Monday, June 28, 2010

Iron Ma'am

She's On a Mission.

Iron Ma'am
(Sung to the tune of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man")

Puckered with distaste,

Iron Ma'am's disdain shows in her face.

Times have changed too much,

The girls are chasing boys, sexting and such.

Hem below the knees,

Legs crossed at the ankles - she's not a tease.

Whither the cultured kind?

One more tacky tramp stamp and she'll lose her mind.

"Are you kidding me?

Those savages ignored my RSVP!"

Where's her thank-you note?

An email doesn't count - it must be hand-wrote!


Nobody gets her,

Society's been set adrift.

Where's the decorum?

She's starting to get downright miffed.

Denim at the Met?

She gives that girl a lecture she won't forget.

White shoes into fall?

Iron Ma'am's determined to fix them all.

Nobody gets her,

They think she's stuck in the past.

But that matron's fed up,

And she's gonna start kickin' ass.

Rules must be restored,

Iron Ma'am's prepared to go to the Board.

Boorish co-op party flap,

A lady of her station won't take that crap!


C'mon, You Guys! Sing Along!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Onion Goggles: The Time Is Never.

A Brief Rant Manifesto

I'm the first to admit it: I do a lot of Internet shopping.
For better or worse, there it is.

Lately in my excursions, I've noticed a retail trend. Specifically, a disturbing proliferation of these:What are they? Moto-cross reading glasses? No. Safety eye guards that come with Barbie's Malibu Table Saw? I wish.

No, brothers and sisters, these are ONION GOGGLES.

That's right - safety glasses designed to be worn while (help me)
chopping onions.

Is It Me?

Does anyone else have a problem with this? And before I go any further, let me say that I love a good, silly product. Really, I do. You search my house (I'll need to see that warrant, btw) and you'll find plenty of
Bump-Its and Bread Buddeez, and I've already left written instructions that I be buried with my Pig-Tail Food Flipper wedged in hand.

come on.

Special goggles for slicing onions? Exactly how fragile are we at this point in the social evolutionary process? More disturbing yet, is this only the tip of the hothouse-flower iceberg? What's next? Bacon-frying helmets? Paper-cut survival training? Steel-toed bedroom slippers?

I like to think that I can take on pretty much any food item in my kitchen mano-a-mano and come out on top. The way I see it, if Laura Ingalls Wilder could turn milk into butter without body armor, then I should be able to turn an onion into relish and live to tell the tale.

Besides, how many friggin' onions are you pushing through that kitchen of yours? If you've pulled KP duty on the U.S.S. Nimitz and you're looking at the business end of an onion Matterhorn, well, okay then. Goggle away and Godspeed.

Around here, though, I can safely predict that by the time I've rummaged through all the drawers and located a knife and my goggles, then spent ten minutes arranging the goggles so they don't rotate my bangs around to the wrong side of my head, I've lost all interest in slaughtering a single onion the size of a racquetball and instead I'm reaching for the phone to order Chinese-adjacent from the little place down the street with the broken neon sign and scented menus.

But, Wait. It Gets Worse.

It's not enough simply to fend off the ocular onion assault. One must do so with style. That's right -

Forget your parachute -
what color are you onion goggles?

Let us now turn to The Book of, and let us read aloud a passage from Housewares 3:16...

"...for there were multiple choices upon the web sales page that there would be no one in the land who might be stricken with onion goggles in a color shade as to render his skin sallow and unappealing or otherwise demean his stature among the good people of his master-planned community. And the choices were many and thus:"

Okay, help me out. What are the rules here? Can you wear white onion goggles after Labor Day? Are the red ones too racy for work? Do the green ones make me look fat?

The reality of the situation is that if you invite me over for dinner and answer the door wearing a pair of onion goggles and brandishing a knife, I'm going to assume two things:
  1. Someone has secretly laced your bean dip with PCP.
  2. It's my civic duty to take you down.
That Being Said,

I'm not entirely adverse to the idea of tear-prevention eye wear. And, while I will continue to battle fruits, vegetables and assorted luncheon meats armed with only a scrunchie and a can of Glade to knock down the fumes, I would be quite interested in goggles that would allow me to watch "Terms of Endearment" without using three boxes of tissues and changing my salt-soaked t-shirt every half hour.

Ooh, I hope they come in lavender.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fun(ny) In The Sun

Ahhh, Summer.

The season of vacation adventures both domestic and exotic, of applying one's backside to a webbed lawn chair while listening to the hypnotic chish-chish-chish of the neighbor's sprinkler, of waiting for the local DJ to remind you to turn over as you sprawl on your Scooby Doo towel at the beach and collect future age spots.

Summer. What better time to lose oneself in a delightful book? (Okay, I promise not to use the word "oneself" again 'till Spring 2011.)

Often, friends ask me to recommend books to them. "Something funny," they say. And it's a good thing they're specific like that, because my standard on-deck book recommenda
tion is, you know, Tolstoy. And Shakespeare. Or sometimes Kafka. Damn, I dig me some Kafka.

But, no, they want funny and, luckily, I also include funny books in my super-smarty-pants bathroom nightstand rotation, so I'm happy to share those as well.

Which got me thinking (during the very limited times when I am not thinking about Kafka) that in celebration of the arrival of summer, I might do a blog post about some of my favorite funny books.

And Here It Is.

So whether you're summering in Brenham, Texas or Budapest, um, Europe...or even if you'll simply be spending the summer house-sitting your neighbor's gila monster and cruising the local pool on your trusty 10-speed (which sounds like a good way to end up on some sketchy national registry but is actually a completely legitimate way to pass a couple of months)...I hope you'll find a book or two here that becomes a fond memory of Summer 2010 or even - who knows? - a lifelong favorite.

As for the selections below, this is by no means an exhaustive list. I know I'll forget some and overlook others. These are just the books on my shelf that I find myself recommending again and again. Also, they are in no particular order. I'm just going to "roll with it," as the kids today say. And, if I've overlooked your favorite funny book, please let 'er rip in the comments section so we can all check it out. It's the Internet, for crying out loud, right?

The Books.

by Steve Martin

I'm a HUGE fan of all things Steve Martin, and this novella is right there at the top of that heap. Funny, soulful and unexpectedly tender, THE PLEASURE OF MY COMPANY is one that I re-read every year, and not just because it's set in my neighborhood.

Hint words: savant, neuroses, Rite-Aid

by John Kennedy Toole

A wondrous confection of a novel that grows more hilarious with each re-reading. It's been the Mack Daddy of my bookshelf for decades now. Ignatius J. Reilly is an outrageous, unforgettable character. Don't be surprised if you find yourself making your "o-face" while reading this one. Pulitzer prize-winning funny.

Hint words: green hunting cap, fleshy balloon of a head, weenie cart

by Will Ferguson

Not to be confused with the reportedly dreary movie of the same name, this is a clever and entertaining satire in which a self-help book actually works and all of America becomes rampantly happy and well-adjusted, thus endangering the very fabric of our society.

Hint words: chain-smoking squirrels, The Age of Nice, "Live! Love! Learn!"

by Dave Barry

(Many) years ago at one of my corporate communications jobs, I ran across an excerpt from this book - a piece entitled "How to Take A Client to Lunch." I read it, fell out of my chair laughing, then raced down the hall to xerox it so I would never have to live without it again. (Oh, and I billed all that time to my least-favorite client, but that's another story. *ahem*) The article sits right now in a desk drawer not six inches from this keyboard. Sometimes I sleep with it.

Hint words: Commander Taco, Thad, "fish"

by Douglas Adams

The legendary sci-fi "trilogy in four parts" has so much great stuff jammed into it I don't even know where to start. I've been reading this one since college (yes, I finished it - I mean reading it over and over) and every time I wish I could memorize the whole thing so I could quote it at length on any occasion. All of Adams' books are fantastic - I think I'm soft for this one because it was my first.

Hint words: Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford Prefect, 42

by David Lodge

In this delicious comedy of bad manners, academic rivals circle the globe while vying for a coveted and richly endowed academic chair. As their paths cross in unexpected ways and locales, hi-jinks of every kind ensue. A very funny story written by a master storyteller.

Hint words: the cruellest month, medieval banquet, Morris Zapp

by Jincy Willett

I just discovered this gem of a novel last summer and I had my nose in it through most of our vacation. I love that the main character is a fat, middle-aged recluse and I also love the jumble of varyingly talented students in her extension course. Uh-oh, someone has killed two of the students. (I know - it doesn't sound funny but, believe me, it is.)

Hint words: Froggie, Number One Fan, blog

by David Sedaris

Okay, I picked this one of his, but everything David Sedaris has published is pure gold in my opinion. As humorous essayists go, he is a rock star, and you won't have to read very far into this volume to see why. Tasty and irreverent.

Hint words: "Is them the thoughts of cows?"

by Rodney Rothman

After Rodney Rothman lost his job as a TV comedy writer at the age of 28, he decided that - since he would eventually end up in Florida in a retirement village anyway - he might as well go ahead and move into one right away. So he did. This collection of his experiences there comprise a tender, raucous and always entertaining book.

Hint words: canasta game, cat guard, Century Village

by Daniel Lyons

Screamingly funny, no matter which side of the apple you're on. This is one of the few books that had Jon Bon Jovi (not my husband's real name) clutching his sides with laughter. Based on the uber-popular Fake Steve Jobs blog.

Hint words: non-thinking meditation, frigtard

by Steven Carter

I just read this book last month, which (fun fact!) makes it the most recent on this list. A very funny send-up of a correspondence course woven with a gritty crime story that the instructor tries to lift for himself. This is a lively mash-up that had me turning pages well into the night.

Hint words: Wendell Newton, "blues and torch," "he must steal brilliantly"

All right, things are getting out of hand so I'm stopping now before this post turns into its own novel.

Thanks for indulging me and happy summer reading to you all!