Monday, October 25, 2010

Go to Karaokathon for Camp

For her fourth birthday, my mother gave Snappy a plethora of Berenstain Bears books where the Bears Go places like the dentist, the doctor, school and in one particularly self-serving entry: Grandma's House. Snappy immediately gravitated towards Go to the Doctor, and used the skills that Sister used to brave the dreaded SHOT to get through her own set of ouchie stingies without so much as a tear.

It was a while before I even made it to Go to Camp, and at first, Snappy found the idea of a sleep-out at Skull Rock scary (scarier than Doctor Bear with a giant needle), so she would often ask me to stop half-way through. To help her get over her fear, I told her that her aunt and I had also gone to a camp similar to Grizzly Bob's when we were kids. I told her the story of our sleep-out night and how I had seen an owl in one of the trees on my way back to my cabin. After that, Snappy was brave again, and Go to Camp moved ahead of Go to the Doctor on the "Snappy's Favorite Bedtime Books" list.

So when Andrew from the Stonestown Y approached me and asked me to help raise some money for some of the various community programs the Y provides, such as the free senior center, as well as programs for underprivileged kids including Back-to-School backpacks and, yep, summer camp, I jumped at the chance. He started to explain the importance of these programs, but I stopped him with, "Oh I know how important the Y is, I went to Y Camp."

Although I know we did not always have very much, monetarily speaking, when I was a kid, there were times when I felt like I had everything, like those warm, summer mornings, sitting on a big yellow bus with my sister, a fluffernutter in a paper bag and whole day of rowing lessons and acorn-collecting ahead of me. And now, blahdiblah years later, when I get to do things like chase away my four-year-old's fears with a story about seeing an owl, chilling on a tree branch at a YMCA camp in Merrimack New Hampshire, I know that I had everything.

So that is why I'll be asking everyone to come out to the Dirty Trix Saloon at 408 Clement St in San Francisco on Tuesday, November 2nd  at 8 pm for A Karaokathon for Camp!* All proceeds go to the Stonestown Y, who will be using it to give some local kids everything. If you can't make it out to sing with us, send me a line and I'll tell you how you can donate: Keep tabs on this event here.
*Thanks to my KJ Eileen and Lee at Dirty Trix for also jumping at the chance to help out the Y.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Letters to Toys I Hate: Part 1 Play Foam.

Die, Play Foam! You suck. Look at you! With all your bright colors and irresistible squishy, sticky texture. You deserve to rot in a hellish corner of my closet, suffocating in the mounds of dust, hair and crumbs that you attracted to your sad excuse for a surface five seconds after I took you out of the package. But instead, I'm just going to throw you in the garbage while the kid is at preschool. Good-bye, Play Foam. Say hello to yesterday's coffee grounds and today's cat litter. You deserve each other.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Everything you've always wanted to know about the previous decade but forgot to ask.

Has anyone noticed how many people are still writing 2009 instead of 2010? It seems excessive considering it's October. My theory is that we just can't believe that the decade is over, but it is, oh children, it is.

If the trajectory of my freelance career continues as is (and I sincerely hope it does not), I will one day be hired to write The Entire History of The Whole Fucking Universe for less than 10 bucks an hour. In honor of finally realizing that another decade has come and gone, here is what I will say about the Oughts!

On the decade called the Oughts, or The Naughty Oughts (to be truthful, no one called them the Oughts or the Naughty Oughts, but they didn’t really call them much of anything, so I’ll just call them the nasty, dirty, filthy naughty Oughts, or just The Oughts for short.)

In actuality, The Oughts (specifically the late Oughts) weren’t as much naughty as haughty! (Well, I guess that’s not really true, they weren’t so much haughty as narcissistically self-aware and self-promoting, but that doesn’t rhyme with anything.) At the beginning of the decade, America was the all about spending and showing. The most popular items or services were those that not only cost a lot of money, but also had the appearance of costing a lot of money. Early-oughters loved to shop, which wasn’t much different from previous (or future, for that matter) decades, but instead of trying to get the most from their money, buying the best bargain, early-oughters tried for the worst deal, the least for the most. They never bought anything on sale, if they did, it was purely by accident, and they hoped none of their friends would ever catch them doing that. Who cared if you spent 10,000 bucks on a toe ring, if no one saw you do it. It was like that whole tree in the forest thingie. Only in the oughts, it was more like: if you spend money and no one knows about it, is it really gone?

For example, nanny’s salaries were pretty consistent. There was pretty much a standard pay scale that most of them got, but the savvy Oughty parent would choose the nanny that looked the most expensive, the one that said, “I like to spend money.” So when given the choice between two nannies with the exact same experience and pay scale: one is Mexican, speaks fluent Spanish, English and a fair amount French, but is ten pounds overweight and often wears an old Madonna Truth or Dare Tour t-shirt to work while the other is French, speaks fluent French and a bit of English, is ten pounds underweight and willing to wear a uniform, the early to mid Ought parent would choose the French nanny because back then,  in order of ostentation, France beat Mexico. (France, in this case, beat Spain as well because if you had a Spanish-speaking nanny, your neighbors would assume she was from Mexico, even if she had just gotten off a plane from Barcelona.)
The early Oughter wanted the other nannies at the playground to think, " Uniformed nannies? How retro! And French? Ooh la la! Tres cher!"  The other nannies never thought this, of course, but were more likely to wonder where the foxy Latina got her genuine Truth or Dare tour t-shirt: those things were worth a fortune!

In 2007 two things happened that made everyone stop spending so much money: one, a democrat was elected president, and no one liked spending a lot of money in front of democrats, it just didn’t seem polite. And two, we ran out of money. It was bound to happen sooner or later. A lot of the people spending money during the oughts money weren’t spending actual money, they were spending credit. Credit has a weird habit of appearing smaller as it gets bigger. When you get your first credit card bill and it’s say, 45 dollars, you think, oh I should pay that forty-five bucks, I’ll pay it in the middle of the month when the rent isn’t due. Then, a few years and a few thousand dollar toe rings later, that number becomes more like forty-five thousand dollars. And you happen to make 13 dollars an hour as a receptionist at a company that exclusively makes expensive boxer shorts, and your rent is fourteen hundred dollars a month, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that no matter how long you lived, you would not be paying back that forty-five thousand bucks, so why even worry about it? Why not just throw another ten thousand dollar toe ring on the pile and while your at it, a thousand dollar cheeseburger? Eventually the credit card companies realized that they were ones footing the bill for all that stuff and no one had offered them so much as a French fry.

It was around that time that we saw the advent of the hipster (see also: Hipster, history and eradication of). Where the early oughter (also called The Spendster) liked to ostentatiously spend money, the hipster would ostentatiously not spend money.

Hipster exchanges often went like this:

“I found a bar last night that served 5 dollar pitchers of PBR.”

“Big deal. I found one that sold PBR on tap for 25cents.”

“Epic! After a couple of pitchers, the Taco Lady came in, and it was the end of the night, so all her tacos were cold and congealed, and she was selling them half off.”

“So? I stopped at the bacon-wrapped hot dog salesman at the corner of Mission and 22nd, and the dude dropped my hot dog on the sidewalk.”

“Gross. I puke on that sidewalk.”

“Yeah, but he gave me the hot dog for free as long as I promised not to tell anyone.”

“But you’re telling me.”

“I’m telling everyone, dude. I got drunk and fed for a buck seventy-five!”


FTW is internet speak for “For the win” and someone who spoke it out loud in initial-form, with or without irony, was either a hipster or a douchebag or both. (People who were either a hipster or a douchebag did not know which one they were. It was kind of  like how no one knows if they pronounce the first vowel sound of either and neither with a long I sound or a long E sound, and you can’t just listen to yourself speak because then you will be self-conscious and you might start talking with a British accent or something.) Internet Speak (made popular by websites that featured lol catz: pictures of cats so funny, they cause anyone who sees them to laugh out loud.) was very popular. So popular, it seemed like everyone was using it, and therefore that made it okay.

The late Oughts made it okay to not spend money, more impressively, it made it okay to not have money (even rich people didn’t have money). Just as importantly, they also made it okay to laugh out loud at cats, especially funny cats. It was as if we’d finally clued in to this whole Free to be You and Me thing 30 odd years later. This might have just been a passing I’m okay, you’re okay fad, if it were not for a Harvard drop-out by the name of Mark Zukerberg, a scrawny sandy-haired young man whose only interesting feature was a strange penchant for wearing shower shoes to the office (which does not seem strange at all when you realize that among other things, wearing shower shoes to places other than the shower was also deemed okay in the late-oughts).

 In 2004 (when it was still not quite okay to wear shower shoes in public) Zuckerberg decided that it was also okay to tell everyone what you were doing at the exact time you were doing it. We’d been trying to do that for years, take the example of the ostentatious nanny or ostentatious sidewalk hot dog. But we couldn’t really tell EVERYONE about it. Until Facebook came along and suddenly, a generation that was in need of more warm fuzzies and fewer cold pricklies could suddenly brag about the fact that their Nanny needed the day off for Bastille Day or they've contracted tetanus from free street meat to everyone they knew at the same time. It left a lot of free time for doing things like eating food off the sidewalk, and fucking around on Facebook.

Soon after, Twitter came along and we could tell everyone, absolutely everyone everything. And because everything we did or thought was okay, we felt no qualms about revealing ourselves in 140 characters or less. We twittered EVERYTHING. Diarrhea? We tweeted it. Yelled at an old woman on the bus? Twatted. Found a funny picture of a cat? Spread it around so everyone can laugh out loud at it. Of course by now we are all painfully aware that all this tweeting and ostentatious meat-eating eventually led to the downfall of civilization, but at the time it was hilarious.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Rainy Day Cardboard Princess Fairy Rocketship

This is an oldie but a goodie. A few years ago I tackled a rainy day playdate with one cardboard box, some tissue paper, markers, curly ribbon, and glitter and fairy dust and what not, and this is what the little darlings created:

A Flyboat!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Homemaking Tips for the Angry American

Today, Easy Rider has a guest blogger: Fern Fergleson. I owe her money based on a bad bet I made back when I was positive that Bush would be a one-termer just like his dad. Fern is wanted in a few states, so she would only let me publish is this one photo of her cat, Limbaugh. Fern Fans can catch her in Road Trip to Pluto the SF Fringe Fest on Sept. 16th. She might be doing something with people, or pod people...I'm not sure which.
Hello America! How are ya? It’s me, your faithful patriot Fern Fergleson. Big news, Fern fans, I had to change the name of my podcast, “Tea Party” because me and the rest of my Tea Partiers just couldn’t get along. For one thing, they made their ham salad with light mayonnaise (and we all know light mayonnaise is a communist plot to lower the cost of health care by prematurely unclogging America’s arteries). For another, they are all strict anti-abortionists, while I firmly believe that abortions should be mandatory for all communist fetuses. Now, old Fernie is no dummy. I know that you can’t tell by a sonogram if a baby is going to be born a communist, but I know for a fact that an amniocentesis will show that kind of thing right away. You can’t hide pinko, not even in the womb. Sigh. Gosh, now the only members of my branch of the Tea Party are myself and my cat, Limbaugh (who is also pro-pinko-abortion and anti-light mayo). I call our new show, wait for it, dun duh daaaa!!! Tea for Two! How lol is that, Americans?

For now, the good folks here at Easy Rider have let me piggy-back on their weird little blog. Okay, it’s time for some happy homemaking tips! The other day, I received this troubling question:

Dear Fern,

I recently orchestrated a heinous, vicious, cold-hearted terrorist plot against our totalitarian government. How do I break the rap?


Maligned in Michigan

Oh gosh, Maligned, I don’t know if I can help you. Ever since our presidency was stolen by an Arabian pinko-commie from Kenya with a forged birth certificate from a fake state (Hawaii? I don’t think so. American states have snow, Americans!), decent people who want to break the law to fight totalitarianism are suddenly treated like common criminals. It is so darned unfair. Those poopy-head pinkos will use any excuse to throw us real Americans in jail. I ask you, real America, what is worse: totalitarianism or killing totalitarians? Totalitarianism, by gosh! Now, I’m not sure what totalitarianism is, but I’m sure by-golly that it is killing our once great country just as surely as Ellen is going to kill American Idol!

Now this next question is one that Fern can actually answer because it’s about housekeeping: my specialty.

Dear Fern,

Spring cleaning time has rolled around again, but I’ve been too terrified to even start polishing my silver gravy service set. This whole thing started when those commie liberals passed their Armageddon-and-pork-ridden health care bill. How can I focus on cleaning when the world is going to end soon? Help!!!


Messy in Massachusetts

Jeepers, Messy, I can tell by the three exclamation points that this spring cleaning fiasco has got you in quite a tizzy! Here’s a little happy homemaking hint: just throw your fine silver in the dishwasher with an open jar of Tarn X and wait. It comes out a different color every time: like a gumball machine. What fun!

Now I’m going to need you all you little Fernatics to just cool your jets about this health care bill. Here is what I know for sure about it:

1.    It is full of pork, and not the good kind like ham salad, but the bad kind like ham salad made with light mayo.
2.    It kills old people.
3.    It legally requires all American citizens to get an abortion, a gay marriage and a Toyota.

Here is what I don’t know for sure, but I can pretty much guess:

1.    It will cause milk to sour and wheat fields to wilt in fields across this great land.
2.    Its reflection can’t be seen in a mirror.
3.    It legally mandates fire, brimstone and frogs to fall from the sky and for a cloud of locusts to cover the earth.

So you see, Messy, there is plenty to be just scared spitless of, but if you’re going to die, wouldn’t you rather face your maker with sparkling silver? It’s like I always say, behind every filthy house is a hell-bound housekeeper.

Okay, I have time for one more letter. This next one is from my own home state of Minnesota! Go Vikings!

Hey Fern,

Was that you who broke into my house and left a needlepoint sampler, stitched with the words “Die, Baby Killer”, in my foyer? I’m sure it was. I just want you to know that I’m pressing charges.

Al Franken
U.S. Senator, Minnesota

Dear Commie in the Capitol,

First of all, that was not me, but if it was, I would be able to send all Fern fans who send me an email with the words “baby killer” in the subject line with their very own Die, Baby Killer needlepoint pattern (please include hoop size and name and address of the baby killer you would like to terrorize).

Second of all, I can see someone hasn’t been paying attention to America’s own blue-eyed messiah, Glenn Beck. Oh gosh, he just gets cuter and cuter the crazier you liberals make him. I mean, my, my! I’d let him lift my red white and blue apron anytime. Sigh. Where was I? Oh that’s right, if you would listen to Glenn hunky Beck you would know that you pinko commie liberals deserve everything that is coming to you because you are using totalitarian tactics and anyone who uses totalitarian tactics deserves a mailbox full of anthrax…and squirrels…radioactive squirrels with Swine flu. (Want to do it yourself, Fernatics? Gosh, just send me an email with the subject line “mailbox of death” and I’ll give you your own radioactive/flu-ridden squirrel recipe: high-altitude instructions included for all you mountain folk.)

Oh, and third of all, you have some nerve calling me a thief, Mr. Senate seat stealer, we are still waiting for our third re-count. Besides, if you didn’t want me to break into your house, why did you leave your windows breakable? Hmm?

Well, that’s all for Fern! I’ll leave you with this: a great American once said, when they crammed a health care bill down the throat of my neighbors, I said nothing because I really didn’t know them all that well and also because they leave their Christmas lights up past New Years. When they crammed a health care bill down the throat of my friend, I still said nothing because I was kind of tired from my gardening aerobics class. But when they crammed a health care bill down my own throat, I still didn’t say anything because I couldn’t talk with all that paper in my mouth.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What are you complaining about, drunky?

I usually avoid going out on weekends and Monday holidays like Britney Spears avoids underpants*, but I decided to go to a playground in Noe Valley on President's Day. First of all, I really wanted to meet some out-of-town friends for a rare playdate and, second, I figured everyone would be busy celebrating at their local Toyota dealer, as is tradition in this country. I must have misjudged the economic repercussions of the whole gas-pedal-of-death thing because the playground was quite full. It wasn't so full that the girls couldn't have a good time, but it was full of people who don't normally go the playground.

At first, I was kind of glad to be surrounded by non-regulars because Snappy has developed quite the little rep as "The Kid Who Thinks Other People's Babies are Her Personal Baby Dolls and Will Not Hesitate to Undress and Redress Them" (I'll take this opportunity to apologize to the nannies and moms and dads of babies that my child has hurt/violated), but then Something Happened. The other moms and I were standing around, chatting about stuff that moms usually talk about like...I don't know...pop tarts and hot water bottles? Anyways, we were all chatting like we were on the Group W bench, when we heard a loud, aggro, slightly hung-over male voice say:

"Will the mom of the little boy banging on that pole please tell him to stop!"

It was at that point that we noticed that a little boy was banging on a wasn't like it wasn't loud, it was just that it melted into the noises that one expects (or should expect) at a busy playground on Gas Pedal of Death day. I looked from the little boy to the source of the complaint, a middle-aged man playing tennis (TENNIS!) on the adjacent court. I stared at him, befuddled beyond belief. It defied logic. Here was this guy, making a rhythmic, loud sound in a public place, complaining about someone else making a rhythmic, loud sound. Thankfully, one of the moms immediately told this guy that 1. he was crazy and 2. he could forget about it and 3. he was also really, really crazy. And then of course the mom of the little boy told him to stop because moms don't like it when their kids bother people, even stupid people who don't see that there is no difference between Thwap Thwap Thumpty Thwap and Bang Bang Bang.

I never really recovered from my shock and befuddlement to ask that tennis playing dude where the hell he got off--which is too bad because I'm still wondering--, but I it did make me think about all of the many other jerks who really have no business complaining:

  • Anyone who has ever walked drunkenly down a residential street at 3 am, loudly talking and/or complaining about "That One Ho at the Bar" should never, ever be allowed to complain about the crying baby at the restaurant/mall/wine bar. Sorry, but you did the crime, now do the time.
  • Anyone who has ever gotten on an airplane and then put their seat back so that they are, essentially, sitting in the lap of the person behind them and then leaving it like that for the duration of the flight is not allowed to complain about the kid kicking the back of their seat. Really? You don't like my daughter's Dora sneakers hitting your lower back? Well I don't like your dandruff falling onto my deal with it.
  • Anyone who has ever asked a women to show her tits at Mardis Gras in Nola, or at a motorcycle weekend or in a restaurant/mall/wine bar (or has ordered anything from the cretins over at Girls Gone Wild) has no business complaining about public breastfeeding. This is non-negotiable.
  • Anyone who has ever, during a night of drinking** and/or sushi bingeing, left bodily fluids (or good forbid solids) on a public sidewalk has no business complaining about parents who change diapers in public. Okay, yeah, I'm sure it's gross but so is stepping in chunks on your way to the bus stop in the morning.

I'm sure there's more...please leave them in the comments.

*For those of you expecting a balloon drop, this was actually only the 99th joke this blog has made about the fact that Britney Spears occasionally goes out sans poonani shield, but thanks for playing.

**Yes, I know there are two of these based on drunks, but, just like babies are just like little stoners (look at this pretty thing! No, don't eat it, just look at it!), little kids are like drunks...and we have to put up with them because, come on, we've all been there.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Maim Your TV: Or How Barbie's Little Sister Betrayed Me.

I know a lot of people say that TV is bad for kids, and even worse for toddlers (because they think Elmo is real and that Dora really hears them when they yell back at her, and they are too young to get how really funny that is...ha, stupid toddlers), but you know what is worse? Living in a filthy house with a crazy mom, so I've always used the magic of TV to distract my little thunderball of energy from pulling all her clothes out of her bureau and throwing them around her room for the 5th time in one particular day. As she got older, its repetitive nature helped her with her speech and language issues, its inclusive fun-for-all entertainment created an even tighter bond with Pixie, her BFF, and its mind-numbing qualities distracted her from her everyday new-person-in-a-new-world fears.

The only problem with it is that one of her fears (besides public bathrooms and vacuum cleaners) could be random stuff that happens in cartoons. Now, I think most rational, self-preserving adults are afraid of public bathrooms, and anyone who's seen the Jaws bit from Mr Mom can relate to being scared spitless of vacuums, but the things in her cartoons that frighten her seem strange and arbitrary. There's the flying V in Sesame Street, a firefighter episode of Wow Wow Wubzy, the opening scene of Toot and Puddle, a rocket ship going up, up, up and then down, down, down in Yo Gabba Gabba, a bathtub scene in little bear and about half the crap that goes on in Dora and Diego. I didn't know why, but every time an offending episode came on, she would either cry or run out of her room and hide under her blanket. We kept a running mental list of the scary badness and used the power of Tivo to avoid them. For awhile, that worked perfectly, Snappy got to watch TV, and we all got to live in a fairly neat and sane house.

Then, IT happened. We were in Tahoe on vacation. Snappy was a little off her game, in a new place, experiencing a new season and was in bad need of distraction. Our first morning there, we had planned on going out to play in the snow right after an in-room breakfast of yogurt and Cheerios, and Snappy was anxious and wanted to skip the breakfast altogether. Then, joy of joys, I found an episode of her new favorite show, Little Einsteins (a show designed to embarrass us all by making preschoolers smarter than their parents) on the hotel TV, we were both stoked beyond stoked at this development and settled in for a wonderful, relaxing start to our busy day. I busted out the laptop and logged onto Facebook while Snappy ate her cereal and watched Quincy play Swan Lake on a bunch of floating instruments.

Now sure, a small child with a giant harp flying around his head combined with the melancholy key of E minor (I guess...who knows, they didn't have Little Einsteins when I was a kid), can be a bit creepy, but Snappy found it down-right traumatizing, so much so that I actually grabbed for my cellphone, thinking that her piercing "help me" scream was surely a sign of internal bleeding or a brain tumor. But no, it was just freaking Quincy and his freaking flying harp. Snappy clawed at the door, I shut the TV cabinet and we finished getting dressed in the elevator. For the rest of the weekend there was no TV. No distractions for any of us, and at the end of a long day in Tahoe, sometimes distractions are pretty darn nice.

But no, she wouldn't have it. The show had scared her so much, she was afraid of the television itself. If it weren't for that cabinet, I would've had to wheel the damn thing out into the hall like they did at the end of Poltergeist. When we got home, Snappy was done with all of it. Sesame Street, Blues Clues and Ni Hao Kai -Lan were dead to her. There was no more Yo Gabba Gabba, no more Little Bear, no Wonder Pets or Wow Wubzy, her Backyardigan DVDs sat, collecting dust and the season pass of Pinky Dinky Doo continued to record and delete, unwatched. Little Einsteins was not even discussed, except occasionally in furtive, trembling whispers and even then it was referred to as The Abomination.

Luckily, this was around Christmas and she was soon to receive the greatest distraction ever made by man or nature: a three-story dollhouse with a porch and an elevator. It was an even better distraction than television. She could spend hours in her room, listening to the pop radio station and whirling her princesses and Pink Girl among the floors, re-enacting scenes from Disney movies she used to watch and the Knuffle Bunny books she still read. Joy of joys! I was able to clean again, and not just clean, but organize. One day, while I was cleaning out the DVD cabinet, I found an old dvd someone had given me when Snappy was a baby. It had come free with something or another. I remember thinking I would probably end up throwing the darned thing out before Snappy would watch something called "Kelly Dream Club". It just looked so stupid. Look at it:

But then Pixie came by for a rainy day visit. The dollhouse was not easily shared, and craft projects seemed to only last a matter of seconds. I was desperate. I popped Kelly Dream Club into the PS2 and the girls were zombified in an instant. It was about little girls who had lockets that granted wishes, and being little girls, they wished for two things: 1. to find out what it is like to be fairies and 2. to find out what it is like to be princesses. What else is there besides fairies and princesses? Nothing, according to Pixie and the Snaps, they watched it twice in a row without flinching. It had no conflict, no creepy music and (joy of freaking joys) no flying harps.

The next time Pixie came over, they didn't even watch Kelly Dream Club, they played Kelly Dream Club. Which sounds complicated, but consisted solely of dressing up in little princess and/or fairy outfits and running around until Snappy would yell, "Keeya!" in a voice that clearly said "I am Kelly and I am having an adventure with my best friend, Keeya". Then Pixie would reply "Yes!" in a voice that clearly said "I am Keeya and I am having an adventure with my best friend, Kelly". Considering that my childhood games of Charlie's Angels was just a bunch of little girls running down the driveway, falling and yelling "Bosley!", it was impressively complex and nuanced by comparison.

After listening to the impassioned shouts of "Keeya!" and "Yes!" for over an hour, I realized that this Kelly Dream Club thing was a bone fide phenomenon. I Googled it and immediately found out the WORST NEWS EVER. First of all, Kelly is Barbie's little sister, which is not the worst news ever, but it's still pretty bad. I mean, what happened to Skipper? Did they give her up for adoption? Who knows, but the Worst Thing Ever is that Kelly has gone the way of Skipper. Yep. She's gone to the great Malibu Dream House in the sky. Curse you Mattel! Now I can not spend too much money for Kelly Dream Club dolls or bed sheets or dress-up clothes or even a new Kelly Dream Club DVD. I should have seen it coming. Stupid Mattel. You blew your wad on the first DVD. Where else do you go after fairies and princesses? Nowhere. I was mad. I wanted to burn all of their factories down.

But perhaps, just perhaps, I was over-reacting. Because yesterday, while Snappy was playing "one princess gets caught in a cage and then another princess saves her" in her dollhouse, I re-organized her room, re-arranging the clothes in her drawers and re-purposing her changing table as a bookshelf. An hour later, I walked in to find that she had thrown said clothes and books around her room. I called her in, "sorry, Mum!" she chirped. I gave her a stern talking to and made her help me pick up everything and put it back. While we were working, her favorite Weezer song came on the radio and she sang along, dancing while she threw the clothes back in her drawers. Okay, Mattel. You just got lucky.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hate on Haters...Wherever You Are.


It's a riddle that has confounded philosophers for ages: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to see it, does it make a sound? Maybe. But a better question might be, if a hater never leaves the confines of the World Wide Web, should we really give a flying fark about him and his hate? This is the conundrum I faced recently when a mom friend of mine sent me a purportedly enraging link to a article by Lynne Harris called "Everybody Hates Mommy." Get it, like Everybody Loves Raymond only...well, I'm sure you get it.

But I kid, I kid. The article made some valid points about whether or not modern day moms are unfairly maligned and stereo-typed. I agree that moms deserve tons of respect. Heck, I think everyone should call their mom daily, and send bi-weekly muffin baskets, to thank her just for taking the time to push your selfish, giant head out of her lady bits. (I also think it's high time Hallmark came out with a card specific to that sort of thing.) However, the evidence of this hate was gleaned mostly from online comments. And that's where I have a problem with the article. Sure, I'm all for sticking up for moms (and dads), but do we really need it? I mean, aside from a few random crazies and whackos, do any of these online mom-haters ever take their hate offline?

I, personally, in real-life, have never been called a selfish, entitled, stroller-nazi, breeder scum. And I've been mom that is...for 3 1/2 years now. I've never been yelled at on an airplane, I've never been given attitude at a coffee shop and I've never gotten a tongue lashing at a diner. Nope, my daughter and I are allowed to roam freely, without reproach wherever we choose to go. question is, why should we care about online jerks? I mean if we walked by a pack of surly teens, loitering outside the 7-11, we wouldn't expect them to stop what they're not doing to come and hold the door for us, would we? No, we would expect them to mumble (and possibly even yell) something dirty and derogatory about us or our body parts. So why, when those very same surly teens take the time to get a screen name and click on the "comment" link, do we give them more power?
Ha Ha! Made you self-conscious!

I have no idea, but we do. A short time after the mommy-hating article came out, a friend of mine admitted that, after some online backlash had gotten particular nasty, he had actually been afraid to leave the house with his toddler for a few days. At first, I was surprised. I told him he shouldn't give a sweet crap what a bunch of online jerks and, if he had gone out, he would have found that people would smile and wave at him and his result of his selfish breeding...heck, some nice person would probably even hold the door open for them at the 7-11. But then I remembered a time when I decided to take Snappy to be studied for science in the hippiest place on earth, Berkeley.

I was scared. I had a baby who was unable to breast feed, but also needed to be fed every two hours, and that would mean bottles...of Berkeley. Because of the hate I saw online, I was afraid that lactivistas would scream things like "breast hater" and "baby killer" every time I whipped out the bottle. I practiced my calm yet snarky explanations of cleft palate and how hard it is to suck through a straw with a hole in it, as well as a running count of the time, in hours, minutes and seconds, that I had chained my stupid self to a hospital-grade pump in a vain attempt to get my milk to come in. I was prepared for the onslaught. And, guess what? No onslaught. Not only did no one scream at me for bottle feeding in Berkeley, they didn't do it in San Francisco or New Hampshire or anywhere else I gave my precious little angel ounces upon ounces of Devil's Teat Juice (aka Safeway O Organics brand formula).**

It's time we took back the day (stroller-nazis don't go out at night). Fair is fair. Eye of the tiger and all that. It's time all us stinky, entitled, selfish breeders stopped caring about what a bunch of Jimbos and Nelsons think about us, and go out into the real world (the place, not the reality show) and live our lives as if no one is watching. Because no one is, and if they are...F them.

*i love this picture. I found it on the web. I will gladly give credit to the creator.

**yep. I know the whack-job lactivistas are going come out of the woodwork to comment on this post of this usually un-commented upon blog, but I promise to only publish those comments from whack-jobs who have clearly read this post. Show your work, whackos.