The funny disease.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Cursed Tongue's Top Ten Media Whores of 2005

1. Bob Dylan--From folk music legend to underwear ads. I’ve never seen credibility die so quickly, and on a stage full of scantily clad Victoria Secrets Angels, nonetheless. Would anyone care to go with me to Starbucks for a venti decaf nonfat caramel macchiato and a small piece of Dylan’s soul?

Gwyneth Paltrow--Estee Lauder is trying to pass her off as someone who loves the simple pleasures of life. Growing up in a selective, private school, being briefly engaged to Brad Pitt and winning an Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love, the stupidest movie of all time, how else would she live other than modestly? I thought the women on The View had cornered the market on pretending to be ordinary, everyday people.

Paltrow is quoted as saying,
"Years ago, endorsing a product was considered something an actress shouldn't do. Now it's almost like a status symbol." No, it’s still something you should go to Japan to do. We have enough pretty, twig-figures on television without adding a rich and famous stick-insect who wants us to believe we can enjoy life’s simple pleasures by plunking down $90 for .25 ounces of Parfum.

3. Tom Cruise--“Jumping jack-ass. He’s a gas, gas, gas!” If I were Oprah, there’d be no way I’d let that overexcited puppy back on my couch. Note to Cruise: Usually, when people fall in love, they don’t feel they have to go on national television to prove it. Also, they don't usually have their beloved
stalked by a Scientologist.

4. Julia Roberts--Deserves scorn simply for acting as spokesperson for AOL, the ISP of the Damned, but receives extra kudos for whoring out her newborns on the cover of People magazine.

Ty Pennington--He’s everywhere, he’s everywhere! Is there anything this model turned handy-hunk won’t advertise?

6. Martha Stewart—
The Apprentice mentorships as community service? I think not.

7. Paris Hilton—How do I
whore thee? Let me count the ways...

8. Brad Pitt--Proves you don’t have to do a commercial to be a media whore, you just have to date one.

9. Angelina Jolie--Hopefully, she realizes that children are people and not
collectable accessories.

10. Brittany Spears--If one baby doesn’t boost your career and save your marriage to a man who’s already an absentee Dad,
maybe two will do the trick.


Friday, December 23, 2005

So, when are YOU gonna...

A repugnant question rears its ugly head to dating couples at family functions, it is posed at birthday celebrations, at your cousin’s wedding, and also appears amidst conversations with your uncle about machine tools. It is the dreaded: “So, when are YOU gonna get married?” Calling it a question is deceptive. It is an expectation. It is a command to jump off the bridge into the hypothermia-inducing waters of commitment just like all of your lemming cousins have done before you.

Foolishly, I thought that by getting married I would quell the incessant bothersome questioning. The old-maid ribbings, the reminders that I wasn’t getting any younger, would disappear like Grandma’s delectable angel food cake. It was this haranguing, of course, that was the sole reason I married Sweetface. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that he was a dear sweet man who loved me (and could make chocolate mousse cake). I did it to shut my big Sicilian family up. Only the questioning hasn’t stopped. It has only been warped into a more sinister form than propelling me into that insidious institution called marriage.

Now the question we get asked at Easter and on the Forth of July, and would be asked at Christmas, if we didn’t have the good sense to go on vacation at that time every year is, “So, when are YOU gonna have kids?” Now I feel pressured to throw my husband on the floor and force him to make a baby with me, right there on Grandma’s living room rug. Our attempts to deflect the question only make them more persistent. As if I’m able to *poof* have a baby, and then all will be right in my world. They believe that my husband and I are incomplete, unfulfilled, until we conform to their narrow definition of family.

Never mind that we may not want a baby; not that I dislike the prospect of feeding and bathing and clothing a poop-machine that occasionally projectile vomits. Never mind that what my family is asking might be insensitive. My family would probably even press on if I had the word “Infertile” tattooed on my forehead. If we do ever try for a child, and fail, their words would taunt me in the restless long black hours of the night. “It’s your turn to bring a drooling, snotty-nosed, germ transfer device into the world.” “You just don’t know how wonderful life can be until you are living in a perpetual sleep-deprived stupor.” “You are missing out on the joy of being responsible for baking 5 dozen cupcakes by tomorrow because Timmy forgot to mention that he signed you up for the charity bake sale.” “You know your mother is crazy for a grandchild.” It’s true that my mother and mother-in-law are crazy for grandchildren, though they have been so kind about it. They both have told me that they work with children all day, which is true, and that we shouldn’t worry about providing them grandchildren, which is about as true as “It wasn’t me, it was the dog.”

There are a few couples I know who have foregone the childbearing path, and instead have done the sensible thing and gotten a pet. Pets are nice because except for certain species of tropical birds, and huskies they don’t talk back to you. And except for fish, which don’t have ears, and huskies, they mostly listen to you. The most damning evidence that having children instead of adopting a furry bundle of joy is a sign of insanity; the average cost of obedience school: $60, the average cost of a four-year private college: $17,123. Both my father and father-in-law have the right idea, they have both asked, “So, when are YOU gonna get a dog?” which I didn’t mind at all, because my husband and I had both mentioned wanting a dog.

I am too jaded now to believe for minute that the questions will stop if we ever decide to procreate. Once the fruit of my looms has been spent, and my husband and I are firmly locked into the thankless work of raising children I know that the next question is coming. It will undoubtedly be, “So, when are YOU gonna die?”

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Mutilation is Fun

Reporters seem to be surprised that little girls take joy in mutilating Barbie. I thought it was part of the cultural lexicon. Doesn’t everybody know a little girl with a balding, marker made-up Barbie? Why does it always take a University study to wake the media up to the truly horrendous, vital news stories? Apparently, researchers at the University of Bath interviewed the staggering amount of 100 children as part of a study on branding, and found out that girls aged 7 to 11 regularly torture Barbie because she reminds them of their childhoods, which they feel they have outgrown. (Who knew that I would get to 27 and still not really feel like an adult. I guess that explains why Barbie makes me angry.)

Or maybe it was waking one horrible morning to find the suitcase where my Barbies lived was a seething mass of plastic carnage. The decapitated heads and naked torsos were mixed in with the clothes, arms and legs sticking out at odd angles, creating a twisted Barbie orgy. It was the work of Chucklehead, my pesky little brother, who obviously didn’t get enough joy from destroying his own toys. Too traumatized to sort out the wreckage, I threw away all of the Barbies and never got to the stage where I decided that Barbie needed a ride on the microwave carousel.

Don’t think that Barbie doesn’t have it coming. I mean, she’s got that Dream House in Malibu, the pink Porsche and an effeminate male to take care of her. (You’d have to be pretty naive to believe that anything was going on between Barbie and Fairy Prince Ken. Though, God knows every little girl with a Barbie and Ken tried.) She has every career known to humankind and at least as much money as Oprah. We won’t even go into the endless wardrobe. Why, she has everything from Penniless Urchin to Queen Victoria in full regalia, to deranged Clovis Streetwalker. She never gains weight, she’s always ready for high heels, she never has to worry about putting on makeup or about her nipples showing, and her corn-silk hair is always shiny and manageable, until that fateful day that her owner/operator comes at her with a pair of scissors and a curling iron.

If I were the parents of one of those blossoming, young artists, I would be a little worried. Record companies went after children for downloading music; I won’t be surprised when Mattel (TM) announces a suit against teeny-bopper Barbie mutilators. My stance is, once that plastic Aryan princess is paid for, it’s no longer the sole property Mattel (TM), and owners of said Barbies, should be able to blenderize her all they want. Though I’d imagine it would be harder to make a Barbierita than to set her on fire, which, according to my Internet sources, is pretty difficult. As far as Mattel (TM) is concerned, I never ever tried burning Barbie at the stake for killing off the villagers' cattle and withering their crops.

Friday, December 16, 2005

So, You Couldn't Think of Anything Better to Spend Your Money On.

I don’t know if I’m simply blocking the scads of over-decorated Christmas monstrosities in Illinois, but it seems to me that people in Arizona are more fanatical about turning their front yards into a playground for cavorting, drunken Elves. (Sober Elves would only celebrate on a tastefully decorated lawn.) There is an overabundance of people in the neighborhood who apparently made the familiar acquaintance of Johnny Walker and then decided it was a good idea to haul out the Christmas decorations.

Witness an 8 foot blow-up Frosty looming over a plastic, light-up manger scene, a herd of animated wire reindeer and--God help us—a four foot snow globe with a delightful scene of forced Christmas merriment contained therein, all on the same lawn! As if the motion sensing, life-sized, singing attack Santas weren’t enough to prove your love for Jesus, these same zealots are using more twinkle lights than the ones that illuminate the Christmas wet dreams of every electric utility executive, and covering every available square inch. I’m being generous by calling them twinkle lights, because it seems as if the people with the wildest yards have each string of lights set to a different blinking, flashing, pulsating, racing, zipping, zigging, zagging pattern, in order to achieve that special epileptic-fit inducing look. And it seems that if they had a particular color of lights in stock at the Walmart, it’s included in the palette of the design.

Why are Arizonians more prone to aesthetically impaired displays of unadulterated holiday enthusiasm? Does the desert attract the hopelessly tacky? I suppose the phenomena of flamboyantly crude holiday displays could simply have manifested because of the lack of snow. Not many people that live in Arizona seem to actually be from Arizona. I’m sure a lot of them miss trees that look like dead frozen twigs for seven months out of the year, or three feet of snow that doesn’t melt until April and by then has become an icy sludge by the side or the road that turns a fetching shade of coal black. The glorious 60 degree Arizona days of December certainly make it easier to go crazy with the lights. Decking the halls in the Phoenix valley area does not include the horrendous Midwestern traditions of freezing off one’s jingle bells or slipping off an icy roof. So tasteless wonders, if one assumes they are spread out evenly across the country, are also lazy. I suspect I would find the same amount of misguided Christmas fervor thrown up on the lawns of people living in other parts of the US that also have mild winters.

How to tell if your Christmas decorations are tacky:

Does your display lack focus, i.e., is the Nativity Scene sharing the lawn with a light-up train?
Did you use more than two colors of lights?
Did you use more than two types of lights?
Did someone from the local Fire Department stop by to personally offer holiday decoration safety tips, and make sure that your smoke detectors were in working condition?
Did you try to balance the display out, i.e. if you have two cacti wrapped in multi-colored lights and one in blue lights is the blue one in the middle?
Is there any rapid blinking in your display?
Did you spend more than a total of $300 on all of your outdoor Christmas decorations?

If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, then you may have Tacky Lawn Decoration Syndrome. Put down the Egg Nog immediately and take down at least half of your decorations. While there is no known cure for Tacky Lawn Decoration Syndrome, you can at least lessen the annoyance of your neighbors (the ones with the boring icicle lights), and let the neighborhood children get a good night’s sleep without forcing their parents invest in blackout curtains.

NOTE: Arizonians who are thinking about leaving their Christmas decorations up all year may think they can get away with it, because the lights aren’t going to be encased in ice from January through March. But make no mistake, the intense heat and sun of an Arizona summer can deteriorate the protective coating on the wires. Plugging in the lights when next Christmas rolls around may lead to your untimely death in a fiery blaze of your own sloth and stupidity. UL standards are for protecting consumers from inferior manufacturing, they are not meant to protect us if we decide we can rig the hair drier to blow dry our coifs while we sleep. (That’s the only scenario I can imagine for Conair to feel they needed to put “Do not operate while asleep,” on the verbose warning label on my hair dryer.) This has been a service announcement of the Council for Nosey Annoyed Neighbors, who don’t want their house to go up in smoke because the people that live next door are idiots.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Greet This

I’m having a massive attack of Merry Christmas guilt. I haven’t so much as put up so much as a sprig of holly or a single twinkle light, let alone written one Christmas card. And I still have Christmas shopping to do. Out of 50 vaguely marked boxes what do I find today? The box with the Christmas cards. So my good excuse is gone. Sure, I could have lied about it, but my quasi-Catholic heritage pours on the guilt regardless of good excuses, so I might as well fess up.

At the moment Christmas cards are the bane of my existence. I could just print out address labels and simply sign them, I suppose. Just because Martha Stewart’s secretary would write a personal message to everyone on Martha’s list, doesn’t mean I have to. But that leads me right back down the path of face-burning shame. Just what is so horrible about Christmas cards? It’s deciding what happened in my life last year that a) I would like other people to know about and b) that I think they would like to hear about. Not many people care if you went to Tahiti on vacation last May and that you ate too much pineapple and drank too many Mai Tais and then vomited in the foliage by the pool.

I am seriously considering a sex change so I can get out of any and all obligations to correspond over the holidays. You lucky crotch-scratching, spitting, belching, snorting, smelly gorillas. You don’t know how good you have it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Have an Wonder Holiday!

Today I pulled out all of the stops and called the Warranty Coordinator about every half-hour. Do I get a reply? No! Sweetface calls them once and he gets an e-mail that actually helps our little drama progress from voice mail limbo. It's not just another grabasstic attempt to avoid us. It might be that I am just an abrasive person that no one wants to deal with, but I like to believe that I'm ignored because I'm a girl.

Just so you all have an idea of the stupid we're dealing with below is the e-mail that landed in Sweetface’s inbox word for word. Names have been changed to protect the brainless, and their employer:

From: Sharon "Jennifer" Tilly
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2005 4:13 PM
To: ''
Subject: Warranty Service Request

Mr. Letnes:

I apologies for the wait on the warranty service request item. There was a bit of confusion with you lot, as you are now the new owners. However, I have sent warranty request for repairs out. I am listing the contractors that we have sent these request to for work to be done. They should be calling you in the next couple of days. But if you would like to contact them first, I will provide you their phone numbers to schedule. Once again thank you so much for your patience in this matter. I hope you and your [super mega witch double PMS] wife have an wonder holiday.


If I am missing anything, please let me know and we will send out additional warranty request.

Thank you.

Sharon "Jennifer" Tilly
Warranty Service Coordinator
Poorly Built Properties

I guess we should count ourselves lucky that she ran spell-check on the e-mail before she sent it.

Have an Wonder Holiday! Stick that in your peephole and smoke it, you Christmas is Dead whiners!

Door to Door Peepholes

We moved into our new house last Monday. Bright and early on Tuesday morning we took a field trip to the mail box so we could try them all until we got ours. The real estate investor forgot to tell us our mail box number, among a myriad of other things they/he/she/it conveniently forgot to do. When we got back we were surprised to find that there was a man at our door.

There aren’t many people in the neighborhood, as it is new yet, and in fact some of the houses down the block are still being finished, with port-a-john out front and all. So needless to say, I was surprised to find anyone lingering on our doorstep and peering into our yet-uncovered windows. The words came out of his mouth at somewhere between a mile a minute and faster than a flash of lightening. He proffered a peephole and asked me to look through it, and if I liked it. “I know I have a tan,” he said, “But I’m all right.”

He flashed a drill that he kept in a satchel and told me that it would only take him five minutes to install said peephole into our brand new, unmarred door. And it would only cost $382. For both of you dear Readers that do not know me and Sweetface, I’ll interject that Sweetface is 6’4” and well, an imposing figure, really. Thankfully, he is also the quiet type (at least around strangers) so we are able to keep up the illusion that people should be afraid of him. It’s a comfort having that advantage, and probably part of the reason that we aren’t the proud new owners of a $35 peephole (Swindle F. Peephole was only joking about the $382). That, and I was kind of loath to have a stranger drill a hole into one of the few things in the house that seems to be working.

We had to assert several times that we were, indeed, too busy for peephole installation at the moment. The conversation took more than the five minutes it would supposedly take to install the peephole. I asked for a card, which surprise of all surprises, he didn’t have. He then admitted to waiting on his free cards from VistaPrint. Nothing engenders my confidence in a business person like free business cards. You’d think with the booming new housing market in the valley that the peephole installers would be doing pretty well.

It's too bad we're limited in the kinds of signage we can post on our windows, because I have the perfect phrase to deter salespeople. Solicitors: Stick it in your peephole. Maybe we need a custom-made welcome mat.

Friday, December 09, 2005

No Phone, No Lights, No Motorcar

We moved into our house this week. Which is why I took the cheap route on my last entry (cute husky picture) and then blogged nothing for 8 days. I know you were all waiting impatiently to hear the next clever thing to come out of my mouth. Cursed Tongue is having severe technical difficulties, i.e. we have no Internet connection because the builder stuccoed over the wires to the house. I should have know that something would go wrong when our phone/Internet provider showed up pretty bright and early instead of not showing up and calling at 15 minutes to five in the afternoon to tell me that they have to reschedule for Monday.

The Communications Technician said it would be possible to run a line from the box outside to the attic and drop lines from there. At the moment we're kind of borrowing a neighbor's wireless connection. (Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, dear sweet neighbor, this is better than any cup of sugar!) So, our only phone is the cell phone. Unfortunately, we're so far out from the center of town that if we get reception on the phone I have to stay put even if that means I’m on one leg with my right hand holding the phone up into the air. It's impossible to talk to an actual person because I spent all day calling and leaving messages yesterday and the reception is so bad that people who call back have been going automatically into our voice mail where they tell me to call them back and when I do, I get voice mail.

I've also been busy chasing around to find out which mail box is ours. They neglected to leave that information, and our paid and happy Realtor told us to go to the post office. We went to the nearest boxes and tried them all with the keys we were given. Not one opened. I don't have the contact information for the listing agent, not that he would actually care to help me. He didn’t even do a proper job of making sure all of the important systems in the house were working. Frankly, I’m kind of surprised that it hasn’t fallen down around our ears in the middle of the night.

Lack of communication to the outside world is not the only problem with our new house. For some reason there's a Cat 5 outlet next to the stove. The kitchen sink is leaking. The light in the hall outside of the bedroom only comes on if the dining room light is on. The light for the driveway doesn't work at all. And the car is making a clunking noise when we break. (Not that it’s the builder’s fault that our car is running poorly, but I feel like it’s their fault.)

Mr. “I fight your fights, I work for you.” Warranty Specialist Smart Guy told me yesterday that he didn't have any answers for me and pawned me off on the Warranty Coordinator, who was not in yesterday. When I called the operator at Jackson Properties to ask if there was a manager or some one I could speak with she told me I need to talk to my sales person. I informed her that this was a resell and she said I needed to talk to the absentee Warranty Coordinator, who, she assured me, would return my call. Of course, if she does she'll probably go into my voice mail. No one has even called to schedule the things the builder claimed that they would fix, before we bought the house. I suspect, as with all warranties, they’re giving me the runaround in the hopes I’ll grow old and die before they have to honor it.

These things on top of the things we knew we would have to do--landscaping and putting up window treatments. The house is a Salvador Dali with cardboard instead of clocks. It's literally oozing down the walls, over the bookshelves and across the floors. I haven't finished shelf papering the cabinets even though I had help from my Mom. It would be *Magic* Cover if it had gridlines all the way across the paper backing instead of a huge block of absolutely useless instructions in every written language known to man. We may have to add balancing the chi in the house with Feng Shui, because I think that may be the best avenue open to us for getting anything done with the builder. Calling them on the hour every hour and leaving a message doesn’t seem to be effective. I’m beginning to think that they made the Warranty Coordinator up, she’s never there and the greeting for her voicemail sounds remarkably like Jennifer Tilly.

Sweetface and I were joking about not being able to do Christmas, but it's already the 9th and I don't have any Christmas cards done and I really do think that we won't even be able to get to the tree behind all of the boxes, let alone assemble and decorate it. I think the big J. C. is pretty upset about our plans to skip Christmas and that the result is the wrath of God raining hellfire and brimstone--you’re right, it’s a little dramatic, I’ll change it to shotty workmanship and incompetence on our little house. If that steams his beans, then he must be really mad that I haven’t been to service for over a year, and that was a christening, so it doesn’t really count.

My whole job for the last six month was picking a house. I feel like the stupidest, most incompetent woman on Earth. “Let’s buy a new house. There won’t be as many problems with a new house.” Who needs a phone when you’ve got a cell phone, and who needs their own Internet connection, when you can pirate some one else’s. I suppose if the electrical catches fire we’re supposed to call the fire department from a neighbor’s house any how. In the meantime I think I may need some heavy duty “Ultimate Online Pharmaceuticals.” It’s a good thing that my e-mail inbox is full of dandy offers for said medicinal wonders, I haven’t had time to go in and delete them.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Austrella, the Goof-Dog

I thought it was high time for another goofy dog picture. Austrella usually poses nice for her pictures, turning her head so I can get her best side. You could tell me that I’m projecting human emotions onto a dog, but you would be wrong and more obviously, a fascist dog-hater. She’s pretty excited in this picture because she’s just been told that she’s going on a buffalo. How she decided that buffalo means “walk” is as much a mystery as why so many Americans voted for Dubya.

`Strella’s bottom fangs are metal. You know that someone really loves their dog when they buy expensive dental work for them. My Dad claims that she’s a biter, and warns people who offer her food, but I think she’s a good girl and only goes after the lame and weak. I love you, Daddy.