Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Hilarious Things My Daughter Says: This Week in Cute... and then Kinda Worrisome

The Cute

Dateline: Monday Morning
We went out with some friends for lunch on Sunday who have an 15 month old daughter. Throughout the meal, Laney was playing peek-a-boo with her and generally being entertaining. The next day in the car, I asked Laney if she had fun with the baby girl. She sighed and said, "Happysitting is hard work." When I asked for elucidation, she expanded: "When you're too young to babysit, but you still have to make the baby happy, that's happysitting." Coincidentally, I'm pretty sure that she's just given me a great idea for my new professional title.

The Kinda Worrisome

Dateline: Minutes ago
Mommy: Laney, go put your bathing suit on for swimming
Laney: Did you put out my one piece?
Mommy: No, honey, that's too small.
Laney: It is NOT!
Mommy: Honey, your little nipples show over the top
Laney: You think that's a BAD THING?!?! THAT'S NOT A BAD THING!!!!

If you're curious, she's wearing the two piece.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Shhhh.... This is a Secret!

There are babies coming out all over the place. So many of my friends are having first or second babies and it's got me thinking about the big lie that everyone tells new parents.

We adopted our daughter. And it took a really long time before it felt natural or normal that I had a daughter. I stumbled over the word "daughter" and felt, in general, like a big fat fake for a good long while. And this caused me great shame and consternation.

After a while, I settled into it and now I put "Mommy" at the top of my self-identifiers (even before Raging Liberal).

I thought I was feeling this way because I adopted Laney. I had myself convinced that the Moms who carried their babies in their bodies and then gave birth to them were immediately prepared to put their own needs second and have also learned somehow biologically through the birth process what immunizations kids need and when.

It's what you see on the tv machine, right? First she's screaming and swearing hilariously and then she's all sweaty and holding the baby and beaming and the Family Is Made Whole.

But, I've talked to my fair share of Moms and Dads and the thing is, it doesn't always happen like that. I think it doesn't often happen like that. I think you have a period of time of looking at your kid and thinking "wha?" or "OMFG, what is this and why did I do it?"

But, here's what I'm telling all the new Mommies and Daddies out there: it happens. It always happens. You just give it some time and then ZING there it is. And it never goes away.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I saw this commercial last night on TV and figured that my various feminist blogs would do a pretty good of pointing out how just stupid bad this commercial is. But I find I want to say something about it too:

Beyond the epic fail of this kind of the obvious objectification, it promotes the hostile notion that women WANT to be viewed as, well, not the sum of our parts, but just parts. An ad purportedly selling a product TO women uses one of the most egregious misogynist tropes out there.

And, god, it's such a tired, played out, done, done, done idea. Can we just agree that we all get it: girls=boobs. Plus: she was asking for it.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hilarious Things my Kids Says, Part Elevnety Seven

I'm pretty sure this blog is degrading into two themes: the arrogance and soullessness of the right wing and hilarious things my kid says. Perhaps my focus is narrowing.

Anyhoo, on Friday nights Laney and I often go to bed at the same time. I was going to make a self-deprectating joke here about how glamorous my life is, but I am no longer the least bit ashamed of going to bed at 8:00 on a Friday.

Instead of stories, we get in my bed and watch Sponge Bob. I know you guys are really blown away by my parenting skills. I was going to read from Proust or Thomas Jefferson, but since she's not a native-born American she can't be president anyway. So what's the point?

Around 8:30, SpongeBob having ended up on top despite the failure of the rest of Bikini Bottom to really grok the purity of his optimism, we turned out the lights and Laney demanded that I tell her a story. So I decided to tell her the story of her adoption again. It had been a while, and she was old enough for me to add some detail, make it a little less fairy-tale-y.

Dudes, this is a seriously squishy story. I often have to stop in the middle to gather myself together. I remember how wee she was, how hungry, the way she smelled and how goddamn sick she was. The agonizing, torturous frustration of waiting for the barely-post-socialist bureaucratic Russian government to act! The unsurpassable joy of watching her push her own stroller through the the doors at O'Hare!

And, if I may, I can spin a yarn. I am an excellent story teller. Each scene a fully realized tableau. Each detail rich with corresponding emotion. If I told it to you, you'd be brushing tears from your cheek, feeling almost like you'd been there!

And when the story ended, Laney, sleepily, said to me, "You know what part I really liked?"

"What, sweetheart," I said, tenderly brushing a lock of hair from her eyes.

"The part where I barfed on the airplane and then pooped in my panties in the airport." This was followed by gales of laughter. Admittedly, from both of us.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Believe the Phrase You're Looking for is "Kill 'Em All"

All right. So, normally I rely on my friend, Danno, to take down the abomination that is Morning Joe. But Danno has fallen down on the job (like he has a life or something like that) and so it falls to me to sort through this.

I watched roughly 12 seconds of Morning Joe this morning. This is not an exaggeration. Twelve seconds made me crazy. Mika and Joe were interviewing an editor from Time Magazine named Richard Stengel who was there to tout their cover story about Nidal Hasan: Terroristcakes. Oh goody!

Let's check in with out principles. First Joe:

You have people who say we still shouldn't talk about he's a Muslim!

Mika thinks Joe is missing the point. It's not about how he's a Muslim. The real story is how the press coverage of the event didn't talk enough about how he's a Muslim. I think this is because if you work on TV News, there is nothing to see past your own navel. Here's Mika:

I want to know your thoughts on the coverage because there was one place where we kind of cut through the BS and said this looks like it's politically motivated... there is nothing saying mental illness, nothing here saying PTSD, and that was right here and we were very much alone in this.

Joe, what do you think about that?

Everybody was afraid to talk about it. Jack Jacobs on the ground said 'This was politically motivated' and everyone around here sort of gasped.

Mika? Mika found a way to gasp sarcastically. I have to admit I was pretty impressed by how much derision she could put into one fake gasp. And then demanded of Stengel:

Bottom Line!

Golly, I don't know if he'll be able to talk above all the awesomeness and balls, but let's see if Richard Stengel can call out the real enemy here:

There's a lot of political correctness here.

Ooooh! Mika and Joe totally kicked political correctness in the nuts.

Of course, I'm a dirty fucking hippie and so I hear things differently than Real Americans (TM) like Joe and Mika. When I hear the phrase "political correctness" it makes me think someone has said something jerky and pre-emptively disregarded any criticism because only hypersensitive types would be offended. Or, in my dirty fucking hippie world, if you say you are politically incorrect, I'm going to guess that you're probably an asshole; the worst kind of asshole: the asshole who is proud of being an asshole.

Let's examine another quote or two:

Nov. 9th, Dave Gaubatz, author of Muslim Mafia: "Now is the time for a professional and legal backlash against the Muslim community and their leaders."

Nov 10th, Bill O'Reilly: "As a soldier, we can't kill all the Muslims."

Nov 10th, Sean Hannity: "there is a chance our government knew all about this guy Hasan and did nothing because nobody wanted to be called an Islamophobe."

Nov. 7th, Philip Sherwell and Alex Spillius in Telegraph UK: "Major Nidal Malik Hasan worshipped at a mosque led by a radical imam said to be a "spiritual adviser" to three of the hijackers who attacked America on Sept 11, 2001." (this, by the way, is entirely untrue)

Nov. 11, blogger Jim Hoft: "Today there are more reported hate crimes against Christians in the United States than Muslims." I'll let Media Matters expose how absolutely fucking retarded that analysis is.

In short, Mika and Joe, you aren't nearly as alone as you think you are. There are spineless bullies in every corner of the media who are thrilled to puff up their chests and their careers with facile analysis that results in Muslim=Terrorist. And, in the end, if their bitter and suggestible audience ends up grabbing pitchforks and torches and heading for the nearest mosque, we can all take great comfort in knowing that Mika and Joe will be nowhere near.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Profoundly Depressing

I don't believe in god. But I do believe that redemption is always possible, and that forgiveness is among the most powerful forces in the universe. I also believe that law should be dispassionate, civil and just.

And because I believe these things, there is nothing I find more profoundly depressing than knowing that I live in a country where people are executed.

I don't really have anything else to say about this, except, yeah, the fact that this happens makes me more disheartened and discouraged than just about anything else that happens in American government. And that is a mighty big statement.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Are you expecting another gay marriage post? It's not (although, seriously, the fact that not a single elected representative has the spine to stand up and say that a civil right should NOT be up to a vote is pretty galling), it's about the actual words.

Last night I was lying in bed watching Project Runway, and thinking, "God, these people and their stupid clothes are boring." Is it L.A.? Did L.A. suck all the life out of Project Runway? Even Tim Gunn seems disgusted by it. But that is neither here nor there. What struck me (and it definitely wasn't the clothes because these people are really bland designers), was when Chris (the blandest of them all) said "I'm the last boy here."

Chris is 29 years old. I'm pretty sure he's married with child. He is not a boy.

But we do that, don't we? I've been talking about my "girl's weekend away" that I'm embarking on tomorrow. But those of us heading out for this weekend away haven't been girls for a long time.

It seems as though we've invested some kind of heft into the words. We save them for political discussions about gay marriage and old people, as best as I can tell. For ten years now, I've made a point to use the word "woman" to describe grown women. And ten years into this project, it's still feels awkward coming out of my mouth*. It feels much more natural to say, "a girl from work," rather than "a woman from work."

Honestly, I don't know why it is. But, I do think it's worthwhile to remember that I am a woman and not a girl. I just wish I knew why the words "woman" and "man" seems so charged and loaded. Do you think they are? Thoughts?

*That's what she said. (couldn't stop myself)


(I'm not sure about any of this...)

My dad worked in the mental health field. And he was really good at it. He was a person of great compassion, great understanding.

Sometimes at dinner he'd tell us stories about things that had happened to him during the day. And a lot of times, I'd ask him "Why?" I'd be looking for some rationale, some indication of what the person hoped to gain through their actions. "Well, Meg," he'd say, "He was crazy."

When I turned on my computer this morning, I saw several stories referencing how the gunman at Ford Hood shouted "Allahu Akbar" before he started firing, and lots and lots of references about how he's Muslim. In other words, trying to tie these shootings to terrorism. But it certainly doesn't sound like that so far. It sounds like he was crazy and that no matter how hard we try to suss out some kind of rationale for what he did, we won't be able to. Something just went wrong inside his head and 13 people are dead because of it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

On Referendums and Recalls

So, I should be nerding out with V right now, but I got distracted by the Innertubes. This balloty referendum/proposition thing just has to stop. Referenda are for like "do you want the parks in your neighborhood to stay open past sundown on weekends" not "should basic civil rights be recognized for gay people even if you think it's super icky when two boys kiss." I blame California for this. This and that whole super skinny thing. Seriously, have you seen Maria Shriver? Her head is twice the width of her shoulders now. I don't know how she keeps it up.

I digress.

What I'm saying is can someone call up everyone in California and tell them enough with propositions, already? Their influence is spreading and it's getting out of hand. While you're at it, can you also call up Fox News and let them know that a judicial decision that irritates the right wing does not equal judicial activism? You might want to point out a certain Supreme Court decision from about 9 years ago to exemplify what judicial activism really looks like.

Anyone who thinks that democracy = majority rules needs their voting cards taken back until they complete a fourth grade civics class. Else, they need to write 500 times on a chalkboard "Will of the majority while respecting the rights of the minority, which is often the point for that whole third branch of government."

If, for example, a ballot initiative showed up in Illinois to revoke the drivers licenses of people who put those obnoxious Calvin pissing stickers on their car, I would have to vote yes. I would be compelled to disregard everything I believe about democracy in the hopes that I would never see another sticker of Calvin pissing again. In Illinois. But, people also have a right to publicly display how tacky and stupid they are. Shoot, without that right, the networks would be free of Seth McFarlane shows and we can't have that (oh, but if we could...).

Did I just manage to compare gay marriage to those obnoxious Calvin stickers and Seth McFarlane? Oh god... I need to shower and start nerdfest '09.