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Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Wishes

Orgasm In a Jar

No, this post is not about the private goings-on in my bedroom, so sorry to disappoint you! I can't even begin to fathom what you thought a "jar" had to do with my sex life, you sickos! No, this post is about food, which, like sex, is one of my favorite things when done well!

For several years while completing my graduate degree, I lived in South Carolina. Aside from the heat, which made you feel like you were living in Satan's armpit, the abject poverty, the ignorance and bigotry ("Do you Jews celebrate Thanksgiving?"), and the backassward school system (morning prayer over the PA system and a big paddle in the principal's office called the "Helping Hand,") it was a lovely place to live. I did grow quite fond of the food, too fond, as a matter of fact. If I had stayed in SC, I'd probably weigh over 200 pounds by now, in addition to having lost several of my teeth and having "big hair" (shudder). Ah, but the food...You can take the girl from the pulled pork, but you can't take the pulled pork from the girl! Or the mac and cheese, or the sweet tea, or the corn bread, or the banana pudding...pardon me, I'm drooling.

Anyway, this brings me to last night's dinner at Clyde's Tower Oaks in Rockville, MD. Clyde's has always been a favorite restaurant for our family, but it has now been elevated to mythical status in my heart and mind due to one appetizer that I have dubbed "Orgasm In a Jar." This beautiful concoction of ingredients perfectly melds several of my all-time favorite Southern foods into one compact package. There is nothing the least bit nutritious about this dish. It probably contains enough salt and fat to kill an ox, but I worship the person who said, "Fuck it! I'm going to make on ode to Southern gluttony and calories be damned!" It's a good thing I don't live closer to this restaurant because I would eat one of these every day. Behold its glory.

This sinful beauty is comprised of fried onions, cole slaw, pulled pork, corn bread, and macaroni and cheese, all packed into a mason jar. Put some hot fudge and whipped cream on top of that baby and I'd never have to eat anything else in my life (except maybe bacon and french fries!)
To those of you out there who are thinking, "OMG, how could she possibly eat all of that?" I have your answer. Easily.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Based Upon a True Story (part 2)

(the 2nd and final installment of the greatest story known to man, woman, and perfect princess-for part 1, see previous post)
co-written by my beautiful, one-of-a-kind, frabjous, goddess-like daughter Allison (Temari)

At last the Christmas feast had arrived. The dining hall was adorned festively with pine boughs and holly wrapped in red and green ribbon. Everything was perfect. The family had just begun to take their seats when Princess Temari ran in to announce the arrival of their newest guests. "The trolls are here...again," she stated flatly. As if on cue, the trolls burst into the room, happily oblivious to the others' discomfort. "Oh it's so...good to see you again," Princess Lolamouse chirped. "Do join us." "I hope you didn't come for the gingerbread, I doubt there's any left," SteeDee muttered. The trolls wobbled over to the table and plopped down in the empty seats across from Princess Temari, much to her chagrin.

"Have I told you about the new boards I put on the bridge?" asked Papa Troll. "Yes," groaned Princess Temari, for the third time that evening. "Well they really are spectacular. They're made of a new composite material. You should come by and see it some time." The next remark was directed at Prince Luke Warm, M.D. "What are your castle floors made of? I could replace them if you want." "Yeah," Prince Luke Warm, M.D. said, clearly not listening. "Speaking of flooring, did I tell you I'm having my fangs sharpened? That's why I can't eat anything," babbled Gramma Troll. "And last week I had my hump enlarged, and before that..." "Tomorrow I'll be replacing the ropes on the bridge. I could use what's left to replace the ones on your drawbridge," interrupted Papa Troll.  "Did Luke Warm ever tell you all about the time he saved the king's life?" bragged SteeDee. "He's sooo smart." The princesses couldn't help but notice Deven looking utterly dejected.

"How about dessert?" asked Princess Lolamouse, hoping to change the tone of the evening. "That sounds great! I wish I could eat it!" clucked Gramma Troll. "Is there even any dessert left?" SteeDee grumped. "Deven's been eating nonstop!" Princess Temari entered the dining hall bearing trays of exquisitely prepared delicacies. "It looks so good!" Gramma Troll exclaimed. "I really wish I could eat it!" "Well, why did you schedule your fang sharpening for this week? That wasn't too bright," Papa Troll teased. With that, the trolls began bickering loudly over everything. Prince Deven reached for some gingerbread but was stopped by SteeDee. "Are you going to eat more cookies?!!" "Yes, hers are better than yours anyway! Eating cookies makes me happy! What's your problem with that?!!" Deven yelled. SteeDee looked as if she had just sucked a large lemon. "I just want my sons to be happy. I won't come here anymore if you're just going to treat me this way!"

While the family feud raged, Prince Luke Warm, M.D. had slipped away unnoticed. Suddenly, he burst back in to the dining hall and exclaimed "Horrible news, folks! The astrologer just read on her Starpad that the castle is about to be attacked! We're all in terrible danger!" Though it seemed impossible, more chaos erupted. Desserts were left unfinished, chairs were flung aside as the Christmas feast guests rushed to make a fast escape. Within minutes, the guest were gone.

"Should I get the swords?" Princess Temari asked eagerly. Prince Luke Warm, M.D. chuckled, "There's no need for weapons. I made the whole thing up! I thought it would get them out of here fast. Merry Christmas!"

Princess Lolamouse smiled brightly. "Can we invite my family for New Year's?"

Based Upon a True Story (part 1)

 Co-written by my fabulous, wonderful, and utterly flawless daughter Allison (Temari)

Once upon a time there were two princesses, both shining examples of consummate perfection. Unfortunately, the rest of their family was not, and this family was coming over to the castle for a Christmas feast. The princesses toiled away for days preparing for the family's arrival until all of the food, decorations, and entertainment were nearly as perfect as they were. Princess Lolamouse had only just finished an intricate plating design with the gingerbread when her husband, Prince Luke Warm, M.D., obliviously thrust his hand in the middle of it to snatch up a reindeer. "That was for company, dear," squeaked Princess Lolamouse. "Mmpfpmfpfm," he said around a mouth of crumbs.

Suddenly Princess Temari ran in, a look of urgency and disgust gracing her perfect features. "Sister, sister, " she cried. "Deven and SteeDee are here!" Princess Lolamouse groaned. Why her husband had insisted on inviting his brother and stepmother she would never understand, but being the supportive and perfect princess that she was, she accepted it graciously. Princess Temari opened the castle gate and warmly welcomed Deven and SteeDee. As she attempted to bestow a hug upon her step grandmother, she was promptly ignored as SteeDee flew past her to complain to her son the doctor. "This was such a miserable trip! That carriage was so bumpy! I'm not coming next year! I'm not getting any younger, you know! And that boy nearly got us lost 3 times-he couldn't steer a horse to save his dear mother's life!" Prince Deven, looking haggard, trudged into the castle rubbing his temples. "She didn't shut up the whole trip. I'm going to take a nap." And he disappeared into the castle dungeon for the rest of the afternoon.

SteeDee gave an exaggerated sigh. "I think he sleeps way too much!" The princesses exchanged a knowing glance, sensing that their perfect serenity was about to come to an abrupt end.

That evening the family gathered for a glorious repast made much less glorious by SteeDee's constant harping upon Prince Deven to find a more stable job. "What happens when the king tires of mimes? Then what will you do, hmm? I always insisted that my husband have a steady, reliable job, and I'll tell you, he made a fine tailor!" Prince Luke Warm, M.D., in a vain attempt to distract Deven from SteeDee's insults, said, "Deven, I'm having a horrible time getting the trees in my orchard to grow. Perhaps you could give me some advice out in the garden?" Prince Deven replied, "No need to go outside, bro. I already know what the problem is. You're trying to grow pear trees in soil that isn't right for them. What you need are apple trees! They'll grow like weeds!" SteeDee, never one to drop an issue, squawked "Well, if you know so much about apples, maybe you should sell them for a living!" "Yes," said Deven. "And after my first day of work, I could go home and throw myself in the moat." He then grabbed several pieces of gingerbread and returned to the dungeon. "Watch how many cookies you eat, Deven! You're getting fat!"

The next morning the princesses entered the dining hall to find SteeDee on another endless tirade. Prince Luke Warm, M.D. was nodding along to appear sympathetic. " no sleep at all! Deven and his lyre had me up all night! He was up way too late! That boy doesn't sleep enough!" The princesses made a prompt exit without comment.

Later, at lunch, the dysfunctional family sat around the table; only Deven was missing. "Is that boy sleeping again?" SteeDee whined. "I swear, all he does is sleep!" Just then, Deven ascended from the dungeon to grab more gingerbread. "I'm glad you like the gingerbread, Prince Deven," Princess Lolamouse exclaimed. "SteeDee told me it was your favorite." "Yes, they're really goo-" "Are you eating more cookies? Save some for other people!" SteeDee interrupted. Deven sighed and slumped back to the dungeon.
To Be Continued...

Monday, December 20, 2010

2 Giant Microbes, and a Box of Penis Shaped Pasta

There's less than a week left until Christmas, and I know some of you out there are panic stricken because you haven't completed your holiday shopping yet. Well, fear not! Lolamouse is here with a list of gifts that, although they may not arrive by Christmas (I view deadlines as mere suggestions), will be well worth the wait for the memories they create. It's always a joy to me when I behold someone opening my gift, see their eyes widen, and hear the gasp in their voice as they say, "My! How... inappropriate!"

Books are always a lovely gift for anyone of any age. A charming little book to help children learn the alphabet, as well as avoid some of the dangers of life, is The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. Set to a sing-songy rhyming patter, The Gashlycrumb Tinies recounts the hideous deaths of 26 alphabetically ordered children from various ailments, accidents, and assaults. A perfect addition to any child's library.
Remember the Sally, Dick, and Jane books from grammar school (those of us who are of "a certain age)? Remember how dull and mundane they were? Well, Sally, Dick, and Jane are back but their stories are new and improved! Meet Dick and Jane and Vampires! Never too young to be introduced to the sexy vampire genre, this reading primer adds some much needed intrigue and foreboding to the first grade reader. Makes for great bedtime stories!


Stuffed Animals

They're infectiously cute!

Known around our house as "plushies," stuffed animals are always a good "go to" gift for the holidays. What? You think plushies are only for little girls? Then you haven't seen Giant Microbes! Giant Microbes are stuffed animals that look like tiny microbes, only they are millions of times bigger and have faces! They come in different varieties, such as Health (flu, common cold), Calamities (anthrax, mad cow), Critters (bed bug, dust mite), and Venereals (herpes, syphilis). Need a last minute teacher gift? How about a head louse or H1N1?  Something for your mail carrier? How about anthrax? Bet he'd get a real kick out of that! The possibilities are endless!
 What do you do when your daughter asks for an indie comic strip character plushie that doesn't exist? Most normal parents would just explain that it isn't possible. But, those of you who know me know    that I'm anything but normal! Thus, we have Frupert. Frupert is the teddy bearish character from the defunct cartoon strip Pink Chickens. Read this cartoon and you will begin to understand my warped psyche just a bit better! 

There will be no ugly Christmas sweaters found under the tree at my house. There will, however, be some uber-cool T-shirts! Here is one that my family got for me for Hanukkah this year. It's from Hyperbole and a Half, one of my all-time fav blogs. I've written about my neurotic need to clean, clean, clean before a vacation (Dirty Thoughts), so this shirt is the perfect gift! There are more at Allie's store on her blog-check her out; she's hilarious!

Nothing says "I'm well read" like wearing poetry on your chest. Especially nonsense poetry from      Lewis Carroll. Justin Hillgrove's Jabberwocky T-shirt will guarantee that people will be   staring   quizzically at your chest! Who wouldn't want that? Wear this shirt on a date; if the guy has Jabberwocky memorized by the end of the evening, you know he wasn't listening to a thing you've said!


Sure, I love diamonds, you love diamonds, everyone loves diamonds. But sometimes we just can't afford to give diamonds. So what's the next best thing? LIPS!!! (and I'm NOT talking about hummers!) Not just any lips, though. The infamous lips from the opening credits of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I know you want one! And you can get one too, from Etsy, and show your allegiance to the sweetest transvestite that ever was.



What would the holidays be without food? Let's be honest, though. Cookies, candy, fruitcake-it's been done. Why don't you really surprise someone on your list this year with a box of penis shaped pasta! I know this is one gift that won't be regifted! It's perfect for those big (meat)balls you love too! Just be careful when preparing. Don't overcook or it will get limp, and no one likes limp penises!

Now that you've got some great last minute gift ideas, go get your cash or credit card and get busy. There's only so much time left, and the Penis Pasta could sell out at any minute! Happy Shopping!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let's Pimp Some Blogs!!!

I keep seeing blog awards popping up like patches of slime mold in our yard when it's humid. Although none have popped up on my blog, I thought I would get in on the fun and create my own blog award, which I would then bestow upon a lucky blogger or two or three (there's just SO MUCH LOVE IN ME!!!) Thus, the "You Feel Like a Friend" Award was birthed today. This award was created to acknowledge bloggers who, through their honesty and willlingness to share their stories, make me feel as if I know them and, even better, like them!

The first 3 honorees for the "You Feel Like a Friend" Award from Lolamouse are (drumroll....)

Mrs. Hyde from A Bitch Called Mom
Rabbit from The Journey
Female, I Shit You Not from i shit u not

I eagerly await new posts from these bloggers. Reading their blogs feels like catching up with an old friend. Although their writing styles are different and they come from completely different life situations, each makes me care about his/her story. They make me laugh, cry, think, and sometimes even be a better person. Check them out. I'm glad I did.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Denim Blues

Yesterday I glanced down at my just washed jeans and noticed a dark, splotch of a stain on the thigh. I wanted to cry. And not just because I'm a peri-menopausal, hormonal mess who cries at car commercials one minute and wants to throw a brick through my TV because the Progressive Insurance Lady's voice annoys the crap out of me the next. Because I have only 2 pairs of jeans that really fit me properly and that was one of them. This means that soon I will have to SHOP FOR JEANS.

Unless you are a woman of a certain age and certain build (not a pre-teen and not anorexic), you may not grasp the horror that is SHOPPING FOR JEANS. Not only does it consume an inordinate amount of time that could be otherwise spent in more pleasurable activities (root canals and PAP smears come to mind), but if you emerge from your shopping with a shred of your dignity and/or self-esteem in tact, you can consider the experience a success, whether or not you actually purchase any jeans.

I truly think the denim industry is run by a conglomerate of sadistic, misogynistic, designers who, due to their state of starvation are psychotically delusional. No one, other than size 0 models or guys, can possibly look good in most of the styles that are in fashion today. If you want to look good in a hot pair of denims, leave your hips and thighs at the door. You are, of course, allowed to possess an ass these days, provided, of course, that it is of the perfectly round and tight variety, ala Kim Kardashian. Is it any wonder that SHOPPING FOR JEANS leaves most normal woman dejected?

Now, I am not a picky person. All I want is a decent pair of jeans that don't cost a fortune and that I don't need to spend more than the price of the jeans to have altered to fit. I live in denims. Jeans are my uniform, so to speak. I wear them to deliver meals, to work outdoors, and to work with children. I'm not going to pay $200 for a pair of jeans because they get messy in my work, and I don't get paid for what I do. When I attempt to find a pair of jeans to fit my needs, however, I am stymied by the schlock that women are willing to put on their bodies! For example,
  • Low rise jeans: Who the hell thought that these would be a good idea?!! The first time I tried on a pair of these abominations, I thought, "Where the f- is the rest of the damn zipper?" I suppose they're considered a fashion "must have" for showing off those gorgeous tramp stamps, but I don't want to walk around all day feeling like my pants are falling down! And don't even get me started on their evil cousin the "ultra" low rise jean. Who wears these things? Girls who don't want to bother taking off their pants to have sex? 
  • Wide leg jeans: Is this a joke? Like I need to have a pair of pants that makes my legs wider than they actually are. Maybe I'll buy a pair in gray and dress as an elephant next Halloween!
  • Pre-torn, pre-frayed jeans: I don't know about you, but when my jeans start getting holes in them, I stop wearing them in public. Well, at least to anyplace important. Why anyone would pay good money for clothes that someone else has deliberately put holes in is beyond my comprehension. Bring me your good clothes and pay me--I'll take some scissors and cut up your jeans, burn a few holes in them, rip some seams, have my dogs chew on them, whatever you think is "haute couture.
  • "Mom" jeans: You know what these are, the jeans with the waistline at your actual waist. Sounds like a good idea, no? Except that when I put these on, the waistline invariably comes above my actual waist, making me look like I've pulled my pants up too high or that my torso has become somehow shortened. Then there's the lovely pouch of excess material that "Mom" jeans seem to have right below the waist that pooches out whenever you sit, making you look pregnant. I admit, I do need a little extra material for my middle aged spread but not so much that it could fit a full-term uterus!
  • Jeggings: The evil spawn of jeans and leggings, these monstrosities were supposedly a fashion must-have for 2010. Guess I missed that one! As if skinny jeans didn't show off enough of my bulges that I wouldn't walk out of the dressing room in them, now my nightmares will be haunted by being stuck in a pair of jeggings and having to leave the dressing room with my legs looking like a pair of sausages stuffed in denim casings.
  • Mid rise, straight leg jeans: Here is what I want. And I see them on the shelves. When I try them on, however, my lower body must morph into a weird size/shape combination because no matter what size I try on, there is no jean that correctly fits my waist, hips, thighs, ass, and is the right length. Since I need to be able to squeeze my ass, hips, and thighs into the pants, I usually go for a size to accommodate those body parts. Invariably, however, the jeans are at least 4-6 inches too long and even worse, stick out at the waist in the back. You could easily fit your hand down the waistband of the jeans in the back and cop a feel! My waist is not that tiny, and I don't have one of those butts that you can set your drinks on, so what's the deal here? Maybe it's a conspiracy with the lingerie industry. Whenever I bend over or squat down, it's the "Lolamouse Lingerie Show," so I have to keep those undies looking good! I'm NOT getting a tramp stamp, though!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Get Off Your Asana! It's Time for Yoga!

As I sit here at the keyboard with sore shoulders, achy hamstrings, a crick in my neck, and tight as a rubber band that's been left in a middle school locker over the winter holiday, I wonder again when I will begin feeling all the wondrous, youth enhancing benefits of the yoga I've been practicing for about 2 years now. Then again, maybe if I hadn't been doing yoga all this time, I'd be feeling even worse than I do now! Can't prove the negative, right? Let's go with that.

I have a great yoga teacher. She's not one of those "access your third eye" types who reeks of patchouli and looks like she hasn't seen the inside of a shower stall in 6 weeks. She's actually quite a normal person, aside from being over 40 having stolen the body of a svelte 20 year-old and grafted it onto her head. Her ass won't quit, and I say that in a totally non-lesbianish but very envious sort of way. I could do lunges from now until 2012 and I'd NEVER achieve the awesomeness of her ass. But I digress.

Since you can't all come to Southern MD (and if you could, I know you'd be off like a herd of stampeding turtles!) and take a class with my yoga teacher, I thought I'd give you the next best thing. Then I realized that I can't friggin' do that either, so I thought I'd draw you some lame ass pictures of what I look like during my yoga class so you can mentally transport yourself and snicker behind my back from wherever you happen to be. 

This is how I look when class begins. I'm fresh (well as fresh as someone who's been dragged out of bed at 5 effin' 30 in the morning can be) and in a yoga state of mind (like a New York state of mind but without the traffic and panhandlers). I fully plan to breath deeply throughout the hour long class and achieve maximum mindfulness and bodily relaxation.

The first few minutes are a breeze. We breath. We close our eyes and "be" in the moment. We stretch a little. We warm up. We look to the sky and rotate our wrists and arms. Easy stuff. Nice. I love yoga.

Just as I'm about to get lured into a false sense of serenity, my yoga teacher starts pulling asanas out of her ass and doesn't stop for the rest of the hour! Here is but a small sampling of some of the pretzelifications I am humiliatingly contorted into each week:

This little gem is called "Warrior." See the power and strength? Neither do I. By the time I've faced a sink full of dirty breakfast dishes, cleaned up puddles of dog piddle, and dealt with some serious teen 'tude, all this warrior wants is to curl up and die in the field hospital.

What is the name of this pose? Does it even have one? It often follows several "Warrior" poses and is supposed to stretch out my legs and feel good. The leg part I can deal with, but for some reason (okay, not "some reason" but because I'm a totally uncoordinated klutz of the highest calling), this pose often throws me off balance and makes me dizzy and drunk feeling (and not in a good way!) This is especially true if we're having class outdoors and I decide, in my yogic nature mindedness, to watch the passing clouds overhead. Sway, sway, sway, throw up in my mouth a little, berate, re-focus, repeat.

This asana, brought to you from the Annals of Sadomasochism Monthly, is called "Pigeon." It is what affectionately is known in yoga circles as a "hip opener." Yes, that odd popping noise coming from your pelvic region and that vague sense of lower parts being rearranged is your hips being opened. This is a good thing! You should practice this on a daily basis, perhaps in front of the TV so that your spouse and children can be entertained by your cries of pain during particularly dull portions of their TV shows or during commercial breaks.

"Downward Facing Dog" is a favorite among yoga enthusiasts. They claim it's because this pose stretches your arms, legs, and shoulders, but I know the real reason-comic relief! Ever see a room full of people with their heads pointed down toward the floor and their derrieres sticking up in the air? It's funny. Laughter is good for you. Just make sure you look at your neighbor on her mat doing this pose and not EVER in a mirror at yourself. Then you would cry.

After an hour of bending my middle aged body in ways that nature never intended, comes the sweet reward-relaxation time! We slowly lower each vertebrae onto our mats, allow our hands and feet to fall naturally, and relax into a comfortable position. We release muscle tension and BREATH. Ahhhh....For about 20 seconds! Then it's time to pack up and leave! WTF! That's the best part! Well, I'll just go home and practice yoga on my own this week and then I can do the relaxation part for as long as I want. Or maybe just skip the yoga and move right on to the relaxation part!

Monday, December 6, 2010

100th Post: Happy Birthday to You!

I can't believe that I'm up to my 100th blog entry! I've been pondering what to rant about for number 100 and have been tossing up ideas like vibrio infested Chesapeake oysters for over a week now. Number 100 seemed too momentous an occasion to squander on a trifle but then again, that's been the point of most of the rants in this blog thus far!

After giving up entirely for the day, I called my old friend (old, as in I've had her as a friend for a very long time now, and, sorry, girl, but also old, as in this side of 40 today) to wish her a happy birthday. Then it hit me like seagull poo on my head while strolling the streets of Annapolis (this really did happen to me): I will dedicate blog post number 100 to my dear friend Kirsten (aka kirf) on her 46th birthday because she's so special to me and because I haven't mailed her gift yet!

Geez, we were dorks in 1971!

  • Mrs. Yauger's 1st grade class with you in Aspen Hill Elementary School
  • Chasing the boys at recess and pulling their hair
  • Going to your birthday parties and collecting peanuts in your yard in brown paper bags
  • Helping your mother can vegetables at your birthday parties
  • Learning the way to your house on Camelot Street
  • Helping you decorate your Christmas tree since we didn't have one
  • Eating those Norwegian cookies at Christmas that your mom made
  • Lefsa
  • Your compost heap before they were cool
  • "Defensive driving for small cars"
  • Reading "The Sensuous Woman" at recess disguised in an "Outsiders" bookcover
  • Laughing about "organisms" in science class
  • That pervert who touched my leg at your parents' dinner party
  • That pervert teacher who made a play for you on our field trip
  • Your mother stopping the car in the middle of the Chesapeake Bridge
  • Beautiful, downtown Denton and "Denton Days"
  • Looking for pin lamps in Delaware
  • Singing Little Feat songs on the way to the beach
  • Buying "French Hos" perfume for prom
  • Trying on my bridesmaid dresses backwards
  • Trying fondue for the first time at your house
  • Making "squid" donuts
  • Happy pigs
  • Going to Dairy Queen on the last day of school and getting Peanut Buster Parfaits
  • You jumping on the beds at Scan Furniture
  • Commander Salamander
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show in Gtown
  • "Your mother's gay?!!"
  • Going to a Joan Armatrading concert and winding up in some guys' house we never met before
  • Outer Mongolians
    I'm sure there are way more things that I'll remember as soon as I hit the "Publish Post" button, but my dogs are snoring and it's time for bed. So Happy Birthday kirf! And I will send you a real gift some time this month, I promise!

Happy Holidays (Sorry, Didn't Mean to Offend You!)

Would you be offended if someone were to wish you a happy holiday? Apparently the good folks at the Liberty Counsel would be. They want to hear "Merry Christmas" at this time of year, and nothing else will do. In fact, they find reference to anything other than Christmas so abhorrent that for the past 8 years they have carried on a "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign" in which they publish a list of "Naughty" or "Nice" retailers based on whether or not the Counsel finds the store "Christmas friendly." Their concern is that Christmas is no longer being properly acknowledged in America.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, stated, "...Retailers that profit from Christmas while pretending it does not exist will find that consumers will shop elsewhere.” Now, I don't know about you, but from where I stand, the Liberty Counsel need not worry about Christmas ceasing to exist or losing its stronghold over retailers during the time between approximately early November and January 1. While I may spy a few Hanukkah or Kwanzaa cards or decorations in some corner of a store or two, the overwhelming majority of retailers are inundated with red and green decorations, Christmas greetings, Santas, costumed salespeople, and Christmas music. The word "Christmas" is not difficult to find anywhere. It's precisely the opposite; if you're looking for a holiday card or gift without Christmas connotations, good luck!

The Liberty Counsel doesn't approve of the idea of generic winter themed school parties either. They want the traditional Christmas party restored to our children's schools, replete with Christmas cookies, Christmas carols, and Christmas trees. They don't really specify whether or not children of other faiths should have their traditions included in the party as well or just pretend to be Christian for the day and fit in dammit!

I will be the first to admit that I'm hardly objective about this issue. Growing up Jewish in a predominantly Christian environment, I sometimes felt left out, isolated, and overlooked. I appreciate when someone says, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" to me because I never personally celebrated Christmas, although I do now with my family. I don't assume everyone I meet celebrates my holiday, so why should they assume I celebrate theirs? Although I enjoy seeing the Christmas decorations in stores, I feel a certain sadness when I can't find even one thing for Hanukkah. From where I stand, every retailer is "Christmas friendly."

So, here's what I have to say to Mathew D. Staver and the Liberty Counsel: You think you have it hard? Feh! You should see what I have to go through in the stores! I could plotz from the frustration! I should have it so hard as you. Oy vay. Quit your kvetching, get off your tuchis, and go shopping already or you'll miss all the good sales! Oy vay iz mir!

Friday, December 3, 2010

What Would Jesus Censor?

I was not aware that House Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) and incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are art critics. In addition to their political careers, it appears that these men also aspire to wield their influence within the world of public art.  This week they called for the closing of the National Portrait Gallery's GLBT themed "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" exhibit after the conservative website CNSNews alerted them to "art with strongly sexual themes."

This exhibit features 105 works of art, including pieces by Georgia O'Keefe, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns. It also featured a four-minute video by artist David Wojnarowicz, called Fire In My Belly, which was meant to symbolize the suffering of a person with AIDS, according to the artist. However, it aroused the ire of Catholic and other conservative groups for its depiction of homosexual and religious images, specifically one image of Jesus on the cross covered in ants. Due to the controversy surrounding the video, the Smithsonian museum decided to pull the work from the exhibit.

Could this decision by Secretary of the Smithsonian, G. Wayne Smith, possibly have anything to do with  incoming House Speaker Boehner's spokesman stating, "Smithsonian officials should either acknowledge the mistake and correct it, or be prepared to face tough scrutiny beginning in January when the new majority in the House moves [in]"?  Martin Sullivan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery (part of the Smithsonian), defended the video as an artistic interpretation of the suffering of an AIDS victim but then backpedaled by noting that it had been taken down nonetheless. He continued to defend the decision by saying that a "distraction had been removed from an important exhibit." Neither Sullivan nor Smithsonian Director Clough had the cajones to defend the artistic merit of all the works in the exhibit when political and possible financial pressure came down from above. Despite the official statement from the NPG Director, it's obvious that the museum caved to right-wing political pressure. Shame on them!

Should Congress hold power over what is displayed in our museums? Should CNSNews? Should the President of the Catholic League, who decried the video as "hate speech"? Does this reek of censorship? If the Smithsonian judged these works of art to have enough merit to be included in the exhibit, they should stand behind them, each and every one. Removing even one piece because it was deemed offensive to someone is censorship. What is the function of art in a free society? Is it just to beautify and elevate or can art evoke thoughts or feelings in the viewer that may be uncomfortable or even negative?

I'd be willing to bet that many of those who objected to Wojnarowicz's video hadn't even watched it. It was originally a 30 minute video, which was edited to 4 minutes for the museum exhibit. I watched a slightly altered version on YouTube. The 11 seconds of the ant covered cross was hardly the most noticeable image within this video. The entire video is a nightmarish compilation of disturbing imagery, some of which is religious, some of which is sexual, and some of which, at least to me, is indecipherable. I can't say I enjoyed it. Is it offensive? Who knows? It sure ain't a date movie!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Where Does Jack Sparrow Stick His Sword?

My vote for sexiest man alive
Where does Captain Jack Sparrow stick his sword? Apparently, the swishbuckling pirate's ambiguous sexuality bothered Disney execs tremendously while the first Pirates of the Caribbean was being filmed. Personally, I found Johnny Depp's interpretation of Jack Sparrow quite humorous and intriguing, but according to a recent Vanity Fair interview with Patti Smith, Depp says that Michael Eisner "hated" the way Depp portrayed the character and accused him of "ruining" the film!  Depp quotes Eisner, then the head executive of Disney, of saying something like, "What’s wrong with him? Is he, you know, like some kind of weird simpleton? Is he drunk? By the way, is he gay?… " Then Depp goes on to add, "And so I actually told this woman who was the Disney-ite… ‘But didn’t you know that all my characters are gay?’ Which really made her nervous."

Capt. Jack was inspired by Keith Richards
and Pepe Le Pew!

Disney should be so lucky to have all of their movies so "ruined!" The film was a huge commercial success and garnered 5 Academy Award nominations, including one for Male Actor in a Leading Role for Johnny Depp for his portrayal of Jack Sparrow (how ironic!) I guess not everyone is as freaked out by sexually ambiguous pirates as the execs at Disney. What did they think they were going to get when they hired Johnny Depp for this role anyway? He's not exactly known for his mainstream characters. Even before the first Pirates movie was cast, Depp had expressed disdain for the typical heartthrob leading male character he had been cast as in his early years in 21 Jump Street (where I first lusted after him, may I add.) He had accepted roles in Tim Burton and John Waters films and had already played some very oddball characters, including Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, the crossdressing "worst film director ever." If Disney wanted a "typical" pirate, they hired the wrong guy.

Frankly, I don't give a dubloon if Captain Jack is gay, straight, or bisexual. He can get it on with that freaky Sea Bitch Calypso if he wants. I hope we never find out where Captain Jack sticks his sword because the fun is in the guessing and in watching Depp play mind games with the tiny mouse minds at Disney!