Tag Cloud Band Names

Hey guys. Stephen and I are sitting here, laughing about my tag cloud after a couple of glasses of wine and watching “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” so I thought I’d let you in on the forest of secret thoughts we’re having. It’s a magical forest, you all. Buckle your seat belts.

Tag Cloud

This is all you need to come up with a super awesome band name. You're welcome, internet!

Dangit. The photo isn’t uploading. Try #2:

Okay, there it is. My tag cloud. And held within its fertile loins (eww) are the seeds (oh, come on) for a fantastic band name. Here are some to get you going:

  •  Benjamin Franklin Candy
  • Dylan Failure
  • Truth Turkey
  • Killer Whale Lies
  • Kevin Bacon Kids

Pretty great, right? Don’t say I never gave you anything. I did. Right now. G’night, ye lads of…erm. Something.

‘Weeds’ Induced Depression

Spoiler alert: I’m going to talk about the show, Weeds, produced by Showtime (or possibly Satan). And I’m not going to try to hide any details, so if you have your Tevo or DVR or Netflix queue or whatever all stocked up with the first two seasons of Weeds, a) you should stop reading this and b) you should also not watch any of those shows. Why? Because of…

Weeds Induced Depression!! (run for your lives!)

The cast of Weeds during Season 2, Left to Rig...

Don't let the smiles and flowers fool you…this show is sadsville. Image via wikipedia.

This show is DEE-pressing. I should know, because I watched exactly twelve episodes in rapid succession before I decided OH MY GOD IT’S LIKE BATTERY ACID FOR THE SOUL. (Side note: I just discovered that IMDb calls it a comedy! What?! Have they lost their minds?! Anyway…)

Here’s the rundown:

Weeds is a show about a suburban mom who, after her husband suddenly dies, decides that the best way to maintain the standard of living that she and her two teenage sons are used to is to start selling weed. It stars Mary Louise Parker, and I think she’s the one that tricked me in to watching so many freaking episodes even while my heart was bending into a permanent frowney face shape. But Ms. Parker is just so danged adorable and I couldn’t stop looking at her face. Even when she’s being terrible I kinda like her. But that’s the problem with Weeds: everyone is terrible all the time.

I mean, sure, there’s the drug dealers. But you kinda expect them to be terrible because they have to lie and cheat and threaten people with death to make a living, so they lost their nice-people skills a while back. But does everyone in the entire freaking town need to have ash and oily resin where their hearts used to be? Apparently the writers of this dreadful thing think the answer is yes. For your review, here is a partial list of the characters who are a-holes:

  • Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker), mother and drug dealer—the protagonist.
  • Doug Wilson, the city councilman
  • Celia, local mother, president of the PTA and future councilwoman
  • Andy Botwin, the brother-in-law/uncle
  • Peter Scottson, a DEA agent
  • Yael Hoffman, the director of the local rabbinical school
  • Silas Botwin, Nancy’s oldest child
  • Shane Botwin, Nancy’s youngest son
  • Isabelle Hodes, Celia’s daughter

Just look at that list! Town council members; mothers; law enforcement officials; the director of a religious school; the PROTAGONIST; and, last but not least, children. Yes, the children are a-holes. They’re just terrible, awful little buggers that make me fear for the future of the world. To watch this show is to expose yourself to continual and unrelenting disappointment in the portrayal of humans. Every character on the show, no matter how innocuous or even benevolent he/she may seem, is a secret agent of scary, sad things. This is what snuck up on me, eventually dragging me into the dreaded Weeds induced depression.

It took me a while to recognize what was happening. I’d watch, you know, three episodes in a row, then go for a walk. I just felt kinda bummed out, but that happens from time to time no matter who you are, so I didn’t think much of it. Then I started looking at people like, “I wonder what terrible thing they did before they got here.” Or I’d think, “That guy’s probably cheating on his wife or murdering baby seals or eating puppies for dinner or something.” A lingering disappointment and doubt had begun to hover around me like the dust pile around Pig-Pen. I mean, if children, mothers and nice Jewish ladies are actually dark black holes where goodness can’t survive, what hope do we have as a society? None. That’s how much.

Shortly after the DEA agent that was dating the drug dealer got murdered in the driveway by an Armenian gang after said DEA agent found out the drug dealer wasn’t in love with her, I realized that I was tailoring my hope for the future of the world based on a horrible television show (albeit one starring a very adorable woman) and somehow that didn’t seem prudent. So I decided to not watch that show anymore. Yep, that sounds like a better option.

Once again, the new year approaches. It’s tempting to try to come up with some life-changing resolution that will make me feel like a super human (like a mix of Michelle Obama, Ray Kurzweil and Nataly Dawn), but I think I’ll do something reasonable. I shall resolve not to watch any shows that make me think  the nice lady buying milk in front of me in the store is probably also selling meth. It’s a good start.

Christmas Killed the Spirit of Christmas

Broken Angel Nativity

People. I am SO. tired. Pooped, if you will. It’s six days before Christmas and we have been elfing our freaking socks off around here (whoa…kinda sounds super dirty. Hmm.) and now I’m sleepy.

Christmas, since the beginning of my life, has been a bitch. To start things off, I was born on Christmas. Now this is the single dumbest day of the year to be born. Trying to hold a celebration for little ol’ you in the midst of those two rabid attention-getters, Jesus and Santa, is like trying to have reasonable discourse on Facebook. No one cares. It just isn’t going to happen. So I ended up getting those Christmas/birthday combo presents for a few years, then my parents decided to celebrate on a different day and somehow chose Valentine’s day (?)…I know. I don’t know what was going on there, either.

But that major scheduling conflict was just the beginning. By the time I was actually old enough to engage in the Christmas season, my family had cultivated habits that resulted in all-out, full-tilt calamity every year. It was as if Christmas staged a surprise coup on our household and, every year, we were caught unawares. “Whhhaaaa? Christmas again?!” we’d shout as we took cover behind the recliner. “What will we do?!!”

Takin' it back…

We’d end up wandering stores on December 23rd, just putting things in the cart in a sort of red-eyed desperation. We’d all go to the store together, then break into groups and go shopping in different combinations so we could buy presents for each other. It was a big, complicated, last-minute, stress-filled exercise in consumerism, which typically ended with us back at home, decorating the tree and arguing, while a Sandi Patty Christmas (anyone?) cassette played in the background.

But that was when I was a kid. Now I’m an adult, and I decided a few years ago that I was going to do Christmas awesome. I was going to plan, and be thoughtful and considerate and contemplate the “reason for the season” and all kinds of rad crap. There would be no panic, no frenzy, no meaningless, obligatory purchases…no, my house would be filled to the brim with good feelings and cinnamon smell. We’d sit around laughing through our eggnog mustaches while classic Christmas songs caressed our ears. We would all smile at how ol’ Duke the dog loved to join when Jingle Bells came on. “Ha ha ha!” we’d say. Just like in the movies.

I would start by making all of my presents by hand. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Okay, just stop right there. Yes, that is a cute idea. But another way to say it is, “I will start a sweatshop and employ only myself.” It was madness. Madness, I tell you! I was doing so much knitting that my fingers were cramping like I was an 85-year-old arthritic woman. The tips of my fingers throbbed when I finally went to sleep at night. So the next year, I decided to just sew all the presents because, you know, that would be easier. Nope, just as hard. Just as miserable.

So this year, we’re just buying presents. And somehow, it’s still crazy. I started my Christmas list in September, you all. SEPTEMBER! But it doesn’t matter! There is literally no planning day early enough to avoid the insanity that is Christmas. I don’t think it’s just me, either. I mean, that one lady pepper sprayed other shoppers. That’s gotta be a bad omen for our whole society.

I did buy a cinnamon candle, though, so I’ve got that going for me. But I actually really hate eggnog. And we don’t even have a dog. And if we DID have a dog, I’d name him Bilford O’Reily-ahan, not Duke. I don’t know why I thought I could build an idyllic Christmas full of nog-drinking and dog-admiring.

But I AM trying. I’m trying, people, okay? Next year I’ll start my shopping (not just planning) in March. I’ll buy presents and wrap them and stick them in the closet so they’ll be a surprise even to me when Christmas rolls around. By the time my daughter is cognizant of Christmas I’ll have this crap down.

No Means No, Dean Martin!

It’s Christmas time! And the only kind of Christmas music that I like is the kind that swings—you know, the old, classic, Big Band kind. I even have a Pandora station that plays THE BEST music. It’s awesome. (You can listen to it here if you like. You’re welcome.)

There’s only one teensy weensy problem—you can’t listen to any Christmas station without hearing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and that song has been ruined for me for all time. Why? Because my dear friend Cookie told me once that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” sounds a whole lot like date rape. Perfect. Ruined.

Dean Martin - Baby It's Cold Outside

No means no! Even for you, Dean-o.

At first, I thought, “That’s crazy!” but then I started listening to the lyrics. Even the description on Wikipedia sounds totally suspect:

The lyrics in this duet are designed to be heard as a conversation between two people, marked as “mouse” and “wolf” on the printed score. Every line in the song features a statement from the “mouse” followed by a response from the “wolf”. Usually the “wolf” part is sung by a male and the “mouse” by a female.

via Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

So, a lady mouse is being stalked by a dude wolf. No big deal. And the song starts off kinda friendly. She’s saying she has to go, and he’s just giving her some sensible weather information, and pointing out that he’s built a lovely fire to warm her hands by. What a gentleman. So then she says, “Oh, okay, I’ll stay for half a drink.”

Lady Mouse: I really can’t stay    Dude Wolf: But baby it’s cold outside
LM: I’ve got to go away                 DW: But baby it’s cold outside
LM: This evening has been          DW: Been hoping that you’d drop in
LM: So very nice                            DW: I’ll hold your hands they’re just like ice
LM: My mother will start to worry   DW: Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
LM: And father will be pacing the floor   DW: Listen to the fireplace roar
LM: So really I’d better scurry    DW: Beautiful please don’t hurry
LM: Well maybe just a half a drink more    DW: Put some records on while I pour

“Yessssss…” he says to himself whilst rubbing his wolfy paws together. And a couple of lines later…

LM: Say what’s in this drink?

“Oh, it’s nothing,” says the wolf, “Just a little eggnog, with some nutmeg. And rufies. Your hair sure looks nice.”

Later on she says, “The answer is no,” and lists off all of her relatives and associates that will be calling her a floozy in the morning (including her “maiden’s aunt”, whose “mind is vicious”…kooky) to which he responds by incessantly complimenting her lips.  It doesn’t sound like she ever leaves. They just end the song with both of them singing “It’s cold outside!” and that’s it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you ruin a perfectly good, campy, Christmas-time song.

CAAAAAaaaaake. Cake. (cake.)

I’m going to make this cake, y’all.

Chocolate Orbit Cake

Hello, mister cake. I will put you in my face now. Photo by Stephanie @ Desserts for Breakfast.

This is Chocolate Orbit Cake with white chocolate Lady Grey crème anglaise, and it’s so good it’ll melt your face off. I found it last year over at Desserts for Breakfast, when I was searching for the perfect cake for my husband’s surprise birthday.  And look at that photo…isn’t it gorgeous? Stephanie at DfB took that photo. And made that dessert, and, I assume, shoots magic out of her fingers while she walks around partly suspended off the surface of the earth. That’s how good this cake—and everything on her blog—is.

So, whatever you’re doing, stop it. Go to Stephanie’s post, make a grocery list, go buy the stuff and make this cake. And then send Stephanie a pony in the mail to say thank you. You can send me a pony, too, since I gave you the idea.

The Five Stages of a Cold

Coughs and sneezes

Photo by peretzp @ Flickr

I have a cold. And I hate it. Like a whiny ridiculous baby. Good thing my husband is a way better person than I am because he’s taking care of my kid and letting me wallow in my bed. I thought I would share my experience with you, oh readers of the internet, because sharing is caring (also, my cold-mushed brain isn’t coming up with anything else). Without further ado, the five stages of a cold.

Stage 1: Fear and Panicked Prevention

This stage starts at the very first sign of any sort of illness whatsoever. A sneeze? Probably Ebola. A tickle in the throat? Throat cancer. A cough…werewolf syndrome. So what shall we do to ward off Ebola, throat cancer and werewolfery? We shall take a billion supplements. Now, research has shown that basically none of the things I do (which include taking copious amounts of vitamin C, a B12 complex, oregano oil, and zinc) have any effect, but I do them anyway, because the fear and panicked prevention phase has already begun and I’d probably drink monkey blood if I thought it would help. Then I go to bed early, but have a hard time sleeping for fear of the germs multiplying in my organs. I just pull the covers up to my nose and lay quietly to see if I can hear them plotting against me. (“Hey Jim, there’s some room here in her left nostril!” “Thanks, Archibald! This lady’s in for a doozy!”) Jim and Archibald, you stupid assholes.

Stage 2: It Begins

Any hope of preventing the onslaught of runny noses, scratchy throats and misery has now been squashed. Typically this stage consists of me dragging myself around the house, texting my husband a frowney face from time to time, then crawling off to writhe in the bed as soon as he gets home. Even though it’s clear that sickness has not been avoided, there’s still a hint of hope that it will only last a day or two. Yes, that’s right, if I sleep as much as possible and drink eighteen gallons of water, I’ll lick this thing quick. Pack your bags, Jim and Archibald.

Stage 3: Despair and Netflix

Jim and Archibald have taken over my body like the Cosa Nostra in Sicily (or like the Cosa Nose-stra. Get it? Nose? Runny nose? Meh.). After a time of being sick, when the realization that this is not a 24 hour thing sets in, stage three begins—the despair and Netflix stage. This is the stage in which I think things like, “I can’t remember what it’s like to be well” and “If I was feeling better I’d clean the whole house and exercise and make papier-mache and run for public office, but instead I’m going to die here, covered in snot with my peeling, crusty lips.” This is also the stage in which intermittent moaning occurs to remind the living that they should be leaving alms at my door. On the bright side, I’ve watched four seasons of Ally McBeal.

Stage 4: Faux-recovery

During this stage, the better-than-terrible feeling tricks me into thinking I’m healed and am also Superman so I should go run around the block as fast as I can to enjoy my newfound health. Two minutes of fresh air, however, reminds me that I am still a miserable mess and should lie down as soon as possible. Moaning resumes as my husband drags me back to the house.

Stage 5: Recovery!

Feeling well and chipper like a squirrel in springtime, I shower, do my makeup and head out on the town. I con my husband into taking me for coffee and plan out a day of grocery shopping and accomplishments. This lasts about three hours, until I remember that I’m actually a lazy person, and being a go-getter makes me sleepy. But who cares what I do? I’m well! And now I’ll sanitize my hands every hour and never touch an unclean thing again! Huzzah! And then my daughter licks the table at the coffee shop. Three days later she sneezes directly in my face. Countdown to stage 1.

How do you deal with colds? Are you the tough-it-out kind? Or do you experience these same five stages? Did you love that joke about the Cosa Nostra? (I know you did…don’t be snotty. Ha! Snotty! I’m on a freaking roll, I tell you. Or I’m sick and can’t tell the difference. Either way, I feel like a particularly spectacular brand of awesome right now. Don’t ruin it for me.)

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