Pundits and Forum Whackos

It’s kind of sad how days go by and this space sits waiting to take on the color of my days.  It waits quite a bit now, but not by design.  I haven’t lost interest, though.

Most of the time, I feel like one of those clowns that shows up at a kid’s birthday party who works his ass off and nobody gets it.  Maybe I should start a link train. Or present poorly written content laced with spelling errors about products and information thinking others will actually read it so I can make millions from the page views.

Trick.

I do have quite a bit to say about how obnoxious I find all the pundits backpedaling over McCain’s VP nomination.  You know, Obama doesn’t have experience, but she does.  Blah, blah, blah. I don’t have an issue with “her.”  I have an issue with the extent to which some politicians find voters stupid — women voters in particular.

That they’ll vote for McCain now because he’s got a woman on his ticket who is pro life and eats moose burgers.

And maybe some of them will.

How sad is that?

Very.

Even more sad?  The number of whackos who respond to forums and the disgusting content of their comments regarding race and gender.

And they get to vote.

A Cork for Ben Stein’s Mouth, please?

As much as I have enjoyed watching men and women athletes compete in the Olympic games over the years, and successfully pushing out the political crap that inevitably surrounds the games, I can say that I’m not sad I will no longer have the sound of the games on our television being the soundtrack of my day to day existence.  Yes I loved Dressage even though I wondered how someone could spend tens of thousands of dollars on having the perfect score composed for her horse to compete to.  And I truly enjoyed all the diving, although the gaunt bodies of some of the young Chinese women was disturbing.  We jumped from our couch potato positions and cheered when Matthew Mitcham of Australia nosed out the Chinese diver for the gold medal in the high platform competition, and grinned each time he smiled and waved at the camera.

But there’s a political campaign going on.  Still.  At last.  Finally.

And I’ve kept my eye on it all the way, which has been fairly painful considering all the talking heads I’ve had to sort through, enduring opinions and hair-splitting analysis of nothing.  Trying to know what is really happening.  Waiting.

I haven’t been one to watch the conventions in past years, because it always appears staged, and forced.  I’ve always pictured a score of producers and marketers, advisors, and aides positioning the political puppets for those who may watch and, they hope, believe that it’s all true.  They don’t think we’re very smart, and sometimes they are right.

But last night, I watched the before show.  I watched CNN and MSNBC listening for the always present biases each has, and skipped whomever spoke (Pelosi…) until Caroline Kennedy spoke to introduce her uncle.  I had to watch.

I was seven years old when I first saw Caroline Kennedy on our small black and white boxy television set at her father’s funeral.  It’s the first time I realized that the world was bigger than my family and my home, and that sad things happened to people as young as I was.  So when she speaks, I have to watch and think about the life she’s led and how it’s been shaped so differently than mine has been.

I watched Uncle Teddy, too, and listened to him, thinking more about the effort his presence there took than his words and respecting him for that alone.

But it was Michelle Obama I wanted to see and hear.  She’s smart.  She’s opinionated.  She says what others think, but won’t say because they’re more comfortable criticizing others instead of standing up for what they believe.  She won’t be someone who smiles demurely for photo ops when the new wing of a hospital opens somewhere or take on Literacy like it was something new that needed to be paid attention to.  Her self-admitted “loud mouth” will be available on a regular basis, and to me, will represent more accurately what matters to me as a woman in today’s world whether I’m a “sister” or not.  I believe her and respect women who are outspoken a hell of a lot more than those who feign disdain and then snark outrageously behind closed doors.

And for the polled 27%  who are still pining for the loss of Hilary and are holding their potential votes hostage by actually saying they’ll vote for McCain?  Give me a break.  It truly reminds me of a child who, at someone else’s party, can’t deal with not being in the spot light so dumps over the punchbowl.  Constructive if you’d like to spoil the party, and leave everyone else remembering you for the giant red stain on your party dress.  Get over yourselves and plug in your brains.  Pull your heads out of your rumps, quit whining,  and pay attention. It’s embarrassing.

To all the pundits who say this election is hinged upon independent votes?  That would be me.  But I’ve been decided for quite some time.  My vote just keeps getting more solid with time, and nothing the GOP’s spin machine comes up with will distract me.

I will, however, have to quietly pardon myself to violently empty the contents of my stomach if I EVER have to listen to the truly obnoxious Ben Stein who was on CNN last night ( I know.  Forgive me.) after Michelle Obama spoke.  It was bad enough have to watch Larry King *insert shudder here* but  Ben Stein?

What an assh*le.

This started out so nicely today, didn’t it?  Feh.

In Vogue with Armpit Flaps

Once in a while, if I’m waiting in the line at the grocery store long enough, like others, I scan the covers of magazines.  I glance past Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine, because I have those and others at home in some state of being dissected, stickered and splattered with my latest gastronomical creation.  Instead, Style, Town & Country, or Vogue coerces me to lift it from the rack after a silent argument with myself about not needing another magazine in the house, a five-dollar magazine, a magazine that has absolutely nothing to do with me.

But right before the clerk grabs the last item on the conveyor belt, I throw the glossy — and not quite as thick as the September issue will be — August issue of Vogue toward her, and avert my gaze from her glance as she correctly sizes me up as the poser I am.

I have succumbed to “The AGE(LESS) ISSUE,” it seems which is “Vogue’s Guide to Looking Amazing at Every Decade, On any budget, Through Every Season.”

And then there is always that piece on “Beauty Fixes for Your Knees & Arms.”

Knees, maybe, since I’ve always thought I had knees that resembled a cow’s.  But I’m sort of speechless over the whole idea of someone being insecure about a flap of skin on her upper arm.  Not the one in the back, or the one that sort of waggles when your arm isn’t flexed.  The one on the front.

Come on.  Go to a mirror right now and look.  Look at that place right where your chest meets your arm.  You know — in front of your armpit.  Yes, there.  Poke it.

You have a fold of skin, right?  Sure, yours may be larger or smaller than mine, but it’s there most likely.  Or, maybe not.  It seems it has little to do with weight considering the venerable Vera Wang believes that, “The armpit is nasty, nasty.  Even young girls can have this problem.”  How sad considering young girls already have so many far more important problems with measuring up to others’ standards.  But evidently, this armpit debacle is extremely disturbing to some women — or the men who live with them and who tell them halter tops shouldn’t be worn.

The MoH is far too intelligent a human to even consider suggesting that I should or shouldn’t wear a particular item, not only because he knows I’ve already scrutinized myself a thousand times over, but that my heat-seeking missles would in an instant vaporize his tongue before his brain could transmit the thought.

The article, which to be fair, is written with some self-deprecating humor (the author tells of being obsessed about one part of her body or another — her fat thighs, nasolabial folds, elbows, but just wasn’t ready for the armpit), but I don’t think it’s all that funny.  I’m stuck on the concept of the armpit flap and how women can’t see what is lovely about their bodies, and unique.  Individual.

I try to understand that as much as I search for the perfect light cast on an artistically mussed salad or perfectly shaped peach,  some women obsess about armpit folds.  They do exercises for their armpit folds, and search for designers whose style works to hide that apparently unsightly flap of skin.  They wonder whether there is a procedure or treatment to rid themselves of its offensive presence.

Who.  Knew?

I’m still looking at my arm pits and wondering — not about my armpits, but about women who routinely have something nipped and waxed, sanded and plucked, injected or tucked– and pay handsomely for it.

Supposedly, it’s all the rage to make small adjustments along the way so no one notices.

Somehow, I can’t take any of it seriously.  Another article illustrates how women should dress in each decade of their lives is unrealistic, that is unless I want to spend a fortune to look great on my leg of carpool duty, or when I pop the garage door open to roll in the trash cans.  Surely my neighbors would talk if I appeared to be too fashionable on these quotidian occasions.

Or would they simply not notice, distracted by my armpit flap and wanting desperately to recommend me to their plastic surgeon?

Top Ten Wordless Wednesday Words

My top ten words for this Nearly Wordless Wednesday — not to be confused with Wordless Wednesday since I’m incapable of being wordless on any day of the week — are (you know, in case you were wondering, and waiting, and thinking perhaps that you, too, might feel some ridiculous remote affinity to me):

  1. mundane – which is rude since this is not Monday, which is usually mundane, but wasn’t this week.  Mundane even sounds mundane.
  2. lackluster – like an old piece of silver you might find in a box of baubles saved for reasons you’ve forgotten but which remind you of when you saved them.  It must have been important because they were shiny once upon a time, like a lot of things.
  3. preoccupied — but not “in a brown study” as some nutjobs might be wont to describe it — as in, “She was preoccupied with the concept of nothingness and its effect on boredom during the Dog Days of Summer, which were missed, and so now are being rewound and reviewed in case she missed anything.”
  4. morose — which sort of reminds me of moron or maroon, which makes me think of Bugs Bunny who is never morose.
  5. doldrums — which is far more interesting than “blah” since it actually sounds like it exists somewhere physically, as a suburb might, or a shopping mall, which means you might be able to go there and find something interesting, unless its residents were blah, and whom you’d not want to spend time with since you already find your own self, well, blah.
  6. humdrum — like sitting on a park bench staring at nothing and finding it interesting since it passes the time, but is not in anyway something you could do while in the doldrums since “being humdrum in the doldrums” would attract the attention of others such as shadow puppets.
  7. quotidian — which is nothing like it sounds, unless you’ve been forced to take a Latin class by your parents who swear it will make you a better writer  (Um, right.) because you’d know that quotidian has to do with repetitive daily actions, which can be mundane, and having nothing to do with something unexpected or surprising, as in winning the Lotto, which would never be quotidian.
  8. pedestrian — which is, when you think of it, only a person walking, but can also be lacking inspiration.  So picture a humdrum person in the doldrums walking across the same street to get to the same bus stop to go to the same job to earn the same paycheck to pay the same bills at the same desk at the same time every month.  You know, a pedestrian pedestrian.
  9. ho-hum — as in John McCain.  As in plain baloney on Wonder Bread.  As in this post.
  10. meh — as in, “I feel like pwning some noobs since it would be way more interesting than sitting here and trying to imitate the writing style of Dave Eggers in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.  Wait.  Maybe it’s A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius — which is anything but meh.  Like me.

p.s. Gratuitous Wordless Wednesday Photo courtest of my mother who bought this card for my middle son’s recent birthday.

Does My Rear Look Big Like This?

The Yackstar has to be nearly twelve.  I should know, but I don’t, and each time I wonder, I have to count.  That wouldn’t be easy either, but the day I use is the one I met with the RTR’s principal.  He was going to be in the first grade, and I was going to enroll him in our neighborhood school.  It was April Fool’s Day and we’d just had to put our dear old cat Holis down.

You don’t forget things like that.

Her name isn’t really the Yackstar.  It’s Precious, but you’d never know that because in much the same way that our dog’s name changes, hers does as well.  But I only really called her the Yackstar when I was referring to her and her proclivity for yacking on the rug near the laundry room, which is now beyond all possible methods of repair.

Right now, I call her Fresh Nuts.  Yes, I know she’s a female, and no, she’s not crazy.  It’s more of a deriviative:  Precious, Freshness, Fresh Nuts.

Get it?

Probably not, but I think it’s hilarious.

But when she’s finally decided to venture outside in what seems like weeks, and then decides to sneak into the cranky neighbor’s yard, and then yeowl loudly about not being able to figure out how to get back into our patio, I don’t think it’s hilarious at all.

There’s no way I’m hissing, “Here  Fresh Nuts!  Here, kittakittakitta.  Heeeeeeeerrrrrrreeeeeee Fresh Nuts!”  No.  I have to use her proper name so  when the cranky neighbor slams not one, but two of his windows at 11:30pm even though I’m barely making a sound, he won’t think I’m being derogatory.

She slept outside all night, and when I hissed over at her the next morning, she ran from the bushes sporting spider webs and dried leaves, yeowling to get through the fence.  Even the guaranteed to get her complete and undivided attention sound of a catfood can being tantilizingly opened and the droolworthy aroma of Friskies Turkey & cheese Dinner In Gravy waved under her nose couldn’t inspire her to remember how to squeeze through the fence.

So I left her there.

Her appetite must have encouraged her to remember.
Fresh Nuts

Yeah? So — what of it?

Last week, one of the bloggers I’ve come across in foodland wrote a post inquiring about what readers like or don’t like in a blog.  Although I always enjoy this particular person’s posts because she’s extremely smart, very opinionated, and an excellent writer, they’re unusual in that they aren’t always about recipes and food porn shots.

No, not THAT kind of food porn.  This kind.

She attracts tons of comments, also unusual for much of foodland. No, not the sheer quantity, which is quite impressive, but the quality. Nearly every commenter has something substantive to say about whatever she has written.

I know I’ve been hooked more than once to chime in — whether it’s in response to what she has written, or to what one of the commentators has mentioned.   And although I’ve taken liberties before with her generous space (she allows 3000 character comments…whoa!) to respond in a near post, I’ve waited on this one, just to see if the slow burn that I developed reading that day would dissipate.

Nope.

Maybe it’s because everyone has an opinion and that’s annoying.  No, that wouldn’t work since I’m the leader of the pack.

Or, it could be that a blog is such a personal thing as compared to a magazine, or a newspaper, and, well, it’s free. So as much as we all wonder at times who reads our blathering and who doesn’t (or why), it isn’t like we’ll go out of business and stop the presses if no one reads.  We just hobble pathetically along, right?  Uh-huh.  Whatever.

I think my favorite comment had to do with “lengthy blog posts” which is probably why I’m still simmering.

When have I NOT done a lengthy post? Excuse the hell out of me, but Hell would freeze over first.  I found it quite ironic, since the person making the comment was doing so on a blog that publishes lengthy posts. Excellent posts, mind you, but lengthy.  Glad I’m in such good company.   In much the same way that there are political cartoonists who turn huge issues into a few words and an image, some choose to write, far too many talk whether anyone is listening or not, and some joke.  I’d rather not read blogs that only publish one short silly post after another.  What’s the point?  They didn’t invest any kind of thought, so why should I?  *Tsk, tsk.  Cranky, aren’t we?*

A few comments had to do with changing things on the blog. They were concerned that something would change.

News Flash.  Things Change.  You know, like the planet?  Or haven’t you noticed?  Half the fun of having a blog is to CHANGE things.  What?  It’s difficult to read the words and the thinking behind the words if the font changes?  Or the header?  Or the widgets…wait, I need to fan myself…

Some of the commenters groused about music players on blogs — you know, where you open a blog and the author has a favorite piece playing?

I’m thinking that it’s not TOO CHALLENGING to lower the volume if you choose not to listen.  But perhaps for those individuals, finding the volume button is.

Even better?  Some mentioned that since they read blogs while at work, the players were on loud and that others might hear.

WAIT.  Let me get this straight.  A person is reading blogs at work instead of working, but she wants YOU to not have a music player on your blog so HER coworkers can’t hear it...  Okay, the line forms to the left for egotistical maniacs.  Seriously.

Another chimer-inner and subsequent dittoers voiced their complaints about blogs and awards. That they’re tiresome.  That they know the only reason people give out awards is to get credit for links.

Actually, at least from my speck of perspective, when I pass on an award that someone has given me, it’s because I believe that person deserves it.  Go back to the point about investing time in reading blogs.  When you do that, you can actually say thanks to someone else, and recognize that effort in a meaningful way.  Oh, but wait.  That would be a long, involved post, wouldn’t it?  And you’d actually have to be able to say why you enjoyed someone’s blog for a reason other than it’s short. But what do I know?

This one’s the doozie.  Some mentioned that the only time people comment on their blog is after they’ve posted, and only because they want that individual to come comment on theirs.

Huh?  You’ve got to be kidding.  And then some people defended themselves over this crap, like they actually needed to dignify it with any kind of response other than bull*hit.  So let’s see.  I spend my time writing which is no small investment of time, and then my reward is to visit those I enjoy reading AND look around for new ones, and that’s categorized as fishing for comments?  Bear in mind this is BEFORE I do my housework for gawdsakes. What if I read other’s blogs first?  Wait.  I do my email first, and that actually takes a while.  So if I read blogs first, and commented — which I almost always take the time to do — I’d never get around to posting.  Who are these people and why are they so whiney?

Last, but not least.  Advertisements. I bet you knew this was coming?  Several people mentioned the ads and how annoying they are.

Fine.  Ever looked at a magazine?  Newspaper?  Watch television?  I know.  I don’t like commercials, either, which is why TiVo exists, or why I wait to go to the bathroom on the commercials — you know, to piss off the advertisers.  Except for Target.  I love their ads.  Where was I?  Oh yes, advertisements on blogs.  Guess what?  Don’t pay attention to them then.  It’s really not that difficult.  Sure, if a site has ten pop-ups then it’s a problem, but you should have figured out how to block those a long time ago.  Tune into this Bat Channel, yanno?  As for the sites that run lots of those square tech ads?  Hell.  Click on them once in a while.  They actually lead to sites that have good information if that’s what you’re looking for.  It’s not like some boogie man will pop out and bite your head off.  But now that I’m thinking of it, that’s not a bad idea.  At least it would spare us the inane comments.

And while I’m on the subject…my ads pay for my hosting service.  Would you bend over and pick up that check if it blew up against your shoe?  Now it would be swell if they paid for all the time I spent writing and managing, cooking, shooting, and editing.  But it doesn’t.  The MoH pays for that, and I’m sure he’s wishing I’d get off my butt and actually write something that involved an advance and some sales.

But he’s a very patient man.

So, what’s your take on all of this hooplah?  I’m being overly sensitive, right?  I should just shut my mouth and get back to work?

Pass you a slice of that cake?

Hell, I’m relieved none of them said they were sick of people who plastered stoopid photos of themselves all over their blogs all the time.

Heh.

Babysitting 101? Not.

Your husband asks you if it’s okay that a nephew comes to stay for a few hours one night while his family is out on the town.  You say, “of course,” because how difficult is it to watch a 5-year-old?  After all, you’ve raised three boys of your own, and taught countless children.  Right?

You:

  • are fairly certain you still have some of the trillions of Legos your boys collected and that you begged the two older ones to take away, to sell on eBay, or maybe build a shrine to their mother with — somewhere.
  • feel more than a little anxiety when you can’t find the Legos, but resourcefully drag the little pool table that no one ever played with from the dark fuzzy region under the RTR’s old bunk bed so your nephew will have something to play with.
  • tell the RTR that since his older brothers entertained him endlessly when he was growing up that he needed to entertain his little cousin and that this would be called Paying it Forward.
  • order pizza because that makes everybody happy no matter what
  • finally remember that the box of Legos you saved are shoved in the garage with the Christmas decorations — somewhere
  • ask your nephew if he wants to play with the Legos or go to the pool with the MoH who’s planning on doing some laps
  • should remember that five-year-olds don’t always completely understand the concept of a choice
  • smile when you see that the RTR has gotten out the army men and know that should keep them busy for about 10 minutes
  • How to Babysit a Younger Cousin

  • tell the little guy after he says that now he wants to swim, that Uncle MoH has already gone, and should be back any minute now
  • feel relief when the pizza arrives
  • smile when he quietly asks where the trash is, then sticks his head in the can and barfs up more than you’ve ever seen a little boy barf — and you’ve seen a lot of barf.
  • feel his cool forehead, wipe his little face and let him rinse his mouth, but think, “Dang.  He must do this a lot.  He’s not even upset.”
  • watch him run back up the stairs to play like nothing happened.
  • see him come back into the kitchen and barf again, then ask him what he had for lunch, hoping nobody else in his family was barfing since that would sort of spoil their evening at the theater.
  • point to the clock explaining where the big hand needs to be for his mother and father to come get him.
  • carry your Mac into the livingroom, placing it on the floor so he can watch Star Wars with the RTR and get comfy with a blanket.
  • hope he nods off even though he doesn’t look like he’s going to.
  • watch him barf again even though there’s not much left to barf.
  • wonder what his parents are going to think we did to him when they get back.
  • know you’ll probably never be asked to babysit your nephew again.
  • decide babysitting is different than riding a bike or jumping rope.

Who knew?
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