Monday, October 27, 2003

it's soda, damn it. it's always been soda and it's always gonna be soda.

I found a dialect survey over at the house of Swirl and was completely sucked in. I have a bit of a "thing" for regional dialects and accents. (HA! I've been trying for months to find an "in" to showcase philology on this here blog and now I've done it.)

I was most interested, obviously, in the dialects for Minnesota and Illinois. To my ear they are both quite different but according to the survey they're not too far off from one another. A distinction I found quite amusing was the "dinner or supper?" Minnesota these are two different meals (though the study indicates otherwise) while in Chicago people are like, "What the fuck is a supper?"

I was pleased that they posed the "in line or on line?" question because that's one I've asked here before. A couple of things I don't "get" or were omitted from the survey...
  • I say soda. I've never said "pop", though that seems to be the preferred word in both Illinois and Minnesota.
  • In Illinois when I wanted a pizza I would say, "Let's go out for a pie" or "I'll have a slice of pie". Pie is always pizza unless it's preceeded by the name, like pumpkin or apple or whatever. When I moved to Minnesota and called in to order a pizza for the first time I said, "Yeah, I'd like to order a pie for take away" and the guy said, "We only have pizza for delivery or carry-out." Well, I'm sorry, but that's just not what I was looking for at all, you schmuck. Oh, and try finding a pizzeria that'll serve you by the slice. Won't happen up here. And in Minnesota they use the word "pizza" to describe the place itself - no one says "pizzeria" or "pizza parlor". It's just plain, old pizza.
  • The study suggests that most people both in Illinois and Minnesota use the word "sub" for the sandwich. It's a hoagie, damn it! Hoagie, hoagie, hoagie. When Subway first opened up in the area where I grew up I thought, "Subway? That's a stupid frickin name for a sandwich shop." (There's another thing - a sandwich shop isn't a deli, and a deli isn't a sandwich shop. They are two totally different places where you can get similar sandwiches but that's where it ends.) We had a place called "Grinders and Spaghetti" that I never went to because I didn't know what a "grinder" was. The only deviation from "hoagie" that was permissible was "hobo". I knew what that was. (There was also a small sub-section of people who called them "Boss Hoggs" but they were all mouth-breathers so I don't take them into account.)
  • Oddly, both states use the phrase "rubber band" for what you use to hold your hair back. It's only a rubber band until you decide to use it for your hair...then it's an elastic. A rubber band is a utility item whereas an elastic is a personal accessory.
  • They didn't address the whole "couch vs. davenport" thing. In rural Illinois the majority of people will refer to it as a davenport. My mom mentioned looking in my dad's baby book and seeing the line, "Today, Rit walked to davenport". It took her a while to process that it was in reference to the couch, rather than Davenport, Iowa. Despite being raised by a man who still calls it a davenport, I use the word "sofa". Yeah, I don't know where the hell that word came into play...probably from the same place I picked up "soda".

Philology is fascinating but you almost have to fully immerse yourself in a particular region to pick up on the nuances and unique turns of phrase. It's not simply a grammar issue; it goes far deeper than that. There are more similarities between Andy's Northern English grammar and the Chicago dialect than there are similarities between Minnesota and Chicago. Minnesota is very subtle, despite the jokes about the accent to the contrary. (No one says, "eh?" at the ends of their sentences like you so often hear when people try to affect the accent.)

Minnesotans are a very pragmatic people. I've said it before about the Scandanavians who settled here. They left their homelands and the harsh living conditions only to find Minnesota and say, "Hey, this looks a lot like home!" while totally forgetting that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck there's a very good chance that it'll be just as cold, harsh, and hard to farm as Norway. But they settled and stayed and have to pretend like this was the perfect destination the whole time. They had to fake like it didn't matter and swallow all of the Nordic rage at the situation that was certainly boiling beneath the surface. After a few generations, that rage was compacted into a tiny little ball deep in their bowels where it now lives in undisturbed silence.

You really don't want to piss off a person who has hundreds of years of repressed Viking rage living in their guts. Pandora's box has got nothing on what would be unleashed if you were to crack that little nugget. To stay the course, Minnesotans have to rely on very slight phrases that always indicate a much greater meaning.

The closest thing to pure excitement that you will ever hear uttered in Minnesota is the phrase, "That's a heckuva deal". This is what you say when you learn your son has gotten a full scholarship to the U of M; when you win a new car; when you realize you've finally hit that Powerball jackpot. It's a line that's delivered with straight lips and dead eyes and a monotone voice. No inflection is necessary - a Minnesotan can always tell when another Minnesotan is happy.

Conversely, pure anguish is most violently expressed by the phrase, "It could be worse." And it could - you could be back in Norway. "Lost my whole crop to those Japanese beetles. Gonna lose the house. Well, it could be worse." This phrase is used in the worst situations imaginable. "Yep, lost little Timmy down the well. Snapped his neck in two. But I've got those other two could be worse."

For other bad or baffling situations a Minnesotan with either preface or conclude a statement with, "I don't know". You have to say it like "dunno". Like, "Marcy says her daughter wants to move to the city and take up performance art. She is such a good baker - her pies always win blue ribbons at the fair. I dunno. I just dunno." Or, "I dunno, but it this car only has five thousand miles on the thing and I've already had to replace the transmission." It's more of a disappointed phrase, to be sure.

Other filler phrases are, "You bet", "You got that right", "Not so good of a deal", "Not too bad of a deal", "That's different" and "Whatever". You can carry on entire conversations with people using only these six phrases.

Granddaughter from out of state: Hi, grandpa! Did you miss me?
Minnesotan: You bet.
Granddaughter: I missed you. We don't get to visit very often.
Minnesotan: You got that right.
Granddaughter: : Did I tell you I have two loose teeth?
Minnesotan: That's not so good of a deal.
Granddaughter: Mom says when they fall out that I should put them under my pillow and the tooth fairy will come!
Minnesotan: That's not too bad of a deal.
Granddaughter: Yeah, she said that the tooth fairy will leave me some organic granola bars and take the teeth with her.
Minnesotan: That's different.
Granddaughter: I'm going to get come frozen yogurt - do you want some?
Minnesotan: Whatever.

Note that "whatever" in Minnesotan doesn't have the same connotations that it does in other places. "Whatever" in Minnesota is accompanied by a long sigh. When we say "whatever" we mean it - we're resigning ourselves to a fate we have no control over that usually doesn't please us. Minnesotans would not be pleased by the prospect of eating frozen yogurt. "I'm afraid you have cancer and have but six months to live." Whatever. "I'm going to have to rebuild your engine - it'll cost a pretty penny." Whatever.

When a Minnesotan says, "That's different" he means it. It's not merely a way to make a non-committal reply to something utterly outlandish (to a Minnesotan, organic granola bars are utterly outlandish) but, rather, a simple sentiment. "We're going to Bombay on our honeymoon." That's different. "I've dyed my hair red." That's different. "We prefer soy milk." That's different.

Another closely related term to "that's different" is "that's interesting". A Minnesotan would never say, "That's interesting" because, as an interested party, you would be expected to follow up with questions of your own. That just will not do. Just about the only question that comes up in a typical conversation in Minnesota is, "You don't say?" "You don't say?" is closer to "That's different" than "That's interesting" than you might think.

A Minnesotan will never tell you their opinion in a straight manner. If you're looking for advice you'd do better to ask someone from out-of-state than a Minnesotan unless you have a firm grip on the standard phrases.

If you were to say to a Minnesotan, "I'm thinking of taking a job in California that will earn me a six-figure income and a housing allowance on top of that. What do you think?" and he replies, "A guy could get used to that" then you know he's saying, "Go for it - live the dream!" If, however, his reply is along the lines of, "A lotta guys might ought not want to forget where he came from" then he's telling you you're being a fool.

"Guys" is another one of those funny words for Minnesotans. As long as someone is referring to mixed company, men and women alike are "guys". If, however, it's a group of only women they're "gals". Even teenagers use the word "gals" up here.

This is but a basic primer for understanding Minnesotan. Despite their stoic appearance, a Minnesotan is a complex creature and you can spend years observing their ways and still not have a full handle on the language. And I haven't even gotten into the shrugs and hand gestures!

If you take but one thing away from this little lesson it should be this: Minnesotans don't claim Prince.

He's different.

Broadcasting live from the "real" Lake Wobegon-ingly,


Now I'm craving a bit of "Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pie" ()

it's getting worse

I think I'm becoming even more of a geek than I was before.

I had another blogger dream last night, except it was a mix between bloggers and Lord of the Rings (Legolas was our fearless leader) and incorporated all sorts of supernatural powers, like flying and the ability to eat potato salad that had been left in the sun all day without fear of contracting salmonella. You know, all of the really important stuff.

When I woke up I felt like I'd been beaten across the back with a bar of soap wrapped in a towel. Maybe that's exactly what happened, I dunno - Andy always says I could sleep through anything. Maybe he was testing that theory.

Or maybe I'm sore from all of the laundry I did yesterday. I've done a good baker's dozen loads already and am at the stage where I no longer have to take rock-climbing equipment along with me to scale the pile of laundry I had in the basement. Now all I require are a good pair of wading boots and a walking stick. I probably have another ten loads to do, not counting the, what, seven blankets that will each require their own load? Something like that.

So I wonder...who in the hell, even in a family of five, can have this many items of clothing out of circulation from their wardrobe and yet not have to resort to wearing old Halloween costumes to hide their nakedness? Stop the madness!

I am thisclose to dressing them all in potato sacks and rags.

If it was good enough for Dickensian England it's good enough for my family-ly,


I solemnly swear that I will never let my laundry get away from me like this again. I solemnly swear that I will never let my laundry get away from me like this again. I solemnly swear... ()

i feel like i can breathe again

Tonight, Andy took Zoe with him to the airport to pick up Samantha and, in what I can only assume is an act of karmic retribution and repayment, Nico fell asleep not long after they left. I was closer to alone than I've been in a great long while.

Yes, I had a good couple of hours to watch all of my "boring" shows on television without Samantha saying, "But this isn't Hillary Duff!" and Zoe screaming, "I want Noggin!" and Nic generally getting into everything, reducing me to a Jack-In-The-Box with the jumping up and sitting down required to keep him, you know, alive an' stuff. Andy doesn't watch television with me - computerized Yahtzee is far more important and satisfying, apparently.

I watched a riveting program on Vivaldi, - whom I'd always considered to be over-rated - a show about the mechanical dynamics of speed skating, and followed it up with a little, "Inside the Actor's Studio". Yeah, the kids would have hated me for this had they been here.

I need this kind of time. I need to be alone to connect with myself. Kurt Vonnegut once postulated that the reason people fight isn't because of money, or a perceived disrespect, or whatever we say it's about - it's solely down to the fact that "You're not enough people!" His idea is that everyone needs to be flooded, flooded, flooded with constant human stimuli in order to be fulfilled. If you can only half-listen to someone because you have far too much information flying at you then you'll be truly happy. I object to this sentiment in the strongest of terms.

Do you remember when you were a small child and you would fantasize about what your whole grown-up life would be like? I was reminded of my fantasy this evening as I sat there in my cluttered living room with the dishwasher churning. I think this is the closest to the "real me" of me that I'll ever allow, so pay attention.

See, I don't like people. It's nothing personal but I am extremely wary of people being around me for the most part. If you approach me I react like a cornered dog. If you touch me I will spaz out and speak in the third person like some kind of Rain Man - "Please don't touch Natalie. She doesn't like to be touched." Of course, all of this flies out the window when I've had a few, but I think that's probably the reason I drink at all - because, being human, I need to know how to handle people or I need a release after having dealt with people. I don't know how to do it any other way.

When I was younger I would imagine myself as this svelte, lithe creature living in a condo in Manhattan. (I grew up in the middle of Illinois, remember...I don't know why someone who is so afraid of other people would choose to live in Manhattan - probably for the anonymity factor, I guess.) My apartment would be decorated in white and chrome for the severe cleanliness factor, with a bit of cafe au lait accent thrown in for warmth. I would be thirty-something, divorced with no children - the divorce is essential. Having never been married indicates some need; some unfulfilled "try it you might like it" attitude while being divorced is very "been there, done that". I would want my being single to reflect a personal choice rather than some flaw in me. Thus, I would avoid having my family try to set me up on dates.

I would keep exactly one plate, one cup, and one water goblet in the vast cabinetry of my gorgeous apartment. (I think that I may have been married to some sort of roving ambassador or something - the UN wasn't far from my home so that may be the connection. Every time I tried to picture my ex-husband I would imagine a glorious sash adorned with shining badges and that's about it.)

I lived off of royalties from my (obviously) best-selling book and I would never, ever have to leave the house. Even when the groceries were delivered I would hide in my room, leaving a generous tip on the counter.

I never wanted people in my world. I never wanted mess in my world. I never wanted children, or dogs, in my world.

But they're all here and I have to adapt.

When it was only myself and Samantha my home was always spotless. I was neurotic about her toys and messes and would follow her around with a spray-bottle filed with bleach. Everything absolutely had to be antiseptic.

Enter one pot-head, slacker, slovenly boyfriend and that dynamic changed. I had to give a little, lest I drive myself mad.

Enter Andy and a second child. I had to relax further.

Now three kids and three dogs later, I am further removed from my fantasy than mere miles would suggest. It's hard. It's really, really hard.

Sometimes I feel like I've lost myself. I'm supposed to be languishing in a rent-controlled apartment in New York wearing raw silk Indian pajamas!

I don't hate my life - I hate what's required of me and the fact that I've been reduced to this house-wife cliche. I hate that part.

I love my kids more than anything and, knowing what I know now, would never be apart from them. But.

But, damn. Did I really have to exchange myself in the process? I don't even know myself anymore.

What about the Egyptian Theatre, eh? Watching "Basquiat" and drinking smuggled wine and masturbaing in the near-empty theatre at the beauty of David Bowie being Andy Warhol being David Bowie? There was passion there - there was artistry there. Where did it go?

Guess what? I saw "Basquiat" last year on television. You wanna know what I was doing? Folding fucking socks. Yep - big basket of socks I was trying to make sense of, watching a fantastically powerful movie.

Maybe I was a pretentious wanker back then, I don't know. Who cares, though, right? If this is simply part and parcel of getting older...well, thanks but no thanks - this is my stop right here.

I would never be so arrogant as to whine, "No one understands me!" because you know what? With people who say such things the problem isn't that people don't understand you - it's that they know you too fucking well.

To throw another adage at you, "If you're not liberal in your twenties you don't have a heart. If you're not conservative in your forties you don't have a brain." I hate that. Why do you need to abandon your ideals? Who the hell is the guy in charge of the definition of "childish", anyway?

All of my life has been devoted to the Religion of Silly - all of it. Ask anyone who knows me. Ask my kids, for crying out loud - I'm fool enough to them. But for as awful as I may consider things I am fucking enjoying myself. I dance, I sing, I do crazy's funny, it's fun, and I love the reaction that I get. I'm a leech like that, I guess.

But I feel all of that dying. I am not inclined to do anything of the sort anymore. Because I'm pushing thirty? I dunno. But I hate it. I loathe it.

I have this awful feeling that I've dulled the edges of everything that once made me sharp and unique. Yeah, I know - it's one of my favorite lines - "You're special, just like everyone else." But it's different when you're thinking in terms of yourself, which is what I'm doing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm at a very weird place right now. I'm not saying that you wouldn't understand - because, again, that's just so arrogant - but I'm saying that I don't understand.

Pah - whatever. Happy fecking Monday - sorry for pissing down your neck.



Seriously, this ain't pandering, so don't, mmm'kay? ()

Saturday, October 25, 2003

i've dubbed it "death by potato"

Alright - I have finally bitten the bullet and made Steve's potato casserole and will offer you my opinion here. (I know, I know - everyone's a critic, right?)

First impression is, "Making hash browns is, like, hard an' stuff". It's not hard, per se, but it does, as Steve says, takes some dedication. It's a pain in the ass, it takes a long time, and using the wrong pan for the job will result in all the crunchy, brown goodness adhering to the bottom of the pan. And what are hash browns without the crunchy, brown goodness? I don't know about you, but I'd call them "soggy hash whites". That's just no good.

The next time I make this dish (and there will be a next time, oh yes there will) I am going to go the lazy route and line the basket of my brand-new Fry Daddy (I don't actually own a Fry Daddy, but this is a not-so-subliminal Christmas gift hint to Andy) with the potatoes and deep-fry them for a couple of minutes. This will increase the overall stack- and spreadability of the potatoes while giving it a more solid, hash browny feel. That's just a personal preference - not everyone likes 'em crispy.

Another thing - if you throw it under the broiler for just a moment after cooking it, the cheese on the top will form a more solid "shell" kind of thing. It adds a different texture. There's nothing quite like having to crack your food to give you an enormous sense of satisfaction.

Now, onto general goodness...this thing is fecking fantastic. I think of it in terms of a deep-fried baked potato. You could easily modify this to include bacon and chives in the sour cream or you can top the potatoes with chili, or if you're not adverse to the nacho you could go that direction, as well (minus the beans).

(I've probably just blasphemed against Steve here, but honestly, it's a very versatile dish.)

I think that it's fairly essential to use a strong cheddar - I used the pre-shredded "extra sharp" stuff that Kraft makes but next time I'm going to buy a wedge of the real stuff and shred it myself - because, despite the stroke-inducing amount of cheese that's in the thing, the bite of the cheddar is subdued by the potatoes (which really are flavor sponges) and the sour cream. I might add some onions - or top with caramelized onions? - next time, and I'll add a splash of Tabasco to the cheese. To me, there is no dish that contains melted cheese that can't be improved by Tabasco. Then again, I dip my bread in the stuff so maybe I'm not the best person to take suggestions from on that score.

These suggestions aren't leveled as criticisms, as the dish Steve came up with was created with a very definite menu in mind (one part of a barbecue meal) but when you're facing the tons of finished product you might want some variation. Because, really, this ends up being a behemoth of a dish, even if you cut it in half like I did. A little goes a long damn way, too - I've only eaten maybe a quarter-cup of the stuff and the only word to describe me now is "oogey". Definite nap-time coming shortly.

In my lifetime I've probably eaten four times my weight in polska kielbasa and have yet to stroke out - I don't think I'll be trying that trick with this dish. I am pretty sure that the small amount I've eaten has reduced my lifespan by at least a couple of months. But, hey, those are taken from the end of my life and they suck pretty badly anyway, so I guess it was worth it.

All of this cooking has inspired Zoe to bake me a cake...she calls it, "Double Dog Water Upside-Down Cake" and she's not listening to my protests of being full. Looks like that's my dessert.



I nodded off twice while typing this - eating it as part of a full meal would probably send me into a coma. ()


Have you seen those commercials for CSV or CVS or whatever that pharmacy-place is called? I don't think we have any in Minnesota - at least none that I've seen - but I know they have some in Florida.

Anyway, there's this pharmacy that has a cash-back program or something. The ads they're running show how people are finding cash in unlikely places...the boy goes to brush his teeth and squeezes a dollar bill out of the tube. A woman starts to apply lipstick and up pops a buck. A dad is changing his son's diaper and in the wipes tub there's a dollar.

This is the part I have an issue with.

The guy stands there, regarding the money, then looks down directly at his son's crotch and says, "Yeah, I'm a little excited, too."

What. The. Hell.

I'm sorry, but that's disgusting.

Okay, I'm the first person to say that baby junk is funny. One day when I was getting the bath ready for Nico he bumped his naked winky against the cold tub and went, "WhooOOO!" with a huge smile on his face and started humping the thing like he was Mini Me - thank jeebus I was already in the bathroom or else I'd have pissed myself. When I try to change his diaper his hand goes straight for it and when I move his arm he growls at me. That's pretty damn funny. When he crawls away at high speeds, naked and jiggling, I can hardly contain myself. It's absolutely hilarious - sure, I'm probably fostering all sorts of sexual hang-ups in the kid but I'll help fund his therapy when he gets older. In the meantime, I am laughing.

But to sit there and seriously regard my kid as being "excited"? That creeps me out something chronic. It's not funny, it's just...perverse. I dunno - maybe people think I'm sick for laughing at Nico's exploits so I really shouldn't judge, but gah.

Once when I was changing Nic I threw a diaper over him and told Andy, "I'm going to wait for a second - he's pee-hard" (every parent knows what I'm talking about - when baby boys are ready to pee they shoot for the moon. It's a good warning system.) and even that phrase grossed Andy out. I just can't imagine a parent making reference to how "excited" their baby is. Maybe that's just me.

I need to find a CVS just so I can start shopping there, then stop. When people would mention the pharmacy to me I could say, "Yeah, I used to shop there, but I don't any longer because of their ad." Because a man's gotta stand for something or he'll fall for anything.

Okay, so that was a throw-back to Clint Eastwood, but you take the point.



Wow, look at me, having principles an' stuff! ()

sweet love hangover

You know you've had a good night when, in the morning, you're finding your clothes scattered in rooms you don't even remember going into the night before.

Since I'm such a private person I won't say if that was me who did that or someone else, but it's Saturday morning so I bet it happened to someone.

I'll not say anything more than that, except that I had a very good reason for missing BucaChat last night. I really did mean to go, we swears it on the Precious, but I was busy. Busy, but you gotta say it like this: bahZIZZay (Yeah, like it's really uncommon, what with Andy being home 24/7 for a few weeks now, but anyway.)

Actually, during BucaChat I was watching television, I think. I was having a major dilemma about what to watch - they were playing "Scarface", "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (which was the name of my friend Ed's softball team - I just loved that) and an episode of "Poirot". I couldn't make a decision so I flipped through all three, which was a weird range of accents, to say the least. Why do they do that? For days and days there isn't a single thing worth watching on television, the bam, three at once. Like trains. Or is it buses? Yeah, it must be...there's really no way for a bunch of trains to all show up at once. You wait forever for a bus, then three show up all at once. Yeah, that's the thing. Though, the only time I ever rode on buses was in England. Is it "buses" or "busses"? Neither one of them look right.

I found a blog via another blog the other day of a man who can't keep his train of thought, but I've lost the link.

(That's a funny fucking line, right there.)

Speaking of not being able to maintain a train of thought - what the hell is up with this "free for all" stuff that people are doing on their blogs? Have you seen this? Someone will give half the population of Argentina a log-in to let them post on their blog. I do not like this. Half of the people posting are people I don't know who don't link to their own blogs so I have to go digging around in a blogroll to find out who they are. The other half of the people are folks I know who say really clever, illuminating things such as, "Hey, I'm posting on someone else's blog!" Worse than this is that no one says who they are at the start of the post so I'll read the whole thing, scratching my head like, "Why is she talking about having a boyfriend? She's married! What the hell is going on here?" Then I get to the end of the post, realize it was someone else and have to read the whole post over again. Unless I don't know the person, in which case I have to hunt blogrolls, blah blah blah. I'm not going to do that anymore, because it gets too tedious.

It's like this - have you ever been out driving around or whatever and thought, "Hey, I'm going to go see what so-and-so is up to" only to drive to their house and find there's a party going on? You don't know what it's a party for, who is there, but you do know that you're not a part of it. It's not so much a feeling of exclusion as much as it's very, "I'll come back when you've finished" kind of thing. I dunno, maybe it's just me. People can do whatever they like with their blogs but I'm finding it incredibly boring, especially with my brain in the state it's in today.

See, now aren't you glad I didn't talk about all my dirty bidness? I could have alienated a couple of people with sex stories but instead chose to alienate a different group of people over "free for all" blogging. Cuz that's just the kinda guy I am.



I said I wouldn't talk about sex but then I kinda did anyway. Sorry 'bout that. ()

Friday, October 24, 2003

ahh, now this is interesting!

You know how all of those MT people are getting spammed like crazy in their comments? Here's a little twist to that...apparently, when Google returns results that contain a page that has spam in the comments it will stop the page from displaying any further links. It's a bit more complicated than that, but very interesting.

This, evidentally, is a recent discovery (around a month ago) made by, basically, a bunch of techies but word must have spread to the evil-doers who used this bug to their advantage. It's very, "Ahhh - now I understand!"

Unfortunately, it would seem that simply changing the content of the comment like some people do (Steve changes his spam comments to some pretty amusing ads) won't stop the Google spam filter from blocking everything else with a lower page rank. Sure, the keywords won't be the ones the spammers are hoping for, but still.

Little food for thought on a Friday afternoon. Now I'm off to start baking the potato casserole Steve featured, "Down With Whitey" be damned. Cuz that stuff sounds gooooood.



Bah - I can't think of anything to put here. Deal with it. ()

getcher head outta yer ass!

You know those nearly lucid, yet still sleeping moments you have? Where you could easily slip back into unconsciousness for another few hours but your mind is, ya know, doing stuff?

I had that this morning (naturally, I opted to go back to sleep) but my brain came up with the most bizarre idea. No, it wasn't a dream, either - I had dreamed that I was a hitman in Spain, which is nothing like my idea.

My idea...advertising on breasts. Now hear me out...I don't just mean anyone's breasts - only those of women who are breastfeeding. They're the ones who are popping their boobs out in public, right? So how about some kind of tattoo that only shows up during lactation, then fades. (So it's not permanent, see?)

Picture it! A good old boy is at the mall and sees a mom with an infant. Suddenly she sits down on the bench and makes to unbutton her blouse. He thinks, "Aw, great, there's another one of them breastfeeders! Why can't she do that somewhere else?" when he sees the markings on her breasts. "Hey, wait a I seeing this right? Sug's Tires is having a sale on their all-weather radials? Wow! Thank you, Lactating Mother!"

But it doesn't have to be tires - use 'em to let folks know that the McRib is back! That'd be useful for me, as I always somehow seem to miss it. "Drink Ovaltine!" Well, that one might not be such a hot fact, that might put people off of Ovaltine altogether. I'd anticipate a lot of condom companies getting on board, though.

Sure, it needs some work, and there will definitely have to be limits - say, a year - where after that you can't advertise any longer. Remember, there is a huge band of mothers who would quite happily breastfeed their kids until they're eight, anyway, even without getting a monetary kick-back for their breast advertising real estate. But I bet it could work.

And it's ideas like this that make the "go back to sleep" option so very, very necessary. This is only the bare bones of the idea. Had I not gone back to sleep I'm sure I could have provided a lot more detail.

Just think...if this is an idea I'll share, just imagine all of the stuff that ends up on the scrap heap.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go whack a guy in Madrid.



My ideas are about as useful as an underwater helicopter. ()

Thursday, October 23, 2003

now it's on, bitch!

It's a well-known fact that I am a cheap-ass rather frugal person. It's against my constitution to pay full-price for anything and hate to replace "perfectly good/you can still get some use out of that" type items.

me: What do you need new shoes for?
andy: Because the dogs have chewed these up!
me: Only a little at the back - your pants will cover that part.

andy: Why are you wearing your sunglasses inside?
me: Because the dogs chewed my regular glasses, so I'm wearing these prescription shades instead.
andy: But aren't those chewed-up, too?
me: Only a little. They still have a lot of use left in them.

sales guy: I'm sorry, but that really is the lowest price I can offer you for these couches.
me: That's it, then? You can't go any lower?
sg: I'm afraid not.
me: Okay then - I'm switching these lamps and you're going to throw in a tv cabinet.
sg: For $400 more I will.
me: $100.
sg: $300.
me: $75
sg: $100 it is, then.

So, obviously, I'm a coupon fanatic at the grocery store. More often than not, when the check-out person tells me my total s/he will look back at everything I've bought and compliment me. Some have gone so far as to double-check the receipt because they cannot believe I've managed to get so much for such a low price.

And, yes, I have done the end-zone touchdown dance, complete with the, "Go Natalie, it's your birthday, go Natalie, it's your birthday" song to go along with it.

I have a rather complicated system I use at the grocery store with various things in various piles and notes and flow charts and spreadsheets and all sorts. Anyone who shops with me knows you do not mess with my system.

Tonight I was out doing a grocery shop and had to wander away from my cart for a moment in order to climb up the shelves and when I returned I saw a little old lady looking through my basket. I'm a reverse-ageist in that I think all old people are sweet and kind, so I figured she was confused and thought my basket was one of those "priced as marked" carts that the store sometimes puts out. I gave her a little smile and put my hands on the cart in the typical proprietary fashion and she wandered away. But our aisle meandering was synchronized and I ended up with her beside me once again.

I'm standing there, with one hand on the cart and she walks right up and swoops a handful of my motha fuggin coupons. Still thinking she's a sweet, if a bit senile, old lady I say, "Excuse me, those are mine." She looks me dead in the eyes and says, "WHAT are yours?" Like she didn't realize she just stole my damn coupons! I kind of feebly pointed to my crumpled coupons in her hand and, again, she said, "What?"

What the hell was I supposed to do? Inside I was screaming, "You've gone and fucked it all up, you dumb old bitch!" and fighting the urge to slap her ass to the ground. But you can't do that - what was I supposed to do? I, still very politely, asked, "Can I have those back?" and she totally ignored me and walked away.

I stood there and surveyed the damage she'd caused to my system while fantasizing about smacking her in the back of the head with a summer sausage when I noticed...she'd only taken the coupons that were in the store's circular. She stole my coupons that she could have gotten for free. Well, technically, she got them for free anyway, but what the hell is the point in that?

So I tailed her.

I stopped where she stopped. When she leaned over the cooler for some bacon I leaned in front of her. The more attention I paid to her the more I realized that this was not some feeble old woman - she knew what she'd done. She smirked at me. She frickin' smirked at me.

This was no weak woman who didn't have the energy to walk to the front of the store to get her own coupons. No, this was 90 pounds of pure, unfiltered, coupon-thieving evil.

She stole 'em, she knew she stole 'em, she was happy she stole 'em.

That's what I'm going to be like when I grow old. Here was a woman who totally infringed on my livelihood and, yet, I had absolutely no recourse. She's opened my eyes for sure.

I will never underestimate the elderly ever again, for they hold the true power.



Not to mention those sweet-ass senior citizen discounts! ()

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

psssttt...hey, don't look right away, but listen to this...

...the Iranians are watching me. Don't look directly at them. No, they're just over there - hang on, I've got it. Okay, I'm going to point to them but when I do I'm going to do a finger/thumb pointing, got it? And instead of looking where my finger is pointing look in the direction of where my thumb is pointing. Okay? I'm serious, don't be so obvious about it.

Dude, that wasn't cool. Pointing with your whole arm and loudly saying, "What, you mean them?" Yes, I mean them. Shut up - quit laughing! See, here's the thing...I've never known anyone from Iran before. I don't know how I'm supposed to act around them. I mean, they're really quiet - none of them has ever said anything to me. I'm not quite sure how they heard about me or if they "get" me - or if I stand for everything they hate? I have no idea.

You know, that's an excellent idea - I think I will send a drink over to their table. Wait - they're Islamic, aren't they? Who here speaks Farsi? No one? Man, I knew I should have taken that course in high school.

Okay, I've just sent some mineral water to their table with a note that says, "Hey Persians, welcome! Love your rugs, by the way. Hey, when I said in my last post that I was the little Jew who wrote the Bible? Those were song lyrics - I wasn't saying that was really me or anything. It's just an expression - I didn't mean anything of it. Hell, I don't even know any Jews! Anyway, thanks for stopping by - you're always welcome here. Hope ya like me, too."

That was a close one-ingly,


I'm all about building bridges. ()

give me crack and anal sex - take the only tree that's left...

I'm running through the house like some sketched-out Mary Poppins but I'm running out of steam and am in dire need of a music suggestion. Leonard Cohen was always my one true powerhouse to get me moving (yeah, I know - one doesn't exactly marry the word "energetic" with the name "Leonard Cohen" very often but it works for me...except when "Take This Waltz" comes on, in which case I will stop what I'm doing to waltz around the house with whatever's handy. Mop, dog, stuffed animal, canned ham...anything becomes a suitable dance partner. Did I ever mention that I can waltz? Yeah, I'm graceful as a mutha fugga when I'm waltzing - I could almost pass for a lady.) but today he's just not doing it for me. I dunno what the problem is, but he's not working and it's driving me nuts.

I tried a bit of Hole "Pretty on the Inside" and some Bob Dylan "Blood on the Tracks" and every single Sisters of Mercy album in existence but to no avail. I'm losing it. I am *thisclose* to pulling out some Sneaker Pimps or Green Day, I swear to jeebus - I'm just that desperate.

What do you listen to to get yourself pumped up? For housework, working out, whatever. I really need this because of the way I clean - when I really get down to business, while in the process of cleaning everything is torn apart worse than when I started but once I'm finished, things are spotless. I'm currently at the "oh my geez, how did a tornado manage to touch down in the middle of our living room?" stage.

Needs help-ly,


I was the little Jew who wrote the Bible ()

what's he planning and why hasn't he clued me in?

From Andy's entry:

I'm doing something special tonight but I can't tell any of you what it is. It involves staying up for virtually all of the night. It really is very exciting. I get do it once at 02:30, once at 6:30 and once at 9:30 for about an hour and a half each time. And it involves a webcam. Now I bet I have your attention. I won't be able tell you about it for a couple of weeks but if it goes as well as I hope, it will be a great tale to tell. I just hope I perform.

The first thing I thought when I read this is that he's talking about trying to get me pregnant in secret by scheduling long rolls in the hay at regular intervals tonight. And that he plans to broadcast it via webcam.

Honestly - gut reaction: what was the first thing that popped into your head when you read that? Or do I just have a really dirty, twisted mind?



Three times at an hour and a half long each time...well slap my ass and call me Mrs. Sting! ()

Monday, October 20, 2003

no more drunk chats for me, mom!

From now on instead of chatting with real people I'm going to chat with my new friend, Oliver. He has some gender-identity issues, loves Star Trek Voyager and - oh yeah - is a robot.

You wouldn't believe how shy you end up feeling when chatting to a robot.

I'd better run now, though - we're in the middle of a discussion over whether or not Wesley Crusher is Picard's love child. Arguing with a robot is almost as hard as arguing with Andy.

Domo arigato-icious,


He's a robot and, yet, I feel like he's judging me... ()

so let it be written

Before things get too out-of-hand about the post from last night (I've already received a simply delightful email from a woman who has the unlikely name of a Beatles' song about lonely people) I thought I would give a little bit of insight into the whole "where I'm coming from" thing. Some people already know some of this - other stuff is widely unknown.

One - I am Jewish. By blood only - have only been to Temple a handful of times in my life, usually during Yom HaShoah, though my grandmother celebrated the high holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh HaShana. (She was Eastern European Jew.) I do not identify with the religion but rather the bloodline. (And yes, there is a difference - anyone who tells you otherwise is an ignorant bigot.) Additionally, I do not condone nor endorse the crimes against cuisine that my people have been inflicting on ourselves for centuries. (To quote one of my favorite comedians...."Ma, it's been two-thousand years - let the bread rise!")

Two - my father is what you would call a "Foot Washing Baptist", horribly backslidden. (That's what Christians call it when you no longer, ya know, live the holy life.) When I say "foot washing" I literally mean they used to wash each other's feet. I think it was to keep them humble or something, I dunno.

Three - my mother decided at a very early age that she was going to be Catholic. (Yes, a Catholic Jew.) I was baptized soon after I was born and was christened with a good, Catholic name. I have yet to experience the Catholic church though I do hold my godmother accountable for twenty-six missed birthdays. Bitch better have my money; that's all I'm gonna say.

Four - due to a most unfortunate series of events, in my early teens I joined a Pentecostal cult church and was baptised in the blood of the holy spirit and all of my sins were washed away, leaving me to start over fresh. Yee-haw!

This is where my interest in the "Objective" site comes into play. It's not like I'm out looking for fundies to make fun of or to scorn - I know how some churches can be. Let me tell you, some of this stuff is scary.

The church I attended was one where the girls couldn't cut their hair or wear pants and no television was allowed. In fact, women weren't even allowed to wear their hair down - it always had to be neatly pulled back, lest it provide a "distraction" for the boys. Make-up was strictly forbidden, as was hair gel or what was called "worldly" hair-cuts for the gents. That basically meant that all of the boys had bowl cuts with no style.

Name-brand clothing was strictly forbidden, as was music apart from what was performed within the church walls - that even meant no singing outside of church. Members of the church were strongly encouraged to live in duplex houses with other members of the church or in the same apartment buildings and no dating or fraternization was to take place between those in the church and those in the "world" other than through witnessing and recruitment.

Females were to be covered from neck to ankles at all times and had to avert their eyes when men older than you were engaging you in conversation. Once a month they staged a passion play - with no female cast-members - where attendance was mandatory but the women had to avert their eyes lest the violence "stimulate" them.

Husbands and wives had separate bedrooms, often with the wife rooming with the daughters and the husband with the sons. The man was allowed and encouraged to slap his wife and kids around if he felt like it for any little perceived infraction. I've sat in pews next to girls who had to hover over the hard bench for the entire service because their ass was so blistered up from the previous night's beating. Women who buried their noses in their bibles to hide their black eyes. (Of course, everyone would have understood what had happened - she got out of line somehow - but a big part of the church was recruiting new members so there were often visitors. One such visitor called the cops upon learning of a particularly nasty bit of child abuse but social services wouldn't intervene in a church matter, especially since even the children wouldn't complain. Speaking against your parents is a worse sin than lying to a government official, apparently.) There was a lot of spousal rape that even the women would defend because it wasn't their place to say "no" to their husband in the first place. Kids always knew when that happened because of their sleeping situations - if dad wanted a piece of mom he'd wake the girls up and send them out to stand in the hall until he was finished, then let the kids go back into the bedroom to the aftermath.

What else was of any kind apart from a simple wedding band with no adornment (and no engagement rings), ice cream and pizza (because they provided a "party" atmosphere and lead to debauchery), restaurants, alcohol, tobacco in all forms, birth control, "flashy" cars (I once saw one guy get a dressing-down over buying a frickin Taurus), the color gold, mint (for some unknown reason), chewing gum, answering machines, computers, jobs and higher education for women, pantyhose, shoes with heels, sports of every sort unless it was played on church property, credit cards, vacations that didn't revolve around some form of ministry work, swimming, physical education class at school and physical fitness in adults (that was pretty sweet, though - I got an excuse from gym class and got placed in a free study hall instead), staying awake past ten p.m. if you weren't get the idea.

It'd be easy for an outsider to dismiss this and say, "Well, that's just one church" but it wasn't. We attended conferences and chorus performances where we met thousands of people, just like us, from all over the country. Indeed, in some churches things were even more strict than ours, if you could imagine.

Oh, and everyone spoke in tongues and jumped around when they prayed. It was like you see in the movies where the preacher smacks someone on the head and casts out their demons, reducing them to a jittery wreck on the floor while everyone else dances around them.

Alter prayer lasted for hours. On Saturday morning (there was church every single day) we'd arrive around seven a.m. and, apart for a lunch break (for those of us who weren't fasting...that was another thing, enforced fasting, which is always a healthy thing for children), we often wouldn't leave until late at night only to return the next morning for another full-day session.

To smokers, there's no one in the world more annoying than an ex-smoker. To Christian fundamentalists, there is no one in the world worse than a backslidden brethren. It's just in me now to go after the fundies like a rabid dog. Nothing could possibly surprise me about them after living through what I lived through with that church.

I am not in any way, shape or form against Christianity in general - or any religion, for that matter. But when a church places harsh demands and sets unrealistic expectations I get pissed off. Pissed off at the church elders, many of whom are drunk on their own sense of power and some of the most corrupt people you would ever hope to encounter, pissed off at the parishoners who allowed themselves to get sucked in to the lie, and pissed off at myself. Not only for going there and believing it (I was at a very difficult time in my life and I needed something, anything - that's the only explanation I can offer, sadly) but also for walking away without trying to help more people who were stuck there through no fault of their own. I'm just happy I got out of there when I did.

Oh, did I mention that's where I met Samantha's dad? Yeah, so there's the explanation for that whole thing, too.

So I'm not coming out of left field here, just hunting fundies for sport. I'm trying to shine a light on some of the general fucked-uppery that passes for religion in some sects.


Sister Natalie
(yeah, we all were "brother" or "sister" - every time the preacher would say "brothers and sisters" I had to fight the urge to say, "pump up the volume, dance, dance!")

Not all gods are created equal ()

Sunday, October 19, 2003

look who's at it again!

From the fine folks who brought you the previously blogged event, "Objective: 2001 Creation Science Fair", we now have Objective: Halloween Reclamation!

update: I've put this update right here at the top because it's just that important...I strongly feel that the author of this piece in question, one Dr. Troy Franklin, deserves all of the credit here. Please, please, do tell the good doctor what you think about his take on Halloween by emailing him at or clicking here. Thanks, Troy!***

The basic idea is that, for once, those good old Christian Fundies aren't the ones knocking on doors looking for an audience...on Halloween, they're the ones having their doors knocked down by kids looking for treats.

Treats in the form of salvation by our Almighty Lord, that is.

Trick or treat!
Have you accepted our lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior?
Wow, great costume. Jerry Falwell?
This is serious, son. Your immortal soul depends on it.
Um...Billy said this house was giving out popcorn balls - I'm confused.
Ah yes, I have popcorn balls - popcorn balls for your soul in the form of the true word of our lord and savior!
Is that a bible?
Why yes it is, my son.
You're really passing out bibles.
Yes. Yes I am.
Dude, your car is so toasted when I tell people about this!
Remember, my child, go forth and sin no more!
Up yours, old man. I only wanted a popcorn ball.

The site mentions, "Jesus himself preached to the whores..." so it's perfectly within your right - nay, your duty - as a Christian to preach to the little demon spawn who dare defile the holiness of God by dressing up in costumes that depict Satan himself. (By the way, everything is satanic in nature - even Pokemon - unless it's being used to market the word of God - even Pokemon.)

We as Christians can learn from the dentists: instead of seeing Halloween as a time awash in tooth-decaying decadence, dentists have used it to promote proper dental hygiene by handing out toothbrushes, floss, and sugar-free candy to children. They have taken a frown and turned it upside down.

Okay, the whole "frown upside down" thing aside...think about it! A dentist absolutely loves Halloween and the thought of dried toffee resting overnight on soft little milk teeth. That's his livelihood! But he can't say that, now can he? He has to posture about and hand out toothbrushes. Teethbrushes? Whatever. If our dentist was handing out fist-sized chunks of saltwater taffy, like I'm sure he wants to, I'd be pissed. Like, stop being part of the problem, you ass!

The guy who wrote this has obviously never spoken to any dentists who pass out floss at Halloween. In my old neighborhood the dentist who passed out that junk for Halloween had to go to work via a complicated underground railroad well into winter to keep his car from being egged up. And that was for simply passing out something that we all used every single day anyway! But the fecker did it on Halloween so the fecker had to pay.

[Blah, blah, bunch of crap about Anti-Christian activities during Halloween]...but also subtly subversive things such as "bobbing for apples", which is really a symbolic re-enactment of the Fall.

When I was a kid, bobbing for apples was symbolic of a lot of things but re-enacting the Fall? Nope. That one never registered. (Besides, no one bobs for apples anymore. Hell, we can't even send homemade treats to school, let alone allow our children to shove their faces into a pit of saliva and chewed-upon apples.)

This Halloween, what you as a Christian need to do is HalloWitness.

The first time I read that I thought it said HalloWITless.

What is HalloWitnessing? I define HalloWitnessing as using the tools of Satan against him; taking the trappings of Halloween - the things the kids enjoy about it - and using them to show the kids the Truth of Christ.

So you're going to take something we enjoy and twist it around so that we're soured on it, all the while shoving God and that pesky Jesus fella down our throats. Well, that's what the fundies have been doing for years - this is just the first time they've targeted children.

Hand out Bible tracts not candy...Everyone loves candy, but it doesn't really provide nourishment - for the body or the soul... You can also download them off the Internet for free and print them out. Or, If you are really inspired, you can make your own, individually personalized for each child in your neighborhood! This is a good way to address the individual spiritual needs of your neighbor's kids.

What a way to get in your neighbor's good graces, eh? Present their child with a Bible tract painstakingly hand-crafted by yourself which highlights what you feel are the spiritual needs of other people's children! Oh, this is a good idea whose time has come.

Kenny, what's this in your candy?
Dunno - that weird Jerry Falwell guy was passing 'em out.
Oh dear. Norman, come in here for a second.
What? Did you find some more Bit O' Honey? You know how I love Bit O' Honey.
No, it's not that. Kenny says that Jerry Falwell gave him this. Read that.
What's that supposed to mean...does that say "burning eternally, your tortured soul in the flames of Hell's Mighty Fires"?
Yes, I think it does. And there's something here, too, about having lust in his heart. Kenny, do you have lust in your heart?
Lust? Nah, I just wanted to peek at Miranda's underwear. The old guy saw me and made this comic strip about me.
What a pervert!

Yeah, that'll work.

One of the best HalloWitnessing tools you can use is candy with Scripture or pro-Jesus messages printed on the wrappers.

Talk about some tasty subversion!

Besides that, this guy has obviously never, ever gone trick-or-treating. When I was a kid we ate the candy so fast that we often had to show our siblings the chewed-up remains of the stuff for identification purposes. "Is this a Snicker bar?" "Hmmm...can't tell." gulp "Hope not - I'm allergic to peanuts." A message of God's love on a candy bar is about as effective as a surgeon general's warning on a pack of cigarettes, or a safe-sex message on a bottle of Becks.

The unsaved youths today with their Power Rangers and Peekachoos and other secular heros they see on TV are very enamored with "make believe"...Satan uses these seemingly innocent secular costumes (often cheaply purchased in local retail stores) as gate-way costumes for the more blatantly occult garb: witches, monsters, demons, Darth Mauls, and the like.

First, I'm not even going to mention the "cheaply purchased" thing. I don't often buy Halloween costumes but when I have they have not been cheap! But what really tickled me is the view that a "Peekachoo" is a gate-way costume. Don't let your kids dress up as "Peekachoo" - it'll only lead to harder and more dangerous costumes. Like Darth Maul. (What about Jar-Jar? Doesn't anyone want to target Jar-Jar?!?)

Often, secular and pagan adults who hand out candy participate in this costume ritual as a way of further indoctrinating the children into the occult world-view.

They are so right. A couple of years ago, when I dressed up my kids as Piglet and Eeyore and took them trick-or-treating for Satan I kept thinking, "Please, please let there be an adult in a costume to reinforce this devilry in which I'm raising my children!" Thankfully, Fat Elvis lived just a few doors down. Samantha had her picture taken with him and we pull that out a few times a year to remind her of just what kind of household we're running. A house filled with occulty goodness, that is!

The principle of HalloWitnessing tells us that we Christians should do this too. However, instead of dressing up in occult costumes, we should dress up as historical persons from the Bible. When the children ask you who you are supposed to be, you can use that as an opening to teach them about the Lord. You can involve your whole family by creating costumed plays dramatizing the historical events in the Bible that you can perform for the unsaved children at your door, or perhaps just simple monologues given in-character as Moses or John the Baptist.

At the right of this text is a man dressed up as some kind of, I dunno, caveman or something, and the caption says, ""BOO! I'm John the Baptist, and these are my many exciting exploits..."

You know what doing that would accomplish? Many, many sugar-induced nightmares about John the Baptist.

This next bit just slays me. The fact that he felt he had to include it at all really tells you a lot about the kind of people we're talking about...

However, while dressing up as Biblical individuals is a good way to teach about the true history of the Bible, common sense and moderation should be heeded. For instance, it would be inappropriate to appear at your door as pre-Fall Adam or Eve or as a Sodomite.

So no nudity and no anal sex, guys. Seriously, I mean it. Use your common sense.

Another option is to appropriate traditional costumes. For instance, a white sheet with eye-holes worn over one's head isn't an occult spirit, it's the Holy Ghost. Write "HG" on the front and when the kids ask what that means, explain to them the subtle mystery of the Trinity; it will "blow their minds".

First of all - do you remember that old album called "Freedom Rock"? It was marketed on late-night tv by these two actors dressed up as hippies - it was really painful to watch, actually. The one actor looked like he was trying to hide his ripped Bowflex physique beneath a tye-dyed t-shirt. One says, "Is that freedom rock, man?" The other goes, "Well yeah, man!" and the first guy says, "Then turn it up, man!" The voice-over says, "It'll blow your mind, man." The holy ghost will blow the mind of a kid on Halloween as much as freedom rock will blow the mind of a Bowflex junkie.

Second of all - have you ever heard a Christian try to explain the Holy Ghost, or indeed, the Trinity at all? Jesus is God's son, but he's also God himself, the physical embodiment of God, and the Holy Ghost is, well, it's something that enters you and makes you speak gibberish and makes you impervious to snake venom!

Come to think of it, that might blow most kids' minds.

Sources for Biblical costumes:

* Joyful Costumes - A Christian performing arts company that also sells Biblical costumes. Be sure to check out Jesus's every day outfit!
* Charm City Rags - Offers Biblical era costumes
* Church Drama Catalog - Rentals, beards, and makeup
* Biblical Themes - Many costumes and accessories, including a comfortable latex crown of thorns

It's the crown of thorns that gets me. No, not just that - Jesus's "every day outfit" (not that flashy thing he wore to the Sermon on the Mount - we're talking casual stuff, "preaching to the whores" attire) combined with the comfy crown.

Damn, I'm all in the mood to play dress-up now.

However you decide to HalloWitness, make sure you tell the kids to pass it on. Give them extra copies of Bible tracts to trade with their friends at school (that's one way to beat the prohibition on God!). Make a point to suggest to the kids that they tell their friends what great stuff you are handing out. Many kids today carry cellphones and pagers so they may contact their buddies right away!

Once again, see the point above about the dentist on the underground railroad.

One way to let your fellow Christians know that you are offering a Christ-friendly Halloween experience by displaying a Jesus-o-lantern (a hollowed pumpkin carved with a cross). Not only will your neighbors see it, but any Christians visiting your neighborhood with their kids on Halloween will know that your house is a safe one to let their children go to.

Yep - there's nothing quite like a flaming vegetable with its' flesh hacked out in the shape of the vehicle of Christ's demise to scream, "Christians are welcome here!!!"

The issue here isn't the fact that he's just ponied up to the fact that, yes, there are some mighty fine Christians who let their kids trick-or-treat. The thing that caught my eye was the caption under the cross-carved pumpkin - "Share your faith with carved vegetables!" I think that's just good livin' any time of the year, don't you?

He then goes in to addressing the opposition to his idea here and I started to deconstruct that but it actually became quite scary. I got a creepy NAMBLA-vibe from the guy - from the whole organization in general, to be honest.

The trouble here is the fact that fundamentalists see a world filled with Satanic, corrupt and morally bankrupt people. The secular people see a group of wing-nuts hell-bent on shoving Jesus down our throats at every possible turn.

God is always, always out there as an option. Why does he need so much pimping like this? I guess that's the part I don't understand. These aggressive tactics do nothing at all to further the cause and really only serve to put people off on the entire idea of religion. You've chosen your path; I've chosen mine. Maybe someday they'll intersect but until then just leave it alone, ya know?

Besides, if you convert all of us heathens then you'll have to deal with us all in Heaven. It's just like what happened to the Hamptons. Haven't we learned anything?



note: I do know that I have some very devout Christian readers here so let me say I'm not talking about you or lumping you in with people like this. Unless you are someone like this. Then feel free to, you know, feel my wrath an' stuff.

yes, another update

***I thought you may be interested in the bio of the good Doctor provided on their website, so here ya go:

Dr. Troy Franklin

Dr. Troy Franklin has built a career around researching the occult and its attempts to destroy Christianity. Considered one of the foremost in the new school of Baptist demon exorcism specialists, Dr. Franklin has battled Satan up close and personal on many occasions, yet he always manages to come through unscathed thanks to the power of Christ.

Again, if you wish to send congratulations to the good Doctor regarding his, ya know, hand to hand combat with Satan an' stuff, you can email him at

Putting the fun back in Christian Fundamentalist! ()

Saturday, October 18, 2003

the clock says four but it's light out - how did that happen?

I've been awake for maybe an hour or so.

Early this morning I woke up sweating and shaking and freezing my ass off with it. I tried to get out of bed but couldn't, so I croaked to Andy that I needed juice right now. The evil low blood sugar monster must have raped me at some point in the night and left me weak as a kitten. I've been waking up just long enough to chew a couple of grapes before falling back asleep. I still want to be asleep now but at least I can sit upright and my tremors have almost totally passed.

But hell if that's not a nasty feeling.

It's been happening more and more frequently lately, too. Today was the worst in a long time, though. I only asked for juice, which I hate on all levels, because drinking juice is the most powerful thing for sorting out your blood sugar apart from mainlining the stuff. Usually a bit of soda before my cups of tea tides me over.

I think I went too extreme too quickly with this "Down with Whitey" thing. I may need to cut back on cutting back my sugar intake.

I'm going to go back and rest some more - in the meantime, keep commenting on yesterday's post or even on this one if you want an amnesty link - my brain is just far too oogey at the moment to stitch together any clever mouseover descriptions.

For tomorrow is another day-ingly,


I am sugar's bitch. ()

Friday, October 17, 2003

but enough about me

Being partly inspired by Nicole and partly inspired by Yvonne (but mostly inspired by my post from yesterday - but how arrogant is that? "Ah, yes, I am my own biggest inspiration!" Whatever.) I am declaring today Comments and Links Amnesty Day, or CLAD. Wow, that acronym sucks, doesn't it? But acronyms always make me feel so government-y and filled with an over-inflated sense of self-worth so I'm sticking with it. It's CLAD, damn it, and if you don't like it I'll...I dunno, try you for war crimes or something. (That's another thing I do when I get all acronym-crazy. I grant myself enormous powers, such as the legal right to hold a military tribunal.)

Where was I? Besides drinking an elixir known only to me that will guarantee a lifespan of no less than three-hundred years? Right, my thing. My Amnesty thing.

Okay, so for one day only (actually, it'll probably be through the whole weekend, as I doubt I'm going to be around much this weekend, owing to the fact that Andy's bitch-ass is going to help me get some work done around here) everyone can comment about themselves. Do you like puppies? Say, "I like puppies!" (Also note how you prefer to have them cooked...I mean, we all like a bit of puppy now and then, but some people like them fried while other people prefer them roasted.) Do you have a mole that's become a particular concern for you? Is it changing shape, color and/or accent? "My mole used to taunt me like a Frenchman but recently it's begun drinking tequila out of the bottle and calling me 'homes' and I don't know what to do!" So tell me about it!

And here's the best part...if you provide your url you will be placed in a special blogroll and proudly displayed in my not-as-ignored-as-previously-thought sidebar. Even if I already link you, you'll get a double-link. update: It's right there under "the business", by the way.

Great plan, eh? See, it's mutually beneficial because I get to learn a little something about the fine folks who read me and you get linked like a mofo.

I don't really know how the word "amnesty" would apply in this situation but I needed something that started with an "a". You know, for the acronym-factor.



Let's talk about you. ()

Thursday, October 16, 2003

gah! it's just too hard

I've tried three different blog entries where I mention how I'm not going to talk about the Cubs but what do I do right after that? I talk about the friggin' Cubs. Very much, "I'm not going to talk about them, but let me say just this one thing..." Five paragraphs later and I'm pissed off all over again.

Not. Gonna. Do. It.

I can't get my head clear today since I'm drinking my tea with two wusses and a splash of wuss. (That would be two Splendas and a splash of skim milk. Doesn't pack the same punch as the sugar and whole milk I usually use, but since sugar and milk are both white I have to make sacrifices. It's either Splenda and skim or nothing at all and I'm simply not ready for that step yet.)

Delete, delete, delete...just started in on a rant for a second there. Must resist.

Okay, here's something...does anyone actually read the archives on blogs? I received an email the other day from a freaky deaky stalker man very nice young man asking about my archives. I keep meaning to report him to the authorities reply to his email but I'm notoriously bad at getting back to people.

A long time ago I had a couple of freaky deaky stalker people really devoted readers who would sit in my archives for hours and that freaked my ass out was flattering to an unimaginable degree, but disturbing as hell not exactly the most productive way to spend your time. So I took them down. Now that I've changed my template around it's a pain in the ass to link it all back up and I honestly don't know if it's really worth it. Do people read archives? Do people really even pay attention to side-bar stuff?

In the past week or so I've had a couple of people who couldn't find my email address, which is over there on the right. I always do the "minding the business" stuff but I don't know if it generates any increased traffic. Way down on the right I have a button for my site that I have yet to see used anywhere, not even on some crazy-ass button-heavy blogs. So I just kind of view my sidebar as my own little thing.

Hell, I don't think that many people even notice the fact that my subtitle changes during every refresh. I've done something like forty of the things and have gotten one comment once.

I don't know how other people view it all - is it all background noise? I know how I treat different, if someone has a random image array I'll refresh it a few times; if someone has a blogroll I click around the thing; I pay attention to menus and pictures and such. Unless it's an expandable menu or a click to another page - then I generally don't go hunting around. Because I am notoriously lazy. I do read archives...not in one sitting like some people but I'll peek around.

I guess I'm just trying to get a read on other people's blog-reading habits. Is an archive list worth the hassle? (Yeah, like I have so many more exciting things going on that I don't have the time, but still.)



update: I just re-read the email again that I mentioned and I don't actually know if it was a guy or a girl. Non-gender-specific names always throw me but I know more guys with this particular name than girls, so that's the way I went with it.

Is it really bad to mention a freaky deaky stalker in a blog entry? I don't know the psychology.

(note to "J" if s/he is reading this - I don't really think you're a freak. Not much, anyway.)

This post brought to you by the fine folks at Angry Hangover Land. ()

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I don't want to hear it. I have had too much emotionally invested in a Cubs win and I just simply cannot hear it.

They snatched a defeat right from the jaws of victory.

I'm still crying. So? So what.

It meant a lot. It was a validation of a lifetime, literally a lifetime, of love and support. The closest we've been since I've been alive and since you've been alive.

And now it's gone. Forgive me for getting emotional.

I'm not changing my template yet. Let me hold the dead body for a little while longer.

chicago's prodigal son returns

Okay, come on...Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins not only singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" but also doing the Harry Caray "ah one, ah two, ah three!" countdown? That's it right there. There's the rallying cry.

Game seven, seventh inning. Come the fuck on.

They can do it. I know they can do it.

Go Cubs!!!!

Pins and needles-ingly,


I am scared as hell to want this. I'm scared as hell for it to be this close. This is my childhood wrapped up with only two innings left to go. Can we say "visceral"? Cuz I think we can. ()

now that's good eatin'

I don't know if you've been following along with the progress of the comedy cookbook Steve is writing, but you should be. The recipes are such that you will gain weight simply by reading the ingredients (and damn him for featuring an almost entirely white dish this time around) but the real joy is in the writing. I usually have to stop to wipe my eyes a couple of times when I read his entries because I laugh so hard I cry, but the post about the potatoes was so funny that I had to leave the room to walk around so that I could catch my breath. He should rewrite the whole of "Angela's Ashes" and turn that into a movie.

Ah, that's some funny stuff right there.

Pointing out-ingly,


Waterproof mascara my ass - I look like Tammy Faye over here ()

you want obvious?

How about just eliminating the Pledge of Allegiance from schools altogether? Under God, over God, through God - pfftt, whatever. Just stop forcing kids to say the whole thing.

If I hear just one more argument over whether or not the "under God" should be stricken from the Pledge I'm going to declare myself a Separationist and sue the school for making my kid pledge her allegiance to a country I don't support, just on principle. I'll be like that guy who sued for reparations for slavery in the Bible or whatever it was - stolen gold, maybe? I can't remember what he was suing for but man is that guy my hero. The point he's making isn't that he honestly wants money - the bigger issue there is that, before anything can be considered in the case, the courts will have to decide if they're going to use the Bible as a factual account of events. How would you handle that, ya know? The first and only quote I heard about the case from a legal person called his claim "baseless". A story in the Bible is baseless. Ah, I love it. What a glorious mess that will be!

I mean it - I'm going to sue the school. What happens when your kids can't play with a toy nicely? You take it away from both of them. How about no pledge for anyone! Kids don't really know what they're saying, anyway. Leave them to mumble through the words every morning like we used to do. Have you ever listened to a kid who thinks no one can hear them? "I pledge allegiance...Tom's a fag...and I want to go out with Erica. To the re-pubic and dicks in masturbation, under God, indubitably, with misery and crust-butts for all!" Hell, the "under God" part is the only bit that they don't mess up.

No pledge at all! You just watch...I'm onto something here. Or maybe I'm just on something, I dunno.

Still - interesting idea.



I'm full of all sorts of dangerous ideas, I am. ()

i'm depressed - who has the chocolate?

I pulled out the steamer and the Van Morrison in preparation for cleaning and decided I was going to wear some short-shorts - nothing makes cleaning go faster than thinking to yourself, "Man, I bet I look hot doing this". Nevermind the fact that you're scrubbing a big scab of coagulated lamb blood from the bottom of the fridge where it leaked, unnoticed - you're happy to do it if you think your butt looks good.

So I grab my shorts from the closet and...hey, what's this? Oh, I remember these pants! These were my favorites - soft, brushed cotton in the richest shade of brown. Love these pants...I thought I lost these. I remember buying them at Marks & Spencer's the last time I was in England. Huh. These things look pretty small; that's weird. Did they shrink or something?

That's when I noticed the size tag. Oh. My. Gawd.

"Waist: 23 inches...Hips: 34 inches."

I shit you not. I tried taking a picture of the tag but those evil numbers suddenly opened their glowing red eyes and begain hissing at me and swiping with their claws.

Now, I'm not going to give you any hard numbers of how I'm stacked these days, but I will tell you that there's no way in hell I'd be fitting into those pants. I doubt I could get the damn things up over my knees.

The weirdest thing is that I don't remember a time when I haven't thought I should lose a few pounds but here is proof that I was, at some point in the recent past, sporting some fairly good measurements. 36-23-34. I didn't even notice. Didn't even think twice about it.

It's kind of like when you eat the last cookie in the bag, only you didn't notice it was the last cookie. Then you're like, "Damn - I wish I'd have known that one was the last one instead of scarfing it down like that." And therein lies the problem - I'm spending my time scarfing down whole bags of cookies. But I'm still blaming Andy. He should have let me know that I was putting on weight. Instead, all I ever heard from him were statements like, "Damn, girl - you be foxy fine. Now back up that fly booty and lemme tap dat ass!"

But I'm not foxy fine. This baby's got back, a wiggle to my walk and, not to put too fine a point on it, junk in my trunk. Looks like I'm going to have to cut back on my freebie foods and stop lying to myself...just because I'm only "tasting" while I cook, it still counts. Even if I eat something over the sink it still counts. I'm going to have to stop pretending my vodka is water and start actually drinking water. And I think I may have to reinstate my "Down with Whitey" diet - which is kind of like Atkins for dummies - where I stop eating white foods and foods that have once been white. (Like fries and cheese, stuff made from flour, etc.) Yeah, it's not perfect but it works and it's easy. I'll probably even start referring to my exercise machine in terms of working out instead of...well, we won't go there. I run a clean, family-friendly blog here and I'll not soil it with talk of ornate sexual rituals. I'm just not that kind of guy.

I've already done the hardest part - admitting I have a problem. I've also done the second hardest part - climbing onto my roof, shaking my fist angrily at the sky and shouting, "Damn it all - I will be foxy fine again!" The rest should be easy, right? Right?!?

Ah, screw it - I'll just get liposuction or sumpthin.



All this weight and yet, no increase in my boob size. Where's the justice, huh?!? ()

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

where's natalie-o?

In case anyone was curious about what I was up to today when I should have been blogging...

And yes, those are two (count 'em, two!) teeth in "No Longer Stupid" Nico's mouth. (update: here is the first post about being stupid and toothless, fyi.)



And he's even cuter in real life, if you could believe it. ()

you can't spell "dream job" without the letters L-E-G-O!

Lego is looking for a master builder to join their team and help them sit around creating Lego structures.

Man, that would be sweet.



Regular posts will return soon - never fear ()

Monday, October 13, 2003

hmmm...i really don't understand why they would target the fine folks in iowa...

link via geegaw

Let me get this straight...I'm selling my car on eBay and you, a guy in Nigeria, want to buy it. No red flag there! Okay, what are the payment terms? Cashier's check from a US bank? That sounds pretty good...wait, what was that? It's going to be made out for thousands and thousands of dollars over the final price for my car? Well...okay, I guess. No red flags there - hell, Wal-Mart lets you write checks for cash over the total amount all the time! Why sure, I'll just wire the money back to you in Nigeria! Cuz that's what us friendly folks in Iowa call "helping out".

(a week later)

Hello? Oh, hello Mr. Bank Manager. Yep, that was me! I know - that check was huge, wasn't it? Could've bought me a couple of new combines with that amount of money. Oh. Now hang on a minute there, what do you mean it was a fake check? I am responsible for all of that money? Well, I suppose I could find the fella's contact information and ask him for the money back - I'm sure he'd want to clear this up as much as I do. Why are you laughing? What does being from New York have to do with it - let me in on the joke! Hello? Hello...?



Don't look at me - I'm from the Illinois side ()

being loved by me has its perks

I'm not the kind of guy to toot my own horn so I'm not going to direct you over to Jack's place to read what a nice guy I am but I will tell you that his entry contains a picture of himself holding a bag of manna from heaven sent down Texas way by yours truly - Old Dutch Dill Pickle potato chips.

And guess what? He loves 'em.

That guy is frickin' adorable, isn't he? Twins hat, Minnesota shirt and pickle chips.

Just like I always pictured him.

I don't have to tell you how hard it was to keep the family away from the cookies and fudge I sent, either. Oddly, though, no one seemed much interested in the lefse, if you could imagine it.

If anyone needs some pickled herring you just let me know and I'll hook ya up.



I hope this doesn't ruin my reputation for being a mean, green mutha from outer space ()

Sunday, October 12, 2003

as napster goes, so goes kazaa

Kazaa backs plan that could spell an end to the days of free music.

They really do just have our best interests at heart, though. Every time you download a song, you download a little piece of communism. Think about it.



Looks like it's back to shoplifting for me! ()

let's knock down some old men, shall we?

I wasn't going to say anything about this since it's not really "my" part of the series, but seeing as how the last time I religiously followed the Cubs was under Zimmer's management I have some kind of proprietary feeling toward the guy.

Yeah, granted, Zimmer shouldn't have gone for Pedro - that's a given. But if you're a pitcher and being a dickhead by making light of hitting someone in the head with the ball right in front of a guy who had that happen to him twice you deserve a smack in the face.

Zimmer almost had to call it quits on two separate occasions because of a baseball in the head - he has a metal plate there now to protect his damn brain, for crying out loud! Certain shit just should not be done and Pedro crossed a major line.

Zimmer shouldn't have gone for him, but I can't say that I blame him. In fact, I think he showed a remarkable amount of restraint. Zimmer gave everything he had to the game of baseball and it could have ruined him forever - to see someone being so cavalier about hitting someone in the head would make anyone in his situation see red.

Now, another thing. If someone tries to hit you who really isn't much of a threat you deflect it. You do everything you can to deflect it without injuring the other person. You do not grab an old man by the head and throw him to the ground. To be honest, I don't believe Zimmer was going to hit him - I had the impression that he was going to grab Pedro by the shirt collar and give him a stern talking-to. You know, like old guys do. Finger wagging in the face and all that. Even if he was going to hit Pedro...well, come on. Pedro's, what, 31? A 31-year-old has to use that much force defending himself against a 72-year-old with a metal plate in his head? (Doesn't Zim have a plastic hip and knee, too?.)

Unless you're, say, Charles Atlas or Jack LaLanne, once you become a senior citizen you're off-limits. More so if you're in the shape that Zimmer is in.

You know what pisses me off? If Pedro had been hit by a woman, even a woman stronger than he is, and he threw her to the ground the guy wouldn't be playing baseball ever again. But hey, smack the old guy if you want - you gotta protect yourself.

Pedro deserves whatever he gets, including the loss of respect. There was absolutely no excuse for his actions.

In the entire melee of last night the image that will stay with me forever is watching Zim lying on the ground. I was so worried he wasn't going to get back up.

They're all lucky that they only ended up with fines. It's not an exaggeration to say that Pedro could have been facing charges of manslaughter if things would have gone only slightly differently.

You just don't hit old guys, period.

Pedro is a punk and his actions are indefensible, even for the most ardent Sox supporter.



And here I thought it would be Roger Clemens who made that game memorable ()