From the monthly archives:

June 2010

Many of the things that we do or don’t do can be legitimized if only we could find a proper name for it, in conjunction with a cool, catchy definition.

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Once you settle on a name, remember to capitalize it to make it into a Thing. Like so.

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To further reinforce the legitimacy of your parenting style, google and see whether you can find books written based on a similar premise. And of course there it is, out of the 16,562 books listed on Amazon.com under “Parenting (paperback)”.

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“The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids” in the UK; curiously, "Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids" in the US with a less inspiring cover...

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Voilà! You’ve got yourself a legitimate school of thoughts to follow (or continue to do or not do what you have been doing or not doing)…

As this article in The New York Times says, “[Y]ou can turn guilt on its head and call it a parenting philosophy.”

“The one constant over the past century has been parents’ determination to find the right answers when it comes to raising their children. In this latest chapter, we have replaced the experts who told us what a good parent worries about with experts who tell us that a good parent doesn’t worry so much. We may even see parents stop aiming to prove how perfect they are and start trying to prove how nonchalant they are.”

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A week before Father’s Day, I asked Mr. Monk to sign the card for my father-in-law. (Let’s for now park the burning question of WHY as soon as you entered into a committed, heterosexual relationship, all remembering and gift giving for miscellaneous dates and holidays became the woman’s job… Yes, let’s shelf it for now until we have some free time…)

“You should put lipstick on and put kisses all over the card to go with the big hug.” I said, without thinking. I was being witty.

“Can I? Oh, can I?” There were stars in his eyes. This kid has been dying to try on my makeup if it were not for the death threat issued by his father.

“Sure. Why not!” I grabbed the camera, thinking, “Honey, this is what happens when you are not around to sign your own father’s Father’s Day card!”

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The Joker

Picture 1 of 3

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… despite having a girl’s name. It’s like a boy named Sue, isn’t it? You have been taunted and toughened and become the manliest of them all now that you are all grown up.

Mars Chocolate North America announced today the release of the second annual COMBOS ‘America’s Manliest Cities’ study – crowning Charlotte with this year’s top spot of manliness.

Mars, yes, the candy company, commissioned Bert Sperling, the people who brought us “Best Places to Live” studies (in case you have actually heard of these studies), to conduct the “America’s Manliest Cities” study for the second time. This is a marketing move, as far as I can tell, to promote Combos.  You can check them out at Combos.com: Home of the Comboviore. And yup, they are really going after a certain demographics, hard.

Charlotte, N.C. now has chief bragging rights on manliness thanks to its top 10 rankings in the sports, manly lifestyle, manly retail stores, manly occupations and salty snack sales categories.

Naturally “salty snack sales” is one of the metrics. I wonder whether instances of men dying of heart attack and high blood pressure is also taken into account for the study. Have no fear because we know men dying will be well taken care of in these cities since the quintessential Manly Occupations (fire fighters, police officers, construction workers and EMT personnel) were added to the mix this year.

I don’t know what Manly Lifestyle means, in all seriousness. Can someone explain to me? Because here is my thought process when I saw “Manly Lifestyle”:

Watching sports, drinking beers, hanging around bars, shouting, yelling, hooting.

Smoking. Driving. Smoking while driving. Smoking while driving while using the earth as his personal ashtray.

Having big loud supped-up cars that can supposedly go very fast. But ooops. You live in a crowded metro city so your speed is constantly lower than 50 MPH. Better move to Montana (which is not on the list).

Wouldn’t you think that men who work on farms and ranches with their bare hands, and bare chest *swoon* should arguably be the manliest?

Hmmm. Brokeback Mountain. Oh. Never mind.

Well, the study did not say you have to be straight to be manly. I am down with that.

Hmmm. Brokeback Mountain. So it is kind of stupid that Wyoming is not on the list.

Wyoming should definitely be on the list.

Maybe that’s why they did not dare do “The Manliest STATES” because that would totally not be targeting people who may buy Combos and be caught dead with a bag of Combos in their hands walking around when their neighbors are wrestling with steers and cattle and other miscellaneous large animals that men in these mountainous ranges wrestle with their bare hands.

Maybe that’s why the study was confined to Metro Cities. So metrosexuals are not good marketing target for Combos?

Mars feel that they need to step up to market to “manly men” because, eh, Combos look kind of suspicious? Cylinder shape with gooey filling inside?

Do straight men naturally suspect eating anything that’s cylinder shaped? But they sure like hot dogs.

Ok. Focus: Men in metro cities. Think. Harder.

Construction workers. Jack hammers. Wolf whistles.

Wife beaters.

Marlon Brando. A Streetcar Named Desire.

Stanley is without a doubt a "manly man". Hot. But. What an asshole.

“Stella!” For once I just want to do this in the middle of a crowd.

Wife beaters.

West Side Story. Jazz hands. Definitely manly. Yup.

Possibly the most macho Jazz Hands you’ll ever see

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And my mind went on and on. See? It is all very confusing.

So here are the rankings of the 50 cities included in the study:

  1. Charlotte, NC (▲ 1 spot)
  2. Columbus, OH (▲ 5 spots)
  3. Kansas City, MO (▲ 5 spots)
  4. Nashville, TN (▼ 3 spots)
  5. Baltimore, MD (▲ 32 spots)
  6. Milwaukee, WI (▲ 11 spots)
  7. Chicago, IL (▲ 39 spots)
  8. Indianapolis, IN (▲ 1 spot)
  9. Washington, D.C. (▲ 36 spots)
  10. Philadelphia, PA (▲ 20 spots)
  11. Denver, CO (▼ 6 spots)
  12. St. Louis, MO (▼ 6 spots)
  13. Columbia, SC (No Change)
  14. Harrisburg, PA (▲ 12 spots)
  15. Cleveland, OH (▲ 4 spots)
  16. Orlando, FL (▼ 2 spots)
  17. Salt Lake City, UT (▼ 1 spot)
  18. Birmingham, AL (▲ 5 spots)
  19. Detroit, MI (▲ 1 spot)
  20. Cincinnati, OH (▼ 16 spots)
  21. Richmond, VA (▼ 9 spots)
  22. New Orleans, LA (▲ 5 spots)
  23. Phoenix, AZ (▼ 1 spot)
  24. Houston, TX (▲ 15 spots)
  25. Oklahoma City, OK (▼ 22 spots)
  26. Toledo, OH (▼ 16 spots)
  27. Minneapolis, MN (▼9 spots)
  28. Memphis, TN (▼ 17 spots)
  29. Louisville, KY (▲ 2 spots)
  30. Seattle, WA (▲ 10 spots)
  31. Boston, MA (▲ 7 spots)
  32. Atlanta, GA (No Change)
  33. Providence, RI (No Change)
  34. Dayton, OH (▼ 19 spots)
  35. New York, NY (▲ 15 spots)
  36. Jacksonville, FL (▼ 15 spots)
  37. Pittsburgh, PA (▼ 8 spots)
  38. Grand Rapids, MI (▼ 14 spots)
  39. Dallas, TX (▼ 5 spots)
  40. Rochester, NY (▼ 4 spots)
  41. Las Vegas, NV (▼ 13 spots)
  42. San Diego, CA (▲ 1 spot)
  43. San Francisco, CA (▲ 5 spots)
  44. Tampa, FL (▼ 19 spots)
  45. Sacramento, CA (▼ 4 spots)
  46. Buffalo, NY (▼ 11 spots)
  47. Oakland, CA (▼ 3 spots)
  48. Los Angeles, CA  (▲ 1 spot)
  49. Miami, FL (▼ 7 spots)
  50. Portland, OR (▼ 3 spots)

I know there is a reason why I instinctively like Portland… Miami got beaten by San Francisco? I blame it on David Caruso.

Charlotte won the crown but Chicago is the biggest winner this year (and of course I am biased): Chicago had the biggest move in the rankings, going from 46th to 7th, reportedly due to the addition of the “Manly Occupations” category.

We clearly have the best Men in Blue (and Red and Yellow and White and Brown and Black and so on…)

The following is said without any trace of sarcasm. Seriously.

The Chicago Blues definitely deserve The Manliest Award this year because many of them are confident enough in their own skin and self-identity to host (and give permission for their fellow officers to host and attend – this is a giant step away from the stereotypically homophobic environment associated with police departments in general, and specifically the Chicago PD in the past) the 14th annual International LGBT Conference for Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice Professionals for the first time in Chicago, ending with the Chicago Pride Parade this past Sunday.

I salute you, officers! Rock those self-confident booties of yours!

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Sexiness comes from being comfortable in your own skin. Rock on!

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Maddow for Prez (and Stewart for Veep, of course)!

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This picture of wishful thinking is at the beginning of this post to make it known with no uncertainty how much I love and respect Rachel Maddow. I also would like it to be known that my adoration for her is NOT bandwagon-jumping: I have professed my loyalty to Dr. Maddow as early as December 2008 ever since I saw her appearance on Conan O’Brien (and for that there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Coco and his hair…)

To further set my girl crush all ablaze, Maddow gave a “fake” Presidential Address on her June 16 show following the much-anticipated, and laster much-criticized, Presidential Speech from The Oval Office by the Prez regarding the BP Oil Catastrophe. (Ok, seriously, peeps, we really need to stop using the term “Oil Spill”. Thanks.)

Maddow began her show thus:

You know how sometimes after you get into an argument or a confrontation with somebody, you can’t help afterwards thinking of all the things you wish you’d said.  You run it over and over in your mind, imaging the perfect comeback or the perfect way to have made your point.

Did I ever?! Yes, YES and YES!!!! She had me at this “OMG that’s exactly how I feel all the time” moment…

But, that’s not all!

She proceeded to give her own Presidential Speech, a speech that she wishes the real President Obama has given instead. Here are some of the highlights in text. Or you can read the complete transcript which MSNBC put up right away due to unusually high demand. Or feel free to watch the video clip instead (after the jump) which is extremely gratifying, to say the least.

I‘m here to announce three major developments in the response to the BP oil disaster that continues right now to ravage the beloved gulf coast of the United States of America…

Never again will any company, anyone be allowed to drill in a location where they are incapable of dealing with the potential consequences of that drilling.

When the benefits of drilling accrue to a private company, but the risks of that drilling accrue to we, the American people, whose waters and shoreline are savaged when things go wrong, I, as fake president, stand on the side of the American people and say to the industry, “From this day forward, if you cannot handle the risk, you no longer will take chances with our fate to reap your rewards.”

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The second major development I‘m announcing tonight, my fellow Americans, concerns another oil industry assurance we can no longer believe.  The industry has long assured us that they were capable of handling spilled oil…

The same low-tech ineffective equipment and techniques are being used to respond to this oil disaster today that were used in the 1960s and ‘70s to respond to spills back then.

That‘s because the industry has not invested in any new containment and cleanup technology in all of these decades, because they haven‘t cared too much about it as an issue and it shows.  It shows both in the inept technology that we have to deploy, to contain, to clean up a spill like this.

And it also shows in the lackadaisical, uncoordinated, unprofessional way this inept technology has been deployed by BP.  Beaches have been fouled.  Wetlands have been destroyed.  Wildlife has been killed that should have been saved.  Pensacola Bay in Florida, if properly boomed, should never have been breached by oil.  Perdido Pass of Orange Beach, Alabama should never have been breached by oil. Queen Bess Island, the pelican nesting ground and Barataria Bay in Louisiana – Barataria Bay itself – none of these areas should have been breached by oil even given the sad state of existing technology to stop it.  But the fact that those areas were breached is BP‘s human error.

And tonight, as fake president, I‘m announcing a new federal command specifically for containment and cleanup of oil that has already entered the Gulf of Mexico with priority of protecting shoreline that can still be saved, shoreline that is vulnerable to all that has not yet been hit.

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And finally, the third development I have to announce to you tonight in the response to this oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is about how we got here and how that will change.

I no longer say that we must get off oil like every president before has said, too.  I no longer say we must get off oil.  We will get of oil and here is how.  The United States Senate will pass an energy bill this year.  The Senate version of the year will not expand offshore drilling.

Every president in the modern era has complained that America must get off oil.  Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W.  Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now, I, fake President Obama – we have all intoned solemnly that we must get off oil.

Now that we have, at the hands of the oil industry, experienced the worst environmental disaster in American history, the time for talk is over. The world is different now.  Our country is different now.  The scales have fallen from our eyes.

People say we‘re not ready.  They‘re right.  We‘re not ready.  We also weren‘t ready to fight in World War II before Pearl Harbor happened.  But events forced that upon us and events have forced this fight upon us now…

If there are elements of a bill that cannot procedurally be passed by reconciliation, if those elements can be instituted by executive order, I will institute them by executive order.

The political cowardice that has kept politicians from doing right by this country, finally, on energy – finally, standing up to the oil industry – that cowardice has been drowned in oil on Queen Bess Island.

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Although I am not so naive as to believe that any president will ever be able to pass an Energy Bill and have it executed just so that will have any real impact on the environment in my lifetime, like I said, it is gratifying to imagine what it would have been like to hear these same statements from the real Commander in Chief (assuming he has not lost his mind and decided to wage a war directly against the 50% of the country that considers Fox News a reliable news source). Naturally, depressing at the same time to imagine what could have been…

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Here’s to you, Dr. Maddow. Thank you for the Perfect Comeback.

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She proves that a brilliant mind makes you instantly hot. Period.

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WTF Wednesday: A Minor Setback

June 23, 2010 no manual for parenting

. Can you guess what this is? A view of ancient Aztec tombs from the satellite? An aerial view of Scientologist Compounds? Newly discovered evidence of alien civilization in Cambodia? . This is a computer keyboard after I took the caps off. But why? You ask. Can you see a hint of pink in the picture? That’s […]

23 comments

The Highlight Reel

June 22, 2010 random

Who’d have thought that a post titled “Warning: Do Not Read This If You Are My Husband” would pique my husband’s interest? The man normally does not read my blog posts. He is content to read the ones I forward to his email inbox. But I forgot that he does read my tweets, esp. when […]

22 comments

Dear @Wired. Meet Georgia O’Keeffe.

June 19, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words

In addition to Threadless Tees, I also try to seem young and hip and on top of things by subscribing to Wired Magazine. Although I have been caught in this conundrum of inadvertently outing myself as an old fart by actually subscribing to the print edition. Seriously, who subscribes to print editions of magazines any more? And since […]

17 comments

Be cool like me. Wear Threadless.

June 16, 2010 this i believe

Today, I am sharing with you the secret to my coolness. You know those older people who love to wear edgy t-shirts to prove to themselves that they are still hip, young at heart, and they can still get jiggy with it? (Irony intended) Me! Me! Me! . I have amassed a small collection of […]

27 comments

Rainbow

June 16, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words

. After I dropped off my 7 year-old at his Taekwondo class, I had less than an hour to drive, grocery shop, drive, unload groceries, stuff 99% of the groceries into the freezer portion of our refrigerator, and then drive back to pick him up. As I pulled up to the stop sign inside our […]

17 comments

I Comment Therefore I Am – Trolling

June 15, 2010 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

When I was in college, Deconstruction and Postmodernism were in vogue, later when I was in graduate school, Cultural Relativism was all the rage, and I thrived in the academic environment that prized my way of examining and understanding life and people from all perspectives. In real life, this makes me a person with no […]

33 comments

Sundays In My City

June 13, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words

(Actually these pictures were taken this past Friday…) This post should be titled: I went to the Chicago Hawk’s Parade and all I got was this set of lousy pictures showing the bottom of the Stanley Cup! . . . . . . . Whenever I manage to get my acts together or am not […]

27 comments