Sunday, October 29, 2006

Only in Texas

So, are you watching your caloric intake? Making every attempt to ban fatty foods and nourish yourself only with healthy meals?

Me neither.

I give you the latest innovation in state fair food: Fried Coke! Remember, it's a Texas Food! Yet another claim to fame for my prideful state. (Really, we DO all ride horses to school, and there really ARE Longhorn cattle grazing within fifteen minutes of Downtown Houston.)

Personally, I can't wait to try this recipe. I wonder how hard it is to fry Coke?

Buen provecho!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It's never too late to apologize

Dear Mom,

I'm so sorry that, when I was a kid, I made rude comments about the yellow squash slices you were cooking for dinner. Squash wasn't my thing, but I still should not have been so mean about it. In retrospect, they actually looked like little suns bursting.

I did like the zucchini boats you made when I got older. Those were awesome. Sadly, I have never been able to duplicate this recipe. Come with me to the grocery store so we can pick out some zucchini, please.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Yet another secret

I printed one of the postcards I saw on Post Secret and wish to keep it for one reason: it looks like my ex's handwriting. Okay, two reasons: it looks like the person who wrote it is unhappy, and if it IS my ex, this cheers me up. It means he's not leading such a perfect life without me after all.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


So, did you hear the one about the parent who tried to ban the book about book-banning, DURING Banned Book Week?

No, I'm not telling a stupid joke. It really happened, and not fifty miles away from my own school district. The book in question is Fahrenheit 451, written over fifty years ago, and still a part of public school reading lists. (No, I never read it, because it wasn't part of my school's criteria, and I'd never heard of it until this past year. Rest assured, it will be next on my list from the local public library.)

See, this kind of crap just pisses me off. Because one or two people got their feathers ruffled by the first FOUR PAGES of a book (I kid you not), a parent saw fit to try to ban the whole thing from all the kids in school.
I cannot begin to imagine how many things are wrong with this whole scenario, but I'll certainly try:
  1. We live in a country that guarantees free speech (including what is written in books). It seems incredibly stupid to ban a book about what happens when society puts a ban on free speech. Unless you think free speech shouldn't be part of a free society, in which case you should just leave the country.
  2. The parent in this case sited "taking of the Lord's name in vain" and swearing as part of the reason nobody should have to read this book. Excuse me, if you don't want your child exposed to swearing and shouts of "Oh my God," then you should take him/her out of public school, forego private school altogether, and just home school the kid. That's the only way you're going to escape that kind of language. Even the teachers and principals say "Oh God," especially when listening to senseless bull.
  3. The young lady who so objected to this book (after those four pages) was upset about the depicted burning of the Bible. Yeah, honey, no kidding. It's a book about WHY BURNING BOOKS IS A BAD THING, and how warped society becomes without those books. Using the Bible as part of the imagery should serve to prove the author's point, and make you think about why censorship should not be allowed to go too far.
  4. "Downgrading Christians???" I'm not even sure what you mean by that, Mr. Irate Parent. But if you want to ban a book that makes Christians look bad, why not petition to ban The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne. You could argue it makes Christians look overly judgemental, unforgiving, and hypocritical. I don't know that any of that is true, but I'm sure there are plenty of students who'd LOVE to have that book banned.
  5. While we're on the subject, why is it that required books can bag on any other group EXCEPT non-denominational Christians? My school was always assigning books that basically talked trash about the French, or Catholics, or French Catholics, but you didn't hear anyone complaining (and we had a lot of Catholics). And when we read Chaucer and other English fiction from that era, did the Muslim students complain about the depiction of Moors and try to get it banned? No, they did not. Why weren't the crazy kids rioting about Catcher In The Rye depicting them as unstable? Did any of the black students bitch and moan about Tennessee Williams using the term "darkies" in his play The Glass Menagerie, or Faulkner's use of the N word in his novels? If they did, it certainly didn't do any good, because we had to read them anyway. But paint some white Christians in anything other than a positive light, or even write in such a way that someone might misconstrue the book in such a way, and it's uproar!
  6. The book was "talking about our firemen," was it? Did you READ the book, or even a review of the book? A quick synopsis from or Wikipedia explains what the term "fireman" means in the context of this book: a book burner, not a fire fighter. So you need to just put it in reverse, dude. Clearly you don't even know what you're talking about.
  7. One of the societal problems pointed out in this book is how television consumes people and discourages things like literature and (gasp!) ideas. Surely a man so concerned about his daughter's education would want her to understand the dangers of too much TV.
  8. Dollars to doughnuts, the daughter was just trying to get out of an assignment, and hoping she'd get some easy busywork to do instead of having to think about what she was asked to read, and (heaven help her) write a paper. I hope the instructor did assign Hawthorne. Maybe she'll learn something. I'm not saying this girl doesn't have the right to request a different assignment if the book she's reading truly bothers her, and leaves dark feelings on her soul. I'm saying her discomfort should not translate to the complete banning of a book for all her classmates who obviously don't have the problem with it that she has.
  9. What I notice about books that do tend to expose Christians in negative ways is that these books usually don't condem Christianity itself. It's the people who don't seem to know how to follow the teachings of Christ that get mocked. Like I said, I haven't read this book yet, so I don't know what it says that "downgrades" Christians, but I have a feeling it's not what Irate Parent thinks.
  10. If you know what's best for everyone's kids, why aren't you on the school board or an editor for a parenting magazine? What makes YOU, Mr. Irate Parent, the foremost authority on which books are Not Good For Teenagers? Are all of them books you haven't read yet, or just this one? Do you have a degree in American Literature, or Secondary Education, or any type of certification that makes you qualified to tell other people what kind of books they should make their nearly-grown kids read? And please, while we're at it, tell me why "God's name in vain being in there" is "the number one reason" why the book should be banned, and not the suicides, murders, or destruction of property? Destruction of property? Killin'? Well heck, that's not ban-worthy, that's just good entertainment...
  11. The child, Diana Verm, said: "The book had a bunch of very bad language in it. It shouldn't be in there because it's offending people. ... If they can't find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn't have a book at all." I just...don't even know where to start with this girl. Let's take away all the books because I don't like the curse words in this book about what happens when they take away all the books. Do she and her father say the same thing to the local movie theater whenever they play PG-13- and R-rated movies? Or radio stations that play songs with the word "damn" in them? I know. How about if we have all the history books banned because they're offensive to whoever lost the wars described? It won't be hard to learn anything without books, I'm sure. Ban all the Spanish texts, because those are certainly offensive to anti-immigration policy makers. And while we're at it, let's ban the algebra books, because the word problems are offensive to railway superintendants who insist that their trains most certainly travel in opposite directions at much greater speeds than 45 mph, resulting in fewer delays and cheaper fares. Let me tell you something, sweet cheeks: if my algebra books had contained a few dirty words, you can just be sure I'd have been paying WAY more attention in math class. Shouldn't have a book at all, really should have read this one, hon. Maybe you'd be able to appreciate the irony of your own statement.

I'm sending a link to the original article to my old sociology professor. The good doctor will be absolutely beside himself with simultaneous disgust (at the audacity of the parent) and glee (at the assignments he can now generate from this event).

Monday, October 09, 2006

Gack! update

My weekend

House full of in-laws, including brother-in-law's delightful wife from California in town for a visit: check.
Eight people for one bathroom: check.
Rapidly vanishing towels: check.
Sheryl Crow concert, complete with chuckleheads sitting behind me who won't shut up and let me enjoy the show (for which everyone there paid $30 a pop) because they HAVE to make their opinions known as loudly as possible: check. (But they did end up leaving, so I could enjoy Sheryl in peace.)
Stomach issues as a result of too much birthday cheesecake: check.
Wait around the house until 2:00 Saturday for sis-in-law to call and let us know if she needs us to babysit or not, only to have her call after we've gone and leave a slightly annoyed message for us indicating that she didn't need a sitter after all: check.
Trip to the zoo: check.
Landlady decides brother-in-law must move out by the end of the month, and informs us on Saturday: check.
Husband has to be talked down from his anger at being forced to ask his brother to leave when the guy has "nowhere to go" and "not enough money to get a place" even though he "doesn't know how much money J makes" at his full-time job, while husband is simultaneously informed that his reply to landlady's representative came off as rude AND that our landlady (one of my relatives) is legally in the right: check.
Inform brother-in-law and his wife of impending move-out, to which BIL replies "Whatever, I'll go stay at Mom's,": check.
Husband and the partial horde of in-laws go to a haunted house, while I stay home with the kids and do laundry: check.
Sis-in-law calls at night, sounding annoyed that we never returned her call this morning (wait, WHAT?!), and is inf0rmed of the impending move-out, to which she replies "Don't you pay rent?": check.
Travel all the way to church early for a committee meeting, only to find out said meeting not being held this month: check.
Go back home to pick up husband and kids for regular church meeting, only to find husband cannot get into shower in time due to prolonged shower interlude between brother-in-law and his wife: check.
Visit to estranged father-in-law, his much younger wife, and their two small children (same ages as my own kids): check.
Husband continues to feel guilty about kicking his brother out, even though it is our landlady doing the kicking, and maintains that HIS family will blame him for this: check.
Husband continues to be upset that his unintentionally rude reply was met with a firm, snippy rebuttal, and has to be told AGAIN what went wrong with the original conversation, which was only about four or five sentences long: check.
Tiring of all the in-laws, I leave the kids with husband and go visit my paternal grandmother. While there, my cousin brings her son over to the house. Nephew (second cousin?) has a head injury, and his mother has brought him over in an attempt to keep him awake. Cousin keeps repeating the story of how the head injury occurred, and I try to keep her in a different room while our aunt entertains the boy, so that cousin will stop making him so nervous. Boy is fine (it seems to have been a glancing blow), but grandmother continues to be agitated, and cousin continues to be nervous, though less so: check.
Buy raffle tickets from grandma, in the hopes that I might win the $2000 gift certificate to Gallery Furniture: check.
Travel home at night through iffy neighborhoods: check.
It's late, and the children are still awake: check.
Husband continues feeling guilty, despite repeated assertions that he is not at fault: check.
Weekend comes to a slow end: check.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Family Game Night

This evening my little girls learned a new game. It's called Bonzai.

The rules are simple, really. I lie down on my bed, stomach down. The children take turns standing on my back. As they jump off me like the five-foot spring board I am and onto our super-bouncy bed, they yell, "BONZAIIIIIIIIIII!"

That's it. That's the game. Over and over again. I am quite sure my back will be several shades of blue by morning.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Happy Birthday to me...

This Friday I'm turning...24...again...and my dad scored some concert tickets for me. So while all three of you will be doing your regular Friday Night thing (America's Funniest Videos? Getting drunk and hitting on the barstool next to you? Wild monkey love?), I'll be out watching her:

(That's Sheryl Crow, if the object is not working.)

Thank you, Daddy!