“do you know who i am? i’m barry lutz!”

Quick trip to Olympia tonight with Ralph while the kids gamboled at my mother’s. After shopping for about twenty minutes I had my stuff done; Ralph and I stopped by Amore and Jason’s place after to enjoy takeout Japanese food, homemade ice tea, and have a great chat. It was a nice impromptu date, especially given Ralph and I have been having one of those busy weeks where we hardly have had time to just enjoy one another. On the way home we rocked the Paul Beribeau, Lady Gaga, Pink, Goldfrapp, The Gossip – and as we rolled into Aberdeen I made an abrupt switch to the Fleet Foxes’ “Meadowlark” for a laugh. Now don’t get me wrong, Ralph and I love, truly LOVE the FF, but that doesn’t mean a few good jokes about their sensitive beards waving morosely on Ruby Beach aren’t in order.

In case anyone wanted more of a window into my brain, the last twenty four hours I’ve been softly laughing to myself over this:

OK, the punch line? Just kills me. I’m a huge Thomas Lennon fan and enjoy pretty much every actor on “The State” and kind of marvel at the cancellations these talented writers have experienced in their many projects. As I found out doing a little late night research, this sketch was listed on IFCs “50 Greatest Sketches of All Time”. Deservedly so.

friday links

In the good news, we’re all doing very well thank you and enjoying health and harmony together. In the bad news, Ralph is working through our spending plan as I type and we might not get to have a Christmas (not really, but you probably know what I mean). In the good news, my husband is growing a beard. In the bad news, he’s so anxious about this money thing that ANY LITTLE COMMENT may cause him to shave. Please, if you see him, or Facebook him, say REALLY flattering things about his beard. We shall all reap the benefits as its full-throated red glory is bestowed upon us during our most dreary winter months…

Here’s more good news – for those who are unfortunate enough to be stuck in an office job today, hungover and dyspeptic from yesterday’s feast, or cowering in fear or disdain of Black Friday, or who’ve shopped until they’re wrecked – I bring you the Friday links you so desperately need to sink your teeth into.

“‘Privilege Denying Dude’ and the Fight for the Right to Snark” at ColorLines
“The Internet has carried over the ‘neutral’ we’ve always seen, meaning that if it’s online, it better appeal to straight white men before and above anyone else. A lot of us hate it. We find humor in other memes, but sometimes we see a misogynist or homophobic joke in the bunch… and we just scroll on past it. It’s disappointing how used to that we are.” [ emphasis mine, because: Oh Yes. ]

Anton Vowl wrote “Breeding hell” in response to Howard Flight’s remarks. Look familiar, USians? The UK terminology referring to the “underclass” may be different from ours but you and I recognize what the author is referencing: “a narrative in which the young and the poor can be dismissed as a mass of animals, as an underclass of scum. They are always set up against the ‘middle-classes’, aka the hardworking taxpaying middle classes, the people who do all the work and pay for all the doleites popping out kids and getting free houses on estates up and down the land […] It’s the dehumanising thing that seems so depressing – dehumanising a whole class of people. It’s the language of hatred. It’s the language of class war.”

“Today in Journalism: The Disabled” at FWD/Feminists with Disabilities
“This contributes to the de-humanization of disabled people. ‘The disabled’ aren’t people, they’re a big collective noun who can’t be reasoned with, can’t be talked to, can’t be considered – they’re just to be placated, and dealt with, and put out of our minds as quickly as possible in case they sue us.”

“The Effects of Video Games: A guide for the science-based parent” at parentingscience.com
The concept that video games are “bad”, or at least anything more than a very occasional play with them is “bad”, is so culturally-supported many journalists will take one study and blow it up to epic conclusions. I often think those loudest about how “bad” video games inherently are, are those who either don’t particularly enjoy nor excel at them; or those who’ve lived a childhood of externally-imposed values/activities which reify this message.

“Jong Got It Wrong” from Wendy Priesnitz
Much of modern-day feminism has failed so many – those with disabilities, those non-white, poor, trans women, those marginalized, those without “careers”, babies and children, and anyone involved in what’s often named as “traditional women’s work” (hi!) but what would be more accurately described as necessary human work (much of it often still performed by women and underpaid, under-respected, etc). Today many modern feminists (along with the maintream) continue to throw children under the proverbial bus as well as those who are responsible for children’s care (usually, other women) and especially those who give a shit about how these things all go down. As usual, Wendy Priesnitz delivers a succinct and apt response to the recent Jong dust-up.

“Pre-Photoshopped Playboy Models (Definitely NSFW)”
“…the message is clear: even after a genetic bounty, all-but-certain plastic surgery and dieting, good lighting, a pro-photographer, and dozens of shots, even the fantasy woman is not fantastic enough.” (You can follow links to the original Jezebel post if you want example after example of women’s bodies critiqued, objectified, and dissected).

Subway Flasher Gets More Than He Bargained For
This video deeply upset me. First I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – the courage of this woman. Then I felt sick for the times I’ve been in a similar position and felt too scared to do anything. On second watch I so admired this woman and wish I could find her to say, “Well done!”

“Rural Roads” by sillyboodilly. Beautiful work; check the rest of her postings as well!

Mushroom tutorial by my friend Kit. Mushrooms are out like you wouldn’t believe! I have a wee parcel of wool felt heading my way to make up these cuties with the kiddos.

“How To Read Articles About Health” by Dr. Alicia White

“18 Practical Habits for Living the Golden Rule” at Zen Habits

“The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – Buddha

How did Alan Thicke land this sweet job, is what I want to know!

And finally:

My favorite tweet of the week.

tiny dancer

Nels found this wee snail on the basil Ralph bought this evening. I was trying to take a picture of this tiny, perfect little miracle. And while I was concentrating on Ralph’s thumb, my husband said in a big, slow Mr. Ed voice, “Wheeere’s my baaaasil?” and I almost peed my pants laughing.She Was Actually Racing Around Quite Fast & It Was Hard To Get This Picture

“completely rid me of my perishing thirst”

A day like today, even with a lack-of-sleep hangover and no car and a mild feeling of cabin fever and all that, the sun was shining and my son heckled me mercilessly to accompany him out on the bikes and so we did. And I’m not complaining about my day when I get to bike in the sun.

I had a skit running through my mind all morning and I’ve been laughing and laughing about it:

(I actually love it when something silly plays over and over in my head), AND THEN when Sophie and I biked to get our groceries, outside the shop there was a rather scruffy looking middle-aged fellow drinking a huge silver can of beer, so I was just super-pleased to see that. Before we went inside we browsed the posted flyers and the man shuffled over and offered to pay for a ride on the red quarter airplane (a mildly dilapitated kiddie ride). I thanked him but Sophie wasn’t interested.  So then he asked if when I was a kid I’d gone on the same airplane kiddie ride and I said Yes and smiled and he cackled and actually slapped at his thigh and took another pull on the beer. So that whole business was great because usually most all the time I love talking to strangers.  I always have.

While Nels visited with his Gram it was good to have a handful of minutes with my daughter, even if all we did was pick up groceries and go to the new local pizza eatery (a nice enough place with very sweet owners, huddled in a rather depressing stretch of highway and dilapidated neighborhood buildings and sidewalks).  When my daughter and I are alone sometimes we barely even talk to each other, but we do touch a lot and I hold her and she puts her hand on mine and her head on my shoulder.  When we got home today the schoolkids were walking along the sidewalk and she caught up with some friends, her smile wide and her freckles popping and her legs pedaling furiously.  She brought Little P over and helped train him in drawing dragons (Sophie is super-accomplished on this account) and then the kids played Legos for hours.  Nels came in and out, digging a hole in the sideyard to explore under the house, his lean little body wrapped in his father’s hoodie to keep spiders away.  After this adventure concluded he planted new seeds and took a bag of fertilizer out to apply in the garden (he tells me his pea shoots are already coming up) and chased the chickens.  Ralph and Nels are the gardeners in the family; I guess come summer I’ll see just what they’ve been up to but I hope pumpkins are involved at least.

We moved the chicks out to the garage as part of the “hardening” process.  I kind of miss their peeping and scratching and the occasional and inexplicable MASSIVE POULTRY THROWDOW bash-about.  I’m also looking forward to putting them out in the back – when they’re ready – for the two-flock action (think: West Side Story fruity and deadly dance-fighting).

Spring, it’s good times.

“I’m a scientist – I don’t believe in anything!”

As a young girl it seemed most of the adults in my life told me I was smart.*  Teachers, family, members of the community.  And I believed it, I suppose.  I got good grades and most things came easily to me.  Now, thirty-two years old and with a family and adult responsibilities – and an awareness of my own relative privilege in the world – I don’t feel smart anymore, not especially.  I notice, though, my thought processes are considered interesting to many, and I’ve often been told by people in my life they “like the way my mind works” (often with the caveat of “even if I don’t agree with everything you say,” which I plan to write more about in a later blog entry).

To get on topic: I wish I could express to you, dear readers, how much I love a good (bad?) B-movie, especially science fiction, and how much these films are food to my brain and imagination and probably have a heck of a lot to do with “the way my mind works”.  And although I’ll watch modern B-movies – and even occasionally dabble in the larger-budget efforts that trot out B-movie tropes, they’re never quite as good as the original thingContemporary send-ups, as long as they take themselves seriously in the details and homage, are also appreciated and well-loved in Casa del Hogaboom.

Last night the family and I watched the Roger Corman-directed science fiction film X: The Man with the X Ray Eyes.  We all enjoyed it very much.  Ralph liked the story – which was relatively straight-forward and spooky – and thought the film could benefit from a re-make (I agree).  The kids enjoyed the creepiness, the “science” (in that way they’re following in my footsteps) and the easy-to-follow storyline.  I liked watching Ray Milland, an actor now gone who starred in two of my favorite films.  In X he was able to class up his role considering it has pretty laughable aspects to it – like when he assaults a fellow surgeon in the operating room but they still allow him to operate afterwards, for example.  He even brought a little – a tiny bit – of dignity to the otherwise sexist and silly naked-partygoers-by-virtue-of-xray-vision scene.

But like so many B- and Z-movies, in Milland’s performance as Dr. Xavier we are gifted with what I call the Arrogant White Male Scientist, a man who with ambitious intentions goes to explore some unknown part of the world or perhaps discovers some monster heretofore unknown to man (or re-discovers it)** – or maybe he’s a Regular Scientist Guy who ends up called upon as the last hope to save our planet from an invading menace (note: today’s popular version of this sci-fi hero fella are less science-y and more, running-around-with-shirt-off-and-using-a-big-gun-y).  Usually the guy is for the forces of Good, like Peter Graves’ character in It Conquered the World.  Sometimes he’s a sleazeball, like Phillip Terry in The Leech Woman.  Or like Mr. Milland’s Dr. Xavier, he’s basically a good guy (if a bit egotistical and entitled) but goes a bit too far and bad things happen to him.  One thing about him: when called upon a new situation, he always somehow knows a bunch of bullshitty “facts”, and whether discussing real or fictional science he speaks condescendingly to everyone else in the room who for some reason accepts this sort of douchey behavior.

I love the character of the Arrogant White Male Scientist dearly.  Because I used to be in the Sciences (Chemical Engineering, to be precise) and there’s still a lot of Arrogant White Male to go around.  Besides, in the real of B-movie “science”, the lines are just so damned silly.  Sometimes I forget though how the AWMS looks to those with new eyes, like my daughter, who intently watched the first few minutes of the film:

“That’s light,” Dr. Xavier says to the comely Dr. Fairfax, as he pulls the blinds open and turns toward her. “Waves of energy that excite the eye.  And the nerve cells transmit this energy to the brain.  And with the brain, we see.”

At this my daughter Sophie turns to me and asks politely, “Oh, so she doesn’t know anything?” Which is pretty damned funny: the Arrogant White Male Scientist talks to people – even fellow physicians – as if they had less knowledge of the world than the average seven year old (and, may I add, considerably better manners to be treated in this way).

My 5 year old son Nels, on the other hand, watched the film with a lot of intensity and interest for the gooey details: he loved the creepy eyeball in the first shot of the film, and the concept of being able to see through walls, flesh, glass, one’s own eyelids.  But about 70% of the way through the film he’d quieted for some time.  At the Vegas scene he turned to me and asked seriously, “But can he see through hats?”

You know, those motherfucking hats.  Which so often foil our plans.

* P.S. Parents, stop telling your kids they are “smart”, unless it’s a compliment you give out freely and often to most people.  “Smart” kids end up being lazy and entitled and thinking they’re better than everyone else.  To borrow a quote from a schmaltzy film I dislike but the rest of America seems to love, “Smart is as smart does.”

** Readers with a knowledge of these films – I find John Agar to be one of the more repellent versions of AWMS if you ask me. Peter Graves was a bit cute.  Your thoughts?

The Two Paths

just LOOK at that slutty hat she’s wearing!

It thrilled me to find this today as I have totally been hitting the mark for most of these milestones – in both columns!  (P.S. although today we think of “dissipation” as being more like Merriam-Webster’s second definition – “an act of self-indulgence; especially : one that is not harmful” – what they mean here is “excessive drinking”; and again, NAILED it!).

Here’s the male version (more turn-of-the-century decoding: “self-abuse” means wanking).

your daily dose of Mama-defrag

Do you want to feel better as a Mama?  Sure, we all do!

Not only did I immediately begin obsessing on the pan this woman uses to cook lunch (a takoyaki pan), I also knew my friend Paige would notice it as well; we shared a few DMs over it yesterday.

Now: “giant ants with top-hats dancing around” – this is very funny, but also NSFW (language, sexuality). I like the whole clip, but the minutes after 6:20 are dear to my heart:

On a more serious note, I just finished Rachel Simmons’ new book, The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence.  I highly reccommend it – especially for parents of girls, especially for Mamas, and especially for women.  Although it doesn’t escape me that the many, many men who are (and choose to remain) clueless regarding the myth of female perfectionism are part of the very problem that plauges American women and girls today.  Women who choose to act outside this trope and speak out about their real feelings can help educate the men in their life.

This week I also finished Lenore Skenazy’s work, Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry.  This is an easy, fun read, and precisely relevant to my family and so many families I know.    Her website a wonderful place to spend time if one is ready to give up the default paranoia / parental perfection trip we mid- to upper-class Americans have tied ourselves in knots over. My children have experienced a higher quality of life in direct relation to the Free-Range Kids movement (which isn’t so much “new” as the way things used to be – but not in my lifetime).

Finally, I also spent a late night flipping through, looking at the pictures in, and reading Sheila Kitzinger’s Homebirth. Even though my baby-birthing days are behind me, I beileve birth is so very important and we have an opportunity to experience far more healthy births (and healthy deaths – but that’s the subject of a different post).  Remember if we are lucky we will one day help our children usher our grandchildren into this world.  Keep birth in your heart.