Friday, November 13, 2009

Salmonella Punch: Another in the "Blogs About Blog Comments" Theme.

It seems strange to be blogging about a comment left in a blog (Easy Rider or another one), but as I've mentioned, I enrolled in National Novel Writing Month, and I'm trying to save myself, and my word count, for that. Besides, I've blogged about comments I've left in The Poop before. I like to consider them my sister much more popular and professional sister (the bitch). Also, what The Poop did today was pretty epic, and I think someone should say something about it. And since Updike is sadly no longer with us, I nominate myself.

See, The Poop is not your momma's parenting blog. It's a bit different in that, despite its large comment count (ahem), it tries to act as a non-judgmental, non controversial place for parents to weigh in on The Lighter Side of parenting. Every once in awhile, the trolls come in and spoil the party and the very next post is designated a Sunshine and Rainbows blog...usually (usually) about a topic so uncontroversial that the trolls have no choice but to stay away.'s like a big cyber breath of fresh air.

Well, I guess the trolls have been getting a bit rowdy lately because Poop Poobah, Peter Hartlaub, announced Troll Appreciation Day, secretly (the little minx) through Facebook, with the following status update:

The Troll Appreciation Day code of conduct is on the discussion board. In short, Troll Appreciation Day is tomorrow (Friday) morning. The troll post will be the one that goes up in the 7 a.m. range. Please comment as if you were a troll. Don't write anything that will get you banned for life or attack anyone who's not in on the joke. Be creative (not a problem on this blog) and have fun! -Peter

He then wrote a blog about puppies and balloons and how great it is to raise kids in the Bay know, stuff that is sure to get the trolls riled up. I had to run out to the playground, but I quickly channeled my inner troll (I have quite the cantankerous side) and wrote this:

First of all, will you please stop calling it the Bay Area, no one actually from the Bay Area calls it the Bay area. Gawd! You make me want to find you, and punch you in the back of the head...and then run. I'm sure I will escape because I can tell by the way you write that you are not very fast.

That said I can find many problems with your "supposed" top 4. (Also, why 4? The magic number is 3. Next time, be succinct.)

1. Puppies and balloons? Are you crazy? Do you not know what puppies and balloons carry? Salmonella. Especially balloons. Jeez.

2. Oh for the love of Krishna, do NOT take your kids to the Farmer's Market. Everyone knows that the first thing a child will do when faced with a large amount of produce is to start throwing stuff. Especially the melons and pumpkins. --And all that smashed melon and pumpkin pulp on the sidewalk is a breeding ground for salmonella.

3. Are you serious? You really want to put your kids in a CAR? A CAR? Oh my GAAAWWWD! Are you really that stupid? The first thing kids do when they get into a car is they start throwing things. And god help you if you've actually had the unbelievable DUMBNESS to drive your kid to the pumpkin patch. There is NO WAY you will be able to see out your window with pumpkin pulp all over it. You think that S-Curve is tricky now? Just try it while trying to peek out through a hole in the pumpkin guts. You can't. You will cause a 12 car pile-up on the Bay Bridge. Oh and I know you are such a bleeding-bleeping-heart liberal that you will actually get out of your car and try to HELP the victims. Well guess what...that victim? He's got salmonella. And now, so do you. Congratulations, moron.

4. (I still can't believe you need 4! You are so verbose, you should be shot.) TV!?! Oh for the love of Glen-Beck-splayed-on-a-cross!!!!! Did it not occur to your tiny, Jim Beam-pickled brain that the FIRST, the absolute, very FIRST thing kids do when they watch TV is throw things!!!????!!!! And what is the first thing they are going to grab? Go ahead, guess...I'll wait. What's that? A remote? Sure, maybe, but isn't there something else...even closer? An old shoe? Of course, I should've figured you for a bad housekeeper, no...guess again. Popcorn! Brava, princess! Popcorn. And where do we get popcorn from, Agatha Christie? C-c-c-c-....Corn. That's right, Nancy Drew. Corn. And who likes to eat corn, Trixie Belden? No. No. No. No!!!! You'll never get it, female Bobsey Twin, so I'll just tell you: Chickens. And what disease do chickens spread? Claw and beak disease, very good Scarecrow and Mrs King! And what else, yes, Miss Marple, that's right...SALMONELLA!!! But you never even thought of that, did you you bald Charlie's Angel? No. Moron.

Oh that is it. I'm coming down there. Prepare the back of your head to be punched. Better yet, no, don't prepare, I want it to be a surprise. You know what, before I punch you, I'm going to treat my hand with Purell. And by Purell, I mean salmonella! Surprise!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hey, New York Times...where's your comment?

Oh my holy Jeebus, you guys! Easy Rider finally got a comment from someone that was not one of my friends (you all know who you are. Shout out!). All I had to do was throw out a bunch of wild accusations and unfair criticisms against people I don't know, while listing their full names in my last post.

I'm shocked. I wasn't expecting this. I'd like to thank my parents for my snarky sense of humor, Google, of course, The New York Times writer, Hilary Stout for writing the ridiculously bad article in the first place, and oh...I can't forget to thank Devra Renner, co-author of Mommy Guilt, and innocent by-stander in the indignant rage bomb the fore-mentioned article set off.

Devra commented because in my post "An Open Letter to the New York Times", I called out her co-author, Aviva Pflock (come on, comment from you? I made fun of your name, fer gawds sake...what am I three?) for being quoted as saying, about parental yelling, "“What blew us away about that is that the one thing you really have ultimate control over is the tone of your voice.” Devra claims that the tone of Times article was not in line with her "tough-titty" Brooklyn-stlye of parenting, but she seemed a bit miffed that I called her Mommy Guilt a "stupid parenting book" or something like that. Poor Devra isn't familiar with my twisted sense of humor, and I hope she knows that I was trying to poke fun of myself and my lazy journalistic style by calling a book I had admittedly never read "stupid".

What is not stupid is their Parentopia blog post in response to being "featured" in the New York Times. It contains actual solutions, without condemnation, to the problems that cause the yelling in the first place--something you will not find in Stout's article. It also contains (I'm assuming) well-researched assertions, and dignified journalistic integrity--things you will NOT find here.

Well, I'm knee-deep in the weeds with this stupid (just kidding) National Novel Writing Month thing, so I won't be writing much more this month, but I want to just quickly thank Devra for her comment, and for offering me a copy of her book, even though she probably suspects I won't read it.

I'd also like to say that I assume that Kathy Griffin is secretly married to Perez Hilton. And that once a month or so, Oprah Winfrey chooses one Harpo employee to publicly flog. And that Bill Gates is the one who gave Ellen DeGeneres the swine flu. Poor Ellen, and just weeks after she got over that broken clavicle she got in that bar fight with Johnny Depp.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

An Open Letter to the NY Times

Dear NY Times,

In the immortal words of Michael and his sister Janet, "you make me want to scream." First you publish an article telling parents that we are not allowed to give our kids time-outs, and your reasoning for this seems to be as follows: because kids don't like them. Okay, fine. I'll let that slide. Maybe you've never been upclose to a misbehaving child before. Or maybe you are unfamiliar with the term "tough noogies". It happens, especially to people who can afford live-in nannies. But then you have the nerve (the nerve!) to publish an article called "For Some Parents, Shouting is the New Spanking," written by one Hilary Stout.

When I first saw the title of Stout's article, I was proud, proud of you, NY Times. I thought you were actually running a mea culpa piece, apologizing for taking away the last weapon in parents' arsenals, leaving us no choice but to become banshees, howling impotently while our ghostly hands flail pathetically, unable to connect with earthly butts. The first paragraph seemed to back this up, as it chronicled Jackie, a child-development-book reading mom who's idea of discipline is saying things like "You're making bad choices." Occasionally, and the end of a long day, Jackie yells things like, "“This is ridiculous! I’ve been doing things all day for you!” And then the Catholic Church decided to canonize her prehomously.

So far so good, Stout goes on to remind us that even dear old Dr. Spock admits that occasional shouting is "inevitable". So it seems that St Jackie is Spock approved. But soon, the tone of the article gets dark. First, she quotes Aviva Pflock (I'm assuming either the "P" or the "F" is silent), the writer of a stupid (I'm also assuming) child-development book that supposedly reduces "mommy guilt" as saying, “What blew us away about that is that the one thing you really have ultimate control over is the tone of your voice.” I have no idea if Pflock has kids, but if she does, I'm sure none of them has ever walked up to her and pinched her boob. Because if they had, she would know that "ultimate" and "control" are words you should not throw around willy-nilly when talking about parenting small children.

But then it gets worse, remember those studies they did to prove that spanking is bad...oh-so bad....bad like Arnold Schwarzenagger as Mr. Freeze bad? Bad as Arnold Schwarzenagger as Governor of California ba-aaaaaaa-d? And now, anyone who spanks their kid is no better than a pedophile or the hamburglar? Well, apparently some over-educated jerk named Murray A. Straus has decided to do a similar study on yelling and says this of yelling, " affects a child. If someone yelled at you at work, you’d find that pretty jarring. We don’t apply that standard to children.” What? Jarred? We can't jar our children? Scar...sure, I understand that...but jar? What's wrong with that? Hey NY Times, maybe the idea of getting yelled at at work wouldn't be quite so jarring if we had been yelled at at home.

This quote made me realize two things, 1. Straus has never worked in a restaurant and 2. That according to you, NY Times, we were not supposed to be impressed with Jackie, we are not even supposed to feel sorry for her, we are supposed to tsk tsk her for the horrible crime of yelling at a child. Uck Ooh, NY Times. The reason we are yelling is because we have nothing left to do. You, NY Times, and your child-development-book writing friends have stripped us of all weapons and armor right before the big cage match. We are left with two choices, pull a Kanobi and bow to Darth Vader's light saber...or scream.

Now we're not allowed to yell at our kids? Really? Well-played NY Times. Well played. I suppose you think you've left us with the Kanobi option, right? Wrong. I used to scream at my daughter. I figured that I would one day just slip it in to our "you're becoming a woman" talk. As in: "And that's why mommy yells at you once a month." But now, I really do have control over the tone of my voice because I have control over my kid. Not total control, of course, my kid would never allow that to happen, but I don't feel like the only one in the Thunderdome without a mace and a motorcycle. That's because I stopped listening to you idiots and started taking control of my own child. Whoa, put down that phone, NY Times. I didn't say spank. No, I don't spank, but I say "No", I give her time outs, I raise my voice, I take away treats, I take away toys, I remind her often that I am the parent and she is the kid. In other words, I parent. It seems weird, right? To use that word as a verb...when according to you, NY Times, we are supposed to do nothing but read all your condescending articles and all the completely useless books and feel guilty.

I have just one more thing to say to you, NY Times, on behalf of every parent that has ever yelled at their kid: Don't just stand there, staring, NY Times! Help us!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Time-out from Parenting Tips

When I was first knocked-up, I felt as though I'd just gotten a job after lying on my resume. I was horribly under-qualified, and I couldn't tell anyone. So, my husband and I took a baby care class or three. I learned that babies cry a lot and should not sit around in a dirty diaper. A lovely couple taking the class told everyone about this great series of books and dvds they were studying called The Happiest Baby on the Block . Apparently it was quite eye-opening. I remember thinking, "Series? DVDs? That sounds like an expensive purchase for an expectant couple. What if their baby turns out to actually be the happiest baby on the block? They just blew a bunch of time and money for nothing." This from the girl who just blew 150 bucks so she could find out which end of the baby to put the diaper on, but still, it made me think about how necessary this whole Parenting Advice business really was.
Now what?

Not that I went cold turkey on the tips, or even cut back, really. I read all the magazines, blogs, books and joined all the boards and three mom's groups. I filled my Tivo with parenting shows from TLC and Discovery Health. One of them was so dumbed-down, that when my mother saw the title in my show list she said, "Surviving Motherhood? What the hell?" Um...yeah, I guess I don't really need a half-hour weekly show to tell me how to survive motherhood....right?

Right. But still, I kept right on watching and reading and joining. Then one day, when Snappy was about a year old, I read an article in one of the parenting magazines (it might have even been Parenting) that talked about creating memories. The author suggested that after going on a trip to the zoo, you should talk to your kids about the experience, asking questions like "what was your favorite animal?" and so forth. Something in me snapped. These jokers had gone too far. Now they were telling me how to talk to my kid about our trip to the freaking zoo? First of all, what did she think I was going to do: get into the car and say, "okay Snappy, our trip to the zoo is over. Let's never speak of it again."? And secondly, did I really need someone to tell me how to talk to my kid?

Who are you calling an idiot? Oh, and can I get even quicker and easier ways to bond with my newborn? I'm short on time.

I saw two problems with all this advice: one, it undermined the greatest tool in a parent's arsenal: our own intuition. Parents were not encouraged to be confident, but instead encouraged to ignore that little voice inside of them and do whatever Dr. Sears told them to do. My own "little voice" had been able to get me through having a baby with Pierre Robin (a condition my pediatrician hadn't even heard of) who the F did I think I was, doubting it on subjects like "To Rock or Not to Rock? How to Put Your Baby to Sleep with Only a Few Hours of Horrific Crying" and "Pacifiers: Mother's Little Helpers or Devil's Playthings?"?

Two: it left no room for individualism, creativity, following-the-beat-of-your-own-drum and other bastions of a well-rounded society. I worried that we were becoming an overly-advised, under-empowered country of follower parents. What would the next generation be like if they were all fed and disciplined the same way; if their parents all said the same things; if they made them all the same sugar-free, gluten-free caterpillar cupcake sculptures for their second birthdays? I imagined something out of a Sci-Fi movie: mind-control, pod people and short-circuiting housewives.

In the future, we will all have hair like this.

I went cold turkey. I got rid of all the magazines, quit all the boards, stopped buying books and quit the moms groups. Somehow, without the constant barrage of advice, I managed to keep my kid happy and healthy for two years. Not that I don't have help. I have my mom, my aunts, my dad, a few friends back east who beat me to the baby train and I kept one mom's group. (Even the most confident mom needs a mom's group, right?.) Speaking of the mom's group, I noticed the change in them, as well. They stopped saying things like "I heard..." and "I read..." and started saying things like "I do this..." and "I think that..." with all the confidence of a parent who truly believes that they are the only person who knows what is best for their own kid. Maybe there was hope for humankind after all!

And then I read this ridiculously condescending article in the NY Times. Oh, I have much to say about that, but let's save that for the next blog.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Haircut for a Budding Glamour-puss

Okay. I'm going to admit that I used to assume that all those 5 Star reviews on Yelp for Rick's and Dick's Barber Shops and Financial District types shelling out a whole 13 bucks for a cut and a shave was yet another way for the yups to overly-romanticize a working class institution. I mean, yes, we all rooted for Ice Cube in Barbershop. (And who wouldn't root for Ice Cube...with his therefore beauty mark? It's like his face just made a sound argument....for being good-looking!) It's the little twinkle these Ivy Leaguers get in their eyes when they wax on and wax off a little too poetically about the swearing and Playboys and domino games and just smacks of safari to me. I've learned, however, that while it is true that rich people do, in fact, enjoy slumming it, barbershops, like tidy whities and The Three Stooges, is a Dude Thing that I will never understand.
The only barbershop I can get behind.

I also realized that beauty salons, and all the primping, curling and shimmery opalescence that goes with them is a Girl Thing. And Girl Things begin at an early age.

Even less happy than she looks.

See, my haircutting skills aren't stellar, or even decent. So when Snappy turned 3, I gave in and brought my long-haired stranger-hater to Kids Kuts. She sat in an Elmo-sticker covered car and squirmed and cried most of the way through the ordeal. Then, at the end, the stylist offered glitter and clips. Snappy picked out red glitter and white clips and sat, primly, expectantly, like a little princess while these implements of glamour were applied. I saw, in that moment, many trips to the mani-pedi place in our future...I hope we'll still go to Mitchell's for gummi bear sundaes after.

How about the Funky Funky Freak-outs?

I'll admit when I first saw the now ubiquitous commercial for The Jump-a-Rounds on Nickelodeon, I had many questions, "What fresh hell is this? Has our culture not advanced one millimeter since Kids Incorporated? And why the hell is the WHITE GUY rapping?"

Check it. Kiki is playing a barre chord! I'll bet Miley can't do that.

As Nick began its Orwellian bombardment of the mid-day airwaves over the last 3 months or so, I noticed that Snappy was paying attention. This kid who just a few weeks ago was obsessed with all things Baby Jaguar and Max and Ruby, suddenly knew all the names of this mystery band. She continued to call them The Jump-Arounds even after Nick clunkily and, clearly under legal obligation, changed the name to the Fresh Beat Band. She excitedly announced that "Aw, Kiki looks just like me!" and then decided Marina looked just like her bff, an adorable 3 year-old who looks nothing like Marina. I was...hmm...I think "joyous" is the word. Here was my kid, steeped in youthful optimism, identifying with a singing/dancing/guitar-playing pop princess. The whole thing just screamed Fun with a capitol F.

That's when I began to soften on this whole Jump-Arounds/Fresh Beat Band. Yeah, yeah. I know, I should be railing at this whole Tweenization of America thing, and I do, every time I see Billy Ray smiling with parental pride while his 16 year-old grinds her under-aged goods on a stripper pole on national television. Maybe I've been brainwashed, but I think The Fresh Beats are really kind of funky and not bad and, come on, those songs are beyond ridiculously catchy. Right? And really, Twist isn't a horrible rapper, no worse than Vanilla Ice. Besides, Shout has a kind of Ben Vareen, Broadway style that doesn't lend itself to rapping. Additionally, although Snappy thinks I'm a genius guitar player, I'm not and I can't play the violin, making Kiki a much better musical role model for my little budding rock star.

Okay, so definitely I have been brainwashed, but if I can possibly use Snap's love of the dance breaks in this show to get her to agree to attend the Little Twirlers dance class at the Y (while I zone out to my Ipod on the eliptical in the next room), then I hope the brainwashing never ends. Or gets canceled. But come on...The Fresh Beats? Could we come up with something less lame? How about Tweenation? Or The Sugar Pops? You know...something that might be bad for you, but who cares because it tastes so damn good?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Business of Baby Naming

I really do think I missed my calling. I should've been a professional baby namer. I'd show up at the expectant couple's home, light some candles, burn some incense, spread maple syrup on the prego belly, while chanting some nonsense words I got from a Steve Martin movie. All that voodoo uhuhmulmahey crap would just be for show, of course, because I've got this whole baby-naming business down to a science.

When I was pregnant, my husband and I made a list of possible baby names that adhered to a strict set of rules:

1. No cross-gender names.
That meant names like Chris, Bobby and Billy Jo were right out.

2. No hard to spell or pronounce names.
I didn't want my daughter correcting people for the rest of her life, I'm sure she will have better things to do on her way to becoming the first Olympic-medal-winning doctor turned rock-star to be elected President.

3. No names in the Top 50 Baby Names.
My kid was not going to be Emma #6 or Izzy #12 in her kindergarten class.

When it came time to actually give birth to this politically-blessed medical and musical genius, we brought the list to the hospital. We looked at our gorgeous girl. She had big cheeks, a small chin and a perfect bow of a mouth. "She looks like a 1920's beauty queen!" I exclaimed. Sadly, none of the names on our list fit that description. I quickly added Betty, Daisy and Alma to the list. But...did they fit my rules? I wasn't sure. I was still in an epidural haze, and a bit shell shocked from the whole perfectly-healthy-baby with a cleft palate thing.

There was pressure. The people down at City Hall were calling. What was her name? We still didn't know. I told my sister, "I need a 1920's name." She blurted out, "Like Zelda." Yes, just like that...only that was a name that had been left off the list because it was too close to the name of a popular video game that her father and I liked to play. Namely, Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda. Still, it fit. It fit the rules and my brand new little flapper's amazingly beautiful face. (Beautiful, but not perfect...she was born with little red stork bites, one of them right above her lip that looked oddly like a little red Hitler mustache.)

So, on the day we were leaving, breast-pumps were being brought in. The scare of jaundice, and our week long NICU stay and subsequent Pierre Robin diagnosis (the small Betty-Boop chin would be part of THAT) was hanging there...just in the distance, like a cloud of dust kicked up by a rival motorcycle gang. So, there we were, in the cramped, cluttered hospital room...hoping to go home...not sure if we could...and City Hall called. Had we come up with a name? I glanced at my husband, who was on his cell phone with my mother. "Yes," I said. "We're naming her Zelda."

"What?!" My husband said. (I don't know what he was complaining about. He's lucky she wasn't a boy. I might have said, Adolf.)

And the rest is history. So. Maybe it isn't a science. And maybe my rules aren't all that. How did you come up with your favorite baby name?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pinhead is Hilarious

Many of you who know me, know that one of my comedic obsessions is Pinhead. Specifically, how funny it would be if he wasn't immortal, and we could see him age because I think Pinhead with a comb-over could possibly be the best visual gag based on a horror movie ever! I almost did it when I was writing animated shorts for comedy world (dot com), but they went under before it could see the light of day (or light of over-produced Flash animation is more like it). Well, I finally used this obsession for good, with this comment I left on SFGate's parenting blog, The Poop:

Whoa! Hold on. I'm sorry, but there are no drinks that are better than Jack Daniels on the rocks, it is a cold, golden splash of heaven bourboning with bourbony goodness. If you really feel that way you should stop ordering it just to look cool in front of your namby-pamby writer friends. My god man, save some for those of us who appreciate it! (I assume there is a great shortage of Jack Daniels because of all the San Francisco bars that pour Jim into empty Jack bottles...Hockey Haven, I'm looking at you!)

Also, Motley Crue did not just drink Jack Daniels, they shot it up, mostly because they were so drunk, they didn't realize how stupid it is to shoot up Jack Daniels when you could just drink it.

Thirdly, although Cocktail has a seriously ridiculous tagline, is it really more ridiculous than Hellraiser 2: He will tear your soul apart...again! (It's the "dot dot dot again" that gets me.)

Additionally, might I just restate how evil it is to serve Jim to someone who has ordered a Jack? If I ask for Jack, I not only know the difference between Jack and Jim, but I also do not like Jim. Yeesh.

I need a drink.

Oh and PS: my mother's drink of choice is way cooler than a Jack on the rocks: She always orders a boilermaker usually a shot of Jack with a beer back. I can't really keep up with her.
Posted By: snappyssidekick December 16 2008 at 11:53 PM

Seems that my innocent assertion about the hilarity of the Hellraiser tagline inspired this hilarious article by Peter Hartlaub about sublime, stupid and ridiculous taglines as well as this equally funny Poop post. You'll not that Hartlaub graciously, facetiously admits to "stealing" my idea. Not true...unless he decides to write an expose on bars that pour Jim into Jack bottles or a slice of life vignette detailing the life of a grandma with taste boilermakers, but as a semi-retired writer, I always appreciate a credit, no matter how obviously undeserved.

Watch this blog for the adventures of Super Snappy (someone got a cape for xmas), and watch the next Bitter Show for a shame-faced Dave or Spiegs shoved into a badly-made old man Pinhead costume. Hee hee.