Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Problem With Lapdogs

I've been considering getting a lapdog. They are supposedly good company, and are stupidly loyal; never concerning themselves with the morality, integrity or benificence of their masters. They don't ask for much. A tummy rub, a crunchy bone, and a leg to hump every now and then keeps them perfectly happy. In return, they will bite the mailman, frighten small children off the lawn, and dispatch pesky solicitors. Quiet a handy little creature to have about, I thought.

But the problem with lapdogs, is that they are too stupid to realize that the hand that feeds them is just as likely to rub their nose in shit.

No, you can keep those tail wagging, butt sniffing, vomit lapping little buggers. I'll stick to cats. I like a species with a mind of its own.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

And now for something completely different....

A Book Review

I must confess to a penchant for Vampire Folklore. I don't know why. Perhaps because for me, the undead possess a tragic romanticism. My parents did not believe in censoring my reading material, so I read Bram Stoker's Dracula long before I could understand the feelings that it aroused in me. I think my very first movie star crush was Frank Langella when I was all of 10 years old. He made drinking blood oddly, disturbingly, deliciously sensual. I was both scared silly and completely titillated. And though campy by some standards, I absolutely adored Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. Even a completely lamentable performance by Tom Cruise could not spoil my delight in seeing her narcisstic protagonist and his progeny brought to life on the silver screen.

Needless to say, I'm always excited at the prospect of a new Vampire novel, but I've been burned a time or two. There is nothing worse than expecting Francis Ford Coppola and getting Quentin Tarantino. But the reviews were promising and the dust jacket summary was tantalizing. I decided to risk it.

Here's what Pulisher's Weekly had to say:

Starred Review. Considering the recent rush of door-stopping historical novels, first-timer Kostova is getting a big launch—fortunately, a lot here lives up to the hype. In 1972, a 16-year-old American living in Amsterdam finds a mysterious book in her diplomat father's library. The book is ancient, blank except for a sinister woodcut of a dragon and the word "Drakulya," but it's the letters tucked inside, dated 1930 and addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," that really pique her curiosity. Her widowed father, Paul, reluctantly provides pieces of a chilling story; it seems this ominous little book has a way of forcing itself on its owners, with terrifying results. Paul's former adviser at Oxford, Professor Rossi, became obsessed with researching Dracula and was convinced that he remained alive. When Rossi disappeared, Paul continued his quest with the help of another scholar, Helen, who had her own reasons for seeking the truth. As Paul relates these stories to his daughter, she secretly begins her own research. Kostova builds suspense by revealing the threads of her story as the narrator discovers them: what she's told, what she reads in old letters and, of course, what she discovers directly when the legendary threat of Dracula looms. Along with all the fascinating historical information, there's also a mounting casualty count, and the big showdown amps up the drama by pulling at the heartstrings at the same time it revels in the gruesome. Exotic locales, tantalizing history, a family legacy and a love of the bloodthirsty: it's hard to imagine that readers won't be bitten, too.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I loved this book. It had all the elements of a honest to goodness page-turner; romance, intrigue, compelling characters, rich historical detail, and of course, a story that, like the vampire itself, has withstood the test of time by capturing the the essence of our humanity and drawing upon our greatest fear.

There is an abbreviated epistolary format to this novel, which I normally do not care for. But Kostova's narrative is clean, fluid and dexterous. She pays careful attention to detail, but does not get mired down in pointless elaboration. There is an abundance of factual information here that at times, becomes convoluted and laborious. However, it is these same facts that lend a sense of authenticity and plausibility to a subject that can, and at the hands of less skilled individuals, often does become farcical. For that reason, this is not light reading, but it's well worth the time spent to get to heart of the story, which does not dissapoint.

My only criticism is that we did not get to spend more time with our villain. For all the time spent building up to his appearance, it is all too brief. Vlad Tepes, as both a literary and historical figure, is at once provocative and repugnant. His life and his legend posess great potential for literary exploration, and Kostova does a good job of exploiting that potential. But I would liked to have seen more interaction between Vlad and the other charcters, particularly Helen, who is desceded from him. I would also liked to have seen some examination and possibly illumination of his more human side, rather than just another comfortable characterization of the monster we already know so well.

If you're a lover of Vampire lore, this story is true to the roots of the legend. I think Stoker would be thoroughly entertained, as was I.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Mashed Potato Standard

When my youngest son was 6, he developed a deep and abiding interest in the Titanic that bordered on obsession. His bookshelf was crammed with books on Titanic and he collected more at every opportunity. His most prized possession was a submersible model of the fabled ship that magically broke apart as it sunk (sucker cost me fifty bucks on ebay).

He was thoroughly entranced by the movie. He would watch the part about the sinking over and over. I questioned the wisdom of allowing such a macabre pastime, but his fascination could not be squelched. He seemed to comprehend the scale and scope of the tragedy in a way that belied his six tender years.

He could tell you the date, time, and location of the sinking, and how fast it took the majestic ship to finally disappear into the frigid water. He knew the names of the captain and crew, and some of the passengers. He knew countless obscure facts and every day he committed more to memory.

In his estimation, anyone who didn’t know as much as he did about Titanic, simply was not worthy of his time or his favor.

Wouldn't it be nice if we as adults had such a straightforward and uncomplicated barometer for judging other people? I've always considered myself a pretty good judge of character, but recently, I've had reason to question that.

So I think from now on, I will only associate with people who like mashed potatoes. I really like mashed potatoes.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Perforation Generation

I don't know what moniker the media Gods have chosen to bestow upon the latest crop of twenty something up and comers, but I have a few suggestions I'd like to throw out there.

Tat-us Quo
Perforated Youth
The Perforation Generation
The Tat Pack
BodMod Squad

So, anyway. Far be if from me to criticize the pursuit of a trend. My teenage years were spent right smack dab in the middle of the 80's, and I doubt there has been any era before or since with such abundant opportunity for embarassing ourselves. And since my interest in trends waned significantly when keeping a distressingly diminutive human being from consuming the contents of a diaper or toddling into a well became the focus of my days, its no surprise that I am woefully unhip.

But never have I seen such a collection of inked and skewered flesh as I have encountered in the stylized and largely uncapitalized blogs of these young whippersnappers. They lead me to wonder when being trendy become so painful. And dangerous. As far as I know, fashion trends in the 80's were non-lethal, unless you count the risk of asphyxiation from aerosol fumes. And though we often let our common sense be overruled by our desire to be Like A Virgin, I don't think anybody ever contracted Hepatitis C or a raging bacterial infection from parachute pants, though I suppose a yeast infection or two could be blamed on that unfortunate fashion choice.

At the risk of sounding squarer than a saltine cracker...I simply don't get this trend. Primarily because it has got to hurt like hell. I'd say pushing pointy objects through my nipples would rank right up there with pube waxing, natural childbirth, and colorectal anything on my list of things to avoid.

I nursed my children, and I nursed them long enough to demonstrate my somewhat militant opposition to outmoded and puritanical childrearing practices. The unfortunate result of this was that my nurslings sprouted teeth. As newly betoothed babies are wont to do, they would periodically bite down with force roughly equal to that of a steel bear trap and steadfastly refuse to let go, fascinated and delighted by the inhuman shrieks of agony from the Mommy person.

The degree of pain was such that I fully expected to look down and see my nipple completely severed and nestled between the lips of my bloodthirsty cherub like a grisly pacifier. Surprisingly, both nipples are still intact, and in fact, never sustained any serious injury. But the memory of that pain haunts me, and I can't for the life of me understand why someone would choose to inflict such torturous pain upon such a lovely and obliging part of the female anatomy.

As for the defilement of the little man in the boat...I simply refuse to acknowledge that such a travesty would take place, as the mere thought of such makes me want to put my thumb in my mouth and go to my happy place for a very long time.

But even that pales in comparison to some of the body modifications found here. Be forewarned, these images are extreme and disturbing. Among the most shocking is something called a "genital bisection".

Nature, in her infinite wisdom, has broken copulation down into a process so simplistic that pretty much any man or beast can manage to reproduce. Its beautifully basic...insert tab A into slot B. It works every time. And yet, someone, somewhere, ostensibly under the influence of massive quantities of alchohol or mind altering drugs, decided that perhaps they could improve upon nature's delivery system by splitting it in two.

Yes. I'm serious.

Aside from the disturbing implications regarding the mental health of someone who would mutilate themselves in such a way, and the obvious procedural difficulties that might ensue, I surmise that the result of this would be much like placing one's thumb over the end of a garden hose, and I am hard pressed to see the appeal of going through life having to hold one's winkie together to avoid spraying bodily fluids hither and yon. Truly and profoundly perplexing.

Tattoos, though markedly less shocking, are for me, equally confusing. Perhaps because I find that the human body is already a thing of singular beauty, grace and artistry. In my opinion, marking the human flesh with ink is akin to spray painting graffiti on all the trees in Walden's Woods. Some would argue that tattooing and graffiti alike are valid contemporary art forms. That's highly debateable, but both, even when beautifully rendered, obscure and cheapen the natural beauty of what lies beneath. At a time in my life when I am struggling to maintain epidermal integrity, and still deluding myself about the efficacy of the alphahydroxyretinoidsalycilicsoyextractmicropeelabrasion compounds that I slather on it daily...I am mystified by the apparent dissatisfaction with the dewy splendour of young unsullied skin.

Well, perhaps it is just as well. Stretchmarks and varicose veins do not an ideal canvas make. And at this point, piercing anything that dangles or protrudes will only hasten its inevitable southward progress.

One encounters strange, strange things on the internet, and some of them can make a person feel like a piece of their innocence has been taken away. I think I'll go unearth my peg leg jeans and my Howard Jones cassette. I might even tease my bangs just a little. I need to think happy thoughts for a while.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Blogs are not Stupid

I'm giving serious consideration to changing the name of my blog.

I've been cruising around the blogosphere for a little over a month now, and I have to admit this blog thing is growing on me. I've enjoyed customizing my blog a great deal, and have learned a lot in the process. And though its not nearly as slick and polished as some of the blogs I've seen, it's not too shabby for someone who six weeks ago didn't know an anchor tag from an image tag. I am inordinately proud of it, despite its amateurish simplicity.

I'll even go so far as to admit that blogging has become Spiritual Lipstick for me. Indulging my creative side is something that has too often gotten put on the back burner in favor of a thousand endless domestic obligations. And though writing is something I do strictly for my own enjoyment, the pointlessness is sometimes hard to justify when there just aren't enough hours in the day for really important stuff such as the the fine art of stain removal.

But blogging has changed that. Now I have the satisfaction of knowing that someone, somewhere, might actually read my graniloquent blather and that's all I need to spur me into a flurry of creative energy. I'd forgotten how good that felt. Why that matters is uncertain, but it does. It absolutely does.

In short, I get it now.

Now, there are undeniably some really, really stupid blogs out there. Really. Stupid. But you know...who am I to say how someone should use their blog? Who am I to dictate what is and is not appropriately creative, sufficiently urbane or justifiably entertaining? If it makes some schlub happy to pretend he's the Hulk and write third person mono-syllabic narrative...who am I to trivialize that? This occurred to me when writing my previous entry. If being the Hulk is someone's Spiritual Lipstick...shame on me for belittling.

But likewise, there are some really, clever, insightful, creative and witty blogs out there. I have been searching for blogs with some purpose, some meaning, some REASON for existing. But I have overlooked the only reason that really matters. It makes people happy. And, if in the pursuit of happiness, some bloggers manage to entertain, enlighten, or touch much the better.

So, in light of my epiphany, the question arises...What should I rename my blog? *Some* blogs are Stupid? *Most* blogs are Stupid? Hmmm. Need to do some brainstorming on that. Feel free to drop any ideas you may have in my suggestion box.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Spiritual Lipstick

Avail yourself of the "next blog" button, and you will likely discover that there are some desperately unhappy people out there. They pour out their bitterness, loneliness and melancholy, just waiting for someone to come along and acknowledge their heartache; desperately hoping for validation that their misery is justified. Sometimes, there is an abundance of commiseration. Sometimes there is none.

I feel a subtle but salient stab of pity when the latter is true. The nurturing instinct with which nature has blessed womankind sometimes compels me to leave my own comment, assuring them that someone feels their pain, even if it is only a random stranger on the internet. The urge is especially strong if the author happens to be a confused teenager struggling through all that harrowing coming of age crap that the Cosmos insists we endure on the road to adulthood.

But along with the pity there is puzzlement. I wonder why they don't do something to change the circumstances that have brought them to the depths of despair, and why they wallow so contentedly in their discontent.

Before the advent of the internet, and my travels along the information superhighway, I always thought of myself as a high maintenance individual. Why? I suppose because I have high standards, though to be fair, I expect no more of people than I offer in return. Sure, I've been disappointed by life and the people in it a time or two. Who hasn't? Sure, it bothers me. But I pick myself up, dust myself off and move on. How?, you may ask. The answer is simple.


New lipstick is a little piece of happiness in a sleek and gleaming fuselage. A creamy profusion of just right color, sharply slanted and pristine; waiting to brighten my expectant lips. It has the power to transform not just my face, but my entire outlook. It gives me the courage and optimism to meet life challenges with the grace, strength, and resolve that I know I am capable of. Because new lipstick makes me realize that there are a million little things in this life that make the effort worthwhile.

Make up, and the use of it, is thought by some to embody the enslavement to an ideal; that of women as mere objects. That, quite frankly, is pseudo intllectual tripe. Since the dawn of time man and woman alike have adorned themselves with whatever means availabe. Its an avenue of self-expression that is by no means a contemporary concept. To pride oneself on one's appearance is neither shallow, nor is simply the manisfestation of the uniquely human love of beauty. Beauty makes people happy. And I have to wonder...are those who can't find joy in the simple beauty life offers us, doomed to suffer eternal ugliness of the spirit?

Am I suggesting that lipstick can fix a bad marriage, cure terminal illness, or bring back a lost loved one? No, certainly not. Am I suggesting that lipstick can cure clinical depression or other biochemical disorders? No. That would be monumentally ignorant. But I do think that those who can take comfort in simple pleasures amid great hardship and tribulation, are those who will rise above and triumph in the end. Those who find a way to succor and sustain their spirit will always come out on top.

Find your spiritual lipstick and apply it with a heavy hand.

Perhaps it is the warm anaesthesia of a crackling fire. Maybe it is the noble promise of a brand new book. It could be the decadance of a steaming, fragrant bath replete with with bubbles or the rich sweetness of a $4 calorie laden coffee creation. Perhaps it is the earthy satisfaction of hands covered in soil and fertilizer, or flour and sugar. Maybe it is even the sensual whisper of new not cotton underwear. All of these work well for me individually, or better yet, all together in a cataclysm of self-indulgence.

Whatever it is...revel in the comfort it brings you. Use it as a balm for your soul. Take refuge in the sheer hedonism without shame and without apology. There is nothing noble or erudite or insightful about suffering for suffering's sake, and if anyone suggests to you that enjoyment of such simple pleasures makes you slow-witted or superficial, you can feel perfectly justifed in handing them a Thesaurus to comfort them in their time of need.

Without lipstick, I might have actually killed my fiancee or myself all those years ago when he unabashedly announced that he was sleeping with by best friend. Instead, I recovered and lived to torment a far better man. The lipstick I bought that day was called "To the Rescue Red". I still have it. I don't wear it anymore, but it still serves me well.

(Dedicated to those who have no Spiritual Lipstick and those who have mocked mine. You know who you are. May you see the error of your ways and repent. Or, expect a media mail package from me.)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Random Blog Thoughts

You know those internet quizzes? How come you never see any that say...

You are a homicidal maniac. You have anger issues but deep down, you are like a Payday...extremely nutty on the outside, sweet and creamy on the inside. You disguise your sexual deviancy by dominating and abusing women, but you are happiest when you can dress up in yards of tafetta and go by the name "Mimi". The fictional character you relate to most is "Trashcan Man" from The Stand. Your color is black. Bleak, abyssal, impenetrable, black.

I don't get blog spam. Today I came accross a blog that at first glance, seemed legit. Then I realized it was just a bunch of random words strung together, with key words interspersed throughout. I really don't understand why or how this is supposed to generate income, but apparently, it does. Are there that many blockheads out there stumbling upon these cleverly disguised blogs and clicking indiscriminately ?Frankly, it annoys me that once again, spammers have invaded a place that normal people who HAVE A JOB go to have fun and relax.

Blog tag? People don't disgorge enough puerile irrelevant crap on their blogs, now we have to invent a game to encourage more? Quite possibly the stupidest idea I've ever seen.

Blog proselytizing. Its like take out for sinners. Generally speaking, don't people who actually want to find Jesus go looking for him? And also, generally speaking, wouldn't those people go to say...a church?

Foreign language blogs fill me with insatiable curiosity, especially those in Arabic and Chinese characters. I feel like an outsider; like I am being denied something really, really cool or important. It gives me a glimpse of what it might be like to be an immigrant to the United States; lonely, confused, shut out, misunderstood.

Some people have like...100 blogs on their blogroll. Do they actually read all these blogs, I wonder? Who has the time? Who knows that many people? Who finds that many blogs read worthy? I've been searching for weeks and I've found three that are not stupid. I suppose the definition of "not stupid" would be the sticking point there.

Background music....reeeeeeeeeaaaaallly not necessary. Not everyone is down with Gangsta Rap.

Why do people post all kinds of really depressing stuff on their blog and then apologize for it? Its YOUR blog. If you want to post a do it yourself guide to masturbation...go for it! But own it, take pride in it...and for God's sake don't apologize for it. Apologizing for stuff you continue to do just makes you look like a putz.

I see a lot of blogs that were created as part of an assignment. I really have to wonder if they are being graded on grammar, punctuation and spelling. My gut instinct, as well as line after line of commingling text, suggest they are not.

So there you have it...little snippets of thought regarding issues that are not sufficiently outrageous or interesting enough to warrant their own entry. I didn't include anything about the guy who has an entire blog dedicated to the Hulk, and in fact, has assumed the Hulk's identity and writes from his viewpoint. That, I think, warrants its own entry.

Friday, February 17, 2006


I have nothing blog related to opine about today, so I thought I would share a glimpse of Martyrdom, er...I mean, Motherhood, here in the BA household. I have boys. All boys. I had no brothers, so I am not privvy to the inner workings of the male mind, nor am I yet accostomed to the many ways in which they differ markedly from females, especially when it comes to the C word. Not that one. The other one. "Communication".

I remember being completely crushed on the pre-pubescent one's first day of kindergarten, when he declined to share the minutiae of his momentous day with me. I couldn't wait until he got home so I could hear everything; if he made new friends, if he liked his teacher; if the other kids brought their lunches in paper bags or super hero lunchboxes...I asked him question after question, until he simply withdrew and refused to speak at all. Mr. BA had gently chastised me, saying "He’s a boy honey, he’ll tell you when he’s ready. If you hound him, he’ll just tune you out." Mr. BA was right, and I have been forced to perfect the art of waiting for those little pearls of information that would spill exuberantly from female lips. Years later, I am still honing that skill.

But I'm learning. And I'm learning that since I have very little patience for female histrionics and melodrama, mothering boys suits me just fine. However, on occasion, they do manage to render me speechless, which, as you might have gathered, is no small feat. Recently, the pre-pubescent one and I had a conversation that underscored the fact that although he is not yet a man, his genetic legacy cannot be disputed.

BA Mom: Son, do you need to do Valentines for tomorrow?

PPO: Yeah. Are you coming the party?

BA Mom: What party?

: I think there's a party.

BA Mom: Why didn't I get a memo about it?

PPO: I don't know if there's a party. There might be.

BA Mom: Is there a handout I was supposed to have gotten? (ongoing source of conflict for us)

PPO: I don't know.

BA Mom: What made you think there was a party? Somebody must have mentioned something about it.

PPO: I don't remember.

BA Mom: Did Mrs. X (teacher) say there would be one?

PPO: No.

Me: Did Mrs Y. (room mom) say there would be one?


BA Mom Stares blankly at the pre-pubescent one.

PPO: What???

BA Mom: (Sighing) Nothing.

PPO: So...are you coming to the party?

Am I suggesting that men don't listen? Ummmm. No. That would be sexist and wrong. But since this child is in the gifted program, I'm not concerned with his critical thinking skills. Make of that what you will.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Please Don't Piss on the Rug

Does it occur to anyone else that the most rabid champions of free speech are also the most grievous abusers of that privilege? It's as if they believe that freedom of speech exists for the sole purpose of allowing them to engage in the most offensive behavior possible, while protecting them from the logical and just consequences of that behavior. Nowhere is this more in evidence than the world wide web, where, thanks to relative anonymity, people are already less inclined to follow otherwise ingrained social conventions.

You may be wondering what has prompted me to address such a complex and hotly contested issue as freedom of speech. I wonder at the folly of it myself. But some recent experiences have made it somewhat of a thorn in my side, and coincidentally, today I ran accross a Blog entitled "Censorship by Blogger". I won't link it, because I refuse to be the vehicle through which he recieves the attention he so obviously craves, but you can find it easily enough if you are so inclined. His claim is that blogger de-indexed his blog because it was (ostensibly) politically offensive.

He opines that Blogger Administrators and Staff members are too slow-sitted to identify any but the most clearly profane or offensive blogs, and too obtuse to distinguish the many shades of gray that arise with with such subjective issues. Likewise, blog readers. He strenuously objects to the presence of the flag button on that premise. I find it puzzling that someone so vehemently opposed to bureaucratic aegis, also opposes self-policing. I would be curious to know how he proposes that an entity such as Blogger insure the integrity of its domain? Or does he think that they should simply let their investment of time and money be defiled by people who can't be bothered to behave themselves in someone else's house?

And that's how I see it, frankly. If someone invites you into their home, and you promptly piss on the rug, then they are quite justified in asking you to clean it up. They are equally justified in asking you to leave and never come back. Unless you have paid for the privilege of pissing on the rug, (I understand some folks enjoy that sort of thing) your rights have not been infringed upon.

It's surprising that someone so well acquainted with and fiercely protective of the tenets of the first amendment, does not understand that with freedom, comes responsiblity. If we cannot exercise our freedoms wisely, then we are bound to lose them, one by one, through nobody's fault but our own. Who after all, wishes to live in a society with no standards of behavior or decorum? Nobody. Not even those who demonstrate contempt for them. In fact, they eagerly exploit them without demur when it serves their purpose. I'd be willing to bet that Mr. Blogger Censorship's comments are moderated.

To be fair, he is not the only one guilty of this. You can find people just like him on every web community, blogsite, and gaming venue that's out there. They move in, readily accepting the privileges and hospitality extended to them, often free of charge. Like bad houseguests, they make themselves comfortable, put their feet up on the furniture, eat the food in the refrigerator, neglect to replace the toilet paper, leave a ring in the bathtub, and yes...piss on the rug.

When asked to amend their behavior, they become outraged, indignant, insulting. They claim their rights have been denied them. They claim that since there was no rule against pissing on the rug when they got there, they have been unfairly admonished. In retaliation, they escalate their boorish behavior, and when, quite naturally they are then asked to leave, they declare that they were the life of the party. To prove this point, they endeavor to lure other guests away with any means necessary, including slander and libel. So wrapped up are they in the drama and their starring role in it, that they fail to hear the collective sigh of relief when at last they are gone and the door barred behind them. The rest of party goers quietly clean up the mess on the rug, and resume merrymaking.

Freedom is truly a wonderful thing. Mr. Blogger Censorship has the freedom to leave if he is unhappy with the service, the rules, or the format. He can find another place where pissing on the rug isn't against the rules. And yet, he remains here, which probably means that pissing on the rug is a privilege that doesn't come cheap. But, as we all know, there is no publicity like bad publicity and I have to wonder if perhaps that is why, despite his tantrum, they haven't kicked his contentious butt to the curb. I find the irony of that quite delicious...don't you Mr. Blogger Censorship?

I have no answers as to how we should define free speech. But I do know its absolutely worth defending. I also know that those who invoke it most, usually deserve it least. There are places in this world where political dissidents are still put to death. Perhaps a trip to one of those far flung places would put things into proper perspective for Mr. Blogger Censorship.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Not Feeling the Love

Today its seems that bloggers everywhere are high on the effluvium of a billion slaughtered roses, whose reeking beribboned corpses are being shamelessly hawked to clueless and desperate husbands, boyfriends and partners accross the world.

Yes, love and materialism are in the air and scores of women can scarcely contain their glee at the prospect of being shamelessly and perhaps a little fearfully plied with overpriced candy, gaudy crimson hued jewelry, and clumsy endearments.

Valentines Day is nothing more than a Capitalist media-driven feeding frenzy, designed to exploit our emotional insecurities and ensure a lifetime of enslavement to an imaginary ideal...true love and perfect romance. I hereby refuse to pander to this commercial blackmail, and will cease to acknowledge Valentines Day from this day forward.

Okay. So I forgot. Yes, me. The woman.

Bloggers, do not concern yourselves with repenting. I'll take it from here.

Monday, February 13, 2006


So....what do we suppose is the topic du jour in blogland today. Any guesses? I'll give you two hints: It involves testosterone and buckshot.

Yes, there is such a dearth of newsworthy topics and issues that Dick Cheney accidentally capping someone in the kisser has got tongues wagging all over blogland. The Liberals have pounced on the incident like a dog on a bone, and are drooling copiously over all the details, gnawing and worrying it with the kind of canine diligence that only Liberals can muster.

On one blog it was even suggested that Cheney shot his companion on purpose. Yes, that's just the kind of scenario a high-profile leader and public servant who has all manner of personnel and resources at his disposal would employ to off an elderly adversary. Crazy like a fox, that one. Yes, this is the same man some would have us believe is so wily, so devious, and so unprincipled as to be wholly untrustworthy and dangerous to a criminal degree. And yet...he managed to not only screw up a simple whack job, but to draw national media attention to himself with his blunder. Huh.

Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not thrilled about canned hunts so in that respect, I certainly do not condone his actions. But Dick Cheney isn't the first or the only outdoorsman to participate in such. And he isn't the first or only outdoorsman to accidentally shoot some idiot who stepped into his line of sight. It was simple stupidity, not attempted homicide.

This is not news. This is not a conspiracy of any kind. This is not a matter of national security. If we're going to wax paranoid, can we at least find something plausible to affect an imaginary national crisis?


ADDENDUM: I have been informed, via a rather curt email, that I misapprehended the statement about the shooting being intentional. Apparently, the blogger in question meant to imply that Cheney shot his pal to divert attention from Bush, who is surely up to no good. Hokay. Marginally more plausible than cold blooded murder, but equally stupid. Nevertheless, I appreciate the clarification. I like to make sure I am basing my contempt upon the applicable paranoid leftist bloviation.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Potty Mouth

My mother, who was, in many ways, amazingly open minded for her day, was amazingly puritanical in others. For most of my growing up years, she was a hairdresser. Those otherwise firmly in the closet, were respected and accepted in this industry. As a result, my mother accepted even the most flamboyant queen with forward thinking affability.

Though we lived in the land of Catholicism, my parents were Baptist. While shacking up was not really encouraged, nor was it touted as the surest and fastest route to hellfire and damnation. She certainly wouldn't have wanted her daughters to enter into such an arrangement, but I think the resigned herself to the fact that it was the logical result of a society too long held captive by anitquated and oppressive ideals.

So the long and short of it is, that sinners and queers didn't phase her a bit, but she simply could not abide a potty mouth.

As children, we were forbidden from using even marginally disagreeable language. "Fart" for example. An alternative was never discussed, and farting was the ever present elephant in the room at our house. Piss, crap, pissed off, idiot, moron, retard, buttmunch...any anatomical and/or scatalogical slang deemed unacceptably crude...all of these were prohibited. Real swear words were of course, absolutely verbotten. My Dad occasionally managed to slip one of the lesser profanities past her, although he paid for it with reproving glances and stony silence until he had demonstrated his abundant contrition. We all wondered what would happen if the grand daddy of all swear words was ever uttered in her presence. The prospect, though vague, was horrifying enough to prevent us from ever taking steps to find out.

We didn't understand all the fuss over mere words. When asked my Mom would say "I'm not interested in raising trash." or "Smart people use smart words." Likewise, we were not allowed to use any of the many widely accepted bastardizations of the English Language, which we found equally archaic and eye-rollingly uncool. But my Mom, who posessed neither a fancy wardrobe, an expensively appointed home, or a prestigious pedigree, was nonetheless described as having "class". She understood that how one is perceived by the world is a matter of choice. And though we were undeniably poor, she would not allow her offspring to be further disadvantaged by the stigma of ignorance or apathy.

Now, that is not to suggest that my mother herself never uttered a swear word. She was human, and of course, lost her temper and her cool on occasion. But those instances were so rare, as to carry a strange kind of power. When my Mom swore, we knew she had been pushed to her limit.

I was 23 years old before I ever heard my Mom use the F word. On my wedding day, mere moments before walking down the aisle, it was discovered that the seamstress had delivered the wrong dress to the church, and then promptly left the country for a visit to her family in El Salvador. Being a size 22 and still held together with straight pins, the dress would not suffice. My mother, in her typical take charge fashion, got on the phone with the dress shop and let loose a stream of invective the likes of which I had never heard pass her lips; including, yes...the f bomb. The store delivered a dress, spot cleaned and pressed, within thirty minutes. It was the demo model of my own dress, and was somewhat ill-fitting, but the wedding went on as planned.

Afterwards, my Mother professed shame at her use of such language, but she didn't look ashamed. She looked satisfied. I was shocked. I was amazed. I was impressed as hell.

So what exactly is my point and how is it related to blogs? Simply this: There is a shocking amount of gratuitous profanity, sophomoric sexual banter, and hackneyed, ill-conceived slang being bandied about by those who have the nerve to proclaim themselves "writers" by virtue of some half-literate commentary on the WWW. To what end, I simply can't imagine, as I doubt anybody wants to be perceived as the boorish simpleton that such language would suggest. I suspect one of two possibilities. Either they are completely oblivious to how they are being perceived, or they take some kind of perverse pride in their half-baked buffoonery.

And though I do employ and enjoy a well timed epithet now and then, I am utterly comtemptuous of those who habitually choose such an inelegant and apathetic manner of expressing themselves when there are so many resplendant words at their disposal. Language is a vehicle of singular beauty and complexity. The written word is a medium that allows us to express all the beauty, frailty, wonder and wisdom of the human condition. To call one's self a wordsmith, one must be able to bend words to one's purpose with intelligence and dignity, as well as respect for, and a love of the craft.

Failing that, one should consider taking up something more suited to one's talents, such as garbage collector, pugilist, or pornographer. I mean it. Don't make me tell your Mom. Or mine.

(Dedicated to all those who needed a dictionary to get through this piece. Look up "repent" while you're at it.)

Friday, February 10, 2006


"Mid-Life Crisis"

Webster's Defines Mid Life Crisis as "a period of psychological doubt and anxiety that some people experience in middle age."

In my callous, ego-centric and myopic youth, I often chuckled derisively at the sight of a balding fiftiesh man nattily attired and driving a red hot muscle car down the ineterstate with the top down, heedless of his comb-over flapping comically in the wind; a banner proclaiming his dotage to the world. "Get a Life, Grandpa" I would mutter, more shaken than I cared to admit at the glaring reminder that youth is fleeting and mortality looms. I have death issues, you see.

If I had looked more closely, with more experienced eyes, and without the self absorption that is the hallmark of youth, I would have seen his smile of utter contentment and confident indifference. I would have seen someone high on life, and quite clearly not searching for his lost identity or mourning his misspent youth, but rather, enjoying the just rewards for a life of hard work and sacrifice.

In other words...that car is not a metaphor for anything other than the fact that for the first time in his life, he has no children bleeding him dry, his mortgage is paid, and his nest nicely feathered. He can afford what he wants, and he has the chutzpah to drive it with no excuses or apologies.

As I edge ever closer to forty, a prospect that would once have had me curled up in the fetal position with my thumb in my mouth, clutching a jar of Creme de La Mer to my breast, I realize that it isn't middle age that's a time of crisis. On the I get older, the easier things become. If I am honest I have to admit that while I certainly don't relish the thought of growing old, nor would I voluntarily return to those years of twenty something angst and uncertainty.

Its been a long time since I had to survive on condiment sandwiches and kool-aid until payday. Or wonder if that guy I'm seeing is going to disappear like a fart in the wind exactly 3 seconds after copulation. Or ponder why my new infant takes more comfort from the roar of the vacuum than the beat of his mother's heart, and why that feels like my fault. Undoubtedly, such tribulation built my character and forged me into the adult I am today, for which I am duly grateful.

But ya know...I'm liking where I'm at. And I most assuredly am not experiencing any psychological doubt beyond whether I really have the butt for low rise boot cut jeans.

For that reason, I am submitting the following for the kind people at Webster's:

Dear Sirs:

I submit that the term "Mid-Life Crisis" is an egregious and misleading misnomer. I would like to respectfully request that it be revised as follows:

"Mid-life Respite"

I introduce the following visual aid to illustrate my point. Dude looks pretty happy to me.

Thank you for your kind consideration of this matter.

Sincerely Yours,
Blog Antagonist; eagerly awaiting Mid-Life Crisis/Respite

(Dedicated to bloggers compelled to lament ad nauseum about getting old.

"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." ~Samuel Ullman

Embrace it or repent.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


If one is a novice blogger, and has only a rudimentary understanding of HTML, despite the fact that one's husband is a twenty year programming veteran and can read and write code that resembles a polyalphabetic subsitution cipher of such startling complexity that Robert Langdon himself would throw up his hands in defeat, (Remember when you were a kid and would pretend to be an expert typist who could type like a gazillion words a minute without even glancing at the keys?) one should take a few steps to ensure the integrity of one's blog before endeavoring to tamper with said code on a lark, to impress one's husband with one's new found html skills.

First, save the original customized template in a word document or notepad. Second, remember that there is a "clear edits" button before commencing to freak out. Third, be cognizant of the fact that the preview function is a lying son of a whore and cannot be trusted. Fourth, be prepared to throw one's self at the mercy of one's spouse, and resist the urge to backhand him with one of those cast iron frying pans they seem so enamored of here in the south when he chortles at your charming ineptitude.

Now back to your originally scheduled and perfectly adequate blog.


Running a close third behind religious fundamentalist and political dissident blogs, are the those belonging to self-proclaimed femininazis. Though third in prevailance, they are by no means a quiet or insignificant presence.

In general, I have no problem with people labelling themselves however they see fit. I think its all a bit silly and pointless, but its also harmless enough. So if it makes people feel important, I really have no objection. But I do have a problem with feminists who loudly assert themselves as such. Why? Because I believe all women are feminists at heart. One does not have to buy into all the female empowerment exhortation to believe that women can accomplish absolutely anything. One does not have to be a devotee of Betty Friedan (although, The Feminist Mystique is definitely worth reading) to understand that women posess a unique and indomitable strength of spirit. One does not have to eschew the partnership or support of men to grasp the concept of female autonomy and equality.

All that is required to be a feminist, is to believe in the power, potential, and perspicacity of women. Even if we exist in wholesale ignorance of our own strength, to recognize it in other women is to acknowledge it in ourselves. And when, either by design or happenstance, we are confronted with something that forces us to draw upon reserves we did not know we posessed, we meet the challenge with the quiet but fierce determinaton that is the legacy of our sex.

Elizabeth I was, in many ways, the original feminist though neither the concept nor the word existed during the time of her reign. In an era when women were mere chattel, she was absolutely convinced of her sovereignty. In an age when women were thought indolent, inconstant and insipid, she was confident in her intellect and the rectitude of her rule. Elizabeth did not live by a laundry list of principles that would have allowed her to proclaim some hackneyed ideological designation. The irony would have amused her as much as the need for precepts would have mystified her. She simply lived her life as she saw fit, even constrained as she was by convention and religious dogma. Long before Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Margaret Sanger, she believed in herself and fiercely embraced the one and only doctrine that feminism need sanction...Freedom.

So how does this translate into modern day idealism? After all, its no longer about the right to vote, the right to life, or equality in the workplace.

Well, the feminazis would have you believe that to be a feminist means adopting a rigid set of standards and then defending them with the ferocity and zeal that only the very conflicted er, I mean, convicted can muster. It means excluding those who don't live up to those standards in an effort to preserve their dubious integrity and tenuous superiority. They like to assert themselves as free thinkers and defenders of equality, when in reality, they are simply using a convenient label to validate and codify their own choices. They do not celebrate or embrace the gift of choice itself, but belittle those not in keeping with their own narrow view of womanhood. They do us a disservice by robbing us of the freedom our forebearers fought so hard to win.

I stay at home. I raise children and keep house. Sometimes I even bake cookies and engage in other domestic pursuits that would undoubtedly make the most staunch feminist blanche with horror. In many ways, I am a throwback to the days when women were marginalized and subjugated. And yet, I call myself a feminist. How can that possibly be?

Thanks to feminism, I am assured of the value of my choice, and I do not feel honor bound to join the workforce and prove my worth to the world. Because for me, it is not a movement, or a belief system, or a lifestyle. It is the simple freedom to choose. It is the lack of any preconceived ideas about what a woman should be, and do and aspire to, as well as the knowledge and conviction that she can be, and do, and aspire to anything her heart desires.

Thank you Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Susan and Margaret. Your sacrifice has made the world a better place for women, even if some have yet to realize it's about choosing your own destinty, rather than being a slave to a cause.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Not Only Not Stupid....

...but right on the money.

If I weren't already happily married, I'd say I had found my soulmate. The utter contempt for senselelss inanity, the unabashedly derisive metaphors, the well crafted but undeniably protracted sentences, the three and even four syllable words, such as "alliteration" and "entendres"...(((SWOON))).

This gentleman says what I have been trying to say, but better. Of course, the rest of his blog is stupid, (sorry Kev, nothing personal) but its inarguably a higher caliber stupidity, and it is well worth the minimal amount of clicking required to read that one entry. Its witty, insightful, sardonic and exceedingly apropos. Kudos Kevin.

Cocktails with Kevin

Things I don't get.

My creative juices have dried up in the face of a small personal crisis, so what you get today is a short list of things I don't:

  • Anime. This is art? In my humble opinion, it is eerily childlike, blatantly sexualized, thinly disguised pedophiliac masturbatory fodder.

  • Hummers. Let's bring this down to the lowest common denominator, shall we? Show me a guy who drives a Hummer and I'll show you a guy with a small one. Guaranteed.

  • Football. I have no comment. Grown men in tight pants pummeling one another defies explanation.

  • Sushi. I'm as gastonomically adventerous as the next person. But seriously, have you seen some of the stuff Japanese people eat? I'm not too keen on following their lead when it comes to epicurean delights.

  • Those haircuts with the back all messed up. People go to school to learn how to do this?

  • Children's beauty pageants. All children are beautiful. Quanitfying that beauty is truly tastelss and sad and servers only to illuminate the superficiality and hubris of those exploiting their offspring for commercial gain. Ick.

  • Spam. Get a real job you pathetic loser. Nobody buys the "Prince from Dubai" schtick.

  • Penis enlargement products. Is there really anybody gullible enough to believe these claims or insecure/desperate enough to actually pay money to avail themselves of these methods?. If so, chances are, they drive a Hummer.

  • People who create computer viruses. Get any job, and stop being a blight on mankind you pathetic loser. Anybody who uses their brilliance for such malignant purpose should be horsewhipped.

  • Paris Hilton. Being vacuous, ill-bred and easy is apparently enough to gain one a measure of celebrity these days. Perhaps I should change my ways. I could use the money.

  • Lip plumping products. Look, either you have lips, or you don't. Everybody knows if you're faking it.

  • Bullies. insecure, embittered and misanthripic does a person have to to derive pleasure from hurting others?.

  • People who write without using paragraphs, capitals or punctuation. I guess I missed the memo about these thing being phased out of the written language. Or perhaps they have simply become optional, to enable those who actually speak without breathing or thinking to write the same way. Who knew?

  • Natural beauty. Simply put, unless you are thirteen, there is no such thing. Do everyone a favor...get your brows and stache waxed and put on some lipstick. And a bra wouldn't hurt...those puppies don't come with anti-gravity boosters.

  • Cindy Sheehan. What, exactly, does she think she is accomplishing by exploiting her son's death and using guerilla tactics? She is only serving to illustrate the fact that she is a grandstanding, egocentric attention whore. Her son's sacrifice was heroic and altruistic. She is cheapening that with her childish temper tantrums and her point is lost in her vitriolic rantings.

That's all for now, but I will edit to add more that come to me. And I'm sure that more will come to me.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Not Only Not Stupid....

....but interesting, uplifting, and inspiring.

I myself am not blessed with the kind of vision that allows one to take beautiful pictures. I can usually snap a reasonably clear photo of my kids, without decapitating or dismembering them, but its rare that I capture an image of exceptional beauty or interest. When I do, its simply a convergence of favorable conditions that occur at exactly the same time I depress the button on my camera. In other words, its nothing more than a happy coincidence.

There are those, however, who see beauty and art wherever they look, and use the camera as their creative medium to capture that beauty. Their perceptiveness and skill never cease to amaze me. They see the inherent grace in the human form, the wonder and power of nature, the brilliance and majesty of architecture, and the untamed nobility in the most humble creature. Some use their talent for commercial pursuits, others do it simply for the joy it brings them. Whichever the case, a person who can take a beautiful picture is, in every sense of the word, an artist.

This blog is a showcase for every manner of photo. Anyone can upload a photo, and add text if they wish. There are thousands of photos here, and you can lose yourself for hours in their beauty and artistry. You'll need to scroll down quite a ways for the FAQ's, if you would like to submit a photo of your own. There are a few guidelines, which I think are quite liberal and serve to preserve the integrity of the blog, more than to restrict subject matter. This is not a contest. Here is a brief description from the site:

Most of the nice Photos added to the and tagged with TopPhotoBlog will be Blogged. Your most beautifull photos with text published in a separated blog on internet and indexed with your name at Google and Yahoo. The last 10 added photos to the Pool are shown in the head on every single blogg. Imagine. So give it a try.

Special selection:
Special selected photos will be shown in the Favorites SlideShow and on

I've been pushing "next blog" button fruitlessly for weeks, hoping to happen upon something worthy of posting here. Just when I was beginning to lose hope of finding any more not stupid blogs, I stumbled upon this, and I think you will agree, it is definitely not stupid. My only criticism is that I feel it needs a name that does it justice. With pleasure I give you:

Top Photo Blog