who thought they could force fugly cars into being palatable dollops by giving them the pumpkin spice treatment:

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The (Loser) Cruiser

The Aztek

The Aztek

It did not work. The result looks like some sort of mechanical transformer car/cockroach.

But something has happened this year that has me recoiling from my beloved pumpkin anything, just ever so slightly.  Apparently the Market has caught on to this pumpkin-infused economy and has sought to exploit it with thoughtless commodities that just don’t fly for the average White Girl’s sensibilities, or anybody’s for that matter. It turns out that sometimes pumpkin isn’t the best ever. For instance:

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Pumpkin Oreos. Why? Oreos should be one thing and one thing only: chocolate wafers with the snow-white cream that you scrape off with your front teef. I should have seen it coming, though. Oreo has polluted their brand with all sorts of fucked up flavors: mint, birthday cake, berry, peanut butter, marshmallow crisp, cookie dough, lemon and don’t even get me started on what flavors they are pandering in Japan. 

These come in several  limited edition "wrong" flavors

These come in several limited edition “wrong” flavors

Pringles Pumpkin Pie Spice Chips are Fifty Shades of No Way. Correct me if I’m wrong (don’t really, though), but potato chips should be salty with varying amounts of delicious grease. Potatoes are potatoes. Why are we trying to make them be pie, candy canes or toast? Let’s just allow potatoes to be great the way they are.  This is food bullying. Someone needs to consult The View about this.

Honey Boo Boo’s sister, Pumpkin…Another thing that’s just crying out for help!

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There are so many wrong turns in the land of Pumpkin this year, such as pumpkin spiced almonds, which is like making sunflower crusted macadamia.  What about Hershey’s Pumpkin Spiced Kisses? I tried to eat on one, but it just made me so sad that I couldn’t swallow it.

As far as being pretty to look at…Chobani and Yoplait both have created a pumpkin spiced flavored yogurt.  I guess it could be an ingredient for an apple dip, but it just looks like the post-meconium poop of a three day old baby.  Pumpkin spiced yogurt might just be the ugliest step-sister of the bunch.

Punk'n Poo

Punk’n Poo

Exactly how much does the Market think us White Girls crave the pumpkin? Well, there was this…

Come into Autumn

Come into Autumn

Earlier this month, the internets was in a lather over images of a Durex Pumpkin Spice Condom.  It turned out to be a soul-crushing cruel hoax to the skinny hipster dudes looking for an angle on getting laid during football season.  Said a Durex spokesperson, “Durex has heard that people are saying we launched a ‘Pumpkin Spice’ condom. We can’t claim this one, but we do love it when people spice up the bedroom.”  However, all hope is not lost…or is it? You decide.

Glide it on your gourd

Glide it on your gourd

In 2013, just a day before my last twenty-ninth birthday, the Lord of Lube, Astroglide, announced that Spicy Pumpkin Warming Liquid, would debut in fall 2014.  The company promised that the Spicy Pumpkin Personal Lubricant will feature the same quality as other lubricants offered by Astroglide. Oh, yay. A spokesperson said the product is “water-based, water-soluble, and condom-compatible, but with the subtle taste and smell of America’s favorite gourd.” As far as I can tell, after a quick feel-up of their website, this new lube has not yet been released. However, if you are in a hot and bothered hurry, companies such as Sexcusemoi and Pumpkinhead have products available online to light up your jack-o-lantern. 

Happy Fall, Everyone!

Dead Market

5 Aug

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To launch a successful product or business idea a lot of things swirling in the cosmos need to align.  You need to have a widget or service that is unique, with an identifiable market that will either benefit from or want said widget/service.  Or if you are crafty, you will be able create a demand for it, like they did with the Pet Rock in the 1970s. Once all that big picture stuff is established there is all of the unsexy and technical stuff that has to be finessed, like building prototypes, culling investors (or getting your parents to stroke a check), manufacturing, distribution, packaging, sales, marketing, evolving the widget, hiring employees, plus yada-yada-yada, all in no particular order.  Heads up: I majored in English and Special Education, not Business.  Don’t blow up my comment box with what I left out or how I’ve over-simplified the process.  Mmm-k?

But that was then.  We live in modern times with evolving models where businesses can get a foot in the door selling only mere possibility, or be funded by Kick-Starter campaigns, they can outsource everything to China for, like, a nickel or claw their way into appearing on Shark Tank, like girlfriend Jenny did with her Hold Your Haunches pants, and blow it up.  (You go girl!)  But many emerging “cottage industries” have just buried the whole having a meaningful product thing in favor of brainstorming niche ideas while seemingly getting super-duper baked in their parent’s basement, building the requisite website and then enjoy the fat stacks coming in.  The internet, and YouTube in particular, has proven time and again that there are VERY specific audiences and consumers to be exploited.  For instance…

Are you getting ready to sell a house or buy a house?  According to website diedinhouse.com, having any type of death in a dwelling can cost you “thousands of dollars”.  How?  No idea, they just say so in their commercial.  DiedInHouse admits that, “You may not be a believer in ghosts, but you do not want to live in a house that someone died in, no matter the cause. You also may not want to invest your money in a home that had a death, because it could possibly decrease its value and make it harder to resell.”  No matter what the cause?  I’m actually okay with a house where sweet Grandma died in her sleep at the ripe age of 97 as long as it doesn’t smell ripe. Does that make me creepy or something?

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Oh, no!  What’s a girl to do?  DiedInHouse contends that the G’u’v’ment is not doing its job and failing us all by not enacting more laws to protect citizen buyers from getting stuck with “stigmatized” property.  Allow me the slow hand clap of congratulation for DiedInHouse; not only did they identify and groom a niche problem, but they have developed and offered the solution, too.  Praise be to God!  Well payed, DiedInHouse, well played. For the low, low price of $11.99 per search (compared with a possible range of up to $39.99…a range that I think was just pulled out of a dead guy’s ass), DiedInHouse will provide the curious, under-informed prospective buyer with a ghoul report.  This report will contain a “vitality status of previous residents and people that are associated with the residence”.   Of course, “the US Government did not start digitizing death records until the 1960s.  Even today, there are government records that have not been digitized.  Most of our data is from 1990 to present”. But, take heed because DiedInHouse cheerfully reminds clients that, “if we are not able to find a death record in our search, keep in mind that does not mean that a death has not occurred there….Our disclaimer states that DiedInHouse.com is merely a great tool to use to assist you with finding out if someone has died at a specific address.”  Or you could just ask the current owner.  Or Google.  Whatever, man.

To support their assertions of financial harm and drawn out listings, DiedInHouse cites two well known and recently sold Death Houses. 

What horrors await behind the front door?

What horrors await behind the front door?

After well documented hot mess Amy Winehouse trotted outta rehab in her Fuck Me Pumps and flew over the rainbow while clutching the wings of a pegasus named Heroin Cocktail Sparkle her father, Mitch, listed Amy’s Camden Square home in North London for sale at £2.7 million.  It eventually sold at auction for £1.98 million.  That does seem like a big downgrade for a 3 bedroom house, which included a widely-in-demand custom recording studio, in a neighborhood mostly populated by architects, barristers and writers…HOWEVER, at the time of listing the average home value for that street was £871,092 while the average asking price for homes on the market was £1,215,611 with the average closing price settling at £618,333.  Maybe the discrepancy between list and sales price was more about unrealistic expectations and less about the pallor of death or chalk outlines.  After all, the home did sell for a whopping £1,371,666 more than the average of other home sales in the area.  Just putting that out there, DiedInHouse.

You are not Alone...in not wanting to get murdered by the asking price

You are not Alone…in not wanting to get murdered by the asking price

Another famous residence DiedInHouse cites is the home where Michael Jackson, crooner of possible DiedInHouse theme song “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”, took his last and longest nap.  The house, an architectural Gobstopper, sold in 2012 for $18.1 million, down from its initial asking price of $28.995 million.  Whoa!  Talk about taking a beating…but wait.  The house had been sold in the real-estate heyday of 2004 for $18,500,180.  At the time of his death, the King of Pop was renting it for $100k a month.  About 5 months after Jacko donned his jammies and eye-shades for the last time, the house was listed and quickly scooped up by Hubert Goez, CEO of douche bag clothing house Ed Hardy, for a cool $18.050,000.  Note that the year was 2009.  How were your investments and bank accounts doing in November 2009?  Mine were either wheezing or filled with tumble-weeds.  Just months after closing, Goez and his wife, Roxanne, presented the house for sale for a staggering $28.995 million, inflating the value by a ghastly 62.25%.  Unbelievably, there was not an immediate bidding war.  I know.  One year later they wanted to be startin’ something by bringing legal action against Linda Welton, a woman who operates an outpost selling umbrellas, coolers and maps to the stars’ homes. In their complaint, The Goezes asserted that, “potential buyers are bothered upon approach by the quite visible and annoying constant illegal stopping and/or parking of cars in front of the home on what otherwise would be a quiet residential street.”  Let it be noted that they did not file a complaint against the devious former owners for not disclosing the dead Michael Jackson that used to be in the upstairs bedroom.  Also note that it then sold for $50k more than the Goezes originally paid for it.  I don’t know of too many other properties where the sales price only took a 2% dip during this time period.

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I dunno, all things considered, it seems like these real estate survivors have ended up with fairly lively returns.  Having not seen any sort of tax files, I can’t say whether or not DeadInHouse is making a killing, but just looking at the quantity and profile of advertisers they boast on their website, I’d certainly say their business  is alive and kicking.

A Mother’s Gift, Valentine’s Day Edition

14 Feb

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Usually, Valentine’s Day is for lovers, crushes and children coerced into dropping adorable cards, assembled by their mothers the night prior, into some poorly executed glue-damp decoupage shoebox assembled in home room. However, my mother was not usual. A friend once described her as being the woman to whom ALL drag queens aspired. She was over-the-top and wildly inappropriate when it came to boundaries. As I was growing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I noticed that the other mothers taught their children to exercise caution and to look out for Atlanta’s Child Killer. However, my mother was teaching, “A stranger’s just a friend you haven’t met yet.” She was also given to blurting out missives, in front of my friends, like, “This song makes you want to lay down on the floor in a dark room…alone!” I sense her ghostly swoon every time I hear Squeeze’s “Black Coffee in Bed”.

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To this day, I still don’t know why the coolest and cutest boy I knew at age 15 was with me after school when I walked in our backdoor on Valentine’s Day 1986. Mother was standing at the kitchen counter, Eve 120 ciggie in hand, next to her Valentine goodie to me: a saucy heart-shaped box fixed by a giant crimson metallic bow. I was horrified, knowing that the odds of it containing something mortifying were sky-high. To her credit, Mother didn’t know I’d have that boy with me, either.  But still, she urged me to open her gift. When I lifted the box, the lack of heft signaled it wasn’t chocolate. I should have stopped right then.  I didn’t. Beneath pages and pages of pink and white tissue was a shiny red satin and lace teddy. Like, something they whore on Knots Landing. As Mother proudly announced to us that, “Every woman should get lingerie from Cupid,” I worried what I’d really be getting was a loose “reputation”. I mean, whose mother gives her 15-year-old daughter something that has a snapping crotch?  Um, that’d be mine. As it turned out, I don’t think that boy ever disclosed to anyone what he saw that day. So, instead of lasting embarassment, I got… mystery. Though we never dated, he never looked at me the same way again. He probably wondered if I was always sporting trashy Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie beneath ripped jeans and a Hüsker Dü t-shirt. I morphed into a sort of obvious curiosity that day. And I am still totally cool with that.

leToy dogs are not weapons. Kinda.

2 May

The happy couple

It’s May and there are snow storms hitting the country.  Snakebite might escape summer school. I just read a weirdo story that happened in my ‘hood..not Florida. Strangeness is afoot.  You need to read this too, and then we’ll talk. Click the link.

Okay. What in the hell? How awful to be beaten with a dead, wiggly-necked Pomeranian by a Dude that looks like a back-up dancer for Color Me Badd.

I need to get it all-straight in my mind. Stay with me.  Dude is 27 and his Woman is 40.  Dude is angered that he is living in an apartment on Roswell Road with some dried out woman 13 years his senior. Got it. Makes sense. What did a Dude named Emmanuel Alfredo Tadeo think his life would be like on Roswell Road versus verdant south-lands? Champagne dreams perhaps?  This is life lesson #1: going forward, shit ain’t gonna be right.

The lovely couple had been arguing while Dude was slamming liquor shots. Alone. Well, with her judging presence. Who pulls out a shot glass and orders themselves Goldschläger and Buttery Nipples at the kitchen dinette? This is life lesson #2: this relationship is going nowhere. He’s not the one, Andrea.  You and your dog need to go for a long walk. A very long walk: quickly!

This will MAYBE protect you from the Tooth Fairy. Nothing else.

Word to the not-so-wise: If you are going to have a douchey boyfriend, who’s got nothing to lose, except maybe his Visa , “staying” with you (and you aren’t Cher), you should get a dog that knows how to take care of business. A Pomeranian is not going to protect anything other than a fabulous pair of ballet flats or a snakeskin clutch in the entry hall. To quote, “During the argument, Tadeo allegedly grabbed Armintrout by the hair, threw her against a wall, and beat her about the face. Afterward, he went looking for the dog, which he found cowering under a table, according to police.”  Life lesson #3: if your dog is cowering, it’s gonna go down. Count your bruises, lick your wounds and get ready for more. It’s about to get interesting.

SupAnimalAssault_RoyBlBlk_small

So, Dude went outside, snapped the “dog’s” neck and then re-emerged, using it like num-chucks. I don’t need PETA all over me, so I won’t mention how a Pomeranian must be useful for something. That would be rude. Totes. So I’ll give you life lesson #4. No matter how wimpy the animal, said animal isn’t a weapon. (Well, unless it’s waaaay olden times and you’ve attached a sharpened jawbone to a spear while hunting or protecting the gatherers. See Clan of the Cave Bear…it’s Daryl Hanna’s best acting. Ah-hem).  If someone is flinging something dead at you and it isn’t a sheared mink car coat, get out.

What have we learned? People are screw-ups. Disregarding age in relationships doesn’t work for poor people. Doing solo shots at a kitchen table is no good. Women should always have back-up, be it a taser, pistol, blade, brother on call, or a nasty dog.  Due to the upgraded charge, a Pomeranian is now considered a deadly or dangerous weapon…for an assailant. Like a brick or a bottle gleaned from the ground. It is no defense for a victim.

I am not shocked that Woman didn’t want to press charges and was uncooperative. What does shock me is this excerpt: “Rose said the alleged crime has shocked the community.”  The date of this event was June 2012. It is May 2013…and today is the first that I have heard of this. This is my stomping ground. How could the community be shocked by something they don’t know about?

Last bit of advice: Google works. Had Woman just let her fingers do the walking across her keyboard she would have seen at least 3 prior booking photos of Dude ranging from battery, visible harm, cruelty to animals, d.u.i., and theft by taking. Had Dude Googled Woman, he’d have know that she’d been booked before, too…with prescription pills without a license and possible meth.  Aah, true love. It knows no boundaries. Apparently, like does attract like.

Fiddy Shades of You’ve Got to be Kidding

9 Jul

This week’s New York Times Best Sellers list is a head-scratcher for me.  Number 1?  Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.  Number 2?  Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James.  Number 3?  Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James.  And slipping in at Number 8…yep, it’s the freakin’ Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James.  In the event that you have been tied up for the past few months, the Fifty Shades books are filed under Mommy Porn.  As I understand it, the “plot” explores the erotic relationship between an inexperienced college co-ed and a slightly older, complicated business man who likes to get his freak on with props.  Snore.  Consequently, the books now have people in the BDSM, that’s Bondage-Domination-SadoMasochism, community all twisted up that their fetish is being demonized as a psychopathology.  But, that’s not who’s snatching these books off the shelves.  So.  What.  Ever.

Here’s a quote from the first book that I found online:

“He grabs me suddenly and yanks me up against him, one hand at my back holding me to him and the other fisting in my hair.
“You’re one challenging woman,” He kisses me, forcing my lips apart with his tongue, taking no prisoners.
“It’s taking all my self-control not to fuck you on the hood of this car, just to show you that you’re mine, and if I want to buy you a fucking car, I’ll buy you a fucking car,” he growls.”

I think that Forever by Judy Blume may have been more titillating and for sure better written.  I don’t even know what “fisting my hair” would do besides warrant 15 minutes of “me time” in the bathroom with a bottle of Johnson & Johnson de-tangling spray and a wide-tooth comb.  Ouch, now that hurts!

Over the weekend, girlfriend Tracy said that one of her friends had just posted on Facebook that she had gone to her local library in hopes of checking out one of the Fifty Shades books.  She landed at number 300 on their list of frugal, horny housewives waiting for the book.  Given the subject matter, I am pretty sure that I would want a fresh, unused copy that has not been clutched in over 600 spontaneously self-molesting, public library hands.  I don’t want to be glued to those borrowed pages.  Ewww.

Have you read one, or gasp, all of these books yet?  I haven’t and it is making most of my girlfriends about to crawl out of their skin from frustrating disbelief.  “Oh.  My.  God…you HAVE to read them!”  “Read them with your husband…you’ll be so in the mood!”  “I couldn’t wait to get home and be alone; you know…”  Call me easy, call me predictable or call me consistent, but I still respond enthusiastically to a bottle of red wine and Big Daddy asking, “Did you start working out again?”  Really.  That’s pretty much the entire how-to manual of getting just about any woman to give it up.

A Rowse by any other name

5 Apr

For two years my mother and her sister were called This One and That One.  The family story was that my mother and her identical twin sister were not legally named until they were about two years old.  I don’t know if my grandparents didn’t already have names prepared because twins coming out threw them for a loop, or in olden times you just didn’t even think about names until there was an actual live birth or if maybe it was because it had been ten years since their first born and by the time this duo appeared my grandparents were just in a “been there, done that” haze, figuring that they’d get around to it eventually.  My mother said it was because one of her older sisters, Vesta, not Billie Sue, would instantly bastardize any prospective names into grating nicknames that drove their mother batty.  I have no idea if this is true, but Carolyn and Charlotte eventually made it into the county records.

Recently there have been several stories in the news about parents experiencing “Baby Name Regret Syndrome”.  Really?  Can this be a shock?  Is it because people are now naming their children impulsively, without thinking about the long-term effect of having a “cool” or an “ironic” name?  You need to save those sorts of monikers for your pets.  The research cited in articles has been mainly concerned with pointing to the myriad of kooky names that celebrities adore festooning their children with.  And there are many, like: Bronx Mowgli (Ashlee Simpson & Pete Wentz), Blue Ivy (Beyonce & Jay Z), Moxie Crimefighter (Penn Jillette), Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee) Bear Blu (Alicia Silverstone), Antonio Kamakanaaolhamaikalani Harvey Sabato III (Antonia Sabato, Jr.), Moroccan and Monroe (Nick Cannon & Mariah Carey), Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Little Pixie (Bob Geldolf & Paula Yates) Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily (Paula Yates & Michael Hutchence), Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen (Frank Zappa), Zuma Nesta Rock (Gwen Stefani & Gavin Rossdale) … the list could do on for pages.

I agree that those are all truly awful, but I doubt that any of those parents have the slightest regret over their unique choices.  But those poor kids!  Mon Dieu.  And I thought that being named after my Aunt, Charlotte, was a cross to bear what with it being long and difficult to spell.  Can you imagine Jason Lee’s kid having to ever do anything at the Social Security office?  “Yes, Pilot Inspektor…no, Inspektor is with a ‘k’, my parents thought it would be more custom than Inspector with a ‘c’…Yes, that is why I am here; I was just granted the court’s permission to legally change my name to Pete Jones.”

My favorite celebrity name goes to the son of Jermaine Jackson.  I think he was trying to send a message to his little brother, Michael, whose children’s names are Prince, Paris and Prince II (the name so nice, he used it twice!).  The message is that Jermaine’s child is also Jackson family royalty…hence the boy’s name: Jermajesty.  Take that, Blanket.

Sometime’s parents take their naming inspiration from iconic brands or products that they feel convey certain panache: Mercedes, Tiffany, Remington, Porsche, Brandy, Diamond, Bentley and so on.  Couples who thought a destination wedding was a good idea might be partial to destination names such as Brooklyn, Dakota, London, Sierra or Phoenix. If you catch an episode of Toddlers and Tiara’s, on accident…of course, you can hear a lot of names that are certain to catapult a prostitot to future success.  Can’t you see your future self, handing over control of your portfolio to a broker named Paisley, Sparkyl, or Kragen?  Perusing the Social Security site, it is clear that many parents will go to great lengths to make sure the letters “j”, “k”, “y” or “z” find their way onto the family tree: Kaylynn, Jayden, Jazlyn, Xzander, Kloe.

Living in the South, I am used to people having some eccentric “family names” or having a last name for a first or middle name.  Heritage names are popular with everyone.  And there is no shortage of names that hearken to a family of French origin, like La Quon, or nod to a family’s obvious Greek heritage with something like Shantavious.  But the names that totally throw me into fits are the ones that are just made up words, blends of other names or common names that have a custom spelling, so that the child will grow up feeling special.  By and large, I’ll bet they grow up realizing that their momma is illiterate and didn’t know how to spell.

A couple of summers back, I was being checked out at a Wal-Mart in Florida by a woman whose nametag was a cluster of letters…”Sh’airaleete”.  Yes, there was the telltale apostrophe of high-class in there.  I couldn’t resist commenting on what an unusual name she had.  I then asked, “How do you pronounce it?” I was almost knocked over when she said, “It Charlotte.”  Um, no.

Finally feeling the love

14 Feb

Stores have been festooned in pink and red since December 26th.  Hearts, balloons and kissy prints have been everywhere.  Yes, it’s Valentime again.  A younger Hot Damn had no love for Valentine’s Day.  Every year it seemed like a mocking reminder that I hadn’t peaked yet.

When I was in elementary school, administrators and teachers had yet to adopt the culture of participation trophies and the belief that all children are special snowflakes.  Thus, birthday party invitations were still subjective and no one was forced into making a Valentine for anyone they didn’t want to.  Well, you can see where I am going with this.  My tissue paper and sticker emblazoned shoebox was never the one that was overflowing with love notes and chalky heart candy by the last bell.  I’m sure it mostly had to do with the gawd-awful Sandy Duncan style pixie haircut that my mother insisted was “just daaahling”, and nothing to do with my winning charms.

By my middle school years, the ritual of exchanging cards and candies halted.  Then, as a high school freshman I discovered a whole new level Valenshame.  

Over-confident and sexually ambitious teens annually organized some sort of school-sanctioned fund-raiser that involved j.v. cheerleaders sitting at a table and  selling carnations for $1 to other students.  They came in three colors: red for smokin’-hot ninth grade romance, pink for crushes and white for “I don’t like you in that way”.  The flower would be delivered to the object of one’s affection during classes throughout the day on February 14.  You could attach a personal note.  Sounds harmless, right?  Ugh.  This was just a new, more obvious posture in the contest for popularity.  And the celebrated teens would schlep their growing bundle of dyed flowers around school with them, to every class, even to lunch, all day long.  For those of us who received a white carnation or two, sent by a friend as a gesture of solidarity, it was a dilemma.  Did you proudly tote what amounted to your boutonnière with you, so that you didn’t look totally unloved, or did you gingerly put your carnations in your locker because they looked like a pittance?  Oh, and there was always that one poor sad sack who would be exposed for boosting her numbers by sending several to herself anonymously.  Bad move. 

By college, I made a habit of dating the sort of really cool guys who conveniently liked to break up right around the second week of December, who then later wanted to come sniffing around again after February 15th.

And in the work world?   The competition for the ultimate love trophy went off the chain.  There was no prouder receptionist than the one with the biggest delivered floral arrangement by clock punch time.  The secretary pool looked like a funeral parlor, but all the women were beaming from the outward display of love.  It was high school on steroids.  

Big Daddy and I had been dating about 2 months when faced with our first Valentine’s Day together.  A couple of days before the V-day, he told me to “wear something really nice” on the 14th  because we were going out for a fancy date.  He was very mysterious about the whole thing.  I was giddy about finally participating in the Valentine’s Day of my dreams.  I knocked off work a little early, got my nails did and put on my best LBD, stockings, heels…the whole thing.   Big Daddy picked me up and took me to dinner at…drum-roll…my favorite Indian restaurant.  I had averaged eating there about once a week from the time I was thirteen.  I loved that place, but it wasn’t quite what I had in mind.  It wasn’t out of the box.  And it certainly wasn’t fancy.  It turns out that Big Daddy didn’t think he would need to call and get a dinner reservation more that two hours before our ETA at any upscale eatery on the most dined out night of the year.   Even the Waffle House near us takes reservations on Valentine’s Day.  Hand to God.  As it turns out, before he landed Hot Damn, Big Daddy was the kind of guy who didn’t do Valentine’s Day.  Oh, well.  The vindaloo was good.

So what sort of gifts were exchanged?  I had searched high and low and bought an antique set of poker chips.  Because I knew Big Daddy liked to play cards, I thought that it showed that 1.) I knew his interests 2.) I put thought into an atypical gift; I wasn’t just dialing it in and 3.) That there was a bit of work involved in expressing my luv.  Big Daddy, it seemed, was hoping to convey the same.  Instead of just picking up a heart-shaped Whitman sampler or a roadside dozen of long-stems, he picked up the phone and asked his sister for advice.  It was a smart move, except that she didn’t really know me.  Through her connections, she was able to hook Big Daddy up with really great seats to Grease: the musical.  Does anyone remember this post?  I put on my best excited face.  A musical?  Does he even know me?  But the truth is that it was the best Valentine’s Day despite the dinner not being over-the-top or that I got a gift that I was dreading having to cash in.  I was with someone who I knew loved me.  But then there was our second Valentine’s Day… 

Big Daddy and I were married on 17 February 1996.  I wanted to be married during the winter, but I am Episcopalian and no weddings are performed during Lent.  Big Daddy is a manly man and believed that no weddings should be performed during play-off season or March Madness.  Given the e.t.a of my dress, it was going to have to be shoehorned in with Valentine’s Day.  On the 14th, I arose with brightness and cheer.  Because so much was happening in the next few days, I kept it simple with a CD, card and yummy meal.  Big Daddy kept it simple too.  He coughed up simply nothing.  W? T? F?  I kinda went bat-shit.  Nothing.  Seriously?  He reasoned that he was giving me himself in three days.  Yes, in three days I was going to be turning myself over to a man who thought that he was gift enough.  Does he even know me? I went Diary of a Mad Black Woman on him.  But don’t think it didn’t cross my mind to go in another direction and go Silence of the Lambs instead.  Ultimately, I would have looked stupid in a man suit.  I considered postponing the wedding to a less clashy date.  I might have done it if people weren’t flying in from all corners of the world.  It never occurred to me that by getting married I would have to forfeit the showiest day of romantic goo known in a calendar year.  Forever.  Oh, the disappointment!  The tears!  And maybe a slammed door.  Or two.  

This week we will celebrate our sixteenth wedding anniversary, which means it will also be our eighteenth Valentine’s Day together.  I am pleased to report that not a bare Valentine’s Day has passed again.  Sometimes there’s a grand gesture, like a shiny bauble or a sterling trinket box.  Or maybe it’s more practical, like speakers for my iPod.   There have been no more tickets to musicals, but there have been tickets to see Ben Folds.  We don’t even pretend about fancy dinners on actual Valentine’s Day anymore.   Tonight we will celebrate our love by going to Hot Tub’s basketball game at 7:45 and listening to Snakebite protest about having to go.  Tomorrow night we will go out to a yummy dinner with friends.

I think he finally knows me.

I’m not jerkin’, you can buy a merkin

19 Jan

Feeling fancy?

I thought about getting snarky about Paula Deen’s outing as a diabetic this week, but it’s kinda already been done to death by other bloggers and Anthony Bourdain. There isn’t much more to be said on the subject. Besides, I couldn’t let this jewel slide past y’all…

Apparently, the merkin business is making a come back. Seriously. Aren’t sure what a merkin is? Did you think I was talking about George W. Bush being proud to be a ‘Merican? No. It’s merkin. Sit down and take a deep one while I explain. Merkins are “pubic wigs” that are documented as being “worn” as far back back as the 1400s by hookers to either a) camouflage STD blisters and lesions on their money-maker or b) cover up a hoo-ha that was shaved to combat crabs and lice. Eew. Nowadays, merkins are occasionally worn by actors or actresses whose roles require a frontal nude scene and they need to either a) skirt around “technical” nudity issues or b) appear more faithful to the era they are portraying. For instance, Evan Rachel Wood smeared on some spirit gum and slapped on a bushy merkin for her role as Veda in the Golden Globe Award winning “Mildred Pierce”. Her 1930s era character, it seems, would not have sported a landing-strip styled coochie.

Flair for your fair

It should be no surprise that a “star” of the “Real Housewives of New York” franchise, Cindy Barshop, is championing today’s merkin revival. Is it ironic that a klassy reality “star” would be pedaling the wares of old, diseased and crusty prostitutes? Not in the least. Barshop owns a waxing salon where she is hawking two varieties of luxury wigs for confused clients. First, they get their downtown lady bits waxed bare and then replace their God-given nether-mane with either a plume of colored feathers, called the “Carnivale” or with a thatch of fox hair, which can be custom dyed. Think baby-doll pink or sky blue. It’s called the “Foxy Bikini”. Be prepared to spend upwards of $200 for this special look, which is touted to typically last about 3 days.

My head mind is swimming. It has just never occurred to me to get that kind of spiffy down there. Certainly, a lavender fox pelt is much less aggressive than some other recent trends in tootie grooming. The fetish community goes wild for piercings and tattoos down there. One of my favorite moments from “The Jerk” is when Steve Martin’s Navin R. Johnson is recounting Patty’s tattoos and pointing to his crotch says, “And she’s got one up here that says ‘slippery when wet’!” For the less committed, there are temporary tattoos that can be applied for some kinky flair.

Another trend that I find to be a real head scratcher is Vajazzling. This is the professional application of clear and colored Swarovski crystals in designs to accent the no-no place. Of course, if you are good with tweezers and a mirror, you could get one of the DIY kits. The results should last about 5 days. Looking at the company’s official website, it is noted that one may choose to Vajazzle because, “For some people, vajazzling is just about feeling good while others have significant reasons to go for the bling, which may include coping with a terrible break up or getting back the lost attention of your partner.” I can’t imagine that I would even want to regain the attention of a partner who is only lured in by shiny objects. Are these sad women sleeping with The Situation?

Apparently some men are also glamming their ham. Dudes could also sport a merkin, though I think that the “Carnivale” could be a bit tricky, looking more like a crazed mutant peacock and less like a festival. Vajazzing is not sexist.

Pucker up, Man!

File under “Special Interest”

12 Jan

There is a new Facebook fan page called “Beautiful and Bald Barbie!  Let’s see if we can get it made”.  A couple of mothers have started a “movement” to urge toy maker Mattel Inc. to manufacture a shiny pated Barbie to promote awareness of childhood cancer and acceptance among young girls who have been afflicted by the disease.  Social network activists Rebecca Sypin and Jane Bingham believe young girls grappling with hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania will find comfort and inspiration by a late 1980s Sinead O’Connor styled Barbie.  I am pausing and taking a breath before I proceed.  Inhale.  Hold it.  Exhale.  Okay…go.

As a kid I played with Barbie and her friends, including “Growing up Skipper” whose breasts would magically “grow” when you wound her arm around like she was getting ready play fast-pitch softball.  I would braid my Barbie dolls’ hair, put it in a chignon and sometimes I would make Barbie a brunette with a chocolate scented Mr. Sketch marker.

"I'm mad at my parents" Barbie

I even made one Barbie punk with a spiked mohawk.  I used scissors to clean up the sides and Elmer’s Glue for the lift in the middle.  Ken wasn’t fooled.  He thought Barbie looked like a cross between a back-up dancer from Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” video and a mall food-court poser.  Eventually, her mohawk got bent and I took my scissors out again, creating what was essentially the Ghost of Britney Spears’ Future.  I had myself a “Skinhead Barbie”.

Of course, Cancer Joe will likely lose his beard, too

Getting in on the esteem-building-bald-doll action is the spirit of the same people who made wuss boy doll “My Buddy” happen in 1985.  Suggestions that there should also be a bald G.I. Joe are now on the table so that young boys will have a cancer doll, too.  Inhale.  Hold it.  Exhale.  WTF?  Firstly, when I was a kid, G.I. Joe had a flocked Sergeant Carter buzz cut that was pretty darn close to bald.  Anything more and he would have been mistaken as a Kojak action figure.  Secondly, if G.I. Joe were suffering from chemotherapy induced hair loss, I would hope to hell that the military would excuse him from active duty and let him convalesce at his hometown V.A. hospital.  On a side note, would he come with a camo hospital gown?

Barbie wannabe Jenny Lee

Don’t get me wrong, because I do get it: the idea to give kids a doll that they can identify with, but…Barbie?  I thought that “modern and liberated” women hated Barbie exactly because she stands for everything that is physically unidentifiable or attainable for girls. “Real” women and little girls don’t grow up to look like Barbie and so what “she” exudes is a false sense of what is appropriate beauty, or something like that. Were Barbie to be sprinkled with magic toy dust and become a living girl, she’d be 6’0”, weigh in at 100 lbs and wear a size 4.  With measurements of 39″/19″/33″ she would have to come with a kick stand to keep from toppling over.  I don’t care if it’s “African-American Trial Attorney Barbie”, “Pan-Asian Scientist Barbie” or even “Old-School WASP Stewardess Barbie”, no little girl will ever attain Barbie’s solid rack or high check bones without being injected with Mattel Inc.’s plastic.  And forget a college fund; to identify with Barbie, she’ll need a weave fund. Once “Cancer Barbie” goes into remission, you can bet your sweet ass that her coif will be long, strong and goin’ on.  And you can snap that down in a Z.  Personally, I think that if I were a little girl with cancer, “Cancer Barbie” would hit a nerve.  “Mommy, why is bald “Cancer Barbie” smiling, looking great and playing tennis, but I feel like crap?”

Now, I know that this could evolve into a clever fund-raising idea, and maybe Mattel Inc. will eventually come out with a Chemo Barbie that will be packaged in a pink box and sold in October.  And if they do, I hope they would make her realistic, something that little girl cancer patients actually could relate to, with sores in her mouth, brittle bones, a port site, gaunt, and pissed off.  Oh, and then they could sell her with some accessories, like a freezer full of casseroles, that Barbie doesn’t have any appetite for, from Barbie’s well-meaning friends.  There could be a collection of turbans, a pulp kidney dish and a Snuggie for those “sofa days”.

Despite the grassroots excitement being generated on Facebook, Mattel Inc. issued a letter that they do not take suggestions from outside sources.  Hasbro Inc, the makers of G.I. Joe, has issued no comment.  The truth is that if either manufacturer gets invested in this, then every special interest group is going to want their own Barbie mascot.  First on the list would be a call out for a LGBT Barbie/Ken mash-up.  Can you imagine?  Barbie’s body and Ken’s hands and feet.

"Midtown Kandy"

Ding-dong! The Doctor will see you now

13 Oct

I swear that I am not picking on the fine people of Florida…it’s just that they make it so easy.  Here is a real headline from 2006: “Man Offers Free Breast Exams, Finds Some Takers”.  Here is a real headline from today: “Fake doc busted for offering door-to-door breast exams reaches deal”.  This all went down in Fort Lauderdale.  Of course it did.

The back story is that a 76 year-old-man, Phillip Winikoff, went knocking door to door in an apartment complex, offering to give women free breast exams.   Most certainly he either got this idea from a gas station t-shirt or from watching back episodes of Beavis and Butthead on Hulu.  Did they have Hulu in 2006?  He carried a little black medical bag to lend himself an air of legitimacy, which worked at least twice.  There has been no mention made as to whether or not he completed his look with the prerequisite stethoscope around the neck or a beeper affixed to the waistband of his sansabelt trousers.

Two women came forward who had been “examined” in the comfort of their own homes.  One patient, a thirty-six year-old female, decided something might be sketchy when her free breast exam included a bonus cervix check.  That was the tip-off.  Really?  It wasn’t that he wasn’t wearing one of those reflector head mirrors, or carrying a clipboard?  Jeesh.  Some people are sooo gullible.  Anyway, patient #1 called the police and the faux doctor split.  He was picked up by authorities while he was in mid-exam with another patient in the same complex.

Had the now 81 year-old Dr. Mr. Winikoff not reached a deal with the court, he could have received 45 years in prison for sexual battery and another 10 years for practicing medicine without a license.  The details of his “deal” have not been made public, but he seems to have avoided going to the big house, where he could have been on the receiving end of a lifetime supply of free proctology exams.

Car flair can stick it

22 Sep

More observations from the road

If Snakebite were allowed to cuss, which she is not, this is what she would have said to me on a recent road trip, “Mom, what in the hell is with all of the shit people put on their cars?”  Because I am raising her to be a lady (uh-huh) she instead asked, “What’s with all the car flair?”  Living in an area where private schools are numerous, country clubs are abundant and people like to throw money at whoever is running for office, we are used to seeing a lot of bumper stickers.  Now, I have always thought that this cleverly served a three prong purpose: first, all of the school annual fund support stickers keep meddling mothers off your back in the carpool line.  That sticker lets people know you’ve done your part and so you can move on to chatting about something more important than the school’s scholarship kitty or the endowment fund, like who’s gotten bad lip injections or where to download DSW coupons.  Secondly, “The Club” membership sticker lets potential car-jackers know that you have a mean backhand, a nine iron under the front seat and are damn near close to broke after paying tuition at aforementioned school on top of monthly dues.  That Club sticker says, “I got nothing to lose, so bring it!”  And lastly, the political campaign sticker tells state troopers that you are connected and you will likely weasel out of paying off any speeding ticket; that even pulling you over for a finger wagging is an exercise in futility.

But Snakebite pointed out all this other stuff and before I knew what was happening it seemed like every car we saw had some sort of gratuitous crap on it beyond the 1980’s Baby on Board hold over, that smug “Coexist” one or bragging rights for a seven-year old honor student.  If your seven-year old isn’t an honor student, I will pray for you.  You know when I’ll be impressed?  When that sticker says “My child graduated magna cum laude from Princeton and I didn’t have to pay a dime.”

Just gag

We were particularly struck by the silliness of the giant rear window monograms.  I admit to loving having my stuff engraved or embroidered.  My brother, Chris, thinks that this is total bourgeois behavior, but I have to disagree.  It’s practical…it’s the time-tested upper-crust version of masking tape with your name written in Sharpie.  When babies all look alike and have the same smocked outfit on in the Church nursery, it is a much more genteel way to keep up with which one is yours.  And how many times have I left a cake server somewhere and had it returned because my scrolly letters were on the handle?  Well, actually never, but it would be true if I were forgetful enough to leave it some place.  But on a car?  Why?  Doesn’t it beep when you press your key?  Isn’t your license plate really just a Government Issue personalization…and it’s metal and one of a kind, not like that die-cut plastic peel-and-stick thing.  We give this two thumbs down and a frowny face.

Aww...just precious

And then there are the stick figures…we’d seen those before, but this was a new twist.  They have been flaired further by having team logos on their tiny t-shirts.  Puh-leeease!  Dork squared.

If only my car had a lapel...

‘Member when Hollywood slobbered all over AIDS awareness and introduced us to the red lapel ribbon?  Then breast cancer awareness took it on in pink and it snowballed from there.  I really couldn’t say which color is for what group, until now.  Thanks to magnetic car ribbons with the cause written on it, I can keep up.

However, not all car flair is on the body of the car.  A lot of people like cutesy antennae ornaments like this…

Punk rock car

Then there are people who have considered the body of their car, hog or truck an actual body and have made it anatomically correct.  That’s nucking futs!  May I present the best of the best?

Hot Tub made this truck writhe in pain by administering a swift kick

They are sold under many names, but Truck Nutz is the original.  They come in array of colors, including brass and chrome.  Some brands have kinky chains attached.  Despite my kids thinking they were hilarious, they are fairly controversial.  A case is going forward to trial in South Carolina sometime this month to neuter this novelty accessory.  States like Tennessee, Florida, Virginia and Maryland have tried to have them banned in the past on the grounds of indecency.  That’s especially ironic for Florida.  Letting your truck’s sack hang is you First Amendment right for the freedom of expression.  But just to be on the safe side, I’m ordering mine in camo.

Undercover ballz

You know you’re in Florida when…

5 Aug

The billboards start to look like this…

(The “thumb’s up” picture on this sign looks suspiciously like G.I. Joe’s Kung Fu Grip)

Then, you have to reach around those…

When you are trying to fill up a hot, salty cup of these…

And you have to wait for Barefoot Bobby to finish buying lottery tickets at the gas station register counter…

And as you are paying, the cashier throws you the “You ain’t from around here” shade when your teenage daughter comes stomping into the store, fuming and furious that her brother is “using improper grammar on purpose and sounds like” one of these…

Like, gag me with a coke spoon

1 Jul

When I was in fifth grade, my school began to teach us about drugs.  They are bad.  Drugs; not school.  In 1980, drug education was boiled down to scare tactics via weird stories about what happens when you sniff glue or take angel dust.  I still don’t really know what angel dust is, but I know that if I ever got a hold of some, it would make me stand on a tall building and think I could fly.  If you are too young, or too old, to remember the glory days of educational anti-drug reel-to-reels, this is a great introduction:

I learned that “dropping” LSD made people think that they were oranges and then they would try to peel themselves.   LSD, or acid, was probably the scariest drug that we were warned about.  It would make you see things that weren’t there, like beautiful flowers in gas stove flames that you would want to touch.  Acid would make you hear voices and if you took it more than three times you would be declared legally insane and you could never give sworn testimony in court.  Hippies took acid.  I was terrified of it.  Filmstrips like this didn’t dissuade me that LSD was the worst thing that could ever happen to a person.

Of course heroine is really bad too, but it was also just plain trashy.  “Junkies” always had gross teeth and just nodded and drooled.  When you were done being a junkie, you’d have to get on methadone.  To get methadone you have to stand in a line every day with other people trying not to be junkies anymore.  The whole needle thing rattled me, too.  I saw an ABC After School Special one time about a cute high-school girl who started doing heroine.  It messed up her life and brought shame to her family.  I would never want to drool on myself or stand in a line every day.

It was during this time when we were finishing up our drug education that cocaine started being a thing.  There weren’t any outdated filmstrips or pamphlets available yet and from everything on TV, it seemed like you had to be a stockbroker, a starlet or South American to get any.  It looked too expensive for ten year-olds to ever get their hands on it.  We skipped learning about cocaine.

And marijuana?  Total gateway to ruining your life.  My parents and teachers would tell me horrible stories about people “on pot”.  Once you tried pot, it was only a matter of days before you were in a straight-jacket on the way to re-hab after being busted for trying to pawn stolen goods to support your habit. When I was in middle-school all of the thuggy kids with divorced parents wore Adidas, because the logo was suggestive of a marijuana leaf.
My main take-away from my elementary school anti-drug unit was that you should never mix uppers and downers together.

Drug education in the new millenium is a bit more sophisticated, reality based and graphic.  Who hasn’t been totally freaked watching one of those meth-morphing clips on Dateline?  Or hearing about the not too far fetched rumor that Alice In Chains front-man Layne Staley had to have his hand amputated due to gangrene from a heroine abcess.  He soon after died of an overdose at age 34.  Eeew.  And just suffering through any jam band is enough to keep kids away from pot.  Or how about this latest thing with flesh eating cocaine?  Apparently, the booger sugar is now cut with some veterinary de-worming drug for livestock that attacks your skin after you partake.  It turns all purple and black.  Gross.

There are a lot more drugs out there now.  Crack, meth, ice, crank, ketamine, oxyanything and bath salts are all new on the scene.  And then there’s astounding invented stuff that people will smoke, snort, huff and inject to figure out if it’s “good”.  I once read an interview with Marilyn Manson, who was talking about smoking sherm with Leif Garret.  Sherm?  It’s a joint dipped in formaldehyde.  How bored do you have to be to give that a try?

I think that my tactic for keeping my own kids off drugs will probably just be this:

Don't do drugs

Graduation means get out

25 May

Yesterday, we talked about gratuitous graduations.  Am I a killjoy?  Is it weird that I didn’t shed a tear the first time I dropped anyone off at mother’s morning out?  Is it wrong that I peeled out of the parking lot, with my stereo cranked to full volume?  Is it okay to admit that this past weekend I was looking at all of the great travel options for September through December and thinking how kick-ass it’s going to be when the kids are in college and we can take off on spontaneous, reduced cost trips?

Can you find me?

I graduated high school in 1988.  My graduation gift from my parents was a set of American Tourister luggage.  Two rolling suitcases, a garment bag, week-ender and the train case were all there.  At the time I thought it was a pretty crappy set up, but now I understand the symbolism. I did also get a giant backpack, Eurail Pass and an open-ended plane ticket for the summer.  I think that there was a not so subtle message there:  GET OUT!  They couldn’t wait for college to start in the fall.  My parents were ready to be empty nesters a.s.a.p.

On the morning that I left for college I was in a hurry to get on the road.  It may be the fist time that I actually finished packing and loaded my car the night before a departure.  Just as I was heading to the garage door, my mother said that she needed to have a word with me.  In private.  Ugh.  What was she going to tell me?  I had gotten the sex talk at age seven when a load of porn magazines fell out of ceiling tile in one of the brother’s basement bedroom.  Surely, we weren’t going to have a refresher.  Was she going to talk to me about drugs?  Oh, God.  How awkward to have your parent say words like “doobie” and “acid tab” to you.  Maybe she was going to tell me to make good decisions and wax on about how I would make friends that would last a lifetime in college.  Sigh.  Or worse, she was going to cry and say how she wished my father (who died when I was 2 ½) was there to see this…blah, blah, blah.

Dorm sweet dorm

Wearing a floral housecoat and a towel twisted into a turban on her head, my mother sat on the edge of her bed with a huge crystal ashtray balanced on her knee.  I sat next to her and she stretched out her intro by lighting one of her skinny foot long ciggies and taking a long drag, which she exhaled through her nose.  And then it went like this, “I am so proud that you are going to college today.  You are moving our of your bedroom and going to live in a dorm, and one day you’ll have an apartment…”  Okay, so far, so good.  Where is this going?  Then this rushed out of her mouth: “You will always be welcome to come home for holidays, summer break while you are in school and some weekends.  BUT you are never moving back into this house.”  Huh?  I was seventeen and getting kicked to the curb.  I so did not see this coming.  She went on to talk about how weird it is for kids over age eighteen to still live at home and if it happens they never leave and everyone’s lives are ruined.  I put the top down on my car and drove to college in a complete daze.

When I graduated from college, it was a sparse affair.  I didn’t even want to walk, but was forced into it.  The only people from my family that came were my mother and her identical twin sister, Charlotte.  Because they were essentially the same person with two names, it was like just having one person there.  I don’t know who made our commencement address.  The air conditioning was out in the auditorium.  It was more boring and pointless than a neighborhood zoning committee meeting.  As I was saying my good-byes in the parking lot, I coyly asked about my graduation present.  My mom said I wasn’t getting anything until she saw the actual paper.  What I had been given when I crossed the stage was a diploma I.O.U.  Basically, the check was in the mail.  That damn thing didn’t come for months and mama was taking no chances.

Not my t-shirt

My gift ended up being an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime extended trip to Thailand, China, Singapore and Indonesia with my parents.  This happened a year and a half after I graduated.  The thirty-one hour plane ride with them affirmed that finishing college, diploma and all, was the right call.  Not only would I would never have to live in their basement, I’d never want to.

Getting a head start on graduation

24 May

As May comes to a close there is a flurry of graduation ceremonies.  I have gotten announcements for both college and high school commencements from family members this year.  Thank God, there were no actual invitations, so that I can just look at the pictures on Facebook and hit the thumb’s up “Like” button from the comfort of my sofa.

Speaking of Facebook, there is no shortage of status updates from attendees of all sorts of graduations this spring, for instance: “I can’t believe my baby is going to be in kindergarten next year.”  A-hem.  Or, “I cried all the way through the fifth grade graduation.”  Whaaaa?  Holy shit people.  Pull it together and look at the big picture! You know what would have me bawling my eyes out?  If 13 year-old Snakebite was still in pre-k or fifth grade was going to be the ceiling of Hot Tub’s experience with school.  If everyone else moved on and my kid was on auto-repeat I’d be a shrieking mess.

At what point did celebrating finishing elementary school become, like, a thing?   Isn’t it a law that all children have to go to school until they are sixteen or something?  By that account, these “graduations” should just be called “end of the year recital” or “final singing performance”.  Graduation, really?  I don’t remember any sort of transition ceremony for anything aside from getting to “bridge” in Brownies…and that was done in a classroom with two moms and a handful of nine year-old girls.  We got colored paper napkins, two trefoil cookies and some orange Hi-C when it was over.  Has this memorializing of expected everyday accomplishments become like a participation trophy for grown-ups?  Is it so if tragedy befalls, a mother can look back and say, “Her graduation was such a special day for our family, we were so proud,”? I don’t want to minimize getting over life’s hurdles, but is plowing through pre-school really one of them?

Who does this pre-graduation graduation business mean something to?  Not the kids, really.  When Snakebite “graduated” from fifth grade she wasn’t bursting with pride that she had carried on with our rich family tradition of knowing the branches of government and being able to cypher.  She just wanted to know if she was finally getting a cell phone.  She did.

We don’t have any special end of anything coming up this month that warrants a certificate and reception.  It’s making me feel a little out of the loop.  Can I just start having graduation fetes every spring for hitting my mile stones?  Like, this year I could graduate from being a stone-cold bitch to just being an ass.

Baby can’t work. Baby needs him check.

19 May

In the mid to late 90s, girlfriend Laurel’s husband, Mark, had the best job ever.  While taking a year to study for the MCAT and apply to schools, he had a part time gig working for an insurance company.  Not as a paper pusher.  Nor was he adjusting, estimating or cold calling for sales.  Mark had a “rape van”, a notebook and a camera with a telephoto lens.  He would stake out people who were making fraudulent disability claims and snap pictures of them mowing the lawn, lifting 55 gallon drums and working at roadside veggie stands.  He was a detective.  I love that shit!

Now a days, with the internets and all, being a disability detective isn’t quite as sneaky or invasive as it once was.  Dishonest, lazy people are usually not so smart, and a lot of them are creepy.  And are proud of it.  They will pretty much just hand you any damning evidence of what losers they are on a silver platter.  Or a TV show.

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn saw an unusual video clip from the National Geographic show, Taboo, that made the viral rounds recently.

It chronicles Stanley Thornton’s home life, where he lives with his caretaker/roommate Sandra Dias.  Stanley spends half of his day wearing a footed fleece onesie, drinking apple juice from a bottle, playing with Legos and listening to nursery rhymes.  Miss Sandra soothes him when he is cranky and makes sure that his diaper is always dry and that he gets plenty to eat.  Stanley is in the hundredth percentile on his growth chart.  At over three hundred and fifty pounds, him is such a big boy!  Stanley is an adult baby.  No.  I did not say that he is an adult, baby.  An adult baby.  Huh?

In the video you can catch a glimpse of how Stanley lives as an adult baby.  He sleeps in a scale size custom crib that he built himself.  Stanley spends play-time in a special converted play pen that can support his chubby, wittle thighs.  He carried out the modifications on his own.  Currently, Stanley is putting together a scale size high-chair where Miss Sandra can feed him mashed bananas and rice cereal.  Thank God the film crew skipped changing time.

Here comes the choo-choo train. Where's the tunnel? And OMG...are those Miss Sandra's breasts?

But wait, babies can’t build furniture, can they?  I mean you have to go to the Home Depot to pick out and buy the materials.  There’s measuring, sawing, drilling and screwing involved.  How can Baby Stanley do this?   Well, Stanley can put on his big boy pants and do all sorts of big-kid stuff too.  He can drive, design and build furniture and he even runs his own website, www.bedwettingabdl.com  The only thing he can’t seem to do is work at a j-o-b.  Baby Stanley and his caretaker, Miss Sandra, a former nurse, both receive Supplemental Security Income benefits in addition to support from the great state of California.  Both claim to be disabled and unable to work.  Whaaa!

Sen. Coburn has questioned why benefits are being paid to these two.  In a letter to Inspector General Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr., he asserted that Stanley and Miss Sandra’s benefit collection just might be improper.  In response via email to The Washington Times, Stanley threw a little temper tantrum…clearly he is in his “terrible twos” phase.  Stanley did the written equivalent of holding his breath until his face turns blue:

“You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food. Try it. See how serious I am. I don’t care…I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.”

Oh, Stanley.  It sounds like someone needs a nappy-wappy.

"Hush little baby, don't say a word..."

Recycled fashion: cool couture or haute mess?

9 May

Remember this dress?

It was made by and worn by costume designer Lizzy Gardiner when she won an Academy Award way back in 1994.  It was fashioned from 254 American Express gold cards.  It was pretty bad-ass, and ended up being a great marketing device for the credit card company.  And for better or worse, it also became an inspiration for people to start crapping out their own get-ups crafted out of everyday items.

Sweet date, nutty mom

Did you hear about Wisconsinite Tara Frey’s prom dress this year?  Her mother spent six years collecting Starburst candy wrappers and folding them with tweezers.  Once she had a mound of them, they were then woven into a dress, shoes, and clutch bag.  Mom even assembled a matching vest for Tara’s date.  Do you really want your daughter’s prom date to look at her like she’s a sweet piece of chewy candy???  I know Tara’s pain.  When I was in the sixth grade my mother made me a sweat suit to dress out in for PE.  She made it out of maroon terry cloth with white trim.  The fitted elastic waist pants were boot cut and the top was v-necked with an embroidered bouquet of white flowers off to the side.  It. Was. Awful.  And I had to wear it, just like Tara had to wear that candy trash dress.  At least my Mom didn’t alert the media outlets and there were no camera phones for snarky middle school girls to take pictures of me failing middle school fashion rules and the Presidential Fitness Test.

The Sexual Revolution convinced women to be creative and to, uh, think outside of the box with every thing from their societal roles to what they wear.  This sort of thinking led to the likes of Wendy O’Williams electrical tape fetish…

The movie Fried Green Tomatoes even poked fun of the notion when Kathy Bates’ character festooned herself in Saran Wrap to get her husband’s motor running.  Btw, it didn’t work.  Can you imagine why not?

The best way to preserve left overs

Slutty girls love to make non-traditional choices with their clothes.  But the ones that eschew tube tops and hot pants for belted trash bags or beer can bustiers send the message that they are more creative than other slutty girls.  And more creative slutty girls are more…creative?

Don't say you weren't warned to stay out

But it isn’t just over-sexed co-eds who love to turn old items into new fashion.  Hippies and proponents of the green movement have been making itchy sweaters out of hemp, shoes out of old tires and parachutes plus purses out of bastardized blue jeans for, like, ever.  Ugh.  I’m not even inserting a picture here.  If you’ve been to a Whole Foods or a Farmer’s Market recently you already have the visual.

And every season on Project Runway there is a challenge to make an outfit out of something like plants or house wares.  Edgy.  Nothing says take me out to a nice restaurant like a ball gown made of forks and cinnimon cans.

But hipsters, crazy moms, high school hookers and pot farmers ain’t got nothing on hobos.  When you live in a newspaper tent at an underpass, you’ve risked it all already and your fashion choices are merely child’s play.  You feel free to experiment with texture, structure and material.  The homeless folks wardrobe inventions are infinitely more wearable and useable than most crappy craft creations.  Take this guy, for instance…

Bag lady's husband

This dude is always dry when it rains.  And if he’s near by when your dog drops and unexpected deuce on the sidewalk, you can get a bag from him.   And what about this milliner…

New twist on a Box Top

his chapeau (that’s fancy French for hat) not only shields his eyes from the sun and keeps his head warm, but when that pesky sun goes down he can crawl inside of it.  Essentially, he has transformed himself into a snail.  Speaking of transforming, check out this mass-produced hobo inspired look…

This is called the Selk Suit and it is a sleeping bag suit.  It picks up where the Snuggie left off.  It has soles so you can walk behind a shopping cart all day long and not tear up your feet.  It has sleeves so your arms are mobile and your hands are free to hold a bottle of Night Train in one and a short in the other.  Genius.  This is where form follows function.  This is fashion with a purpose, not like this…

Grimm casting

2 May

I think that the call went a little something like this:

“Hello.  Is this Central Casting?”

“Yes.  How may I help you?”

“We’re putting on a wedding with a sort of fairy-tale theme going on.  We’ve got a handsome prince, a beautiful commoner becoming a princess, carriages with prancing horses, indoor trees…in other words, the dream.  We even have a step-mother.  However, we are looking to add in some evil step-sister types.  You know, something straight out a Brothers Grimm book.  Do you have anything to fit that?”

“I think that we have just the girls for the job.  I’ll send them right over.”

Ho! Ho! Hol!day

16 Dec

There is a “new” Charlie Brown Christmas special and it is awful.  Okay, truthfully, I had to tap out once I heard the wonky voices and I didn’t actually watch more than five minutes.  Only the Charlie Brown voice even sounded remotely like what I was expecting and that was just too weird for me.  I’m a purist.  But my children, who have very low standards, have watched it twice.  From what I can tell, it’s so bad that Snoopy’s brother, Spike, and Linus’ brother, ReRun, have key roles.  It’s like Cousin Oliver all over again.

It's actually for sale

But, it made me think about the original, beloved Peanuts Christmas Special.  It came on once a year and had me craving Dolly Madison pies and wanting to get MetLife the next day.  In the event that your brain fog is that thick and needs a refresher, Charlie Brown is in a funk because he feels like the real meaning of Christmas is so engulfed by commercialism that it has been lost under tinsel, social engagements and frivolous spending.  Check, check and check.

There is a whole lot of pressure associated with getting “in the spirit” of Christmas.

What does that electric bill look like?

To begin, you have to re-decorate your house inside and out, lest you be called out as being Scroogy.  This irritates me because I have everything where I want it already and the blood red/kelly green color combo. doesn’t match any of it.  I do it though.  Boxes upon boxes of themey crap get moved around between the attic and the rest of the house.  And I cuss all the way through until I am still vacuuming pine needles out of the rug fringe in April and discovering a looked-over snowflake hand towel in the powder room.  Outside, I do the bare minimum.  Different wreath, balls in a tree and some light up presents.  Oh, and the blow-up Snoopy as the Red Baron.  That’s it.  That’s where I absolutely draw the line.  There is a nameless house, not too far from mine, that actually has a forest of blow up creations staked to the yard.  It’s weird.  I may have to drop a note in their mailbox this year.  Scroogy.

Guess who!

Yesterday afternoon in the carpool line at my children’s school I was wedged between two SUVs that were masquerading as reindeer.  I was not fooled, by the way.  Why are people dressing up their cars?  WTF is up with this?

Say cheese!

Then there is the garish theme dressing that people feel obligated to participate in during any holiday season.  Christmas gets the worst of it and the Christmas Sweater has actually spawned parties devoted exclusively to it.  Because of this campy attention, many have smugly eschewed the sweaters in favor of Ho!Ho! Ho! ties, socks festooned with garlands, necklaces with blinking lights and headbands with soft antlers attached, to name a few of the available options.  I don’t care how subtle your theme-wear is.  If you aren’t a pre-school teacher, a pre-pubescent child or working at the Santa photo stall at the mall, I implore you give it up and move on.

Why can’t Christmas just be about wearing pajamas and eating breakfast casseroles all day long?  I wish it could be about watching a marathon of favorite t.v. episodes, napping (hey, you’d already be in pajamas), playing games and looking through new books without anyone hassling you.  And then at some point, maybe around, 9pm, getting dressed and going to someone else’s house to loaf around and spread cheer.  The next day,when it has passed, all you have to do is just put away the pillows, fold up all the blankets from the indoor fort, run the dishwasher and hit the sales.  What a gift!