Politically Unmotivated

It just seems like my job as a human keeps getting harder. Everything I do or don’t do becomes a political statement. It seems like a lot of hard work to keep up with the politics of all of the companies I patronize. When did my waffle fry become a banner for any cause other than cholesterol lowering drugs?

Once politics, religion, and weird fetishes were kept private. Now you can make all sorts of assumptions about me based on my zip code, tax bracket, car, employer, and t-shirt color. I can’t leave the house without considering what message my lip gloss may be sending.

Do me a favor American CEO: keep politics unrelated to your product just that – unrelated to your product, exercise your right to free speech with your vote (or apparently all the money you want to throw after it), and leave the consumer out of it. And yes, I’d like fries with that.

Snooty Wear

Yes, my own line of snooty t-shirts with a judgmental finger-waggling graphic, printed up to say…

1. “You are wearing workout clothes, and yet you must park in the fire lane because you can’t summon the energy to walk your ample backside across the parking lot? Irony. Look it up.”

2.“It’s customary to suspend your cell phone conversation long enough to say ‘thank you’ if I hold the door open for you.”

3. “I don’t appreciate your nose there.” This one is to wear around my dog.

4. “I know it’s French and all, but the ‘R’ in RSVP means to respond either yes or no.”

5. “If you insist on posting pictures of food you are about to eat on Facebook, you must also post the after pictures…post-colonic. Maybe then you’ll stop. For the love of all that’s holy, please stop.”

6. “If you are going to assert that America is the best country ever, you have to at least have visited another one.”

7. “My family values include judgment, derision, and unabashed mockery.”

8. “I really could have used the extra time waiting for you to turn in front of me with no turn signal to think up another clever t-shirt.”

9. “As a matter of fact I am inside, refusing to open the door for you to discuss my salvation. But it’s nice that you cared enough to stop by.”

10. “My mother told me not to talk to strangers, or people on airplanes, or people who are uninteresting.”

Dressing on the Side

The unthinkable happened on American Idol last night – a travesty, a lapse in judgment, a sin against humanity. America looked deep within and unleashed a horror of epic (and I do mean epic) proportions. Twice. I’m talking about the return of the catsuit.

There are certain wardrobe choices that are meant for occupational or functional use only: harem pants, chaps, the Speedo. These are choices that fit a very narrow set of the population; in this case, Eartha Kitt. Instead, I was assaulted by Fantasia and Chaka (Can I just refer to her as Chaka?) stuffed like Lazy-Boys into unforgiving spandex. There were more ridges and bumps than on the Michelin man.

While I’m at it, I have an issue with another form of dress: the school-sponsored theme-dress day. We have days to dress up as your favorite book character (I will just be interested to see how many kids ask to go as a character from Fifty Shades of Grey next year), camouflage day, pajama day, nerd day, rock star day, tacky tourist day, backwards day, crazy hair day, team spirit day, 80s day, drug free day, etc.  Clearly the work of the Hobby Lobby lobby. Just to make my life complete and give Pinterest another way to make me feel inadequate, I’d like to suggest a few more.

Hey kids, dress up as your favorite:

  1. Intestinal parasite
  2. Gosselin kid
  3. Deliverance character
  4. Punctuation mark
  5. Existential philosopher
  6. African dictator
  7. Element of the Periodic Table (My kid would be all over this one.Tungsten, baby)
  8. Tofu product
  9. Kazuo Ishiguro character
  10. Domestic militia member

I may have missed a calling: inventor of dress-up days and namer of nail polish colors.


Mommy Bores

I am so tired of “Mommy Wars”–thinly veiled attempts to demonstrate uber-female status and validate one’s worth at the expense of your sister down the street. It’s like some outmoded mating ritual. Wanted: male who values puffy ankles and ability to open stroller one-handed to share mini-van.

If you work, you’re heartless and non-nurturing; if you stay home, you’re unskilled and needy. If you don’t breastfeed, you’re denying your child all that is good and holy. If you do breastfeed one day past the socially-acceptable 1 year point, you are twisted and sentencing your child to a lifetime of therapy. And if you don’t have children, well, clearly you are sub-human.

Yawn. I count it among the small miracles in my life that my children are alive and functioning. I have been lectured on my choices from pain management during childbirth and not breastfeeding my (adopted) son to writing my children’s thank-you notes, and the proper application of sunscreen.

I see the sneers and hear the tsk-tsks at dinner as one child screams with hands over ears that he will not go to the bathroom–the flushing may be too loud, and the other cowers in the corner in mortal fear that the grapes on his brother’s plate might sprout legs and march like Hitler into Poland onto his plate. Or, as I see it, a typical Tuesday night.

The “experts” (almost always men) are fabulous about totaling our inadequacies, but women are far, far worse. No conversation on the playground is really looking for a viewpoint on pacifiers, it’s a size-up, plain and simple. And Facebook is a perfect platform for projecting your most ideal/unreal self and daring others to top it. It’s far more pernicious than airbrushing a swimsuit model.

Here’s my FB post in honor of Mother’s Day: I concede the Mommy War. I sometimes really suck as a mom and human being. I go full-out Tiger Mother at times on grades, art projects, and piano practice and at others can barely muster interest to proofread the book report. I hate Hobby Lobby with a white-hot intensity. My kids have been to McDonald’s. They have tasted the forbidden nectar of Sprite. They have been subjected to restaurant high chairs and have licked the Target shopping cart. They play video games, watch TV, and torpedo down the driveway on a skateboard head-first. I have passed off a cheese stick and stale tortilla as lunch. They don’t have scrapbooks chronicling their every bowel movement, and leprechauns don’t wreak havoc on St Patrick’s Day in the Milhizer house. I have clearly missed the mark for the ideal.

And yet, they live. And they are smart and funny despite it all. I even got a poem extolling my virtues and comparing  me to a beautiful turquoise Bluebonnet. Beat that, bi-yatch!

Book Snub

I reserve extra snobbery for books. They take up a good portion of my evening, and I was a literature major; so I feel especially empowered to be judgmental. As if I needed license.

I’m in 2 book clubs and try to fit in my own selection too, so that’s a minimum of 3 books a month, 66% of which are not my choice. I pick them up anyway and read them. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Other times, not. But love it or hate it, as long as it qualifies as something worth having a conversation over, I’m good.

Then there are those that pass as “books.” It’s really more like People magazine without pictures. Here’s a hint it’s not a real book…it’s trending on Yahoo searches, one or more characters is undead, or people are reading it on mass transit. If the masses are are interested, it probably doesn’t pass the snoot test. That’s the definition of snoot, people.

I am really fine if you want to read them on your own time and try to hunt for a plot or make extrapolations about how the author really meant to develop the character. I’m especially fine if you want to practice your editing skills by adding proper punctuation or correcting spelling mistakes. But please don’t attribute book-like qualities to it and purport to have a serious discussion about the deeper meaning. Just read it for fun and admit that it’s a time-killer between now and the sweet hereafter for you.

I recently read one that was banned from a Florida library for mature content. Oh, the outrage! I’m generally not for censorship, but I might have to make an exception in this case. I’m down with all kinds of questionable content. One of my favorite books of all time is Lolita. So it’s clearly not that. 

I would ban the “book” in question on the grounds that’s it abominably written, gratuitous, and insufferably tedious. On the other hand, banning the book from the library would only put $9.99 more in the hands of the “author” for each prospective “reader” and cost more trees their lives. Also, a good banning is usually an indicator of a really good book, and certainly part of any successful marketing plan. So, I’d hate to accord this one the air of any artistic merits or cultural insurgency on which to be banned. Sigh. Freedom wins by a hair. By all means, go forth and wallow in it.

Brag Tags

I consider the bumper sticker to be the ultimate in passive-aggressive behavior. It’s a way to argue with someone who can’t possibly refute your point. I get so irritated with assertions that I voted for the wrong candidate or am in some way interested in your firearm. I guess I am only interested if I cut you off in traffic. But, being a purveyor of strong opinions, even if they are stupid ones, I have to respect the intent.

What I can’t abide are the status stickers. I think it all started with the “Baby On Board” signs. You procreated, congratulations. I was going to t-bone you before, but now that I know precious cargo is in contained within, well, never mind.

From there it devolved to “My Child is an Honor Student…”blah blah. I never saw anyone peel one of those off when little Jimmy got sent to juvie. And now each car is like a moving Facebook post. I know where you vacation, what school you claim to have attended, how many kids you have and that they are super-into origami, and how many miles you ran once.

It’s getting out of hand. No one would deign to affix a sticker that said they did a 5k or went to Cleveland for spring break. If you aren’t iron-manning in shark-infested waters, don’t have 10 offspring stick figures, and don’t know the health benefits of the Uruguayan wonder-berry, you have not arrived. Even if you did, you still have arrived in a mini-van. (Incidentally I wonder if those family stickers aren’t really just a cheat sheet to make sure no one is left behind at Chuck E. Cheese.)  I haven’t yet, but fully expect to see stickers for SAT scores and number of kidney stones successfully passed.

What I really want to know is not how far you ran, but how many toenails fell off as a result; not what sports your kids play, but whose dream you crushed when you wouldn’t spring for clogging lessons. Or perhaps some helpful instruction, such as, “please disregard if this vehicle is stopped in the middle of the street and the driver is screaming at the occupants of the backseat that it is not ok to assault your brother with used orthodontic rubber bands.” Just sayin’.

Yellow Fever

There are many things in this world that we don’t need, but we want. There is one thing that no one wants and no one needs. Please make it stop. Its time has come and gone. There is a reason you have to deliver a new Yellow Pages to my door every other week, and that is the fact that it is out of date the moment you hit “print.” If only there were a way to access information conveniently from anywhere. Oh, wait, there is.

I don’t know of anyone who would trade in the smart phone for a day of hauling around the book (which is usually in a sodden mess on my porch anyway).

A few weeks ago I got a call from a survey group asking about my recent delivery of the phone book. I live for survey calls. I view them as an invitation to launch into an immoderate rant on the topic at hand. This particular one was asking about the delivery of my book, and its usefulness. I asked the representative to be more specific, as I had received several in the past month, all of which made their way directly to the recycle bin after they had dried sufficiently to lift. I asked her to stop sending them. She didn’t have a check box for that on her form, apparently.

I have also been known to get into debates with those “voter issue” calls, which are more about providing me with an opinion than finding out about mine. Have they met me? Opinions come loaded for bear. Caller beware.

Party Foul

This guest blog hits on a pet peeve of mine. I would actually like a time-sensitive detonator that would start to smell like rotten fish if you don’t reply in a timely manner. If you specify RSVP, people don’t call. If you say “Regrets Only” they don’t call. If you have free tickets to Taylor Swift, they are going to call.

I have a similar rule with Christmas Cards. You get one grace year. Two years without a card, and you’re off my list. I make exceptions for people who may include me in their will, my Jewish friends, and Kristi Erickson.

Thanks, CSM for the snoot.

RSVP doesn’t mean “Reply If You Feel Like It”, but don’t bother if you don’t!

Why is it so difficult for people to RSVP?  If I’m going to the trouble to invite you somewhere, the least you could do is let me know if you can make it or not.  In today’s world, you don’t even have to talk to me, you can email, text or reply online thru the Evite I sent out.  Just let me know!  Are you waiting to see if you get a better offer for that day perhaps?  Just commit already!

People still reply to wedding invitations at least, right?  Maybe if I really want replies I have to include self-addressed, stamped envelopes with reply cards so all people have to do is check the box and drop it in the mail.  I hate to think this disturbing trend has worked its way up to ignoring formal invitations too.

What I don’t understand is, everyone I know complains about not getting responses to their party invites- or more typically- the invites they sent out for their child’s party.  You know, at the place that charges by the child so you have to have an accurate head count for them a few days in advance?  And where frequently the pricing is tiered based on party size?  Yeah, that kind of place, so it matters if you’ve got 8 or 14 or 24.  And, of course, you have to have goodie bags for the right amount of kids.   But if you didn’t reply and show up anyway, you can bet your kid will be the one going home without a goodie bag if I run out- and I hope he whines to you ALL THE WAY HOME that he didn’t get one.  Then you can tell him that it’s *your* fault because you didn’t RSVP so we didn’t know your child was coming – not because the birthday child’s mom is mean or can’t count.

So, if everyone is complaining that no one bothers to RSVP for parties, that must mean they aren’t replying either, right?  Or is there a small subset of people who not only don’t have the courtesy to reply, but also don’t have the courtesy to reciprocate?  Maybe these people never actually HAVE parties so they have no idea how annoying it is to be the hostess trying to guess who is coming?

I’d like to start dropping the kids whose parents don’t reply from the party list- but of course they’re always kids my child really wants to include.  So, like a good mom, year after year we invite them, and year after year I call a few days before to find out they’re coming or not…

10 Things I Hate About You: An Open Letter to America

Dear America,

We need to talk. Consider this an intervention. I know it’s unfashionable to talk about your faults, but we really need to address your addictions. I don’t mean foreign oil, cheap imports from China, or an unhealthy obsession with all meat in jerky form. I mean the things that are really holding you back. This may be American exceptionalism in the wrong direction. Here’s my list.

1. Metric system already. Rip that band-aid off.

2. Hand sanitizer. Germ-X sales alone are what has halted the slide into deep recession. An alert immune system is a good thing. While, I don’t recommend licking the floor in the DMV bathroom, soap and water goes a long way.

3. Use of “like” and “you know?” as punctuation or dramatic pause.

4. Daylight Savings Time. Either have it or don’t. Indiana, I’m talking to you.

5. Innovation in the form of new ways to get more cheese onto your pizza.

6. Lindsay Lohan.

7. ED commercials with clothed people in bathtubs. Just wrong on so many levels.

8. Goober Grape. Have we really fallen so far as a society, that we have to have our peanut butter and jelly pre-mixed?

9. “American Stuffers.” The name had promise. I thought it was going to be a documentary about an overeating epidemic. No, it’s a reality show about taxidermy. We not only invite ridicule, we serve it up on a platter with Lone Star and venison jerky.

Which brings me to #10…Really could it be anything else?

10. Jumbo Jerky Works Jerky Gun and Seasoning Kit

I know someone who owns this product–actually purchased it, not gifted. It has attachments so you can choose the shape of your jerky. It’s made in America. I looked it up. Who says American manufacturing is dead?

#Facebook Fail

I’m in the 1%. That is, the 1% that can’t keep up with Facebook and how it is constantly evolving to new levels that annoy me. My FB exploded the other day; I wasn’t able to access it from my phone. So you’ll forgive me if I didn’t realize that you went to the grocery store. I realized though, that people had been sending me messages. This was a new concept to me. I had asked some very funny, like-minded snoots to guest blog, and I realized I had a real gem waiting for me. Thanks, CC for the hilarious snark…

Carissa Casbon

Carissa’s Guide to Being More Interesting/Less Obnoxious on Facebook:

1) Don’t show me 100 photos of your home renovation project. To everyone but you, it’s boring. No one wants to see that shit.
2) Don’t give me a play-by-play of your entire vacation. Especially in these economic times. People are losing their jobs on a daily basis. It’s tacky. If you were having such an excellent time, you wouldn’t be making status updates every 30 seconds.
3) If you are visiting in or living in a tropical climate, don’t tell me about it in January. People have been killed for less. Yes, that’s a threat.
4) No one cares about your marathon training schedule. It’s not interesting. It’s just not. Not to anyone. Not ever. Better you hear it from me.
5) Don’t give me a list of things you are going to be doing if it’s not at least mildly diverting.
6) Don’t use over-the-top LOLs or ROTFLs or whatever. Truly there are very few things that are so amusing they are worthy of a floor roll. Even a figurative one.
7) For once, instead of bragging about your new car, your fabulous vacation, your new expensive gadget, or any other inane bullshit, tell me about how your child vomited in the car at exactly the same time as your dog (this happened to me), or what you are reading, or how you hope to be less life-suckingly depressed this year. It’s more relatable and you may just feel better.
8) If you have nothing interesting to say, just don’t post a status for a while. It’s okay. You can take that time to read the posts of your friends and make a few supportive comments instead of constantly yammering about yourself and how fabulous your life is.
DON’T: OMG! We just arrived in Prague and our upgraded hotel room is huge!
DO: Today is measurably less sucky than yesterday. I may make it through the whole day without a king-size bag of peanut butter M&M’s.
DON’T: OMG! I just ran 10.54 miles in just under 84 minutes! Now I’ll hit the showers, do three loads of laundry and go out for drinks with the girls! ROTFL! LOL!
DO: Post an interesting article you read. I promise they are out there.