Friday, June 29, 2007

I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want...

And it is not a Spice Girls reunion.

Don't get me wrong. I liked the Spice Girls. I know all the words to "Wannabe." I have successfully explained that there are two Mel's in the group. I still have "Spice Up Your Life" on my iPod running playlist. I saw the goddamn movie in the theater.

But the Spice Girls had their time and place. And that is long gone. Trying to capture it again is just a useless money-grubbing grab in the dark.

You've got to be kidding me.

The Australian Department of Human Services has decided that Kylie Lannigan would make a great mother -- except that she is too fat.

I do understand that adoption agencies look at the overall health of the mother when considering adoption applications. But to base it on BMI when a mother is otherwise healthy? Sounds an awful lot like discrimination to me.

Life without girlfriends is not worth living.

Today was a bad day.

Munchkin and I drove the few hours to meet up with CPT Dick and do a little house hunting at his new duty station. He had done some of the initial legwork last week and told us that he was taking us to two places that were absolutely perfect for us.

Now, we've been married for several years now. I figured that he actually knew what he was talking about.

Needless it say, it was an absolute disaster. The first house had once been a grand affair but had been gutted into three separate apartments by a previous owner. But now, the new owner was trying to rent it out as a single family home with as little rehabbing as possible. So the place had three tiny kitchens but absolutely no room for a breakfast nook or pantry storage. In order to get between the two bedrooms on the second floor, you had to go down to the first floor and back up a separate staircase. But worse still, the place had no yard, no closet space, was literally right on a busy, busy street and I could see no evidence of any person under the age of 75 nearby. Not a great fit for a two-year-old and his might-as-well-be-single Mom who might need a support network.

In fairness, the place did have a beautiful deck that overlooked the river valley and CPT Dick was in love. I could just see him imagining the many BBQs he would have on that balcony, sipping beers as he looked out in the distance, soothed by the bubbling of the nearby water.

But all I could see, among the other issues with the house, was the huge gaps in the deck railing which my son could (and most likely would) fall through.

The second place was actually gorgeous. Fully rehabbed with open, airy rooms. A yard with plenty of room for Munchkin to run around in. And, a playground with a zipline (yes!) right around the corner. It was almost perfect. Really, the house had only one problem.

The place didn't have a kitchen.

And when I say it didn't have a kitchen, I am being literal. The room that would be the kitchen hadn't even been floored yet. There were no cabinets, no lines for hot and cold water, absolutely nothing. But the owner insisted that if we signed on the dotted line, there would be a kitchen there by the time we move in at the end of the month.

Ummm, yeah. Sure. I bet she has a bridge she could sell me real cheap, too. I told her that we'd be passing on the property.

On the drive home, CPT Dick took my frustration with the process personally. He said that he was sure the landlord could make that kitchen happen. That he had worked hard to find us places and that I was being too picky. That he had busted his ass all week to find a place and I didn't appreciate it. And as I tried to explain myself, explain that as a mother of a toddler that is soon to be on her own for 15-18 months I have certain needs (you know, one of them being a place to cook food), things just went totally downhill. Both of us were tired and cranky, and it just turned into one of those conversations where no one was understanding the other. Really, one of those conversations where no one wanted to understand the other. And so by the time we reached home, I was utterly miserable.

As soon as I walked in the door, I sent a long email to my girlfriend, telling her in detail about the day. I wasn't expecting an immediate reply. I just needed to vent.

But within seconds, she responded.

"Jesus, NEE. Next thing you know you're going to be expecting one of those new-fangled indoor bathrooms with a flush toilet. You are so high-maintenance."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ann, the world wants you to shut up.

Ann Coulter, nemesis to all things good and fair, has struck again.

Silke at the Hooah Wife and Friends blog put up an exchange from a Hardball segment the other night where Elizabeth Edwards called in to speak to Ann.

Edwards: You wrote a column a couple years ago which made fun of the moment of Charlie Dean’s death, and suggested that my husband had a bumper sticker on the back of his car that said ask me about my dead son. This
is not legitimate political dialogue.

Coulter: That’s now three years ago –

Edwards: It debases political dialogue. It drives people away from the process. We can’t have a debate about issues if you’re using this kind of language.…I’m making this call as a mother. I’m the mother of that boy who died. My children participate — these young people behind you are the age of my children. You’re asking them to participate in a dialogue that’s based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues and I don’t think that’s serving them or this country very well.

Coulter: I think we heard all we need to hear. The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking. No.

Way to miss the point, Ann. The wife of a presidential candidate called you out for the grubby, misinformed attention whore that you are. Period. But given the fact that Elizabeth Edwards has class and did so in an articulate and conscientious manner, I can see how you might not have understood. It's the rest of us that want you to stop speaking altogether.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hope there isn't any real news this week.

Because Paris goes free today.

And per, the cameras are already setting up outside the Lynwood Detention Center.

I can't do it again. I mean, she was in jail for about 20 days. For breaking her probation. This ain't news. And it's certainly not worthy of a Larry King interview.

And so I ask you all, in the hope that the media will get the message that this is not important enough to continue to cover, and more selfishly, for my own sanity, to boycott King's show, avoid news outlets that follow Paris home from jail, and please just let this story that is so not a story die.


And barring that, write to your local news bureau and request that they start covering the Anna Nicole story again. At least that was interesting.

When I'm not saying na-na-na-na-boo-boo...

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who read the story about higher IQs in eldest children with interest. People are all in a tizzy since this is an environmental effect that they might just be able to explain. The NY Times has published a follow-up article about why this phenomenon might occur. And in it, they make a really interesting suggestion:
Something else is at work, Dr. Zajonc said, and he has found evidence that tutoring — a natural role for older siblings — benefits the teacher more than it does the student. “Explaining something to a younger sibling solidifies your knowledge and allows you to grow more extensively,” he said. “The younger one is asking questions, and challenging meanings and explanations, and that will contribute to the intellectual maturity of the older one.” (Only children receive the benefit of
more parental attention but miss the opportunity to tutor a younger brother or

So, in point of fact, I shouldn't be sticking out my tongue and telling my sister to suck it at this finding. I should be thanking her for asking me all of those annoying questions over the years.

Somehow, someway it all ends up being about her.

(Sidenote: I wonder how long it will be before my MIL sends me this study as part of her scientific-reasons-why-I-should-provide-a-sibling-for-Munchkin campaign. I give it two days).

Monday, June 25, 2007

Maybe if I direct my thoughts enough, the Secret will go away.

"The Secret" is in the news again. No, not because those people in Darfur have finally realized its their negative thinking that has been causing all those atrocities and plan to turn it all around with a big hug-in this week. Though, wouldn't that be grand?

First, the AP has a piece about how the philosophy behind "The Secret" is nothing new -- tomes about the power of positive thinking have been around for centuries. Of course, so was the belief that demons caused mental illness and that you could rid a person of fever by simply draining copious quantities of their own blood. But that's neither here nor there, you know, because the Secret works!

But also -- finally! -- there is an accompanying piece criticizing Rhonda Byrne's book. You know, because the truth is that the Secret is bullshit. And potentially damaging bullshit at that.
While ''The Secret'' has become a pop culture phenomenon, it also has drawn critics who are not quiet about labeling the movement a fad, embarrassingly materialistic or the latest example of an American propensity of wanting something for nothing.

Some medical professionals suggest it could even lead to a blame-the-victim mentality and actually be dangerous to those suffering from serious illness or mental disorders.

Honestly, I don't know why people are so turned on by this book. Certainly, there is some truth to positive thinking in the idea that if you believe in yourself, and you work hard (ah, the catch!), you can achieve greatness. But this whole "law of attraction" thing just makes no sense to me. And I suppose it doesn't help that everyone I know who is really into this book seriously believes that they can sit on their butt all day and still achieve wealth and power, provided they are "seeing" all those riches coming their way.

But what also really interests me about this book is that so many successful people are supporting it. I mean, Oprah devoted two shows to this book. And I find that amazing because Oprah didn't get to where she is by sitting around visualizing a media empire. She worked her patootie off. I would think she'd be somewhat offended by The Secret's something-for-nothing philosophy. But instead, she's stumping for it, too.

I wish someone could explain this to me. I really do. Because as far as I can see, this is just a brilliant marketing ploy to part people with $15 (or more if you want the accompanying DVD) of their hard earned dollars for information that will ultimately hold them back from their dreams. But don't mind me. I'm probably just thinking too many fat thoughts today.

When babyproofing brainwashes you.

"They found the body of the pregnant woman in Ohio."

"Really? How did she die?"

"They don't know yet. Still waiting on the autopsy, I think. But they think the boyfriend did it."

"That's too bad. But I guess it was a foregone conclusion."

"Yeah. But you know what I just can't get over?"


"That if the boyfriend did it, that he left his two-year-old son alone in that house with a pool of bleach on the floor!"

"Are you serious?"

"Who knows what could have happened? How long he would have been there alone? He could have drank some of that bleach or gotten it in his eye and blinded himself. And they said there was broken furniture, what if he cut himself? Or he could have fallen or wandered outside. And I have to say, I really hope that their electrical sockets were properly covered."