The funny disease.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Things that Make Me Irrationally Angry

  1. Littering
  2. Littering with cigarette butts
  3. Use of the word "whatever"
  4. Talking during movies
  5. Katie Couric
  6. Kathy Lee Gifford
  7. Kelly Ripa
  8. Kevin Trudeau
  9. Apparently, the letter K
  10. Mispronunciation of words by news reporters
  11. Having my call better directed by pressing many numbers
  12. People that pass me on the road because I’m only driving 10 MPH over the speed limit
  13. Celebrity lines of clothing/cosmetics/household goods

Monday, February 27, 2006


Because I thought it would be funny, last night I was making a list of things that make me irrationally angry. I was stuck at four, not long enough by far. Surely, there must be more than four things that make me irrationally angry. Now, I asked Sweetface for help, as I sometimes do as part of what we’ll call for the sake of argument, “my creative process.”

Little did I think that it would be similar to the time I asked him how I looked in a pair of pants I'd just purchased, and he said they made my butt look big. (I won't pretend that my body is perfect, but a big butt is not one of my issues. At least, not until I was alerted to fact that it required special butt-diminishing pants.)

Me: What makes me irrationally angry?
Sweetface: Bad drivers?
Me: No, they just make me angry.
Sweetface: When I say “Whatever.”
Me: That is not irrational. You deserve to taste my wrath for “Whatever.” You might as well rip my still-beating heart out of my chest, flush it down the toilet and tell me you don’t love me anymore.
Sweetface: See?
Me: Oh no you don’t. When I want your opinion and you respond with “Whatever,” you’re just being hurtful.
Sweetface: No, I just mean that I don’t have an opinion one way or the other.
Me: Then why don’t you say that?

So, I’m willing to admit that I was Emeril angry, (ready to tear culinary student, Timmy, a new one for leaving the ice cream under the stage lights too long). But I don’t think it’s at all irrational to expect that your spouse respond respectfully to you, when you ask if he wants the Wedgwood blue or the mocha curtains. “Whatever” is for condescending, insensitive 14-year-olds on their way to teen boot camp on Jerry Springer.

When Sweetface says it, it's as close to speaking fluent Valley Girl as he gets. There's no pretending that he ever uses an innocuous "Whatever," which, " just means that I don’t have an opinion one way or the other." He always says it with an impatient tone that feels like he wishes I would slink back to The Great Indoors and not bother him with my insignificant, bothersome concerns.

I know that I should be examining my own wellsprings of irrational anger, but I found it much easier to pick out the faults of my Sweetface. Women are just naturally tuned to picking out a man’s flaws, I guess. I think that ability is definitely a product of evolution, but apparently it doesn’t matter what I think. So, “Whatever.”

Things That Make Sweetface Irrationally Angry

  1. Radios playing music in stores
  2. The Ancho D Rny Homeowner’s Association (Not their real name, but it’s what the sign at the entrance to the community says.)
  3. AOL
  4. The Millers
  5. Morons on TV
  6. When the speech doesn’t match the mouths of the morons on TV
  7. Headline teasers that take longer than the actual news story
  8. Jerry Seinfeld
  9. Tom Hanks (I can completely understand how Jerry Seinfeld could irritate someone, but Tom Hanks? Except for making The Terminal, what did he ever do to anybody?)
  10. Discussions about going on vacation
  11. Roller-skate shoes
  12. Home decorating
  13. Over-simplified explanations of technology that omit important details
  14. Blind speculation on the inner working of technology in movies and on TV (except for SciFi, of course)

Saturday, February 25, 2006



Originally uploaded by Cursed Tongue.

Austrella is our manipulative sweetheart husky. She pretty much has us wrapped around her paw.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Can I Stop Being a Grown-up Now?

Friday Editorial at Cynical Sarah

Can I Stop Being a Grown-up Now?


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Yukon, The Winking Siberian Husky


Originally uploaded by Cursed Tongue.


"Apprentice" Update: Donald Trump and Martha Stewart--Capitalist Moguls or Petulant Children?

It appears that Martha and The Donald are still at odds over the cancellation of Martha’s version of the "Apprentice." Stewart recently repeated her claim in Newsweek that her show failed because Trump’s "Apprentice" was still on the air. She said that if she had fired him as they had discussed, her show would have done better. Trump denounced her "Apprentice" in a letter, even going so far as to say she made up the “firing” as she made up her sell order on her shares of ImClone. (As if Donald Trump was a sparkly clean, Dudley Do-Right of the business world.)

And as much as it pains me, I think I'm going to have to stick up for Stewart. Mark Burnett, the producer of "Apprentice," confirms that they did discuss canceling Trump's "Apprentice." And honestly, how many overbearing business personalities on reality shows can the American viewing audience take on a weekly basis?

NBC and The Donald should have taken my advice and sent Martha a nice gift basket. I think it’s too late for that now. And it’s almost too bad I won’t be there to witness die-hard, snowman-cupcake-baking fans of Stewart hissing at The Donald like geese. Not because I agree with that kind of behavior, but because I would like to see if Trump's hair responds.

Trump continues bashing Stewart, in an apparently manipulative bid to be interviewed by Newsweek, also.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Water on the Brain

A visitor to Arizona might believe that there is not a water shortage. It is true, when I turn the handle on the tap that water always comes out of it, and not in that sputtering base-housing-in-the-desert way. Why, I could just turn that little knob and let the water flow out until the bill arrives. Sometimes I feel like doing just that.

Even though it is the desert, the people here go through water like it was water (for lack of a better analogy). I've lived in the Mojave Desert, which seemed to have rules about water usage. When I lived in Illinois they had rules about water usage, and there was no drought there.

You can’t swing a dead armadillo without hitting a lake community in Chandler. There are fountains of lovely toilet-blue water in lavish displays in front of communities and businesses. Fountains are more commonplace as palm trees. And in the summer, all of the hip businesses mist their customers before they enter. Even though it hasn’t rained for 125 days (a record here in the Valley) it’s like I'm living in the middle of the Sodom and Gomorrah of water.

Because people tend to want to stay alive and need water to do so, traditionally, communities are built around a source of water. Phoenix is no exception. Nature provided the area with aquifers. Like every other natural wonder people have come across, aquifers have been exploited until they were pretty much drained of their usefulness, and then have turned around and bitten us on the ass. People have built homes and businesses over the aquifers, which, after they have been drained tend to sink. Large amounts of sinking is typically bad for the foundations of buildings. And no insurance in the world is going to dig a house built over an aquifer out of its sinkhole. You'd be better off with a home that was overrun by deadly mold, because at least then you'd still have land on which to rebuild.

Last year, Le Nature’s opened a water bottling plant in Phoenix. Extensive probing (I e-mailed their Customer Service Department) has revealed that they osmotically filter, pasteurize and bottle municipal water. I know that they are far from being the only purveyors of H2O who use municipal water. In fact, how many crystal clear mountain streams not neighboring a manufacturer of toxic substances could there possibly be? But in a city that strikes deals to buy water from the Colorado River, which is, frankly, far from Lake Michigan water, (regardless of what Chicagoans have done to it) how could it possibly be a sensible place to open a plant that bottles water?

How could a desert city that routinely has to beg and borrow to get water just let a water bottling company waltz in and slap fancy labels on plastic bottles full of our vile tasting water supply? I haven’t seen such local government incompetence and corruption since I left Illinois.

The cherry on the proverbial survival sundae is that, because we’ve had no rain it is so dry that the atmosphere contains, in effect, anti-rain. When we do get precipitation it will be virga. (Not to be confused with the pill that Forthwith T. Nutjob and his buddies keep e-mailing you about.)

Since I am sure my ranting falls on deaf ears, I will just have to do the white man’s equivalent of a rain dance. So this week I’ll be washing my car and planning an outdoor wedding.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Too Much Information: Confessions of an Addict

Friday Editorial at Cynical Sarah

Too Much Information: Confessions of an Addict


Thursday, February 16, 2006

You Want to Waste My Genius on Cutting CDs? I'll Make You Pay!

One of my friends has a brother who charged her $50 to help her cut four cds. That was half of a C note for what amounted to five minutes of his time. It’s disconcerting to think that there must be other self-proclaimed technical geniuses extorting money from friends and relatives for such commonplace computer usage. My own sweet husband, a man who eats, lives and breathes computer programming says that the technically knowledgeable have a duty to society to help the tech-impaired.

Being as tech savvy as a baboon with a tack hammer is a serious liability in a culture where even four-year-old have cell phones. It is one thing paying for the expertise of a techspert, but entirely another for a friend or family member to take merciless advantage of one’s lack of computer skills. We’ve gotten way past the point where even someone who knows a lot about technology can do everything. In other words, there is an obligation for us to help each other figure out how to Instant Message our friends in the comfort of our cubicles.

Of course, there is also plenty of opportunity for the tech needy to take unfair advantage of their friendly, neighborhood Mt. Dew drinker. Sweetface worked for a small software company, and was run ragged by the demands of programming and administering the network, at the heart of which was two servers held together with duct tape and baling wire. On the night of our second wedding anniversary the boss was out of town, and his wife’s new computer crashed. The boss was unaware that my husband was called upon to retrieve his wife’s data. Poor Sweetface spent five hours, after a regular day of work, doing what the wife should have called customer service in Bangalore to do. He was retrieving her contemptible insignificant data when we should have been eating anniversary lasagna at the Olive Garden. Her vile computer was still under warranty, after all.

The good thing about that was that if I was ever going to snap and bludgeon another human to death with a candlestick that would have been it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

IKEA: Many Living Rooms, None of Them Yours

Over the weekend, Sweetface and I made a pilgrimage to the Tempe IKEA. For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to have had the IKEA experience, it is a showplace for modular Swedish furniture, and has just about everything you could want to outfit an entire house or dorm. And at IKEA you can also get every form of lingonberries known to man.

This particular IKEA consisted of one floor of showrooms, and a second floor, which is their warehouse. Now the showrooms are definitely set up for exploring. Why, Sweetface and I explored them ourselves. We even saw a family of eight fit neatly into one of those sleekly furnished 10x10 rooms and marveled at the wonder that is space-saving Swedish furniture. Rounding the corner from a kitchen complete with a home-fill refrigerator, we never had the barest inkling of the horror that was before us.

There was an entire family seated around a Bjursta table and in a scene more gag-worthy than almost any gross-out close up on CSI, one of them was wiping a baby's bare butt. There was no secretively, no hint that what they were doing might be unsanitary or wrong, or even better done elsewhere. I think the most horrible part was the realization that these people weren’t the first ugly Americans to walk into, what is essentially one of Sweden’s many embassies to the U.S.A., and do such a thing.

Even in Sweden, mysterious land of affordable and stylish lamps, I’m sure that in furniture stores such as IKEA, they have restrooms with changing tables. The Tempe IKEA was no exception. The showplace bathroom next to them was not equipped with diaper genie, soap and running water. It did have a striking cobalt blue soap dish, which I was far too disgusted to enjoy. I gazed into the intense cobalt color in an attempt to burn the image from my brain.

Needless to say, I no longer had the appetite for eating any lingonberries.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Honest Excuse or Huge Pile of Moldy Cow Ploppy?

Given the cynical outlook of many of my posts, you might be surprised to learn that I’m gullible with a capital G. No, this is not an invitation to the country of Nigeria to e-mail me numerous heart-wrenching requests for my account numbers, in their own unique brand of English. I’m willing to admit that I can’t always tell if someone’s being straight with me, and Dear Reader, I would like your input.

Last Friday, for example, Larry Landscaper was supposed to come by around 11ish to drop off a quote. (We are in desperate need of a landscaper. The HOA will surely start sending us nasty notes, soon. Right now, our front is dirt.) Eleven forty five rolled around, and I decided not to let it just slip out of my grasp. After weeks of experience with landscapers I have learned that they almost always have something better to do than try to get my business. So I gave Larry a call, all the while feeling guilty for bothering him.

He told me that some things came up and he would be around at about 2 p.m.

The phone rings at about 1:45 p.m., and it’s Larry. I think he’s calling to tell me he’s on his way. But when I pick up the handset, I quickly find I am mistaken:

Me: Hello?

Larry: Yeah, don’t worry about that. Put it right over there. (Yelling to someone, obviously not me.)

Me: Um…Hello?

Larry: Oh, Hello. Sarah? I’m out on Route 60, just East of Grand (like I needed exact coordinates), and I had a blowout.

Me: Oh no.

Larry: It was the darnedest thing. I bought these tires from Just Tires only two months ago. The tire blew out because there was a bubble in it. So, they’re still under warranty from Just Tires.

Unfortunately, I can’t just change it to the spare because the tire is wrapped around the axel, so my car is getting towed to Just Tires.

Me: Uh-huh.

Larry: They’re towing it straight to Big O…Just Tires. I’m going to be first in line when I get there, so I’ll still be able to make it. I’ll give you a call when I’m on my way.

Me: Ok.

It didn’t occur to me that Larry might be yanking my chain until I hung up the phone. The conversation is, based on my memory, and therefore not exact. But Larry really did say “Just Tires” about 5 times in the course of our conversation. He never did show up. And more heinously, he never did call, not even to cancel.

So did Larry concoct a story that I should have put on my tall cowboy boots for, or should I give him the benefit of the doubt?

Friday, February 10, 2006

"Don't worry about me. Worry about world hunger."

Friday Column at Cynical Sarah

Check out my Friday column on the Editorial page at Cynical Sarah:

"Don't worry about me. Worry about world hunger."


Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Husband, My Tech Help

When I went off to college, I received two things from my father. A computer and advice to, “Find yourself a nice computer nerd.”

When Sweetface, my husband, went off to school, he also received a computer, and the advice to, “Find yourself an English Major.” Needless to say, we both followed the fatherly advice that was given to us, and maybe for the first time in history, our fathers were right. Thus I had someone to fix my computer, and Sweetface had someone to proof read his papers.

I’d never thought of our mutual needs being the ties that bound our relationship. I’d always thought it was his beautiful blue eyes, sweet disposition and spaghetti carbonara.

One of my nicknames for him is Fred, because of the CDW commercials where tech users do the kinds of things that make people who operate help desks wake up in the middle of the night weeping. “I ran out of space on my computer, so I deleted all of my files.” “I clicked on that e-mail you told us not to open.” The technologically impaired could always rely on Fred to fix things.

While I’m probably a teensy bit more tech savvy than the average American between 25 and 35, I still rely on Sweetface Fred to feed and care for our little home network, and run the VCR. It used to be that I knew how to work the VCR. But we got a new one and a digital TV, and there are so many clicks to get from cable to recording Monk for my American TV starved in-laws.

There’s nothing more wonderful than a relaxing evening of sitting in front of the TV when Sweetface asks me to do something simple, like program the VCR and with a remote in each hand, I frantically punch what I think are the right buttons to no avail. Sweetface growls, uncharacteristically, and grabs the clickers from me. Though he insists that he is mad at Panasonic and Samsung for even needing two remotes and 7 clicks to record a show, it feels like he might as well whack me on the hand and tell me if I can’t handle the remotes I don’t deserve them.

I never had delusions that I would ever be Fred to my Sweetface in any instance, but instead of keeping up with technology, I feel more and more like Martha without her chickens, as technology not only advances, but seeps into every aspect or our lives from our toasters to our toothbrushes. Which means that
I am completely tech-dependent. I'd be lost without the man that spends most of his waking time learning about technology and computer programming, and some of his sleeping time dreaming about it. (Sometimes, I catch his fingers typing on the blankets while he slumbers.)

Maybe it was a mistake, getting the washer and dryer that are smarter than me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Britney Spears Teaches Course in Car Seat Safety

By now you have probably heard about the latest drama in the Spears/Federline household. Typically, I wouldn’t waste my precious blog space on them, but I can’t let the latest display of utter stupidity go by without ranting about someone so high profile and influential to other inexperienced, naive, learning impaired young parents.

Yesterday, Britney Spears was photographed allegedly driving her honking big SUV with her baby on her lap. While it is not fair to judge someone on the basis of alleged actions, we could do some pretending and look at the incident from Spears’ position in the driver’s seat.

Now, imagine you’re inside of a honking big SUV, and you’re worried about a crowd of people armed with cameras, but you still took the time to wait for your bodyguard to show up with your nonfat venti strawberry crème Frappuccino. Why wouldn’t you also take the time to lock your doors, and give the paparazzi a nice shot of your trunk while you strapped baby safely into the car seat? Moreover, why didn’t the bodyguard, a person that Spears pays to protect her and her children, to whom I’ll give the benefit of the doubt in assuming that he is a fully functional, mentally stable adult, suggest the aforementioned course of action to her?

It’s easy to blame aggressive paparazzi, but wouldn’t driving away in a car while you are freaking out be even more dangerous for the precious innocent baby in your lap? And if Spears was so concerned for her safety why is the car window partially open?

So in review, two adults are in a car with a baby and because there are scary people taking pictures outside, they allegedly flee instead of pausing to put the baby in the car seat.

Spears is not even wearing her own seat belt. She can’t even pretend that her palates-toned left arm and motherly love would save them in a collision. Which, trust 50 state governments, it is not safe to hold a baby on your lap and drive.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Sarah With an H

Friday Column at Cynical Sarah

My friend Sarah Polson started a humor web site and asked me to contribute a weekly column on Fridays. Check it out at Cynical Sarah:

Sarah With an H

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cursed Tongue Guide to Valentine’s Day

While I’m sure that the male gender is not completely stocked up on hopeless mooks incapable of coming up with something romantic for this Valentine’s Day, this is addressed to men, because we’re only kidding ourselves if we pretend Valentine’s Day is for anyone other than chicks. I hear some of you saying, “It’s Valentine’s Day already?” Don’t panic, you have two weeks. And I know you didn’t all forget. Statistically, that would be highly improbable.

Now before you accuse me of being overly romantic, I must say that my idea of a special evening with my sweetheart is not being jammed into a crowded restaurant--resulting in an earsplitting din and an over-taxed wait staff, most of whom would rather be out with their honeys than schlepping prime rib, and pushing Southwestern Eggrolls while watching deeply in-love patrons drool all over each other. It seems my tastes differ from the vast majority on what they’d rather be doing on the most romantic greeting card holiday on the calendar.

I much prefer a romantic meal at home and unless you make your reservations quickly, it’s either that or taking you chances on the big night that someone comes out of their love-induced stupor and cancels. Taking chances on V Day could land you and your well-dressed (and possibly ticked-off) date at a lovely florescent-lit table for two at the Chick-fil-A. If you can cook, and I would suggest take out if you can’t, most women would be impressed by the thoughtfulness of a romantic dinner. Don’t worry about getting too fussy; think simple and delicious. A romantic dinner should be about spending time with your date, not about stirring gravy so it doesn’t clump.

Note: A romantic dinner that you make loses all of its charm if you let her do the dishes.

Although many contend that Hallmark created the capitalist feeding frenzy that is now Valentine’s Day, I would argue that they had a lot of help. Not only from other retailers, but also from single women who wake up in cold sweats from nightmares about dying alone and being eaten by wild dogs. If you don’t get the love of your life a gift on Valentine’s Day you might as well rip the bag of Conversation Hearts out of her hands and grind them into the cement. So, what do you get that special woman in your life?

Some chicks leave hints. She might say something like, “I really like Tuvan throat singing.” It might be a hint for a gift. If there’s a catalog on your night-table with something circled, that is definitely her special way of telling you “Hey you, Mook! Buy me that!”

Other chicks expect you to read their minds. I know that you suspected that all along, but here it is in writing, in a semi-permanent format. Feel free to print it out if you like. Unfortunately, the psychic abilities of men are wildly exaggerated. You have to either pay close attention to a woman’s likes and dislikes, or outright ask her. Sweetface finds it helpful to have me make a wish list. That way he still has a little latitude and if I don’t like a gift, it was my own fault.

There is a large subset of non-hinting women that will say, “I don’t need anything,” or “All I want is world peace.” Don’t let them get away with that crap. World peace is way too much to expect of any one person. The only thing Mom ever wants is, “A happy family.” And who gets to help Dad pick out gifts for her? It certainly isn’t my hopeless mook of a brother. (Of course, I suppose she could really be asking that we all start taking Zoloft. I should probably clarify that with her.) If you know such a woman, it might be a good idea to contact a friend of hers, or a female family member and ask for gift advice. If you live with such a woman, just look around at her possessions. I am not giving permission to go through her underwear drawer! You probably won’t have to go far to find the fire hazard curling iron or the bathrobe that appears to be molting.

Lingerie (by which I mean anything see-through, skimpy, strappy, gartered or crotchless) is not a gift for her. It is a selfish Homer gift. When buying loungewear for a woman, (i.e. pajamas, robes, slippers) think cozy and soft, not sexy and itchy. Cozy typically means coverage, but unless you’ve seen her snuggle up in a full-body fleece potato sack, it’s safe to assume that she doesn’t want anything that falls into the muumuu category. While the above paragraph is perfectly legible to any woman, I have tried to clarify it, and I realize that it may still be confusing as to what I mean, exactly. Which brings us to an important tip: whatever you buy ask for a gift receipt.

Candy can be a good Valentine’s gift for a woman you’ve recently met, or that you’ve been married to for 25 years, but giving candy can still be tricky. Most women do like chocolates, but still may look at a 2-pound box of See’s Soft Centers and see 2 pounds of unsightly thigh fat. If your sweetie complains about her weight or is dieting, do not buy her candy. Warning: Don’t ever buy low-fat, low-carb or sugarless candy for a Valentine’s Day gift. (Unless she’s diabetic and sugar might kill her.) You might as well get out the indelible marker and mirror-write “Lard Butt” on her forehead.

For those women who don’t love chocolate (I actually know one of these mysterious creatures and she’s only the pickiest eater in the history of picky eaters), there are many non-chocolate Valentine’s candy options. There were at least three pink aisles last time I was at Target, there must have been plenty of non-chocolate there--if you’re a soon-to-be-lonely cheapskate.

Many women are thrilled at the prospect of the gift of flowers. I’m sure any flower courier will tell you that women light up, like the string of pink hearts your significant other hung in your window, when they pass with an enormous bouquet. Flowers can be pricy. But keep in mind, that you aren’t just paying for a bunch of smelly plants when you buy flowers. You’re paying for the artful arrangement of the flowers and prompt delivery. Grocery store flowers can be okay, but are typically not a match for flowers from a florist.

But even a florist might suspect you are a hopeless mook and try to pass off foliage that’s a little past its sell by date. So if you go that route, look carefully at the flowers, there should be no wilting or drying and the bottoms of the stems should be cut cleanly and white in the center. Or you could order from one of the major on-line florists. I have had good experiences with them.

Still a Mook?
Still stumped? Get out the “Honey Do” list and do that thing she’s been nagging you to do forever. You know the one. Don’t think of it as the gift of capitulation, think of it as the gift of a healthy and balanced relationship, in which, the woman in your life doesn’t feel like choking you every time she looks at the crooked screen door or passes the shelves you were supposed to put up.