Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Make me a Pie

As a rule, I try to avoid fights I can't win. In seventh grade, this girl Niki threatened she was going to kick my ass after I started talking smack about her. Since I had no doubt she'd succeed, I kept my big mouth shut until she calmed down and forgot my snide comments about her loose lips (and perhaps other applications of the word "loose"). In my adult years, I've learned I can't win some fights. My Mom is always going to be uncomfortable with homosexuality, Mitt Romney is still going to run for president no matter how many times I call him a little sissy boy (what did France do to him, I wonder?), and wingnuts are going to continue to be wingnuts no matter how liberally you apply logic to them. They just won't bend.

So of course, when I checked Universal Hub yesterday and saw that Celtics radio commentator Cedric Maxwell had taken issue with a female ref's call not by saying she'd made a bad call but by telling her to "get back in the kitchen" I had to get into it. Not only were the WEEI-wingnuts being referred to Universal Hub in droves, but they resorted to such wonderful ad hominem attacks on Adam Gaffin, who didn't even post the original writeup on the incident.

Of course, when I announced that Adam was my new platonic crush (the man is married!) and that Maxwell's argument was a "stupid fucking" argument, I got slammed too. Which is fine. Wingnuts are wont to do that. So here are my rebuttals to my detractors.

Detractor #1

Amy, Who was he arguing with? Or did you not hear the comments. There was no argument. In fact he said she was one of the better refs in the league after his mockery of Tommy Heinsohn. Also, I am very offended by your vulgar language. I do not find it funny. Anyone who agrees with me can be my platonic girlfriend.

While I appreciate the use of my own turn of phrase, Detractor #1 doesn't quite get my use of the word "argument." Just because nobody is yelling back at you like it's the Jerry Springer Show doesn't mean you're not making an argument by making a statement. Using the line of reason, "She made a bad call, she's a woman, she should get back into the kitchen and cook breakfast" is an argument. Not a strong or reasonable argument, but an argument nevertheless.

Also, I swear. I don't see what the big deal is about swearing on the internet. The well-spoken folks who came around to anonymously call the owner of the website were throwing around "pussy" like it was nothing. It must be because I'm a woman. Good thing I don't have any babies to kiss with this mouth, huh?

Detractor #2
You and adam deserve eachother. How about you stop making a big deal out of nothing?? Do you really think Max wants all women in the kitchen, did you even hear how he was imitating Tommy Heinsohn? Can you really be this dumb?

Well, I'm smart enough to find the space bar and shift key, hoss. I'd say I'm doing pretty well.

Detractor #3
It's not a "stupid fucking argument", there's no argument at all. It was a joke, you need to get over it. I bet if Dane Cook said it, you'd be eating up.

Nope. I hate Dane Cook with all the power of my soul. In fact, I hate all these comedians who are doing their best watered-down Bill Hicks or Chris Rock bits and fucking Jessica Simpson because of it. Bill Hicks swore a lot, yes, but he was also well-read, had good arguments for why he thought the way he did, and was actually funny.

And, to get to what (I think) was this guy's point-- yes, I laugh at women jokes in the right context. Cartman's "get in the kitchen and make me a pie" line to his mom is hilarious because Matt Parker and Trey Stone are making fun of jackholes who say these things by putting it in the mouth of this boy who doesn't know better. Grown men, like Maxwell and these anonymous internet boobs, should.

Detractor #4
You two should take a long walk off a short pier. Get a sense of humor you PC thugs! Maybe if someone gave you a proper seeing to every now and again you wouldn't be so bitter and miserable and quick to jump on these comments which mean absolutely nothing. Get bent the both of you.

I'm not about to burn my bra over what some radio broadcaster for the effing Celtics (sorry, kcee) has to say about women. However, this is not a something out of nothing situation. This guy said or repeated this "joke" about women when he'd just disparaged the female referee's call. Women, especially those in male-dominated fields, have to put up with a lot of bullshit just because they have vaginas and tits. I'm not saying this woman didn't make a bad call, but even joking that she did so because women belong in the kitchen and not in a sports arena is sexist. Sorry. Unless Maxwell is going to tell a male referee to "get back into your cubicle and be a wage slave to support your at-home wife" which is clunky and also not funny, it's going to upset my feminist sensibilities. It's the fact that Maxwell used this while he and the female ref were both on the clock. I don't tell my boss that she should get back in the kitchen because she didn't give me the raise I want because it's not appropriate in the workplace. Keep it to yourself.

Despite the fact that Maxwell apologized and now the issue's moot, I'm sure the argument will go on until this weekend over on Universal Hub, and I'm sure I'll be told that married Adam and I will be spending the rest of eternity in a humorless PC hell, while in heaven women wear aprons and serve their men while they watch Fear Factor and porn.

Monday, February 26, 2007

This Train's Going Express to Traumaville

Sometimes, I like to think I have psychic dreams. Not all the time, and certainly I don't take every dream I have as literal predictions of the truth. (This weekend's dream featured some futuristic spaceship-plane hybrid that was cool and I hope comes into reality someday.) I like when my dreams give me a heads-up on something I may need to be prepared for in the future. When I was in college, I had a dream that the kids I babysit for and I got split up while riding the train. My subconscious may have been helping me deal with feelings of powerlessness-- I had to run ahead to the next stop to catch the kids, but I couldn't run fast enough-- but after that dream I was always very careful loading and unloading the wee ones into the train. The dream served me well too-- only a week or so later an over-eager T driver tried to close the doors while Boy was still disembarking the train. Luckily, I managed to thrust my arms into the closing doors and grab him off the stairs.

More recently, I was on the T in Government Center on a busy weekend, and I watched a mother load her daughter into the train. The mother turned around to see if the rest of her family was behind her, and the doors started to close. The little girl who was loaded onto the train started to scream, and somebody standing in the doorway held the doors so the mother could get on the train. It was a very near miss. The little girl sobbed while her mother tried to comfort her. I gave the girl a smile, but she looked away and continued to sob. When she got off the train a couple of stops later, she clung to her mother for dear life.

This weekend, I was reading Universal Hub and came across this post, which is the story of a child who did actually get separated from their family on the T.

Being in a state of shock that a door was closing on me, and not wanting my 8-month-old to be hurt by the closing door, I backed up. The door then closed with my 7-year-old on the train. I panicked. I banged on the door and screamed that my daughter was on the train -- but to no avail. The train proceeded on.

Yikes. That poor kid. Her poor mother. This problem seems mainly centered on the Green Line. The other lines have more doors and no stairs to navigate into the train, so it's easy to heard kids inside. Also, the doors seem to remain open for longer on the other lines. Some T drivers on the Green Line basically flip the doors open for only a second, then close them up regardless of the fact that the very young or very old may take longer to get on or off the train, especially the older cars with steep stairs. I'm surprised this hasn't been more widely reported as a problem.

I don't know how many parents read this blog (sorry for the swearing, folks) but if you've got young kids, you need to discuss what to do if you get separated on the T. Make sure they know your home and cell numbers. Since cell phones don't work underground on the T, make sure kids know who to approach for help. If they're on the Green Line, make sure they know to talk to the driver of the car, or how to recognize a T official on a platform. (Good luck finding one, I know, but you don't want your kids admitting to any sketchball on the platform that they're without adult supervision.) Have your kid get off the train at the next stop and wait for you. As someone said to my comment on Universal Hub, make sure your kids know what stop you're using. It sounds extreme, but hopefully your kid will know how to handle a situation that never happens.

Friday, February 23, 2007

It's Time to Play the Music...

Isn't it funny how Friday is still as sweet, even after an abbreviated week?

Yesterday, I got The Muppet Show season 1 in from Netflix. As any good child of the 80s, many of my earliest memories are of the Muppets. My brother and I watched Muppet Babies when we were little. According to my baby book, the first movie I saw in a movie theater was The Muppets Take Manhattan. Apparently, I preferred to sit in the bathroom and have my Mom read the "story wall" to me. (Nosy from the beginning.) I had a Miss Piggy lunchbox. To this day, I enjoy doing a Swedish Chef impersonation. ("Bork bork bork!") I also remember when Jim Henson died. There were kids on TV in classrooms writing letters to Jim's family and my Mom explaining to me that Jim had died of the same kind of virulent pneumonia my dad died of, and it was probably the first time I'd felt a celebrity's death as more than a sad thing for someone other than me. Jim Henson also looked a lot like my dad, so I kind of related to him.

Anyway. I watched the first episode last night, which opened with Kermit introducing "a manah manah. Whatever that is." And I finally saw the video to correspond with the song "Manah Manah" which is just brilliant. Of course, YouTube has it, so here you go. A little something trippy to lighten up your Friday afternoon.

(Apologies to Amy, who has probably run screaming from the internet since I've posted this everywhere.)

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Oh my God. The terrorists have won. Kids who are on school trips are exempt from the new strict passport rules for US citizens reentering the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Caribbean.

The new passport requirements are expected to take effect as soon as January 2008. But under the expected announcement, children aged 15 or younger with parental consent will be allowed to cross the borders at land and sea entry points with a certified copy of their birth certificates rather than passports.

Children aged 16 through 18 traveling with school, religious, cultural or athletic groups and under adult supervision will also be allowed to travel with only their birth certificates.

Where is Bill O'Reilly? Where is Rush Limbaugh? Where is the indignation? Sure, it's great that nice Christian church groups can go help little brown people in Mexico or go blow their minds on french fries served with mayonnaise in Canada, but at some point a Muslim school group is going to want to visit Canada to check out a hockey game or some poutine. (Which, by the by, is awesome.) And then what? We're going to let these people import hormone-crazed, impressionable Muslim kids into the United States to open Al-Qaeda training camps in our suburbs? We're just going to let the terrorists waltz right through our borders with some falsified birth certificate and bombs strapped to their chests? TO THE FALLOUT SHELTERS.

I can see the point of tightening up border security and requiring passports, but it all seems kind of stupid when there are barren, security-less areas of the Canadian border for people to waltz right through without being checked at all. It's only a matter of time before the right-wing nut jobs ship a perfectly fine Muslim/Mexican school group off to Gitmo because they don't trust somebody's birth certificate.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Not Yet a Woman

I love celebrity hijinks as much as any other red-blooded American woman. I love to hear who a star is fucking, who she'd like to fuck, what makeup she wears, what shows she sees at Fashion Week, who she hates, who she got to design her house. As Cosmo has taught me, sharing celebrity gossip with other women helps forge friendships and doesn't have the risk involved in it that gossiping about your own lowly friends does. My coworkers and I love juicy gossip about who has the herp in Hollywood. I'm up on my politics, so I don't beat myself up for an occasional read of Us Weekly or People when it's available.

Lately, celebrity news has gone from the fun schadenfreude place to the negative, scary, okay-this-is-actual-human-suffering place. Watching Lindsay Lohan unravel isn't fun when you see how Anna Nicole Smith's passing is being treated, and watching Britney Spears have a nervous breakdown that is making some paparazzi very, very rich is gross. I don't like these stories about her. I can't imagine what kind of mental state she must be in to listen to her family, check into rehab, then check back out a day later. My own theory is that Britney has never had any downtime, ever, since she was about six years old. She's been so successful and in the business for so long that not touring, not making music, not working long days has her restless. And when you've got a pile of money and a hoard of people who are more than willing to help you spend it in perhaps not the best possible way, what else can you do? She's got no direction. She wants to have a plan, but she's never done her own thing. Someone has always told this girl what to do, when to do it, how it'll profit her. Now that she's an adult and expected to make those choices herself, she can't deal with it. So she goes out without panties, leaves her kids at home with someone (I hope), and acts a fool because it passes the time and makes her feel good.

And while I know Britney doesn't really read the internet too much (she does have her own website she updates from time to time), I'd like to say this to her, if she's listening. Get your cracker ass into rehab now. And stay there. Seriously. It was funny at first, but now you're a danger to yourself and your kids. When you have kids, you lose the right to be a self-indulgent child. Parents everywhere feel overwhelmed and scared, but they sack up because their kids need them. Something is very, very wrong when Kevin Federline is the best birth parent these kids could have. Don't think that your kids can't be taken away from you because you're famous. It'll take a while longer, but eventually you're going to do something to endanger them so much the state will fuck with you. Just stop now. Sort yourself out. Grow some peach fuzz. Start working again. Think. For the love of God, use your remaining brain cells and just think about what you're doing to yourself and your family.

I like Britney Spears. When you're on the treadmill and need a little push to continue running nothing helps like a dose of "Stronger" or my favorite, "Crazy" from the movie with Clarissa. I like that Britney's unapologetically white trash with money. I love the fantasy I have in my mind of her reuniting with Justin Timberlake for good and producing both hits and hit-making babies. But if she doesn't shape up, I won't have these things to enjoy.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


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It took a monumental effort. And by "monumental effort" I mean "getting up fifteen minutes early, running ass-over-teakettle downtown, and standing around in the cold." My coworker, K, and I decided to wait in line at the Copley Square ticket booth to get some tickets. I arrived at the appointed time to find no one waiting in line. It turns out Ticketmaster has this new system with a random number lottery where everyone waiting in line is given a number, a number is drawn and the line starts at that person and after. So even if you showed up first, you could potentially be last in line. We stopped to grab a coffee and went back to the ticket booth to find a small line forming. As we stood watching huge sheets of ice slide off the roof of the library onto the sidewalk, a longer line formed. Two women, possibly mother and daughter, bitched at the front of the line to swerve along the sidewalk because they were too close to the street.

"Do you work here?" Someone asked them. They shrieked back they did not. K and I rolled our eyes.

At about 9:30, the booth workers emerged with a roll of raffle tickets and they explained the system. The two bitching women started complaining again.

"So you're saying that you could be first in line but not get tickets? That hardly seems fair," they clucked.

"Ticketmaster makes us do it now," the ticket guy explained, clearly frustrated with the whole debacle, "I think it's to keep people from camping out." Which was evident after ten milliseconds of thinking about it, which neither of these harpies took the time to do.

"You watch," K said to me, "they'll be first in line."

Of course, once everyone in line had a ticket, the younger bitching woman got to be first in line and her bitching friend was second. "I'M GOING TO SEE THE POLICE!!" She hollered.

After the rest of us jockeyed into position, the booth opened and bitching woman got to buy her tickets. K and I were maybe eight people from the front of the line, but we felt miles away. We power-dialed Ticketmaster, but Verizon's circuits were too busy to handle the call. Bitching women finished. Some old Irish guys bought their tickets. So did a guy on a bike. A gay guy and his friend, who had been bragging about already having tickets from the presale, got to the counter.

"I want six of the best available seats for Sunday," he said. The guy presented him with an option. Gay Guy consulted with his friend. I rolled my eyes, knowing that if I got that close and didn't get tickets because they were discussing the best view of the stage I was going to kill one of them with my teeth. He bought his tickets, got out of the way, and his friend proceeded to discuss the finer points of the seating plan with him while time passed too quickly.

"Come the fuck on," I said out loud, "you've already got tickets. Move!"

It was my turn. I was giddy with excitement. I placed my order for six tickets (to sell to coworkers and friends who'd offered to buy me tickets should they have luck and I did not). I got them in pairs all around the park, which was fine. I paid my $595 (ouch) for the six tickets and walked away stunned. K got two tickets and ended up with really great seats for her and her husband. Like dorks, we fist-bumped and slam-danced into each other in celebration. I didn't get my birthday show, but that's okay. I can pretend I'm a July 29th baby for one year.

I've got to donate to a church, because my prayers have been answered. Thank you Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Vishnu, whomever pulled those strings for me. I greatly appreciate it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Answers to Questions

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope your tailbones are all in tact after two days of commuting to work by opening your coat and sailing across the ice. I'm hopeful that Saturday will lead to some thawing because I don't think I can handle watching people run across glare ice to catch the T to work for another week. It's nerve-wracking. I guess the T is hoping some cracked-open skulls will melt the ice more effectively than hiring someone to clear platforms properly.

I know Mitt Romney announced his candidacy for president this week, but it's not like we didn't know it was coming. Whatever. He didn't announce his intentions here in Massachusetts, which is fine with me. I don't understand why his campaign HQ is in the North End when he's much more popular in the midwest. Does Mitt really like lasagna? He seems like more of a Swedish meatballs kind of guy to me. With buttered noodles. No sauce.

I am unnaturally excited to see Music and Lyrics tonight. It's like an overdose of cuteness with both Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore in one movie. They could put Hugh Grant in a movie where he just read the boxes of various cold cereals with an occasional "blimey" or stutter thrown in and I'd pay $10.50 to see it. Yes, I know I'm falling prey to a moneymaking machine and killing my brain. Whatever. Hugh Grant is so DREAMY.

One of the things I really enjoy about my blog is StatCounter. This handy little device tells me where my readers are, where they came from, and how many hits I get. The most fascinating aspect of this is the "keyword analysis" tab, which shows me what people Google to land on my little corner of the internet. Some of the items are downright nasty (involving wax and cooters, mainly), but most of my random hits come from some very specific terms. To make it easier on everyone, I'll just answer your questions now.

  1. I don't know the truth behind any rumors about Maria Stephanos, including whether she's had a boob job or where she gets her clothes. Yes, I guess she's attractive. But I don't know the details of her life, her physique, or her anything for that matter.
  2. I don't know who the people are in the new Rembrandt commercial. I was too busy imagining the eight-year-old detailing to a shrink in twenty years how her babysitter exposed her to a heavy make-out session. "And he pulled on her lip! It was frightening to me! I thought he was hurting her! I USED TO LIKE TOOTHPASTE ADS!" I think one of the entertainment shows like Access Hollywood or Extra had a piece on the "actors" in the commercial earlier this week. Check there. I believe they're Italian or Spanish.
  3. Chikage Windler left Channel 7 in Boston in September of 2006. She's in Minnesota. See? She had bad hair, though she was lovely otherwise.
  4. Todd Gross was fired from Channel 7 in Boston in a rather abrupt fashion, as rumor has it. He still broadcasts the weather on his website and has endorsed hummus. No, I'm not kidding. I will bet you $100 American dollars that Todd Gross' ringtone is "White and Nerdy."

No, my ringtone is not "White and Nerdy." It's currently "Any Way You Want It" by Journey.

Enjoy your weekend, folks. Resist the urge to buy cars this weekend, and instead have elaborate fantasies about what a President with an actual brain could do for us.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside

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Learn it. Live it. Love it.

What did the meteorologists tell you? They warned you it was going to get really cold after the twelve inches of slush fell on Boston yesterday. They warned you to shovel your sidewalks and clear off your cars before it got cold because it's hard to move ice when it has a death-grip due to temperatures in the tens. Did you listen? Well, I don't know about you personally. Nobody at the MBTA listened because the Washington Square T stop was buried under two inches of ice. Nobody on my walk to the train listened as I nearly fell on a patch of smooth glare ice. I was stuck behind a kid walking to school who wiped out four times in five steps she took. She gave up and just crawled along on her knees.

What is it about bad weather in New England that makes people's decorum go out the window? Last night as I rode the train to my hot date with Ryan Seacrest, someone in the back of the train pulled the cord and the train didn't stop. One person went to the front of the train to explain that they had missed his stop quietly and politely, and the T driver said something about her not hearing that a stop had been requested due to a problem with the equipment. I didn't think this driver was being difficult-- she'd opened the door for me to run onto the train instead of motioning for me to wait. Another guy who was further back in the train took a different tack when faced with adversity.

"I pulled the cord for my GOD-damn stop, lady! And you blew right by! You tell us to pull the cord for our stop and even then you don't fuckin' stop!" As he disembarked at the next stop, I'm pretty sure he called her a cunt. I hope the guy fell in a snowdrift and is frozen like a caveman. Assholery doesn't solve assholery, jackass.

To further enrich my commute, this morning everyone whose train went out of service decided to cram into my train at Kenmore. Which I understand-- Kenmore station currently resembles a bombed-out building from WWII-era London and is just as drafty-- but not to the point when I have to support some fat jackass who shoved himself into the train with the one arm I was holding a rail with. Somebody's breath was foul. I suspected another guy of trying to rifle through my purse. I prayed that a song that would blow out my eardrums wouldn't come on my iPod because there was no way I could reach it in my coat pocket to turn the volume down.

I have to remember the good times yesterday, though. I was repeatedly grateful for my Marc Jacobs wellies, which represent the best $35 I've spent in the past six months. While dainty women who couldn't bear to look like the Gordon's Fisherman as I did weaved around waist-deep slush pits, I stomped right through. On my walk home, I kicked the rock-like chunks of snow the plows kicked up, relishing how they exploded at the toe of my boot. Yeah, I looked so ridiculous that a two-year-old giggled when she saw me, but I was warm and dry. It was also fun to watch cars pull to the curb and get stuck in two inches of rapidly freezing slush. There were easily four cars I saw in my brief travels last night spinning their tires in futility. I traipsed along in my rubber boots triumphantly, trying to enjoy what little winter we've got.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sweet Taste

Okay. Not only do I have a cute Valentine made by a kid under ten years of age, but I have these two sweet treats on my bleak Valentine's Day to warm the cockles of my heart.


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I am in love with that kid who President Bush is physically trying to hold down. He is just so angry about the state of affairs. I love his set jaw, steely gaze, and his "fuck you" demeanor toward the President of the United States. I couldn't keep that kind of composure around the vice principal at the age of seven, never mind the leader of the free world. I love that the teachers around this kid are smiling like they're in on the joke and delighted this kid had the cajones to say what he wanted.

I just don't get how Bush managed to blow a fluff junket. He had two options when this little seven-year-old voiced his opinion. Bush could have a) agreed with the kid, saying that he wanted the troops to stabilize Iraq enough to come home soon, yadda yadda optimism, or b):

He talked not of armies in Iraq but of 'armies of compassion' at home. Even the kids seemed confused. One asked why he came. 'I came to see you,' the president responded. As the cameras clicked away, a 7-year-old boy made peace signs. 'Put your hands down,' Bush chided playfully.

Yeah. Okay. Way to let a SEVEN YEAR OLD make you look like an idiot.

And there is also this tasty morsel:
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The sweet taste of liberty in your mouth, indeed.

"I'm not afraid to say it. Dessert has a well-known liberal agenda," Colbert said in a statement. "What I hope to do with this ice cream is bring some balance back to the freezer case."

God. I can't top that unless given a jar of maraschino cherries. God bless you, Stephen Colbert.

Cupid Shall Not Be Defeated

Oh for fuck's sake, it's Valentine's Day again? Didn't we just do this?

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I know, I know, I'm a bitter bitch because I don't like Valentine's Day. Yes, I'm some emo sad bastard because I don't get excited for doilies and roses and the stink of love and pheromones in the air. Yes, I'm some pinko commie liberal because I think Valentine's Day is a sham PR move by the chocolate/flower/greeting card industry to make money between Christmas and Mother's Day. "Can't you just enjoy it?" People coo at me.

No. No I can't. I'm sick of being single. I don't like it. I'm tired of my grandmother bugging me to bring somebody to a family function before she dies, for crying out loud. I'm tired of getting screwed on my taxes. I hate sitting and shivering on the couch by myself. Continue with the pity party ad nauseum.

This year, I'm not even going to worry about the pity party. Eldest made me a Valentine's Day card with a cute hand-drawn heart-shaped rose that I have out on my desk. My Mom got me a cute bracelet and a card. Tonight, I've got a hot date with my cool single friends, some Chinese food, and Ryan Seacrest that I'm really looking forward to. Then I think that I could still be in one of the crappy relationships I've had, I realize I'm better off on my own until someone genuinely good comes along. Plus, there's half-off candy to be had tomorrow, which I love.

Go die in a fire, Cupid. You won't get the best of me.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

They Would Wait for Him Here, The Same Place Every Year

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It's official, kids.


You know the drill. If you happen to find yourself in possession of a ticket, please think of me. I will pay up to $300. My coworkers and I have a multi-pronged attack plan involving the dissemination of credit card information, standing in line, calling on cell phones, sending carrier pigeons, rocket flares, and maybe even feigning a terminal illness to get ourselves into this concert. All rational thought has gone out the window. I will pay tons of money I don't have to see a band I have no recollection of during their first spin of fame because I was a toddler because THEY FUCKING ROCK.

Stop me if you've heard this before, but I became familiar with the Police when I bought their Message In a Box collection on tape for $20 at the Wrentham outlets. The set has every song from every album, along with some live versions and the infamous "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86," the recording of which was the straw that broke the band up. The tapes lived in my car for my freshman year at URI. I'd listen to the "new" Police tracks for a while, then change the tape for the grittier sound of their early days. I always mourned the fact I'd been born years too late to catch them live in their heyday. This concert will be a way for me to experience that in a way, even if I am years late in arriving to the party.

AND IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! How are you going to deny the birthday girl all she wants for her birthday? Nobody likes a pouty 26-year-old.

Monday, February 12, 2007

You Make Me Sick

Finally, it happened. I've been fighting it for weeks now and I'm sad to say I've succumbed.

I've got a cold.

On Saturday I woke up with a tiny cough. Generally, my coughs are booming, serious affairs to get my lungs clear again. This cough wasn't like that. I guess it was more of a pre-lung cough that was trying to clear my throat.

"Uh-oh," my Mom said, "sounds like you're coming down with something. Do you want the humidifier in your room?"

"Nah," I said.

"Are you sure? It'll help."

"Nah, I'll be fine."

I woke up on Sunday feeling lethargic, which was too bad because I had to cook for my Mom and help her clean her closet. I hacked daintily since my throat hurt. I zoned out on the train back to Boston, watching the sun set over the depressingly beautiful landscapes that surround the train tracks. My mind started wandering about as it does when I'm getting sick, not able to focus on one thing specifically, just putting ideas together in my brain for no good reason. I slogged my big bag of crap back to the family's house where the paternal grandparents were staying.

"Don't come in," Father said. "We're all sick."

"Too late," I croaked. Boy was lost in a computer game while Baby looked at me with bleary eyes.

I dragged myself to Kristen's house to watch the Grammys (POLICE! I much prefer pop-punk Sting to adult-contemporary-pussy Sting) and stopped at 7-Eleven to pick up some hot chocolate and Vitamin water to stave off illness. When it was 11pm and the show was still going, I went back home to crash. Everyone else was in bed, so I was as quiet as I could be climbing stairs in an old house. Just as I closed my bedroom door, Baby started crying. Instead of going to wash my face and adding to the commotion, I just slid into bed. Never has a twin bed felt so good. I was asleep in two minutes. During the night, I felt the glands in my throat swelling up, waking me up whenever I had to cough. I'm calling out sick, I thought to myself. But when wake-up time came, I dragged myself out of bed and into the bathroom. The ache in my back and the ache of my chest as is tightens up in advance of a cold was helped by the steam, but I was still miserable.

Of course, Wednesday is apparently going to be a crappy day and the idea of dragging my sick butt outside in a snow/sleet mix to come to work and feel sick isn't appealing. I'm already planning what I could do with the day if it comes down to it. Usually when I'm sick I park myself in front of the TV and watch horrible talk shows, but if the kids have a snow day I really can't watch Maury talk about paternity tests. Good thing I like Arthur.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Portrait of the Blogger on Liquid Crack

So Trader Joe's has this new item that is basically Mountain Dew meets Red Bull with some natural flavoring in it. It has 75mg of caffeine in it, per serving. A can has two servings. I drank the whole can. Now I'm jittery but my eyes are still heavy. It's rather unpleasant and I don't recommend it.

As you may know, last night Kristen and I got some gratis tickets to the Bruins game (thanks, Deb!) and were wicked close to the hockey players. I got my first official whiff of eu de hockey stank from nine rows back. Also, Chara is a fucking monster. However, the highlight of the evening for me was appearing on a Jumbo-tron. A group of about four ten-year-old boys were kitted out in Bruins bear foam hats and Bruins foam paws, so they got put on the scoreboard with Kristen and I in the corner of the shot. I know it's stupid, but I always wanted to be on a Jumbo-tron. That's how Pamela Anderson got her career started, which is notable in that while she had to put up with both Tommy Lee and Kid Rock (...ew), she got to appear in Borat. She should just quit now while she's ahead. I don't know what this means for me since I have no aspirations to be a Molson Girl but I think it is a sign of good fortune. If I don't post for a few days, it's because I've finally won the lottery. Or had a heart attack after too much sugar and caffeine. Whatever.

Hey! Did you guys hear that Jewel is playing South Station today?! Yeah, if it were 1996 we might give a shit. Nothing will get the workweek drones and college kids (and me) heading home to points South faster than some freestyle yodeling. The trains run on time tonight, friends!

Does anyone know who is hosting the Grammys? I know Ellen is hosting the Oscars, which is going to be cool. I think Stephen Colbert should host an awards show. Lots of wardrobe changes, and from what I hear, the kids love them some Colbert. And, as I've mentioned, I am fucking stoked that the Police are playing the Grammys. I am giving up some P-Bruins action to get back to Boston in time to watch the show. In other Police news, rumor has it the Police will be playing Fenway Park on my birthday. Like, the actual day of my birth. I have put my friends on notice, and if any of my wonderful readers have connections, I will pay you any amount of money for tickets to that show, even if you don't want to outright give them to me to celebrate the wonder of my birth.

I'm going to go all Miss Manners For the New Millennium on you, kids. Please turn your mobile phones to the "silent," "vibrate," or "off" functions while at work, especially if you work in a cubicle. At present, four of my coworkers and I are having audio-water-torture inflicted upon us because somebody left his or her phone on the "hear it from the Space Station" setting and is at a meeting while her voicemail indicator works. Beep. Beep. I'm about to go through her things and throw the fucking thing under a bus.

That is all. Have a good weekend, and I'll see you back at the office on Monday.

The Queen of White Trash is Dead...

Long live the Queen of white trash!

As the news of Anna Nicole Smith's death spread around my office like news of a car wreck outside on the street, I wasn't sure how to react. My first thought in my head was I'm surprised it took this long. Which is a horrible thing to think, so I just kept it to "Holy crap!" aloud. I think the media took this tack too, with posting a photo gallery called "Anna Nicole Remembered." Which was kind of funny since you had to be 18 or have a dad who subscribed to Playboy to see most pictures of Anna Nicole in her heyday in the early '90s. The lofty title of the photo gallery bothered me. This isn't exactly as deep a national period of sadness as when President Ford died but gave it the same treatment, probably to keep people clicking on their homepage instead of moving to E! online.

I'm sure a lot of hipsters and people who aren't really into pop culture will wonder what the big fucking deal is about a woman who showed her boobs for money dying. In the global sense of life, Anna Nicole Smith didn't matter very much. She didn't try to forge mideast peace. As far as I know, she never did any charity work. Her reality show made me want to take a shower so powerful was the smell of trash when I watched it. Why do we care about this woman who came from nothing and pretty much went back to nothing at the end of her life?

We care because Americans love people who lead the lives of the rich without any of the responsibility that comes with money. People paid out $39.99 to look at videos of Paris Hilton doing blow with that Girls Gone Wild guy. We love that Paris has all this money and fame without doing anything to get it. Our Horatio Alger stories have shifted significantly since the 1900s from working hard to get ahead to doing little and getting further ahead. As Dire Straits and Sting said, we want our money for nothing and our checks for free. Anna Nicole Smith basically lived that dream for us. She met J. Howard Marshall at a strip club and eventually married him, becoming an oil heiress who posed for Playboy. Then she got into fights over the estate of her late husband, had that horrible TV show, and made more money than most of us will ever see for doing comparatively little. On some level, that's what we all want (without the old guy husband).

I may be coming across as a bit crass, which isn't the case. I do feel bad for Anna Nicole-- she had a rough emotional life, especially at the end-- and her problems with drugs didn't help. I'm not belittling the loss to her family, but why should we who didn't know her care? I think it's because she got ahead without intellect or talent, which has become the new American dream.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Big Bird Needs You

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Won't you help them?

Through various email petitions I've signed, I receive emails. Generally, I delete them without reading them because it is my greatest fear that Jack Reed or Sheldon Whitehouse (BOO!) will know my name and address and forward all my calls to voicemail because I'm the constituent who bitches about everything under the sun. When it comes to gay rights, abortion legislation, or new Supreme Court appointees I take the time to write out an email. I have my short list of things I worry about because I care about them.

So when I got an email from MoveOn saying that President Bush is attempting to tinker with the already dismal funding to NPR and PBS, I signed the petition. As a kid without cable, I looked forward to watching Ernie (my favorite!), Bert, Big Bird, the Count and Cookie Monster in the afternoons. My Mom looked forward to me watching Sesame Street and Mister Roger's Neighborhood because I was out of her hair for an hour or so and still learning something. When I got older, I loved Reading Rainbow ("I enjoyed this book, but you don't have to take my word for it!"). I have vague memories of 3-2-1-Contact. More recently, I enjoyed watching Ken Burns' Jazz epic that I'd seen in parts in a class at Emerson. I cried when I watched the American Experience episode on RFK. I was enthralled by the episode of Frontline on the meth epidemic in America and how the government totally dropped the ball on preventing the proliferation of meth. PBS has given us Julia Child, the awesome creative work of Jim Henson, Arthur, and NOVA all for free. How can you not get behind that?

Then there's NPR. I spend my mornings with Bob Oakes on WBUR. I love A Prairie Home Companion. Car Talk is pretty funny too. It's talk radio with a brain. We need this.

So be you conservative or liberal, please sign this petition to let lawmakers know that the minimally-commercial programming PBS provides is important to you. Both kids and adults need thoughtful programming that's available to anyone with an antenna and a sense of curiosity.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New York, New York

I’m surprised that somebody in New York came up with this first. It sounds like something that’s right up Mayor Menino’s alley:

Kruger says he will introduce legislation on Wednesday to ban the use of gadgets such as Blackberry devices and video games while crossing the street.

"Government has an obligation to protect its citizenry," Kruger said in a telephone interview from Albany, the state capital. "This electronic gadgetry is reaching the point where it's becoming not only endemic but it's creating an atmosphere where we have a major public safety crisis at hand."

Here’s the thing. If you’re so stupid that you stroll out in front of traffic because you’re fiddling with the volume on your iPod, you probably should be removed from the gene pool. I view it as the government protecting me by not passing this legislation because I could someday have to deal with one of these idiots operating a motor vehicle in my vicinity or operating on me and the stupid, unobservant fuck could end up hurting me.

I also enjoy this bit of editorializing on the part of the Reuters intern who wrote this piece:
Tech-consuming New Yorkers trudge to work on sidewalks and subways like an army of drones, appearing to talk to themselves on wireless devices or swaying to seemingly silent tunes.

For fuck’s sake. If my options are listening to the dulcet tones of Jay-Z or listening to some college sophomore’s tales of inebriation, I’m going to get my drone on. I think if I had to navigate the T without my iPod I would probably be in jail within a week. I need the iPod to drone out the Borg headset yammerers.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Kids Say the Leftest Things

Thanks for the kind thoughts yesterday, everybody. I took an emergency run home to check in, and after some tears my Mom cheered up a little. We went out to dinner at a spendy place near our house and were treated to a Muzak rendition of "Walk on the Wild Side." As I said, nothing says "classy dinner" like a song about a transvestite.

I don't really have a whole bunch of rage to muster up today. I'm kind of in an emo kid mood. However, I will treat you to this out of the mouth of babes moment I had this weekend.

Eldest: Amy, if you could ask anybody from history any question, who would you ask and what question would you ask?

Me: Hmm. I don't know. I have a lot of questions.

Boy: I'd ask about slavery! Why would anybody think that's a good idea?

Eldest: I think I'd ask the guy who started slavery and who started segregation, but I would also like to ask President Bush why he started this stupid war in Iraq because it just doesn't make sense.

They don't watch much TV, but at least there's ample entertainment to be found. I also loved our macabre discussion about boiling the baby:

Boy: I can't wait to get home and take a bath in really hot water. I'm freezing!

Me: Well, we'll make sure the water's cool enough for Baby. We don't want to boil her alive.

Boy: HA! Don't boil the baby!

Baby: Don't boil the baby!

Boy: Boil an egg, don't boil the baby.

Me: Boil noodles, don't boil the baby.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Son of a bitch

I hate being an adult sometimes. I like that I can drink beer and stay out as late as I want, but I hate that I have to be aware of how much stuff sucks and that I have to be responsible to alleviate the sucking. I guess that's why I get to drink.

My Mom was supposed to have surgery to alleviate pressure on her back this Thursday. Last week, however, my brother called me to tell me that she'd gotten an infection in one of her teeth and had to have a tooth pulled. Since there's an infection in her body, her surgeon won't operate this week. Right now, it's not clear if he'll be able to operate on Monday, but if he can't she'll be waiting until March to have her surgery. Which would be fine if she weren't in much pain, but she can barely walk. Hell, she can barely sit. She called me to tell me about the postponing, and I took the news. Once I'd sent the email to my HR people to tell them that I'll be working for the rest of the week at least, I thought about how my Mom sounded. Her voice was quiet and soft, and she'd been crying. I'm going home tonight to check in with her and see how she is, even though I always feel powerless to help her.

She's only in her early fifties, and she's had two hip surgeries and now needs a back surgery. Then her tooth got fucked up and her car needs about $500 in repairs to pass inspection, which is overdue. She's not rolling in dough, so she's stressed, sick, broke, and unable to do anything. And neither am I, which drives me nuts. I wish I could fix her, or fix her car or the house, just do something. Luckily, the people I babysit for continue to be the nicest people on the face of the planet and are letting me take their car down to Rhode Island tonight so I can just see her for a while. I guess that's all I can do for now.

So, to whatever fucking karma or sprite or owner of the voodoo doll who's fucking up my Mom, knock it off. You win. Assholes.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Everybody Get Random

Here's the thing. It doesn't matter if you have a job if you're dead.

This may be the weirdest, awesomest, stupidest thing I've seen all week.

That's all I've got. Have a great weekend, y'all.

Adventures in Television

I grew up in a television family. We did other things too, like gardening when my Mom felt good or going shopping or just playing around, but we always loved TV. As a kid, I'd watch Sesame Street and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood on PBS in the mornings and afternoons. When I got older and was left to my own devices on hot summer days, I'd watch Mr. Ed and MASH reruns when it was too hot to move. I knew all about the cool toys from TV, what kind of clothes I should be wearing, and that I always wanted to crimp my hair but my Mom wouldn't let me bake my hair at the age of ten.

I've always admired the people I babysit for and how they've kept their kids away from the commercial aspects of the world. When the kids watch TV, they watch videos of Scooby-Doo. Personally, I hate Scooby-Doo and just admitted this to the kids this past weekend and I don't think they've quite recovered from the shock that someone they love can hate something they love so much. I think they have a video of Sesame Street songs and that's it. It's amazing to me that the kids, especially Eldest, hasn't revolted and demanded to watch something on network TV, but it hasn't happened yet.

Last night, I got home from post-work drinks with my coworkers and decided to watch My Name is Earl and The Office. Eldest stays up until 9pm, so she was jumping around on a trampoline when I flicked on the tiny set. The kids' dad seemed excited to watch some TV while their mother seemed vaguely annoyed. My Name is Earl came on, and before the first commercial break there were about three "dammits" and two "hells" and one "bitch" let loose. I blushed, and looked over at Eldest and her mother.

Eldest had buried her head in a pillow while Mother looked at the TV blankly. I always forget how swearing has become much more mainstream since I was a kid watching TV. When I'm with the kids, I keep my language to a minimum because they're not my kids and I don't want them learning how to insult each other with "stupid bitch" on my watch. If I should have kids someday, they're just going to learn swearing because I can't keep the language to myself for eighteen years. It's just not fucking possible.

We made it to the first commercial break and Eldest watched the commercials with rapt attention. She watched the Ford commercial where the car drives along a building ledge and remarked "that's not possible." Within two minutes of the show starting again, Eldest handed her mother a book and hid behind a pillow as talk of sex started.

"She's at the age where she knows it's not something she should watch, but she doesn't understand why," Mother explained.

"I can turn it off," I offered. "It's not a big deal."

"Also, I think she's a little bored. Don't worry about it."

We got through My Name is Earl and started in on The Office. Which had much discussion of strippers. Awesome. Eldest would pop in for the commercials, diving for her pillow when an ER preview came on with someone trapped inside a burning building, someone struggling for breath on a hospital gurney, and someone getting shot. I tried to explain the Jim/Pam/Karen love triangle to Mother. Then came this exchange.

"Didn't Ben Franklin have syphilis?" Pam asks the Ben Franklin actor Michael hired as a "stripper."

"What's syphilis?" Eldest asked the room. I kept my eyes glued to the TV so her parents could take that doozy.

"It's a disease," Father offered after an awkward silence.

"How do you get it? What does it do?"

Nobody fielded that one.

"I want the ads to come back on," Eldest said, rolling on the floor. "I like the toothpaste ads."

"That was a toothpaste ad," Mother said after a Rembrandt ad featuring two people making out heavily in a tight shot. After that, the commercial where the woman goes for a jog while her boyfriend follows her in a car blaring the Spice Girls came on, and I had to explain that he was doing that because the woman needed her iPod reward from the credit card company.

"Ohhhh," both Mother and Eldest said.

I am going to ruin this family.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Love is Like a Bomb

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Right back atcha, little buddy.

A Lite-Brite. Well, not a Lite-Brite, but several Lite-Brites shut down the city of Boston and had residents in a panic for some dumbass marketing campaign? And it took the cops all day to figure out these were Lite-Brites? Lite-Brites with cartoon characters on them? And the Lite-Brites have been up for weeks and nobody noticed them until yesterday? I sure do feel safe now.

I know in the post-9/11 world I'm supposed to be hyper-vigilant and respond to these things seriously until they're proven false alarms but I just don't believe these threats are real. It's like when I was in high school and some punk-ass kid would call in a bomb threat. All of us would sit around in the parking lot for hours, listening to the radio in some senior's car while the volunteer fire department went through the school to make sure there wasn't a bomb, which even the teachers knew. Nobody would want to blow up my podunk high school. One punk-ass kid did throw a molotov cocktail into the library window once, but he didn't build it right and it didn't catch the library on fire as he hoped and he ended up serving time for his "funny stunt." Maybe it's because the local news media carries breaking news any time a backpack is left on a park bench for five minutes that I'm not sensitive to these bomb scares anymore.

Logically, I know I should have been worried about this yesterday. But I wasn't. I guess if they'd found one real bomb and then started finding things everywhere I would have been worried, but they didn't and I wasn't. When Universal Hub broke the news that it was some guerrilla marketing campaign, it made sense to me. The one good thing that will come from this complete and utter breakdown of human reason on both the part of the Boston cops and Cartoon Network is it will put the Boston bomb squad/anti-terror people/whomever's job it is to check for suspicious goings-on on notice that perhaps they weren't doing such a bang-up job (pun intended) in looking for suspicious equipment since these Lite-Brites were hanging from various bridges for weeks and nobody thought anything of it until yesterday.

And how stoked are the Lite-Brite people? I don't think I've talked about a Lite-Brite for years until yesterday and now I can't stop imagining all the fun I used to have with that thing.