Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Speaking of Obscure Songs

This year at the Corned Beef Fest, my Aunt Mel started the Does Anyone Remember a Song That Goes Like This? game. She only remembered the lyrics: I don't care if it rains or freezes, as long as I have my plastic Jesus on the dashboard of my car.

I made HA whip out his iPhone and look it up. (I have an iPhone too, but I keep it in my purse, which was way the hell on the other side of the room and he keeps his in his pocket.) And there is indeed a song about a plastic Jesus.


HA and I have both had the song stuck in our head since. We've even changed the lyrics to:
I love your coughs and your sneezes, and I love your cute, cute kneeses. I love you so much that I could plotz.

Because that's how we roll.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Corned Beef Fest

I brought with me:
  • 2 machine-baked loaves of rye bread
  • 2 pairs of alligator mittens (1 for an almost 2-year old and the other for my early-20-something godson who specially requested them)
  • 1 pair of hand knit socks that shrunk in the wash that now fit one of my cousins
I took home:
  • leftovers
  • 2 tins of vintage buttons (I now own both my grandmothers' button boxes. They deserve a post of their own.)
  • a big stack of knitting and sewing books and magazines (also inherited from Grandma)
  • a knitting machine (given to my Grandma by all my aunts and uncles together. We immediately placed orders for those afghans that she'd been making a lot of (me included) because no one realized that those afghans were CROCHETED. It's a testament to her patience and graciousness that she didn't stab us all with a knitting needle.
During the party, my cousin Caitlin (my Godsister* and recipient of the shrunken socks) came into the dining room and complained that she didn't know anything about old movies and someone had made fun of her for it the night before. (She's in her mid-20s**) She mentioned Singing in the Rain, so I asked HA to bring up the iconic dance routine on his iPhone via You Tube.

This is how she looked as she watched it:



Her exclamations included, "Oh, there's a cop, he's going to be in trouble," and "He gave that guy his umbrella. What a nice Gene Kelly."

I can't wait to fully indoctrinate her in the ways of the MGM movie musical and other classics. I'm thinking that Gigi, Top Hat and The Thin Man are must sees. What classics do you think that even a non-movie buff should see?

* We have the same Godfather and her mom is my Godmother.
**I refuse to do the exact math because it'll make me feel old.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oh, Those Unicorns

I'm part Irish on my mother's side and usually mark St. Patrick's Day by refusing to wear green because nonconformity comes before ethnicity. Also, the biggest St. Pat's celebration for me rarely happens on the day itself. Every year, Aunt B and Uncle B throw the Corned Beef Fest, in which they cook 25 pounds or so of corned beef, plus cabbages, potatoes and carrots and invite over everyone they know to eat it all. When my grandmother was still alive, it was the one day a year, she'd have alcohol--just a little Bailey's in her coffee.

Other traditions of that day include:
  • men wearing green, white and orange tams crocheted by Grandma.
  • people telling my (Jewish) Dad that there was once a Lord Mayor of Dublin who was Jewish.
  • cries of "get down, get ethnic!"
  • discussion of The Unicorn Song.
You see, for years, my Grandma would tell us about this song by The Clancy Brothers in which the unicorns are too busy frolicking to get on Noah's Ark and that's why there are no unicorns. And not a single other person in the family would remember hearing the song. And we have a large extended family, so that's a lot of people gaslighting Grandma, asking if she just imagined the hoompty-backed camels and the chimpanzees. This being the dark days before the internet, grandma we couldn't just go online and solve the controversy.

And then my Uncle B started dating Aunt B and the Corned Beef Fest came around and the mentioning of the song occurred and Uncle B knew the song perfectly well and looked at everyone like, "what's the matter with you people? Of course there's a unicorn song." The next year, he even brought a record of the song and played it for everyone and no one ever accused Grandma of making up the hoompty-backed camels again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Here's the story...

Friday night, a.k.a. night one of this weekend's monsoon (umbrella slaying winds, fallen trees everywhere, one of the windows in my building's lobby smashed by a branch), I got up to use the bathroom, as one does. I lifted the lid and discovered that the toilet was full of laundry suds. So many suds that they had spilled out from under the lid. Like an episode of the Brady Bunch.

I summoned HA to come have a look because, obviously.

He mentioned that he'd heard some gurgling noise coming from the bathroom while we'd been watching TV. I either didn't hear it, or ignored it. The laundry room is one floor down and down the hall from us, so we figured that...well, whatever. It's not like suds are dangerous or unsanitary.

I was so nonplussed by the whole thing that HA de-sudsed the entire area while I went to the other room to get away from the weird. And then I felt like a bad blogger because I hadn't grabbed a camera to take a picture of my sudsy bathroom to post on the internets for all the world to see. Which is a weird thing to do, but pre-blogs, people would take pictures of these things to show to their friends and family and at least we can get away from the crazy blogger with their toilet pictures without having to pretend to be impressed and interested in pictures of their toilet.

Are you pro- or anti-photos of weird stuff?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Vampire Theory

I've been completely traumatized by the Nightline debate, "Is it OK to be fat?" (it starts playing automatically, so be warned.) Yes, we had a nationally broadcast debate on whether or not it's OK that my body is the shape it is. Sometimes it's really embarrassing to be a human being.

The only reason I watched is that one of the participants was the awesome Marianne Kirby, who I've met at a book signing and have a mutual friend with. Since I couldn't make it in person, I figured I could at least watch it online. In pieces so I could only watch as much as I could handle throughout the day.

I still have post traumatic stress and start thinking of things I'd say to MeMe Roth if I were ever stuck in a room with her. MeMe, for those of you fortunate enough not to know, is a Manhattanite with fat parents and a fat grandmother. She has a certificate in nutrition from a diploma mill and has started her own organization (of one) to fight obesity. Sadly, this is enough for her to be treated as an expert in the media, even though she's been known to steal ice cream from the YMCA during an ice cream social and makes her children place all food they're given in school in a tupperware container to take home for her inspection. Her description of her diet and exercise regime suggest an eating disorder and in conversation, she comes across as crazy and irrational as she quotes studies that don't exist. I can't stand her, but I suspect her behavior is driven by a lot of emotional pain.

I think the politest thing I could manage to say to her would be a quote from a Republican ex-co-worker of mine. I told her about fundamentalist christians who picket new age bookstores and she said, "Some people need to go save a whale." Of course, MeMe would probably turn it into a fat joke, but that's her problem, not mine.

In the debate, MeMe did most of the talking and sounded irrational, the anti-fat author was clearly threatened by Fat Acceptance, which is understandable. Telling someone who's lost 200 pounds that diets don't work and there's a 95% chance that they won't be able to maintain their weight loss for 5 years is going to make them feel threatened and scared. I reacted the same way when I first heard about FA--I didn't want my hope taken away. Marianne and Crystal Renn came across as reasonable and intelligent and clearly won the debate.

Yet even though the only anti-fat debaters they could get didn't come across as reasonable, anti-fat sentiment and dieting culture is so pervasive that we're surrounded by people who foam at the mouth at the thought of a fat person spilling over into their space on airplanes or public transportation. People who talk about dieting constantly, or feel the need to comment on the caloric content of other people's meals. But these people don't see MeMe Roth talking crazy and start to rethink their views.

If crazy people agree with you, then maybe you're wrong.

Which leads me to my theory on the raging popularity of vampires, particularly vamps who don't kill people. There have been theories put forth that women and teen girls are attracted to the sexual restraint shown by these vamps. This makes sense since vampirism as a metaphor for sexuality. But...

I was watching Being Human and realized that Mitchell doesn't drink blood at all. He eats food, and probably meat, but no blood. And Angel only drinks pig blood, or human blood stolen from the hospital blood bank. The sparkly vamps only kill wild animals and go days if not weeks between eating.

Their self restraint is a turn on for some women because they're the ultimate dieters. See, we yo-yo diet because diets don't work, but we blame our failures on our own lack of self-restraint. And if Edward can keep from eating Bella even though she smells like a giant Twinkie to him, then we should be able to resist having a bite of our own birthday cake. These women don't want to have sex with abstinent vampires--they want to be them.

The sparkles and Angel and Spike all get by on animal blood, kind of like having a nutritious shake for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And even Spike can't take it without adding a little Wheetabix for texture.

In a season 2 episode of Being Human, Mitchell tries to make all the vamps stop killing since they need to be on the down low for a while. He actually tells them, "you will not feed," and holds up his own abstinence as an example that it's totally doable to unlive without nutrients.

I'm looking forward to the coming popularity of werewolves. Now those are some supernatural beings who know how to just dig in to a meal.