30 January 2008

The War of the Pinks

For those of you that are unaware, and given just how many random people apparently read this blog, that would be a lot, I teach pre-school with three of my friends from church. Our three-year-olds go to church classes together anyway, so it was any easy jump to a co-op school program. We each teach twice a week for two hours at a time, every four weeks. We teach from a mail delivery curriculum called Mother Goose Time Preschool, which provides the lesson plans, craft materials, music, calendars, etc. We've been pleased overall.

This was my week to teach, with the second of my days being today. Including my own kid, there are three girls and one boy in the group. For no reason at all, I will change the other children's names to Peter, Flopsy, and Mopsy. Our first day this week went beautifully. Today, not so much. I had never before been witness to the Color Wars. Peter loves the color red. If there is an object to be had that is red, he demands it. Given that he lacks competition for it, he usually gets it. Thus, all is well in his world. On the other hand, there are Flopsy and Mopsy, both of whom love pink. Now Flopsy and Mopsy are good friends, each also attending ballet together during the week.

Part of the lesson today was an activity involving porcupine balls and various games that can be played with them (spoon races, etc.). There were no red balls and Peawhistle doesn't care about colors as long as she gets the object displayed; thus, both toddlers were content. However, there was no joy in Mudville. Alas, Mother Goose Time provided but ONE pink porcupine ball. When I asked the kids to pair off for the ball-tossing game, Flopsy and Mopsy quickly embraced one another and declared their undying love for each other. And then came the tears, threats, and general disharmony aboard this ship. The Pink Ball had previously caused much strife when each girl wanted it; I had attempted to be fair by giving it to the girl who had asked for it first (who was by then pouting in the corner after a brief burst of tears), followed by her blood oath that she would trade with the other at a prescribed moment (much the same with the Battle for the Pink Chair vs. the Brown Chair at the beginning of class). But when the pairing-off game began, we saw Peawhistle and Peter happily tossing their ball between them, while Flopsy and Mopsy clawed and grabbed at each other as they raced around the room in an attempt to monopolize time with the infamous ball. I ended the dastardly game and stripped them of the Ball to End All Balls, sending them upstairs for the themed lunch of the day, pizza. As we waited for Mopsy's mother to show up with it, Flopsy and Mopsy continued their war with The Cups. Yesterday, to prevent such arguments, I made sure all children had the same kind of cup, despite Flopsy's request for the Dora cup. Today, I didn't have enough similar cups, and when both girls asked for the Dora cup, I felt it only fair to give it to Flopsy since she had been denied it previously. Mopsy burst into tears, inconsolable. A half an hour later, she was finally pleased to realize that she not only had a pink cup (which she had previously decried as inferior to the Dora cup), but a pink plate and a pink Disney Princess placemat. And finally all was well again with Flopsy and Mopsy. And their fued was repaired just as quickly as it had begun. Peter's mother, obviously unsurprised by the morning's clashes, informed me that we have not seen the end of the Pink Wars by any stretch of the imagination. Hard lesson learned: hide everything pink.

That'll Learn Ya

Well, I hope you've learned a valuable lesson: simply because you check every day doesn't mean I'll actually write anything new for you to read.

As I was sitting here, cursing the owners of various blogs I read for not updating their writings every 5 minutes, it occured to me that perhaps folks are getting bored with me for not updating my blog in at least a week. It passed through my mind that it had been a while, but nothing sprung to mind to write about so I forcefully extracted the thought from my brain. It was nothing I intended to lose sleep over. So now I give you, Random Thoughts.

First off, why is it that when I have Peanut on the changing table and he's looking up at me he is all smiles, talking, and laughing, but when I pick him he looks as if he just emerged from The Volcano ride at King's Dominion? I'm not picking him up by his toes and swinging him around the room, I'm simply picking him up and gently at that. Regardless of how slowly I pick him up, he reacts exactly the same way. I wonder what he'd do if I picked him up at 90mph? Look content? Spin his head around 360 degrees? Utter Shakespeare? Occasionally he'll be happily smiling on his changing table and suddenly he'll become wide-eyed and fling his limbs out in all directions as if he thinks he's falling. This perplexes me. Is the infant sense of balance so askew? Or is he already insane? Hm.

Despite my vague support for the Writers' Strike, I still would like to see the Oscars this year. My favorite part is always the In Memorium review. It informs me of who died and who died that I had forgotten had died. And yes, I still recall that Heath Ledger died. That was a shame.

McCain is the front-runner for the GOP as of now. Those who say Romney is ahead don't understand things like demographics. Do I want to vote for McCain? I've loved McCain since I first heard him speak in 1998. I said, "I like that man's politics. I hope he runs for president because I'll vote for him." And I've voted for him every time he's run. This time though, I dunno. Would I vote for him over Romney? Probably. So I guess that answers that. I liked him more when he was more of a moderate and not some right-wing nutjob just out to get the conservative nod. At least he isn't as blatant about it as Romney, but it's still disturbing. Surely there is a better way to appeal to the GOP masses. And that's all I have to say about that.

Peanut just awoke from a 4 1/2 hour nap in his car seat. This is approximately 4 hours and 20 minutes longer than he normally sleeps in his seat, which incidentally, is the only place he'll sleep aside from in my arms. He's on the Good List today. Peawhistle learned to write her name by herself today for the first time without encouragement from me in any form. This, among other good behavior today despite the odds, puts her on the Good List also. I am in a fine mood, especially compared with Monday when all hell broke loose and I was near the point of selling the children. Among other sinister activities that day, Peawhistle had clogged her toilet for the 50,000th time with her love and devotion to toilet paper, taking her father repeated plungings and a bottle of Drano to rectify. This was the least of her offenses; the others were too great for my feeble mind not to block out entirely. So I'm happy to know that it is possible for both children to be good at the same time. I'll definitely have to remember this moment.

22 January 2008

A Time Had By All

I wasn't going to post today, because for the life of me there wasn't a thing to talk about. Good thing I checked the animation section of Netflix! I should begin by pointing out that I was in search of classic animated films. Unfortunately, they throw Anime crap in that section too, forcing me to go through page after page of the garbage to find anything worthwhile. While sifting through, I came upon a Korean claymation film called "Doggy Poo." You'll never guess what it's about! I'll post the description here and allow you the same horrifying discovery that I made:

This charmingly eccentric cartoon from Korea features a little mound of dog poo on a quest to find meaning and purpose in his life. Left all alone on the side of the road and feeling abandoned and helpless, he believes his life is without value. Luckily, the despondent poo is befriended by a dandelion sprite who helps him recognize his worth.

His worth? Seriously? Is this really entertaining to the kids in Asia? Are Koreans typically amused by poop? Although, I suppose I shouldn't rag on the Koreans and their horrible taste in claymation plots; afterall, was it not the stupidity of South Park that made Mr. Hankey--a piece of poop himself--famous seven years before the Koreans' version?

What is wrong with people anyway? ...Anyone?

18 January 2008

BK Doesn't Do It My Way Anymore

The office coworkers series of Burger King commercials stand as some of the best ads I've ever seen. Here is the commercial that started it all:

That never gets old. And who would have thought that Joel McHale would go on to future glory as the host of The Soup, the reincarnated version of Talk Soup, originally hosted bt Greg Kinnear? He's a funny, funny individual.

Anyway, my point is that Burger King stopped making the office series (ending on the "episode" where the "I'm Spicy" guy gets fired because he guessed the wrong number in Joel's head) and they have not produced a good alternative since then. The ads with The King are unsettling at best, and the new line of annoying "Whopper Freakout" ads can't even make their point correctly. Naturally, if a person goes to BK and asks for a Whopper, suggesting that the person already enjoys Whoppers, of course they're going to be put out when told that the Whopper has been discontinued. Duh. It's not as if they were stopping people in the street who then freaked out, they targeted existing BK customers. I still don't like Whoppers, but more power to those folks who throw a hissy-fit when they can't get one.

Why can't BK bring back the good commercials? Why did it end the office ads? They won't make me eat at BK, but at least I'll be entertained during a commercial break.

17 January 2008

You're Who Now?

So I had a dream last night that I met Matt Damon. I was ecstatic.

MD: Hi.

Abby: Oh my gosh!!! Can you sign some of my Star Wars Stuff??

MD: ...You know I'm not Ewan McGregor, right?

Abby: Huh.

If memory serves, he signed them anyway, which means my subconscience is totally rich right now. Or at least it will be once it sells it all on eBay.

I was going to include a photo of Matt here in case you all forgot what he looked like, too, but I found this artist's rendering of him as Jason Bourne and I decided it was better than a photo. (Courtesy beFrank's @ coolshots.blogspot)

I love the internet.

16 January 2008

My Hero, the Cow

Those of you with small children possibly know of a show called "Higglytown Heroes," which airs on the Disney Channel at all hours of the morning (specifically 7:30 here on the East Coast). The show consists of computer animated nesting dolls who populate the town of Higglytown. Here's every episode plot: four children and a squirrel (with a Minnesotan accent mind you) run around doing boring, asinine activities until they run into a situation they don't have the brains or ability to fix themselves. Upon discovering that they need "someone special," they sing this little diddy:

"Someone special who could it be ?
This job's too big for you and me
We need some help
But never fear-o
It looks like a job for a
Higglytown Hero."

Please note the desperate attempt at rhyming in the creation of the word "fear-o" to connect to "hero" in the following line. I'm certain that I'm not alone in wanting to vigorously push a baseball bat through the TV screen every time they sing this.

Now, the fun does not stop at the song. The children always find their "hero" who, incidentally, is rarely ever a hero at all. To remind everyone, the definition of hero is "a [person] of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities." Now, I'm all for orthodontists and pet store owners, but these individuals rarely, if ever, qualify as heroes in my universe. But they sure count as heroes in Higglytown! Huzzah! Indeed, dumptruck drivers, librarians, tugboat captains, and even barbers are all considered heroes in Higglytown. I can only assume that Higglytown's definition of hero is someone with a job. But wait, it gets better! In one mind-boggling episode, the children's hero for the day was a dairy cow. A FRICKING COW. Why did they consider ol' Bessie their hero? Because she produces milk on a regular basis. As in, something she does without thinking and without her permission. And dang it, they needed milk for baking, but I guess they don't have stores in Higglytown, so what were they to do?! Good thing the damn cow was heroic enough to be born with mammary glands! Whew, that was a close one.

I am certainly not the first to think the meaning of hero has become warped as of late, what with everyone under the sun calling everyone else a hero. In some cases they certainly are heroes, like those who willingly and selflessly risk their lives to save the lives of others, more especially those they don't even know. That's a hero. A pizza delivery man is not a hero unless he happens to dive into icy water to save a drowning child while doing his delivery rounds. What are we teaching our children about the value of real, true heroes, and particularly at such a young age? Heroes are rare, not anyone you see just walking on the street. That's what makes them heroes: that they are willing to do what most others are not when it comes to saving a life. As far as I know, most people I'm acquainted with are willing to get a job. The men and women fighting in our military do not consider themselves heroes and agree that the term is used too loosely. If our soldiers and sailors aren't heroes by their own standards, then how can my sanitation worker possibly qualify for that job? Just by showing up to work? Maybe it takes getting kids and squirrels involved first.

15 January 2008

Indiana Jones: The Geriatric Years

He's back...and he loves pudding night!

But I kid Harrison Ford. Considering he'll be 66 in six months, he doesn't look so bad. Indiana Jones with white hair throws me a bit, but otherwise he looks like the same Indy we remember. And good for him for taking out the mid-life crisis earring long enough to complete the shoot!

Despite the general groans and rolled eyes from America as a whole, I actually got excited today about this movie coming out this May. I love the Indy movies and I had always hoped Spielberg/Lucas would make another. I'm disappointed that Sean Connery couldn't haul his ancient body out of reitirement to do the film, too, but I was very VERY happy to see they've brought back Karen Allen to reprise her role as Marion. Unfortunately it looks also as if they only brought her back so they could possibly squeeze in a son for her and Indy. I'm not a huge fan of contrived things like that, but I'd rather have Karen (with a Jones Love Child tagging along) than Calista Flockhart, who is who Ford wanted originally. One thing this series does not need is an anorexic Ally McBeal pouting her way through the movie.

I want to like this movie. I want to leave the series on a relatively good note. I don't want to go in with a lot of preconceived notions about how I want it to look. I want to just enjoy.

George Lucas was interviewed by Vanity Fair about the film:
“I know the critics are going to hate it. They already hate it. So there’s nothing we can do about that. They hate the idea that we’re making another one. They’ve already made up their minds.

“The fans are all upset. They’re always going to be upset. ‘Why did he do it like this? And why didn’t he do it like this?’ They write their own movie, and then, if you don’t do their movie, they get upset about it. So you just have to stand by for the bricks and the custard pies, because they’re going to come flying your way.”

While I certainly pray and hope it doesn't suck, I would hate for my expectations to ruin an otherwise enjoyable film for me. From this point on, I don't want to read anything about the film, especially critics' reviews. And may the memory of the Indiana Jones Empire not be sullied by a risky decision on their part.

11 January 2008

Crazy for Elvis Tote Bags!!

On any given day I get between 3,000 and 5,ooo catalogs in the mail. I estimate that I personally invited around five of those catalogs to be sent to me; the rest I assume are being sent by terrorists.

Now, don't get me wrong. Terrorist-sent or not, I love me some catalogs. I've loved leafing through them since I was a tot; it's an obsession that haunts me and my mailbox continually. I get a strange sense of satisfaction when I've been able to go through an entire catalog without wanting anything contained therein. It's comforting to know that I'm not missing anything essential (or more likely non-essential) in my life.

When I picked up "The Lighter Side" last night, I was relieved to know that I would be satisfied by the end of it even before I opened it (much like my level of confidence before browsing through "Lamps Plus."). "The Lighter Side" is a new company to my collection, but not unknown to me entirely given my lifelong affair with the catalog industry. Their particular collection of products is eclectic, but at least they all have one thing in common: they're pure crap. John Wayne throw blankets, light-up Shamrock hats, Hillary Clinton nutcrackers, "Future Redneck" toddler t-shirts, Elvis bobbleheads, home pole dancing kits, illuminated pink corset lamps, and animated "deer with a target on its chest" hitch covers that move their legs while you drive: all these products and more are to be found in "The Lighter Side."

The trainwreck that I can't ignore is the novelty t-shirt section. With printed sayings like "I get enough exercise pushing my luck!" and "Only 1 shopping day left until tomorrow!" I fail to see how they ever sell any t-shirts at all. One t-shirt caught my eye though: "Am I getting older or is the supermarket playing really great music?" I've thought my supermarket has been playing great music for a long time. So just how old am I?

This catalog also sells a "Red Carpet Runway With Lights, Applause, and Music." I should also mention that it comes with a tent designed to look as if your obviously deprived child is emerging from behind her (or his I suppose) red curtain-draped dressing room. First of all, who would buy this monstrosity? How spoiled does your bratty child have to be to need this product to lift his or her tiny little self-esteem? And exactly how many times is your kid likely to even use it? If your child is normal, once to try it out, and perhaps two more times with her friends (a boy would not use it with his friends because they would beat him if he even suggested it) before they tired of it. That was a waste of your $50, plus added heartbreak from discovering that maybe your child will not turn out to be that runway model or film star like you'd hoped.

Finally, my favorite products, the "The ORIGINAL Founding Fathers" line of goods. In case you're having difficulty imagining what that involves, it is a picture of Mount Rushmore overshadowed by the heavenly apparitions of Chief Joseph, Sitting Bull, Geronimo and Red Cloud. Now, that's a perfectly nice sentiment and all, but who exactly is purchasing throw blankets and t-shirts with that picture on them? Are there that many Indians in the U.S. who actually buy these things? Or are they progressive/guilt-ridden crackers who want to show the world how sorry they are for slaughtering the Native Americans 200-300 years ago? These are the things that keep me up at night.

In summary: if you need a doormat that tells your visitors that Yorkies are proof that God loves you and wants you to have a happy home, or a set of personalized angel car mats, then boy howdy, do I have the catalog for you.

08 January 2008

Huckabee No More

I've been a Huckabee semi-supporter for some time now. I've researched his views, his stand on issues, personal life, and I'd come to the conclusion that out of all the candidates in this race, he best suited me and what I was looking for in a president. Unfortunately, this past week the tide has begun to turn for me on ol' Mike. While I've made it no secret that I am not a Romney supporter for the election, it is now more than obvious that despite what he says, Huckabee does indeed have something very personal against Romney and it has nothing to do with Romney's attack ads as he claims. We all know that Baptists think all Mormons are destined for the eternal fires of hell. There is no debate there. But just because you don't agree with someone religiously does not entitle you to use that as ammunition against them in a secular, political race. Has Romney attacked Huckabee because he's Baptist? Of course not. He sticks to the issues. I don't agree with his approach to those issues, but at least he sticks to them.
Mike talks about the other Republican candidates as if they are some of his closest friends. Romney? Quite the opposite. I was watching the NH Republican forum the other evening and Huckabee (who was sitting next to Romney) looked as if he could just barely contain his utter contempt for Mitt. He refused to even answer Mitt directly when he asked him a question. Now, I've seen this before. When someone refuses to even acknowledge a person who is right there, that is pure hatred, and silly, petty hatred at that. That person has shut their mind down completely and focuses on such a narrow train of thought--their own--that reason cannot penetrate. What good is that doing him? Or more than that, America as a whole?

Another thought--if he can't stand Mitt this much because of who he is, how will he feel about the Mormon Belt in the West? Are all those people beneath him as well? Can he be an effective president to people he despises? I say he cannot. This is a charcter flaw that refuses to be undone easily. Character flaws like that are deal breakers. Sorry Mike, but you blew it for me.

Now I'm on the hunt for yet another candidate that suits me. That the hunt is so difficult is what bruises my spirit and will the most.
Oh, and Romney? No one likes the attack ads. Enough.

This is why you shouldn't rely on online quizzes

According to the quiz below, these are the candidates for me:

75% Hillary Clinton
72% Barack Obama
71% John Edwards
66% Joe Biden
65% Chris Dodd
65% Tom Tancredo
62% Bill Richardson
53% Rudy Giuliani
52% Mitt Romney
52% John McCain
51% Mike Huckabee
48% Fred Thompson
42% Mike Gravel
40% Dennis Kucinich
26% Ron Paul

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

I'm Republican. Honest. Now, I'll admit that I've become less strict about that since becoming an adult. At the most, I think I'm in the middle of the road. On certain topics I most definitely agree more with the Democrats' views (I think anyone who furiously believes in absolutely everything their chosen party supports as its platform is uneducated about the issues and a fool), but I tend to agree with Republican views more often, hence why I consider myself a member of that particular party.

Now look at the numbers up there again and tell me how that is possibly accurate in any way. I don't believe in voting creepy androids into office, particularly those who attempt to faux-cry their way into the White House. Depending on which idiot the Republicans put up, I could possibly see myself voting for Obama if it otherwise meant four more years of Bush-like lunacy (i.e. a Romney administration). But aside from that particular example, I just don't see it. And Guliani? The one-trick pony? No way! I still haven't figured out what he actually did with regard to 9/11. What did he do that would not have occured to absolutely anyone else in the exact same situation? The reason he's even gotten this far is because he happened to be there in NYC on 9/11, but he didn't send our troops to war in Iraq. Big deal. A word to America: stop voting for people who try to make us believe that their luck and their talents are the same thing.

I said this on a friend's blog and I'll say it again. Please don't rely on quizzes like these to do your voting/thinking/education for you. They are wholly inaccurate. They do not measure a person's core beliefs. A man can change his views on an issue over night (again, see Romney), but his character remains the same. Go with your gut, folks. Also, it never hurts to pray.