The funny disease.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

“To Tell a Family Secret…My Grandmother Was Dutch.”

DNA testing isn’t simply fodder for CSI and the Jerry Springer show any longer. Now genealogists are getting in on the, “Who’s your daddy?” action. Capitalizing on genealogical DNA testing begins with companies that have mapped out haplogroups, or ethnicities. For $100 one can have their DNA examined to find out which ethnicities they match up to. For genealogists, finding your haplogroup is the new scrapbooking.

Barring being left on a doorstep, how confusing could someone’s ethnicity be? Apparently, it can be more confusing than an auctioneer with Multiple Personality Disorder. The ancestors for one person increase exponentially. That means that 10 generations ago 1,024 people paired off and each had a child who grew up and paired off and had a child and so on, eventually resulting in you being here on this planet at this moment. And now we can find out if great grandma Edna had a love child with the Irish gardener. It gives hope to those who pray that they aren’t really related to crazy old cousin Merl.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sarah, We Think You Have a Problem

My eye twitch has reached a record 8 months. Through various times in my life the twitch under my right eye has appeared. Times like end of term exams, and during job-hunts the twitch has come and then gone. So it was no surprise when it started last May. We had just moved to Arizona and were looking for a house in a market where prices were spiraling out of control.

Throughout the close of escrow in November, there were times when the twitch was just about constant. And it even traversed the bridge of my nose to agonize my left eye for a brief period. Well, I suppose when I realized that there’s a good chance that I might have to throw the twitch a birthday party (like that time we forgot about a bag of frozen cranberries) I decided that I might want to do something about it. Something, in this case, means Googling “eye twitch” and getting medical advice off of the Internet. I know many people have poopooed the idea of getting medical advice off of the Internet. For those of you who remain blissfully unaware of the font of medical knowledge available on the Internet, it’s a hypochondriac’s wonderland.

Yesterday, I had a stress-induced eye twitch; today I have a neurological disorder. Or Epilepsy. One or the other. Or it could be the combination of stress, fatigue and caffeine, and all I need is a hot bath and a cool compress. Oh, and to give up my coffee. A prospect that I don’t think will be very pretty at this point. It’s times like these that make me truly appreciate the fact that I’ve never smoked. I think if I had, I might be lighting up right now. I bet that would help me relax. (After I was done coughing my lungs up, of course.)

And probably, I shouldn’t be staring at the computer screen all day, writing, blogging, e-mailing and giving in to my other addiction, Googling. It’s research. I have to do my research, so I can continue bringing you up-to-the-moment, in-depth banalities of my life. It’s all perfectly healthy. No, really.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cursed Tongue’s Favorite Winter-time Activities in Arizona

Ah, Arizona in the winter. Where a walk to the mailbox doesn’t require any of the same equipment as a North Pole expedition. Here’s a list of my favorite things about winter in my new state:

  • Forgetting my jacket and then realizing it doesn’t matter because it’s 70 degrees outside
  • Sand angels
  • No extra yoga because of snow shoveling related back injuries
  • Gardening (or it will be, after I pick a landscaper)
  • Pina Coladas on the verandah
  • Sunbathing (or it would be, if I wanted a set of matched alligator skin luggage for my 35th birthday)
  • Watching the national weather forecast and laughing at predictions for snow
  • Inviting relatives in colder climes to visit
  • Frappachinos anytime

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Hopelessly Lost

Anne Sweeney, President
ABC Entertainment
500 S. Buena Vista St
Burbank, CA 91521-4551

Dear Ms. Anne Sweeney,

Despite my better judgment, and the chronic stupidity of the characters on Lost, I continue to be a regular viewer. Last night I was watching, when a television pop-up ad obscured the lower inch of the picture on my TV screen. I was not fazed by this, because ABC and other stations have trained us well. In fact, I’m having trouble recalling what the advertisement was even for. Let’s say it was an ad for Crest Whitestrips.

Were you aware that two of the characters on Lost are Korean? And furthermore that they often speak Korean to each other, in what I can only assume is part of the script? In order for us to understand what they are saying, as the typical American most definitely does not speak Korean, the producers of Lost have included handy dandy subtitles in their show. Anyhow, this ad for Crest Whitestrips, (or what have you) ran during the show, right over the subtitles. It seems to me that somewhere down the line at ABC, someone is confused about the use of subtitles. Simply put, if they are obscured by advertising, subtitles don’t work. Of course, they also don’t work for the illiterate, but in that case the ad for Crest Whitestrips wouldn’t have worked, either. Let us hope that the person at ABC who is confused about the use of subtitles, is not also illiterate.

You may think that I am going to ask you to stop putting banner ads on your lovely television network, but rest assured that nothing could be further from the truth. It used to be I would sit through the filler on the ABC Network, and think to myself, “When will we get to the commercials?” Occasionally, a character would be holding a Coke or wearing North Face jacket, but that just could not sate my craving, nay my need, to be pummeled over the head with refrains insisting that I need a Ford Focus, a Budweiser and a Blockbuster rental or life is not worth living. And who doesn’t need to be told that they should be smarter, thinner and prettier, twenty-three times within a one-hour period? But thanks be to God, that someone with a blindingly brilliant intellect recognized that useless space at the bottom of the screen during television shows. It’s not as if your viewers were doing anything, like, I don’t know…watching their stories.

So, where does that leave subtitles? I think the solution is a simple script rewrite, killing off Sun and Jin, the Lost characters that speak Korean. Why should ABC have to pretend to be culturally aware? This is America, where I think our national motto should be (if it isn’t already): “It’s too late to pretend we care about anyone else now.” Lost has to keep people captivated with violence and death, anyhow. It’s safer than keeping people riveted to the screen with sex, what with the KGB, (excuse me) I mean, FCC out there. That’s a whole separate category of complaint letter, I’m sure.

Hopelessly Lost,
Cursed Tongue

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Disgruntled Depot

It has recently come to my attention that a massive whack-job wreaking havoc in my very own community has escaped under the radar of most of the self-involved U.S. Apparently, a Home Depot employee drove through the doors at the front of the Chandler, AZ branch of that home improvement store, nearly hitting a colleague. Ali Warrayat then turned down the aisle and drove to his old station at the paint department where he set either the car or the paint on fire in the hopes that the entire store would go up in flames. He fled the store, but then waited for the police at the curb, probably next to the Snack Shack of Questionable Cleanliness. He was hoping to be either killed or deported, according to news articles.

Reports conflict on whether the man is “a Jordan native” or “originally from Kuwait,” and despite claims that he is probably from somewhere in the general vicinity of the Middle East, there was little talk of terrorism. It made me wonder if this was the act of someone from a terrorist group. The local authorities stated that he was not part of a bigger conspiracy to shut down the home improvement industry in the U.S., but who is to say that there wasn’t a shady government cover-up? As suggested by someone who obviously knows from crazy, Joseph Farah.

Warrayat allegedly set the fire because he was upset at the latest plan to solve the illegal immigration problem, which is to build a really, really long wall on our Southern border. I like to call the juvenile attempt to defend our country by excluding new sources of cheap labor the Chicken Wire Curtain. The contractor with the honor of building the Chicken Wire Curtain (if the plan passes through Congress like so many other legislative turds) will certainly be the one that bids the lowest, and will probably be using illegal immigrants for the installation of said immigrant exclusion filter. Talk about letting the chickens guard the hen house! Of course, that wasn’t the sole reason that Ali Warrayat decided that it was a good idea to burn down Home Depot, also, he was upset that he didn’t get a big enough raise. Which begs the question, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I believe the answer lies in the fact that no terrorist organization stepped forward to claim Warrayat as their own, and to denounce the Home Depot as a bastion of capitalist excess and infidel repairs. Also, he struck before the store was opened, so obviously he was unconcerned with taking a large number of godless Americans with him. Although he was allegedly hoping for a massive explosion, it seems that Warrayat was just a lone crazy. Need more proof than that? It seems that this quiet, hard worker was supposedly planning he revenge on Home Depot for a few days, and without the help of anyone who might be even a little sane. He packed his car for the trip down Crackpot Lane with items that included a Palestinian flag, a copy of the Koran, a cat and his uncle’s pit bull. Apparently, he attempted to put the pit bull into the trunk with the Koran, and it didn’t want to go into the trunk it was because dogs are filthy animals (according to the beliefs of Islam) and it didn’t want to be near the Koran. Otherwise, I’m sure the pit bull would have been happy to go into the trunk. You might be wondering, what’s with the dog and cat? I believe the only answer available is: See, *crazy.* Once arrested, Warrayat called a press conference, at which he answered no questions, choosing instead to make faces and grunt at the camera.

Sweetface and I were in our local Home Depot a meager three days after the incident. We planned to buy blinds so I could take down our lovely modular packing paper curtains. There seemed to be a door missing, and the merchandise was disorganized, with ceiling fans on the floor in a blocked off aisle, but otherwise the Home Depot appeared to be pretty much the way it had been. The paint department didn’t look as if it had been ground zero.

To our dismay, there was no one in the window treatment department, and upon asking someone in the kitchen cabinet department we found out that the only one who could operate the blind cutter had not shown up for work, or even called. Perhaps it isn’t fair for me to judge, but the police have the Chicken-Wire-Fence-hating, caught-on-video-surveillance, alleged arsonist in custody so there was no reason not to be there to cut our vertical blinds to order. We had to return to our new favorite place to shop in the whole wide world the next day and watch Home Depot Barbie receive training in blind-cutting. Which goes to show that Barbie really can do anything, alleged act of terrorism or no.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Warrantable Brain Damage

It’s hard to believe that we have been living in our new house for a little over a month, and we are still having trouble getting the builder to fix defects. I was surprised when we actually got a call from our Warranty Specialist, Bungle D. F. Winklemeyer, at 8:31 on the 31st of December. You might think that’s awfully specific for something that happened a couple of weeks ago, but I always remember answering calls that wake me up with an “Omigod, who died?” heart attack. He wanted to take a look at the crack in our tub next Wednesday. I made the mistake of having plans already, and daring to ask him to reschedule. It’s a little like not being ready when the waiter appears, telling him you still need a couple of minutes and then waiting around for half an hour before he gets back to you again.

I called on Monday, the 9th of January, as Bungle suggested. I even called during his favorite time period to make his calls, between 8:30 and 9am. I left a message. I called again in the afternoon and left another message. I called a third time the next morning, and still got his voice mail. He called about an hour later, not to reschedule, but to tell me that he had too much on his schedule and my case was being given to Super Mega Warranty Despot, Fearsome Harpy Queen of Sewage Systems (I’m told it’s an honorary title, she’s just a figurehead). So I call her and she tells me that crack in my tub is cosmetic, even though she’s never seen it. Cosmetic!? There's a crack in my new tub in my new house!

Then she tells me we shouldn’t have signed off on the sacred, “This House is Perfect,” no takesies backsies contract, which we never had an opportunity to do, seeing as we bought this house from a Flipper. And no, I don’t mean the super intelligent, ocean-dwelling mammal. This kind of Flipper is more closely related to the vile and dim-witted bottom-feeder, the sea cucumber. Actually, I take that back, and apologize to fans of sea cucumbers everywhere, this kind of Flipper is more closely related to the gelatinous, oozing, brownish green mess that sea cumbers vomit on a regular basis to rid them of parasites.

Queen Harpy calls me back the next day, to address an issue that was on the same request. “I spoke with you yesterday, do you remember me?” I answered, “Just because I bought one of your houses doesn’t mean I’m brain damaged.” (I blame my lapse in judgment on sunstroke.) Of course, they couldn’t do anything about the request that she for some reason didn’t address when she’d talked to me a mere 16 hours earlier.

As with any warranty process they’ve made the procedure for obtaining any remedy so convoluted and difficult that you’d rather endure colon hydrotherapy while completing your 1040A and listening to American Idol Rejects' Greatest Off-key Hits, than spend another moment trying to get what you were promised. And when the list of people and corporate entities I want to sue is longer than a receipt from Best Buy, litigation seems as laborious and futile as picking ticks off a dead horse. Maybe all I really need is to amass a huge Blog audience and then reveal the name of the odious, devious, depraved shyster builders. I’m sure Sweetface would stick by my side through the resulting libel suit.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cursed Tongue Haiku: Ode to the Crack in My Tub

Beautiful new house,
Warranties cover nothing.
What was I thinking?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Breaking Up Chronic Patterns of Tension

This weekend I went with Mom to one of the many local spas and got a deep tissue massage. (As if you didn’t hate Little Ms Sits-around-the-house enough already.) Well, turns out, it’s not as wonderful as it sounds. I’m not completely clueless, I knew there would be pain involved. Though I was a little surprised when the petite massage therapist caused pain I would categorize as being somewhere between excruciating and torture.

It seems that this might be just the information extraction method that the Bush administration is searching for. (Not that I could have said anything with an elbow shoved under my shoulder blade.) The logic being, that if it’s something people in the U.S. pay $95 to have done to them, it couldn’t possible be a human rights violation. Why, adding such amenities as Bikini Waxes and Colon Hydrotherapy, could turn Abu Ghraib into the Club Med of prison camps, and would surely quell all of that inconvenient clamoring about torture and illegal detention.

I was the one who suggested deep tissue massage, instead of our normal Swedish massage, so I was a worried that Mom had suffered similarly. I walked into the waiting room to find her a little too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. But she was apparently ready for more, and already talking about our next trip to the spa. When the massage therapist was done I felt drunk, and was glad that Mom was driving home, because I can barely handle driving under normal conditions. It also made me wonder if the power of massage to rid the body of toxins wasn’t complete bunkum, and if I’d had a little too much fun over the holidays.

The next day I was sore, as I kind of expected. But yesterday the soreness turned into a stabbing pain in my neck. So I’m writing this with an ice pack wedged under my head, and if I’m not in a dreadful enough mood because of that, I’m also having problems getting the Putrid Properties Warranty Service to fess up and fix my cracked tub. And our lot is so not graded properly! I think I might reward them with an all-expenses paid trip to that hot new vacation spot located a mere 20 miles outside of Baghdad.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I Have the Power

Ah, the eternal struggle, man and woman vying for control of the remote. I’m a lucky woman because Sweetface doesn’t watch sports. But that still hasn’t cured any of our marital strife over the clicker.

Sometimes when we’re both watching TV, Sweetface decides to leave the room and turns it off. It bears the great philosophical question: “If a TV is on in a room and there’s no man to watch it, is it really on?” It’s like turning off the light on someone. His defense is usually, “It didn’t look like you were watching.” And my reply is, “I wasn’t, because what you had on stunk.”

Sweetface has a penchant for documentaries about machines and manufacturing. Documentaries about machines make me feel like a five-year-old in an insurance office. I’d really had enough on the day that Sweetface was watching a show about a boring machine. I told him if he really loved me he would let me pick what to watch once in a while. Apparently, he thought I being funny because he laughed.

Men need to be reminded that the remote is not an extension of their manhood, and sharing it isn’t the technological equivalent of castration. In any case I have a few mantras to help those of the masculine persuasion get along with those of the feminine persuasion:

“There are other people in the world besides me.”
“I am not the center of the universe.”
“Real men share the remote.”

Friday, January 06, 2006

2006 Has Come and Life Goes On, News at 10

It’s only six days into the New Year and already there have been approximately 2 billion, three hundred thirty eight million, six hundred ninety four thousand, seven hundred and thirty two exclamations by television reporters of their utter dismay that tragedy continues to take place even though it is now 2006.

“It’s only been 6 days since the New Year and already there have been 3 tragic deaths in the valley.” For veteran news reporters, possessing manageable hair and perfect elocution is far more important than logical thought. While more forgivable than making wild speculations about a news event being filmed by Chopper Cam, and mispronouncing words like ekspecially, the rampant belief that all should be right with the world for the first week after our arbitrarily chosen date for the beginning of each year is seriously annoying.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bellybuttons Pants

Middle of the week shopping is the domain of the retired and the unemployed. Go to the grocery store in the middle of the day on Thursday (the day after most grocery store ads come out) and the place will be over run by sit and shops. Clothes shopping in the middle of the day during the week is no exception. Kohl’s was inundated with septuagenarian shoppers, two of whom were happy to share their opinion of everything. A couple of sisters wandered through the store, their heads barely poking up above the racks of flared jeans.

Helen: Bellbottoms came back. Look at all of the bellbottoms, Marge.
Marge: Why do these pants look used? I’d be embarrassed to wear jeans that looked dirty and faded.

Marge: Are these those bellybutton pants?
Helen: I don’t know, Marge. Try them on.

And then over in the sweaters…

Helen: Why are these sleeves so long?
Marge: They wear them that way nowadays.
Helen: I just don’t understand.
Marge: Well, our arms are short, Helen.

I wonder how long ago it was that Marge and Helen got out of the house. Flared jeans have been in the stores for at least the past six years, right? It was quite a while ago since I saw a young man wearing actual bellbottoms. The hem of each leg was about the circumference of a hoola hoop, and the fashion-minded blockhead ran across the street and fell on his face. He did manage to get up before he became hippy road pizza. (A teenager was tragically killed today for being fashion-conscious. Wardrobe malfunction or fashion disaster? News at 11.) I hope Marge and Helen weren’t so out of the loop because they were retirement home escapees.