Thursday, October 30, 2008

Christmas Letters, Maybe I'll Write One

To my knowledge, my mother (and father) has never sent a Christmas letter.

They could, if they wanted. It would look something like this:

Captain graduated from X University in the May. Emily visited from Pacific Northwest for the festivities and took all of us winetasting in Virginia before she left.

Charlotte and Emily are happily married to their husbands.

Okay, it would look nothing like that. I can’t even finish the mock letter because it so quickly has descended into “These are the accomplishments of my children! Graduating and married life!” As if Winifred would write, “Now I am waiting anxiously for my daughters to bear me a brood of grandchildren.” BLECH.

Plied with enough wine I could do better, if anyone wants my services. I’ll stray from domestic events and focus on the events in your career and community. I’ll include how patriotic you were when you didn’t vote for John McCain.

Winifred doesn’t write Christmas letters because she doesn’t need for her children to compete against the morons Winifred knows. (Which is my way of saying, we really enjoy the letters we receive from our family, which does not contain a single moron. I especially enjoy Aunt Ina’s letters.)

And because we do not write letters, we only receive the good letters, sparing the face-to-palm action caused by the parents of morons. Morons like Michelle Bachmann, Republican Representative of Minnesota.

Before I continue, now seems like a great time to urge, beg, plead, and bargain with Minnesotans to vote her out of office. I know that Minnesota is full of bright, friendly, charming, and intelligent people. I expect those people to eradicate her career. Now.

Bachmann’s letter from 2003 has surfaced. She doesn’t drone on about anti-Americans. Instead she extols the feminine virtues of her daughters and makes it her mission to find her son a subservient woman. (Lady would change her mind if she saw Audition, don’t you think?)*

In short, Winifred would never do the following:
  • Refer to her teenager as an “fantasy treasure” for the opposite gender

  • Refer to any of her children as “Utter Perfection”

  • Disclose the size of our bodies or clothes (unsurprisingly, Bachmann applies this only to her daughter)

  • Refer to her kid as a “magnet” or “magnate” (this is listed as [sic] but I suspect Bachmann knows what she’s doing—wouldn’t it be fabulous if her son owned women? Her daughters are property, collectible like Monopoly tiles, I wouldn’t put it past her) for the opposite gender

  • Patronize any of us as “organized,” a desireable attribute for the woman who will run day run her husband’s life, those silly men can’t organize their way out of a paper bag! To be fair, Emily is the only one with the life skills for organization. Charlotte and I don’t stand a change against her refined and mature skills. Apparently his hasn’t devastated Charlotte’s aptitude for marriage, though it did set back my family one goat.

  • Announce our inadequacies in landing a man. If Winifred did, it would be a long letter this year, detailing the failings of her last remaining unwed single daughter.

  • Relate her children to the participant of a harem. Nay a Boleyn here!

Future wives of Bachmann’s children, beware! You will clean up behind the slob, be expected to dance, often and well, have dinner on the table when he comes home, financially support him through medical school, and support him emotionally. Snap, this is where Daniel Abraham got it from! Fox News and Michelle Bachmann! Future husbands, you know what your ladies are being groomed for.

And, because I wasn’t born to Bachmann’s family, we’d never be able to announce that The King had opened some Christian-themed loony center, and Winifred would never brag about her cleaning habits. Of course, not only will Winifred never do any of this out of principle (we’re private people, except you know, the one on the Internet), but she’s too busy reading a book. Bachmann could benefit from a reading list, no?

*Charlotte, that was kind of for you.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I've turned into my mother

Winifred likes to remind people—as frequently as possible—that the killer’s in Fargo WERE. NOT. FROM. NORTH. DAKOTA.

Then, to goad her, I remind her of that one time, how that old cranky man was in somebody’s yard causing a scene, and someone hit him with a shovel!

The shovel incident happened more than thirty years ago. Maybe more than fifty years ago, and she likes to add, “He had it coming. That old man was cranky!” This would seem harsh unless you know my grandfather, who never raises his voice or freaks out about anything. (By comparison it takes only a sound bite of John McCain or Sarah Palin to get me worked up and freaked out.) You could say that Grandpa’s age is a factor, but to Winifred’s recollection, he’s only been mad twice. And she wasn’t even living at home the second time because she was in the Army! (She just got to hear about it, as older sisters often do.)

But I digress. Among Winifred’s other claims that life is peaceful and non-violent in North Dakota: No one has ever been deliberately poisoned in the last fifty years (so far no evidence holds up), there are no pedophiles (as compared to the “fictional” town in Downtown Owl), and the firefighters exist to get cats out of trees. Gas is always eighty-nine cents a gallon. Everyone is voting for Obama to make up for how insane South Dakota is, etc.


This predilection has driven me crazy because it ruins the idea that The Grass is Greener on the Other Side. Yeah, the grass is green, but I bet the meatloaf in that kitchen sucks, and I bet the cable reception is lousy. I’ll eat the cooking here, watch my television under the comfort of my own blankets, and bask in the imperfections of my life here. And if you allege that somewhere, anywhere, things are perfect, it makes my imperfect little life look… well, kind of crappy. And I like my life! I like my quirky cast of characters, the way Metro is always slow, and how even the rampant problems of Baltimore have a gleam of charm.


But without meaning to I’ve set out to defend Baltimore, guns-a-blazin’. My friend IMmed me an article and included his comment: “THIS IS WHY I HATE BALTIMORE.” That’s not the right way to start a conversation. I didn’t even read the article before I set out in ALL CAPS to let him know that this isn’t even Baltimore County! This is Calvert County! “SAME THING,” he said.

It was all downhill from there as I had to set him straight. My Baltimore, which yes, had murdered a former council man last week (to my infinite grief), was NOT the same as Calvert County. God, had I even been to Calvert County?! (Not really, only to travel through it.) Moreover, the clearly disturbed woman had never even lived in Baltimore! City or County! She’s from Godforsaken Rockville! Rockville is where dreams to go die in a hell of suburbia! We have our own problems that we’re fixing (crime has dropped compared to rates last year, there are plans to bring truants back to school, etc.) don’t add any more!


Oh. Wow, did I get a little out of control, there? Maybe a little too defensive? May I have implied that My Baltimore is sunshine and lollipops? Because it is, you know.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Palin Population

Winifred is from a small town in North Dakota. ND is a big state, and there are (shockingly) many people from The Peace Garden in my hometown, home state, and general tri-state area. ND is so big you could fill it with 5.7 of mine. It’s also so sparsely populated that you could fit ND’s population into mine 8.7 times. (That’s all the math I’m doing today, folks!)


Winifred is fiercely protective of the Peace Garden State. If you are a lone stranger to the Quimby family (unlikely), keep that in mind:


Me: According to Approximately as many people as Wasilla, Adobe employs as many people as the population of Wasilla.

Winifred: And how many people is that?

Me: Willa has 6,000. Adobe has 6,959. That’s almost a thousand more than Wasilla!

Winifred: …

Me: So she’s not qualified to run Adobe! Or be the mayor of [redacted], your hometown!

Winifred: Really? [To population not qualification]

Me: Yeah! [Redacted, ND] has 16,000+!

Winifred: And how many people are in Wasilla? You’ve been to [redacted], it’s a small town.

Me: 6,000! I looked up [redacted] last night to compare it to Wyndmere. Wyndmere is where Chuck Klosterman is from. He grew up on a farm in a town with 533 people! And they weren’t all old, either!

Winifred: Hey! [Redacted] has way more people than Wasilla.

Me: Yeah!

Winifred: That’s great!

Me: I wonder what the population of Alaska is if it’s the 47th least populated state. 683,478! …Oh. North Dakota is the 48th least populated. Darn. I wanted Alaska to have less than 16,000 people.

Winifred: That’s…not possible.

Me: I wonder how many people live in our hometown! 57,000! That’s way more than in North Dakota.

Winifred: Hey!

Me: And way too many people for Sarah Palin!



Monday, September 22, 2008


I found this video post in the Inspiration on Sweet Juniper. It's by John and Faith Hubley, and they recorded their children and would later animate their conversations. (Jim posted about this a year ago with Cockaboody, and linked to my favorite, Moon Bird.) I dispensing it because the conversations of the Hubley children, Emily and Georgia, remind me of Charlotte and Emily. Or in this case (princesses!), Charlotte and Captain or Emily and Captain. And as an added bonus, this is the kind of animation I preferred when I was little, the weird squiggly vintage episodes of Sesame Street.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dear Internet,
Last Saturday Winifred dragged me into the puppy store in the mall to look at the pets. Then she reminded me that because she doesn't want to see me happy, I couldn't take home the Boston Terrier, even though I really want one.

Today she said we were going to have ice cream later, which meant we were going to the local establishment, which has the BEST ice cream. When we came home she went out side for two hours to read (most of it was spent on her phone). When she returned she said "that ship had sailed." She sunk it herself, apparently, without telling me.

These two examples are proof that Winifred must not love me. What a tease.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

If you watch the jaw of John while Sarah is talking about shattering the glass ceiling, you will see, aside from the fake smile, a clench and a twitch. Talk about body language!

Friday, August 29, 2008

We Are Not Puppets

Dear John,
Do not think picking a woman for your running mate will bring any Hillary supporters to your side. Do not underestimate our intelligence. Do you think Sarah Palin "worked hard enough" for her position? Did she simply "work harder"? Is that what attracted you to her? Or was it her Penecostal--Assembly of God religious affiliation? Did you think we needed another John Ashcroft slap in the face? Perhaps it was because her son is in the Army? Since the two of you are so interested in saving the unborn from abortion will she show some consideration now for the lives of the soldiers you are so interested in keeping in the fight? Do you really think the intelligent women of America will vote for you because you have chosen a female running mate and not realize the age longevity in your family? Do we not know you have a certain amount of longevity in your family? We know your 96 year old mother is still tooling around C hevy Chase, getting speeding tickets. Do you think we don't know just how often a vice-president actually takes over the office of the presidency? Do you really think we believe,with your history with women, that you will actually ask Gov. Palin what she thinks? Even if you did, we don't care what she thinks--we already know! Please do not think you have pulled the puppet strings of women in America simply by choosing a token for your running mate. Will you help her look at herself in the mirror when she realizes you are pulling those strings? We are no longer available for your slaps in the face. Do not count us out. We are female Weebles--we may wobble but we don't fall down.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Winifred loves Sarah Plain and Tall. Emily does too, so I'll demure with a polite, "And I do not." I look up from the laptop and find Glenn Close, Sarah, has fallen in the snow. She trudged in the snowstorm in the dead of night (2 a.m., approximately, but it's 1918 so I'll gladly take a 10 p.m.) and is found in the morning light (about 8 a.m.) It's the MidWest, people, so she should be DEAD.

I gasp.
And Winifred says, "It's Glenn Close! They won't kill Glenn Close!"

Really? What about Michael Douglas?

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Winifred is at the grocery store and I am supposed to be ready to leave when she returns. She promised the honk when she got to the driveway, and I am supposed to rush outside, rush inside, put away the cold items (deli meats, milk, butter, et al.) and dive to the front seat. Coupons for our expedition, notebook, pens, and cell phones should already be in my purse; makeup already applied.

My aunt had a date one night and her date honked from the driveway. Ina went outside to meet him but didn't reach the car before Winifred drove outside to accost the young man. My aunt was a fox, so this behavior was strangely commonplace, but an enraged Winifred forced her sister inside and made the young man come to the front door, meet Winifred properly, and ask for Ina.

You can bet all Hellboy would break loose if a boy I was seeing honked in our driveway. When Winifred honks I'm going to stay inside and wait for a proper introduction.

Monday, June 23, 2008

An Emotionless Wonder

In the interest of watching as many tearjerkers as emotionally possible ("Mellodrama," June 9) Winifred and I watched Grave of the Fireflies. We tried to watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but couldn't find it, but I found this and The History Boys, which seemed to at least cover a few bases (teens, drama, angst) but to my surprise we chose the 1998 Japanese animated happiness killer that Charlotte "warned" us against.
Allow me to digress: Charlotte told me to see this movie years ago, against the protest of her now-husband. (See "now?" That's how long ago it was!) She warned us repeatedly that we should plan wholeseome uplifting activities to follow (I've found that my father owns Blades of Glory) that may or may not lift my temporary grief. Actually, it's not that bad. It's that Winifred isn't affected.
Her defense is fair: "I thought I had another 90 minutes to go," she says. Our DVD said 159 minute run time and when we hit the pinnacle of the sadness (mind that I was fighting tears from the first ten minutes, and I've now seen the first 40 minutes twice) it wasn't even an hour and twenty minutes into the film. So Winifred had braced herself for more devastation than had already occurred, and after a montage...the credits rolled. And the end, she called her daughters and chatted gaily and just moved on.
Maybe I'm not being fair. Winifred found several heart-wrenching notes that were written when Emily and Charlotte were little. They include

Can you avery gave me a bark? I'm the only little girl for a littele time.
(the back: 23 Oct 85 Can you ever give me a break? I'm only a little girl for a little time. [Emily])

and this one, which forced Winifred to call Charlotte as soon as it was read, or, "I just would not sleep tonight."

Mom- I still want a blond corn-silk kid. Love, [Charlotte]
(dated Oct 1986)

Huh. Still.
Oh, Part 2? I would have presented it tonight, but in light of Winifred's heartlessness, a positive post seems, I don't know... inappropriate.

[Update: It's been about two hours and I haven't thought about the devastation for at least fifteen minutes. Maybe I can see Dancer in the Dark and live to tell about it. By the way, have I made it obvious or mentioned it? I cry through animal movies, too.]

Friday, June 20, 2008

Failed Empathy, Part 1 of 2

I was justifiably incorrigible at dinner tonight and instead of yelling at 1/3 of the newscast I openly gnashed at every news story that dared cross my path. This week I have refrained from yelling at news stories that were not about John McCain, his irritating wife Cindy McCain, Michelle Obama’s Fist Bump (She doesn’t wear pantyhose! We’re going to high five, soon.*), the mayor’s misspending, and gas prices. This leaves room for public transportation, corralling DC residents to their neighborhoods, retiring bus drivers, and foreclosures. Also shootings, school closings, and the weather.
But if I’m going to be persistent in this negative attitude I’m going to go all out, which includes skipping dessert because I don’t feel like eating things that bring me joy and pouting while clearing the table two activities which are rather difficult to multitask.
This sort of sulking means I went to my room to wallow and missed Winifred’s in-depth conversation about funnel cakes and Emily’s life-long best friend’s week-long dedication to fried sweets. I did, however, hear the King’s booming suggestion as I left the half-loaded dishwasher that we all go to the carnival and visit Emily’s life-long best friend as she serves fried dough! That sounds great, right?! Right?! Isn’t that fun, Captain?! It’s good to know in the face of hard time that your father knows the best pick me up is in people-watching with the aid of crisp golden treats.
The enthusiasm is doubled at my undying love for carnivals, as these open-air festival are an American testament to summer existing as the single most important season. It represents a sense of community while simultaneously trotting out a variety of characters: parents, children, the elderly, teenagers—both the sweet and the sort that are up to no good—large families, young professionals, and the weird people that don’t seem to exist during the rest of the year (except during Christmas rush at the mall). I spend every summer attempting to capture the spirit of the small-town carnival through my lens, so when Winifred promised a carnival, I amassed no less than five and agreed to wear bug repellant, because even at a surly moment I find myself dedicated to My Art. Her promised also said, I personally empathize with your inner angst and would like to relieve your trouble by way of this adventure.
The town we drove to is at least thirty minutes away. I know this because when I was 19, all of my friends lived in this town. They lived down shoddy dirt roads or in nice gated communities and inevitably, as the sun had set, I was on the wrong half-lane road without cellular service, and as I made a tight three-point turn, wondered how much trouble I would be in if I was found hung by a tree like an urban legend over the hood of my mother’s car. I hoped in this event I wouldn’t survive because after Winifred drove an hour to her car, I would be in so much trouble I’d wish away my life. When I wasn’t dreading an early demise I’d find myself wishing my life away as I neared the city limits, which meant I was only...twenty unbearable minutes from home.
I soldiered on, dear reader, as a buoyant Winifred described our good fortune: funnel cakes, old friends, and whirring lights! Long grass to swish through in jeans, I imagined, and mild weather devoid of humidity. Have you had a funnel cake in humidity? It gets lumpy, flat, and moist as soon as it exits the fryer and half the joy you taste is imagined. If you go into the dish without hope it tastes revolting. Providentially luck was ours was great weather.
Our trouble began when Winifred started to exit near a town thirty minutes in the direction from our true destination, and continued near an exit for Baltimore. “Just pretend you are driving to DC,” I insisted, and then, later, “Pretend you are driving to College Park!” As if, perhaps, she would revert to an old standby from visiting Emily in college. Finally, I adopted the mantra, “Drive like you are going to the Metro, but get off at the labeled exit.” The mantra continued for several exits, long after we were on the correct ramp and I was directing Winifred to the stop light, through a traffic circle, and to a byway.
There has been some previous questioning as to my veracity through these steps, and I begin to doubt my memory as we slowed to the elementary school where the community parks. As we passed the school and a large red signboard labeled PARKING I wailed, “There’s no carnival!”
We passed the empty grounds in slow motion and I began to whine, inconsolably. “There’s no carnival, Mom. Mom, where is the carnival. Mom, this is the school, you said there was a carnival!” I begin to wonder if I can cajole her to the 711 near the highway exit for an INCREDIBLE GULP.**
So much for bringing me true happiness, Winifred! The carnival in this town isn’t until July. We’d driven to empty fields, existing without purpose.
“There is a carnival,” Winifred promised, alluding to the widely known truth—as sure as we understand gravity—that somewhere, anywhere a town is hosting its carnival. During the month of June every night is a carnival night somewhere, which means that if one plans appropriately the entire month (and some years, full summers) is carnival night. This would rely on attending some towns more than one night, but in the face of whirligigs, bingo, and fried chicken, this isn’t a problem but an added bonus.
In due time, Winifred located the problem: she had presumed the wrong town. We found the carnival, but not without my share of heartbreaking. (After all of that she needed directions to the next town and I even knew how to get there!) When we arrived, I waited to turn the corner and find that the carnival had packed up and moved out the night before. It hadn’t, but we first passed a sign that mistakenly read “FIREFIGHTER CARNIVAL JUNE 1-2” and in one last dying gasp I bemoaned, “IT CLOSED JUNE SECOND!”
Thereafter I collapsed from emotional exhaustion and missed the whole thing.

*Short story: When we found Emily’s wedding dress after less than an hour in the mall, and only twenty minutes of try-ons, Charlotte turned to us out of the store’s entrance and raised her fists. I stared blankly, because though I was 19, I hadn’t been to enough keg parties to have bumped fists with any broskis, and was still really into high fiving. (I also had fire engine red hair and a handful of straight edge tee shirts. It was trying archaic times.) Charlotte confidently yet demurely inched her fist forward, “Come on,” she said, “High fiving is out.” I was deeply shamed, as everyone’s clenched fist bumped at once—Winfred’s included—as Winifred shouted, “Yeah! High fiving is so lame!”
A minute later Winifred asked what “that” was called and suggested a term I would re-print here, but it is so hilarious that I will save it for my novel. Also, Winifred’s friends are reading (sorry, mature responsible adults!) and it’s a story best for happy hours, workplaces, and my-mom-is-more-awkward-than-your-mom. It also works best in a trilogy.
Walking downtown yesterday my friend and I high fived. Internet, I remain lame three—almost four—years later.

**Exactly what it sounds like: The Hulk merchandised over a BIG GULP. Except that’s the only size that is GREEN against a sea of red plastic cups. INCREDIBLE GULP, GET IT? I am a fool for your marketing, Marvel. Ultimately I was denied the Incredible Gulp.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Winifred and I kicked off the summer Saturday by watching our first melodrama of the season. Every summer in the Quimby home includes a marathon of black and white dramatic talkies. In 2003 we plowed through nearly every Hepburn movie we could as a dedication to Katharine Hepburn's pants-filled legacy, a filmfest I consider a tremendous victory because most of her movies were filled with laughs (and bonus feminism) instead of tears (Philadelphia Story and Woman of the Year were the focus).
Unfortunately the crux of a melodrama is that it will break your heart, toy with your emotions, crush your soul, and force you to question all that you truly know about humanity. Fortunately Winifred allows comedies (classic, of course) to soothe my fragile emotional state.

We started with Leave Her to Heaven, 1945 technicolor classic that is part of my personal collection. (It's beneficial to alphabetize your VHS and DVD collections! Who knew?) Delightfully over-the-top, Leave Her to Heaven is based on a novel of the same name by Ben Ames Williams. The trailer:

During the movie I tried to compile a short list of films for us to watch as the summer continues. We usually go to Charlotte, who holds a Masters in film criticism, but the truth is that we never get to the movies, and then we hurt her feelings, and we don't like letting her down. (Moreover, the films on the list have been reccomended by Charlotte before.) It was several years before we watched The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and if only we'd rented when she told us to we wouldn't have waited years for our lives to change forever.

In Alphabetical Order:

All That Heaven Allows (allegedly part of the inspiration for another family favorite, Far From Heaven)
Back Street (1961)
Rules of the Game (1939)
Touch of Evil
Wings of Desire

We're watching Back Street again, though it will most certainly kill me. IMDB alludes to three versions of the Fannie Hurst tragedy, which seems unfathomable that the ultimate heartbreaking film could be re-made and re-made. With that much dedication over the centuries you'd think someone would have stepped up in the 90s and made another. I'd work on getting it financed but I feel too conflicted. First, if a Fannie Hurst movie is going to be made into a movie for wide release in our modern world, I'd nominate Imitation of Life first. (It's marginally less emotionally devastating.) Second, I feel conflicted over Back Street. Our heroine is a feminist icon yet she sacrifices her personal life for her career--not a message I'm willing to promote--and then suffers again and again at the hands of the man who loves her--but is unable to shrug his wife (a character who demeans the image of women everywhere) and her prize for her undying love is some other dude's kids! Oh, GAWD, WHERE ARE THE TISSUES, I CAN'T HANDLE THIS.

My retribution for the intense pain I've agreed to again withstand is forcing--if I can--Winifred to watch Rules of the Game. It's not really a melodrama, instead it's a strong, passionate film exploring social class, war, impending doom, government...a movie that leaves me empty yet full of dispair. It's probably an unhealthy obsession, yet on par with Winifred's love for all-things-Fannie Hurst which seems, ya know, fair:

Didya see that trailer? Mystery! Intrigue! That comes pretty close to the sensationalism of a melodrama, no? Post-script: a big part of a melodrama are indiscretions and adulterous affairs built on True Love, which just happens to be a major plot point of Rules of the Game. (I WIN.)

We could watch melodramas intermittenly through the year, too, but it's not nearly as much fun. (When I had the flu Winifred and I watched Martian Child and under the influence of medication it was as emotionally destructive as a melodrama, so we can win with that, right?)

As for Touch of Evil, any film the Coen brothers call "disturbing" sounds like a great idea to me. Wouldya look at that typeface? It screams drama! Plus the trailer includes explosions with its mystery, intrigue, and hysterical screaming. I think it's a tease to show an introdcutory film class the opening of the film and not the rest of the film, but I'll willingly do the same to you:

I know that's a lot of videos I've forced you to watch but it's still June and I think we can do it. There are other movies too, and we've promised Charlotte to wait for her. (But I can't find those few movies right now.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

John McCain--who drives me absolutely crazy*--is on The Daily Show wearing a blue oxford shirt.

The King--who I said I wouldn't talk about here, but I guess I'm a big liar--has consistently worn blue shirts to formal occasions for my entire life. Weddings, funerals, obligatory church services, honors and awards, commencements, graduations, meet-the-parents, anniversary dates with Winifred, rehearsal dinners, baptisms (I presume, I didn't go to any), formal occasions that involved green bean caserole and plated ham, convocations, first communions, indoctrinations...I'm thinking of a nice way to order my father to wear a blue shirt for my graduation. (Because it's My Special Day and apparently, I think I'm entitled to boss people around!)

The King looks good in blue because it brings out his bright steely eyes. Also, The King has to wear a white shirt and a tie to his Real People job everyday, and even though he looks good dressed up, we subconsciously want him to have some freedom from obligatory family celebrations that forced him to take the day off. Like my graduation, which I presume he has called-out for. (DON'T WORRY, I KNOW HE HAS.)

John McCain needs to remove that shirt, posthaste. He has a dirty record, and only clean souls destined for heaven--and future paramours with blue eyes--can wear the blue shirt. Don't look at me like that! I'm making no promises that my future husband(s) are destined for the Lord. That's a lot of responsibility. POST HASTE, OLDY MCMOLDY.

Jon just told McCain to make his running mate Hillary Clinton. McCain's brain is going to from the explode from the suggestion. Dude, it's unbecoming to get Brain Matter on the Blue Shirt. Don't even think about it.

*I have threatened to find employment outside the United States if he wins, and I intend to act on it and spend the next eight years acquiring a new citizenship. I. Am. Not. Joking.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Perfect Fit

I’ll invariably tell my friends a somewhat unflattering story about myself, a story that will end with a witty comment my mother makes, eviscerating my unseemly behavior, and the guffaws end, my friends say, “Wow, you have a great relationship with your mother. I could never do that with my mom.”
And I always want to ask if they can’t talk about farting passing gas bodily functions, because that’s the one thing I’ve always desired in my relationship with Winifred. I’ve also desired her leniency when it came to letting me get a puppy, but she made up for her harsh, Ms. Trunchbull-like ways last year when she lovingly promised one day the Right Dog for Me would come at the Right Time. Which is better than the feeling Carrie Bradshaws of the world get when they watch a Lifetime movie and the erstwhile heroine realizes when she’s ready to quit her career The Man will Come. That was harsh, wasn’t it? That happens when I digress.
Or hang out with Winifred!
And that’s my point.
Winifred came to Collegetown this afternoon to linger the campus while I presented a four part large-scale photographically based series examining the process and psychological relationship with mortality, decay, and interpersonal relationships. When I finished my requisite hour of question answering and explaining (by the way: it was fun, exhilarating, and satisfying!) we disappeared into the city. First we went to the BMA to see its new photography exhibit. And then we slipped through rush hour traffic to Sofi’s, a crepery that has stolen my heart.

I’ve been looking forward today for months. First, because it marks the end of this seemingly infinite project. It signals the end of the class that I’ve been working in, and is the gallery opening for a piece from the series. But when I said hey, let’s hang out in those hours between my demo and the gallery opening, and Winifred said, sure thing! I knew I’d have the fun I’d been yearning for since October. Wednesday night I walked around my apartment, wondering if I ordered one sweet crepe, and Winifred ordered one savory crepe, if we could enjoy both sides of the menu and still satisfy our needs. I’m a fly by her pants kind of girl when it comes to Sofi’s, picking which side I’ll order from when I belly up to their tiny counter, impulsively picking a menu half that will satisfy my needs. Inevitably I choose the sweet side.

As we parked Winifred asked if I’d acquiesce her brilliant idea: would I mind if we ordered one of each and split both, thus getting one crepe each and the kinds we wanted?
Heck yes, I’d do that!
It was another moment in which the heavens opened and reminded me that in spite of often feeling like I spend the majority of my days explaining again what my thought process was and why it makes sense to me that no, there is someone on the same plane as I am! And better to have that person thinking about maximum crepe exposure than giant squids, right?

It gets better, of course. Charlotte met us in Collegetown too, and we all went to my gallery opening together, and as if I hadn't already been so ribald in the company of Winifred--which I do in public, I talk about all of my weird dreams, how people have annoyed me lately--I became down right scurrilous in the company of Charlotte.
It's a natural change, from polite and quietly seething to the open giggling and theoretical discussions we hold. Or, even better, stories of life in North Dakota or Charlotte's college years. And when we were all done we got out of the car to say our goodbyes in front of my apartment and accidentally talked about politics for an extended period of time.
It makes sense of me to do that. To talk about politics, birth control advertisements, and why it is that McCain shouldn't be president. I think, without a family that was okay with that--an open discussion of anything, without any "reason" why--I'd be fairly miserable.

Oh! We split one chicken curry crepe (picture) and one apple crisp crepe. Real apples, people! Not canned.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I like to think that I am, occasionally, a practical person. Or at least operating with some minor level of common sense when I'm not a raving lunatic, and I think the best way to prove this is that I've managed to get by financially in part to a long, seemingly neverending string of on-campus jobs while I've been a college student. Generally these positions pay more than minimum wage (except for that stint working in the dormitories, where I was paid $1 less than minimum wage because former Governor jerkface Ehrlich said it was okay*), are easy ("Babysit these PCs for a few hours and do your homework!"), and enhance my qualifications (I know so much about the network!)

*When I find the news article backing this up I will post it, because I know no one but Winifred will believe me. If I hadn't been so militantly drug free I'd never have been able to purchase my theoretical and hypothetical underage booze! Never mind that what I did need was impossible to obtain. I AM CLEARLY STILL VERY UPSET.

The unfortunate side effect is dealing with mundane student-based conversations, which brought this delicious nugget from a female student in here early twenties, to her mass communications professor:
"The good thing about Family Studies--and the only thing goin' on--is why it's beneficial for the man to work and the woman to stay home. But I mean, it's all common sense."
Did I say delicious? I think I actually gagged out every internal organ. Oops. The professor, which until now, was my least favorite person in the entire world (after Bush, Cheney, Joe Simpson, Joe Francis, and the New York Yankees), rose through the ranks to People I Can At Least Pretend to Tolerate when he said, "Really that's what they teach you at Towson?" Prof. I Can Now Pretend to Tolerate teaches at another state university, where he presumable strikes fear into those students in addition to providing nightmarish scenarios where I am this close to graduating.
She confirmed, yeah, and duh, "It's all common sense! Of course the mother has babies and stays home! And the husband, he works. Because it makes sense."
At this point I was gasping for air, trying to pick up my now completely unhinged jaw from the floor, and struggling to find the words that would swiftly eviscerate the student without causing myself more mental strife.
Prof. I Can Now Pretend to Tolerate looked at me, looked at her, looked at me, and then looked at her and said, "Really. They tell you that? Huh. Well." Then he rolled his eyes, held his breath, got up, and walked away while the student's friend--a male, also enrolled in this backwards gen ed.--argued, "No, no, it's theory. I mean, they don't say we should..."
Then I sputtered all over Facebook, wherein I repeated this to Biscuit, who suffered through a class (which, for the record, did not share these nuggets of "truth" and "common sense" but was regrettably filled with 18-year-olds who swore, "I want to be a Moooooomy!") I voted that the school give me the power to revoke her previously earned credits until she reconsiders the entire reason she's here (to get an education, like, oh my gawd, that wasn't common sense?) Biscuit suggested, "I petition to revoke her LIFE."
Harsh, but I feel a little better.
This is, of course not the objective of women's studies, or my university. This downside would heavily outweigh the ability to continue on with my day, were it not for my access to the internet, and this, this video from The Daily Show. This clip now has powers that are two-fold. Before it just made me feel better that anyone would show cognizance to China's past. Because my peers? They only know that China has some good food and some factories. Right on! It's hard being the only one you know In the Know. Now I have this image of a nine-year-old hiyaaah!-ing into the classroom in the middle of this girl's speech about "common sense" and family rearing.

Do you think reading any number of SAHD blogs would totally blow her mind?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Usually these kind of speeches are made by Winifred and I nod, to say, Yes, but it isn't like that, can't I enjoy it anyway? I foolishly did that with The Dangerous Book for Boys thinking foolishly that The Daring Book for Girls would actually be The Dangerouns Book for Boys II, you know, a "We made an error! Here's more exciting stuff! And fun things are for both genders!" I was wrong. So when Feministing linked to Gender Inequity in 'Whoville' I thought of Winifred, who would have been irate about the film's newly added plot.

It makes me wonder how she fared through Disney princess movies until Beauty and the Beast was released when I was seven. Until then Winifred had little to say, probably because I was interested in dog movies (Lassie, 101 Dalmatians, Benji), but when Belle arrived, with her nose in a book, Winifred spent years expounding on how wonderful it was that Belle Saved the Day, the Belle Read, that Belle Was Independent! It was true. Belle didn't need no man. Buzz off Gaston, I'm Reading!

Except this is very much a rant from The King. I told myself I'd leave The King out of the blog, because The King sees Blogs as A Means For Your Own Doom, and didn't sign up for this, but I think it's worth saying today that The King is like Peter Sagal. The King has standards and it would be better to meet them. I could hear the king say this:

Have the clowns who made this movie ever met a daughter? Have they dated one? If they did, did they meet the daughter's father? Did they then ask that daughter's father if there was anything more dramatic, interesting, arresting, and moving to him than his relationship with his daughter? Did they ask him if he might find that a close relationship with said daughter might be something he would care about? What do they imagine that we do — sit around, and watch our daughters grow and change and suffer and fail and triumph — and idly wish for something more INTERESTING?
Segal then goes on to list popular media--Harry Potter, The Matrix, Peter Pan, ET, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings--as having boys saving the world. Of all of those features, on Harry Potter has a female character worth emulating. The other females (if they're there at all--LOOKING AT YOU, TOLKEIN) are all pretty dopey. I always wanted Princess Leia to step up! Darth Vader is her father too! But instead her few moments of badassery are restrained to a bikini. And Han, the rogue with a heart of gold (le sigh) has to bumble his way into saving her. I love Han, but really? Leia, you couldn't have done that on your own?

I had a friend in town a few weeks ago and he asked if I was going to see Whoville. I snorted and said I couldn't see a movie that would butcher the classic. Now I'm glad I was too snobby to see it, because I'd probably go out of my way to ruin it for everyone else.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's On the Box. We Verify and Ship!

A bunch of good things happened today, and I am convinced that the heavens smiled on me because it is Emily’s birthday, and because they know how lonely I am Without Her, they said, What the heck, while make some good things happen. Because last week? Bad things Happened.
First, the sky opened on my walk from my bus stop from my apartment, showing a big blue sky. I would have accepted this and called it a good day without anything further. (See? BAD THINGS, people BAD THINGS.)
Then, after a quick shower, FedEx arrived with a package. Last week FedEx would have arrived during the shower and the box would have been in the front office for two weeks. I was glad that FedEx arrived when I could sign. I thought it was some art supplies I ordered last week, but I was wrong. (I would like to know where those supplies are though, Montana.) It was my graduation dress!
I’m not a Dress Person. In fact, when I had a swanky work party and, with money in hand, could not find anything satisfactory. Part of the problem was me, and we’ll get to that, but part of the problem is that I’m not very good at finding dress clothes. I’m very good at finding clothes for other people though.
The other, slightly aforementioned problem is me. I’m vaguely unsatisfied with my appearance. To be honest, and this is “hard” (the brain says: DO NOT SHARE, DO NOT SHARE), I was sort of hoping I’d lose some weight and order a size down. Well, shit, I ordered my usual size, but unlike Target, it’s really cute. Appearance is something I struggle with it. A big part of it is just me, bowing to a harsh, shallow, and vapid patriarchal society that asks that my waist be the same size as Ma Ingalls and sees myself as much larger than I am. And a big part of it is that I really like cookies. It doesn’t help that I am surrounded by skinny friends, many of whom have worse images of themselves than I do, and judge “larger” people as a means to cope, so then, in this nasty little circle, I feel like the…nevermind. The end. SO THIS DRESS, IT CAME IN THE MAIL. It came and I ordered a few days ago! And, the best part? It fits. Part of that joy is because it was made by a woman, a woman who knows how to make You Look Good, and she did it using red and black and some nautical stars and an anchor, so now I look Really Good, plus a little bad ass, but mostly just cheeky.
But wait! There’s more! Winifred was in Baltimore today, so I showed it to her, and she loves it. We agreed that because it is strappy, I will wear a cardigan to appease the old people in our family. Also, because according to Delia’s, cardigans dress up a casual dress. She asked if I had a “shrug” from when I was in Laura’s wedding, and lo, I reached into my closet, pulled it out, and put it on.
I win! Well, I win above the ankle. I want to wear my old crappy red Chucks with the dress. If I have to sit for six hours and listen to the President of my University blab about social responsibility and environmental awareness (I agree! But not for so long.) and our success as people, I should get to wear footwear I personally enjoy. Also, I think I’ll bring a Bic and write every band I’ve ever heard, just to make a juvenile point. You’re boring me dude, hand the diploma, like a fourteen year old asks for the bell to ring in math class. Don’t look at me like that, I know you wrote 80085 on your calculator. Winifred asked if I wanted a new pair of Chucks, but I don’t want real Chucks, remember?
And with that conversation done, we decided where to eat dinner.
But wait! There’s still more! Before we ate dinner, I checked my e-mail. Before Winifred arrived a woman from school e-mailed me to let me know that I was eligible for a scholarship renewal. The school still e-mails me about registering classes by default, so I said thanks but I’m out of this place in May lady. She said no, we want to give you the money anyway. I called her right there, and she asked if I intend to pursue the career I did last year, and I said, heck yes I do, and she said cool, that’s what I thought, the money’s all yours. We’ll “cut you a check” when you graduate and you can pay the money to those nasty loan people. Hip hip hooray! It’s like money fell out of the sky!
Winifred was so excited she almost fainted, so I left the room to give her some air. When she regained consciousness we went to Bel Loc diner, where we dined, ate cake in honor of Emily (it was good, with orange essence!) and dragged Biscuit to a lecture by Marjane Satrapi. Marjane was everything I thought she would be, and I desperately want to meet her one day, be witty and smart, and have her realize we should be friends. Over cocktails we will discuss the evil patriarchy and then drunk dial my ex-boyfriends.

Now that I’m done wallowing in my own glory, I’ll make up for it with a story about Emily.

When I was little I would whine until she agreed to walk me to the playground near my house, where I would force her to push me on the tire swings, stand at the bottom of the slide to catch me if I went to fast, and cajole me into hanging from the monkey bars without hands. It didn’t take too much whining to do anything, because I am spoiled. (Except the monkey bars. I still can’t do it without burping out my heart, and then I don’t hang for long before I wuss out.) On a warm night we walked to the park after dinner, before it was too dark, and on the way out, Emily announced that tomorrow, she would be thirteen.
And I panicked, begging her to stay twelve until I could catch up and do big things too. She refused, on the grounds that physics won’t allow for it, and that duh, she wants to be thirteen. Really, who doesn’t want to turn thirteen? My angst amused her, and she asked why it was a big deal, and I told her I was afraid that if she turned thirteen, she would get snobby and mean—because that’s what kids on Nickelodeon did, never mind that Charlotte was already past thirteen by two years—and then we couldn’t go to the park anymore, or the pool, or any of the fun things that she let me do by agreeing to hold my hand and supervise.
I was wrong. The next day, she waited long enough for me to wake up to open presents, and then I think she may have even taken me to the park again after dinner, and wouldn’t you know, she held my hand and supervised all kinds of things.

In fact, she taught me math, how to drive, how to make my essays appear longer by using teacher-sanctioned typefaces instead of fudging the margins, and in high school, took me to movies at the cheap theater and the regular theater. Because every post-undergrad twentysomething wants to hang out with her little sister, a sophomore in high school! (And she did!)
And when Annie got married, we had to do some sticky family things, and in nudging her with my elbow, briefly grabbed her hand to say Holy cow, these people are all crazy. You're my witness.
Happy Birthday, Emily! Thanks for not getting snotty like those jerks on Fifteen.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I've been fired up about everything this week and deliberately shutting myself from political commentary. Daily Show is on? Gotta go play Nintendo. Countdown is on? I think I should make cookies and listen to Moby. (Fear not! My obsession with Google headlines continues!*) When I sat down with dinner this evening the television found Comedy Central on its own and was re-playing last night's Colbert Report. I've already made no secret about my love affair with the sixty minute block of political irreverence on Comedy Central. I was going to change it though, because when I get stressed I get hives, and oh my god, I just can not deal with that right now, when Stephen promised me Carole King.

Carole Expletive King! I stayed.

For the sake of brevity I'm not going to argue that Carol King rocks. I don't think I need to, and if I do, you might need to seek another blog (or stick around and find common ground another day!).

A few Christmases ago, Charlotte came home with two copies of Tapestry. One was for Winifred, for reasons still unknown to me, was unfamiliar with the Queen of Songwriting. I was knee-deep in love for King, having enrolled in a history of rock and roll class with a professor who had dropped out of college at 20 to become a singer/songwriter before finding success and quitting the industry at the height of her career to get a doctorate in music ethnology and teach young, hip, 19-year-olds about Joan Baez** and how much pop music owes Carole King. This was the same year I started to commit myself to watching Gilmore Girls on Tuesday nights, so I'd leave class just before the show started to walk back to my dorm room and watch Carole King after spending a few hours talking about her.
Charlotte had already tried this with me though, when King and her daughter were on a Christmas Gap commercial when I was in high school. I know, Gap! I haven't forgiven Dylan for his dive into commercialism, but my love for King runs so deep that I don't care. Her moments have always been deeply touching. Also, I want to believe that as proprietor Sophie Bloom on Gilmore Girls, King would really help Lane find her footing in music against Mrs. Kim's knowledge.
Thanks to Charlotte, my happiness was heightened when King was on Colbert. I don't know what I love most about this interview, but I think it's that King openly says the label just wants more money from her:

If you don't mind I'm going to go eat some cookies and defeat Slash on Guitar Hero III. If I don't beat medium all I'll have to show for these six days of Spring Break will be all of the real work I've accomplished and we can't have that.

*And now I'm mad at Joe Francis for new reasons.
**Interesting side note that will embarass my family: At the time I was also knee deep in love with a boy I'd known--and been In Like With, Like Oh My God--since I was 12 and we started a passionate debate about Joan Baez. It ended with us agreeing, if you can believe this, "I totally wish I was Bob Dylan, because I'd be doing the hottest babe in the history of rock." (You're hot too, Wendy O., but you died, and ten years later I'm still kind of upset.) Winifred doesn't like Joan Baez--or Bob!--and that always bothered me, because Winifred was a babe, and she's just as mad as Joan, and I like to think they could have met at a cafe and had a Coke while talking about politics before Winifred went back to base and Joan met with Bobby to share a spliff.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


This is post #51 and Winifred has still failed to login herself and share these things with the web. Just sayin'. It's been a gender discriminatory two weeks, and I've been an aggressive monger this week. So have the other Quimbys, and my inbox is bursting with material to share.

Let's start with my most recent e-mail from Winifred. She wants us to check out and read Marlo Thomas and Julia Reed's responses to yesterday's Question of the Day (Should Silda Spitzer Stand By Her Man?)

wowOwow is a "website created, run and written by Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Liz Smith, Joni Evans, Mary Wells, Sheila Nevins, Joan Juliet Buck, Whoopi Goldberg, Julia Reed, Joan Ganz Cooney, Judith Martin, Candice Bergen, Lily Tomlin, Jane Wagner, and Marlo Thomas." It launched last Saturday. I'm not so keen on Whoopi but I'll hold my breath that this doesn't go downhill. I'm all for women on the internet, and hey guess what! I'll get to that next.

Here's what Marlo has to say:
It is her decision whether she wants to stand by him in the long run — but for God’s sake — why must these women have to stand next to them when they confess their sins?

I really didn’t mean it to be funny. I think it’s painful to see these women, time and time again be dragged out to these press conferences to stand there by their man. I’d think more of Spitzer and any man who refused to make his wife stand there in humiliation with him.

and Julia:
I can’t imagine Silda staying with her husband after so public a humiliation, but she wouldn’t be the first woman to do it. Just last July, when Louisiana Senator, David Vitter, was caught in almost the same situation, his wife — another attractive, highly intelligent, auburn-haired lawyer — stood with him by the press conference podium in a photo that looks exactly like the one today on the front page of the New York Times. So far, Wendy Vitter is still standing by her man and he is still in the Senate, but either of these women are made of far sterner stuff than I…or they are nuts. I still remember the awful stone face of Lee Hart in the wake of Donna Rice, and Silda’s face was heart-breaking. She was just so obviously thrown. As Candice said, Bill Clinton’s philandering did not come out of left field like this. And whatever bizarre pact the Clintons may have, Hillary has her reasons for sticking it out. I would have a far more difficult time, especially since these guys are not just unfaithful, but so arrogant. Gary Hart went so far as to challenge the press to follow him, and then he led them right to the monkey business. Did Eliott Spitzer honestly think he would never be outed as client number nine?

Okay, I lied. I can't hold back from wowOwow. I just. Can't. Do. It. The website includes a piece titled, "PRINCESS DIANA! Remember Her?"Liz Smith alleges, claims, and shouts that America has forgotten Princess Diana and that her former lover, Dr. Hasnat Khan, has gone unheard in American media ("And nobody stateside seems to have printed what this man said.") REALLY? BECAUSE EVERYWHERE I TURN HIS CLAIMS ARE REPEATED. Smith doesn't expound on The Pill (hopes dashed) but how we've "forgotten" Diana in the Democratic nominee goings-on and Spitzer scandal. Smith, I've got a tip for you: Turn on E! Check Google headlines. I promise you'll change your mind. What's your point, anyway, Smith? You've only regurgitated what Khan has said. And Khan's testimony was more than a week ago. Okay. Done now, really.


This season's issue of Bitch arrived in the mail this week and its theme is "THE WIRED ISSUE" (just in time for me to exasperate over dumbed down websites 'run by women for women') and details "blog bandits" among other tech-related stuff. Charlotte gave me a subscription last year, and it has brought me endless joy because the thing about Bitch is that it tends to arrive when I've found I can take no more from the masses. I find solace knowing that other women are as fed up as I am.
Yet issue #39's "Wack Attack" by Jaclyn Friedman addresses an issue I can't (and luckily haven't had to) relate to (yet). Addressing "blogging while female," gender bias on the internet, and the overwhelming amount of power handed to men in control of the internet, Friedman includes several resources for avoiding and supporting one's words on the internets, so I've added them to The Gospel's links. (And, oh yeah, we're part of BlogHer.)
...So I want to like wowOwow but it looks like it just won't work for me. It's not you, it's me, and I'm sure Winifred will have more she wants to share in the future.


First: The Vatican has released new sins. I love to sin, so I love to know that my inability to recycle in the apartment (bad habits die hard, I guess) or accept my college's graduation pledge (it's just not your business, degree dispersers) can add more sinful delight to my daily life. That was tongue-in-cheek. Honest. A thorough discussion has been shared by e-mail by the family, but I think Charlotte summarizes everyone's feelings accurately. She wrote, last night:
I have been considering the "new sins." As it turns out, this is just one guy's opinion and not actual policy, but it was telling nonetheless. I am encouraged by the emphasis on the effects of one's actions on others, but why are these specific sins mentioned? It seems that those who bear social responsibility are still disproportionately female.

I also think that it is insane to single out drug use as a sin in general, much less as a mortal sin. Do caffeine and Ritalin count? Was Frank McCourt's father sinning by indulging in alcohol, or was his sin the neglect of his family? Is it a sin to have a mental illness? Why aren't owners of gambling establishments, pimps, or sellers of alcohol mentioned instead? Is this really about targeting pleasure yet again?

I liked this from the BBC: "Father Gerald O'Collins, former professor of moral theology at the Papal University in Rome, and teacher of many of the Catholic Church's current top Cardinals and Bishops, welcomed the new catalogue of modern sins. 'I think the major point is that priests who are hearing confessions are not sufficiently attuned to some of the real evils in our world,' he told the BBC News website. 'They need to be more aware today of the social face of sin - the inequalities at the social level. They think of sin too much on an individual level. I think priests who hear confession should have a deeper sense of the violence and injustice of such problems - and the fact that people collaborate simply by doing nothing. One of the original deadly sins is sloth - disengagement and not getting involved,' Father O'Collins said."

I particularly like that this priest focused on priests' responsibilities toward their parishioners, who should, as Deacon Manley says, be exercising their consciences rather than obeying a catalogue of mortal and venial sins. It is absolutely time for an honest examination of the intersection of individual freedom (and moral agency) and social responsibility. I take comfort in the idea that there are at least two priests who care about the divide between rich and poor. I do wonder what the definition of "poverty" is -- vis a vis, say, Mother Teresa and her views. Is it still okay for nuns and mothers to be poor? Will the Vatican share some of its "excessive wealth" to feed those who heed its warnings against "bioethical" sin? Or are they still receiving "graces" in return for their suffering?

Charlotte used to live in New York. In fact, I've told people that she's "from New York" even though she was raised in the same house that Emily and I were. She's more devastated than I am, and I'm embroiled in my own drama, preventing me from really getting involved.

I am so disgusted by Spitzer. I had been telling people how great he was for years. What a load of CRAP about testosterone. The problem here is not hormonal. It is entitlement to women as products -- as of today's tawdry revelations, we know that he saw them as products whose lives were of no import to him. Clearly the feds are lying about how they caught him, but he knew that there were incredibly powerful people after him -- including "Tammany" Joe Bruno and the entire Bush administration -- and he goes to the Mayflower?? Ugh. I would like to know when we can expect David Vitter's resignation as well.

Also -- Geraldine Ferraro cannot really be that clueless. Why is she making things worse??
Why, Geraldine, why?
Winifred is disappointed that he had to "import" women from DC. (If Winifred had to pick a home-away-from-North Dakota, she'd pick the District.) I've called her three times today about this post, and forgotten each time to ask what she thinks about Dragging These Women Through the Mud with him. So I'll go out on a limb and assume. (Deep breath.) It's not really our business, and while I think it's important to cover every corner of a story, I don't think it was in the best interest of my campus newspaper to report about Spitzer's clients, and I don't think it's anyone's business what these women look like, what they do, how old they are, and what their myspaces say. He did something illegal. They did too, but prostitution isn't really a woman's career goal and maybe it's better to help women then lambaste them for their choices. BUT MAYBE THAT'S JUST ME.

Is coming later. It's good. I promise. Charlotte said I had to share, and I typically do whatever she says.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

You're Kidding Me, Right? II


While I'm hungry and cranky, I'm going to dive into the Quimby Family Road debacle.
Here are the facts:
1. Emily read it first.
2. Charlotte read it second, and in the Portrait Gallery in January, asked if I wanted to read it.
3. Post-apocalyptic societies are so my thing. I want to know what other people think the End of the World will be like in the way most people wonder about Heaven/Hell. (Actually, I wonder what other people think about the After Life, I can't really prove that anyone wonders what other people think, especially when people are so locked into their own interpretation.)
4. Winifred read it before I did. Subsequently she sent a lot of e-mails. Here is an excerpt from an e-mail:
Who is the man in the yellow/gray slicker near the end of the book. Have we met him before?? I do not recall. I guess I cannot comment any further since KMH is going to read the book. I finished it Friday at work during a slow lull. One of the most enduring images in the book for me though is the finding of food jars in the abandoned farm house. I can see, smell, and hear the [FAMILY NAME] old farmhouse once it was abandoned.
4. I read it next. I liked it. It was grey, it was dark, it was cold, and it moved slowly. I liked that I was fearful that the next page would contain more cannibals, that this would be the last struggle. I liked that instead there was shelter, canned peaches, and an exploration into an unknown. There was constant misery, and the dialog was sparse, but it worked.
4. The King was not a fan. He wrote:
Well I finished reading The Road. I hated the book. I'm already depressed and this did not help whatsoever. Most depressing book I've ever read. Gave me no hope at all.
I tried to talk to The King about this, maybe get a little more, see if we could actively debate, but failed. He's not interested.
5. Charlotte and I feel kind of bad. Actually, I feel kind of bad, Charlotte is crushed by guilt and unenthused to recommend more books.
6. Seeing Charlotte last week, we discussed The Road before dinner. We had several unanswered questions about the cannibals. She posed the plot hole: how can a pregnant woman survive if she's eaten limb-from limb. If you harvest fetuses, isn't that a disappointing meat for end product? And, isn't that a lot of work to keep someone alive for the purpose of fetus-harvesting? Seems counterproductive. In the end I said I thought McCarthy was trying to just make the whole thing scary. Walking for miles endlessly in a nuclear holocaust is scary without raping, maiming, and exploiting women for plot devices, and we both ended the conversation kind of disgusted. So we talked about chicken and waffles instead.

I need to blurt this somewhere, and my regular blog doesn't want to hear it. You know why? Because they want "happy endings." Also I've been screaming about this abomination since I found out it starred Will Smith. That was more than a year before the movie was released. So, well...I guess it makes sense that they don't want to hear about it anymore. Never mind.

I am Legend did suck. It changed the ending, never mind the location/setting and general message. The best part about these movies, for me, is when everybody dies. Luckily for me, the blogosphere spared most of my pain by spoiling the cinematic release (make sure you check out Baldwin's commentary in the comments). Richard Matheson's I am Legend spawned an entire genre, so its lackluster ending was a disgraceful excuse for film. It did in fact, give us Night of the Living Dead.
Because Winifred hasn't seen Night of the Living Dead, I'll give it away as a means of explaining why I am so angry. Brother and sister Johnny and Barbara drive to rural Pennsylvania (note location and symbolism) to pay their respects to their father's grave. There's some action in the graveyard, and some action in the general area of the town, and eventually we realize the area is besieged by zombies. Mayhem ensues, until there is only one uninfected person, and in the last scene of the film (really, I'm spoiling the movie) he exits his hideout, only to be mistaken for a zombie and is shot dead. And then his corpse is burned with the zombies. It's completely horrifying, and Romero is saying more than oops, I killed the hero. (The character is African American, the film was released in 1968, and sci-fi/horror movies are never about the plot on the surface which is what makes it so awesome.) This film has a tragic ending, which is what should befit I am Legend. Just like last year's Halloween, I am Legend doesn't say anything about American society, and It Is Supposed To.

The film is poised for its DVD release, which includes an alternate ending. This is still a crapshoot:

Because this ending sucks too, and still doesn't say anything. AAAARGH.
Sigh. So much angst. Speaking of the Portrait Gallery, a few days after we went, Stephen Colbert had his portrait hung there.

Don't you feel a little less irritated with me, now? What if I told you Night of the Living Dead is tagged on IMDB as "Tragic Ending" and I've found a loot of movies tagged the same way? This is a goldmine, Quimby family. You may remember how much Winifred loves sad movies.

You're Kidding Me, Right?

I want to preface the following dialogue by letting you know that I'm at work, in a computer lab, until 2:45ish, and that the vending machine, which is stocked with all kinds of goods (pizza flavored Combos, for one) and is not working. So I went to a building nearby, which houses the nearest vending machine, and it had nothing in it but "sweet n salty" Chex Mix. There's no salty in the Honey Nut Chex Mix and now my work area is covered in a fine-grain sweet powder. I demand satisfaction! (That's my mantra this week. It's been blurted from 711, to the MTA, to the photography lab. It's going nicely, thanks.) What I'm saying here, is that I'm cranky, rightfully so, so watch out, suckers.

In response to last night's post Winifred e-mailed (but refused to comment):
Good Morning!
Two things: I would like it to be known by the readers of this blog that while I was obsessed with the GMA Mac and Cheese Challenge, and outraged when my personal choice, Princess, did not win, I have not actually eaten one forkful of mac and cheese during this whole time of challenge. If I had someone in the home who would eat mac and cheese, I would like to try Princess's recipe.
Also, If I have time when I come home from work, [blah blah blah personal and unrelated information to this post.]
Love, MOM
I think demanding content is a little out of line from a woman who agreed to make posts here on her own. A woman who has an excruciatingly detailed how-to-post-on-Blogger manual taped to her cupboard. A woman with a lot to say. I'm the editor here! This is post #49, Winifred, and I demand satisfaction!
Winifred said she'd take me to Sofi's for late breakfast on Friday, so I'd better do what she says, or that $4 butterscotch crepe won't be mine. Alright, then. You win. This time.

In an e-mail sent last Friday and titled "NO, No, No!" Winifred wrote:
NO!!----The winning Mac and Cheese recipe on GMA should not be a recipe containing applewood smoked bacon! No bacon in a mac and cheese casserole! The winner should have been the woman named Princess!
Love, MOM
Charlotte (and Emily, I presume) thought from this title that Winifred was upset about Dubya (or the papacy). No, she's outraged that in an Emeril Lagasse-related challenge (which forces me to question her sanity and lucidity) Laura Macek won the challenge. Her win was determined by Viewers Like You Winifred for her "Best Mac 'n' Cheese Ever."
When I saw Winifred this weekend her major complaint--aside from the inclusion of pork--was that Macek didn't have a good story. It's just something she whipped up. Princess Thompson, who Winifred was gunnin' for, had some kind of family history with her recipe. If Macek had really thought this through, you would think she might have concocted some kind of story. Instead she let the recipe speak for itself, which worked for her (and I guess honesty is always important too).

This whole affair is gross to me. First, I don't like mac and cheese. Second, there's a lot of crap thrown into these dishes, and I dare say it's not mac and cheese, but a dairy-based pasta casserole. There! I SAID IT! One woman had muffins, but that's gross too. How about you leave my muffins alone with their fruit, unless it's chocolate, and move on.

Truth be told, Princess doesn't deserve to win anyway, Winifred. It's homemade mac and cheese, except she added some colby/jack--which are mild cheeses at best--to the basic Velveeta. Three cups of whole milk and butter and heavy cream are enough to give me a stomachache. Moreover, her recipe is titled "Smack Yo Mamma Mac and Cheese" which, offensive and vaguely disturbing (I'd like to see how Princess feels when her children smack her and yell, "MAKE ME SOME MAC AND CHEESE, WOMAN") lacks the punch she's promising. She's loaded all the mild a milquetoast eater can muster. Where's the "BAM!", Princess? The whole scenario has left me confused and considerably less hungry than when I started the godforsaken post ten minutes ago.

My friend K in Chicago makes Patti Labelle's Over-the-Rainbox Mac and Cheese. (K, is the name part of the reason? Be honest.) I think he owns her cookbook. It involved five kinds of cheese, which is up my alley, even in the mild, bland, cheeses. If there's anything I believe in cooking, it's mixing a variety of cheeses (instead of "one cup of cheddar" i'll take sharp cheddar, pepper jack, and something crazy, please; three ounces semi-sweet? how about two ounces and one ounce something more refined?). I learned this from Fitzwilliam. K is the kind of host who throws potluck parties, which is an impossible dream for me in Collegetown, and I've always resented his friends for 1) getting to go to a potluck party and 2) having a guarantee for his mac and cheese. I don't like it but he makes it sound so good.

I hate all of this mac and cheese talk. Hand me that box of Chic-fil-A nuggets, I'm hungry.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


You know what rocks about college? The homework. I had to crawl out of my manhole, filled with sketchbooks, scraps of notebook paper, gluesticks, mechanical pencils, and textbooks to retrieve the following e-mails. I've been so busy I haven't shared this past weekend's adventure to Coney Island, the ensuing adventure to see B.B. King, and finally, Winifred's new inexplicable obsession with mac and cheese. The mac and cheese e-mail is a week old. It's still marked as unread in this blog's e-mail account. CRAP! I AM SO BEHIND.

I think it's best to take the cream off the top though, given this Lenten Season.
Pope Benedict XVI, which the family calls "The Rat," decided what the heck, some baptisms aren't legit! Gotta weed out those less legit members as a punishment for the less conservative clergy, eh. (Oh, but marriages are okay because once You Do It in the Catholic Church, you're married.) I was living in happy ignorance until Charlotte chimed in. Thanks.
In a more sophisticated language, she wrote by e-mail:
Have you seen the latest from the Rat? Where are these churches, I ask? The Vatican has clarified that this does invalidate marriages entered into by those baptized with the unmasculine wording -- but they have not addressed how this affects the first five centuries' worth of non-Trinitarian baptisms.
Usually The Rage is from Winifred but this time it was from The King. Usually I try to keep mum about The King. He hasn't asked to get dragged into this blogging experiment, but The King's response brings so much joy that I'm going to break my own rule. In an e-mail from Winifred:
DAD: "This is crap. What bullshit. What nonsense is this? Did you click on the Vatican word--to see what other tripe there might be. This is just stupid. Is he saying God will not let you into Heaven with that particular Baptism? That's just crap." What more could I add to that--except to say that the rat might want to concentrate more on the numbers leaving the church. I will say that I am pretty positive all three of you were baptized with the father, son, and holy spirit.
I don't see what the big deal is. The Rat's just being a snob. Like The God is really that concerned. I mean, really.

Sigh. Well at least Suckabee isn't the Republican candidate. I'd like to elect that we rename the Republicans the Kremlin party. It's just a little more honest, no? You know what? I can't talk about this anymore. I have a portfolio review tomorrow. Also, Biscuit bought a new video game and I need to beat it as soon as humanly possible.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Quick Note

Hello Girls,
My, my, you know I am not a big fan of Jack Nicholson, but now he has a YouTube in his support of Hillary Clinton. I hardly know what to say, but I am ever so slightly warmed.
Love, MOM

Winifred hates Nicholson. I took a cab today (for $4) because my bus didn't come and didn't come and didn't come, and the cab driver asked who I was going to vote for. To my surprise he was with me, and on all points.
Here's the video:

I think it's kind of lazy editing, but whatever.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lookin' for LOLKiddens on the Internets using the Googles

Henry was in Baltimore Tuesday night on another leg of his spoken-word tour. I live in Baltimore. I bought tickets. I went with a friend this time, sparing Winifred from his stories, and as Henry explained the process it took for him to visit Syria, he said, "...So I got on my Internets," and a small tremor of laughter traveled through the crowd. Well, I know it's not really said like that, he explained, delving into how Internet is a singular word, but Bush, well, Bush adds an "s" to the word and Henry thinks that's "just so cute" that as a tribute to Bush he has joined the fray and says "Internets," too. And whenever Henry said "Internets" he giggled, just the tiniest bit. Then, just for fun he said, "Googles" and whenever I hear "the 'net" or "Internet," I hear Henry Rollins giggling, "I got on my Internets and used the Googles."
Really, you've got to have a sense of humor, or the next 10 months will pass excruciatingly slow.
ANYWAY here is a semi-relevant e-mail. About words.

Hello Girls,

One would think that a presidential candidate who has a degree from Harvard, who is widely touted as being very intelligent, and has several debates already under his belt, would be able to properly enunciate the word, "Clinton". A five year old girl pronouncing "kiddens" is one thing, the deliberate enunciation of "Clinnon" is extremely irritating.

Love, MOM

I'm the one who wasn't about to say "kittens." I'm better now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I See

The entire body of an e-mail sent last night:

There are two very appropriate uses of the word moist. One is as is moist ocean air, the other as in the moist crumb of the cake.

Love, MOM

I'm not sure what prompted this, but I can confirm that for a time, Biscuit and I were mildly obsessed with the word "moist" and how gross it sounds.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's ON!

My Aunt, who the sisters, my roommate, and I, refer to as "Aunt Ina," is a warm, gentle woman who had been providing her co-workers with cookies. The moniker is occasionally confusing as The Real Ina may be on at any given time, and finding her on Food TV often results in Biscuit proclaiming excitedly, "Aunt Ina's On!" and though I know she means Garten I sometimes think about my Aunt, living in Middle America Where Cookies Are Not Appreciated.

I worked for Target one summer, stocking the shelves with toys and sports equipment during the day. This has been my only job that included a break room, but if one of the women I worked with had made a plate of cookies and left it out during the day, she would have returned the next morning and found it covered in thank you notes; cards from the store, cards from Hallmark, and scraps of napkins inscribed with sonnets would cover the plate. I know what you're thinking. You think that the 1,000+ Target employees weren't used to hospitality. HA! Once a week, and usually more, the management team shared goodies. Often the overnight team was plied with pizza and goodies, and more often than not, the overnight team made an effort to leave the morning employees more than stale remnants. We were spoiled with surprise presents in the form of liter bottles of soda, fresh veggies, and warm cookies. Still, we loved it, it made our day, and homemade cookies would have changed the efficiency of our perfect store tenfold.

These people are fools. Just look at what they did! In an e-mail she sent last week (personal details have been omitted):

Okay, I am giving up taking cookies to work. we brought in desserts today for Valentine's. I brought in a container of my delicious heart shaped sugar cookies with cinnamon hots on them. Other desserts included pumpkin cake, cherry pie, red jigglers, berry lemon bars, Rice Krispie treats, large decorated chocolate. chip cookie from the store and a package of fat sugar cookies from marsh that iced with red sprinkles. People raved about those cookies! "Oh, I love these cookies!" and "These are my favorite!" About 3 people asked who made the heart sugar cookies and I said "I did. Have one, I make good sugar cookies." I did not count them but I don't think any were eaten, if so, only a couple. Bought those too thick cookies from Marsh were a hit! All the desserts were left for tomorrow so I'll see if any disappear tomorrow. I would have brought them home because I have eaten all the ones I kept here, but who knows who touched them and how clean their hands were. I didn't want to bring them back in the home. I have made oatmeal cookies, oatmeal rolled cookies, p.b.cookies, and now sugar cookies, and have not been met with the reception I would like, so I am done baking cookies for that office. My p.b. cookies are also extremely tasty but it seems that people like store boughten ones or choc. chip. I do not usually share choc. chip as when I make them I make dough balls and freeze them and make only 4 at a time.

I've had her peanut butter cookies. They are amazing. I mean, the nerve of some people. This e-mail was preceded by others, all detailing the process and selection of which cookies to bring. Aunt Ina was also responsible for organizing this sordid holiday affair, and supplied party supplies out-of-pocket. I say, remove the pink napkins from the whole lot of 'em! She also put a lot of detail and thought into getting and arranging platters, which I think further proves her personality likeness to Garten. A woman who will arrange a meat tray is a woman who can plan. I am not a woman who can arrange a meat tray.

All of this talk about cookies makes me hungry. Winifred was here on Saturday because she missed me, I think? And she brought cookies, which are pictured above with a bottle of Bubble Up, which she shared. We don't have Bubble Up in Baltimore, and Aunt Ina sent a private reserve to her sister for Valentine's Day. I was hoping to expound on the weekend days ago but I think that will wait until tomorrow. Thankfully the oatmeal and fizz has gotten me this far!

Oh! Lest my real job stumble over here, I should add that there are often days where people crowd around the table and fill themselves on food. One day, a day I was called in, my friend and I brought lunch to find out that there was lunch downstairs! We waited for the crowds to go before us as we are terribly awkward and nervous people, and then our supervisor urged us to go now before it was too late. We ambled to the kitchen downstairs where a giant turkey and ham were joined by homemade mac and cheese, vegetables, cookies, fresh baked rolls, and fudge cake so obscenely large that only Ms. Trunchbull would dare conquer (though someone must have, it was almost all gone). We arrived maybe ten minutes after the lunch announcement and as we hemmed and hawed the office ladies hovered so they could reclaim their wares. Previously, one day in the summer, everyone gathered outside to eat fried chicken and picnic fare just because it was summer. I'll make sure Aunt Ina's lousy co-workers never darken my workplace doors.

I'm going to bed, disgusted. If I move to Middle America I'll think twice before sharing my Jell-O salad.