Monday, April 30, 2007
Cutz and Permz and Bratz and Whorz and Little Lambz Eat IvyDear Business World:
If your business's name ends in an "s," please do not spell it with a "z" instead. It is not cute, it is not cool, and while it does grab my attention, it doesn't do so in the way you think it does. I do not buy "toyz." I hate restrooms that say "Girlz" and "Boyz." And even if those slutty "Bratz" dolls were cute and didn't cost a million dollars apiece and didn't look like nickel hookers and had real feet, I wouldn't buy one, because someone in your marketing department thought "Bratz" was a cute way to spell a word that actually means "gross disgusting child." Most people get those for free, with just a little lax parenting; only a fool would buy one with hard-earned dollarz.
The same goes for your business's goodz or servicez.
Every day, I have to drive past a hairstyling salon, and while it's bad enough that some of them now make their customers sit in a picture window and have themselves "done" with the whole world watching, their amateurish little hand-lettered signz are all misspelled and stupid-looking and I just can't stand it. All their window-paint wordz are misspelled, too. I do not trust anyone in there to touch me.
Oh, perky little salon owner: I would never patronize your salon for two reasonz: you advertise "cutz" and "permz" at low, low pricez, and this offendz me, and even though you are on one of the busiest cornerz in this town, you make your customerz sit right smack up against the glass wall in full panoramic view of the entire town. If I'm going to have my hair cut, I want to be able to relax and sit any old way, in privacy and seclusion, and not worry about keeping my kneez together every moment, and a person just can't do that if a person is sitting in a goldfish bowl in full sight of every single person in this town at any given moment, on a streetcorner with a war-and-peace-length stoplight, behind-glass-yet-fully-public, being required to strike posez not unlike those of the whorz leaning against the lamppostz just on the other size of the glass wallz. Hey, I told you it waz a busy corner.
It's not just you, either, Perky. Lotz of the hair salonz are making their customerz sit where the entire mall or sidewalk can see them. Whose bright idea was that, anyway? I hate you.
Besides, if you've ever seen someone getting his/her hair 'done,' you would know that it'z not a pretty sight. It doesn't lure customerz into your salon. It does provide a gathering place for old men; there's almost always a gaggle of them gathered outside the glass, watching. Was that your goal? You want more 89-year-old male customerz?
Watching. . . . . see, that creepz me out entirely. I do not wish to be watched while I'm being shampooed and blow-dried and trimmed. I even hate the waiting area full of little kidz, who stare and stare and stare. It's as creepy as being in the hospital emergency room, waiting, while strangerz and ill-mannered little kids walk up and down the hall and look in and stare every time they pass by.
That's why I cut my own hair with the manicure scissorz. At this stage of the game, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference, anyway. I always do it in the bathroom with the shades drawn and the door locked.
I associate the glass wallz and the public viewingz with the letter "z."
Such business anticz were thought up by foolz.
Oh, and if you're still patronizing these placez, count your change carefully. People who are careless and/or cutesy with their spelling are usually careless in other aspectz of the business, too.
Mixmania Playlist TimeIt's time for the unveiling of the Mixmania playlists, so here's mine. Um, I might have gotten a little carried away with the theme; it was "Time," and I might have spent too much 'time' on mine. Or, more than likely, I just didn't have 'time' to pare it down to a reasonable length.
Be that as it may, here's my playlist. Theme: "Time."
- One More Minute – Authority Zero
- In The Time It Takes – Beth Nielson Chapman
- And So It Goes – Moxy Fruvous (. . . and so will you soon. . . .)
- King of
– Moxy Fruvous (Once I was. . .) Spain
- Happy Days – TV theme song
- Someday – Celtic Woman
- Sweet By and By – Zonn Andrea, from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Tribute
- The Longest Time – Billy Joel
- Wasting Time – Collective Soul
- I Will Wait For You – John Williams (. . . if it takes forever. . . .)
- Time (Clock of the Heart) – Culture Club
- When I Am King – Great Big Sea
- No More – Into The Woods, OBC
- Teenager – Moxy Fruvous (what a traumatic time. . . .)
- Closing Time – Leonard Cohen
- One More Day – Les Miserables, Complete International Cast
- All Turns To Yesterday – Medieval Babes
- Today’s The Day – Moxy Fruvous
- We’ve Got Tonight – Bob Seager
- Endlessly – Muse
- The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
- One Fine Day (Official Itv World Cup 2002 Theme ) – Opera Babes
- One Of These Things First – Nick Drake
- Waiting In Vain – Annie Lennox
- Just One Time – Chet Atkins & Mark Knopfler
- Time Has Told Me – Nick Drake
- I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing – Aereosmith and cast of Armageddon (I could stay lost in this moment forever. . . .)
- 1979 – Smashing Pumpkins
- At The End of the Day – Les Miserables, Complete International Cast
- Every Day I Write The Book – Elvis Costello
- Boo Time – Moxy Fruvous
- Time Is Running Out – Muse
- Since You’ve Been Gone – Weird Al
- At Last – Tilly Cryar
- Who Knows Where The Time Goes – Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
- Never On A Sunday – Nana Mouskouri
- Always Forever Now – U2
- Never Is A Promise – Fiona Apple
- When I’m Gone – 3 Doors Down
- Golden Age – Beck
- I Will Always Love You – Adam Sandler
- Dinner At Eight – Rufus Wainwright
- Soon Love Soon –
- You Had Time – Ani DiFranco
- Times To Remember – Billy Joel
- Eternal Flame – Bangles
- 1985 – Bowling for Soup
- Another Lonely Day – Ben Harper
- It’s Too Late – Carole King
- Clocks – String Quartet Tribute to Coldplay
- Cryin’ Time – Buck Owens
- Turn Turn Turn (To Everything There Is A Season) – Byrds
- Morning Has Broken – Cat Stevens
- Hey Tonight – Credence
- Saturday Night –
Rollers Bay City
- Sweet September Morning – Buffy Sainte-Marie
- Dance Me To The End Of Love – Kate Gibson
- Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – Carole King & James Taylor
- Time To Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli
- Out Of Time – Blur
- Time – Chantal Kreviazuk
- Once Upon A December – Deana Carter
- Always – Weezer
- Summer Nights – John Travolta & Olivia
- Stay This Way Forever – Guster
- Longer – Dan Fogelberg
- Easy Tonight – Five For Fighting
- Only Time – Enya
- Just For Today – George Harrison
- Forever Gone, Forever You – Evanescence
- It Was A Very Good Year – Frank Sinatra
- Time Of Your Life – Green Day
- Yesterday When I Was Young – Glen Campbell
- Endless Night – Jason Raize (from The Lion King, OBC)
- Summertime Blues – George Thorogood
- It’s Too Late – Evermore
- At Last – Etta James
- Once In A Lifetime – Talking Heads
- Need You Tonight – INXS
- Fame – Irene Cara (. . . I wanna live forever. . . .)
- Midnight Special – Johnny Rivers
- But For Now – Jamie Cullum
- Next Year – Foo Fighters
- Time Travel – from Donnie Darko
- Tonight, Not Again – Jason Mraz
- Time After Time – Eva Cassidy
- Just Tonight – Jimmy Eat World
- What A Difference A Day Makes – Jamie Cullum
- Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins
- Suddenly Last Summer – Motels
- Time In A Bottle – Jim Croce
- Tonight She Comes – Cars
- Funeral Blues – John Hannah (I thought that love would last forever. . . .)
- Try To Remember – Jerry Orbach (This song contains all kinds of time, and the coolest rhyme scheme EVER.)
- Tomorrow – Death Cab For Cutie
- Midnight Blue – Louise Tucker
- Close Your Eyes Forever – Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne
- How Long Will This Go On – Lester Norton
- All My Life – Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville
- Holding Back The Years – Simply Red
- Once Upon A Time – Jay McShann
- Monday Monday – Mamas and Papas
- Lonely Tonight – Matt Wuertz
- Better Times Are Coming – Kate & Anna McGarrigle & Rufus Wainwright
- Angel of the Morning – Merilee Rush
- Summertime – Janis Joplin
- Hanging By A Moment – Lifehouse
- Across The Universe of Time – Hayley Westenra
- Gone At Last – Paul Simon & Phoebe Snow
- 3 A.M. – Matchbox 20 (acoustic version)
- Every Time You Go Away – Paul Young
- Last Night of the World – Michael Ball
- If Tomorrow Never Comes – Ronan Keating
- Tuesday’s Gone – Lynard Skynard
- Walkin’ After Midnight – Patsy Cline
- Anthem For A New Tomorrow – Screeching Weasel
- Tomorrow – Silverchair
- Forever And For Always – Shania Twain
- As Time Goes By – Louis Armstrong
- Early One Morning – Nana Mouskouri
- Time Is On My Side – Rolling Stones
- Love Isn’t Always On Time – Toto
- Too Much Time On My Hands –
- Monday – Wilco
- October Nights – Yellowcard
- Long Time Between Trains – Susan Werner
- Last Night – Strokes
- Until It’s Time For You To Go – Vicki Carr
- Afternoon Delight – Starland Vocal Band
- Yesterday When I Was Young – Roy Clark
- Midnight At The Oasis – Renee Olstead
- If Came The Hour –
- When All The Stars Were Falling – Lisa Loeb
- Somewhere Out There – Our Lady Peace (Last time I talked to you. . . .)
- Every Other Time – LFO
- Tonight And The Rest Of My Life – Nina Gordon
- Someday Soon – Judy Collins
- Much Too Late – Julian Lennon
- Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
- Night and Day – John Barrowman & Kevin Kline
- In The Still of the Night – Ashley Judd & Kevin Kline
- The Time Warp – Richard O’Brien and cast
- Remember – Harry Nilsson (Long ago. . . .)
Friday, April 27, 2007
Restaurants That Remove The Jukebox and the Customers Who Come Back Anyway But Kind Of Hate Them For ItBe sure you click over to The Education Wonks and check out the latest Carnival of Education. Remember, those who don't keep up, have no call to whine about anything.
The actual "teaching" part of the semester is over, and next week I will be giving finals. When Hub gets home from school today, we're going up to the main campus wherein reside many and diverse high-tech Xerox machines that duplicate and sort and staple all by themselves. The squirrels that run those machines and the little elves who sit inside and staple packets are run pretty ragged this time of year. That's my explanation for it, anyway. It's all magic to me.
And then we're going to have dinner at the Cafe Pizzeria, on Kirkwood. It's Bloomington's oldest pizza parlor. Nothing inside has changed (except for the removal of their gigantic glowing jukebox, for which I will never forgive the management) (and the prices) since at least the seventies and probably, well, EVER, and when we sit inside and look at the pictures and the murals, it's easy to feel like an undergrad again. Until we pass a mirror or window, that is. Sigh.
Or when we bring the kids and realize that they are now older than we were when we first sat in the Pizzeria watching the world go by on Kirkwood and feeling that the world was our oyster and all we had to do was dig a little for the pearl.
So, yeah, next week is finals week, and then I will have a few days off, and then I'm flying west to visit my brother and his family, (thank you, Mom) and then summer school will start.
In other words, I will be far too busy to do much housework or cleaning.
Speaking of jukeboxes, why are almost all of the restaurants removing theirs? That dreadful piped-in music from those canned radio stations drives me nuts; I hate that stuff! I suppose it's cheaper for the restaurant, and without the jukebox they've got room for another table, but the tradeoff isn't worth it for me.
Besides, the canned radio music is almost always Oldies. I get enough of that just by looking in the mirror. I want something different, for a change. Besides, with a jukebox, you can almost always tell what kind of crowd you've got by the music they choose.
But oh well. Remove those huge neon music machines and stick another table in there. Buy a subscription to a radio station's canned music; heck, they don't even have live dj's most of the time, just a guy answering the phone, pretending to take requests, and hitting the 'commercial' button on cue. One more impersonal thing in our lives.
The Pizzeria's jukebox was an awesome one, too.
We'll be there around five thirty, Pizzeria.
With a little luck, their canned radio station will have begun playing some music from at least the eighties by the time we get there. I'm not holding my breath, though; most of the time, when we hit any restaurant, we get there just in time for the Obscure Sixties Motown and/or "Leader of the Pack" Hour. I'm always up for some good "Big Chill" Motown and a lot of those sixties "I'm in love with a bad boy/girl and my parents hate him but then he got killed" songs, but holy canoli, some of those songs the canned stations put out are so obscure and so terrible that it's easy to realize just why they're obscure! We are both pretty knowledgeable about music, but much of the time, in a restaurant, we will just look at each other and say, "Have you EVER heard that song in your life?" and the answer is almost always, "No."
Does anybody else out there consider a restaurant's choice of background music to be important? By piping in the canned music, a restaurant tells me that it really doesn't care what I have to listen to as long as it's easy and cheap for them.
Other than that, though, the Cafe Pizzeria is great. It's Hub's favorite pizza in all the world.
Grecco's is mine, but Pizzeria is next.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Statistics 101I'm going to share with you the results of the combined statistics, opinions, quotations, rants, and raves of two of my classes of adult students. Harken ye thereof. . . .
Topic: "The Perfect Spouse/Partner"
Each of 56 students (ages 18-64) (average age: 36) (31 women, 25 men) made a list of the top 12 attributes of the perfect spouse/partner. Here are the results, averaged, and ranked in order of importance.
1. Faithful (#1 on all lists but one)
4. Kind/Helpful (tie)
5. Sense of humor
6. Low maintenance
7. Willing to work/Help support family
8. No drugs or drunks
9. Independent/not "needy"
10. Does his/her fair share
11. Sexual energy (this was near the bottom of everybody's list) (this was #1 for the student who was the exception to "faithful.")
12. Loves me, and shows/proves it by being most of the above
Now, for Part 2, which was: "What would you change about your own spouse/partner?"
1. His/her trust levels
2. He/she needs to get a job
3. Do your fair share around the house
4. Turn off the damn TV
5. Pay attention to your kids
6. His/her sex drive
7. Get off my back
8. Get a life
9. His/her weight
10. Show some appreciation
11. Show some genuine affection
12. Tell the truth
Now, here's the really interesting part: the comments. They were allowed to find cited statements, or put things in their own words.
These are in no particular order. I am just copying them from the notecards.
1. It is a terrible thing not to become an adult when one ceases to be a child. (good quote)
2. A person who is nice to you, and rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (I've used that one before.)
3. One-celled organisms and bottom feeders and termites can breed. That doesn't make them parents. You have to stick around afterwards to be a parent.
4. Real adults don't follow their hormones out the door. Butt-sniffing four-legged animals who also eat their own vomit do that. Ever see a dog in heat? That's my wife.
5. Adults who use their second-best manners at home don't really have any manners.
6. Real men/women don't leave. They stick around and finish what they started.
7. He was so suspicious of me, he taped all my phone conversations. And I've never done a THING - he's the one who committed adultery!
8. Can't she understand that sometimes I just need to get out of this house?
9. My husband thinks I went back to school to meet other men.
10. My dad left us when I was nine. He never called or sent a card or a dime or anything. For eleven years, there was nothing from him. Mom did it all alone. Then I guess he wanted to meet some of my friends and try his retarded old-man horndog wiles on them, so he called me and pretended he was sorry and wanted me to meet him at Wendy's. I got as far as the door, and I saw him trying to flirt with my friend and the look on his face made me sick. She was creeped out and scared and then she saw me and we both ran out. He'll never change, and I don't want a dad who thinks he's a young stud. That's just disgusting.
11. My best friend's dad stuck around and did his job. Everybody envies my best friend. I want to be like his dad, not mine.
12. My friend's mom has three kids, all with different fathers, and now she's moved in with my uncle, who abandoned his two kids for her bastards.
13. Why buy the cow if the milk is free? (oldie but goodie)
14. If she left him for you, she'll leave you for me. Don't get too comfy there, yet.
15. I left a wife who loved me and children who needed me, because I was an immature bastard who just had to have one more fling, every month or so. One more. Just one more. Well, I had it, and it was fantastic. Then she met an immature bastard with money and it was over. I would give anything if I'd grown up a little sooner and learned to laugh at whores, not move in with them.
16. A women who will "let," will "sublet."
17. A man with a roving eye isn't really a man.
18. My ex-husband couldn't leave the mall without buying something. Usually, she charged by the hour. He came home from a shopping spree one afternoon with a deep scratch on his back. He couldn't see it and I didn't tell him. It got infected and left a scar shaped like the initials "C.F." That was how I knew he'd slept with my sister.
19. My wife is insatiable to the point that it's no longer sexy. She's like a lab rat or a barnyard animal. Hell, I can't even read the paper!
20. He got mad one night and told our kids that if it wasn't for them, he'd be free and happy. They haven't been the same since that night.
21. Any time our son reminds my wife of me, she makes fun of him and tells him why.
22. If God had known what my husband was going to do with that penis, He would never have let him have one.
23. My husband wanted kids to prove to the world that he was indeed a man. Now that he's got them, he's done. I'm the one who takes care of them.
24. All my husband ever does is drink beer, smoke grass, and yell at athletes on tv. Oh, and at me and the kids.
25. When I get home from work, I get busy around the house. When Bob gets home, he goes straight to his big chair and barks at the rest of us to bring him things. One of these days, I'm going to bring him something he won't like a bit.
26. My mom had an affair with my 5th grade teacher and I still hate her for it. She told me her private life was none of my business but when every kid in your school knows your mom is fucking your teacher, it WAS my business, dammit. I could not WAIT to move out of her house. God, I hate her so much for not caring enough about me to behave herself.
27. Mom was 14 when she had me. If she'd really loved me, she would have let adults adopt me instead of keeping me so she could get welfare and guvment cheese which she gave to her parade of men.
28. Doesn't he realize that I'd love to be "ME," too? The only difference between us is that I keep my promises and he doesn't even remember his.
29. My wife weighs at least 250 pounds now. I'm sorry, but I just can't look any more. I'd like to knock those M&M's out of her hands but she'd probably kill me for them.
30. He laughs at me when I ask him not to go out of an evening.
31. His last whore used really good perfume. Maybe I should call her and ask her what kind it is. She lives across the street, and I was babysitting her kids when she was screwing Larry. His clothes reeked of it, and I recognized it when she stopped by Monday night.
32. Does he really think I don't know? Hell, it's all over town.
33. I'm a nice guy, really. I work hard and I love my kids and I love Cheryl. Why isn't that enough? Now she says she's in love with our pastor and she's taking the kids with her. And he had the gall to ask the church to pray for ME last Sunday!
34. I don't care what she says - if she doesn't get a job, we're going to lose this house. We can't afford a SAHM.
35. He/she never laughs.
36. He/she laughs at everything.
37. You know how they get goats and mules to move by dangling a carrot on a stick in front of them? Well, then, you've met my husband. Just substitute a whore for the carrot.
38. A little porn never hurt anybody. She needs to loosen up.
39. If he would just wait 'till the children are out of the house, I'd love to watch a little porn.
40. I'd love to be more affectionate, but everything turns into sex. If I touch his hand, he slides my hand to his crotch. If I lean on him, he starts groping. He can't put his arm around me without going for my breast. I'd like actual sex a lot more if the little things were allowed to stay little until such time. . . .
41. My family thinks my husband is such a great husband and father, but the truth is, he's had one affair after another, and one of his women is in this class. Did you really think he would leave me for you, Dearie? He never will, because the money is mine. But he makes my life miserable every day, even while I can't help loving him.
42. Sometimes when I look at my kids, all I can see is expense, problems, annoyances, and three reasons why I can't do anything I really want to do. Sometimes I wish they weren't mine but hell, all three of them look exactly like me. They're great kids, really. But I am so jailed by their existence.
43. Mom walked out the door after Dad had his last affair. We still don't know where she is. It's been 8 years. I still want her to come back and save the younger kids from Dad's succession of cheap tramps. Please, Mom?
44. I know the real reason my wife wants to stay home with the kids. Who does she think she's kidding? I hate having the neighbors feel sorry for me.
45. Believe me, Peter Pan makes a really lousy husband.
46. My wife started cheating on me before our baby was even crawling. I'm a nice guy, why would she do that? And her current whoremonger has a nice wife, too. Maybe she'd be interested in meeting me after I throw Donna out for good next time.
47. We've been married for fifteen years and has he ever told the truth to me, even once? I don't think he even knows how.
48. The bank foreclosed on our house because while I thought he was paying the bills, he was playing poker online and sending flowers to women he'd met online. Several mortgage payments worth of bimbo flowers.
49. Dear Danny, those aren't love handles any more. I neither love them nor can I handle them.
50. He was outraged when I was laid off. At first I thought he was sympathizing with me but then I realized that with me at home, he can't woo his women.
There were just as many positive comments, but I will save those for another post.
You know, these students are really nice people. They're sensitive and kind and they don't deserve to be treated as they've been treated. I guess if they were serial skank mamas and daddies, they wouldn't be so devasted at these betrayals, but the truth is, they loved their spouses/partners and the selfish lack of consideration was traumatic.
I'm exhausted from caring so hard about these people's hearts.
After class, they didn't want to go home; they wanted to finish compiling the stats. So we did. And here they are.
May we all learn a lesson or two from them.
Mamacita, Scheiss Weekly
Lucky PeopleYesterday was one of those genuinely thrilling days, for I met one of my precious internet friends in person! The beauteous Kim, of Catawampus fame, honored me with her presence. You heard it right here, folks: Kim Voynar, film critic, mother-of-many-beautiful-children, wife of the Zero Boss himself, came to my house.
And, of course, the house was a mess. I'm really embarrassed about that, especially when I realized that the big bathroom floor had dirty underwear on it. Sorry about that, Kim.
Almost as soon as we got here we, of course, went online to see who was there so
And we ate some Mexican food and talked some more. And then we talked a little more.
Let me tell you something, internets. What we've got here is an incredible woman who knows what love really is. Her husband and children are fortunate indeed to have her. Her visit was an honor and a hoot. She's fantastic. FANTASTIC. Sincere and pithy and loving and honest and, well, fantastic. Lucky Jay. Lucky kids. Lucky me.
Then she had to go back to her film festival and be all famous and glam and stuff again. You know, hang out with Spielberg and Ebert and Ralph Fiennes and Emma Thompson and Shrek and C3PO and Colin Firth and people like
And that sweet Mexican waiter who fell in love with Kim and couldn't stop pointing to and talking about her gorgeous huge eyes? He was sorta cute himself.
Come back soon, Kim. Bring Jay and the kids, and your sweet MIL who is another of my beloved internet friends. Plan to stay a while.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Condiment, Condominium, Condo, Condescend, Condoleeza. . . .Knowledge is power. Because you just never know when you'll need to know something.
These can save your life, in more ways than one.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
You No Foola Me. There Ain't No Sanity Clause.Has anybody else noticed that my blog's name seems to be missing from the top of the page? I do not have sufficient smarts to be able to tinker intelligently with my template, so I can't fix it. I don't know where it is. I hope I didn't offend it and make it run away, but really, how would I offend something named 'scheiss?'
In case anyone was wondering, though, you're reading "Scheiss Weekly." It's my blog. It's three years old this month. Please, have a piece of chocolate cake in its honor. Have two.
I've been blogging for three years. Wow. Some days, it seems as though I've only just started, and other times, MOST times, in fact, it's hard to remember life without blogging. It's become an extension of me.
Have you ever wondered how many people have saved their own sanity by 'letting it all out' in a blog, instead of taking it all out on a person? I know of one.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
When Art and Music CollideOh holy scheisse on a popsicle stick. . . . this is too glorious for words. At least, not any words that I know.
Now go to YouTube and watch/listen to all the others. They're all wonderful. I picked this one at random.
The "Queen's We" Loves Mushrooms
It's that time again. Actually, it was that time a few weeks ago, too, but then we had that intense, weeks-long freeze, and then the time passed, but actually THAT time was too early anyway, and now it's really time.
My husband still speaks wistfully of the day he and the kids visited his step-grandmother Margaret (she whom John Dillinger once tried to carjack. . . .) and she shared with them her unbelievable and, naturally, SECRET, morel mushroom patch.
Remember now, Hoosiers do not share this kind of secret with ANYBODY. People who will show a stranger their genital surgery scars will not share a morel mushroom location with their own mothers. Margaret took Hub and the kids across her fields and invited them to help themselves to the mushrooms.
They were everywhere. It was like a planted crop. You couldn't take a step without stepping on morel mushrooms. They were all afraid to move, because around these parts, folks, you just don't STEP on morel mushrooms if you can help it at all. They're too valuable!!
How valuable are they? Well, if you can bear to part with yours, you can easily sell them for fifty bucks a pound. But it's rare to find anyone who would part with them.
They came home fully loaded.
We once went to dinner at a friend's home, and when we got there, she was preparing morel mushrooms as a last-minute addition to the meal. It seems that the night before, her husband had gone to their secret mushroom patch and had dumped two huge buckets of morels into their kitchen sink. All the guests were flabbergasted; usually, people don't share their found mushrooms with others, either. To this day, none of us can remember what the main dish was at that meal. All anybody can remember is the mushrooms.
Except for me. Naturally, except for me. I am a freak, for I do not care all that much for morel mushrooms. I enjoy preparing them, but as for eating them. . . . well, let's just say that everybody wants to sit by me, because I don't eat mine and am happy to share.
And speaking of preparing them. . . . don't let anybody tell you to use crushed saltines!!!
The proper Hoosier method is to mix together a little flour and a little cornmeal and a dash of salt, coat each mushroom, and fry in butter for just a few minutes. Remember to turn them.
Let them cool just enough to tolerate, and turn your crowd loose on them. There will never be enough.
Back in the middle school, my students used to bring breadsacks full of morel mushrooms and sell them to the teachers for twenty dollars apiece. The teachers got morel mushrooms for bargain rates, and the students got cash. It worked out pretty well for both parties concerned. I never bought any from a student; it wasn't that I didn't trust them, it was just that, well, I'd seen these same kids try to tell the difference between a noun and a verb all year, and pick wrong every time. There was something about believing that they could tell the difference between a mushroom and a toadstool and pick correctly every time, that just didn't hit me quite right. I'm sure they knew; outdoor kids know these things. It was just a feeling I had.
As for the finding of them, I am probably the only Hoosier in the history of the state who not only doesn't like to eat morel mushrooms, but also can't find them even if they're right there by the toe of my shoe. I can't SEE them. I also tend to step on them, which makes me the kid who is picked last for anybody's team. Usually, I just stay home and get ready to cook them when they're brought home, whether I end up with a bowlful or a handful.
But if you live around these parts, around this time of year, around now, anywhere you might go, you won't be able to escape the morel mushroom stories. In southern Indiana, we'd rather hear about the morel that got away, than about your boring old six-feet-long fish that got away.
And since I don't care for them myself, that would be the "Queen's We" that I'm using here.
I love to say that. It sounds so borderline.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Ukeleles and Puppinis and No Kate BushHave you experienced the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain yet? No? Well then, it's high time, isn't it.
And while we're on the subject of "Wuthering Heights," click here, too. Because, you know, the Puppini Sisters are worth watching.
After you're finished, go back to YouTube and watch everything you can find, featuring the Ukelele Orchestra and the Puppini Sisters.
I recommend that you begin with "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." It will make you smile.
Many thanks to my beautiful daughter for the tip.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Adapt, Change, Crack, or BlowI hadn't written about the Virginia Tech massacre until tonight. It upset me terribly, because I work in this same kind of environment every day. I have not watched a single television broadcast about it, nor have I listened to anything about it on the radio. Ditto for the newspaper.
I hear about it from my students and from my colleagues. And as I listen to them, several thoughts swirl around inside my head. (There's plenty of room; it's pretty empty in there.)
I think that if we take the time and trouble to look around us, wherever we might be, we will see a number of people who are very much. . . alone. Some people claim that they prefer to be alone. Some people are alone not because they choose to be, but because their caustic personalities, or nasty whining, or vicious gossip, or incessant meddling, or some other personal choice they've made somewhere along the line, drives other people away. And some people's minds have crossed the borderline between sane and insane.
Perhaps some of those overlooked people, those friendless people, those depressed, lonely, ignored, neglected people, can only be that way for a limited time. Maybe, after a certain amount of time has gone by, they either adapt, change, crack, or blow.
The incident at Virginia Tech had nothing to do with gun control, no matter how hard some people are trying to make it so. People like this student will find a weapon one way or another, and no amount of legislating or safeguarding or waiting periods will make any difference. This is not a gun control issue. This is a self control issue. And it is people who have no self control who ruin everything for all of us.
People with no self-control take up more than their fair share of an airline seat. People with no self-control eat all the Hostess cupcakes. People with no self-control talk in the movie theater, and they grab for things they want, and they scream and cry when they don't get their own way. People with no self-control see no reason why they should obey the rules or, when they're older, the laws. People with no self-control want what they want when they want it. People with no self-control never quite grew up somewhere in the brain.
And when they're got it really bad, people with no self-control get hold of guns and they kill people who seem to have all the things the insane person always wanted and couldn't seem to get. People with self-control might think about doing such things, but they never would. All of us think such things at times, but the difference between us and people like this kid, is simple self-control. Sane people don't act on every impulse they feel.
Whether his anger drove out his self-control, or whether his immature lack of self-control caused a lot of the anger, or whatever theory or combination of such, he decided to do it and planned for it well in advance. This wasn't a spur-of-the-moment deed. He may have had no self-control (a despicable and deplorable and disgusting trait in any adult) but he was able to delay the self-gratification of it for a little while. He also had, as do many people lacking in self-control (look at me, see me, see me, look at me!) a bit of the ham actor in him, and made sure the world would know his name AND his face.
People are also saying that if only other students had reached out to this student, maybe he would have found friendship and good company instead of a loaded gun. But students DID try to reach out to him, and he would have none of it. If you're one of the people who is trying to put some of the blame on this guy's roommates and classmates, shut up. It's not their fault. It's nobody's fault except this guy himself. It's not his innocent parents or sister, or anybody else's fault. He did it himself. It's HIS fault.
And what kind of hell must his family be going through at this time. . . . a hell just as bad as the hell the families of all the slain students are going through, but quite different.
Anything anyone says now is, of course, from the point of view of hindsight, and as we all know, hindsight is 20/20.
In reality, this student went out and bought a gun, and of his own free will, made the choice to take that gun and destroy some 33 of his fellow students, and some teachers. He then turned the gun on himself, thus ensuring forever that no one will ever know the real reasons behind his bid for notoriety. Yes, he mailed a lot of pre-made horrors before he did it, and made sure that his after-the-fact information would freak out the world. If there was anyone on the planet who sympathized with him, that evidence of callous diva-ness should have taken care of that.
Am I callous? I can be, yes. When it comes to the lives of my students, or anyone I love, I can be very callous indeed. If someone threatened them, you can bet I would do whatever I could to take that person down. Yes, I could kill him myself, if it would save others. I could take out someone who broke into my house or my car OR MY SCHOOL, if they threatened my kids. You will not see me shrink back or say something such as "Oh, I could NEVER harm another human being no matter WHAT!!!" Cry me a river. You wouldn't lift a finger to defend your kids? Shame on you.
Ordinarily, I am meek as a lamb and the biggest sissy this side of Planet Saturn. But if someone threatens my kids or raises a violent hand to any of them in any way, and I am there and able to reach them, they would remember me for a long, long time.
They would probably gun me down as I charged, but you can bet that I would charge.
All of those beautiful children, blown away by one student's vicious insanity. Graduation was in two weeks, for some of them.
Every continent on the planet was represented.
And the image in my mind's eye of that lovely man who blocked the door with his own body to save his students will be with me forever. He survived one Holocaust, but not the second. . . .
After 9/11, people everywhere softened a bit towards one another, and tried to reach out, and help, and understand. Then some time passed, and people started to forget. And now, perhaps people will remember again, and this time, maybe they won't forget, at least, not so soon.
The only thing that separates Virginia Tech from any other place is the arm of coincidence. It could just as easily have been my college, or yours. Or a grocery store. Or a kindergarten classroom. Or a hospital.
Let us ever strive to be kind. Everyone we meet is struggling. And all of those spams and forwards about how we never know when a simple smile will be the difference between life and death for a stranger? They're true.
Let's notice one another. Let's smile. Don't behave like a Bob Evans greeter (holy scheisse, those people are annoying!) but just be nice to people. Include people. Ask people to join you.
Tomorrow is Orange and Maroon Day. Dig out something from last October and wear it. Light a candle. Say a little prayer. Call someone you've been avoiding and ask them to meet you for lunch.
My college held a vigil this afternoon. The large room was packed, and several students spoke. All of them had the same theme: Love one another.
They plagiarized that, but I'm not going to do anything about it this time.
Mamacita, Scheiss Weekly
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Life After The Kitchen Sink Hits You
Many heartfelt thanks to everyone; the blogosphere is full of truly kind people.
We live out in the country, and, well, don't you just hate it when 'that spot' in the yard gets mushy and puddley and stays that way? I guess it's time to call The Wizard of Ooze and the Poo Poo Wagon.
You think I'm kidding, don't you.
The semester is almost over. Three more weeks, counting this one. I've got my final exams all ready; I just have to drive up to the main campus to Xerox them. That's always a pleasure because the main campus is so beautiful. And, I am a firm believer in an instructor being prepared, as far in advance as possible. THEN, we can tangent.
In a few weeks I'll be heading west to visit my brother and his family for a few days. Anybody here ever take a finance class at Idaho State? You might know my brother! They've got a computer, so I won't be too far away. You know how it is: in the Blogosphere, we're all sitting on the sofa in each other's living room.
Again, I thank you all. I used to make fun of people who loved their animals as if they were human, but I guess I won't any more. At least, not out loud.
Him was a good boy.
100 days 'til BlogHer. I can't WAIT!!!!!
Monday, April 16, 2007
Life Is Hard
Put the rubber mouse away,
Pick the spools up from the floor,
What was velvet shod, and gay,
Will not want them, any more.
What was warm, is strangely cold.
Whence dissolved the little breath?
How could this small body hold
So immense a thing as Death?
Sara Henderson Hay
This is how I will always remember him: healthy and purring and owning us all. Just last week, he looked like this. It is incomprehensible.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Scrotum"Of course, adults are right to fear a word in a book, although not, as in this instance, because it names a body part. They are right in the implied assumption that books have enormous power and influence. Children who read widely understand more about the world; they have a
foundation for making better decisions. They think, and because of that, they may even challenge their parents' beliefs. For some, a scary idea, but isn't a thinking child preferable to one who accepts the world at face value and has no aim to change it for the better?"
-Susan Patron, 'Scrotum' as a Children's Literary Tool, Feb 27, 2007.
Have I ever mentioned before how much I despise censorship and chicken-hearted, close-minded parents?
And by the way, I read this book before I passed judgement, unlike many people who base their literary opinions on what their brother's next-door neighbor's pastor (who didn't read it either) said about it in the pulpit.
Books must be read before opinions can be made, and especially before opinions can be intelligently voiced. I think sometimes that so many people form opinions about a book without reading it themselves, because they're afraid the book might actually make them think.
Such people don't think much, and any kind of new exercise will hurt at first.
Don't EVER accept anyone's statements about a book unless that person has read the book themselves. And don't say anything about it yourself until YOU have read the book yourself.
Nothing you say will have any credibility if you haven't read the book.
"I don't have to read it; I heard what it's about and it's TERRIBLE!!"
Shut up, moron. If your belief system is so shaky that a book can topple it, maybe you'd better step back and take a good long look at your belief system.
But until you actually read the book, whichever book you're currently horrified about, don't talk to me about it. I don't care what you have to say because you're an idiot, a parrot, an echo. You have no intellect of your own.
After you're read it, come talk to me. I love to talk about books.
Speaking of which. . . . I can't WAIT 'til the new Harry Potter is out! You know, the series your next-door-neighbor's pastor told everybody was so evil? Yeah, that one.
Mamacita, Scheiss Weekly
. . . And Then, Will He Still Ring Twice?In my email tonight, I kid you not:
ERECTILE! We been seeking your face to ask of it, do you wishes the member to stand forth proudly as it has been (not) since the ravages of time marches on and on and on and on? Tell us so, ERECTILE, for Cialus tell us otherwise, your needing of it well known. Not Nigerian treasure-seekers we, but concerned with your member and it's societal functions and self esteem. Reply to this missive before you retire this night, and sleep with ease as you anticipate the postman's coming. Erectile once more, may be our credo.
Now, what does it tell you about me, and what does it tell me about myself, that the part of this email that annoyed me the most was the "it's." Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.
Okay, anticipating the postman's coming might be bothering me a little bit. I really didn't need to know about his personal habits.
Cialis, please try to hire some smarter spammers. I'll still delete them without looking most of the time, and I'll still hate you because you're nothing but a spammer, but at least it would be one less poorly-written grammatical horror for me to read over the weekend.
P.S. Could I see a picture of this postman before I make a final decision?
Saturday, April 14, 2007
The Hands of TimeWhat time is it now? Almost 6 p.m., you say? Oh, wow, I've been up almost. . . .three hours. Maybe I should take a shower and get dressed.
I love Saturday.
Why, how long have YOU been up? Really?
Do you have little kids? That explains it.
Some of you don't? And you didn't have to go to work?
Why would you get up early if you didn't have to?
One of the great mysteries of our time.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Note To Self: Buy Stain RemoverThe cat seems to be feeling better. I'm supposed to be forcing his pill down the back of his throat by hand because apparently they taste so terrible no animal in its right mind would willingly swallow it. I'm supposed to be administering a liquid antibiotic by mouth twice a day, via a thing that looks like a hypodermic needle. And I'm supposed to be dropping medication into his ears.
In reality, what I'm doing is wrapping that pill in raw hamburger and putting it in a bowl. Then I douse the hamburger with the antibiotic. The cat goes for this cocktail like a moth to a flame and even licks the bowl clean. (Don't worry, I rinse it off real thoroughly in nice cold water before I put it back in the cabinet.) And while he's licking the pink antibiotic off the sides of the bowl, I squirt him in the ears with the other stuff.
I was never one for doing things conventionally.
I'm more than a little bit upset with the cat, though. I know he's been sick, and I understand about the diarrhea and vomiting and all. But he won't be spending much time inside the house for a while, other than to eat his hamburger cocktail, because when I went to pick up my good lavender sweater off the bathroom floor yesterday, I noticed, and just in the nick of time, too, that. . . .
Well, let's just say that my sweater is soaking in the sink as we speak, and you probably don't really want to know why.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Good Night, KurtAll time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I've said before, bugs in amber.
Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.
We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.
Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you can see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
As in my other works of fiction: All persons living and dead are purely coincidental, and should not be construed. No names have been changed in order to protect the innocent. Angels protect the innocent as a matter of Heavenly routine.
Some jerk infected the Internet with an outright lie. It shows how easy it is to do and how credulous people are.
True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, "Please - a little less love, and a little more common decency."
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. And don't put up with people that are reckless with yours.
There is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.
Let us devote to unselfishness the frenzy we once gave gold and underpants.
. . . and finally,
God Dammit, you've got to be kind!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
This Cat Had Better Not Die Any Time Soon, That's All I'm Sayin'The new Carnival of Education is up, over at The Education Wonks. Click over there RIGHT NOW and see what your children's teachers are saying. Failure to keep current forfeits all whining rights.
Charley Gordon has been ailing so I let him stay inside the house during the incredible windstorm tonight. I thought I heard him in the kitchen, but I didn't really pay much attention until I heard the bag of trash give way.
When I got in there, the floor was covered with bits of multi-colored eggshell. And I, fastidious housekeeper that I am, just turned around and came right back to my Skype conversation, because a conversation with a friend is more important than an eggshell-covered floor, any day. Or night, as the case may be.
Friends first; housekeeping second.
That's not a score; it's a priority list.
Charley Gordon is almost fifteen years old. He's been ailing, so we took him to the vet yesterday. AFTER it was all over (I'd never seen anyone draw blood from a cat before) and he'd been tested for everything under the sun, I got a little bag of medication and a bill for. . . . .$237.00. I almost wet my pants.
But Charley Gordon has been with us longer than many of your children have been with you. We're pretty fond of him. When our kids come home, they go for the cat before they acknowledge us. This cat has given us many years of pleasure, so I guess a little maintenance is a small price to pay.
Tomorrow, my cousin C and I are having lunch with our respective mothers. We're as excited as if it were Christmas morning! Our mothers are sisters and C and I are best friends as well as cousins, and we anticipate a good time. That might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but to C and me, it's a Big One. I'd explain why in detail but it would take too long. Plus, you'd all think I was weirder than I actually am.
Skype is a really cool invention. I might love it. And when you're talking to a really dear friend on it, it becomes more than just an invisible internet telephone. It really does turn the room into a cozy place to chat with a friend, and the friend's voice seems so near and clear, it's like you're really in the same room with him! What a cool invention.
And now, I'd best find my broom (no comments on where I might have parked it, please) and clean up the cat's mess.
Did I mention that I have Skype now? You know, in case someone wanted to call me?
On the bright side, I can now brag to people that I own a really valuable cat. Or, rather, that he owns us.
I say "he" but the truth is, Charley Gordon's gender issues were resolved years ago. But hah, tell that to all the girlycats around here.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
If I Had Three Wishes, I Think This Might Be The First WishI wish my sister would start blogging.
Both my sisters, actually.
Tumorless would have so much interesting material to blog about: any and all aspects of music and theater and theatre and piano and movies and books and shows and Christopher Guest mockumentaries and horror shows and Kodaly and folk dances and Celtic ballets and lemons and cats and costumes and feather boas and ethnic restaurants and Japan. . . . . Her blog would be on the A-list in a week. But she's too busy, she really is. Mostly, she just teaches and directs shows and plays the piano and says cool sarcastic things and hangs out with me.
It's my Other Sister who is thinking about starting to blog. I hope she does, for many reasons.
My Other Sister is the parent of a special needs child; actually, she is the parent now of a special needs young man. I want her to realize that she is not alone in her needs for this child, in her longings for this child to succeed at something, in her seeking of someone, anyone, who would understand what her life is like, and maybe someone, somewhere, who might have some advice for her. I also believe that she would have much to say that would be of tremendous benefit to other parents in her situation. My Other Sister is a formidable mother; she has fought for her son all of his life. She's not afraid to challenge, she's not afraid to sue, she's not afraid to speak out, she's not afraid to petition, and she's not afraid to stand up for him and his rights. If she started blogging, maybe her example would help other special needs parents.
Other Sister and I have never understood each other, not even when we were children at home. Our mother was driven nearly to despair by Other Sister's and my total lack of. . . . well, of anything remotely in common. She saw black and I saw white. She saw True/False and I saw Shades of Gray. She's conservative. She's horrified by Tumorless' and my language. She knows nothing of music and books and opera and Christopher Guest mockumentaries. She loves network television shows but she hated Scrubs. She's highly intelligent and logical. I'm smart and whimsical. I live much of my life in a cloud of fantasy. She is ever grounded in reality. She doesn't keep dozens of spices in her pantry. She balances her checkbook every month. We don't dress alike. We don't talk alike. We don't really do or have anything alike. Or even similar. It's incredible that we are even related, but the truth is, we share the same parents and we are only 20 months apart in age. And we have nothing whatsoever in common except for those things.
Her life is insulated on all sides by the special needs of her son. My Other Sister has no life of her own. She has only her son's life.
I love my Other Sister and I would do anything for her, ANYTHING. The thing is, I don't know what she wants me to do.
That's one reason I want her to blog. Maybe, on a blog, she would talk about what she wants from me and Tumorless, and we could help her, or go with her, or be with her, or talk with her about something specific, or bring her something, or watch something. . . . we want to hang out with her, but we don't know how. She can seldom go anywhere or do anything because her son is ever with her; he can't be left alone for a moment. But whenever we ask her how we can help, something happens to us all and everybody leaves crying and angry.
Apparently, we are supposed to know what to do for her and for her son instinctively, and she's angry that we need to be told, and shown.
Maybe, if she had a blog, Tumorless and I could pick up some clues, or cues, or hints, and the next time we saw Other, things would go more smoothly. Maybe, if she had a blog, Other would tell us what she would like to get from us. Maybe, if she had a blog, she could write some of the frustration and anger and grief out of her system. Maybe, if she had a blog, other people in similar circumstances would comment and help and tell her what THEY did in their situation and she would find some respite and some help and some useful information.
Maybe, if she had a blog, Tumorless and I would be able to pick up some information about what Other is thinking about, when she sits silently at our mother's house when the rest of us are screaming with laughter. Maybe, if she had a blog, Other would let us know what she likes to do, and where she likes to go, and how we could somehow manage it with her son always along.
Maybe, if she had a blog, she would explain to us why she is often furious with us but won't tell us why.
Maybe, if she had a blog, Other would talk about how she wishes we and the rest of the world would treat her son. She believes that Tumorless and I, and our mother, should just KNOW how to do that, but we don't, and that makes her furious, too. We would like to know, but we need for her to tell us in no uncertain terms, and we need for her to be consistent, because sometimes we do one thing and it's good, and then we'll do it again and suddenly it's NOT GOOD and she's angry again.
Maybe, if she had a blog, some of this frustration and confusion could be put to rest, and we could get along. We will never have much in common, personality-wise and taste-wise, but we are sisters and I love her and nothing will ever change that. I want to get to know Other but I don't know how to approach her. She's easily offended and Tumorless and I never know what will set her off. I think her nerves are shot, and I would give anything to be able to lend a hand to her but whenever either of us reaches out, we're shot down.
Maybe, if Other Sister had a blog, she would write about all of these things and the Blogosphere would reach out to her and help her in ways her sisters don't seem to be able to. . . .
I love you, Other Sister. I always have. Maybe you don't even realize that I almost always leave your presence with a migraine and tears; I suspect you leave me in much the same way. I want to help you, but I don't know how. I love you, and I respect you, but most of the time, I don't even feel as if I know you very well.
But I want to.
Please start blogging and tell me about yourself?
Mamacita, Scheiss Weekly
Monday, April 09, 2007
Who must know the way to make a proper home. . . .
My children have gone back to their respective apartments and the house is quiet, and this really creeps me out, big time. I don't do well with peace and quiet; I thrive on chaos.
In a few minutes I will pack away the Easter baskets 'till next year.
Grown children? Easter baskets? You read it right. I still create Easter baskets for my children.
These baskets are almost 29 years old. I bought them when I was pregnant with my daughter, and I bought two "just in case." Good thing, huh Zappa.
My mother used the same baskets for all of us kids (heh) up until we were long married. Seeing that same basket year after year was thrilling to us, and I wanted my own children to feel that thrill of traditional continuity, too. See those little danglies hanging from each basket handle? Those little egg bells and bunny jinglies and bunny jump-ups are nearly thirty years old, too. They hang from the basket handles because they're always hung from the basket handles.
I did finally stop putting the bunny village all around the baskets, but I still have all the bunnies. I could start again any time I wanted. We don't have a huge Easter Egg Hunt any more, but we could if we decided we wanted to. We did the Hunt 'till the kids were in high school. (Shhh, don't tell anybody.) We just loved it that much.
Sometimes I consider skipping the basket, but then I realize that I don't really want to. I do enough things I don't want to do, so I decided I'll create Easter baskets for twenty-something children if I darn well please, thankyouverymuch.
Obviously, the baskets in this picture have been picked clean. They put their chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs and Reese's peanut butter eggs and the special little treats that are always in the plastic eggs, in little WalMart bags to take back home with them and share with friends and roomates whose mothers stopped the holiday traditions once their kids grew up and moved out.
This mother (do with this word what you may) doesn't stop being Mommy just because her kids grew up, when it comes to holiday traditions. This mother still puts Sunny Bunny and Mr. Sunshine in her children's Easter baskets, and this mother still looks forward to buying Hershey eggs and Reese's eggs and little treats to put inside the plastic eggs. This mother looks at the bunny village and sighs, a little sigh for lost childhood, both theirs and mine. . . .
I have never understood parents who do not take the trouble to create things for their children. There is something about those pre-made baskets lining the WalMart shelves that makes me more than just a little bit ill, and sorry for the child who gets something thrown together by an impersonal stranger rather than something created by someone who loves them.
I think the word "created" pretty much sums it up. We created these children, and we still love to create things for them. And if I remember the lesson correctly, things that are created are loved before they actually exist.
Of course, the saddest of all would be the family that doesn't bother to create traditions at all. Even families who don't celebrate an actual Holy-day, can create something special for a child for a Holiday. Create it. That means building it piece by piece. I've blogged before about how parents have the power to set aside days and make them special; why don't all parents use this power for good? We all need special days now and then.
I suppose buying an already-made Easter basket or Christmas stocking off the shelf is a tradition for some families, but it still makes me sad for the children. Holidays should not be impersonal things, with traditions bought off the rack and tossed at a child quickly so Dad won't miss the football game. I'm really sad for those children.
And for the parents who will never know the thrill of actually creating, putting something together for their children that is unique, especially for YOUR children, made by YOU, for THEM.
Creation. It's a wonder, if you let it be a wonder.
And it's so easy to do. I remember the Easter basket and Christmas stocking my mother had for me, and my children remember the Easter baskets and Christmas stockings I have for them. I will keep on creating for my children as long as there is breath in my body. Nobody has baskets and stockings like ours. Nobody should have baskets and stockings like yours, either.
When I was still in the public schools, I used to have contests at holiday times, with loaded Easter baskets or Christmas stockings as prizes, and those contests were totally fixed, because the winners were predetermined to be poor little kids whose families couldn't create these things. When a little child is handed a filled basket or stocking and told that he/she can take it home and keep it forever because it's THEIRS, and the child looks at you with "that" expression on his/her little face. . . . some years I had to fight for the right to do those things, but ultimately nobody could have stopped me, as long as I was there. I miss that.
No, nothing will ever prevent me from creating Easter baskets and Christmas stockings for my children. I'm not sure that even Alzheimer's could stop me. But then, how would I know?
Saturday, April 07, 2007
A Wonderful Easter To You All
Happy Easter, everyone.
What? Oh, oops. . . . .
Here. This is more like it. I do love those vintage Easter postcards. I hated growing up and finding out that those baby kittens were probably going to eat those baby chicks. I would also hate to have to tell you all how old I was before I realized that the bunnies weren't really responsible for all those eggs.
But ultimately, this is Easter to me.
And isn't it wonderful that so many of us, with so many different beliefs, can hang out here in the Blogosophere and get along great and love each other without having to constantly proselytize and try to sway each other to our own beliefs?
Oh, sure, those people are online too, but I don't pay much attention to them.
It's the people whose beliefs are quietly lived every day, the people who show me by example what their values are, who get my attention.
And who says God doesn't have a sense of humor? If you don't believe me, just look around for a minute or two. Think of your family.
And if you're alone, look in the mirror.
Happy Easter, dear internet people. Eat chocolate. Smile. Have some eggs. Rejoice over something.
It's a good day for rejoicing. . . .
Friday, April 06, 2007
Nobody Expects The InquisitionWe're experiencing a typical yet never expected April freeze here; the weather report says it's an Arctic freeze. In Indiana, the weather can change before you can tap your shoes three times and chant "There's no place like home. . . ." but this freeze thing is ridiculous.
On Monday, it was balmy and breezy and in the eighties. On Tuesday the skies split open and water poured down like Niagara Falls. It didn't rain; rain has individual droplets. It came down as one huge wide soaking-wet strand: it reminded me of that horrible spittoon joke that has made me seriously sick since third grade when I first heard it and it had to be explained in detail to me because I had never heard of a spittoon before. I'd repeat the joke here for you but I just ate.
I'm keeping a close eye on my flowers. Why, I don't really know, because it's not like keeping a close eye on them will save them from Mother Nature. Ceres, she's a nasty one sometimes.
It's kind of like keeping a close eye on your children and believing that is all it takes to save them from things. Oh, sure, some things, but ultimately the time comes when they walk out the door and have to face-off with things you would have cut your own hands off to save them from.
My flowers will live, or they will die. I guess it all comes down to how strong and firm their roots are, and how well each little flower can adapt to the cold. You don't see many primroses and dianthus in an igloo's windowbox.
Charley Gordon's water keeps freezing, too. When I let him in, he heads straight for the toilet, where, naturally, all the lids are UP because nobody in this house has any manners. But oh well, everyone deserves a mixed drink on occasion.
I wish I had one right now, in fact.
I've been listening to music, of course (when am I NOT listening to music?) so I'll share my random playlist with you. Yes, I already know my tastes are eclectic to the point of absurdity, but thank you for mentioning it.
1. Angels Rejoice - Dave Matheson
2. Golden Slumbers - Ben Folds
3. East of the Sunrise - The Floating Men
4. You Take My Breath Away - Eva Cassidy
5. The Wife of Usher's Well - Steeleye Span
6. Cinderella at the Grave - Kim Crosby (from "Into The Woods")
7. Undone - Robbie Williams
8. Laika - Moxy Fruvous
9. Almost Like Being In Love - Tilly Cryar
10. Still I Can't Be Still - Idina Menzel
11. Beatles Medley - Rockapella
12. Go To The Mirror/Listening To You - from "Tommy"
13. The Warmth of the Sun - Matthew Sweet
14. Anno Domine - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
15. Turn Back, O Man - from "Godspell"
16. Muzzle of Bees - Wilco
17. Love Duet from "Madame Butterfly" - Maria Callas and Guiseppe di Stafano
18. So Sad - Enigma
19. Monkey Man - Toots and the Maytals
20. I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise - Rufus Wainwright
That is, I'll have to admit, a strange playlist. Hitting "random" will do that.
Strange, yes. But not the strangest. Ohhhh, noooo, my dears, not the strangest. Not even close.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Hey Wes, Remember This One?
The new Carnival of Education is up; click HERE and go check it out.
In a couple of weeks, I will have been blogging for three years, and something is happening: When I remember something from the past that might be bloggable, I have to stop and think whether or not I might have already blogged it. Since I post almost daily, it's getting harder and harder to search my archives to find out.
Oh, I know, there's that 'search' thing at the top of all blogger blogs, but it never works for me.
Therefore, if you've heard this one before, just bear with me. I'm an old lady and we have memory lapses.
I think. I really don't remember.
Over on BlogHer they're saying that the Equal Rights Amendment is in the news again. Shades of the past!!!!!
I should have saved all my ERA NOW t-shirts. Of course, they were all size S and M, but I could sew them all together and come out with one that fit me now. Moot point.
Back in the seventies, the ERA was a big deal. I understood why, yet I never understood why.
You see, in the Fascinating World of Grammar, masculine pronouns are also generic pronouns; in other words, "he, him, his, himself" can refer to either sex, or both at once, and the word "man" can mean simply "human."
Knowing this, the wording of certain documents such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and others, has never bothered me.
It is the people who didn't pay attention in 5th grade English class who don't 'get' it.
In other words, when I read the words ". . . all men are created equal. . . ." I'm not offended because I know that the word "men" includes both sexes, legally speaking.
I'm all for equal rights, and equality of opportunity, but I am also smart enough to know that there is no way under the sun that all men will ever be absolutely 'equal.' Nor should they be.
I've read "Harrison Bergeron." Is that what people want? I think not. Then why are so many people trying to lead us in that direction? It's not going to work. It's wrong.
No, there will always be those who are smarter, better looking, more talented, nicer, meaner, uglier, stupider, more graceful, less graceful. . . . in other words, "more" anything than someone else.
I do not believe in handicapping, not for sports, not for anything. How condescending. "You poor thing, we're giving you 200 points to start because everybody and their brother know you haven't got a snowball's chance in hell of winning unless we spot you."
Back off, oh condescending one. I'll do this on my own or not at all. It's not a real victory if you're 'spotted' from the beginning. Oh sure, someone might "win," but not really, and everybody knows it. What a joke.
A woman on the football team? Hell yeah, IF she can play really, really well, in fact, better than the others who are also trying out for the team. Nobody gets a spot unless they can really do it.
A woman on the job? Hell yeah, IF she can do the job entirely on her own, without being 'spotted' in order to get it done.
And those two paragraphs up there? The same applies to any man who wants to play or work or whatever.
In other words, gender doesn't matter. It's whether or not the person can perform. Who cares what gender the person is? If they want to go for it, let them go for it. And let the ones who can actually do it, get it.
If a person can't, the person doesn't deserve the spot. Yoda was right. "Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'"
The ERA is a redundant issue for people who paid attention in fifth grade, but if it makes someone feel more comfortable having more gender-specific pronouns on the books, then so be it.
In this town, there were two old women who did not pay attention when they were in the fifth grade. Back in the seventies, they were greatly opposed to the ERA. Their hobby was writing letters to the editor. Really, really stupid letters. People looked forward to their letters. People cut their letters out and pasted them in scrapbooks and laughed over them in casual conversation. People subscribed to our incredibly lame newspaper just to get these two women's letters.
One of my favorite letters was about what would surely happen in the military if the ERA were passed. There were people in this town who believed it. Sad, huh. Sadder still, these people probably still believe it.
The gist of the letter was this: If the ERA is passed, then our daughters, as well as our sons, will be drafted. And if our daughters are drafted, they will have to share sleeping quarters with the men. And if our daughters share sleeping quarters with the men, they will have to shower with the men. And if our daughters shower with the men. . . . .
. . . .they might get hit in the ass with a rolled-up towel.
That's right, friends. If the ERA is passed, the price of towels will go up because of all those army men rolling them up to hit your daughters with them, in the shower. On one of their private parts.
Army. Private. I crack myself up sometimes.
So beware. Encourage your children to pay attention in fifth grade grammar class. It might behoove some of you to take a little peek into the pronoun chapter yourselves.
I do buy ERA detergent sometimes, but only if it's on sale.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam. . . Okay, You Know The DrillLovely spam, wonderful spa-a-m,
Lovely spam, wonderful S Spam,
LOVELY SPAM, LOVELY SPAM,
LOVELY SPAM, LOVELY SPAM,
SPA-AM, SPA-AM, SPA-AM, SPA-A-A-AM
It was fun being a baby boomer. . . until now.
Some of the artists of the 60s are revising
their hits with new lyrics to accommodate
aging baby boomers.
I don't mind being a boomer but the word
"aging" hits me in a bad place.
But oh well. It's better to be aging
than to be decomposing, like Beethoven.
Ahem. Back to this re-worked music.
Some of the titles include:
Herman's Hermits--Mrs. Brown, You've Got A
Ringo Starr--I Get By With a Little Help
The Bee Gees--How Can You Mend A
Bobby Darin--Splish, Splash, I Was Havin'
Roberta Flack--The First Time Ever I
Forgot Your Face
Johnny Nash--I Can't See Clearly Now
Paul Simon--Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver
The Commodores--Once, Twice, Three Times
to the Bathroom
Marvin Gaye--Heard It Through the Grape Nuts
Procol Harem--A Whiter Shade of Hair
Leo Sayer--You Make Me Feel Like Napping
The Temptations--Papa's Got a Kidney Stone
Tony Orlando--Knock Three Times on the
Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall
Helen Reddy--I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore
Leslie Gore--It's My Procedure, and
I'll Cry If I Want To
and last, but not least,
Willie Nelson--On the Commode Again
I've got a lecture in twenty minutes and
it takes me fifteen to drive to the college,
so try not to picture me hyperventilating
in front of a roomful of students.
Before I leave I have to scour the house.
Not to clean it, mind you; to try to find
vending machine money. Fifteen cents more
and I can get in the car and go to school.
I bet you thought that "absent-minded professor"
thing was pure Disney. Guess again.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
March Perfect Post Award
It's time for the March Perfect Post Awards, and mine goes to my friend Miguel of "Rarely Pure and Never Simple" for his wonderful post "I Remember When This Whole Thing Began." It's about how he misses his faith, and it struck a deep chord with me, because, you see, I miss mine, too, and Miguel is so eloquent and somehow he sums it all up in his post, perfectly. In March. Hence, a March Perfect Post Award.
And just when I thought he couldn't possibly touch my heart any deeper, he went and wrote another post that actually made me sit up straight and say "Oh my GOSH" because suddenly, something I'd wondered about all my life was made crystal clear by this beautiful man and his beautiful, lyrical writing and his amazing insights.
Thank you, MommaK and Lindsay, for thinking up the Perfect Post Awards. How lovely to encourage us all to encourage each other to share those things in the blogosphere that will enlighten us all, entertain us all, and make us all better people for the reading of them.
Life is so short. Doesn't it make more sense to lift each other UP than to hammer each other DOWN? I mean, what do we live for if it's not to make life easier for one another? (I read that somewhere; I don't know who originally said it, but I'm saying it here.)
Let us go forth (or fifth, no line-cutting!) and make each other happier.