Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Milk of Human Kindness Doesn't Make Good Ice Cream!

There comes a point in every person’s life where you say, “I have heard it all.” For me, working in a call center, and being a wife and mother, I thought that moment had come and gone. But I now know that I was wrong. Really wrong. Of course it’s my duty to keep everyone abreast of the latest in nutty news. I recently read that the people at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have decided that it’s cruel to milk cows and use their milk for human consumption, especially ice cream. So they have reached out to ice cream makers Ben and Jerry. I love Ben and Jerry, y’all. They, along with Kendall Jackson, will someday ascend into heaven and be seated at the right hand of the Father, where they will all enjoy a big glass of chardonnay and a bowl of Chunky Monkey. Mmmm…. Wait, where was I?

Oh, yes. PETA. I think they do a lot of good for the most part. But now, the PETA-ites have decided, via some sort of bovine proxy vote, that it is cruel to milk cows and consume their milk. So they have asked Ben and Jerry to stop making their ice cream with cow’s milk, and instead, to start using human breast milk.

Oh yes, at this moment, I have seen and heard it all.

Okay, I have to try to get a grip on this one. Let’s ignore the fact that human breast milk has more lactose (that’s sugar, folks), more fat, and less protein than cow’s milk. Let’s ignore the studies that show that consumption by humans of low fat dairy products can lower the risk of heart disease and lower the risk of type two diabetes. Let’s instead follow the logic of People Exhibiting Traits of Asshats. Their argument is that Dr. Spock says that cow’s milk is bad for children. And I am all for breastfeeding your babies, but at some point, it has to come to an end. And by the way, this is the same Dr. Spock who advocated treating your child as an individual and allowing them to potty train at their own pace. To which I say BULL! Treating kids like individuals is great once they’re old enough to vote, but really not before. Just look at Britney Spears, y’all. She STOPPED behaving like a skank when her parents STOPPED treating her like and individual. And if I allowed Jenda to potty train at her own pace, I’d still be spending my money on diapers and Balmex instead of Kendall Jackson and Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Crunch.

To their credit, Ben and Jerry said “Beat it, you radical, hairy-armpit freakazoids!” No, what they really said was nothing, because they saw no need to comment and milk the situation for the notoriety. I think that is probably for the breast, um, best. But I do think someone needs to speak up for the poor women who might potentially be impacted by this nonsense. PETA feels that cows are being treated unfairly. What about Mothers? I have read studies that many cows are bred for their ability, as the scientific community puts it, ‘to produce a butt-load of milk.’ As a mother who nursed, I can tell you that I was not bred for that. First, Kendall Jackson and nursing do not mix, so it was a very long 7 months. Number two, if too much time passed between milkings, er, feedings, my breasts turned into weapons of mass destruction. Finally, when your kid gets teeth, well, let’s just say thank God for all of the strides they’ve made in reconstructive surgery.

So I am going to start my own advocacy group, “DAMN- Divine Admiration for Mothers Now “ to prevent this kind of nonsense from happening. My fellow mothers deserve a lift. And if you’re willing to go tit for tat with PETA, I invite you to join me. Really, y’all, let’s get pumped up about this. And if we’re not successful, we can always get together at my house for some chardonnay and a bowl of Dulce de Leche League or a couple of scoops of Fudge Nipple!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

Ooh, y’all, I am just too happy and excited for words! It’s a beautiful day here in Kernersville, the sun is shining, the air is cool and crisp, and we have a new neighbor moving in to the house down the street. No, he is not a George Clooney look-alike. He’s better!

For those of you who don’t remember the house down the street from us, I used to call it ‘The Cleetus-Pootis House.’ I named it for my two neighbors, who I called Cleetus and Pootis. They were two honest-to-God mullet wearin’, beer swillin’ tattoo covered rednecks who provided me with more sheer entertainment than a case of Kendall Jackson, a whole key-lime pie and a Golden Girls marathon on Lifetime television for women! (Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it!)

Cleetus and Pootis loved nothing more than to drink beer and decorate their house for the holidays. I don’t just mean Christmas, y’all. They decorated for Thanksgiving, Halloween, hell, they even decorated for Arbor Day! I loved to sit on my front porch with a glass of KJ and watch the two of them stringing lights up all over the house, drinking cheap beer, and just getting into the holiday spirit. One day, one of them, I think it was Cleetus, tried to string lights from the roof over to a small dogwood tree in the yard and fell right off the roof. Jenda was concerned. “Mommy, is he dead?”

Of course not, Sweetie. If he was dead, he would have dropped his beer.

I loved the blown transformers, the sirens, and the holiday displays that could be seen from space. But all good things come to an end, and Cleetus and Pootis were no exception. I was (almost) inconsolable when they moved away, presumably to join the traveling company of ‘Deliverance.’ And I missed their decorations and lights. I swear, after they moved, my utility bill went up 60%.

So the Cleetus-Pootis house sat empty for a time. Then, it was rented to two sisters who loved nothing more than to party til they puked. Or until all of the rest of us puked from the loud music and endless parties. One of the gals was very pretty and friendly. I called her Barbie. Her sister was mean and never responded to any overtures of friendship. I called her Ugly Sister Midge. She reminded me of my doll, the ‘Happy to be Me Barbie’, who comes with a pair of bi-focals and her own little tweezers for those annoying chin hairs and a size 14 pantsuit from Talbot’s. Oh nevermind. I know how it sounds, but I’m really not bitter.

Anyway, these two seemed to be running the poor man’s version of the Playboy Mansion, so they never had the appeal for me that Cleetus and Pootis had. But even this arrangement did not last. We all know that Barbie is the doll who has everything. Apparently, Neighborhood Barbie also had everything, including a pesky little drug habit. One night, her dealer came by and shot up the front of the house. Barbie and Midge called Ken and Skipper to help them load up the pink Barbie corvette and they high-tailed it out of town.

So, the house was empty again, forlorn and dotted with bullet holes. I figured that the bullet holes would be enough to ensure that it remained empty, so imagine my surprise and delight when I saw someone moving in! At first, I wasn’t sure what was going on. A caravan of cars came down the street and pulled up in the driveway of the house. One of the drivers had his radio turned up really loud, and I could hear banjo music playing. I thought maybe Cleetus and Pootis were back so I ran outside. And then I saw the new neighbor pull up on his motorcycle. My new neighbor is a beer swillin’, tattoo covered, ZZ Top beard wearin’, honest-to-God redneck BIKER!

Sing along with me, folks. You know you want to….’Oh happy day!’

The first few days were pretty quiet and I couldn’t wait to see what local color this one would bring to the neighborhood. But it was hard to get a bead on this guy. I had to get some information, not that I am nosy or anything. I’m just naturally curious. So I did what any other self-respecting nosy, er, friendly neighbor would do. I sent Jerry down to investigate. And it wasn’t too hard. When Biker neighbor pulled up on his Harley and cracked open a beer with his Hooter waitress girlfriend, Jerry was off like a shot. After a little while, he came back so I asked for the scoop.

What’s he like?

“Okay, I guess.”

Where does he work?

“I dunno.”

Well what DID you find out?

“He’s got a Harley with a kickin’ exhaust note, electronic fuel injection, and a two cylinder V-Twin engine….”

In other words, what he found out was blah, blah, blah, man-shit, beer, Hooter Girls, blah, blah, blah.

“Oh, his name is James.”

James? No, that will never do. You just can’t be some ZZ Top lookin’ Harley dude named James. No, that won’t work. I am going to call him Duke.

So, I knew it was up to me to find out about Duke. I mean, the holidays are coming, and I want to know if we’re all in for a treat. I have asked Santa for a lower utility bill, so anything’s possible. I considered ways to weasel my way into the Dukedom. Here in North Carolina, many neighbors have a tradition of welcoming new neighbors with a home baked Amish Friendship Bread. I decided against this pretty quickly. I don’t think Duke is Amish. He also doesn’t look very friendly. I also considered the neighborhood fruitcake. No, y’all, that is NOT my nickname. See, here in the deep South, neighbors bring food for various special occasions. When Jerry and I moved in, someone left us a fruitcake as a welcome gift. But before y’all get all misty-eyed at the hospitality of small town America, I will have you know that this damn fruitcake has been making the rounds since the Reagan administration, and the ‘to/from’ gift tag is covered with scratched-out names and welcoming messages. After Jerry and I got it, we realized that one of our sneaky-ass neighbors, er, new friends, must have crept over here after dark and left it for us. Compelled to reciprocate such kindness, we left it for another neighbor. It was kind of fun, like some perverse children’s game of ‘Pin the Ancient Fruitcake on Your Unsuspecting Neighbors.’ Then it turned back up with a new card attached….”Screw you! Y’all are the new guys in the neighborhood and fair is fair!”

All that notwithstanding, I am excited about the possibilities of life down the street from Duke. So far, he seems like what you would expect from a bearded, tattooed biker dude, which is to say potentially unstable and very entertaining. Um, I mean, very neighborly. So I am going to do the friendly thing and go down to call on Duke myself to welcome him to our little slice of Heaven. And no goofy food or flowers, y’all. I am taking a pin-up calendar and a case of cheap beer. Oh, and that damn fruitcake. He IS the new guy now, and since Jerry fixed that wobbly leg on the kitchen table, we’re really not using it!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beauty is Only Skin Deep in the Shallow End of the Gene Pool!

My friends, we live in interesting times! Not just the election and the economy and war and all of that. Don’t get me wrong, all of that is interesting, to say the least, but our focus and energy seem to be misdirected and, if nothing else, misguided. We live in a world where looks and perceived beauty are more important to us than the more pressing issues mentioned above. Vanity has outrun sanity, and there is no end in sight. I was talking to a friend of mine about the new show ‘Living With Ed’, and I mentioned how happy I am that he is a champion for saving the planet and being ‘green’. My friend said, “I just can’t watch that show. He just wears those horrible ‘man-sandals’ and have you LOOKED at his crusty ass feet? UGH!”

Um, no.

Sad, but we live in a world where toenails outweigh the greater good, or have become the greater good. Of course it’s no surprise. Remember when Venus de Milo embodied the ideal of beauty for women? Dear Venus, with her less than perfect abs, and her A, maybe B cup bosom, and her missing arms? Nah, I don’t remember that time, either. And in my case, I think I am built more like Venus of Willendorf, so maybe it’s best if I don’t try living in the past!

But the whole beauty thing is out of hand. I got an email recently from an online health and beauty magazine that touts all of the latest and greatest beauty discoveries that promises that you will transform you from whatever your current sorry state is, and into such a vision of youth and beauty that no one will be able to stand it. The fact that no one can stand you anyway is another issue altogether. But I digress.

The latest is a product called ‘BungGlow’. I know what you’re thinking, and sadly, you are correct. For the low, low price of 49.95, you can have a younger looking, bleached butt crack. South Beach Skin Solutions promises that “you will see results in just two to three weeks!” Folks, at the risk of seeming anal, er, banal, I can only say bullshit! First, there is no way on God’s green earth that I would ever be able to contort my out-of-shape, middle aged body enough to view my own butt crack…not that I have tried. Number two, I would never let anyone else look at the place where I go number two. Trust me. Is there some standard of booty beauty that I was not aware of? I guess the fact that my butt droops is only one ace in the hole, so to speak. Now I have to be filled with self loathing because my butt crack is adding years to my, uh, something. It’s enough to make you run out and drink a case of Kendall Jackson and devour a whole cheesecake. In my case, it actually doesn’t take much.

Of course if you have a positive rectal self image, maybe you have nasty, tired looking feet. And you’re in luck! At Yvonne Hair and Nails, in Virginia, you can make your feet younger looking and more beautiful with a ‘fish pedicure’. I have to admit that this one had me hooked. The basic concept is that you go to the salon, dip your bare tootsies in a tank of warm water, and then they release hundreds of small fish into the water where they proceed to nibble your stank-ass feet for several minutes, softening them up for an Asian pedicurist who then takes over and turns your feet into perfect Angelina Jolie feet. Or something like that. I even imagined myself going for some fish and foot work.

“Hi. I’d like to get a fish pedicure, please.”

“Hokay.” (I slip my shoes off.) “Ooh, you got stank feet. You don’t get fish-icure. You get piranha-cure. Better yet, jump in the tank with Jaws!”
Then I get to sit with the Asian pedicurist, at which point my feet are just useless, bleeding stumps. I think I’ll just stick to the fish with chips. And the Kendall Jackson and cheesecake. That’s what Spanx are for.

I held on to vanity for as long as I could. Actually, until I realized the futility of it and got real. I had to get glasses recently and I was just horrifeyed, er, horrified. See, I finally went to get my North Carolina drivers license. I held off for as long as I could because I knew it would be a pain in the ass transferring my title and getting my tag and all of that. I called the DMV here after we first moved.

“I need to find out about getting a tag and license. We just relocated from Florida.”

“Well bless your heart. You need to bring the title to your car, your Florida license, your social security card, and roughly 3,000.00 in cash.”


“There’s a 55.00 fee to gettcher license, 175.00 for the title transfer, and 2770.00 for the Highway Usage Tax.”

“WTF, er, Highway Usage Tax? Okay, so, can you drop that if I promise not to use the highway? I can drive on backroads….”

“Bless your heart.” (I have since figured out that this is an old Southern expression that means eff you!)

So I went online and renewed my Florida tag. But after that expired, I had no choice but to sell one of my kidneys for the Highway Usage Tax money and get my NC tag and license. So I went to take the test, only to discover that I could not see out of my right eye. I got all of the test questions right, and of course, all of the signs, because even with bum eyesight, it just ain’t that hard to identify the red octagon and what it means. So I got to the vision part, y’know, the one where you have to put your forehead on the bar thingy and look into the machine and read it? So of course I had to go after some big sweaty Bubba, and I so did not want to put my forehead on that thing. Lord have MRSA, er, mercy! Anyway, I tried to read the top line.


“Nope, try again.”


“Ma’am, I do believe you’re blind, bless your heart!”

So I had to go to the eye doctor for a vision test. The good news is I beat the scores posted by Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. The bad news is I had to get glasses, which I have since been told make me look like Sarah Palin. God help me. Anyway, I went back to finish my vision part of the driving test. Now I was clearly able to read the top line.


I should have guessed that.

Jenda reveled in my discomfort and deflated sense of vanity. I agonized over my Republican looking glasses and failing eyesight. What with the glasses and the occasional stray hairs that have begun sprouting out of my chin, I feel like Jerry Garcia. That poor man was never going to meet society’s high standards of youth and beauty. No wonder he’s grateful to be dead! I explained to Jenda that I was a ‘mature mommy’ and that I had developed a touch of astigmatism in my eye. Then I overheard her telling one of her friends that I got glasses because “Mommy’s old and she got stigmata in her eye.”

Ouch! Charity begins at home, but apparently not at mine. But that stigmata in the eye trick will probably be a hoot at parties! Hmmm….

But truly, I’ve just had enough of all of the eternal youth and beauty crap. I am not going to aspire to any ridiculous standards of beauty and I am not going to try to be younger than I actually am. Wonderbra and Spanx aside, I am not going to go bankrupt buying crèmes and potions and pills and having fish gnaw my feet off because it’s supposed to make me look younger and more beautiful. Frankly y’all, the color of my butt crack is like the whole JFK conspiracy or Jimmy Hoffa… no one knows for sure and we never will. I am not going to let animals gnaw the flesh off of my feet or any other part of me. Instead, I am going to tell myself that I am in great shape, because round IS a shape. I think I am going to try to be a voice of reason, a sort of standard bearer for standard looking people like myself who refuse to skinny dip into a school of hungry barracudas hoping to come out alive and with smaller hips. I am going to take on the unrealistic beauty industry. I plan to spend all of my free time lobbying against these cosmetic outrages.

And since I am not skinny and have what could, at best, be called an hourglass figure, I have plenty of time on my ass!