Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Veiled Conceit

Truly one of the funniest and snarkiest sites out there today. He deconstructs New York Times wedding announcements to great effect. This one is long but so right on:


I missed the live State of the Union address tonight. Bah. I had been wondering all day whether/how long the POTUS would take to mention The Date That Must Be Mentioned in All Presidential Speeches.

So as I was perusing the transcript on the WashPost website, there it was, a mere three paragraphs into the speech: "On September the 11th, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country."

You know, if he were Bill Clinton, the GOP would say he has no shame because--even five years later--he is still using a national tragedy for his political gain. Or more accurately, he uses it as a shield for everything he does. Don't like my policies? But they're to prevent another 9/11! Don't like my policies? People like you don't care if there is another 9/11! Don't like my policies? Don't you remember 9/11?

Dear god, can't we just get on with 2008 already?

Someone's Been Reading My Diary

Does my "Scottish" show too much if I confess that this sounds so incredibly delicious to me?

Categories: Main dish
Yield: 8 servings

1 pk Frozen french fry potatoes,
-thawed (20 oz)
2 c Shredded Cheddar cheese
2 c Sour cream
1 cn Condensed cream of chicken
-soup (10 3/4 oz)
1 cn SPAM Luncheon Meat, cubed
-(12 oz)
1/2 c Chopped red bell pepper
1/2 c Chopped green onion
1/2 c Finely crushed corn flakes

Heat oven to 350'F. In large bowl, combine potatoes, cheese, sour
cream, and soup. Stir in SPAM, bell pepper, and green onion. Spoon
into 13x9" baking dish. Sprinkle with crushed flakes. Bake 30-40
minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Happy Chinese New Year!

It's New Year's Eve, y'all!!

You know how we Scots love our new year's eves. So I'm beyond thrilled that I now have THREE of them! Hogmanay (New Years Eve), Rosh Hashanah, and now the lunar new year. And, praise be, The Bambina is apparently as delighted by the whole thing as her mother.

To celebrate the new year we went to a Families With Children from China event at a local Chinese restaurant.

Y'all. Five hundred people. Two hundred plus little Chinese-American kids in there. It was awesome. The Bambina rocked the house.

In general, The Bambina is a very outgoing, happy-go-lucky kid. She says hi and blows kisses to random people and loves singing and dancing (especially to her new favorite songs: Lollipop [that 50's tune: lollipop lollipop oooh lolli lollipop] and The Name Game [Mama Mama Momamma bananafanna fofamma fee fi momamma]. The one thing that seems to dull her joy is Kiddie Chaos. Rooms full of screaming, running kids send her into my arms, kill the singing, create massive separation anxiety, and most decidedly stop the generally nonstop Soul Train-worthy dancing. So it was with a wee bit of internal trepidation that we went to today's event, but I figured the only way to get her used to it is to expose her to it. So off we went.

What can I say? She had the most fun I've seen her have in months. She became one of those kids running around, making noise, dancing, singing, climbing on the stage while the Chinese dance performers were up there, and just generally acted like a debutante (A la Diana Ross: I'm comin' out! I want the world to know! Got to let it show!). It was so hot on the dance floor and her wee face was getting all pink, I was getting seriously schvitzy, and I could tell she was roasting in her hot pink silk Chinese outfit. I was secretly hoping we could go sit down soon, but whenever the music stopped she shoved her hand in the air, one finger pointing upward, and shouted, "MOH!" (more!) I seriously thought I'd cry as I watched her have the time of her wee life.

It's been that kind of "Mommy Happy Crying" week. She turned 20 months old. She got a "big girl bed" to replace her crib. She now has a little kiddie table and chairs, so her high chair is gone too. And she decided today that she was a big girl who could eat with her own chopsticks (although the restaurant rug under her chair tells the real story!), that she wanted to drink from a glass rather than her sippy cup, and that she was going to dance on the stage whether I was coming with her or not.

I can't believe how grown up she is, and I can't believe how it has happened so fast and so imperceptibly right under my nose. One minute I'm responsible for every single need she has, and then all of a sudden--BAM--she sleeps in a bed, puts on her own clothes, poops in the potty...and turns into a Dancin' Machine just in time for the new year.

Something tells me it's gonna be a good one.

Don't F with The O

James Frey, you big fat moron.

Forget about literary dissembling.
Forget about pretending you are someone you're not.
Forget about turning the publishing industry on its ear about memoir verification.
Forget about betraying all those readers who bought your book and truly connected with your pain.

Dude. You F'd with Oprah.

Dick Cheney himself could put the electrodes on my genitals and I still would not talk. But you tell me I'm going on national television with Oprah? You'll get the Truth. And nuthin' but, baby.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Agree With The Pope


Yeah. I can't believe I am actually saying these words. I think Pope Benedict's encyclical on love and sex is potentially something I could agree with.

Look above you. Pigs are flying. But hey, as Dean Martin crooned happily, "Ain't that a kick in the head?!"

The Pope

Nuff Said

Welcome to the Family, Meg Ryan

Meg has reportedly just returned home from China with her baby daughter. A big fat Mazel Tov from The Bambina.

Well, actually she said, "Fla fla fla" but I'm sure that means "congrats, Meg and baby!"

It makes me want to start another round of invasive social worker visits and 22-hour airplane flights to China. Seriously. It does. A sister for The Bambina. But what would she be called? I'd have to think of another foreign word for baby. German? Das Baby? Nah. Portuguese? O Bebe. Too pedestrian. Maybe it should be "younger sister." But jungere schwester still doesn't do it for me. Sorellina? Hey, that might work. Bambina and Sorellina.

We'll see. I can't very well write on the form that I want to adopt a daughter from China because I was kvelling over Meg Ryan, can I? Too lame even for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Issue of Choice and Life

Today as I was attempting to drive to Target in Arlington I was enveloped by a Pro-Life March: the marchers, the signs, their huge tourbuses trying to squeeze down old Cap Hill streets. I was feeling so annoyed because I had a child in the car who was starting to wonder if that trip to Target for Play-Doh was going to actually happen or whether we were going to sit in the car and look at the Capitol all day. I was annoyed at the marchers, at the DC police who can't seem to put up a sign--oh gee I don't know--maybe a block or so before the closed road so drivers can opt out of being caught in Freedom of Assembly Gridlock, and annoyed at myself for being such a moron and not checking the news like I usually do to see if a trip to the gas station will turn into a three-hour tour of Earth Day/Free James Brown/Confirm Alito/Smoker's Rights mayhem.

But if I'm honest I was mostly annoyed at the marchers, the march, and the signs that showed no understanding of anyone who apparently doesn't have the purity and spiritual blamelessness of these busloads of people. Yes, we lesser beings who support a woman's right to a private decision about her own body must learn from their pristine souls, right?

To be fair, the hyperbole occurs on both sides of the debate. And to be honest, I'm sick of both. The anti-choice signs said, "Justice for all: born and preborn." So now fetuses are "preborn?" And how far back is that going? Are my ovaries now housing "Unfertilized potential preborn human lives?" If a mass of cells the size of a pencil eraser can now have precedence over the life of the human making their existence possible, where are we seriously taking ourselves philosophically and morally? By the same token, anyone who claims that a 24-week old fetus is not that big a deal is not only appalling, but is going down that same road to insanity that calls a morning-after pill an abortifacient even though in the event that a pregnancy has begun -- that is, a blastocyst has implanted in the wall of the uterus -- the medication has no effect.

I don't know what the solution to this debate is. All I know is that there will be no middle ground if we let each of the "wings" try to settle it. We either have a police state for women wherein I can be compelled to carry to term and give birth to a child against my will regardless of whatever potentially horrifying circumstances accompanied the pregnancy, or we have a state where we have "abortion on demand and without apology." Neither makes sense to the majority of Americans, but if those of us in the perplexed, compassionate and deeply-torn middle don't wrest control of this issue from the zealots on both sides, it will continue to tear at us, personally and collectively, it will burn hours of time at Supreme Court appointment hearings, it will continue to dominate elections: funding, debates, primaries, everything.

It is such a painful issue for so many people for so many different reasons. Surely we ought to tackle it once and for all in this democracy? Because we are not a Christian nation, nor are we a value-free society. Choice and Life are only mutually exclusive because none of us has challenged the premise of the "preborn" and "on demand" dogmas. It's time. It's time. We can find a way out of no way to take this issue off the table.

After all, Deuteronomy didn't say "Compel Life" or "Legislate Life" or "Mandate Life For Others But Not Yourself, According to the Laws of Pat Robertson."

It said, "CHOOSE Life." *

*(I call heaven and earth to witness to you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life, so that you and your offspring may live.)
--Deuteronomy 30:19

Despair and Drollery: Two Worthwhile Links

So my man Jim Pinkerton totally bummed my scene in his January 6th column, positing the question of whether our ability to inflict harm on ourselves and the earth has no alternative but to bring about a loss of liberty:


Then my man {Redacted} posted this funny site detailing all the naughty Cap Hill goings-on from today back through history. It's a funny and enjoyable read:


Monday, January 23, 2006

Iran and Nukes: Is Anyone Else Nervous?

Senator Joe Lieberman today declared that the US could certainly conduct the war in Iraq as well as militarily engage Iran, all the while continuing our efforts in Afghanistan. Why? Because "we have the most powerful military in the history of the world." No doubt. But no one can deny that THE INDIVIDUAL HUMAN BEINGS who make up that military are stretched thin as it is. It's so easy to fall back on the old, "the US military is the greatest" declaration to avoid discussing where will we get the people to wear the uniforms? (the draft?), how will we pay them? (with all of our super duper tax cuts?), and are we really prepared to use the nuclear option (the thought of which makes Bill Frist's use of the term refer to filibustering appointees almost as bad as using the word "plantation").

The reason for our dick swinging these days is, of course, Iran and their attempts to create a bomb within the next 5-10 years. The problem is real and it would be great if someone could just realistically discuss the options, the costs, and the reality that we will all have to face to deal with it.

Enter John McCain.

John McCain today called Iran's nuclear program "the most serious crisis we have faced - outside of the entire war on terror - since the end of the Cold War." He is absolutely right. And he is also absolutely right when he supports the move to press for sanctions before the UN Security Council on the theory that it will force Russia and China to take sides.

This is huge. It doesn't seem to be getting as much media as it ought to warrant, though. Maybe because we are so inured at this point to religio-political figures from the Middle East (being careful to note that Iranians are Persians, not Arabs) threatening us with grievous national harm that we are tuning them out? Maybe because some people think that the solution is for Israel to change some elements of its policies, including its own nuclear potential? (Never mind that we don't ask Britain and other allies to disarm themselves while another country vows to "wipe them [Israel] off the map"). Maybe because we think this is just Ahmadinejad doing a little sabre-rattling as he enjoys his Saddam-free and drama-filled role as the new pre-eminent power in the region?

Whichever one it is, this is not going to end well, and we need to start taking notice of this very real and present danger. Or, as Senator McCain so eloquently put it: Until the U.S. develops energy independence, "we better understand the vulnerabilities that the economy and our very lives have when we're dependent on Iranian mullahs and wackos in Venezuela."

Is it 2008 yet?

ps--in an interesting sidenote from The Scotsman that reminds us that our black-and-white perceptions of Israelis, Arabs and Iranians are oversimplistic and lacking in depth:
"Tensions between the two countries are given a bizarre twist by the fact that several senior Israelis are from Iran. Mr Mofaz was born in Garmsar, south-east of Tehran, as was the hardline Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map". And he is advised by Dan Halutz, Israel's former air-force commander and now chief of staff, whose parents were born in Iran. Moshe Katsav, Israel's president, is another Iranian-born Farsi-speaker."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I Don't Get "Gotcha"

I recently read an article in Adoptive Families magazine by a mother who wanted to banish the term, "Gotcha Day" from the adoption lexicon. All I can say is Amen.

For those of you not familiar with the term, it has been used in the recent past to describe the day when you officially become a family, when your baby is "given to" you, you know what I'm saying: The Big Day. I always struggled with what to call it, almost immediately disliking the flippance of "gotcha", but sometimes using it for lack of a better term. Since coming home with my daughter last March I have never said it, preferring to call it conversationally The Day We Became A Family.

I have always cringed whenever hearing someone say it, but I could never quite verbalize the reason why. Then in chatting with some friends the other night, good old Miko perfectly articulated my ongoing discomfort with "Gotcha Day:" it negates the involvement of the baby. It makes the day all about ME "getting" something rather than about this very monumental event happening to everyone involved, wherein all of our lives are changed forever.

Along those same lines, my additional discomfort with "Gotcha Day" involves the elaborate celebrations some parents plan, making it almost like a second birthday. If that works for them, then I don't want to judge it. For me, however, while I want my daughter to know that the day we became a family is the most momentous day of my entire life, I want her to feel like any other kid where no other day is on par with her birthday.

Besides, if my belief in the Red Thread is true:

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break. ---An Ancient Chinese Belief

then she was always my daughter, and The Day We Became A Family is still the most momentous day of my life, second only to the day she was born.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

America's World-Class College Education System

A recent study by the American Institutes for Research found the following (not?) shocking evidence that our knowledge-based, "first world" economy is a house of cards:

More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks. That means they could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees, or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.

The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents, and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.

The best part of this report? It included the following table that, if their findings are correct, most of us won't be able to understand anyway!

They really ought to have called USA Today for a lesson in colorful pie charts...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dis-Gustatory TV

I love the Food Network. I almost think that, if it weren't for The Food Network, I might cure cancer for the simple reason that when nothing else is on, I go there. I burn otherwise free time that could be used for truth, justice and the American Way at TFN, getting cranky about their slackdaddy production values.

It not only burns my time in annoyance, however, it has also stunted my creativity and wit. I say the same things over and over again:

When I turn it on and one of Emeril's 87 shows is on: "OMG! I had no idea Emeril had a TV show!"

When a promo for Rachel Ray comes on: "OMG! I can't even look at her and her Joker mouth! And the fake perkiness! Puh-leeze!"

When Giada DiLaurentiis comes on: "What's with the women on this channel and their Joker mouths?! And their annoying shows?"

When Iron Chef America is on: "WHO is that judge?! The star of Lifetime TV's Strong Medicine? Whaaaah?! What does she know about food?!"

But, by far, the worst feature of TFN is their habit of showing people eating food at close range. I can't get used to it, and I don't understand it. It's like watching someone brush their teeth or clip their toenails; it just grosses me out. Maybe it's the extreme closeups? Or the faux-ness of the bite/wide eyes/OMG This Is So Delicious facial swoon? I don't know, but I just don't know why they have to zoom in on Jewel (Iron Chef judge--of course) eating a shrimp as if she's three inches from my face, and seeing her in culinary ecstasy over Bobby Flay, who strikes me as someone who wouldn't know real ecstasy if it bit him in the...never mind.

Whatever. I'm cranky. Mostly because I just had to watch has-been Jewel (who is so damn lucky to be on a show at all) eat food up-close and then whine that it was a bit tasteless and bland.

I clearly need to switch to "The Ocho."

The Spunky Nun

My mom had surgery today, so The Bambina and I hung out at the hospital with my dad for the day while it was all going on. Before my mom went to the OR, we went in to see her and give her kisses from "The Boys" who as you may recall are The Bambina's stuffed dog and sheep. My major reason for hanging around the hospital, besides my mom, was to keep my dad from climbing the walls. I am pleased to report, and I mean this in the non-GWB sense, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

Regardless, one of the most interesting parts of the day was the pre-op visit of The Spunky Nun. You know who I mean. Short grey hair, reminds you of that lady in your church who worked with the youth group or played the autoharp/guitar/banjo, or was your high school yearbook advisor, and doesn't seem flustered by anything or anyone. I LOVE The Spunky Nun!

I have developed my love for TSN from my various hospitalizations wherein I have been visited by priests, pastors, rabbis and sundry religious factotums (factota?). The priests were nice but I think their regalia made me feel so fraudulent until I blurted, "Thanks so much for visiting but I'm Jewish!!"

The ministers/pastors/various Protestant reps were also nice, but a tad more on the "cancer face" side of things, by which I mean that face people give you (regardless of your actual disease) when they say, "And how ARE you?" cheerily but their face says: "you poor, poor dear oh my goodness you look so sick things must not be going well."

The rabbi who was there full time was a total freakin' nut job. He would come and talk AT me about his book or god knows what because I was not feeling good enough to listen properly.

And then she came into my life: The Spunky Nun. And just like she did for my mom today, didn't get all religious, didn't tell me all about herself, didn't require me to give her anything. She just came in, said hello, asked me how I was doing in a tremendously sincere way, and then touched my knee/leg/arm and said, "may the good lord bless you and keep you, today and in the future." Hospital pastoral visits don't get much better than that.

Amen Sister! Literally.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Me

I saw this on another blog and thought it would be fun. Be sure to reciprocate. I tell you mine, you tell me yours. ;)

10) I can speak and read Arabic. At the first grade level.
منزلي. Bayti. My house.
أسود Aswad. Black.
بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Bismalah ar-rahman ar-rahim al hamdu lillahi rabb il alamin ar-rahman ar-rahim Maliki yowm ad-Deen. First four lines of the Surat al-fatiha, the opening of the Koran.

That's about all I got for ya.

9) I love country music. Especially old school: George Jones, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn. It reminds me of Scottish country music; fiddles, whoops and hollers, etc. Although, we don't have many jukeboxes in Scotland...

8) I would have promiscuous sex with Ewan McGregor if he asked nicely. I wouldn't even require dinner and a show.

7) I have a theme tune. 1990's one hit wonder "Ya Gotta Be" by Des'ree. "Ya gotta be bad, ya gotta be bold, ya gotta be wiser, ya gotta be hard, ya gotta be tough, ya gotta be stronger, ya gotta be cool, ya gotta be calm, ya gotta stay together. All I know, all I know is love will save the day..."

6) I never found John Kennedy, Jr. attractive. I know: apostasy in the USA. But he just never did it for me.

5) I secretly wish I was Annie Lennox.

4) I always cry when I hear the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah." As well as the Jeff Buckley cover.


3) I always feel fat. I was a fat kid, and if you were one too you know that the fat kid never leaves you, even when the fat itself does. Every time I look in the mirror I see a fat 6th grade girl, and I have to talk myself down from it. Every every every day.

2) I once kissed my best friend's boyfriend just because I could. And even though it was high school and high schoolers do that sort of thing and she and I haven't talked in years and she's married to someone else with kids and she never found out that her boyfriend was all over me at a party and I (see "always feeling fat even though I am thin" reference above) couldn't believe such a cute guy liked me since really cute guys always liked her more than me, I still feel like the biggest a**hole in the universe for having done it. Being 16 was no excuse. My mama raised me better than that.

1) During my freshman year of college, I had a three-hour makeout session with a guy at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland whose name I now cannot recall. I know! My "skank ho" factor just went up about three notches, didn't it?! Rupert? Rudyard? Reginald? I want to say it was one of those English-y R names. But not "roger." THAT I make a point of remembering the names. (Look up "roger" in the UK if you don't get that last comment). My defense is that I had just won a bottle of Moet champagne at my dorm Christmas party and I contend that my unsolicited kiss of the rather dashing English R Chap was less a skank ho moment and more a Robert Doisneau-sailor-kissing-the-nurse-on-D-Day moment. Only, the moment lasted about 180 moments...

So there you go. Your turn. Even if you can only churn out 5.

Monday, January 16, 2006

"Can One Desire Too Much of A Good Thing?"

{As You Like It, Act IV, Scene I}

You've got to read this laugh out loud funny post today over at DQ.

Dubious Quality; It is a tale told by idiot full of sound

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Importance of Being Oscar

I just finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and I am just blown away by A) how I made it out of high school and college without reading him, and B) how totally amazing he is. I am in love with the wit of Oscar Wilde:

"I like hearing myself talk. It is one of my greatest pleasures. I often have long conversations all by myself and I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a word of what I'm saying."

"There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love."

"When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceiving others."

"Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious."

And my favorite snarky exchange:

“When America was discovered,” said the Radical member, and he began to give some wearisome facts. Like all people who try to exhaust a subject, he exhausted his listeners. The Duchess sighed, and exercised her privilege of interruption. “I wish to goodness it never had been discovered at all!” she exclaimed. “Really, our girls have no chance nowadays. It is most unfair.”

“Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered,” said Mr. Erskine; “I myself would say that it had merely been detected.”

“Oh! but I have seen specimens of the inhabitants,” answered the Duchess, vaguely. “I must confess that most of them are extremely pretty. And they dress well, too. They get all their dresses in Paris. I wish I could afford to do the same.”

“They say that when good Americans die they go to Paris,” chuckled Sir Thomas, who had a large wardrobe of Humour’s cast-off clothes.

“Really! And where do bad Americans go when they die?” inquired the Duchess.

“They go to America,” murmured Lord Henry.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Reality of Katrina Finally Hits the Haggis

If, like me, you felt really bad for everyone affected by Katrina but still managed to go through your day without really, truly understanding what went on down there, then this photo will help to bring it home. My jaw dropped when I saw this photo and description from a friend of a friend of a friend from Mississippi:

"This is a picture taken from the third floor at St. Stanislaus high School in Bay St. Louis. If you are not familiar with the school property. It is located on the cliff in Bay St. Louis. The lawn where you notice the trees is approximately 25+ feet above sea level. This is one of the highest points on the Gulf of Mexico, now you can understand why several hundreds of square miles along the Gulf Coast are completely GONE."

Speaking of IKEA--

Those B***ards!

A 20 minute drive to the store, because you know that there is never an IKEA down the street from you. And there is never an IKEA within 60 miles of another IKEA.

So you make a morning of it and take the trip because you absolutely need the 100 votive GLIMMA (I can't figure out how to type the umlaut) candles for $3, the HIVNMA three saucepan set for $7.99, and the geometrically-shaped white pleather SVARSKT chair for $19.99. Or maybe, like me, you just kind of like finding out how they say "unfinished wood toddler bed" in Swedish.

Which brings me back to my point: the SNIGLAR toddler bed. Which I wanted to buy because The Bambina has learned to climb into her crib which means it is only days till she makes the higher-life-form leap of logic that tells her she can also climb out. Not to mention, as you may have read earlier this week, that her "naps" now consist of her standing in her crib for an hour screaming, "Maaaaammmeeeee! DOWN!! DOWN!! DOWN!! Mammee Down!" So she needs to have a little more control over the particulars of the what we now call Quiet Time rather than Nap Time; ie, she doesn't have to sleep, but she has to be playing in her room quietly. Hence, my and my mother's annual pilgrimage to thar yonder IKEA, wherein we spent an hour looking at all the beds, picking the SNIGLAR, picking out a taller set of drawers since she can now reach everything on her little kiddie one, getting all the other vital life essentials (e.g., the SKOGSBAR plant pot for 99 cents), and heading down to the warehouse area to pick up the pieces of the furniture in the different self-serve aisles.

Which would have been great if all the bed components were available. As it turned out, upon the investigation of a quite nice IKEA representative, all of their toddler beds use the same mattress base component that is currently sold out and not available for 3 weeks. So I asked her, "So are you telling me that there is not one single toddler bed in this entire small city of a store that can be bought today and taken home? Not one? There were, like, TWELVE different models on the showroom floor! Not ONE of them is available for purchase today?" Nope. Not one. Not even the floor models. So I asked if perhaps they wanted to post a sign telling people--before they spent an hour mulling over all the different bed options--that they should come back in three weeks when they might actually be able to BUY one. She was nice, but gave me that impotent, "I only work here; what can I do?" look. She then said, "Our Woodbridge store has 22 left..." To which I replied more gently than I was feeling it, "You do realize that Woodbridge is an hour and a half drive from here, right?"

So we left. I had gone there for a bed, had picked up the other stuff as "gozontas" (the stuff that "goes on to" the bill when you are already making a purchase but that you didn't actually make the trip to buy), but all of a sudden didn't want to wait in line to buy, knowing that I'd be stuck with that model of drawers and table if I did happen to find a toddler bed somewhere else. So we left.

After, of course, buying the GLIMMA votives. After all, it would have been too depressing to make the trek home without having something to show for our troubles. I just thank god they didn't have any component parts...

Signs Signs Everywhere There's Signs

I just spent the day with my mom, whom I love and adore and all that stuff. Seriously. She's awesome. I just realized today, however, after 33 years, that my mom reads aloud almost every sign she sees while out and about.

Driving to IKEA on the beltway: "'Exit 25: Laurel and College Park.' Interesting." In IKEA: "Votive candles, $1.29; Item can be found in aisle 25, row 17; Exit this way..."
In the Parking Garage: "You are parked on Beauregard Level One."
In the store: "Sale. Everything 40% off."

Constant, out-loud sign reading. Not relevant sign reading; just out-loud ANY sign reading.

How did I miss noticing this all these years? And how did it make me so crazy after only one day? Bless her heart, by the end of the day I was ready to scream, "I KNOW that McDonalds has Billions and Billions Served! Okay?!! Okay?!! For the love of God, stop telling me! I know Wendy's makes old-fashioned hamburgers! I know! And I DEFINITELY already know that Visa Is Everywhere I Want to Be."

So to mitigate my annoyance (which my dad refers to as my periodic habit of "being rather hard on a very well-meaning individual"), I decided that maybe I wasn't being entertaining enough for my mom. Like, maybe she's reading "Rest Area, 2 miles, Left Lane Only" because I am boring the bejesus out of her. So I started talkingtalkingtalkingtalking about...whatever. How VISA is indeed everywhere I want to be, how I remember back when McDonalds only served 35 million people, how maybe we should have our special mother-daughter brunch in the IKEA cafeteria..."

Her response?

"Och, E, don't talk such rubbish!"

Yeah, Mom. I'll keep that in mind... ;)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Blogthings.com: Timewaster of the Highest and Most Enjoyable Order

www.blogthings.com is the perfect don't wanna work site. A friend and I took the "What kind of pie are you?" quiz. I was apple. I took the "Who's Your Daddy?" quiz. Mine was Patrick Stewart. I call him Papi and I like him because he takes me to church. Totally stupid, but totally fun. Here was my song of 2005:

Your 2005 Song Is

Mr. Brightside by The Killers

"It started out with a kiss
How did it end up like this
It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss"

Let's just say you're happy to be done with 2005!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

You Know You're a True Blue Scot (In America) When...

1. This photo gives you a lump in your throat for two countries
2. You can name all the tartans on the kilts
3. You noticed that there were different tartans on the kilts
4. You didn't refer to them as "plaid man-skirts"
5. You felt called to do a Sean Connery "Yes Miss Moneypenny" impersonation and not a Mike Meyers Fat Bastard impersonation
6. You find men in kilts attractive, even if they are sporting ZZ Top beards
7. You look at the photo and think, "it doesn't look nearly cold enough in that hangar"
8. You don't assume a firefighter has just died
9. You don't make a dorky joke about "what's under the kilt"...primarily because:
10. You KNOW what's under the kilt, baby!

Preach it, Joe Biden!

Senator Biden has just stated that the whole farce of having Supreme Court nominees come before a Congressional committee should be scrapped. His reasoning is that the putative appointees, Dem or GOP, don't answer any of the questions anyway, so why bother with the charade?

Methinks he has a point. The Congressional Hearing process didn't start until 1925, prior to which all nominations were sent straight to the Senate floor for an up or down vote. Nowadays, the hearing process (much like the almost-broken trial-by-consultant-selected jury process) is so tainted by the coaching, consulting, and overall focus on the end-game, that its purpose seems to be simply a full-employment program for media and congressional committee staffers. Honestly, why bother? We learned nothing new about Alito from these hearings, his candidacy gained nothing from these hearings, so why waste the time and money? We all know what he said in his decisions, we all know what the senators from both sides of the aisle are going to ask him about those decisions, we all know he won't actually answer any of those questions candidly. So, remind me again why we are doing this? At the very least, it would deny the GOP the opportunity to have Mrs. Alito leave the room in tears because her husband is being questioned about membership in a less-than-inclusive Princeton organization (those evil Dems making a lady cry!)

Can we all just agree to scrap the farce that is these hearings and just go straight to the vote?

All Politics is Del Bocal

I was just at Del Boca Vista visiting my parents and happened to read their "update" from Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Now, my parents are huge fans of Representative Van Hollen. Their neighbors are all huge fans of Representative Van Hollen. His primary strength in their neighborhood is that he is of the Tip O'Neill "all politics is local" school of thought. His staff members actually take calls from people like my parents, help them with whatever social security or medicare or whatnot question they have, and then call to follow up and make sure everything turned out right. From the moment his staff helped my parents with something that I can't even remember what it was about, my dad announced, "Chris Van Hollen will always have my vote." Geez, Dad, if only poor Connie Morella (Van Hollen's august predecessor) had known she just had to help you fill out a form, she might still be in office!

Regardless, having given the disclaimer above, I laughed out loud when I read the Esteemed Member's update. On one page it has a photo of him sitting in a classroom with what looks like an adorable 5 or 6 year old boy. The caption? "Congressman Van Hollen discusses the importance of education with a Takoma Park student."

Really? Did the Good Congressman sit down with a 6 year old and start talking about the "importance of education?" Hi Kids, I'm here to discuss the importance of education with you. Education is important. Oh wait, you're 6 years old. "Education" is a big word meaning learning, like the kind you do here in school. "Discuss" is a big word meaning talk with each other.

Can we please speak to the 24 year-old staffer who wrote this caption? If not to counsel him or her to at least make captions have the ring of truth, then at least to try to humanize the Congressman. What kind of pompous a** "discusses the importance of education" with a kid when he visits a school?! Most people I know would "spend time with" the students or "learn more about the students" or "enjoy chatting with" students about their classwork. Something. Anything. But not "had a policy discussion regarding intelligent design vs. darwinian theory with second-grader Daunte Brooks of Takoma Park..." Okay, I made that last one up. But you get my point. At some point in anyone's career, trying to appear very serious just makes you appear very silly.

What they need to do next, if they want the REAL ring of truth that brings in votes, is the following: "Congressman Van Hollen sits with [E's Dad] and listens to his stories ad infinitum in a very thick Scottish accent that he doesn't understand but nods understandingly anyway, and then helps him fill in his Medicare Part D form all the while politely deferring on the repeated offerings of steak-and-kidney pie with a side of whiskey..."

Now that, my friends, is how to win elections.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sean Penn: Peace Activist. But More Importantly: Smoker

Ya gotta love the Drudgereport. It takes a story on Progressive Democrats of America about Cindy Sheehan and Sean Penn's peace activism


then pulls out one single sentence and makes it their headline. Not "Bunch of Pinko Peaceniks Meet and Sing" or "Annoying Cindy Going Public Again" or anything relevant to the topic of the meeting or Bush's policies in Iraq. No, it was this:


Hey. Nothing wrong with ignoring the story of a multi-hour meeting and making it about a throwaway answer to a one second question. He's just telling it like it is, right? After all, like his bedfellows at FoxNews, he reports, you decide.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

As much as I understand the urge to jam a sharp implement into the soft tissue of someone annoying you, this takes it all a little bit too far, ne c'est pas? Or should I say, "Uh-huh-huh?"

Elvis Song Puts Lover in Heartbreak Hotel
By Associated Press
January 10, 2006, 10:26 PM EST

PERTH, Australia -- A woman stabbed her boyfriend with a pair of scissors because he repeatedly played the Elvis Presley hit "Burning Love" on the King's birthday, police said Tuesday.

The 35-year-old man was treated for six stab wounds to his head, back and legs at the hospital in the farming town of Northam in Western Australia state late Monday night but was allowed to go home, state police spokeswoman Ros Weatherall said.

His girlfriend was charged with unlawful wounding and was to appear in a Northam court Tuesday.

"Police will allege ... the 30-year-old woman stabbed the man with a pair of scissors during an argument over him playing the same Elvis Presley song again and again," a police media statement said.

Police said the man was stabbed late on the 71st anniversary of Elvis's birth.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

There But For the Grace of...

...The Bambina Go I.

I am learning a lot as a first time mom. For instance:

Poop can come in a variety of colors within the same week and it is nothing to worry about.

Nail clipping teeny toddler finger nails is a one hour minimum task to account for wriggling, fidgeting, and attempts to commandeer said clippers all the while trying to not take off any skin.

People will always comment on your child in ways that bug you, be s/he fat, thin, tall, short, bio, adopted, American, Chinese, talkative, shy, walking, talking or just shlumping around silently. You gotta, as rap mogul Jay-Z says, brush the dirt off your shoulder and get over it.

You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose. You can, however, pick your kid's nose. In fact, making sure your kid doesn't walk around with big green dry ones sticking out is a central tenet of good parenting.

This week I am learning the most painful lesson of all: do not judge another parent's child, because there but for the grace go I. An acquaintance whose parenting style (I'll admit) I silently deplore, was telling me that her two-ish son was peeing all over himself at nap time and then crying for 55 minutes to get cleaned up. She felt terrible about leaving him in his own urine, so would go in there and clean him up and talk to him, blah blah, and essentially allow him to dictate the terms of his nap, ie he wasn't going to take one by default. I tsk-tsked this to myself, thinking, "that kid would sit in his own urine just once for two hours and d*mn sure he'll learn it doesn't work on this mama."

Riiiight. Because I'm so hardcore and so worthy of judging others, right?

This weekend. Nap time. Bambina screamed for 45 minutes during which I was sitting here so distraught that maybe she was frightened or upset or sick and what kind of mom lets her kid wail plaintively for 45 minutes. So we went up to get her, brought her downstairs, all smiles and joy and laughter. Not a d*mn thing wrong with that kid that finding out she makes the rules didn't cure.

Fast forward to about two hours ago. I'm trying to do a client call during nap time, and the screaming and wailing starts. So I'm half listening to the client, and half talking myself through the situation: do not go up there, do not go up there, she is testing you, she is seeing how far she can take her authority, this is nap time and that is that, she doesn't have to sleep but she must stay in her room. Do NOT go up there. At minute 55 I can't take it any more and I go up there, peek into her room and see her standing in her crib pointing at her two beloved stuffed animals (whom we collectively call, "The Boys" as in "we're going to the store; make sure you bring The Boys") on the floor. Immediate guilt. Torrential guilt. Unsupportable guilt. I picked them up and gave them to her thinking that is why she was so upset, felt guilty for having allowed them to be away from her for so long while she cried, hugged her, soothed her and then it hit me:

The Boys didn't walk onto the floor themselves. The Boys did not make a break for the door by their own volition.

Yep. My child just did the stuffed animal equivalent of peeing all over herself--and quelle sorprise--I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Just like, you know, "lesser" moms who lack my backbone and will.

So she's now up there. Crying. Barely sleeping. And I'm here doing my blog as a way to avoid going up there again and proving to her once and for all that she not only makes the rules but that she enforces them by screaming. So now that this post is done, I'm going to email that mom just to say hi--and to find out how she ever managed to have her son stop peeing himself at nap time.


Fun Fun and more Fun. Check it out.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Flatulent But Not Corpulent

Beloved Readers. The Haggis has just concluded its first-ever in-depth investigation of two things you should know about:

Splenda And Farting.

Yes indeedy. I can say, with no small amount of embarrassment, that I had been struggling with a certain gaseous challenge for lo these many weeks, to the point that I was literally turning down social invitations for fear that I would essentially gaseously crap my pants at someone's dinner table. I kid you not. It was AWFUL, and having no dog on which to blame said rank miasma, I decided to experiment with food substitution/avoidance/reduction for a few weeks to try to get my life back. Even my dad, the Crown Prince of The Kingdom of Vaporous Effluvia, said the following to me: "Good God woman! What are you eating?!" THAT'S when I knew I had an issue. When a wee fat Scotsman who insists that farting and burping are "compliments to the chef" (even if he's the one who cooks), thinks you need a medical consult, it's time to get under the hood and see what the H is goin' on.

So I cut out coffee (goodbye Splenda) but continued to drink massive quantities of Diet Coke (welcome back, Splenda). I gave up my beloved Boca Burgers, my no-chicken chicken patties, my chicken sausages, my Zone bars, my microwaved broccoli with cider vinegar added (try it and you'll be hooked). I gave up every single food item, one at a time, to no avail. Then, just by happenstance, I read on some kooky not-to-be-believed site that Splenda caused a reduction in red blood cell counts in lab rats, which of course got my attention tout de suite. So I gave it up cold turkey.

Well, the results are in!

You guessed it. Splenda. It was making me fart like a truck driver after seven days straight of three squares at Stuckeys.

A day and a half without Splenda and my situation cleared up. Then I ran out of Equal (which I know has other issues but at least they don't involve bloatation and fartation), so I used just two Splendas in my coffee that AM. By 3pm, it was Bhopal: Episode Two in my house. Confirmation of the original diagnosis.

So what's my point? Well, if you've seen me lately, it's to tell you that my toddler hasn't actually had a bad stomach lately. If you haven't it's to explain why I didn't come to your dinner/bar mitzvah/housewarming party. Because if I'm gonna clear a room, I want it to be with my "humor" and pseudo-intellect, not my farts.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I've Got the Fever for the Flava

VH1 again.

This time it's the Flavor of Love, Flava Flav's reality show where he seeks to find Miz Right. The show writeup puts it this way:

In "Flavor of Love," 20 single women from all walks of life, selected for their expressed love for Flav, will move into a "phat crib" in Los Angeles and vie for his affection. With help and advice from Big Rick, Flav's gigantic body-guard and chauffeur, Flavor Flav will date all of the women, weed out the ones who are only after his fame and fortune...and in the end will choose his one true love.

Along the way, Flav will put the ladies through several challenges including a lie-detector test administered by Brigitte Nielsen herself, a cooking contest judged by Flav's own mother, and the dreaded blind-fold sniff test! Plus, there will be several other surprises throughout this ten-part series including clock ceremonies, dates at Red Lobster, and a new set of gold teeth signifying true love!

This show is my (formerly) dirty little secret. I cannot stop watching it. For those of you just joining us, Flava Flav is a rapper from the late 80's, with gold teeth, no kinda class, and absolutely no looks whatsoever. So OF COURSE 20 women have signed on to vie for his nasty-a**, no-class affections. It is a train wreck I cannot stop watching. As long as I've already eaten, because the kissing that goes on is barely physically bearable to watch. The catfighting between the women, however, is hilarious. Hilarious mostly because they are fighting tooth and nail FOR FLAV!! He's a cross between Larry Fine of the Three Stooges, a crackhead Huggy Bear from Starsky & Hutch, Jaws from the James Bond movies, and Jerry Lewis in his Nutty Professor days. It's a wild mix that, no matter how you cut it, ain't attractive. Which proves--not that women are less shallow than men in their love for unattractive partners--but that some women will naked hot tub with anyone for the chance to get their siliconed selves on TV.

I cannot tear myself away from his wisdom. He's taking them on a roller skating rink date because he "wants to see their roller skating skills;" he told one woman not to worry what one of the other women said because "if it don't apply, you gotta let it fly!" He called his date with one of the women, "dramatical."

Tune in if you have an empty stomach, an empty schedule, and an empty brain. I don't necessarily have those, but I'm tuning in anyway. Hey--call me moronic, call me lowbrow. Just don't call me dramatical.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

This One's For The Rabbi

New Years Resolutions; I've got me a few.

One that I've just decided upon is trying to clean up my language here on SS Haggis. In honor of the rabbi. And also my mother. My mom grew up in total poverty, as you know, in Glasgow, but her mom never allowed her to speak like it. Scotland, being part of Britain, and being a classist society, had unwritten but concrete rules about how far life would take you if you talked with a certain kind of accent or regional dialect. So my mom was raised speaking as if she came from more a salubrious background, and passed the same on to us. Her opinion of profanity? "That is for people who have no other words by which to express themselves, and YOU, young lady, have thousands at your disposal."

So, for my mama and the rabbi, I'm going to make an effort to express myself without using F's or S's. But I most likely won't give up freakin or hell; as I always told my mom in my 5-year old lawyerly way: "I can say 'that's a bloody shame' because all of those words are in the dictionary.'" But otherwise I'll try to be good. For damn sure! ;)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Redskins on a Roll

But is it kaiser, jelly or sushi?

As much as I'd love to, in The Haggis' THIRD Ever Sports Prognostication Blowout, call it for the Skins, I just can't; and here's why:

1) They lost last time to Tampa Bay

2) I hate that they won't change the name "Redskins" to something more appropriate like Brown Abbos or White Trash or why not Yellow Skins

3) I live in DC, and there will be NO LIVING IN DC in peace and relative quiet if the Redskins win

4) There's something vaguely satisfying about knowing that Dan Snyder, unbelievably rich, supercilious and bilious man, just can't sleep nights thinking about his slackdaddy football team and who he must fire next in order to further his Super Bowl ambitions

So there you have it. Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Washington Red "But Actually More Olive-Skinned But Native Not Foreign and Totally In Homage To Their Great Culture and History" Skins. Barely.


In the Haggis' second ever Sports Prognostication Blowout, I am saying New England over Jacksonville. Not sure by how much.

There's debate that Billy "Bob" Bellichick threw the game against Miami so he wouldn't have to play the Steelers in the first round. Yeah. Tom Brady and Billy Bob creating a multi-layered conspiracy to implicate OJ Simpson while the "real killer or killers" still wander the gridiron. NOT. Those cats ain't afraid of anyone. Much less anyone in Pittsburgh. I'm thinking they don't get the respect that being two-time champions ought to accrue to them.

So there it is: Patriots by a nose. And if you don't agree, this Masshole tells you that you are wicked retahded and a total wicked loozah.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pat Robertson: God's Henchman Here on Earth

The delightful and ever-compassionate Christian, Pat Robertson, has just announced that Ariel Sharon's life-threatening stroke is a result of angering God for "dividing his land" as part of the peace process.

What Would Jesus Do about Pat Robertson? That's what I'd like to know. And may this be proof positive to politically conservative Jews who think a partnership with the Christian Right is a good thing, that you are being used to further Pat Robertson's deluded view of God's plan for Israel. Getting in bed with the Christian Right doesn't get you anywhere, toward peace, total power or anything in between, it simply gives Pat Robertson the chance to dance on your grave should you run afoul of HIS religious beliefs.

Can't we have some kind of regime change down there in Virginia Beach, for God's sake?!

PatRobertson on Ariel Sharon

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Dumb and Dunner

The woman who used to have my home phone number has apparently amassed quite a few ducats of debt. So much so that my phone rings off the hook all day from creditors looking for Beverly [Redacted]. It seems that no matter how much or how many times I tell the callers that I am not her, she doesn't live here, I've never even heard of her, the calls just keep on coming. Because I work at home, I have taken to not answering my phone unless I recognize the caller ID, otherwise I could seriously spend a cumulative hour a day handling Beverly Redacted's dunning calls.

Recently, I've been receiving every half-hour calls from "Oklahoma" at a specific number. As thrilled as I was to be receiving a call from everyone in the great state of Oklahoma, the frequency was getting beyond insane. It got so ludicrous that I just finally threw up my hands and said, "I'm going to answer this so that Oklahoma will stop f***ing ringing my phone!"

Friends--if you, like me, are not in the demographic that routinely gets and avoids creditor phone calls, you will be as surprised as I was to learn the following: Apparently creditors no longer feel the need to call you directly. No, no. I picked up the phone and a recorded voice told ME to call 1-877-WHAT-EVA, ask for Ms. Price, and give the reference number 1277654099876-332. And then it hung up on me.


Lemme get this straight. You want me to pay YOU money that I don't even owe, and you want ME to call YOU in order to do so?! I don't get it. Does this approach work? Do the deeply-indebted credit card masses think they've won a timeshare in the Poconos? Do they think they've been invited to the studio audience of Deal or No Deal? Do they think that somehow money awaits THEM at the other end of that phone call? What on earth would possess anyone to call a number provided by an unnamed entity that couldn't even bring itself to pay an actual person to call your number. Who are the people who rush to find a pen to copy down the onerous 42-digit reference number, the 877 number, and "Ms. Price," the nom de guerre of the mysterious dunner out there in the ether?

I'm stunned. And, sadly, continuing to be dunned.

Le Brouhaha d'Abramoff

So Jack Abramoff has made a plea agreement with prosecutors for his Congressional lobbying and financial malfeasance. Good to see this happen, even more exciting to see which Members of Congress are going to have to make some plea arrangements themselves! Call it my own special brand of schadenfreude or maybe just political street theater; I love to see people who think they are untouchable getting definitively manhandled. For dramatic effect, I also enjoyed Abramoff's clearly scripted NBA-player worthy apology: “Words will not ever be able to express my sorrow and my profound regret for all my actions and mistakes,” Abramoff said, addressing the judge. “I hope I can merit forgiveness from the Almighty and those I’ve wronged or caused to suffer.”

Up Now: MOC's tripping over themselves to donate all the money they received from Abramoff to "charity." Even Dennis Hastert finally got on board.

Up Next: Tom DeLay and Bob Ney will have a come to Jesus on their dealings with Abramoff, in the company of prosecutors. I hope they sell tickets!

Here are the list of charges:

Abramoff and then-partner Michael P.S. Scanlon conspired to defraud Indian tribes in Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi and Texas of millions of dollars. Abramoff made about $20 million in hidden profits from the scheme. Scanlon pleaded guilty to related charges in November.

Abramoff provided money, trips, meals and entertainment to public officials and their relatives in return for favorable treatment of his clients. The government says one member of the House of Representatives, identified elsewhere as Bob Ney (R-Ohio), received a "lavish trip to Scotland to play golf on world-famous courses" and other benefits in exchange for the congressman's support on various issues. Ney has denied wrongdoing.

Abramoff arranged for one of Ney's former staff members to lobby the congressman in 2002 before the staffer's one-year ban on lobbying had expired.

Abramoff arranged for a $50,000 check to be sent through the mail from Texas to pay for the Scotland golf trip.

Abramoff filed a tax return for 2002 that concealed his illegal income.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Bush We Like

As in "Reggie."

Everyone was banking on Matt Leinart winning the Heisman. Luckily, the Heisman powers that be recognized the importance of substance over style when they chose Reggie Bush over a repeat-anointing of Leinart. I am not for one moment minimizing Leinart's contribution to the USC organization, I'm just saying that he gets a lot more attention because he's a pretty boy.

Tomorrow is USC's big day against the University of Texas. Bush and Leinart have led the Trojans to 34 straight victories, and this will be the first time two Heisman winners will play on the same team in a college game.

If USC wins, they'll be the first team to win three times in a row. The Longhorns are 12-0, and they've won 19 in a row with the leadership of Vince Young, the Heisman runner-up.

The Trojans are favored, according to the Sports Commentators in the Sky. In this, the Haggis' very first sports prognostication EVER, I'm giving it to the Longhorns by a TD.

Let's see how they--and I--do. Hook 'em Horns! Or, Fight On. Whatever...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Stiff

Or, in other words, Hayden Christensen.

Good lord, he is unbearable. His acting is wooden, uninspired and painful to sit through. Never more so than when he is sharing the screen with Ewan McGregor who studied Alec Guinness' inflection and comportment in order to nail his role as the younger version of the Shakespearean actor.

How could someone have been so woefully miscast? How did no one on the set notice? How did he not get fired in week three of filming? Most importantly, why did I spend my new years day night sitting through two-plus hours of him?

I netflixed the DVD because I wanted to see the movie that everyone said is "the best of all three recent ones," which I always considered to be an open-and-shut case of damnation with faint praise. I was right. When you make two big barking dogs for movies, and then the third one actually sits and stays (although not roll over, give you a paw, kisses or wag his tail), it's easy to feel a sense of accomplishment. Perhaps Geo Lucas did indeed feel that warm glow of viewer approbation. But I would counter that what he was feeling was palpable relief on the part of audiences who had become tired of cringing through something they had hoped to cheer through.

Yes, poor Geo Lucas. Great reviews for his movie, finally. But surely he had to know in his heart that, as our wonderful POTUS said, he was the recipient of "the soft bigotry of low expectations."