The funny disease.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

CBN: Christian Broadcasting Network Featuring Spiritual Leader and Strongman, Pat Robertson, or Satan’s Toehold in Your Living Room?

(And you probably thought the channel for eternal damnation was Fox!)

Pat Robertson claims that he could leg-press 2,000 pounds, roughly the weight of a fully loaded Ford Festiva. Forget for a moment that Robertson is 76 years old. He’s skinny, wiry at best. I don’t challenge his vim and vigor, but he’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger. Certainly, he’s also no Dan Kendra—who Travis Clay, in writing about Robertson’s claim, references as the record holder for leg-pressing the most weight. A Florida State University football player, Kendra leg-pressed 1,335 pounds. The strain of pressing so much weight burst the capillaries in Kendra’s eyes.

I felt that in order to responsibly report to you about the miracle of Robertson’s 2,000 pound leg-press, I had to brave the CBN website, which I have not linked to here, Dear Readers, because I care too much about your well-being. As the CBN website materialized on my screen, I immediately felt immensely uncomfortable, like the time that wacky Aunt Pearl offered me a paper bag filled with huge granny panties that didn’t fit her, in front of my Grandfather (the man who muted and looked away from any commercial that might contain the words “personal freshness”). There was sweating and palpitations, Dear Readers, which might have been due to the 108 degree heat, but it could have been that I had stumbled upon an electronic portal to Hell. Could it have been the sting of e-holy water on my demonic aura? Well, I won’t pretend that the last time I was in a church wasn’t at least two years ago and a relative’s baptism. But if it counts for anything I still remembered all of the words.

What caused me such distress, visiting a virtual Christian wonderland? It might be the fact that it allows users to do everything from requesting prayers to getting advice on their love life. Or, it might be the flame symbol included in their logo. I suppose it represents the light of God, or Holy Ghost, or something. But didn’t it ever occur to the committee of Christians, responsible for choosing a logo for the station, that a flame might be associated more closely with hellfire, Satan, and eternal damnation? Why not use a lamb, or a cross or a fish? Why not use water, a symbol of baptism and included on Footprints refrigerator magnets everywhere, as part of their icon? Or maybe it was simply an allergic reaction to the holier-than-thou smugness that wafted right off the pixels. But I digress.

According to the CBN website, Robertson was able to achieve the feat of the 2,000 pound leg-press, with the help of a physician, and by drinking a special protein shake. The recipe for which, can be downloaded for free, if you don’t mind registering with CBN, which I do. The Age-Defying Shake includes ingredients like apple cider vinegar, flaxseed oil, soy protein isolate, and whey protein isolate, according to an article on the ABC News website. Why isn't Barry Bonds shooting this up, instead of other alleged performance enhancers? If it’s that great why isn’t Robertson bottling his Reality-Denying Shake? He could have it blessed, call it “Sweat of Christ Elixir,” and the proceeds could go to teen abstinence programs and heathen conversion.

And that, Dear Readers, is why I’m going Hell. Pray for me!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Don't Cross Me

Friday Editorial at Cynical Sarah:

Don't Cross Me


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

There was one?

It really singes my summer squash when people use the phrase, "Back in the day." First of all, it assumes there was a day, and trust me, there wasn't. Every era has its trade-offs. Sure, in the 1890’s you have quiet and fresh air and plenty of wide-open spaces, but indoor plumbing is something of a luxury, and if you needed antibiotics, you would be entirely out of luck.

The human brain is constructed so that we block out the bad things and the good stuff sticks like flies on flypaper. We suppress the distasteful and wretched inconvenient little harsh realities (like bubonic plague) when we wax poetic about the past.

When people under 30 use the phrase I always think, “How the Hell would they know?” When people over 30 use the phrase it sounds stilted and vaguely creepy. It always makes me want to say, “Gee willikers, Mr. Cleaver! Back then, was everything really so swell?”

Monday, May 22, 2006

Gouda? I thought it was tofu!

Sweetface and I are lucky enough to live near my parents, and visit them on the weekends pretty regularly. A couple of weekends ago, Dad walked into the TV room where we were watching a movie, with a strip of about five string cheese packets clutched in one hand. This is not an unusual snack for him, and when he was on the Atkins diet, it didn’t seem to affect his weight loss. But now that he’s on the “Dad eats what Dad wants” diet, I worry about his cholesterol and high blood pressure.

“Dad, you eat a lot of cheese,” I say to him, trying not to be confrontational about it. Stating my concerns as if maybe he didn’t notice.

He said, “You ain’t the boss of me. I’ll do what I want.” Okay that’s not exactly what he said, but except for the liberal sprinkling of profanities, that was the gist.

When I talked to him this Sunday about maybe coming over to visit next Saturday, he asked, “Oh. Is that when we’re having my Cheese Intervention?

“No, Dad.”

Just because Dad isn’t annoyed enough with me and my failed Cheese Intervention, I have analyzed the Nutritional Information on a package of string cheese. Aside from the fact that 50 calories of the string cheese is from fat, one serving of string cheese is a pretty healthy snack.

Even two servings, isn’t really so bad, unless someone is watching their sodium intake. But ingesting 5 string cheeses means you’ve eaten 400 calories, 30 grams of fat and a whopping 1200 grams of sodium. Not to mention the fact that 30 grams of fat is nearly half the amount of fat that the government thinks people on a 2,000 calorie diet should have for the entire day.

Serving Size 1 piece 28 grams


For comparison I will link to the McDonald’s website, and the Nutritional Information on the
Quarter Pounder (R). Note that there are slightly more calories, but about half as much fat. And the walk to the McDonald’s is much further than the walk to the refrigerator.

I know that my Dad will probably tell me that he doesn’t want the government all up in his deli drawer. But I have to say that if I end up taking care of him in his old age, he’s going to eat low fat, sugar free rice pudding and do Tai Chi and like it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Soda

Friday Editorial at Cynical Sarah:

You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Soda


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

We’re Number 2!

Phoenix is the second worst city for road rage in the U.S. I guess I am a little surprised, because I don’t see angry driving, so much as stupid driving. There was definitely a lot of rage and hate among drivers in Chicagoland (where I used to live). Here I've noticed there was not so much honking, nor as many Italian hand gestures.

Sweetface can sit out a non-arrow left turn without being honked at (most of the time). He has this thing about being the second or third car to turn left at a yellow light. If he’s behind the white line, he won’t. When we moved here, the rampant occurrences
of stupid driving was a bit of a shock. Brain fry, brought on by lifetime in the hot sun, I guess.

Here in the Phoenix valley, five cars get through a yellow light, which of course, they don’t really get through the yellow light. The last three cars kind of plow into the intersection because they feel like they’ve sat at that intersection long enough and deserve to put the lives of strangers at risk.

The streets are bad, but the freeways are Stephen King
scary. The HOV lane (for carpoolers), on the far left of the freeway, could be renamed the Autobahn lane. Except that some people believe it’s still the HOV lane and drive something that resembles the speed limit. By far the dumbest driver I saw on the freeway was a woman who had covered all of the windows of (except the windshield) of her sedan with foil sunshades.

On the streets there are a lot of rice boys
(teenagers driving cheap cars they’ve souped up so they look fast) and princesses driving with a cigarette in one hand and a cellphone in the other. There are angry soccer moms out for vengeance, and treadmill day traders with their phones attached to their ears and their Palm Pilots attached to their hand as if they joined up with the Borg, because the office couldn’t possibly do without them for five minutes.

Now, I know that the police don’t have time to track down everyone that ever cut me off. Or almost smashed into me because they were checking the NASDAQ on the CrackBerries, but I wish there was an official, central place to report reckless driving. If drivers get enough citations from fellow citizens maybe they could be investigated by the police, or get a point on their license. Or even receive a nasty note on MVD stationary telling them they are irresponsible, narcissistic, out-of-control jerks and we hope they aren’t reproducing.

The Worst and Best Cities for Road Rage

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

SUVs Corrupt, Absolutely Gargantuan SUVs Corrupt Absolutely.

Dear NASCAR-Loving SUV Drivers,

I’m not here to sharpen my kitty claws on the fact that you’re driving an eight-passenger, gas-guzzler solo. I believe that the rising price of gas will be punishment enough soon enough. Frankly, it’s time for an intervention. It’s your driving. Some SUV drivers seem to be under the delusion that they are driving a sports car, instead of 4 tons of steal mobile death.

Sweetface is not a slow driver. In fact, I occasionally have to remind him that we’re not on the Autobahn. But this weekend on the freeway five SUVs swerved in front of our little blue sedan, almost close enough to peel a layer bugs from our bumper, within about a 20-minute period. It was as if we had wandered into a clinically insane drivers parade. Weaving dangerously in and out of traffic in some misguided belief that you will get there first is for Nissan Maxima drivers.

Later on we saw a truck, granted not an SUV but still, switch lanes no less than five times about 500 yards from their exit. If you keep passing the snail mobiles that are chugging along at a measly 80 mph, only to run into other cars going an agonizing 80 mph, then it’s you, not them.

Tailgating is always dangerous, but tailgating in 8,000 pounds of metal at 85mph is reason enough to have the offending driver committed. You see, there’s this thing called velocity. The heavier your car is, and the faster it is going, the longer it takes to stop. Thus, if you are determined to read the hallucinatory bumper sticker on our sedan and a existent knitting needle flies from out of nowhere and punctures our tire, you will certainly rear-end us as our car skids and slows. Unless of course, you are really sitting next to Lincoln in a nice, quiet institution with a Fisher Price steering wheel in your lap, where you belong.

You also seem to be unaware that at night your super cool, 500-watt headlights are at exactly the right height to blind the drivers of the sedan you are tailgating. I’m sure that it’s not your fault that the headlights are 500-watts. But it would be nice of you to keep your distance regardless of wattage.

It’s not that I don’t like you, you enthusiastically reckless SUV drivers. I’m sure that you were perfectly sane before you sat behind the wheel. But your offensive driving doesn’t make you look cool, it doesn’t make you look sexy. You won’t ever be “discovered” by a NASCAR talent scout. Please pick a lane and stick with it. And for Mario Andretti’s sake slow down!

Drive Safe,
Sarah Letnes
Cursed Tongue

Friday, May 12, 2006

Kitchen Magnet of Disaster

Friday Editorial at Cynical Sarah:

Kitchen Magnet of Disaster

Supplementary texts:


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Meals I Can Make Without Burning (Usually)

  • Pizza
  • Spaghetti with Marinara
  • Bean Burritos
  • Toast
  • Potpies from the freezer section
  • Good old mac and cheese

You’d think I’d lose weight from sheer boredom.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

This Just In: I Could Give a Steaming Cow Flop

Things I wish they would stop "reporting" in the news:

  • American Idol
  • 24 (I didn’t used hate Kiefer Sutherland’s guts, but I’m working on it)
  • Brittany Spears
  • Tom Cruise
  • Dirty Restaurants
  • The News Anchor’s palatial estate
  • News Anchors who pretend to be everyday people after mentioning their palatial estate
  • Puff pieces that amount to sycophantic advertising for their Network/Parent Company
  • The latest horrible thing that will definitely kill me, if I don’t watch their report on it
  • David Blaine’s latest asinine stunt
  • Stories about psychics/mediums/leprechauns
  • What the new black is


Friday, May 05, 2006

Cursed Awakenings

Friday Editorial at Cynical Sarah:

Cursed Awakenings


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Tales of the Underpaid Maid

I once worked in an office where there were just enough employees to have plausible deniability for the shrugging off responsibility for almost any given mess. Being the “Secretary,” it automagically fell to me to shovel up copious amounts of “oops” copies, printouts that no one bothered to collect, Fed Ex envelopes and broken plastic book spines. “What a mess.”

I turned to face my boss. “Yep. I feel like a maid.”

“You’re one overpaid maid.”

I had never gotten anything even resembling a raise at that particular job. That weekend, out of masochistic curiosity, I looked in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and could not find maids as such, but I found janitorial staff. And it turned out that the mean salary for janitorial staff was a quarter more than what I was being paid, and those figures were from four years prior to the day I was called an overpaid maid. Probably, the mean salary had gone up for janitorial staff since then.

I remember days of working so hard and sans anything resembling a break that by the evening I was nauseous with exhaustion. I remember days of having work enough for me and two interns, and looking up to see one of my colleagues and a V.P. run by shooting rubber bands at each other. I remember the day that His Unholiness, of the Grand Engineer of Satan’s Computer Database didn’t have time to make a couple of quick changes his code to make my job easier, but did have time to go out with the boys for a game of football.

There was the day I got to work an hour early for personal reasons. I had nearly put in a full day when my boss’s boss comes to me and tells me that he needs 500 copied packets and he needs them by the end of the day. These weren’t surprise, last minute packets. But something known about in advance, that I could have been working on periodically and had them almost done by that moment, if he had told me when he had come in that morning. Of course, it was not as if I had to copy them out by hand, but still these things take waiting and staples. I put in a full twelve hours that day.

But the absolute worst task I was ever given at that office was cold-calling sales leads. I had a tenuous grasp of the software we were offering. That was partly because no one sat down to explain it to me. It was mostly because the software didn’t technically exist yet. I had absolutely no sales training. I’m sort of kind of an introvert. And they wanted me to call people who had little or no idea we existed on the face of the planet and tell them we had software they might like and if they had any questions they could talk to someone else who actually knew about that. If they’d have given me a choice between cold-calling and eating live Africanized bees, I would have chosen the bees.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Picky Longstockings

Things that Sweetface refuses to eat:

  • Fish, except for shrimp, scallops and calamari, and I think I could get him to try lobster once more, but the jury is still out on that item.
  • Ham/pork chops although curiously eats bacon and fried pork in Chinese food (Frying things sometimes makes them fit for Sweetface’s consumption.)
  • Anything with curry
  • Soup, except for chili
  • Refried beans with even a little ground clove
  • Italian sausage, apples and spaghetti squash cooked together in a special attempt at developing cursed culinary skills (It was good. No, really.)
  • Meringue cookies I baked in money saving effort to use up egg whites
  • Any food item (except for plain toast) with a fried egg on it
  • French food (except for French toast and French fries)
  • Bratwurst
  • Hot dogs
  • Bologna
  • Mortadella
  • Raw meat
  • Internal organs
  • Sharp cheddar cheese (more for me)
  • Stinky cheese
  • Velveeta
  • Dark Chocolate (again, more for me)
  • Cooked broccoli
  • Olives
  • Mushrooms
  • Sauerkraut
  • Raw tomatoes
  • Chunky tomatoes in marinara sauce I spent all day slaving over
  • Potatoes (Doesn't include French fries, but does include potato chips, an oddity that I’m not going to press the issue on.)
  • Onions, unless they are diced small and cooked
  • Ice cream with kirshwasser
  • Other stuff I forgot because the list is so long and then I make it because I’m the worst wife in the whole world, and should be fired.