Archive for June, 2010


What is it with the dorky boy / hot girl hook-up that’s so prevalent in pop culture? More importantly, why does it never work the other way around? Guys might hook up with the “weird” girl (read: inclination toward black nail polish and artistic endeavors) or the girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks (with a heart of gold underneath those scanty clothes!), but these girls are invariably still attractive. Or they will be once they remove those offending glasses and ponytails. The closest instance I can think of is Twilight, but that doesn’t even count really, because the protagonist only thinks she’s plain, whereas every boy in sight begs to differ.

So what does this trend mean for humankind? Are women less shallow than men, despite all evidence to the contrary? Perhaps it’s a status thing. People gravitate toward power and money, and for a woman, her appearance is currency. A guy can be awkward and dorky and still get the hot girl so long as he has his own currency—actual currency in this case. Normal people, on the other hand, seem to gravitate toward their equal opposites. All other things being equal, beautiful people mate with beautiful people (something about keeping the blood lines pure) and the rest of us boring schmucks are left to stick together.

But wait! There is a light on the horizon: Awkward, unconventionally attractive Nia Vardalos did get the tall and very nice looking John Corbett in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a film she wrote. So apparently there’s an important lesson to be learned from all of this: write your own life story, and you get to cast a hot person as your love interest.

T

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  1. Obscenely lengthy mid-season hiatuses – Is it really necessary to take a show off the air for months at a time in the middle of a season?  How does the studio expect us to remember what was happening or stay with the continuity of the show?  Be warned: if you make us find something else to watch, you might never get us back.
  2. Humidity – That bastard.  He knows what he did.
  3. Album injustices – Good band likes the Prissteens break up after one album, while crappy bands manage to stay together and produce way too many albums (“way too many” is classified as anything over one).  K says, “I’m looking at you, Jonas Brothers!”
  4. Lady at the co-op last week – This one goes out to the Pop Chips lady who attempted to return an open bag of the aforementioned snack to our local co-op because she didn’t like the flavor.  Her defense?  “You should’ve had samples out.”  In arguing that she felt “really bad about that” but still demanding—and receiving!— a return, she earned a place on this list.
  5. “Proud Parent” bumper stickers – When T earned one of these at school, her mother replied, “Why would I deface my car with that stupid thing?”  Her parents agreed that it was funny though and promptly stuck it on the back of her troublemaking brother’s mud truck to deter cops from pulling him over.
  6. Fanny packs – There’s really no excuse for these deeply unattractive things, unless you’re involved in some sort of outdoor exercise like biking, and even then there must be a less ugly alternative.  Out shopping and want your hands free?  Wear a cross-body or messenger bag.  Or stick your cash and ID in your pocket to avoid bags all together.  But for Franklin’s sake, do not strap on a fanny pack.
  7. Terms like “cougar” – Why is it that a sexually active older woman earns a derogatory, dehumanizing nickname like cougar, whereas an older man who’s sexually active is just called a man?
  8. Drunk girls –We know you think you look cute and funny and believe that everyone in the room thinks you’re hot, but in actuality, you are making an ass of yourself.  It’s painful to watch.  You don’t look cute; you look like an intoxicated idiot who is really going to regret groping a stranger in front of her future mother-in-law.
  9. Creepy older men hitting on impressionable young Pandas – Having someone find you attractive is always a compliment, regardless of the source.  That being said, it’s a thin line between flattering compliment and icky come-on that makes you want to take a shower.  Please stay on the proper side of that line, gentlemen. 
  10.  Homophobia – Not to get too serious on you, but in honor of Pride Month,  we send a big “that’s so stupid!” to ignorant homophobes who just can’t grasp that, to paraphrase Russell Brand, we’re all the same flavor underneath our different colored candy wrappers.

I Won’t Back Down

Dear fellow concert goer,

It’s awesome that you love Tom Petty as much as we do and want to let him know. Your method of sharing this affection—whistling and screaming “Wooooo!” at the top of your lungs—may leave something to be desired, but hey, you’re excited. We get it. However, being young fogies, we can only take so much. In light of this, we offer a few suggestions to enhance everyone’s concert going enjoyment:

 If “Free Fallin’” gets you so excited you find yourself incapable of not groping your girlfriend’s ass, please get a room. Go to the bathroom, hole up in your car, at the very least sit down in your seats. Don’t make out in the aisle. It’s gross, and it’s a fire hazard.

 People can see you. When it’s a floor show, and everyone’s crammed together jumping around, you’re welcome to dance to your heart’s content. But when it’s assigned seating and you’re still on your feet hosting a one-woman hoedown, that’s just plain embarrassing.

 Watch the show with your eyes. Crazy concept, I know! Why spend several hours squinting at the show through the screen of your camera when you simply look up and see the concert right in front of you, live?

 Try to remember there are other people around you who would like to hear more than just the greatest hits. Funny how the jumping drunk girls who drown out “American Girl” with their caterwauling suddenly need to have conversations or run in and out of the building as soon as the band busts out “Drivin’ Down to Georgia.”

 For Franklin’s sake, please stop honking in the parking ramp. There’s a lineup. We’re all waiting to get out. Honking and yelling out of your window is not, amazingly, going to make traffic move any faster. Also, the concert is over. Stop wooooo-ing.

This has been a public service announcement. Thank you.

  1. Thrift stores — Where else can you find a mint condition Willow folder that’s only a year younger than you are?  Or a weird old wall hanging that needs to come home with you?  As an added bonus, second hand stores help the cycle of reducing and reusing.  You really can’t go wrong.
  2. Board games – A time-honored tradition in our vicious girl gang.  We’re big fans of Taboo, Apples to Apples, Barbie Queen of the Prom and, if we’re feeling blood thirsty, Trivial Pursuit.  The Saved by the Bell game had to be banned after feuding led to too many hurt feelings (and limbs).
  3. True Blood – As mildly annoyed as we are with this vampire craze*, we can’t resist the smoldering Southern gentleman Bill, sexy-scary Viking Eric, and willful heroine Sookie (say it with us, “Suh-kee”).
  4. Fake bands – Whether it’s Maxwell Demon crooning in a sequined jumpsuit or Josie and the Pussycats wailing on about their Marshall stacks, we’re hooked on fictional bands.  Songs by The Wonders and Eddie and the Cruisers are better than most real bands can generate.
  5. Golden Girls – The misadventures, sexual conquests, and sassy banter of four single ladies living together.  Did we mention they’re all over 60?
  6. Megan Fox – Whether or not she’s a good actress is up for debate and she’s so attractive she might be an alien, but we do enjoy her.
  7. Daria – Best teenager ever?  Role model for us all?  Yes!  We’re so happy this glorious series is finally on DVD that we’re willing to forgive the licensing issues that removed all the wonderful 90s music. 
  8. Russell Brand – Someone possessed with this much charm, talent and rakish ability to wear a top hat couldn’t not be a rock star.
  9. K’s hair – “It’s not fair.  It takes her five minutes to style and she’s done.  It just hangs there, straight as a Michael Bolton concert.  Don’t even get me started on how cute her fringe looks with a ponytail.  You suck, K!” –Love, T
  10. Derek Zoolander – No matter how many years pass and male models come and go, you’ll always be our favorite.  Blue Steel is incomparable, and Magnum blew us away.  Thank you for being really, really, really ridiculously good looking.

* Note: It’s not that we’re opposed to vampires.  Quite the reverse, actually.  What annoys us is all the crap we had to take for years as diehard Buffy fans, only to have everyone jump on the undead bandwagon a decade later.

School is, as Alice Cooper once prophesized, out for summer, which means every location I visit is suddenly clogged with hordes of teenagers.  I’m not going to lie to you: I’m a little afraid of teenagers.  I was a little afraid of teenagers when I was a teenager, but then people do say I’m an old soul.  There’s something about those bored, sullen faces that suggests they either know more than I ever will and are silently lording it over me OR that they know nothing at all but really couldn’t give a smurf.  I wanted to refer to their faces as “shiny” and “pimply” but they’ve trumped the preceding generations once again with their Proactiv bottles and Neutrogena skin clearing makeup.  What is the world coming to when teenagers can’t even be relied upon to have embarrassing bouts of socially debilitating acne? 

Have you ever noticed how teenagers are always laughing?  You just know it has something to do with you, and it’s not flattering.  Damn them and their secret languages and rubber bracelets!  They always seem to travel in packs, like hyenas hunting for easy prey.  Heaven forbid you should trip in their vicinity; you might as well just lie there and wait for the ravenous herd to descend.

Lately, I’ve been observing a new, deeply suspicious breed of teenagers who dress conservatively, speak respectfully to their parents, and say please and thank you.  What are they on about?  These kids even bake and craft, taking up the mantle of domestic goddess their mothers shed to embrace the working world.  How can a person possibly compete with this new breed of clear skinned, hard working Pleasantville resident?  I’m not fooled.  I know that underneath those demure cardigans and polite manners lay snarky, blood thirsty tyrants just waiting to get out.   And when they finally escape, there will be no help for the rest of us.

Is it Fall yet? 

T

I have a simple request. A suggestion, really. When you are driving and wish to merge/change lanes/pass me, please use your signal. This is not a complicated thing to do. Honest. In fact, it’s probably one of the easiest things to master when it comes to driving. It’s right up there with buckling your seatbelt and adjusting your mirrors. Why, if it’s so simple, you may ask, don’t more people do it? Good question, grasshopper. The answer is threefold. Laziness, carelessness, stupidity. A dangerous trifecta many American drivers seem to possess, unfortunately.

Since it literally takes only one finger to use your signal, there’s really no excuse for not using it. If this proves too arduous for you, or you’re not confident in your ability to signal, perhaps you should consult your doctor. I’m sure he or she could provide you with the necessary finger exercises so you can practice at home. Until then, stay off the mothersmurfing roads! I’m tired of being nearly killed by assholes in gas guzzling Hummers driving as if they are headed into battle, or by douchebags and douchebaguettes too busy texting to be bothered to watch the road (so sorry to interrupt!), or by ladies who are seemingly incapable of setting their alarms early enough so they have ample time to apply their mascara at home (it only takes a minute!). And while I’m ranting, what is with you assholes that ride my ass even though I’m already speeding, then passing me (without signaling!), and then slowing down? Or how about those fuckwads who when you try to pass them decide to speed up and not let you in, and when you do finally get ahead of them they ride your ass? What the what!?

Folks, your car is not your office, nor is it a salon. Don’t be a Douchey McDoucherson. Pay attention and, please, use your signals. Allow me the courtesy of arriving at my destination alive and in one piece (my car included). Remember this: there’s another thing that can be done with one finger and I exercise it freely when someone cuts me off.

But again, this is just a suggestion…

K

A Little Princess

The other day, a little girl who was visiting our store with her mother climbed up on a chair beside me to tell me about her morning. Despite the fact that she and I were having a perfectly nice conversation about the rain (we apparently ingrain these weather-related conversations into children early on in Minnesota), several middle aged women felt the need to interrupt our chat to tell the girl what a pretty little princess she was. Something about this need to refer to little girls as princesses always raises my hackles. If I’d been talking to a boy, I doubt anyone would have felt compelled to tell him what a handsome little prince he was. People just don’t talk to boys that way. If anything, they would have told him he was strong and smart, adjectives that are sorely underused for girls.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m waging a one-woman feminist revolt against the very women who allegedly secured my freedom with their swingin’ 60s sexual revolution. I can’t tell you how many times a certain older woman has commented on my apparently inevitable future marriage, despite my protestations that I don’t really have any desire to get married. I’m not opposed to marriage in general, but it’s not something I’ve ever imaged as integral to my future, so it’s depressing to me that so many older women assume it’s a given. I can’t be the only woman my age who hasn’t been drawing up plans for a wedding since kindergarten.

Recently, our friend Patchy began looking for her first house. When I mentioned this to my employer, her response was something like, “By herself? But who’ll mow the lawn and shovel the driveway?” Well, last time I checked, Patchy was still in possession of all her limbs and they were in working order. Do ovaries prevent a person from operating a lawn mover? I never knew! It’s one thing to say it’d be nice to have a partner to help you out with the big things in life and to be there for all the joys and frustrations, but it’s another thing entirely to imply you need a partner, particularly a male partner, to take care of the handy work. How then do lesbians buy houses together if neither one of them can operate a snow blower?!

Partly, my ire stems from a desire to see girls claim more for themselves. If you insist on being a member of the royal family, why settle for life as a mere princess? Why not at least become a queen so you can wield some power? When people refer to girls as princesses, they’re implying daintiness, helplessness, and physical beauty; is that really the best a girl can aspire to? When I was little, I didn’t want to be a princess, I wanted to be the quick-witted, adventurous Vesper Holly (basically the female Indiana Jones) in Lloyd Alexander’s novels. None of that sappy “someday my prince will come” nonsense for me! I recommend parents read their tots The Paper Bag Princess about a girl who rescues herself—and the prince.

T

  1. American flag clothing – Because nothing screams patriotism like plastering the symbol of our nation’s freedom on your ass!
  2. Gross vehicular accoutrements – Seriously, why the plastic testicles hanging from your hitch?  What does that even mean?  And plastic fetuses protesting abortion?  Yuck.  A simple “choose life” sticker would have sufficed.
  3. Voice messages featuring children or pets – I’m sure you think this is really clever and shows what a fun-loving family you are.  You are sadly mistaken.  You just convinced us not to leave a message.
  4. “Baby on Board” signs – Is this supposed to make us take special care around your car?  Do you want a medal for transporting an infant?  Because this sign kind of makes us want to hit you.  Don’t worry: we’ll avoid the backseat.
  5. The way sitcom characters dress at home – Who sits around in a dress and tights to do their homework?  We realize actors want to look good, but it distracts us when homebodies are wearing shoes and going out clothes just to sit around their apartments.
  6. National Days/Months – As in National Iced Tea Month, which is occurring right now!  And we have National Catfish Month to look forward to in August!  Not to mention all the made up days that force people to buy cards or risk looking like thoughtless jerks, such as Grandparents Day, Secretaries Day, Boss Day, et al.
  7. Ribbons – Not a day goes by that we don’t see these obnoxious yellow magnets decorating every third car that drives by.  Isn’t it possible to Support Our Troops without plastering a declaration on your truck?
  8. Child leashes – Not only are these things stupid, they’re downright humiliating and more than a little dehumanizing.  Your child is not a dog.  Please don’t walk him on a leash.
  9. Sex toy parties – “Eew” doesn’t even begin to cover it.  Maybe we’re just stuffy, old fashioned prudes, but we think a person’s sex toy preferences should be kept to themselves (and their partners), not shared with a room full of randy women.
  10. Discontinuing perfectly good products – Some companies are such filthy teases, getting us hooked on white cheddar Cheetos, beach wave hairspray, and powder cappuccino, then taking it all away without warning.  Not cool.

Help the Aged

I cruised by the post office this morning to empty out the PO Box for work, and as I click-click-clicked my way inside on my noisy but super cool Ziggy Stardust boots, it occurred to me that 8:45 is a very old person time to be at the post office. Seriously, there were scads of old people, and there always are. But then I wondered: is the post office perhaps an old person place in general? You don’t see a lot of hip young kids picking out stamps (though that’s regrettable considering they have options like the new Simpsons ones I picked up) or filling out priority forms. Why is that? Is it universally considered uncool to mail parcels? Why didn’t anyone tell me??

Going anywhere (with the exception of Caribou) first thing in the morning or even at midday is like walking onto the set of Cocoon. Young bloods such as me are completely outnumbered by octogenarians slowly shuffling by in slacks and loafers. Old people likewise clutter Main Street with their Lincolns and Mercurys, apparently unable to exert enough pressure on the gas pedal to get going over 20 miles an hour. Watch out—slight curve in the road ahead! Better start breaking now!

Every time I indulge my annoyance with the elderly, I’m reminded of a fairly awful but fascinating 60s film called Wild in the Streets in which the youth take over politics and stick all the old fogies in retirement camps, where they’re pumped full of calming psychotropic drugs. At the end of the film, the main character has an epiphany spurred on by an encounter with some even younger kids: he’s going to get old. One day soon he’ll be shuffled off to a camp, too.

Whenever I read about scientific breakthroughs geared toward making us live longer, I usually think “Why would you want to?” The last couple decades of your life are downhill anyway, so why prolong the decay? It’d be different if such breakthroughs allowed us to remain sharp and physically active longer, but if all they’re doing is extending the average life expectancy, I’d prefer to leave a young and sturdy corpse, thank you very much.

Perhaps my dread of growing old has something to do with the fact that most of the old people I encounter are miserable. They’re lonely, terrified of running out of money, and damn near falling apart. Wow, I can’t wait to grow up! This is where someone kinder than I would point out the wealth of wisdom waiting to be harvested from the elderly. I might buy this argument if more old people had useful wisdom to impart, and maybe they do, but all I usually get are rants about the way teenagers dress and how the whole world is going to pot because mothers are working outside the home. You’d think all those years of living would have clued them in to the fact that the world has always been going to hell in a hand basket and it will continue doing so until the planet stops spinning. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my elders, it’s that I should be grateful all my limbs work and I’m able to go to the bathroom without assistance. When that stops being true, it’s time to pump me full of LSD and send me on my way.

T

  1. Vinyl – There’s just something about that scratchy sound, the hiss as the needle meets its grove, that can never be topped by mp3s.  Not to mention the glorious canvas that is cover art, creating the satisfyingly substantial piece of music history you hold in your hands.
  2. The noble art of falconry – Falconers just don’t get the credit they deserve.  They daily dance with death, their limbs mere gloves away from being ripped to the bone by the monstrous claws of their beloved birds.  And the cheesy jokes; we appreciate them.  This one’s for you, anonymous falconer at the prairie grass reserve event.
  3. Banjos – No longer the sole property of bluegrass bands, this timeless instrument has been adopted by punks and comedians alike to create beautiful music.  If it’s good enough for Django Reinhardt, Sufjan Stevens, and the Dropkick Murphys, it’s good enough for us.
  4. Urban Decay – For those of us who think a purple smoky eye is perfectly appropriate for seven o’clock in the morning.
  5. Flea Markets – Perhaps it’s the smell of mini donuts wafting through the air, or the tables piled high with more odds and end than you can shake a mannequin head at, but flea markets are some of our favorite places on earth!  Last year, T finally scored a mint-in-box Troll Barbie, righting a wrong committed over a decade ago when she chose to get a Polly Pocket instead of this clearly superior doll.
  6. Men in kilts – It takes a confident, dare we say badass, sort of fellow to bare his legs with the sort of frank ease required of a kilt.  Like Samuel L. Jackson or Ewan McGregor.  And if you see a man wearing his kilt with combat boot and a punk tee, please send him to us.
  7. Pancakes with beer – Quite possibly the best combination ever, yet so many restaurants overlook the genius of offering alcohol with their breakfast menu.  If only Denny’s had a liquor license, we’d never leave.  Thank you, St. Clair Broiler, for understanding and answering our plea.
  8. Pie – Best dessert ever?  It even has nutritional value!  From the edges of its hearty crust to its gooey, often fruity filling, pie is one of those perfect concoctions that time and science cannot improve upon.
  9. Steve Martin’s dance in The Jerk – This can’t be replicated with any amount of success.  We’ve tried.  Mr. Steve Martin, you sir are a golden god.
  10.  Handlebar mustaches and mutton chops – Is it just us, or do these grooming staples of old timey villains who tie damsels to railroad tracks and forgotten 19th century presidents need to make a comeback?