Sunday, December 30, 2007

You Put the Ho' Back in Ho-Ho-Ho!

I would like to thank everyone who gave me the Christmas gifts that I so richly deserved and so ardently desired. All the other misguided gift-givers who failed to read my mind will be punished in a future lifetime. Here are some of my personal favorites!


Yummy Soft Slippers: These were homemade by my auntie, and with a Christmas theme. It just proves what you can do with a little resourcefulness and a giant box of Stayfree. If you're in a pinch and your "friend" arrives without warning, just slip the heels off and make do.


The She-Pee: I found this incredibly useful on the car ride back home from New Hampshire. Plus, fire your urine at a tree or at a grass blade just like a man would!


Turtle-shell Massager: I put this on and felt instant relaxation steal over me. I basically wear it everywhere now. Sometimes I hide inside it when the jeers and stares become overwhelming.


Love-Me Monkey: I fell in love with it when I saw it peeping out the top of my Christmas stocking. Thanks, Santy!


Box o' Diamonds: The wrapping on this was clumsily done and rather deceptive, and the big, brown bow was so unusual. But inside I found fistfuls of diamonds! My husband is nice.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Need You Now, Loud Drunk Guy

I'm so very weary of all the many, many, many holiday parties I've attended this season. While they have been delightful as always, I fear that the gatherings have all disappointed in some vital manner...have lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. After much painstaking research, I have identified this missing element--nay, this void in my very heart--as Loud Drunk Guy. Where hast ye been, Loud Drunk Guy? I feel like in my old partying days in NYC, He was always there, ready to vomit a fountain of red wine over a balcony (narrowly missing someone's pet Shih t'zu), photograph His buttocks with a borrowed disposable camera, or snarl "Hey howza, hot pants!" to a dowdy and unattractive fellow partygoer.

Loud Drunk Guy was my special friend. If I was at a dullard's carnival talking to some boring old lump, I could count on Him in the background, doing a backwards jig into the roaring fireplace or staring without shame down some poor girl's blouse. He would have come in handy at a recent party, when I bit into a coconut shrimp that tasted like a sterno-doused, candied scrotum and quickly retched it into a napkin. Loud Drunk Guy would have applauded! Not like those other boring old party guests who merely looked away, embarrased. In fact, when I tossed the Tasteless Chicken Pot Pie, the Nasty Imitation of a White Castle Slider, and the Rubbah Calamari, Loud Drunk Guy would have called attention to it: "This food SUCKS donkey balls!" He would have bawled to the crowd at large, probably unconsciously rearranging His "package" while He did so. He would have been right on the money!

Loud Drunk Guy wouldn't have glossed over the fact that a certain party guest was wearing a certain outfit designed for a 21-year-old that made her look even older than her 8,000 shopworn years. No, sirree. He would have made not-so-discreet "nasty monkey faces," leading the old tart to stub out her 87th cigarette and go clothe herself in a suitable muumu or woolen blanket. Thank God for the honesty of Loud Drunk Guy.

And what about the dancing and karaoke? There really is nothing sadder than watching a merely tipsy partygoer attempt this without much gusto or verve, yet failing on all counts. If you are going to be awful, go down hard. Do it Loud Drunk Guy's way. He would have shamed Himself and everyone within a 10-foot radius, and ended the number by piddling in His pants and passing out cold. Now that's a party, sister!

Usually, Loud Drunk Guy ended the night covered in mud, detritus, and far from home. Perhaps He's still out there somewhere, looking for the way back in through the tattered screen door. Waiting for the last canape to come under the grasp of His greasy, fumbling fingers. Gearing up for the final holiday shindiggeridoo. Pray He arrives with alacrity and a tummy full of 100 proof.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Meet Thee, Anonymous #453!

One of my many anonymous "fans" has requested that I provide answers to these additional 10 questions, and I accept the challenge! (Why are all my "fans" anonymous, I wonder? I suspect that my "fans" are actually all the same person, cleverly disguised as a horde of obsequious followers. But I'm onto you, you sick stalker! Or is it you, mom? Either way, gonna git cha.)

11. What do you knowingly do that is really bad?
I put poo-poo inside your socks--the ones you don't wear very often and are at the back of the sock drawer.

12. Bottled water—hogwash or mother's milk from Mother Nature?
Only worthwhile if the water is removed from the bottle and replaced with hooch.

13. Is gray hair the equivalent of crab grass or are they tiny badges of honor that slowly cover your brain's lawn?
I do not have gray hair, you slanderer, but you can bet I'd dye it if I did. I actually wish my hair would turn pure white. If I were properly scared I bet it would happen.

14. Do you cry more easily today than you did 10 years ago?
Absolutely the opposite. I haven't shed a tear in the last few years except when I accidentally stepped inside that bear trap that was intended for you.

15. What is your next pet and why?
A narwhal. It has a curly horn, like a unicorn! I can use it to spear canapes after it has passed away and has been taxidermized.

16. Please tell us your favorite and least favorite smell. (No names, please.)
Favorite: Hot buttered anything. Least: A roadkill turtle in Arizona heat, with an old dessicated piece of SPAM in its jaws, and wrapped up in your soiled boxer shorts.

17. We've all had time to think about this one—Alf Landon or FDR? Be honest, please.
I choose ALF, the alien life form, please.

18. Do you prefer your ketchup ON your fries or on the side?
I ought to slap you for asking this. On the side, you knucklehead! How many times do I have to explain this to you? Were you born dumb or did you get whacked with the stoopid stick today?

19. What annoying habit of yours would you like to break?
I tend to lash out.

20. What quality do you like most in people?
We all, each of us, have the capacity to reach out and just fulfill our destiny by biting someone in close proximity. Can you say the same for the common whelk?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Same 10 Questions I Always Ask Myself, Part the Fourth

I'm back.

1. What are you wearing?
Fat pants.

2. What's the nature of today's hypochondria?
I think I may be getting a fresh and unforeseen bout of "bad hair."

3. What was today's workout?
A little tightening of the glutes at opportune moments.

4. How do you do what you do and stay so sweet?
I get all hate-y after hours and vent my rage by throwing cheesecakes at the neighbors.

5. What's that burning smell?
The milk-soaked, mung-covered carseat cover scorching in the dryer.

6. If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
Behemoth, the legendary biblical hippo.

7. What are you drinking, and why?
Water. Fresh, clear, delicious water. My whiskey rations were stolen by hoodlums.

8. In what ways hast thou offended?
I felt a frisson of rage when I just heard my two-year-old moving furniture upstairs, 1 hour and 40 minutes after he was placed in his bed. Now I see the lights in our foyer blinking on and off. Just...might...snap! He is at the head of the stairs calling out: "I need some pennies, mommy!" Pennies??!

9. What's the next big thing?
A dark horse independent political candidate named Entwhistle P. Bobolink will arise from a swampy little town in the South and YOU WILL VOTE FOR HIM.

10. Music selection?
I've been working on the railroad, all the livelong day.

The Same 10 Questions Today's Guest Blogger Has Never Really Asked Himself Before

Party Pony out getting provisons...snow growing thick...whiskey very heavy. Carry on, Biggles!
Q: What are you wearing?
A: It's cold, fer Chrissakes! Pants, shirt, fleece, socks, boots. Parka, gloves and hat nearby. Colors? Black, dark green, dark blue, tan mebbe. I have a Stormy Kroeger hat if the wind picks up and the slush starts dumpin' out of the sky.
Q: What is the nature of today's intelligence/security flap?
A: Toss-up between last week's revisionist NIE and the destruction of tapes from interrogation sessions. Also, I'm interested in that Iranian general who vanished last year visiting Turkey. Also, the new Chinese subs are pretty startling, not to mention their twin-rotor attack helicopter. Pakistan is always an issue. And what is the formidable Mr. Putin doing right now, this very minute? Nothing real wonderful, I shouldn't think. Chap like that bears watching, mark my words.
Q: Any tracks in the snow?
A: Yes, by jimminy! Looks like a rabbit...a big, loping bunny of some kind. If it gets to Harvey-size I'll let you know.
Q: Economic forecast?
A: Well, de money she come, and de money she go, eh? But if ya pinned me down: Recession in three months, general uneasiness in the bond market, growing discontent and open class warfare next year, rioting and looting for a month, the Second Coming, and of course the end of the world in December of 2012, as per the finish of the Mayan calendar.
Q: How do you do what you do?
A: Just read everything, know everything, connect the dots, and keep it under my hat. Also, I drive defensively.
Q: How do you deal with the lack of sunlight?
A: Read a lot, and write new songs. Imagine a sun.
Q: What do you think of New Ro?
A: Some of the people are great! And access to marine hardware is unparalleled. I like it when the fog rolls in off Long Island Sound, and of course when it's clear and the wind is right, the chance to study final approach to LaGuardia is one-of-a-kind! Wheels down! Full flaps! Add some power!
Q: Has your heart softened towards the lovable creatures that inhabit the Rankin/Bass universe?
A: Hardly. But at least Clarice isn't a bitch to Rudolph. And of Rankin/Bass, one can pay them the ultimate insult: they meant well.
Q: Are you really a suitable replacement for the Party Pony?
A: Nope! Nobody thinks or write like that! Plus, birthday parties give me the pip. There'd be some nipping and kicking. Don't like my hair braided. Rrrfgh!
Q: Is it true that you can do magic?
A: Every day is magic...just taking the ride is an act of faith.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Claymation Madness!

OK, peeps, the Party Pony has not gone to the glue factory nor have I been accosted with an oft-traded fruitcake. Instead, I have been working on my novel. (Yes, I have other interests besides you. But they are paltry.) In my stead, I welcome guest blogger "Biggles," who spent the majority of the day watching the Rankin-Bass Marathon on the ABC Family channel. [Don't know what Rankin-Bass is? Oh yes, you do. You were warped by it. Heat Miser...Island of Misfit Toys...Rudolph's Shiny New Year ring a bell?] I have a strange fondness in my heart for this material, but it inspires nothing but ire in some of our friends in the far northern reaches. Witness the apoplexy of "Biggles":

OK--so I didn't watch the Rankin-Bass Christmas Special ALL day long...had quite a few other things to attend to--but I saw that dreadful Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, and that is just miserable and spanked...Circus by the Sea, my ass!--and then just now I saw the tear-jerking Blue Christmas throw-down with the little girl crying...how maudlin! What pathos! Rankin-Bass were clearly very, very high on acid much of the year, desperately trying to straighten up long enough to somehow bring themselves to molest some more clay figures in an annual effort at a new, goofy, poorly-written and plotted abomination. Oh, how their chosen craft must have gnawed at the very marrow of their souls! When Rankin-Bass closed their eyes, what stop-action mayhem did they see? Bumbles with outsized phalli? Pokey and Davey and even--yes--Goliath engaged in perversion with Frosty and Rudolph on the Island of Misfit Dildos? How much brandy would Santa have had to drink to get such a red nose? And is Mrs. Claus a shanty-dwelling bog-trotter trumped up as Lace-Curtain Irish? Faith and Begorra! And Rudolph's "friend," Fireball--what kind of dick is he?? If I wasn't such a jolly old soul myself, I'd join those British punks who run an entire "Fuck Christmas!" media campaign! But then I hear your voice drifting o'er the snow: "If ya don't believe, ya won't receive!"

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A World Without Children

The other night I rented and watched the 2006 film Children of Men, which is about a futuristic dystopian world in which humans are no longer able to procreate--until one woman mysteriously shows up pregnant. Clive Owen and his ex-wife Julianne Moore (who happens to be a wanted terrorist) team up to help spirit her to safety.

Even though I had started the DVD much too late in the evening, I found myself unable to stop watching, even as the clock ticked closer to midnight. (I can't stay up past midnight! I have two small imps. Notably absent in this film, as the youngest person on the planet is all of 18.) The film was deeply compelling and very difficult to watch, especially if one has ever had a newborn child and has witnessed their fragility firsthand. (For those who may be scared off, the baby sustains no injury.) At one point the tension was so great I started crying. DON'T HURT THE PREGNANT WOMAN! FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T TOUCH THAT BABY!

As powerful as this film was, it did leave some questions unanswered for me. It was very concerned with the political climate that results in this post-children world, and of course less so with some of the more crucial issues at stake. I found myself wondering what the world would really be like with no children:

• Would people insist in dressing their cats and dogs in cloying little outfits sold by specialty boutiques?
• Would tiny baby springbok and leopards sold in China become the new status symbol?
• Would fart and poo jokes become the provenance of the old?
• What happens to Mattel, Inc.?
• How long would the fires from all the unwanted Disney, Elmo, Thomas, etc. DVDs and cassettes burn, and would the smoke contribute to global warming?
• Would Depends co-opt the marketing ploys of Huggies and Pampers by putting characters of interest to adults on their products, such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears?
• Would they finally leave the gay people alone and let 'em get married if they want to?
• Would clowns who make "animal balloons" start to use all the leftover condoms to save some money, only to then realize they were out of a job anyway?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Head Spa Diaries: Day One

I received the item pictured here as a birthday gift from a very dear friend who reads this blog regularly. His thoughtful gift was intended to reduce the headaches of which I had been complaining. I was a bit dubious after seeing the gentleman pictured at the left, as he looked like he might be thinking of increasing his penile girth or asking that young filly out from the cubicle next to him, rather than relaxing in skull-numbing bliss. Just what was he up to? I had to find out. Or rather, I had to appoint a suitable proxy to find out for me. Someone unrelated to me who, when he snaps from the vibrations induced to his brain, will not be within a 20-mile radius of my home and family. Bless his own wife and child; may they keep the keys to their car on their persons at all times.

This report is from this week's guest blogger, HeadSpaaa2007! Here is his first entry.

When: 7AM - 8AM

Activity: Reading and cooking breakfast

Intensity Setting: Approximately 50% strength

Effects: Immediately causes blurred vision from vibration. Sensation
not unpleasant, though a slight feeling of nausea afterwards.

Neck: Good

Shoulders: Good

Scalp: Good

Length: Unchanged

Misc notes: Will try again later. Am anxious to try on Metro North,
during exercise on rowing machine, and during coitus. Yes, it looks
funny, but give it a decade and I'm quite positive everyone will be
wearing one of these throughout the day. Mowing the lawn, in the
aisles at the Home Depot, at a chic restaurant, wherever relaxation
is welcome.... which is everywhere, of course.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who needs school buses when you have shopping carts?

When I discovered this morning that we have no bus service to our public school, I wrote this nasty missive to the New Rochelle school superintendent. Who's with me? Who wants to march on City Hall and throw turnips at anyone who happens to hove into view?

Yes, yes, we own a car. But that isn't the point. My real question: WHAT WILL THE PEOPLE IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD WHO STEAL ALL THE SHOPPING CARTS DO? Try telling me THEY have cars. Eh?! (Maybe the carts could be used for transporting the wee nippers to school. I can see it now...a wagon train of carts, all rolling south...to the sea, toward education, toward the future. Glory! Plus, plenty of room for backpacks and snacks and a sleeping infant sibling, too.)

Dear Superintendent Organisciak,

We are fairly new residents to New Rochelle and my son will be entering Trinity Elementary as a kindergartner next year. While speaking with the school secretary, I have just been informed that because we live within 1 1/2 miles of the school, there is no bus service. I find this outrageous and reprehensible, not only for myself but for the other young children in my neighborhood.

The secretary suggested that it was "the parents' role to come up with a plan" and that we could "drive or walk." Of course, now I understand the extreme traffic snarls on Pelham Avenue at school openings and closings. Driving past there around 3:30 is a nerve-wracking experience. Is this really a reasonable plan for our public elementary schools?

And, how do you know we even own a car? Does everyone? Is ownership of a car now a prerequisite for enrolling in public school? Do you imagine I will send my four-year-old alone on a city bus, if one even stops outside the school? Do you feel confident that my work schedule allows me to ride on those buses twice a day, back and forth?

As for walking, that's a patently ludicrous notion when I'm sure we come in just under the wire at about 1.4 miles from the school.

I would like to hear back from you as to how New Rochelle schools are "meeting our highest hopes and expectations" when even getting to the school building is an onerous burden, particularly for low-income, working parents. I can only hope that change is in the works for this situation.

Monday, November 26, 2007

War is Declared

My boys are conspiring against me. I am outnumbered and alone, and they are up there, prowling about in the blackness. I can hear them moving heavy furniture and engaging in their ghastly, mind-bending conversation:

Son 1: "What are you doing?"
Son 2: "Nuffink."
Son 1: "Where is Henry's tender?" [NOTE: Henry is a train engine of the Thomas the Tank Engine breed. Their Henry is a generic, green, faceless train that they have named Henry.]
Son 2: "You put poo-poo on Henry's tender. Wee-membah?"
Son 1: "No! No! I do NOT put poo-poo on Henry's tender." [NOTE: See blog entry "Little Poo-Poo Snowballs With Wheels." It was actually not Henry's tender, but another tender altogether. However, his indignation pales at the ignominy of the actual act.]
Son 2: "Yes you did."
Son 1: "No! No! Ghrhrhghgkgga!"
Pause.
Son 2: "Winkie party! Winkie party!"
Son 1: "I got a winkie."
Son 2: "My winkie is gonna go to Gramma's house. My winkie's getting out!"
Son 1: "Where are mein nickels? In mein cozy?" [Nickels: nipples. Cozy: footed fleece pyjamas.]

A little while ago they both came out, and they had clearly concocted a scheme together. This scares me, because they are only two and four years old. How sly can they be? However, they had worked out an elaborate sting operation called "Criss-cross Applesauce" in which each claimed a terrible, gnawing hunger, and then worked strenuously to back each other up. A web of lies, my friends, and I was the prey.

Feigning an empathy of which I'm sure he is incapable, the older one said of the younger: "Look, mommy, his tummy is empty. Feed my bruvvah!" The younger one lay there with sad, hungry eyes--expertly coached, no doubt. Next, the elder was groaning and complaining of an empty tummy, while the younger piped up: "Dat's right. He didna eat his dinnah, mommy. No 'ee didn't!"

So flummoxed was I at the thought that they might not have eaten, that they were both telling the absolute truth--and might actually be STARVING and about to DIE--that I went up and gave them a half-eaten bag of pretzels. That's right, I handed the boys a bag of pretzels.

But now the truth is out. The babysitter has informed me in confidence that both ate a hearty meal at a neighbor's house. Revenge shall be sweet for this little piece of trickery. But how? I must sow discord. I must divide their fledgling allegiance.

I can hear the crackle of the empty pretzel bag now. My ire grows.

Perhaps I shall poke or whack one discreetly and then say that his brother did it?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Casper Tells Me He Is Black

Eldest revered son and I were reading Todd Parr's "It's Okay to Be Different," a book about how being different is great, even if you have a funny nose and are fat and ungainly. On one page it reads "It's okay to be a different color." I asked Casper, "What color are you?" I expected him to recognize the truth. White as white on milk! Not yaller, not beige, but WHITE. Pigment-free! White as this glaring computer screen!

"I am BLACK," he said.

"You...are black?"

"I am black, black, black. I am a black boy."

"You don't look so black."

"I am black, my mommy!" he shouted.

I turned to Littlest son, aka Whitey: "What about you? Are you black, too?"

"No, mommy," he said, shaking his head. "You is da black one. I is chewing on mein Schtinky Teddy's foot." And he proceeded to do so with the intensity of an angry bulldog, with much gargling and maniacal laughter. (Schtinky Teddy is in danger of imminent nose loss, so we have turned Whitey on to the paw area.)

Casper concluded: "Black guys and I are twins." Race relations shall not be a problem!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another Enchanted Evening With King Kong


So, we were just watching the 1933 version of King Kong, which we taped from TCM the other night. (It is on pause since we received a phone call.) I remember seeing this movie when I was very young and it terrified me, sickened me, and broke my heart. The part where Kong...oh, I can't say it! I can't give it away!

But there is one scene where Kong is manhandling Fay Wray and some Very Peculiar Things happen. 1. Kong removes her little ballet skirt. He might as well snigger in a twisted, lecherous way while this occurs. 2. Kong removes her lacy top, revealing a bra that appears to be made out of banana leaf fronds. 3. Kong reaches for her and yes, appears to "twiddle her nipples," looking for all the world like a pervert molesting a comatose girl at a party. Not once, but several times. 4. Kong sniffs his fingers in a dirty, old mannish way. His eyes roll. He sniffs his fingers. Should I repeat this again? [Insert horrified scream to rival that of Fay Wray's own!]

Also, we noted that when Kong lumbers about on the island and battles pterodactyls and T-Rex's, he has no scrotum! None at all. And where there is no scrotum, there is no appendage. And there ought to be a big one, really. Kong appears to all extents and purposes to lack a male member. Now, one might think that the puritanical instincts of 1933 would forbid the appearance of a giant monkey penis, unless one considers the facts revealed in paragraph two. These people were worried about offending viewers? They allowed their monkey to strip, twiddle, and sniff the leading lady.

How this same dirty pervy monkey manages to elicit any sympathy is one of the wonders of filmmaking.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Like Stuff

I am not a complete misanthropic, snark-o-lating, petulant little wasp. (And by that I do not mean W.A.S.P., although I happen to be one of those as well. I mean the stinging kind of insect, the kind that flies out of one's eaves and alights on one's neck when one is enjoying a fine day. And then completely spoils it.)

I am really a softhearted type. You'd be surprised. When a group of people at work sit around and decree that they don't like a person known as "chew toy," I shout out "Nay! What's that you say? Chew Toy is a nice person. I quite like Chew Toy." Or, when they similarly announce--much to my surprise--that a colleague named Tippy Fitzwallop is annoying because of the way he wears his shirts and taps at his keyboard with hammy fingers, I am flummoxed. "But I like old Tippy," I'll say. "Don't you people like Tippy, too? Why wouldn't someone like a person such as Tippy?"

These stories are true. Just the names have been changed. I am a truly charitable sort! Or maybe I am just fond of the nerds and mugwumps of the world. They don't trouble me one bit. Yes, as long as they don't cross me, they can stay well off the "hate list." Admittedly, I am an Equal Opportunity Hater and will look for victims of my ire among rich and poor.

If you go too far you may land on the "hate list." By that I mean stompling on my pet bunny, piddling on my gardenias, or maybe neglecting to say thank you after I have put in hours o' work to net you a big work-related reward of some kind.

But lest I vent too much and upset some people's tummies, I will now indulge in some sweet listmaking.

Here are 20 Fine Things I Like Right Now.
1. The rubber stingray that came with my boy's latest bathtoys set. It is so lifelike! I wish it could really swim. I want to pet it.
2. Nicely polished wood.
3. The fact that my husband is singing with great heart and volume while on the potty.
4. I'll probably be censored for number three, but I like the Freedom of Speech that is granted to every American citizen! No matter how momentary...until husband reads blog.
5. Fresh raspberries in a bowl of milk. Or cream. Or whipped cream.
6. Bergamot and vetiver.
7. The gallopy horse on a stick that belongs to my boys. It's a head! On a stick! It makes a "phphphghghmm!" sound after the galloping noises end.
8. Ice cream cakes.
9. The fact that my oldest son named his wooden truck "Woodeny" and his plastic wagon "Wagony," and he hosts arts & crafts events and dance soirees for them and their other friends (who happen to be trucks and trains).
10. This Rilo Kiley album.
11. I have never had the nickname "Whiskers."
12. The author Sarah Waters. She writes historical fiction about Victorian England, and has some lesbian themes in her books, which isn't my bag, but what a great writer! I also just read "The Meaning of Night" by Michael Cox, also about the same time period. Excellent.
13. The following combination of words: "Buzz, buzz, buzz goes the bumblebee! Wiggly, wiggly, wiggly goes the worm!" They are fun to say out loud.
14. My littlest boy pointed at a Thanksgiving turkey decoration today and said: "I wike dat chicken!"
15. Board games. How about a round of Cranium? They have a category called: Sculptorades! My friends and I pronounce that word in the same way that the Nasonex bee would. You try it.
16. Horse chestnuts. I used to collect them in a bowl when I was little. I thought it was like finding a fat diamond right on the street. Now I have a chestnut tree in front of my house. What luck!
17. My oldest son can write his name. Now that he can do this, he won't stop. He writes letters on bits of ribbon, scraps, upside down and everywhere. I like to see his name written down; he has staked his claim on this realm. One day, he will read.
18. Somewhere on this cold, clammy night, the White Mountains of New Hampshire are standing there, stolid, undisturbed, and lasting whether or not I take the time to remember them. But I just did remember them.
19. The sound of a guitar being tuned is always familiar and true.
20. Whoever you may be, still reading.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I am a snarky little so-and-so, and I repent

I really am not very nice lately, and for that I apologize to all and sundry. The thing is, I AM nice to nice people no matter who they are and certainly no matter what they look like, but those who cross me and make my life difficult get blessed with descriptions such as the following:

"A face that's a cross between a Jack O' Lantern and a Dairy Cow."

"All gums, with a face like a worn-out mule."

"Scrawny, sharp-nosed twank."

"Every day is a bad hair day, especially when half that hair is on her face."

"Has the imagination and the physique of a Bartlett pear."

As penance, I've decided to recite the following series of novenas for the next several consecutive days:

"I shall not say mean things about the lumpen offal of the world who do so offend me. When I behold their bewhiskered, rodent-like, swollen, and pumpkin-like faces I will think of the goodness of their hearts and how they are simply trying to better their own lives and line their pockets with filthy lucre gleaned from the honest sweat of others, in order to increase their glory and the glory of their children's children upon our beautiful green earth. May their slutty, skanky, reckless, and just downright irritating behavior be forgiven, and indeed may I be forgiven for thinking ill of their crappy, greedy, unhelpful, and thoughtless behavior, as it is in their very natures and they are just as God made them, even if He in his beneficence made them unattractive and swinish as befits their black souls and also frequently blessed them with pearlike shapes."

Extra points to anyone who guesses the identity of one of the lumpen creatures listed above!
Damn it. I owe another novena.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I've Been Censored!

My legal counsel has advised me to remove the cautionary little tale of Thaddeus P. Grinch from my blog. For those who wish to read it, please email me discreetly and it will be delivered to you under the cover of night by spy pigeon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Baby Slagmounts Fashion Show

I know you've been waiting for this one, you heartless birthday party haters!

So, my boys usually get their hair cut by a grandfatherly neighbor of ours who works in a barber shop, the real old-fashioned kind with the pole outside and the photos of the Twin Towers on the wall and the containers of Barbicide, or whatever that potion is called that sanitizes the combs. It's very quiet there except for the snip, snip of the scissors and the occasional banter from the Italian regulars. He does a fine job and he charges about 15 bucks for both boys. Then they get their lollies and we go home in a sticky, happy stupor.

It had been a few weeks since we'd been to see our old pal for a haircut, and unfortunately he is open only on Saturdays on the weekends. Our boys badly needed a hair adjustment, but it was a Sunday.

"No problem!" said I. "There is a place in Larchmont Village called SHARKEY'S. It's all about 'cuts for kids.' Let's go there and get the haircuts over with." I felt disloyal trying out Sharkey's, but figured it was a one-time deal anyway.

So we walked into Sharkey's. First of all, the place was a melee (aha!) of noise and visual stimuli. Televisions blared at every haircut station and music pounded ominously from a back "party room." (Who has a birthday party at a hairdresser?)

To add to the disturbing quality of the place, a child in a wheelchair who was there getting her hair cut was barking and groaning in a horrible, nerve-rending fashion. With every guttural scream, her parents would say hopefully: "Ice cream? You want ice cream? Yes, sweetie, you WILL get your ice cream. Now be a good girl." My boys' eyes got big and round as she flailed and howled, and while I'd like to say it was a good exposure for them to the diversity of life it really just wasn't.

While we waited for our haircuts the party guests started to arrive. They were all tiny JonBenet Ramsays of about the age of six, with their twank moms traipsing behind them. (Twink + skank = twank. Yeah, I just coined it. Use it and pay me royalties.) The moms were all unbearably cheesy and wore too much makeup and pranced about in their high heels. The baby slagmounts went into the back room for what I determined from a menu of options at the counter was a "glamour girl birthday party." They were to get hair treatments, dress up in tawdry fashions, and get mini-cures (awww...that's manicures for wiwwy widdle guwls!) "Be a princess for a day!" gushed the flyer at the front desk.

We heard the pulse of disco music, which always scares me in connection with birthday parties. I now have a Pavlovian reaction of terrible fear. I fought my flight impulse and decided I would venture to the back room under pretext of using the bathroom. On the way, I saw one of the twank moms collaring her young JonBenet, who had had the audacity to have paid for a creepy mechanical ride that was like a mini ferris wheel, taking her around and around and no doubt about to strangle her by her feather boa a la Isadora Duncan. (Who has a birthday party at a hairdresser that has a crusty-looking "ride" in the back room?)

"Jordan Taylor!" she shrilled. "They are about to have the fashion show and take the photos and you are going to MISS IT. Get in there RIGHT NOW, young lady!"

In the back room, the little girls were prancing about on a stage with lights blazing. A bunch of sundamaged and over-jeweled grannies were oohing and aahing appreciatively, while the moms applauded and snapped photos. All the girls looked like they were auditioning for the role of Wonder Slut 2008. I tried not to stare as I darted into the bathroom.

One girl who was evidently younger than the rest--she looked about four--refused to take part in the shenanigans. Her exasperated mother dragged her out while talking a mile a minute on her cell phone: "She won't do ANYTHING. She won't dress up, she won't get her hair done. We're just going to LEAVE. Well, what do YOU suggest I do?!"

I thought of offering a suggestion, but I still have to live in this town. Although I'm sure that most of these moms were bussed in from a friendly little place down the line called HELL. They sure didn't look like local moms.

Meanwhile, the boys had been patiently succumbing to their haircuts--the stylist was actually quite friendly. They sat in a chair built like a big jeep and zoned out to Elmo's World while the music from the back room blasted. In addition to the candy-colored experience of the chairs, the TVs, and the decor, the store was absolutely filled from floor to ceiling with things for sale. Puzzles, toys, gadgets, hair goop, hair sprays, jewelry, headbands, nail polish, rubber animals, feather boas. Just navigating through the place was an exhausting experience, and I'm sure worse for mothers whose wee slagmounts tug on their arms and beg for mom to buy them STUFF.

In the end, the boys' haircuts cost $56, including a tip.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I Stomple On Your Child’s Birthday Party

This may sound odd coming from someone with the moniker “The Party Pony,” but I find many children’s parties loathsome little affairs. The ones that remain reasonably small are acceptable, I suppose, although the spectacle of a passel of two-year-olds eyeing one another balefully over cake—each wondering who the hell the other is, since they aren’t really what would be called in normal society “friends”—is one that could easily be missed by anyone who is not a doting parent. I guess I have a doting and treacly streak somewhere in my rotten soul, since I happen to be having a party this weekend for my son who is turning four. I promise to avoid every feature of the tale that follows.

The prize for the Worst Children’s Party Ever has already been awarded in perpetuity to one particularly horrifying event that is seared on my memory, although this past weekend I had occasion to spy on another party, which I have named the Baby Slagmounts Fashion Show, and decided it might qualify. But first, the Worst Children’s Party Ever.

We were invited not because our child was even friends with the child—a girl who was turning four—but because it was one of those parties where the parents feel obligated to invite the entire class. Indeed, they also felt obligated to invite all their other little friends, too, because there were about 40 kids there in total. Have you ever been in a room with 40 kids?

The party was at a place called FUN CRAFT, in Scarsdale, and it started out in a reasonable way. All the kids got to choose and paint one ugly little ceramic piece each. This was okay, but the staff quickly informed us that the paint was indelible and “would not wash out of clothing, no matter what!” Not only that, the ugly ceramic items were breakable. The three-year-olds painted away while their diamond-festooned moms (in white sweaters) lurched away from their grasping little hands.

I might note that these were a bunch of what my friend DK calls MILRO, or Moms I’d Like to Run Over, from the town of Pelham. They chatted amongst themselves about tennis or how rotten their nannies were and completely ignored me and my husband. The birthday mom, a scrawny excrescence with sallow skin, barely gave us a lukewarm smile. Another woman literally turned her back on me while I was introducing myself. Their unfriendliness seemed almost exotic. Were they from another country with very unusual cultural rules and obligations? Perhaps I should have tried spitting at them, rather than shaking hands? A stranger in a strange land, I began to observe them as one might a simian gathering in a zoo enclosure.

Anyway, after the kids had coated their ugly little items, destined for landfills everywhere, with goopy paint, the decent part of the party was over. The staff whisked away the painted items and then told us to move “to the back room.”

These were fateful words, for this is where it got ugly. All 40 children and their keepers were herded into the back room and the lights were shut down. I thought I sensed the bovine panic of children who knew they were about to be branded and scarred for life. They milled about, and some tried to back up and escape, but the door had already slammed shut behind us! I smelled the stink of fear. A disco ball flared into life and the song “Jump! Jump around! Jump around!” burst out at top volume. Then, the strobe light began. Several children began wailing, and the maniacal “staff” at the place shouted at them through the microphone to “dance, dance, dance!” My children clung to my legs in abject terror.

The children were then herded through a limbo line and made to shake a parachute into the air, while other children were supposed to run and hide underneath. All the while, the schizophreniacal strobe light pulsed and the music shrieked. My two boys eventually found their way to a corner bench, fixed sad, dour expressions on their faces, and gnawed on cupcakes, refusing to participate in any of the awful hijinks. Both my husband and I had frightful hangovers, and I almost collapsed in fear and weeping.

Finally, however, the strobe shut off and the music stopped. Some of the kids looked pale and shell-shocked. The staff came out and attached a big piƱata to the ceiling and gave the kids each a chance to take a whack with a big stick. After about three tries, down it came, and the children clambered over one another to get at the candy. The room was so small and stifling that the floor seemed thigh-deep with children, with nowhere to move or escape. They filled their paper bags greedily, climbing through the tangle of limbs to get at a tootsie roll or jolly rancher. The MILROs clapped appreciatively as if this was in some way cute or charming, and their vacant financier husbands looked proud and manly.

All the while, my two boys sat on their bench like stones and watched the affair with doleful faces. When we finally got up to escape the terrible place, my older son suddenly realized that he’d missed out on something.

“But wait, Daddy! I didn’t get any candy!”

“No, you didn’t,” said my husband. “But, you still have your dignity.”

Next Up: The Baby Slagmounts Fashion Show!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Oeuf Room

This just in: We now know where babies come from before they are but mere lusty sparks in their parents' eyes! I was reading a book to my two sons called On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frasier. It's a lovely book featuring the green sea turtles and the magpies and all the ocean whelks and such welcoming the new babe to the lovely green planet, with song and dance, under the shining sun and waxing moon etcetera etcetera. Nice cut-paper style illustrations!

Anyway, my eldest son asked something nice and profound such as "How did the baby get to the earth?" So I turned to youngest son and asked "Well, where were YOU before you came here?" I figured he might have some pithy little tale to report.

He answered without hesitation, in a shy little voice with a perfect French accent. "The oeuf room."

"The what?"

"The oeuf room," he said, a little louder and wth great confidence. I asked him to repeat this one more time, so sure he seemed of his origins.

"Oeuf. As in...the egg room."

"Yes, da egg room."

I turned to eldest son and inquired where he might have been passing the time before descending on this fair planet. He, also, answered with a second's hesitation: "The Dick Room."

"Did you just say 'The Dick Room'?!"

"The Dick Room," he said emphatically. A thoughtful silence followed. They both looked very philosophical and solemn, as if remembering their time in that pre-dawn netherworld, not yet quite human, just before they broke free from their respective rooms and found themselves suddenly here, alive and on our planet.

"What was it like in your rooms?" I asked. This was going to get somewhere good, and I would have lively information to report to science journalists everywhere! But just then the two boys promptly leaned in and gave each other a good, cracking headbutt, which ended the evening's conversation.

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Rochelle Melee!

I love the word "melee." It gives a dignified and European air to what is otherwise a tawdry spectacle of teenage loathsomeness. I am quite behind the times in reporting and discussing our Very Own Local Melee, but I hope readers will forgive. The concept of 50 or 60 teens brawling in the streets--and that's a large number of nasty post-pubescence in one city block--effortlessly reduces my property value to a pile of poo-poo pellets. I can be forgiven, yes, for retiring into a short funk?

Plus, I really look forward to the day when my sons, whose nicknames may as well be Caspar and Whitey, get to go to New Ro high school and spend most of their days avoiding beatings and brawls. Is this ignorant and racist of me to say this? I really don't give a crap; I don't want poor little Caspar and Whitey (who will be big, strapping Caspar and Whitey by then) to get swept up in any sort of "melee" whatsoever. I don't want to send them to some hoity-toity 100% whitebread private school either. There must be a nice, normal school...somewhere...anywhere.

Anyway, everyone is calling this delight a "melee," or at least the local Journal News is, in repeat news stories that discuss the police presence or lack thereof. When I think of melees, I think of cocktail parties with a heavy-handed bartender and too few cheese platters. Or maybe a herd of bovine animals, milling about and gnawing at one another in a desultory fashion. Clearly, I had it all wrong. A melee can be quite violent! It can result in an overexcited teen thrusting his arm through a plate-glass window in the heat of battle!

In other teen news, New Rochelle has a well-known Haunted House that runs every weekend in October, and it's not far from where I live. I thought it would be cute and campy to attend this year, until we drove past on Saturday night and saw a virtual melee of New Ro youth waiting to get in, tossing their McDonalds wrappers hither and thither, guzzling sugary soft drinks, and sneering fitfully at one another. "That doesn't look so fun," said I, but I still thought I might go with a friend or two who are visiting soon. After all, what's Halloween without a few bats, a bubbling cauldron, and a few out-of-work actors dressed up as mummies and zombies?

"Um," said husband, "I can guarantee that that haunted house is like SAW FOUR and THE HILLS HAVE EYES kind of stuff. Like, they will be out to scare the living BeJayzus out of you."

"It won't be like the Grange Hall in Norwich, Vermont?"

"No, it will not be."

I am starting to really dislike New Rochelle.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Houses Have Eyes

Yesterday, I had cause to visit a neighborhood not far from my own to deliver some wayward mail that occasionally gets misdirected to our address. It was on my way to the grocery store anyway, and I figured I'd do the residents a good turn since all of the three siblings that share the house have a disablity of one kind or another. Indeed, they are quite likeable people. But they are also very strange people.

This is the kind of neighborhood that seems fairly sweet and sleepy upon arrival, but soon certain things pop to the attention. One, there are peculiar mixed-breed dogs either tied up in yards or wandering about, looking like they were drawn by a four-year-old child. Occasionally, there are peculiar humans, also seemingly the work of a young artist with a tendency toward rotund, rather than straight, stick figures. Their heads shoot up as soon as you park your car, and their expressions are not what I would deem friendly. If you were in the South, you would definitely be hearing creepy fiddle music. But, this is Westchester, NY, so the fiddles are stashed away. Then there are the ominous eyes that peer at you from behind curtains that are quickly twitched back into place as soon as you turn around.

I tweren't scared, but the place was unsettling. I got to the house where I needed to deliver my mail and spotted K, tooling around in his driveway in a wheelchair and so hopped up on steroids he could barely stop talking to take a puff from his ever-present cigarette. Then out stepped P, his sister, who invited me inside for the "grand tour." Recently recovered from a bout of "the cancer," P was looking pretty healthy, especially compared to her brother. A third sibling--whose mail I was delivering--was not at home. "That idiot," said P when I asked after him. "He's an idiot." (This brother actually happens to be "slow," so calling him an idiot did seem a bit uncharitable.)

The grand tour of the house made me feel pretty sad. It was dark with the shutters drawn throughout. There was a tiny railroad kitchen, stacked high with detritus; a smoky and stained bedroom for K, another for the "idiot brother," a living room that did not invite laughter and conversation, and a simply awful enclosed "front porch" that was darker than a tomb and about as wide as a cat's hips. "We like to spend lots of time here hanging on the porch!" said P, brightly. But...it's...not a porch. It's dark! There's no...light. "We like our porch, too," I offered. How poor, wheelchair-bound K even maneuvered around this place--filled with old, sticky furniture--was beyond me. P was embarrassed to show me the bathroom because of the color of the tile, but since the entire home was wood-paneled and covered with ugly vinyl-like tiles from stem to stern the bathroom's perky green tiles seemed like a nice break.

A friend was there tearing out K's carpet because K so often lurched about and spilled food on it from his wheelchair. He nodded curtly at me as he carried out a giant sack containing about 1,253 cigarette butts and other detritus.

"Want to see my room? It's pretty cozy," P said. Where could it be? The whole house was no bigger than a breadbox. Ah, the basement! We went down the stairs into a low-ceilinged and yes, wood-paneled area. The bed was piled high with clothes and the place smelled musty and depressing. There was a large pile of Cheez Doodles (the puffed kind) spilling out on her sheets in a strange, orange tableau. "And there's my potty!" said P, pointing to one of those portable toilet seats that the disabled sometimes use, with arm rests--and no plumbing whatsoever. Only a bucket of some kind.

At this point I was about to get mad. When people suffer through a bout of "the cancer," they shouldn't have to use a potty with a bucket under it, for gosh sakes. They should have a proper potty with a flush mechanism! But who is going to pay for P's plumbing, or move her to a bigger house with a nice, sunny front porch where she can sip cool lemonade and watch the world go by, lazy and content, flush with Cheez Doodles?

So we went back upstairs, where she started to fix lunch for K and the friend who was helping to tear out the dreadful old carpet. She cut some nondescript, pinkish-grey meat off a loafy-shaped thing and slapped it on some buns, tearing off the extra fat with her fingernails and leaving it in a little, pink pile on the mustard-colored countertop. The men chomped into those things--yum! yum! I was deeply afraid that she would offer me some, but she didn't. She did offer me a drink, but I said no thanks. I'm afraid some deep-seated nausea kicked in and I didn't even want to drink a can of Dr. Pepper out of that fridge. There were also tons of wild animal figurines from K's room that had been cleaned and left to dry haphazardly all over the kitchen. A falcon in the dish rack. A wild deer and a bear perched on the bread loaf. All with beady, black eyes and wild wings and claws and fangs.

The funny thing is, the reason that I have these people's mail in the first place is that they used to live in our house. For 45 years, the three sibings (plus another) shared the place with their parents and an ancient great-granny who took up one of the only three bedrooms. At one point, the kids were stacked in one of the bedrooms in neat rows, like sardines. There were so many mattresses in the room that the floor was just one, big mattress. Another year, their parents moved into the dining room to accommodate another elderly relative. That must have been the year that they boarded up the beautiful 1905 leaded glass window in that room--for privacy.

They loved this house. When they sold it to us, they cried. Their initials are etched into the basement stairway and they used to jump from the landing on the stairs to the floor, just like my two boys do now. When they lived here, they had the same ugly old furniture but they had a proper front porch, with sun, and big windows, and hardwood floors (that they covered with hideous tile that we had to tear up, but let's not get into that.) Eventually, after the parents died, they had to sell it, partially because K couldn't get up the stairs into the house nor up the stairs to his bedroom anymore. They owned the house outright after all those years, so it makes me wonder:

What have they done with all the money?

And I also wonder at times, mostly in the middle of the night: What's in the water? Sure, I haven't seen the fourth sibling since the closing and I can't remember her at all, but something tells me that she's not the pinnacle of health, either. It's just a guess. I just don't picture her as a veggie-eating marathon runner.

I think about moving a lot, but I know when our For Sale sign does go up K and P will be the first to hear about it. (They knew when we redid the bathroom, planted the sod, and tore up the patio that K put down at age 16. They see it all. The houses here have eyes, too.) They'll be concerned about who is coming, and who is going to take care of the old house.

After my visit to deliver the mail, they asked me to come back, please, anytime, and bring my kids! Like I said, these are the nicest people in the world, so I wouldn't mind paying them a visit or two down the road. I just keep thinking of that little pile of pink meat strips on that old countertop, and the guys sitting there with the dust motes floating in the one, narrow ray of sunlight that's coming in through the window. Then I glance out at my own front porch, and remember that they grew up clattering across it, and clambering up the stairs after school, and watching the snow fall out the big front window.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fondue, Anyone?

This item was recently sent to me under the title "Another Chinese Toy Recall." Of course, this slur against the Chinese people shall not go unnoticed. They are right now developing a new series of toys, all lead-paint free, in order to avenge honor and give pleasure to rapacious American consumer. Look for these in your Christmas stockings, kiddos!





Stacey Skates ‘n’ Stabs
My Size Coffin
Tubby, the Stuffed Beet
Make-Your-Own-Sausage Factory
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtleheads
Little Wiener, the Penis Doll (with lifelike noises!)
My First Taxidermy Kit
Littlekins Power Saw 'n' more
Thomas the Tanked Engine (comes with engraved Island of Sodor flask)
Dora the Down-There Explorer
Catch-a-Poo Home Fishing Kit
Fuck-a me Elmo

Monday, October 8, 2007

Our (not so..?) Paranoid City


Last Year, 1,944 New Yorkers Saw Something And Said Something!

This poster, observed during my morning commute today, did not fill me with bon vivant humor and joie de vivre, although it did make me speak in cliched French phrases. What was I supposed to take from this message? That 1,944 New Yorkers averted a terrorist attack by spotting abandoned bombs sitting at the edge of subway platforms, and reporting them obediently? Is this scary or not? And what about those who didn't see and didn't say?

It is my feeling that this poster was attempting a bit of gentle chastisement of these folk, much like a dowdy schoolmarm urging children to use the potty. "Nah, I won't report that bomb today, because I am apathetic." Grade: F! "I think I will report that swarthy-looking furriner, who looks somewhat like an A-rab." Grade: A+! Next time, do your duty, and report it!

Here is a record of just a few of these seen/said events in the past year.

SEEN
January 5, 2007: Some really unattractive shoes.
SAID
Um...not so much.

SEEN
February 14, 2007: Waterboarding, head slapping, and exposure to extreme cold.
SAID
Hey, look at that extinct emu flying past the window! What shackles? I don't see any shackles.

SEEN
October 3, 2007: 10 million low-income children seeking healthcare.
SAID
Aw, fuck the little brats.

Addendum: I can't finish this post at present; there are some swarthy-looking gentlemen of another race walking down my street. What is the number I am supposed to call to report this sort of thing?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Gee, I'm sorry I've been so grumpy, but it really is all your fault

It has come to the attention of The Party Pony that some of my recent posts have been a touch, shall we say, mean-spirited? Perhaps a bit dark, obsessive, and madly brooding on ways in which to drive my enemies weeping and naked into the nearest body of water? Mayhap a titch too drenched in ire and ill-humor, and lacking that G-rated buoyancy which has at times--in the quite distant past--been my trademark?

Yes, all of these accusations and more are true. The Party Pony has been in a foul humor, but how can I possibly be blamed, besieged as I am by the malignant and stoopid Proletariat of the world? How I can I be even one iota at fault when, in fact, my sunny disposition has been marred by the existence of a lumplike creature who, when apple-picking, tosses a receipt, an empty Gatorade bottle, and a woman's flip-flop 'neath the tree? You would gnash your teeth, too.

We did go apple-picking today, and it was lovely (despite the disgusting record-breaking heat). The boys couldn't reach a single apple, but they loaded up the bag like champs. We got a whole 1/2 peck of apples or something in that vicinity. I have no idea how to eat all these apples, but what I really want to discuss is the deep, inner compulsion that drives someone to litter wantonly while picking apples in a serene, pastoral setting. I try to think of the best of humanity: Yes, when they were reaching high to pluck apples, some refuse just "spilled" out of their pockets onto the ground below! Or maybe, they were picking apples on their way to the dump and, attacked by an errant bird of prey, fled in terror with their garbage cascading out across the hillside as they went! An even more remote, yet possible theory: the garbage fell out of a small Cessna passing overhead, and scattered in small, neat pockets under each apple tree.

Sadly, after several experiments and much stealthy observation, I have determined that none of these possiblities can be true. I don't care HOW unedumacated you may be, there is simply no excuse for this type of nonsense. If I catch you at it, I'm going to pull out all the stops from Level 1 of my Self-Help course in Human Loathing. You will be beaten with plastic offal, besides.

All that aside, wasn't it a fine Sunday? (Yes, little one upstairs, there is no need to weep over the fact that your sippy cup has tilted over and that the sticker you stuck on it has unstuck itself and furled up.) The sky was blue, and there was a lithe wind over the apple downs. The smell of hot, roasting turkey legs drifted up from the parking lot of Outhouse Orchards (named after its founder, Johnny M. Outhouse), and crowds of happy harvesters clambered astride pumpkins. Doughnuts dropped into burbling, hot grease. Bees swarmed over fallen, trompled apples, and children shrieked and swung their arms to ward off the insects. The cars came onward, in a steady stream of insatiable pickers and hay-riders, all grinding gravel and kicking up clouds of dust.

Don't tell anyone, but I broke the rules today and climbed an apple tree. Climbing trees is the best darned kind of fun you can have. I didn't stay up long, just enough to feel that slippery, hand-scratching, unsurefootedness and then the drop down atop a pile of ankle-turning windfall apples. Next time, I will go higher.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Milk o' Human Loathing: Self-Help Course Level 1

I have decided to start a "self-help" course in self-expression for those of us filled with angry, bitter thoughts. My course is simple, and has one basic premise. Don't keep those feelings inside! Let 'em out. Let 'em free. Try one on your favorite fatass fellow commuter today! You have now accessed Level 1.

As you progress, write in for Level 2 of my course, "Mean Thoughts Can Set You Free as if on the Wings of a Virulent Pigeon," Level 3: "Fuck those fucking fucks", and Level 4: "Fuck 'em and the cunts they rode in on" [gracious thanks for course name due to husband. Please direct all shocked offense at the use of the "C" word to him. I take no responsibility.]

Here, a short list of phrases to "test" on the annoyees of the world.

Entree level. Try these phrases on a stranger who has peeved you past the point of endurance.

On a train! "What part of no ho-BAGs on the train seat do you not understand, Wrinkles?"
In a Deli! [to the tune of Mr. Sandman] "Mrs. Fatcakes, don't eat that roll...."
On the sidewalk! "Shut your pie-hole, cockmonkey."

Next, move on to the main course by verbally insulting family members, friends, and acquaintances. At this level it is best to be short, sweet, and to the point in order to insult as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.

To an aunt! "Fat! Fat! Fat!"
To a neighbor! "Hey, pigfucker!"
To a cousin! "Assface."
To a former friend! "Prozac-addled whore!"

And, dessert. One's coworkers, clients, and supervisors. When dealing with this last category, however, it is wise to disguise one's rage in the form of art. The loss of one's livelihood will lead to further rage and invective hurling--which, while enjoyable, may start to taint even the sunnier portions of one's life. "The Milk o' Human Loathing: Self-Help Course Level 1" recommends these media: poetry, a dance using numchucks, an oil painting, or perhaps a thinly veiled autobiographical novel. Your choice!

To a supervisor: "I know you attend the Plushies convention in a stained Care Bear sex suit."
To a VP: "Fat tard! Flaccid mugwump!"
To a client: "You pear-shaped, unimaginative, Lumpen fool."
To a colleague: "Hey, etiquette tip, Piggie McGee. It might not be the best idea to chaw on celery and carrots with your maw WIDE OPEN during a conference call."

The test on this course is next week. Practice.

Meanly yours,
The self-help guru

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Shuffles Redux

Tonight on my way home I spotted our neighbor Shuffles, shuffling her way along our street with her wiglike dark hair bobbing as she moved. Her trim little bluejeans were much too high around the ankles and she wore black running sneakers and a nondescript blue sweatshirt. I stalked her in a stealthy manner, noting once again the similarities between her visage and that of a Cabbage Patch Doll. Not once did she turn, but I sensed that, yes, she knew I was there. She felt my beady eyes at her back, my hot breath upon her neck. She seemed to twitch when I darted behind this tree and that shubbery, although she thought it merely the wind's vagaries that caused her an involuntary flinch.

I know ye, Shuffles. I know that you stole my little cat Potatoe exactly two years ago, and keep him close by your side in your darkened house with drawn shades, the house that smells of old cabbage and bunions. I know you read your horoscope this morning, and it alerted you to the possibility that a stranger will spot you bagging groceries at the Stop and Shop and whisk you off to Hollywood, where you will star as a stripper in a low-budget remake of Showgirls.

I am aware that you set out your black running shoes next to your white this morning and thought: "I shall choose the black. Today, I shall choose the black." And that Potatoe curled around your bony white ankles as you sipped your weak tea and ate a fried egg, and the egg dripped down over your chin and you wiped it with a rag that was once a pair of faded, grey Granny undies, consigned to the cleaning supply closet. You read OK magazine as you ate, and entertained rude thoughts about Britney's midriff, and agreed with the poll that suggested her career was ruined. And yes, Shuffles, you let yourself gloat in the fact--for one quick moment--that your stomach is flatter than Britney's can ever now be. That decision not to fall in love, marry, and have children--a doom-laden sequence that leads inexorably to midriff spread--has its rewards, and they are sweet rewards indeed.

After you ate your breakfast you sorted your cutlery, brushed your wiglike hair, and wrote a letter to the mayor of New Rochelle demanding redress for all sorts of ills, including the noxious sounds emitted by the cement trucks that pass along the 95 entrance ramp. You also spoke firmly about the need to replace the stop sign at the corner with one that does not have a sticker on it reading: "No Jesus, No peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace." Not that you have anything against old Jesus, but enough is enough with the grafitti. WWJD indeed, Shuffles--why, he'd be an upstanding citizen, just like you!

I think we are sympatico in a way, Shuffles. I'll bet that you wouldn't fit in with those Pelham moms, either. You'd find them distasteful, as I do, and you would spurn their SUVs with many rude hand gestures, if you only had a car yourself and weren't forced to shuffle, shuffle everywhere. You would give them that owl-eyed stare from behind your giant, round glasses--smeared with fingerprints--and think to yourself: "Poo. I don't like them one bit." I applaud your dignity, Shuffles!

I think you don't think much of our neighbors, either. Some of our close companions here are Lumpen, unassailably stupid, and built like brick shithouses. Not all, mind you. You know what's what, who's good, and all that. You are a shining beacon of hope, Shuffles.

Except there was that odd moment the other night when, on your way home in the darkness, you stopped right across the street from our porch. You turned and stared--for a long, long uncomfortable minute. You stood still like a hunting dog, poised to lunge. I stared back, but partially shielded by one of our porch columns, so that you couldn't see the whites of my eyes. What were you looking for? I held my breath. Would you step across the street, that great divide, and confess your misdeeds?

"I'm sorry I took your cat," you might have said. "I was just so dreadfully lonely." But you said nothing. You left, eventually. Back to your home with the green shuttered door and the crappy peeling paint, head down and shoulders hunched, flipping your hair over your shoulder like some hoochie teenager and moving with that perplexing gait...shuffle...shuffle...shuffle.

I guess you can keep my cat, Shuffles. He piddled in our basement anyway, and he was as dumb as a post.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pelham Housewives Smackdown!

Last night I wrote this letter to the director of my son's school. She's a decent and nice person, so I was decent in turn. I thought, however, that I would edit the letter to illuminate my true and more heartfelt feelings about the subject.

Dear_____,

I appreciate all the changes you've made to make the parking at the school easier and safer--they seem to be doing the trick!

I thought I would bring up one concern, however. I'm not sure what you can do about it, but I see some rude behavior from the moms skinny, nouveau riche beeatches who drive the giant SUVs motherfucking, gas-guzzling, planet-wrecking, gargantuan pieces of shit that take up half the road. As my nanny was pulling out today from a parking spot, she paused to let someone ahead of her pull out. The mother in the SUV behind her leaned on the horn and angrily gestured at her to "get a move on." My nanny was shocked and appalled that another member of the school community this nasty bitch would be this rude. Perhaps a gentle reminder about courtesy public slapdown in the next newsletter school ampitheatre--come on, me and her, mano a mano--would be helpful?

Frankly--and this leads me into another rather difficult topic I have often thought of broaching--the behavior of some of the parents at the school saddens me sickens me and has made the town of Pelham a dark blot on the landscape forevermore. It is, in fact, the reason that we do not plan to send our son back next year, nor will we be sending his younger brother in the future. The school and teachers are wonderful, but many of the mothers are unfriendly, uncommunicative, and seem to belong to an exclusive club that desires no new members total freak-ass beeatches who have never worked an honest day in their lives and have nothing better to do than complain about "the help." Oh yeah, and I'll bet they have ostentatious, tacky gold fixtures in their bathrooms, too. And their husbands are old, bald, and have small penii.

It is a shame that at this point in my life, I should be sharply reminded of junior high-school cliques when this sort of thing has no place in a school community. Sadly, I am not referring to the children but to the mothers loathsome slagmounts to whom I alluded earlier. Last year, I attempted to set up several playdates for my son in order to extend his school friendships, as suggested by his teacher. In every instance but one, the mothers rebuffed me by not returning my calls and making no overtures of their own went back to picking out tacky shit for their oversized, repulsive homes. Eventually, I gave up--to my son's detriment. While he was invited to the birthday parties along with everyone else, only a few mothers even took the time to say hello to me. [Yeah, even the short, squat one with the glasses who has an extra Y chromosome. Yeah, her too. If you're gonna be a beeatch, says my husband, at least be hot. This woman looks like she just popped up from a groundhog hole. And her name is Donna. Yeah, I'll name names! Or maybe it's spelled DAWNA? Or used to be before she was found turning tricks in a Hohokus lesbian strip club. ] The lack of friendliness has been downright bizarre the source of my recent "I'm a-gonna go put human poo on the steps of the craphole Pelham Country Club" fantasies.

While this year it's too early to tell, I don't have high hopes based on last year's experiences. Seeing mothers in tennis skirts stand on the frontsteps and gossip about their nannies no-account trash who were no doubt scooped from the Bronx by some wealthy schmucks with extra money to spend on Botox doesn't make me feel like this is the right community for me makes me want to slap, slap, slap my sillies out--just like the kids' song!

I realize there is little you can do about people's attitudes, but I believe that a school should be a welcoming, loving community from child to staff to parents. This has a huge impact on my perceptions of the school as a whole. I find myself saying to friends who ask: "Yes,it's a lovely school, but the parents just aren't very...nice are complete, human shit. The community is cold. Therefore, I don't recommend it for your child stay the hell away!" Occasionally, I get the response from a fellow local parent that "the school has the reputation of being extremely snobby filled with people better served by being fed to carnivores in a Roman circus." It's unfortunate that this should be the case when my son adores the school and his teachers.

Realistically, I don't want him growing up in a community where he has no outside contact with his friends other than the school hours. Nor do Iwant him to think that such rudeness and unmerited elitism are a good way to behave; I fear that his young school friends, given a few years, will morph into small versions of their parents [yeah, you know they will, and it's gross].

I don't mean to suggest that you can "do something" about this or even that my perceptions can be anything other than subjective are anything other than a priori fact, objective as gold bricks. I have never had a problem with the school staff or the teachers. I do feel that to keep silent about why we are not returning next year wouldn't be right; not only because you might make the faulty assumption that we're not happy with the teachers or academics. Of course, if there is anything that can be changed I would prefer it to be now, when my son is still in the midst of his school experience.

Although school should not about me and is about my son, my experiences there do make an impact on him. I do wish I had the experience that friends of mine have shared about their children's preschools, in which the community is nurturing, diverse has more than one token "colored" child in the ENTIRE SCHOOL, lasting, and inclusive. Perhaps there are
subtle things that can be done to coax the school parents in that direction beat the tar out of the motherfuckers? If you can affect the general climate in that regard, more power to you.

Thank you for listening. New Ro is in the house!

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Broadway Musicals Adapted From Books

Who said it couldn't be done? All it takes is vision, people! And Broadway has it.

Plato’s Dialogues
Socrates and the rest of the gang talk for a while. Then watch the high-stepping fun as they join in an all-male chorus line!

Hiroshima!
In this delightful look back at history, a comic trio of badly-burnt men dance and sing their way through rubble as they search for their lost relatives. A complicated love triangle between two of the men and a mutant, three-legged dog named Mister Buttons will have the audience in stitches.

The National Audubon Society’s First Field Guide to Reptiles
When a hapless frog from the wrong side of the tracks falls in love with a skink, his bumbling attempts to win her heart lead to his being devoured by a posse of Komodo Dragons.

Deliverance
Hilarious hijinks in the South. That weird albino kid is in it, too. Only he's now about 49 years old and really fat.

Living With a Chronic Condition
Watch for the moment when the ED, Herpes, and Incontinence chorus lines come together into one smashing, expertly choreographed "turn, turn, kick turn" routine. But bring the crying towels, too--Britney Spears' diva turn as "Irritable Bowel Syndrome" will reduce the hardest-hearted theatergoer to tears. Who says her career is washed up?

The King James Bible
"He begat, she begat, they begat, oooh..." I can't get that one out of my head. The tunes are irresistible, although the 748-hour running time of this epic musical extravaganza will leave some less-than-pious members of the audience crabby.

Who Moved My Cheese?
In this noir thriller, the “three-quel” to “Where Are My Teeth?” and “What Have You Done With the Casserole?”, the audience is encouraged to participate in solving the mystery. Predictably, the scatological ending mirrors those of its predecessors.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
A bunch of crying infants are put down for their naps by a leading sleep researcher. Some of the infants continue to cry loudly. Others fall asleep. Meanwhile, the researchers sing, dance, and chastise any parents in the audience about what they ought to be doing to instill healthy sleep habits.

The Secret
I don't know what this crap is all about, but it's even worse set to music.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hello, My Flower!


The Nasonex Bee.

I am in a bad mood, and do you want to know why, my little flower? I have frightful seasonal allergies, that's why! And rather than an industrial-sized can of NAzzzzoNex, I have Flonase. "Flonase," said in the flat, disaffected accent of a research scientist. "Flonase," pronounced with as much verve and panache as someone might pronounce the words "dry cracker" or "toilet brush." "Flonase," with no racy pronunciation of the "zzzz!" near the end. Antonio Banderas could have done a good job with FLOOOoooNazze but did they hire him? No! Too cheap. Too unimaginative.

The Nasonex bee, on the other hand, is a bee to reckon with. It's crazy to see that big-eyed, growly bee whizzing around the heads of the poor people struggling with seasonal allergies! He doesn't mess around. He uses NAZZZZZooooNex.

You may ask: What if the Nasonex Bee did not have a Spanish accent? What if he had a southern twang, or a clipped British accent, or even a thuggy Italian grunt? Wouldn't things be DIFFERENT? Wouldn't your, like, whole Weltanschauung be disrupted?

Yes, it would, and such things are impossible and hurt the mind to contemplate. The Nasonex bee must be a Spanish-speaking bee, voiced by Antonio Banderas, as much as the sun must rise in the morning. Some things are just part of the natural cycle. When those Nasonex ad reps sat in a room, they might have considered other options such as:

French: Nasonneaux
German: Der Nazzonex
Greek: Nasopolous
Russian: Das Nazoneski

But in reality, none would suffice except the bee we now know and love--a bee with a hint of Pepe le Pew, Latino style, snuggling up to a flower with lust in his heart and allergens in his nostrils.

Flonase. Oh, the dullness and inefficacy of it makes me want to shove my head into a hermetically-sealed, allergen-free, dust-free, oxygen-free sack.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Me and the Mouse in the Night


Last night, Mr. Squeakers and I parted company.

Mr. Squeakers has been a very active and bold house mouse for the past few months. We have tried without fail to catch the rodent, but he has always escaped. (Truthfully, this would mean that we have "tried with fail," not without fail. We have failed most excreably, and Mr. Squeakers has had the best of the battle.) Humane mouse traps designed to catch "smart mice" have been completely useless. We usually used Saltines or peanut butter crackers as bait.

He comes out around 10:30 and is reasonably fearless, sometimes sniffing about in plain sight when one is watching TV. Last night, I was typing away when I heard a rustling noise. I crept into the kitchen on little cat-feet and stood, waiting, ready to pounce. There was no movement. Suddenly, out from my purse shot Mr. Squeakers!

The subject of his pleasure hunt: A Berries Go Mega Odwalla bar (in our household, the Odwalla brand is known simply as "Bar," usually pronounced with an exceedingly long 'a' and a piratical 'r' (BAAAAHHHR) or occasionally a Boston twang (Bah!) or sometimes a nasal gargle (Barrrgggh). Bar is good. Bar is great.

Now I had his ticket. I stuffed a big chunk of Bar into the humane mouse trap and slipped away to bed. No more than 5 minutes later, I heard the trap as it snapped shut. I crept down. There he was, Mr. Squeakers, anxious and outraged as he peered out from his green plastic prison. His eyes were the very essence of black beadiness. "I was your friend!" he seemed to say. "I did you no harm."

"Aw, gosh," I said to him. "Let's go for a little ride, shall we?"

I couldn't leave him in that trap all night no more than I could leave a dying man in a snakepit. So I tied on my sneakers and slipped on a coat over my pyjamas and took him to the car, and then I drove over to the local park. He sat on the passenger seat and was very sedate. On the way over, we had a nice chat:

"Mr Squeakers," I said. "I hope you find a nice house to winter in this season. I hope they have crackers and lots of BAR. Just don't let it be our house."

He said little.

"I don't hold your residence in our house against you," said I. "But it's time for you to move on and shift for yourself. I think you're a nice mouse. I'm sure that you are well-liked in the mouse community. But your feasting on our crackers and things is simply not the way to go. At least as far as we are concerned."

I took his surly silence for assent. Gosh, he was being disagreeable, but I guess he'd had a rather cushy run there for a while, feeding out of abandoned cereal bowls and trolling for crumbs left by youngsters. He had a right to be peeved.

When we reached the park, I stepped out in my pyjamas and took the trap with me, setting it near the playground. I released the door and the piece of Bar fell out into the grass. Mr. Squeakers seemed dumbstruck.

"Yes, yes, run free!" I urged him, and so he did--leaping straight over the chunk of Bar in his bid for the wilds of New Ro. He shot into the grass and disappeared into the darkness. I could hear crickets thrumming, and the faint whine of Route 95 on the wind.

It was sort of lonely going back home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Zac Efron is really a taxidermized, gay Pekingese



Zac Efron, star of Disney's High School Musical phenomenon, is totally a creepy twink. I'll admit, I saw his image on the cover of a magazine as America's hot new hottie, and thought "hrhrm, he's pretty cute." But then I had the misfortune to catch the last 22 minutes of High School Musical 2 last Saturday.

There is no question in my mind that Zac Efron is actually a taxidermized, gay Pekingese in a fairly realistic-looking "boy mask" and pants, operated by Disney remote control. He's sort of cute when it's just a photo, but when the kid opens his mouth and speaks--ooh, it goes all wrong. Those close-set eyes. Icky! I think there's a lot of bad skin under some pancake makeup, too. There's something wrong with his lips.

High School Musical 2 has got to be the most loathsome spectacle I have seen in many moons. I had high hopes for it, thinking it would be a bit of kitschy, effervescent fun. But it's not fun. It is scary and bad, much as Pizza Hut's new OREO PIZZA. Who the hell eats an Oreo pizza? You might as well duct-tape it to your thighs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hookers, Mangos, and Aerodynamic Pickles





New Rochelle just gets better and better, but Johnny Law always has to step in and ruin the party. Recently, this Up and Coming New Ro Business was shut down despite a clear marketing strategy (specials on opening nite!) and gay bunting at the business storefront advertising a grand opening.

If you are going to open a house of ill-repute, it is always wise to tie a big red ribbon round the ol' oak tree, pull your brocade curtains, and leave ample parking for cars. Selecting four weaselly, sullen prostitutes with secret itches for spanking pansy-assed suburban businessmen, and buying a bunch of remainders at the Cat o' Nine Tails sample sale also shows business savvy. Shutting these poor folks down just isn't very sporting. New Rochelle is trying to rise, brothers! Let it rise! I have seen a few playground finance daddies who would be well-served by a pimply drop-out wielding a riding crop.

In what will be revealed in the fullness of time to be not at all a non-sequitur, I now announce that mangos are the fruit of the devil. After my recent exposure to The National Mango Board, sexy photos of the forbidden fruit drove me to buy an industrial-sized crate of mangos from Costco. They sure looked yummy! (And, indeed, they are.) However, I was unaware of the fact that mango skin contains urioshol, the same nasty oily ingredient in poison ivy. Check out this Curious Case of the Handprint Rash. Just imagine snacking on a poison ivy plant and you will get a clear picture of the fate that has befallen me. Death come quick, like dagger.

The best part is that the doctor I visited this morning dumped a bunch of hydrocortisone, some weirdly long cotton swabs, and about 18 pairs of medical rubber gloves (presumably to apply the medicine) into my purse. Wait until I disembark the train at New Ro, stumble a bit, and spill that out onto the platform! "Hmm, you looking for North Avenue, sweetie? Ooh, that's a nasty rash."

Lest we forget in the midst of all this naughty fun, this Sunday is International Pickle Day! Don't forget to pelt your neighbor a good one with a big, moist kosher dill. Gherkins have great aerodymanics, and spears are good for beatings. I like the sound of a pickle as it strikes a sibling on the temple, and the look of outrage that follows provides many heart-warming family memories for years to come. But some pickles, as they say, are just too tasty to toss.

International Pickle Day is a dark day for some, so let us not forget their plight during our merriment.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Shimmy shimmy pow!

I've been having some truly whackadoodle physical events lately, no doubt the result of scything out alcohol, smokies, coffee, and psychotropic medications out of my life with one quick, clean blow.

I'm not very funny when I am not drunk. Instead, I tend to weep at fireworks and the song "Drift Away" on the radio, like some simpering fool. I consider the sunflower in its glory, and when my child said "the brussels sprouts are growing larger" I thought sagely "yes, and so are you, my child. And one day you will be grown, and I an old woman." You would think the opposite would be true--that wine would make me sniff over sunsets and pick fights with loved ones, but it just makes me feel pretty darned good. I even type better. I am sober as a worm and have already made 18 + typos that I have had to go back and fix.

Why take a break, then? Well, I suppose I don't feel so durned good in the mornings, especially with two boys sitting on my head and using it as a launching pad to my duodenum. And cigarettes, while they make one unutterably cool, are supposed to be kind of bad for one's health. I only smoke them occasionally and surreptiously after the sun has gone down, but even one wreaks havoc with my smell buds (or whatever them things are called) and sends me into a hypochondriacal tither.

I just wanted to know what it was like to eat some fresh veggies and drink a cup of tea for sport and not be jiggered up with all sorts of drugs and hoo-ha. I just had to fix eight more typos. Blast this heaththt busunessd!

So, overall I feel better. BUT I am having the oddest dizzy spells, from whence I know not whence. (Is that an accurate syntactical construction? This sobriety crap is making me feel all giddy and giving me the jim-jams!) They tend to start when I stand from a seated position or turn my head suddenly to one side. It seems I can feel a vibratory, metallic kind of shimmy in my head--like I am occupying more than one place in space at one time. Like a rapid-fire camera is going click-click-click as I turn my head, and each instant of the turn is being recorded, and I am existing in each instant of the turn. In case you were wondering, it's not fun. It's not like those tracers you used to get after your big LSD binges when you used to follow the Dead, you decadent old hippie!

Sometimes the dizziness feels more like I turned my head one way, and my brain--a lump of recalcitrant dough--rebelled and went the other way. Sometimes I get an uncomfortable little electrical surge of blood up through my brainbox, and even the blood cells seem dizzy, as if they got shocked and darted that way and then found they could not get out through the top of my head.

So when my boys asked me tonight if I'd like to roll down a hill with them, I politely declined. When we drove home, I decided looking at my blind spot too much--requiring a head turn--was not a good idea. Then I saw some fireworks over the horizon, at Rye Playland. "The fireworkers are running up in the trees!" said the littlest boy. We drove after the fireworks. We chased them down Playland Parkway, but we couldn't seem to catch them. "Don't worry, you will see plenty of fireworks in your life," I said, and cried, because "lives" in general are just awfully moving and sad sometimes. "In mein lifejacket?" said littlest boy.

The presence of any typos in the above posting should be directed to management. That is, comments about the presence of said typos should be directed to management, etcetera.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Same 10 Questions I Always Ask Myself, III

1. What are you wearing?
A cheap faux ruby necklace from Annie SEZ that causes people to exclaim "Ooh, where did you get that cute piece of jewelry?"

2. What's the nature of today's hypochondria?
Asbestos poisoning from something foul I inhaled on the way home past a construction site.

3. What was today's workout?
A 45-minute jam-packed session at New York Sports Club (SoHo) with the goddess of Total Body Conditioning, Loi, who puts more into 45 minutes that one ever dreamed or dreaded. She hates "girlie pushups" and wimpy manuevers that avoid exertion, and she strides around the class, demanding "more energy, people!" Sometimes she claps her hands and shouts "I'm busy, people. Busy! Move it!" She is a 40+ beautiful black woman with a body better than a 21-year-old, and she likes to say things such as "When you do your squats, stick out your booty like Brad Pitt is right behind you!" This is better than a personal training session!

4. How do you do what you do and stay so sweet?
I offset my moral "carbon emissions" through well-placed prayer and random kindness to strangers.

5. What's that burning smell?
A smokie treat. Oh crap, when the nurse practitioner at my work health center reads this, her finger will start a-wagging.

6. If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
My old pet Dalmation, wearing a tutu that I used to tug on to her body with much protest and nipping.

7. What are you drinking, and why?
A full-bodied Aussie Shiraz, this one called "Mollydooker: The Boxer." A bit too thick and fruity for my tastes, but yummy all the same. Why? It warms me soul and pickles me heart.

8. In what ways hast thou offended?
I tossed an organically-raised white cabbage that might have turned the bend, but could have been salvaged with some careful pruning.

9. What's the next big thing?
Pigeons. They will appear on the menus of every fine restaurant in the form of "Pigeon Pie," "Squab Bundtcake," and "City Vermin Frisee with a Soot Demiglaze."

10. Music selection?
The Watson Twins, Southern Manners. Yes!
Gosh, why didn't I have a twin with whom I could record songs? Except that my twin would likely have been as tone-deaf as me. EXCEPT I do have the ability to sing single notes weirdly on pitch, note after note, when playing the guitar late at night. EXCEPT I have to have not smoked to accomplish this. Blast!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Sailing race scuttlebutt, and a poo on the back stoop

"Who could have come and shat on our back step while I had my back turned?"

This was the first thought that occurred to my husband after he discovered a small human poo sitting on the second step up on our back porch. After some quick deductions, the culprit was ousted. Second Son, aka Fang! The fact that he was naked at the time was a big clue. Both boys were running nude and wild in the sprinkler after being released from an almost six-hour car ride back from Lake Placid, and could hardly be blamed for delighting in the freedom of poo au naturel. His selection of the step seemed an ominous choice, as I am always fearful of his scatalogical humor, but I expect it just popped out willy-nilly as he crawled up the steps. "Oooh, goodness," I suppose he thought, and then went on his merry naked way.

I was in a sailing race up in Lake Placid, the 37th annual Clamato Regatta (aka the Annual Lake Placid Invitational), in which Sunfish sail under the maxim "Perfecting the art of drunken sailing." Back in '98, my beloved sailing partner and I came in second during a fierce wind, narrowly beaten after the third buoy at which we were most cruelly fouled. We didn't want to win in a protest, so we nursed our ambition and have tried to regain the title every year since (with the exception of a couple years when I was fat with child).

This year's race was a series of misadventures from start to finish. While raising the sail, knee-deep in rocky muck, I yanked the mast out of its socket and it fell smack onto the deck of the Sunfish, narrowly missing my friend's head. In a stealth move, we tried to slither up the shore (me towing the boat) before the starting gun, so we'd be in prime position to cross the starting line. But the wind caught the sail and we almost careened into a nearby dock, whereupon two old biddies leaped out, shrieking in a panic. "You're hooked on the ladder!" one of them yowled. "Let go of your mainsail!" the other screamed. So frenzied and panicked were they that we shoved off from their dock, right in the wrong direction to begin the race. "Save the drama for your mama!" I snarked at the oldest bat--an amusing choice of verbiage considering she was around 89 years old.

Gearing up to begin the race, I crawled up to the bow to assess the situation (which was grim--almosy every boat was now ahead of us). As I crouched there, the rigging came undone and the boom fell and thwacked me on the head. I swore I had tied it properly! By the time the starting cannon went off, we were in about as pitiful a position as possible. I managed to raise the sail, but boats were already streaming toward the first buoy. And, we were stuck in irons.

Very depressed and angry and deep into a bottle of Nuclear "Clamato" Bloody Mary, we chased the pack without any success. We tried to keep our spirits up by announcing our boat number as we rounded each buoy; none was there to hear it but the still and silent trees. (It is called Lake Placid for a reason.) By the time we got to the third buoy we were in a pack of about 5 losers who couldn't seem to manage to round it. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew from the heavens! We came about...and immediately flipped and dumped into the water. We both fell into the drink along with the bottle of Clamato (it was rescued). And I was wearing my new Lilly Pulitzer shorts! Freezing and wet, we righted her and continued the race--but this time in much higher spirits. So lame was our plight now that only humor was an option. Our laughter echoed around the lake. Sunburnt and awash with Bloody Marys, we finally crossed the finish line with a handful of vessels behind us. The glorious etched plates, that were the prizes, were now out of our reach, but our dignity was almost intact.

Until, diving into a boathouse to change into warm clothes, shivering and nearly insensible with cold, I chose an innocuous spot in a corner in which to strip down to my nothings--revealing a bare, white butt for all the party to view, framed by the clear glass window that I had failed to notice behind me.