Sunday, November 30, 2008

True Adventure: Border Crossing!

One summer my best friend and I drove up to Montreal.  We had heard that getting back into the United States could be a real hassle, so we had updated our passports.  Nobody had ever said that getting into Canada might pose a problem, however!  This is my warning to all of you who want to visit Canada:  do not smuggle anything that has any tangential relationship to a gun into the country.

At the border, the friendly Canadian border guards made us get out of the car, then they went through everything in the car.  They searched and searched, but we were more annoyed than worried, since we had no illegal drugs on us.  Still, they searched and searched and searched.  Finally, one of the women came over and coldly asked us where the gun was.

"What gun?" we asked.

"We found the gun lock in the trunk of your car," she replied.  "We know you have a gun."

"Gun lock??"  Best Friend and I looked at each other in shock.  So far as we knew, neither of us owned a gun, so why would we have such an item in the car?  Truthfully, I didn't even know what a gun lock looked like, and apparently neither did Best Friend, since she turned out to be the source of the trouble.  After a moment of thought, she asked the border guard,

"Are you talking about the funny bike lock?"  She had suddenly remembered going to the grand opening of the new Campin' N Shootin' Superstore (not its real name) in her town, where they had given her a free object that resembled a cable bike lock, only very small.  Thinking that it was a bike lock, she had tossed it into the trunk of her car and promptly forgotten about it.  This would not have been so strange, except that when we retrieved the gun lock in question, under the watchful eye of the border guard, it was on a piece of cardboard that clearly had a picture of a gun on it.  Now my best friend is not a blonde like I am, and she doesn't usually pull off such air-headed maneuvers, but in this case all three of us (including the border guard) realized she had been perhaps not the most observant person ever.  At that, the border guard gave up in disgust and let us through.  It seems people from our state often forget guns in their cars when crossing the border, and each fool is worth $500 in fines to the Canadian government.  (We were not crossing at the border with our own state, but near the Thousand Islands region of New York, which is absolutely gorgeous.)

Oddly enough, getting back into the ol' US did not prove to be a problem.  We crossed at the highway that goes straight down to New York City, since Long Island (or, as they call it, Lawn Guiland) was our next destination.  Somehow in this area of the world they know three things about people from our state:  we like to hunt and tend to carry guns around, we wear giant dairy products on our heads, and we are all HUGE fans of our professional football team (let's call them the Butchers).  So the border crossing guard (who was a man) looked at our drivers' licenses more than our passports, then he asked,

"You girls Butcher Backers?"

"Oh, yeah!" we replied.  And he let us through without another glance.  We did run into a blockade on the highway a few miles down the road and wondered if there were TWO border crossings, but the police just glanced into our car and waved us through.  (I did not yet own Erin Caitlyn O'Honda at that point, and my first car Sydney was being held together with duct tape, so we drove my friend's car, also a Honda Accord.  The color is San Marino Red, so she calls him Dan, of course, although she is NOT a Dolphins fan.)  We didn't even have to tell them which team we rooted for or anything.

So a word to the wise:  when going to Canada, empty your car of anything you might have gotten at the Campin' N Shootin' Superstore if you are not 100% certain it applies ONLY to campin'.

Famous Hat

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Adventures in ePlush World

Currently I am one state over, visiting my family, and yesterday my parents and I went shopping for presents for my niece and nephews. We were in the toy section, of course, and my father held up a stuffed animal and said, "Look at this!" It was a hedgehog! It was one of those stuffed animals that comes with a code to enter into the online world (let's call it ePlush), so it was about twice the price of a normal stuffed animal, but it was very cute.

I don't know much about ePlush, other than that Hardingfele's daughter Rock Star Tailor (who is 7 going on 15) is a complete addict, but as someone who is thirty-something-going-on-five myself, I decided to splurge and buy the ePlush Hedgehog. (I am a pathetic aunt; I spent more on this lousy experiment than on the young relatives I was actually shopping for.) It sounded like a lot of fun: the real Sylvia is about halfway through her average life expectancy of four years, but now she could exist in virtual reality forever! (I wasn't ignoring Charlie and Cashmere, but they are only about four years into an eight-to-twelve year lifespan, and anyway we didn't see any ePlush bunnies.) So I bought the little stuffed hedgehog (which is about twice the size of the real Sylvia) and logged into ePlush at my parents' house. (Unlike me, they have internet access at home - that's how I have been blogging lately.)

It wasn't too difficult to adopt the fake Sylvia. (Almost as easy as adopting the real Sylvia; her owner asked me to hedgehog-sit for a weekend and never took her back.) I picked a user name and password, entered the code on Fake Sylvia's tag, and said what I wanted to name her and that she was a girl. Up popped an adoption certificate with a birthdate of May 29, 2008 (the real Sylvia was probably born in April of 2006), a cute picture of the fake Sylvia, and a proclamation that I, Famous Hat, had adopted a girl... PORCUPINE???? I looked at the tag on Fake Sylvia more closely, and sure enough, in font about three microns high, it clearly stated that the animal was a porcupine. (Made in China, of course.) Now in my humble opinion, as well as that of my parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephews, Fake Sylvia looks like a twin of Real Sylvia, except that she is a soft silvery gray while Real Sylvia is what I believe is technically called "agouti," meaning her quills are striped brown and white so that she looks a little bit filthy all the time.

I was supposed to have a photo my brother had taken, of me holding both Sylvias, so that all five of my readers could weigh in on this extremely vital matter: is Fake Sylvia a porcupine, or is she clearly a hedgehog? However, Brother Dearest, after swearing up and down to me that he would email the photo right away, has failed to do so. I will post it as soon as he sends it. (OK, now I have posted it, but it's teeny. I hope you can get an idea of the Two Sylvias!)

Anyway, ePlush is clearly aimed at children, but there are some fun video games on it. Also, you can talk to your pet and she always has something sweet to say in return, like, "You're the best owner!" and "I just love playing with you!" Real Sylvia mostly just says, "HISSSSS," although she does say, "Squeak! Squeak!" when she's happy. Not once has she ever said to me what a great owner I am. The take-home lesson here must be that porcupines are superior pets to hedgehogs.

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks for Everything

Since it is Thanksgiving Day, I thought about taking a day off of blogging, but of the five people who read my blog, I figure an average of 1.3 of you read it every day.  If you are reading this, you are undoubtedly one of my friends (since only people who know me read my blog), so I am thankful for YOU!

It is true that I have not been "lucky in love" as far as romance goes, but when it comes to friends, I have so much to be thankful for.  Like my best friend:  I don't think you ever read this, but I am so thankful that you are such a good sport.  When everyone else was complaining on the cruise ship about the tropical rainstorm, we enjoyed watching it and asking the waiter how to say "rain" in Romanian.  When I spotted absinthe on the menu at the jazz club in New Orleans, you immediately said, "Let's order some!"  When the "continental breakfast" at that hotel in Miami was cereal with no milk, bagels with no cream cheese, and toast with no butter, you thought it was just as funny as I did.  And of course there was the sign at the rest stop on the Ohio Turnpike that said:  "Open 24 hours.  CLOSED," and you said they closed it the moment we showed up.  What would I ever do without a travel companion who laughs at the little absurdities of life instead of getting upset!  Together we have tried to decipher Sheboyganese and Lawn Guilandish, learned to drive stick shift in Seattle traffic (OK, so I did the driving, but you were brave enough to get in the car with me!), drove from New York City to Chicago in one day (let's not repeat that particular adventure, or at least not the part where we're hopped up on caffeine and listening to techno music at 2 am as we pass Gary Works - life may imitate art, but it doesn't need to imitate a Hieronymus Bosch painting!), and found the secret password to French Canada.  (The secret password - and I am totally not making this up - is "d'accord."  They aren't impressed if you know bonjour and merci, since every two-bit tourist knows bonjour and merci, but just reply "d'accord," offhandedly to anything they say, and suddenly you are one of them as they fawn all over you:  "Ah, vous parlez francais!"  And just because you can say the French equivalent of OK!)

Hardingfele, you are like a sister to me... at least according to A-Joz, who has two actual sisters of her own and says you and I act like sisters.  I know you've got my back, even if you did find my Archirritant shockingly palatable.  I guess that would make Rock Star Tailor like a niece to me.  You have certainly been there for me when I needed a bunny-sitter or help with an emergency plant removal, and together we made one of the most vacuous videos ever in the history of YouTube.

EM, I am thankful to have such a great workout partner and fellow shopper!  I know you are so busy with your new project these days, but I can't complain when I'm his honorary aunt, and besides, he's so darn cute!  We'll have to try Twittering again sometime.  Sorry, I am the original Luddite and most of this technology stuff totally eludes me.

Melodee, I am thankful for having just met you.  Although I don't know you well yet, you are very cool and I look forward to getting to know you better.

Angela B, if you are reading this, I am thankful for having met you on the train to New Orleans.  We had such a great time that day in the French Quarter and Point D'Algiers!  I will try to stay in better touch, and I hope you can come visit this crazy town sometime soon.

A-Joz, Kathbert, and Anna Banana II, if any of you are reading this, I am very thankful for your friendship throughout the years.  You have done more than your fair share of listening to me complain, especially about my Archirritant!  

Cat, if you are reading this, thanks for convincing me to start a blog!  It's so much fun!  And thank you for all the rides to choir rehearsal, band practice, and gigs.  I'm always happy to meet a kindred spirit who loves music and animals!

And Rich, what can I say?  I am eternally indebted to you for everything you have done for me over the years.  I have always maintained that you are one in a million, and that time I spotted you in Paris in that crowd of one million just proves my point.  (Does that mean there are a thousand of you in China?)  

And of course I am thankful for all my friends who don't read this blog, like "Ethel" who got stuck with me on that roof in Rouen and paddled across a lake backwards in a canoe with me, but who has 4.5 small children and no time to read blogs anymore, and people who don't read it through no fault of their own, because I haven't told them about it.

Lili, if you happen to be reading this, you are the coolest office mate ever.  If you are reading this tomorrow (which is Friday), could you toss a couple flakes of fish food in Arphaxad and Amminadab's bowl?  Thanks!

And most of all, I am thankful to God for everything He has done for me.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Seeing You in Profile

Like so many people, I have a profile on a social networking site (let's call it MyFace), which I was talked into creating by two co-workers. (I've got to stop listening to people - that's why I have a blog!) While the blog has turned out to be fun because it is so simple - you write, you publish, maybe you stick in a picture or two - I find MyFace somewhat intimidating. Every time I log in (which, admittedly, is not all that often), I am faced by a bewildering array of messages:

"Iconostasia has invited you to her virtual slumber party. To accept her invitation, just invite 2,000 more friends."

"JoJo has SuperSlapped you! To SuperSlap your other friends, just allow the SuperSlap application to take over your life, use your credit card, and drive your car."

"Capolito has kidnapped you to join his Pirate Army."

"Richard Bonomo is wondering where the bottle of Mexican vanilla extract on his dining room table came from." (As someone replied, "Mexico!")

I don't know what I'm supposed to do about any of this, so honestly I usually ignore it. Then there are the people from the dim, distant past who see your profile and request to be your friend... and of course the random people from Australia who request to be your friend. I generally accept the friendship of people I know, so now they are added to my list of friends. And, sadly, that's usually as far as it goes for me.

Yesterday my officemate said she found her sister's ex-boyfriend on MyFace, and it suddenly occurred to me that I had never searched for any of my own ex-boyfriends. The first one I looked up was Ubi Caritas, the one I almost married. (True story: during Rich's birthday party one year, one guest jokingly wrapped a streamer around his neck to make a noose, and when I said, "No! Don't do it! You have too much to live for!" my boyfriend said, "Like what?" and the erstwhile suicide victim said, "Well! Mr. Ubi Caritas!") Though we both realized it was not going to work out after all, I was the one who ended it and who didn't want to stay friends. Perhaps an overly hasty decision; we have mutual friends so I have a vague idea what Ubi Caritas is up to these days, but do I really want to see him again? It was a moot point anyhow, since both his first and last names are incredibly common, and I did not want to wade through pages and pages and pages of MyFace profiles trying to figure out if one of them was his. This may give you some idea of why our relationship ended: we were given two books by the priest to read, and he had a brief one about the structure of the nuptial Mass (e.g., do you want to memorize your vows, repeat them after the priest, or simply respond "I do") while I had an incredibly deep and beautiful book about the theology of the sacrament called Three to Get Married by Fulton Sheen. Two days later he wanted to swap books and couldn't understand why I wasn't ready yet. Once upon a time we were inseperable, so when we broke up, everyone expressed surprise - and, I couldn't help noting, relief.

So I looked up the boy I was obsessed with back in college, since both his first and last names are unusual. I found him right away, but who knows what he is like now? He was in his mid twenties the last time I saw him and now he is forty. Instead of a picture of himself, he had a picture of some little kids on his profile. His kids? I don't know, and what's more, I don't really care. The reason I never looked him up before must have just been because there was no point. The woman I am now would have no interest in the boy he was, and I have no idea what the man is like. Or what he looks like - maybe he's fat and bald now. Why else would he have a fake picture up? I have a very recent picture of myself on my profile, because so what if I've gained a few pounds? This photo prominently features my prize possession, a taterbug mandolin which is a family heirloom. It has been with me through thick and thin, through Renaissance and mariachi bands, through bluegrass and Mideastern music. I often play it while wearing my Famous Hat!

Don't think I'll bother looking up my high school sweetheart. He has a common first name and an unusual last name, so it's hard to say whether he'd be easy to find or not. But what would I say to him after all this time? Guess I could SuperSlap him and kidnap him for my Pirate Army...

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Capital Idea for Restitution, Not Retribution

The current justice system clearly does not work. When you have people committing crimes to get into jail because that is the only way they can get medical care, something is obviously wrong. I am opposed to capital punishment (i.e., the death penalty) but not corporal punishment (e.g., caning - what a great idea!) and certainly not to chain gangs. Why should life in jail be all cable TV and weightlifting? I have an idea for an all-new system of justice, based on restitution rather than retribution. After all, what does anyone gain by killing a person who killed a person, other than a sense of vengeance? Why not put the murderer to work instead? And by "work" I mean HARD LABOR at the rate of $9/hour. (This could be adjusted for inflation as needed.)

Here is a comparison of the current system and my system:

White Collar Criminals
Now: stuck in a country club they can't leave, then they get out and still have that $20 million they embezzled stashed in some Swiss bank account
Mine: put their rich white patooties to work with everyone else! They can go free when they've paid back the $20 million, or when they die, whichever comes first

Now: "Life," which means maybe 10 years, or the death penalty
Mine: they will spend the rest of their natural lives working to support the family of the person they killed, as well as their own family

Wrong Person Convicted
Now: Oops... our bad. (Double oops if they were executed.)
Mine: They would be released with all the money they had worked to earn over the years. This would come from the infraction pool (see below) and the salary of the lawyers who had them put away - that will keep prosecutors from just trying to get someone convicted and DAs from being lazy

Early Release
Now: for good behavior
Mine: for working overtime and paying off your debt to society... literally!

Bad Behavior
Now: lose TV privileges
Mine: 20c/hour deducted for each infraction

After Prison
Now: no good prospects, so high recidivism rates, which leads to suspicion of all ex-cons
Mine: after all those years of working, they would have marketable skills (at least in the hard labor market)

Added bonus: if you are one of those anti-immigration wackos who think Mexicans are crawling over the border at the rate of 3,000/minute to steal our American jobs, you should LOVE my plan! After all, if we have convicts doing the jobs nobody else wants to do, they won't be available for Mexicans to take. This would stop the flow of illegal immigrants almost as quickly as our currently stalled economy seems to have done.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 24, 2008

[adjective] Birthday, Archirritant!

I am blogging about this true story at the express request of my neighbor A-Joz, who laughed when I told her this story and said, "You have to blog about that!" Here's some background: I would always complain to Hardingfele and A-Joz about my Archirritant, and one day A-Joz said yeah, she couldn't stand her! I was surprised that she felt that strongly about someone just from my gossiping, but she had actually experienced Archirritant's unique ability to walk into a room and suck all the air out of it within seconds. This piqued Hardingfele's curiosity even more; it's one thing if grumpy ol' Famous Hat complains about someone, but quiet, mellow A-Joz?? She must really be a piece of work!! So from then on it became Hardingfele's great desire to meet my Archirritant.

So yesterday was not only Christ the King but also Archirritant's 50-somethingth birthday, and Rich Bonomo had a birthday party for her. Some of the regulars (such as the B Boys) were not going to be there while other regulars (notably Kathbert and Anna Banana II) felt they should make an appearance even though they are not all that fond of Archirritant either. I had no plans to show up, but then I realized here was Hardingfele's chance, since she had been thwarted at every turn (the only times Archirritant didn't show up for free food were those few times Hardingfele came to meet her!), but I was pretty secure in the knowledge she would be at her own birthday party. So I went and brought Hardingfele along.

The first thing Hardingfele did was tell Kathbert she had not given Voodoo Head enough time to work. Kathbert had given Voodoo Head to Rich in a brown paper bag, as if he were lunch, then he gave it to me, then I gave it to Hardingfele. Kathbert said she was getting rejection letters left and right since Voodoo Head had come into her house, so she wanted it out. (I would think that is sort of an improvement over her previous situation of not even receiving acknowledgement from prospective employers, but I can see her point.) Voodoo Head actually comes with an instruction manual, which Rich told me with some alarm contains "a novena!" and A-Joz wondered if Kathbert had followed the instructions closely. When she heard about the brown paper bag, she started laughing. "Of course he wouldn't work if she stuck him in a bag! Way to disrespect Voodoo Head!"

Archirritant must have been taking etiquette classes, because she asked other people questions - and didn't even interrupt their answers! - instead of completely dominating the conversation. As you may have already guessed, Archirritant and Hardingfele totally hit it off, and this morning Hardingfele sent an email to A-Joz and me saying how she seemed like a wonderful conversationalist. Luckily A-Joz was more than willing to back me up in saying Hardingfele must have caught her on an exceptional day.

The worst moment of the night for me came when Archirritant cut and distributed the cake, which was made by her ex-husband and contained lots of milk, cream and butter. (Archirritant is lactose intolerant so Rich made her a lactose-free cake.) Somehow I was the last one and we had run out of cake plates, so it looked like I wouldn't get any. (This was not like that scene in Office Space, since there was plenty of cake left.) Rich said, "So everyone's good then?" and I got mad, being descended from both kinds of Irish (see my previous post on this subject), so I slammed my hand on the table and loudly announced that I had not gotten any cake. Perhaps this was Archirritant's goal, to make me look infantile, but Rich simply got some more plates. Archirritant cut a tiny sliver and put it on her own plate, so I handed her the new plate I had just received and said, "Here's my plate." Kathbert said I should take the sliver instead, since Archirritant couldn't eat that cake, and Archirritant tried to hand me the plate, saying, "I wanted a bigger piece." "So did I!" I retorted. (At this point in the retelling, A-Joz probably would have had milk coming out of her nose, had she been drinking it.) Archirritant cut ANOTHER sliver, but her ex-husband came to the rescue and gallantly offered me his normal-sized piece, taking the sliver for himself. (I said to A-Joz that I didn't know who came off worse in this exchange, Archirritant or me, and she said that she had to vote for Archirritant, since she felt it was rude to give everyone else a normal-sized piece of cake and me a teeny one.)

After dessert, Hardingfele and I had to go to her house to take care of her daughter Rock Star Tailor, since her husband was heading somewhere at seven. We played Trivial Pursuit with her, and the game went something like this: I asked her, "What are pride, greed, envy, lust, sloth, gluttony, and wrath?" and she said, "Vatican City!" and after Hardingfele and I finally stopped laughing, we gave her a pie piece. Not surprisingly, she won the game. (Another Famous Hat tangent: a few weeks ago my best friend and I were trying to think of the Seven Deadly Sins and could only come up with six. When we looked them up, we had been missing Greed. Perhaps this is because greed is the only one we don't suffer from!)

I have a theory about why Archirritant (who was born on the first day you can possibly be a Sagittarius) and Hardingfele (who was born on the last day you can possibly be a Sagittarius) get along: they are both Sagitarrii. I had to look it up to be sure for Archirritant, and it took me to a web page with a picture of a female centaur who looked just like Pebbles Flintstone, I kid you not. When I showed it to Rich, he said he always thought Sagittarius was male, so then we speculated that there must be centaurs of both genders or there would never be any more centaurs. I said how my sign was a mergoat and that's even weirder, and Rich (who has no such identity crisis, since he's just some guy pouring water) didn't know what I meant, so we googled the image of Capricorn. Wouldn't you know, the first picture I clicked on explained the fish tail, saying it was the Babylonian god Ea, a goat who emerged from the sea to bring wisdom to men. That story sounded familiar... so I looked up the chi'wara, an antelope-like mythical creature from Mali that brought wisdom to men, and Rich and I speculated that they came from the same, very ancient myth. (It could be worse - my best friend is stuck in eternal virginity, one of the B Boys is two different diseases - cancer and crabs! - and worst of all, Kathbert bemoans the fact that she is the only inanimate member of the zodiac. I mean, scales? What's up with that? Why would that be in something called "little animals," which is what zodiac is Greek for?)

So here, for all five of my regular readers' edification, are pictures of Capricorn and Chi'wara to prove, once and for all, that they are the same thing.

Famous Hat

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Scottish Jelly Beans!

'Tis one of the most disappointing episodes of my life. I entered the "Scottish Jelly Bean Contest" (notice the Scottish tartan and ignore the French Canadian sweatshirt) and every day I entered a flavor. In all, I entered a total of 54 flavors, with some help from my friends, most notably Hardingfele. (She can no longer comment on my blog from her blog - they're having some sort of blog battle - so now she has to post comments as her daughter, "Rock Star Tailor," aka. "Stella.") Unbelievably, not one of my 54 luscious flavors was chosen by those fools at Scottish Jelly Beans. (Fifty-four is the number on the periodic table of my favorite element, xenon. Coincidence???) (Take THAT, conspiracy theorists!)

Here are the flavors I submitted, in no particular order:

earl gray, lingonberry, pomegranate, pesto, chocolate persimmon, chai, eggnog, green chartreuse, pumpkin pie, gingerbread, starfruit, almond, fuschia, Irish cream, clove, black currant, baba ghanouj, chocolate curry, kumquat, hibiscus, spearmint, fresh baked bread, peppermint, green tea, wintergreen, date, orange creme, baklava, tira misu, apricot, mint julep, eucalyptus, strawberry rhubarb, white Russian, tapioca, chocolate peanut butter, sangria, cookie dough, cheese curd, feta, stout, sea salt, cashew, fig, guacamole, tomato, mulberry, pistachio, mustard, Marmite, sweet potato, rose water, Cthulhu (tastes like calimari), chicken (since everything else tastes like it, why not a jelly bean?), tamarind, lychee, lefse, lukefisk (tastes great, and that's no lye!) and last but not least, bean! (sweet red bean) - nothing like a Bean Jelly Bean!

(OK, maybe that's more than 54, but math was never my best subject.)

And one I didn't submit but kind of wanted to: Communion wafer - tasteless, like this suggestion! (Thanks to Best Friend for this and the lutefisk comment.)

There was also an instant win game every day, and my very first day I won a "giant bean." However, I waited and waited and no Giant Bean was forthcoming, so I began to bombard Scottish Jelly Beans and all their subsidiary corporations with emails demanding an explanation for the deplorable lack of Giant Bean in my life. Eventually I recruited all my family and friends in this email carpet bombing effort, and while I was in New Orleans (a good six months after I won the Giant Bean, mind you), the "Giant Bean" arrived in the mail. Hardingfele and her daughter Rock Star Tailor were bunnysitting for me and collecting my mail, and when Hardingfele saw the little package from Scottish Jelly Beans, she left a note on it saying, "Is this the Giant Bean? Pathetic!" I opened the package and inside was a kidney-shaped tin full of jelly beans which was actually about the size of a kidney, so it had maybe fifteen jelly beans inside. I have to back Hardingfele up on this one: PATHETIC!

They had said they were sending me another prize to make up for that one taking so long, but I didn't actually believe them. However, after another month had elapsed, to my surprise there was a large box from Scottish Jelly Bean Corp. sitting in front of my front door. I opened it to find...

If you are wondering why they are Scottish Jelly Beans, the answer is that we were going to have them be Hawaiian Jelly Beans, and we had this great Spike Jones song called "Hawaiian War Chant" for the background music, but then he talks right in the middle of it! So we decided to go with Scottish fiddle music instead.

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yet Another True Story

This true story just happened last night, and I am safe in blogging about it because when I told the person involved that I don't own a TV, she upped the ante and said she avoids the blogosphere too. The setting is this: in my liberal college town, there is a liberal community radio station, and one day I heard a show on it touted as "news by and about women." My main complaint was that it was radically pro-choice, and it seemed to imply that all women are. Since I know for a fact that it just isn't so, I called the station and said they should present the side of a pro-life feminist. They said they would discuss it and get back to me, what was a good time to call? and I allowed how 7 in the evening on Monday they might find me at home.

Monday came and went with no call, which frankly did not surprise me one bit. What did surprise me is that yesterday when I got home, there was a message from them on my machine. I could tell from the tone of the message that the woman was more interested in evangelization than discussion, but I set aside my word game puzzle magazine and gamely called her back. She said she understood that I had called and been very upset about some sort of comment about Obama and NARAL. I said, "They asked me what would be a good time to call and I said 7 on Monday, but you called at 4 on Wednesday. If they couldn't convey a message that simple to you correctly, do you really trust their accuracy on any other count?"

The woman seemed slightly surprised that a pro-lifer knew multisyllabic words, but she quickly got down to brass tacks, whatever that means. I thought about telling her that she was wasting her time (I'm a Capricorn born in the year of the Iron Pig, and once I finally make my mind up, it's very hard to change it), but I let her prattle on. She was very into one-upsmanship, like when I said I'd been raised very pro-choice, she smugly informed me that she had been raised pro-life but had traveled the world and learned better. (N.B. She was about twice my age, which I think she figured would awe me, since as my elder she would obviously know more. I said how interesting, an acquaintance of mine who is also a Gen X-er and active in the pro-life cause decided to attend a NARAL meeting undercover, but she was the only woman in the room under 45 so they were all fawning all over her. "So the demographics hold," I said. "It's a generational thing." She was not pleased and told me they had a girl of 13 in their radical collective.) Every time she asked me why I was opposed to this or that, I had cold hard facts or an argument I'd heard from Mark Shea (my hero!) at my disposal, and at one point she got so frustrated, she started to say it was unfair that I had so many facts, then she caught herself and said she'd have to do some more research and get back to me.

"Is it OK if I call you again?" she wondered.
"Sure," I said. "I love to argue. I'm like that Monty Python skit."

You could just hear the frustration in her voice - how could someone well-educated and eloquent not be swayed by her reasoning and, worse yet, make sense? She said they had told her I wanted to present the pro-life side on their radio show, but they all agreed they wouldn't do it. Even as she said it, you could tell she knew how close-minded it sounded. (There's nothing I love more than getting liberals to realize they are just as close-minded as conservatives!) I said I understood, but could they at least say it was news for and about liberal women, not ALL women, but even that she refused to budge on. Nothing like courageously standing by your progressive views in a town where the politicians come in three stripes: Very Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Socialists. Then she pulled out what she must have thought was her best weapon: she started telling me some story about how, while she had been raised in a white, upper-middle-class neighborhood, in college she began volunteering at some inner city place, and I said, "Hm, maybe that explains our differing outlooks. I grew up in the 'hood, surrounded by all different colors of people."

That got her. All her street cred was instantly shot. It's one thing to brag about how you, the big-hearted rich white lady, spend your time helping the unfortunate little dark people have better lives; it's entirely different to say you have lived among them as their equal. One thing I have noticed about liberals is that, for all the good they do on social justice issues, they LOVE to congratulate themselves about all that good. Guess they've already gotten their reward! (Once a boyfriend and I went to the annual protest at the School of the Americas on a bus with a bunch of wacko leftist Catholics, and we were astounded and amused at how the whole way back they were patting themselves on the backs for all the protesting and organizing they had ever done.) (Most pro-life activists I've met are much more matter-of-fact about how many times they've been arrested, etc. except for my Archirritant, who is as far right as they come but could give any Leftie a run for their money with her constant bragging about all her civil disobedience.)

"Really?" said my erstwhile evangelizer in shock. "You grew up in the hood?"

I replied, rather disingenuously, "Oh, does that surprise you?" since of course that had been my goal. (Mission accomplished - stick THAT on a banner and hang it on a ship!) "Why does it surprise you?"

She knew I had her there. She probably was surprised that I was so well-read and highly educated when I'd grown up on Welfare, but she recovered and said people who had grown up in those kinds of circumstances were usually politically liberal. I said, that's interesting, because I saw plenty of abuse of the system (by white people) and then other people (Jamaican and Cambodian families) who worked their tails off and got the heck outta da 'hood. Wouldn't that tend to make a person believe that it's better to solve her own problems than expect the government to take care of her ad infinitum?

I'll let you know if my buddy from the community radio station calls me again, after she's done some more research so she can try more convincingly to convert me. Or maybe this time she will actually consider it a discussion of differing views....? Nah.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Two Kinds of Irish

Once Richard Bonomo and I were discussing our ancestry and, as he always says, he is the product of a mixed marriage: his father was Italian and his mother is Sicilian. I said something about the two kinds of Irish, and he hadn't heard about it, so here for all five (welcome, Melodee!) of my readers, is my handy guide to the two types of Irish: Irish Catholic and Scotch Irish.

Handy Guide to Both Kinds of Irish

Area of origin
IC: Mostly southern part (when I told a native Corkian (?) that my father's family came from Cork, he said, "Why do all American Irish say their families came from Cork?")
SI: Northern Ireland

Patron saint
IC: St. Patrick
SI: What kinda Papist crap y'all tryin' to pull?

Area settled in US
IC: Northeastern US, especially Southy in Boston and Broad Channel in Queens
SI: Appalachia

IC: jigs, reels, Tin Pan Alley schlock like "Tura Lura"
SI: anything with banjos

IC: shamrocks, leprechauns, drinking, fighting
SI: bad teeth, marrying cousins, "if you hear banjo music, paddle faster," drinking, fighting

Beverage of choice
IC: Guinness stout (Beamish stout also acceptable), whiskey
SI: anything made in a bathtub and kept in a jug with three X's on it

IC: like rabbits, if rabbits were ignoring the Church's teachings on contraception these days
SI: the fecundity of cockroaches and the consanguinity of ancient Egyptian royalty

IC: good, now that they can afford modern orthodontry
SI: the toothbrush must have been invented in Appalachia, or it would have been called the "teethbrush"

Popular names
IC: Patrick, Sean, Michael, Kathleen, Mary
SI: Billy Bob, Bubba Joe, Bobbi Sue

Tanning ability
IC: slim to none
SI: same

How they celebrate their heritage
IC: dress up in green on St. Patrick's Day, have parades, drink green beer
SI: continuous celebration of the glories of White Trash Culture

IC: organized the Catholic parochial school system, took over the Democratic party in big cities
SI: preserved Elizabethan-era English in isolated pockets, inspired numerous redneck jokes

I hope you find this guide helpful.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our Lady of the Shadows

This is an absolutely 100% true story. Once Richard Bonomo had a bunch of us over for dinner, and then we (as he says) repaired to the living room to pray the rosary. To set the mood, he turned off the overhead lights and lit a large candle, so that shadows were playing about the corners of the room. It was very lovely and peaceful. RB set some rosaries on the table next to the candle, for anyone who hadn't brought one, saying, "Here are some rosaries." Then he gestured at a painting of Mary hanging on the wall and said, "And here is Our Lady."

I added, somewhat flippantly, "Where the picture of the dancing African women used to hang."

To everyone else's surprise, one woman snapped, "How rude!" I hadn't really thought my sarcastic little remark was all that terrible; a little inappropriate maybe... So I immediately apologized. This woman glanced at me with slight surprise, then she said, "Not you - Rich! Making shadow puppets of Our Lady!"

Once we got over our astonishment, we realized she was sitting at such an angle that she couldn't see the picture hanging on the wall, so apparently when RB said, "And HERE is Our Lady!" and gestured, all she saw was the shadow cast by his hand on the wall, so she assumed he was doing shadow puppets. Now anyone who knows Richard Bonomo (who shares a name with the local Mafia don who controlled the Italian area of our town back in the day) could never imagine him making shadow puppets of holy personages! We immediately all started laughing hysterically, except for the bemused woman who had started it all. After twenty minutes, RB gained enough self-control to attempt starting the Rosary, but he glanced at the guy sitting next to him, who was trying mightily not to lose it again, and HE lost it!! Finally he said, "I have to find a book," and he disappeared into his bedroom for twenty minutes. When he emerged, he was not laughing anymore and in fact did have a book, which he insisted took the ENTIRE TWENTY MINUTES to find. Which is possible...

Famous Hat

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

Right now I am listening to "Laudate Pueri, Dominum" by Couperin and it is so incredibly beautiful, there are no words to describe it. On the cover of Magnificat this month is a painting of a Gothic cathedral, and it strikes me how those things created by the hand of man reflect the beholder. So many of us are deeply moved by the beauty of a majestic Medieval church or the intricacies of a sacred piece by Josquin de Prez, and this is perhaps not surprising when you realize that the primary beholder is God. Yes, they are meant to be seen or heard by humans and direct our thoughts heavenward, but in some sense they were created for God. Nonbelievers grasp this as well and react accordingly; I know one athiest who listens to Bach's "Mass in B Minor" over and over, saying how much it moves him. Once he wondered why music like that isn't written anymore, and he had no reply when I pointed out that Bach was writing for God but most music nowadays is written to appeal to the lowest common denominator. An even more extreme example is an acquaintance who actually said Gothic cathedrals made him uneasy because they made God seem so... "big!" "I like to think of God being my size!" he said. I found this an incredibly mind-boggling statement - how could God be 5'10"? - but at least he didn't miss the message that sacred space was built to convey.

The second level of art would be that aimed at human beholders. Most people find the portraits painted by the old Renaissance Dutch and Venetian masters very beautiful, and so they are, because they were created with the patron in mind. Music up until the time of Beethoven was very much this way as well. I would say Beethoven was the first composer who seemed more concerned with his own creative ideas than with the listeners' perceptions. This has become extreme in modern art and music, to the point that the upheld ideal is not something which is easy to relate to but something "challenging," meaning most people do not care for it. Personally, I would think art, like any other commodity, should be subject to market forces. When painters and composers had to please kings and dukes, look what beauty they created! When they get grants from the NEA, look what downright subversive and smutty things they create using our tax money! And then we, the people who paid for this trash, are at best browbeaten for our populist tastes and failure to embrace ugliness, and at worst are accused of censorship for protesting having to pay for things that offend our religious beliefs, not to mention our sense of beauty! Sorry, censorship means you are not allowed to create this garbage. Nobody is stopping you from doing so; we are merely protesting having to foot the bill.

This brings me to the third level. Who is the "beholder" of so much modern art? It would seem that it is the artist alone, but perhaps it is someone more sinister than that. If God is beauty, then what would ugliness be? And who would be trying to pass ugly off as the new beautiful if not that ancient deceiver, Satan? After all, when an artist creates something not to please God or even other people but only himself, is he not in some sense making the same choice Satan did, to recognize himself above God as the ultimate judge of good and evil? And would Satan not want us to reject the truly beautiful in favor of the pornographic and sacriligious? When a crucifix suspended in urine or a play depicting Jesus as homosexual is held up as great art while an artist like Thomas Kinkade who creates beautiful landscapes is derided for being both "too Christian" and "too accessible," you can easily figure out whose side the critics are on.

Famous Hat

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Does Not Play Well With Others

She probably runs with scissors too!

She came from south of the border and she joined our band. Let's call her Bridge Burner. She had joined and been kicked out of/left in a huff all the bands in her town, so she had to come up our way to find new people to play with. The basic issue with her is that she wants to play with groups, but she wants to go at her own speed (supersonic), style (staccato waltzes), and volume (FORTISSIMO!).

Bridge Burner attempts to play many genres. Our band is a folk band, although she tried to get us to change genres at a rehearsal that led to an email argument with our band's leader, culminating in an email from her that basically said: "#@! off, you #%*ing #@%$!!!" She also had a vicious argument with Hardingfele regarding the health and safety of a cat. Hardingfele told us for years that Bridge Burner was insane, so then she got to say, "I told you so!" (But my rabbits are still smarter than her cats!) (And the hedgehog is smartest of all!)

Bridge Burner also joined and left two symphony orchestras and has a running habit of signing up for a week-long Renaissance music festival, coming the first day, and never showing her face there again. Her pet peeve is playing without using music, but oddly she joined first a folk band and then an ethnic band, both of whose modus operandi were playing by ear. Then she complained about it and in both cases the mutual decision was that it wasn't a good fit, to say the least. The most extreme case of her hatred of playing by ear may well have been when she drove all the way up from her home in another state to join us at a hootenanny, and when she found out we'd be playing simple folk songs, that even Hardingfele's 7-year-old daughter can sing in the key of G, Bridge Burner turned around, got back into her car, and drove back to her home state. (Or maybe planet, it's hard to say.)

So now that she has exhausted her possibilities in this university town, she has had to expand her orbit. The last we heard is that she is driving to the closest big cities to find people to play with. This ought to keep her occupied for awhile, at least, since there are so many groups it will take her a few months (maybe even a year or two) to get on all their bad sides.

Famous Hat (with help from Hardingfele and her daughter "Rockstar Tailor")

Friday, November 14, 2008

The True Adventures of The Professor and Dr. Cheung

This is a tale about two intrepid plants, a dracaena (The Professor) and a spineless yucca (Dr. Cheung). It started when an acquaintance got her Ph.D. and left her large "corn plant" dracaena to me when she moved away to become a professor. I brought The Professor to work, where it was very happy despite the lack of windows. Flourescent lighting must have agreed with it. It sat there happily with a number of other plants, including November, a large peace lily someone had abandoned outside which I had resolved to take home if it were still outside on the first of November. And then along came Dr. Cheung.

At my previous job I one day saw someone carrying the sawed-off top of what I thought was a dracaena, and I offered to take it. My coworker also gave me the stump in a ceramic pot that weighed approximately fifty-eight pounds, give or take a ton. I put the very tall top (maybe four feet) in a vase, but it rotted so I cut it back and stuck it in the pot, where it happily rooted. Meanwhile the bottom had sprouted, so instead of one tall plant, I had two short ones. Everyone said to me, "That used to be Dr. Cheung's plant," so I took to calling it Dr. Cheung. Then one day Hardingfele lent me a plant book, and I realized Dr. Cheung was not a dracaena at all but a desert cousin, the yucca. No wonder it rotted in the vase of water!

When I got a new job across the street from my old job, there was an actual window in my office, but not enough room for plants as large as November, The Professor, and Dr. Cheung. One day Hardingfele and I carried them to her office, where she had a lot of window space; November got sicker and sicker until this present day, when it is recuperating in Plant World; but The Professor and Dr. Cheung were happy as could be in a southern exposure window. Then Voodoo Head did his magic and Hardingfele got a new job, so we moved The Professor and Dr. Cheung to the spacious elevator lobby near my office, which is nothing but windows. The Professor and Dr. Cheung were so happy! They basked in the sunlight and photosynthesized.

Meanwhile, Hardingfele had a scraggly poinsettia she had rescued from the cafeteria after Christmas last year, and a few days ago she stuck it in the elevator lobby next to my two plants instead of dragging it all the way to her new job in this cold weather. Nobody had said a thing about The Professor and Dr. Cheung brightening up the elevator lobby, but yesterday the chair (let's call him Dr. Trainy) asked if the plants were mine.

"They look trashy," he said. I owned up to being responsible for The Professor and Dr. Cheung but would only say the poinsettia had been "left there" by somebody. However, I did promise to get all three of them out of there. So last night Hardingfele and I drove to my job, and she carried Dr. Cheung in the 56-pound pot although I said we could use the mailcart. ("I needed the workout anyway," she grunted as she hoisted Dr. Cheung.) I carried The Professor, and her seven-year-old kid carried the poinsettia, which Hardingfele christened Trainy in honor of the man who had exiled the plants. We carried the plants through a driving November rain, brought Trainy to Hardingfele's new job and The Professor and Dr. Cheung to Plant World, which was already quite crowded. It took some creative rearranging to get those two great big plants in there! But now the adventures of The Professor and Dr. Cheung, who have heretofore led more exciting lives than some people I know, have given way to a peaceful existence. Like Bilbo returning to the Shire, they can dream about their past adventures, or maybe they don't give a rat's patootie as long as they can photosynthesize. Which they most definitely can in Plant World, and they have a history of liking fake light as much as sunlight anyhow.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hedging My Pets

I feel as if I go on and on about Charlie and Cashmere without saying much about Sylvia the Hedgehog. Partly that is because they are learning a lot lately (I hope to get a video of them walking on their hind legs and a better video of them jumping through their hoop), but mainly it is because Sylvia and I keep very different hours so we rarely see each other. However, last night we had one of our rare encounters, and she must have been happy to see me because she snuggled right up to me.

I may not give Sylvia enough credit. I figured she didn't care if it were me or Hardingfele filling her food dish, as long as it was filled every night; but when I returned from New Orleans she covered me with kisses. I always think she is not as smart as the rabbits, and certainly she has no "social intelligence" like they do - they understand a surprising amount of what I say and are very good at getting their thoughts across to me while she never communicates anything - but now and then I wonder if she is secretly brilliant. Perhaps her name should be changed to "Houdini" (she came with the name Sylvia, after her previous owner's prickly professor) since she can escape from anything. And I mean anything. She has gotten into, out of, over, around, and through (?) all manner of barricades, cages, and blocked-off entryways. When she first came into my house, Cashmere was terrified of her although she is a fifth of the size of the rabbits, so I kept her (or tried!) in the back half of the house. Forget it - Sylvia would not be denied her freedom to explore every, and I mean EVERY, inch of my house. She likes to hide under things, and it's amazing some of the spaces she has squeezed into!

I always joke that Sylvia is the bratty kid sister who follows the bunnies around and does whatever they do, which is certainly true as far as the litterbox goes - if they decide for some reason that some patch of the carpet suits them better, she does too. (Which is very annoying since their little pills are easy to clean up, but hers is like miniature dog stuff.) And she is a diva. Once when I was doing the dishes, I heard a blood-curdling, ululating scream right behind me. After I got over my shock, I looked below the stove and found Sylvia sitting beneath it as happy as could be. Maybe she felt ignored...?

Perhaps the strangest stunt she has pulled is the Mealworm Breeding Program. The local pet shop has been unable to get mealworms, which are Sylvia's favorite treat, for months now. I thought she would be disappointed, but apparently she saved one and started a breeding program in her cage (which she hardly uses herself) because one day I found all sorts of them in there, and an adult bug as well. Argh! But I collected them and now she has mealworms to last until the dry spell is over.

Watch this space for video footage of Sylvia getting stuck in a sock or a toilet paper tube (if she will fall for it again), trying to turn herself over, and running. That is never not funny!

Famous Hat

Monday, November 10, 2008

Remembrance Poppies? Forget It!

My officemate, who is half Canadian and has spent time in Canada, is even more into World War I than I am. She collects vintage posters and other WWI memorabilia. The two of us decided that, since the hospital we work at is adjacent to a VA Hospital, we would go buy some poppies to commmemorate the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. And if you could find Remembrance Poppies anywhere, you'd think it would be a Veterans' Affairs Hospital, right?

We went to the VA Hospital on our coffee break, full of optimism and soon full of coffee as well. (There are many coffee shops all over the hospital complex, but our favorite is the one in the VA Hospital, Etes-Vous Pretes Coffee.) Off we went to the gift shop, which sold toothbrushes (teethbrushes?) but no poppies. The gift shop suggested we go to the front lobby.

In the front lobby we saw yet more coffee and an information desk, behind which were several gentlemen, one wearing a Remembrance Poppy. When we asked where he had gotten it, he said a town halfway to the next state over! Not the answer we had been looking for. He suggested we go up to Volunteer Services, so off we went.

When we walked into Volunteer Services, the people in there (who all looked like vintage WWII era) looked up in surprise and asked what we wanted. When we said poppies, we wondered if they thought we were looking for drugs or something. (In my childhood we had next door neighbors who actually cut the buds off our ornamental poppies because they thought they were opium poppies. Surprise! They never made that mistake again.) Volunteer Services stared at us like we had three heads, until we started to wonder ourselves. Finally one of them said Remembrance Poppies are only sold on Memorial Day, not Veterans' Day. So back to our office we went.

Our solution to this deplorable lack of poppies was this: we found a picture on the Internet (see above), printed it on a color printer with the poem "In Flanders Field" below it, and hung it up prominently in our office. I don't want to hear anyone saying how the younger generation doesn't care about the sacrifices made by our elders! When two Gen Xer's try to find poppies and can't do it, how would you expect anyone younger to remember what they have never been told? My officemate says they had to memorize "In Flanders Field" in Canada, and I remember poppies being sold when I was a child, but have we all forgotten? What a terrible thing to do, when even now young men and women are being sacrificed in this deplorable war (not to mention all the Iraqi civilians!). Let us never forget what any of them have done for us.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Take This Job and Hex It!!

Here is the voodoo doll I gave to Hardingfele to thank her for watching my bunnies while I was in New Orleans. I did it as sort of a joke, but sure enough if she then didn't get a new job. Now everyone wants to borrow this little guy! (I don't know if he has a name; Hardingfele never said if she named him so I've been calling him Voodoo Head.)

Perhaps Voodoo Head will work for you as well. Being a practicing Catholic, I don't actively endorse such nonsense, but if you are looking for a new job or hoping to improve your current position, feel free to download this image of Voodoo Head. (He scanned pretty well, don't you think?) Voodoo Head is a very photogenic guy, and who knows, maybe he will bring you good luck in your job search too.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bunny Yoga

This is either the Side-Facing Rabbit or the Sun Shining Upon the Lotus Blossom as the Fern Unfurls, I'm not sure which.

Famous Hat

Stickers I've Bumped Into

Here are some random bumper stickers I've seen and my commentary on them. First the ones I love:

"Some people who plan to repent at the 11th hour die at 10:45." Ain't it the truth!

"My boss is a Jewish carpenter." Get in good with him, and his old man will love you too.

"Where am I going, and why am I in a handbasket?" A question many of us should ask ourselves.

"Pro-accordion... and I vote!" This one is so random that you have to love it.

And here are some either illogical or offensive ones:

"Opposed to abortion? Don't have one!" Opposed to slavery? Don't own slaves! There are some human rights questions so basic that society has an overwhelming interest in overriding the opinions of the individual. It is always wrong to own other people, and it is always wrong to kill except in extreme cases of self-defense. (Invading other countries pre-emptively does not constitute self-defense, as both recent Popes have attested.)

"If you can't trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?" False dichotomy. What about adoption?

"Get your rosaries out of my ovaries!" This one is so disgusting - it makes me feel like they consider women nothing but their reproductive organs - not to mention the religious bigotry. Can you imagine a bumper sticker that starts "Get your yarmulkes.." or "Get your turbans.."? Proof that anti-Catholicism is still a socially accepted prejudice.

Any mean-spirited spoof on the Christian fish, like a shark, a fish skeleton, a Darwin fish with feet (as if no Christians accept the theory of evolution), etc. See above. If any other religion were skewered in this way, the driver of the car would probably be arrested.

Famous Hat

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Southern Fried Post

I live in that strange limbo:  too far south for Tim Horton's, too far north for Waffle House.  My godparents once gave me some coupons for Tim Horton's that could only be used in the US, which is like giving someone coupons for Waffle House that can only be used in Maine.  Everyone knows Tim Horton's is in Canada and Waffle House is only south of the Mason-Dixon line.  You can tell you've left the South when you no longer see those yellow and black signs everywhere.

People will ask me, "Do you like (Chinese, Italian, Thai, Mexican, etc.) food?" and I say, "Take away that first word and you've got it."  However, I do have a special place in my heart for Southern food.  You have to love people who take healthy things like okra and collard greens and then deep fry them or add pork fat to completely ruin their nutritional value.  Not to mention taking something inherently evil like a Twinkie and making it even worse by deep frying it!  (I have never personally tried a deep-fried Twinkie; it's like gilding the lily, if lilies were utterly revolting.)  

The other day a friend and I went to a so-called "Southern" restaurant, and do you know they did not have okra OR collard greens on the menu??  Nor did they have turnip greens, mustard greens, or even grits.  At least they had corn bread and several things on the menu that contained sweet potatoes...  But no hush puppies!  What could be better than deep-fried balls of cornmeal?  Talk about a completely useless food item.  I LOVE them!!!

Once a coworker and I were speaking fondly of Southern food, and she asked me, "Did you used to date a black guy?"  She was surprised that a northern white girl would even know about such things.  Although I think calling us black and white is kind of silly, because even if I had the basic box of crayons, I'd still color her brown and myself pink, and if I had that deluxe box, she would be raw umber and I would be apricot.  I have actually never dated a black guy, although I have no problem with the idea.  I have just never been asked out by a devout Catholic black guy who could build a house from scratch.  If this sounds like you, and you can grill catfish, give me a call.  My sweet potato pie is out of this world!

Famous Hat

Saturday, November 1, 2008

RESPECT Yourself!

Between the ages of 19 and 23 I was madly in love with a boy who was everything I would not be looking for in a man now: a drinking, smoking, atheist Virgo who was apparently on the 26-year plan to get through college. I was his backup girlfriend whenever the girl he really loved told him to get lost, and he was always calling me at 4:00 am to tell me his ulcer was killing him because she was cheating on him with his best friend. Why didn't I hang up on him? I suppose partly because I was young and stupid, and he was very good-looking, but maybe it is because Society makes us women feel like anything is better than being alone, so we should put up with unlimited crap from men.

I did buy into that myth at the time. (Then again, I was also "pro-choice but personally opposed to abortion," which is as logical as saying, "I would never personally own slaves, but I can't impose my views on other people.") Now I am older and wiser and realize looks are meaningless; the most important thing is whether a man could build a house from scratch. The Ideal Man would be something like Richard Bonomo (though I only require weekly, not daily, Mass attendance) - if he had been on Gilligan's Island, those people would have been stuck for about three seconds. Then again, they probably would have wanted to stay there because RB could get cable reception and running water going, and why leave a private tropical island if you have all the amenities?

Sadly, there are women my age who still have no self-respect when it comes to men. I know one who fell hard for someone who just wanted a green card, and she is still in love with him even after he found some other fool girl to marry him so he could stay in this country. It is both frightening and pitiful to see how sure she is that they were meant to be together. Sure, I once thought that about my youthful mistake, but he married the Other Woman and I got on with my life. Are they living happily ever after or is she still cheating on him and giving him ulcers? Not my problem. I wish I could help my acquaintance get over her Green Card mooch, but she only wants us to tell her that she is right, and one day he will return to her. How I wish I could give her some self-respect! It's a wonderful feeling when you love yourself enough not to let others take advantage of you, and I wish it for all my sisters.

Famous Hat