Don't Mess With Piper

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Ha! Oh man! This seriously cracks me up. What a great caption.

While I have no respect or admiration for Sarah Palin, I DO think the whole silly $150K shopping spree spin is a ridiculous attack on her and her family. I mean, c'mon! The Republicans plucked her out of political obscurity and dropped her on an international stage. OF COURSE she's going to need some appropriate clothing.

Unlike the McCains, the Palin family is not swimming in the moolah. Sarah doesn't own $300,000 outfits like Cindy. And, honestly, if that's what the RNC wants to spend money on, so what? And if they want to give it all away to charity when the election is over, so what? Honestly, I don't understand how this $150K "shopping spree" became such an issue in the first place. Especially when there are so many other legitimate issues to attack her on.

In any case, I don't think Piper should have to give back her tiara! ;)



How awesome is it when the people you love give you even more reasons to love them?


Pretty awesome.


When It Hits the Fan

You will never believe what happened to me this morning. It's so revolting. So disgusting. So massively shameful, I don't know why I'm even telling you.

If you've seen the movie "Sex and the City", here's a hint: Charlotte in Mexico.

Yes, that's right, I SHIT MY PANTS. I'll just let that statement sink in as you come to grips with the image of a 32 year old woman shitting her pants.

So, I woke up this morning to an unsettled, rather rumbly stomach. I immediately attributed this condition to the four reduced fat Pillsbury cinnamon rolls I ate for dinner last night. You know, the refrigerated kind that come in a tube with a little pot of sugar icing? Yeah, that kind. And yes, I realize that eating FOUR reduced fat cinnamon rolls defeats the whole purpose of getting the reduced fat version. What can I say? I am weak when faced with a plate of warm cinnamony goodness. Don't be a cinnamon roll hater!

While I am a huge fan of the refrigerated cinnamon rolls, clearly they are not kind to me. I really can't remember the last time I ate said cinnamon rolls, but I do not recall such a violent physical reaction.

Aaaaanyway, I woke up, duly noted the unsettled nature of my stomach and went about the business of getting ready for work. If there had been unreasonable pain or discomfort accompanying the unsettled rumblings, I may have taken more notice. Alas, I got in my car and toodled off.

Traffic wasn't abominable, but congested enough to slow things down considerably. The rumblings persisted and grew in urgency. At about Hillsboro Road, the rumblings became vicious growls and painful cramps. This is when I started to panic.

By commute standards, my commute is rather nice. The thing I like most about my drive to work is that it meanders through state parks, past fields and horse pastures, and through residential neighborhoods. While this is lovely every other day of the week, today it was torture. There was no McDonalds, no Target, no Publix to skid into and use the facilities. No, I realized my situation was turning desperate as my intestines revolted and protested in earnest.

And then, suddenly, with tears forming in my eyes, the dam simply would not hold any longer and a full-blown shit storm erupted in my pants.

Oh the shame.

The immense psychological damage involved when one shits their pants is astounding. Truly.

I had no choice but to turn around and drive home in my disgusting mess. I waddled upstairs, immediately got in the shower and washed away the shit and tears. If ever the universe was telling me to take a "mental health" day, today was that day! The dread and imminent threat of further shit storms has me holed up in isolation as I recover from the intense trauma of shitting my pants.

The three minutes it took you to read this are lost forever. You will never get those three minutes back. For this, I apologize.


Step Away From the Birdfeeder!

In case you haven't noticed, (but really, how have you not noticed?) my mother is a serious Libertarian. She's hard-core, man. She goes to Libertarian rallies in New Hampshire (which is, apparently, the Libertarian holy land). She pickets and campaigns for Libertarian candidates. And she periodically sends out emails like this:

I bought a bird feeder. I hung it on my back porch and filled it with seed. What a beauty of a bird feeder it is, as I filled it lovingly with seed. Within a week we had hundreds of birds were taking advantage of the continuous flow of free and easily accessible food.

But then the birds started building nests in the boards of the patio, above the table, and next to the barbecue. Then came the poop. It was everywhere: on the patio tile, the chairs, the table,in the pool.


Then some of the birds turned mean. They would dive bomb me and try to peck me even though I had fed them out of my own pocket.

And others birds were boisterous and loud. They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed at all hours of the day and night and demanded that I fill it when it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn't even sit on my own back porch anymore. So I took down the
bird feeder and in three days the birds were gone. I cleaned up their mess and took down the many nests they had built all over the patio.

Soon, the back yard was like it used to be.... quiet, serene and no one demanding their rights to a free meal.

Now let's see.

Our government gives out free food, subsidized housing, free medical care, and free
education and allows anyone born here to be an automatic citizen.

Then the illegals came by the tens of thousands. Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for free services; small apartments are housing 5 families; you have to wait 6 hours to be seen by an emergency room doctor; your child's 2nd grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn't speak English.

Corn Flakes now come in a bilingual box; I have to 'press one' to hear my bank talk to me in English, and people waving flags other than 'Old Glory' are squawking and screaming in the streets, demanding more rights and free liberties.

Just my opinion, but maybe it's time for the government to take down the bird feeder.

If you agree, pass it on; if not, continue cleaning up the poop!

So there ya go - a little Libertarian allegory for you. Even though I have a Libertarian mother, I honestly don't know a whole lot of details about the Libertarian political theories and philosophies (my mother is not the pushy sort - although I AM counting on her to comment on this post from a Libertarian perspective).

Here's what Wikipedia says (god I love the wiki!):

Libertarianism is a term used by a broad spectrum of political philosophies which prioritize individual liberty and seek to minimize or even abolish the state. The definition of libertarian in a political context is a contentious issue and libertarians agree on no single principle or set of principles. The extent to which government is necessary, if at all, is evaluated from a variety of distinct metaphysical, epistemological, and moral grounds. The word libertarian is an antonym of authoritarian.

While I can understand where Libertarian ideals are coming from, I just don't have faith in humanity to provide the necessary social support systems without government funding and organization. My mother says that without government intervention, people would be free to donate their hard-earned money to whatever causes or organizations they deemed appropriate. So, if you felt passionate about after-school programs or subsidized housing or free medical care or supporting the arts or caring for the environment, you could donate to those causes of your own free will instead of the government taking your money and deciding for you.

In theory, this sounds zip-a-dee-doo-dah rosy. Yay! No more government! We are intelligent, altruistic people who look out for one another and take care of each other.

This would be great except for the fact that, historically, human beings are selfish, barbaric creatures who can't see past the ends of our noses. I don't believe people would step up and be the benevolent, philanthropic individuals that would be required for Libertarianism to be successful. I predict it would be a much harsher, colder world for many people. I don't think "survival of the fittest" is a viable option.

Maybe that's not fair. Maybe I have no idea what I'm taling about (it's happened before!) Maybe I am dead wrong. Maybe it would be an interesting experiment to go totally Libertarian, abolish the government, and just see how it works. See if it CAN work. See who suffers and who prospers.


I don't know.


Bill Maher . . . My Hero

So, Daniel and I went to see the movie Religulous Friday evening. If you watch The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, or Real Time with Bill Maher, you have no doubt seen the trailers and commercials.

If not, here's one for your viewing pleasure:

Good stuff. Seriously good stuff.

Okay, first of all, this film is playing at ONE, yes ONE, theater in the entire city of Nashville and the surrounding areas. Welcome to the Bible Belt. Secondly, I don't care if you find Bill Maher's humor funny or not, he raises some interesting and intelligent arguments about organized religion in this documentary.

He makes it very clear throughout the film that he does not hold atheist views. He is not out to disprove the existence of a higher being. What he's saying is, 'hey, I DON'T KNOW. I am not so arrogant as to be absolutely certain that I know the nature of god'. What he does point out over and over again is how religious practices and beliefs have been the root cause of so much destruction in our world. He exposes the ridiculous, the arbitrary, the illogical, the contradictory.

True enough, he manages to find some real crazies to interview, and even though he purposely seeks out the more fanatical believers, some of the "normal" people he talks to are so familiar in their arrogance and stupidity, that it's scary.

The interviews, discussions, and monologues of the film take place all over the world, from the Vatican and Jerusalem, to the Creation Museum in Kentucky and the Holy Land amusement park in Orlando Florida. He's not afraid to call people out on their beliefs. And while he's not belligerent about it at all, he doesn't back down or simply accept the bullshit rhetoric that people offer him. If you're thinking this is a 'Pick On Christians' film - it isn't. Trust me, he is not selective in his criticisms.

Does his tone reek with condescension at times? Well yeah, duh. It's Bill Maher after all. But he genuinely attempts to engage religious believers in constructive, intelligent dialogue.

Despite such a serious and thought-provoking topic, the film is hi-larious. While there are plenty of frightening and sobering undertones to the message, there is also plenty of witty satire and comical film montages to keep the audience entertained. I love Bill Maher's irreverent sense of humor combined with thoughtful, probing questions.

Ultimately, he humbly suggests that religious organizations and religious believers practice genuine humility and tolerance before the 'end of days' prophesies become self fulfilling prophesies as we continue to destroy our world in the name of god.

It's a great film and you should go see it. Now.


Gotta Keep 'Em Sep-ar-ated

I just recieved this email:

Subject: This will make you re-think

A Trivia question in Sunday School:
How long is the beast allowed to have authority in Revelations?

Revelations Chapter 13 tells us it is 42 months, and you know what that is?
Almost a four-year term of a Presidency.

All I can say is "Lord, Have mercy on us!"

According to The Book of Revelations the anti-Christ is: The anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40's, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything. Do we recognize this description? ?

I refuse to take a chance on this unknown candidate who came out of nowhere.

From: Dr. John Tisdale:
Dear Friends, As I was listening to a news program last night, I watched in horror as Barack Obama made the statement with pride. . ."we are no longer a Christian nation; we are now a nation of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, . . ." As with so many other statements I've heard him (and his wife) make, I never thought I'd see the day that I'd hear something like that from a presidential candidate in this nation. To think our forefathers fought and died for the right for our nation to be a Christian nation and to have this man say with pride that we are no longer that. How far this nation has come from what our founding fathers intended it to be. I hope that each of you will do what I'm doing now--send your concerns, written simply and sincerely, to the Christians on your email list. With God's help, and He is still in control of this nation and all else, we can show this man and the world in November that we are, indeed, still a Christian nation! Please pray for our nation!

WTF!? People are amazing. Truly amazing in the bullshit they spew forth.

"an unknown candidate who came out of nowhere" Are you kidding me? How has he come out of nowhere? It's not like he just suddenly materialized out of thin air and decided one day, "I think I'll run for President of the United States of America". He was president of the Harvard Law Review, for christ's sake! He was a civil rights attorney and a community organizer. He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. Out of nowhere, my ass!

And, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't our country founded on principles of freedom of religion? Our country was founded on humanist values and keeping religion OUT of government. Ya know, that whole separation of church and state thing that some people find so tedious. Shouldn't we be proud to live in a nation where Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists live and work together peacefully and aren't persecuted for their religious beliefs? Or are we striving to become like the Middle East with crazy religious factions killing each other everyday?

Our constitution makes no mention whatsoever of god. The Founding Fathers were not religious men, and they fought hard to erect, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "a wall of separation between church and state." In 1797 our government concluded a "Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, or Barbary," now known simply as the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 of the treaty contains these words:

As the Government of the United States...is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion--as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity of Musselmen--and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Obama respects and embraces the wisdom and spirit of our founding fathers.

All I can say is, have mercy on us if we ever DO become a Christian nation!

The Fine Art of Hooga

Omigod. Today is SO one of those days where I seriously wanted to stay in bed and not do ANYTHING except read or watch t.v. or toodle around online. It’s Thursday. It’s raining. I’m annoyed with work. I’m fussy. All of which are perfectly legitimate reasons for a mental health day.

These days were integral to the formative years of my youth. Both of my parents were big proponents of “mental health days” when Bethany and I were kids. Not frequently, but regularly, we were permitted to stay home from school for no reason whatsoever except to have a day removed from our schedule to do whatever we wanted. There are some days when staying home and doing nothing of importance is the best solution to maintain one’s general well-being, ya know? At least that’s the theory my family adheres to. Some of my more disciplined friends never missed a day of school. EVER. (ahem…Jennifer…damn goody two-shoes!).

Sure, it’s important and shit to be responsible and fulfill your obligations, but is the world really going to come crashing down if I write one…okay maybe two…or five… lousy days off the books? I don’t think so. Maybe it’s selfish, maybe it’s immature or irresponsible. Maybe my work ethic sucks donkey balls. Whatever.

Compared with Europeans, a higher percentage of American adults work more hours per week and more weeks per year. This is not news to anyone. We all know the American stereotype of your average workaholic. In terms of productivity though, there’s really little difference between us and Europe. But, since more people work in the US and since we work so many more hours, we ultimately create more wealth. Wealth is not necessarily a bad thing, but more often than not, we place it above all other priorities. And the sort of screwy thing is, we end up spending the money we make to pay for the things we can’t do because we’re working so much! Egads! Although I realize this creates more jobs, it still seems so backwards to me.

We trade our productivity for more money, while Europeans trade their productivity for more leisure. Different priorities. Different value systems. Maybe our hard-core Puritan work ethic is so indelibly burned into our brains that "leisure time" doesn't even occur to us as a viable option. Although clearly I somehow escaped the branding.

According to a recent Forbes article, “The emerging science of happiness has found that most of our satisfaction, some 70%, is determined by the quantity and the quality of our relationships.” Not on how much money we have or how many new, shiny things we acquire. Maybe this is the attitude that has helped propel us into our current financial mire. More, more, more!

Denmark, where many of my distant ancestors hail from, was recently dubbed The World’s Happiest Country. Why are they considered the happiest country? Not because they work more or harder than other countries. Not because they have more material things than other countries, but because they have an attitude of “hygge” (pronounced hooga). What is hygge? An American ex-pat who has lived in Denmark for more than 30 years, says hygge is difficult to translate and even harder for countries like the US to comprehend. Hygge describes a cozy, convivial sentiment that involves strong family bonds. She says, “The gist of it is that you are not supposed to have anything to do except let go”.

Dammit! I knew I should’ve taken a mental health day today and practiced my hooga!


What Debate?

So, did anybody else fall asleep during the debate last night?

I was actually pretty excited to see it considering it was taking place just a handful of miles from my house, but, DAMN! They both just regurgitated the exact same accusations and canned speeches they offered in their first debate. Booooooring! Even though most of the political pundits are calling it a tie or giving Obama a slight win, the whole thing was so incredibly tedious that I ended up turning it off, annoyed with the whole thing.

I think the next presidential candidate debate should be moderated by Jon Stewart. At least he wouldn't hesitate to call both of them out on their bullshit.


Demon Possession

For the first time in my adult life, I have a garage. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. Although it would’ve been a helluva lot awesomer to have had a garage living in Erie where my morning routine 6 months out of the year would include getting up an extra 45 minutes early to shovel my car out of the snow drifts and chip the ice off the windows, in the bitterly cold dark. If ever there was a definition of Hell – that is it.

I’ve moved on.

And now have a garage at my disposal. A garage WITH an automatic garage door. An automatic garage door that is possessed by some obscure underworld demon of extreme evilness. None of our neighbors ever seem to have any trouble whatsoever with their garage doors. Nope. Just us. Our door will always open. Always. Whether opening by remote or by button in garage, it consistently and unfailingly always opens.

Closing is the issue.

You sort of have to keep an eye on it. But even keeping an eye on it doesn’t guarantee it will close. Frankly, it’s infuriating.

The demon door, it toys with you. It taunts you.

You are backing out of your garage, late for work, a bagel in one hand with cream cheese that is rapidly melting, coffee in the other. You carefully push the button on the remote praying to all that is good and holy it closes on the first try. But of course it doesn’t. The door descends but a fraction, hesitates, winks at you evilly and climbs back up. You brake. You curse the demon door. You try to close it again while your neighbor smoothly pulls her Lexus out of the garage next to you and closes the door with an effortlessness that makes you want to flip her off while smearing melted cream cheese on her windshield.

Instead, you smile and shrug and focus all of your energy at the garage door, “close you sonofabitch! I swear if you don’t close, there will be hell to pay – HELL TO PAY!” This time, it jerkily, stubbornly descends and you sigh a sigh of relief, put the car back into reverse and are nearly out of the driveway, when the door sneers at you and slowly starts to open again.

“muther fucker!” You slam on the brakes, threatening the demon door with bodily injury if it doesn’t fucking close.

And people at work wonder why I’m so grouchy in the morning.

What A Crock!

No don't worry, I'm not talking about the Republican presidential ticket...although I could! Heh.

Friday night was a wild night spent at Target buying a crock pot. Yes, that’s right, a slow cooker just give me my AARP membership card now please. I have never had a crock pot but decided that it might be a useful thing to have around. The theory of putting a bunch of crap in the pot in the morning and coming home from work to a warm, delicious meal is very enticing for someone like me who A.) is usually starving when I get home from work B.) is not only starving but impatient, and C.) cannot cook worth crap. So, Friday night, Daniel and I went to Target to pick out a crock pot to add to our teeny, tiny, already overcrowded, kitchen.

So, as I’ve mentioned before, Daniel is a foodie, which means he actually likes to cook (bizarre, I know), which further means that he has never owned a crock pot either and was, in fact, fairly dubious about using canned soup in our first slow cooker experiment. It does not sit well with him. No it does not. But, we decided to try this simple sounding chicken/mushroom thing in the new 5qt. crock pot using canned soup. 5 quarts is a lot larger than a person who is unfamiliar with crock pots might suspect.

The recipe we dug up called for 3 chicken breasts, a can of mushrooms (Daniel insisted on using fresh mushrooms – there is only so much the man can handle!), chopped onion, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a can of cream of chicken soup, and some chicken stock. Here’s where things go awry.

The recipe was intended for a 2-3 quart crock pot. Not a 5 quart crock pot. So, not knowing if one can cook a 2-3 quart recipe in a 5 quart pot, we thought, “well hey, we’ll just double the recipe and have some leftovers to freeze for lunches”. This meant we used 4 cans of soup plus double the chicken stock. We happily opened cans and started dumping shit, willy nilly, into the crock pot. We peered at the disgusting mess staring back at us from the pot and looked at each other.

“Should we stir it?”

“Well, the recipe doesn’t say to stir it. I’m sure it’ll all just meld together in the next six hours, right?”

”Yeah, let’s just put the lid on and leave it alone”

So we went about our Saturday business which included cleaning, laundry, washing the car, etc. Some day you too can have a life this exciting!

An hour or two later, we decided we should probably stir it.

“Hmmm…it seems really…liquidy”

“Yeah, pretty soupy. Maybe it’ll thicken up a bit in the next 4 hours or so”


For dinner we cooked up some noodles and roasted some asparagus to accompany our first crock pot masterpiece. And when we proudly took the lid off of the crock pot, we were faced with soup. Soup with chunks of mushroom and onion and floating chicken breasts. That's right. We doubled everything EXCEPT the chicken. Uh-huh.

Okay, so our first foray into the exciting but dangerous world of slow cooking was sort of a failure. But we are hopeful, and will try again.

If anyone can offer any crock pot expertise, or slow cooker words of wisdom, we’d be most grateful.