Monday, January 24, 2011


This may come as a surprise, but I have a teeny problem with controlling my temper. On occasion. If provoked.

Yoga and deep breathing are fairly effective for anger management as well as socially acceptable. But nothing soothes the nerves like unleashing a colorful stream of profanity, with a reddened face and a stamped foot. I learned this from my mother, an upstanding Irish Catholic lady who isn't afraid to use the f word if the situation calls for it. Frigging was a favorite of hers, as well. Also, she would call my brother "The Prick of Noon" when he emerged midday from his closet-sized room reeking of alcohol. (Teenage drinking, while not exactly encouraged in our house, was viewed as normal, unlike my desire to become a writer.)

My father was more circumspect. He mostly confined himself to "bloody" although he was not British. Also, if my brother pushed the limits Dad would mutter, while cracking open a can of Schaeffer's: "You have some set on you." For years I puzzled over that expression, and I never heard anyone else use it. It wasn't until I was working at Sassy that my friend and co-worker Mike Flaherty explained that it meant that my brother had a set of brass balls. Which is quite a thing to say to a 12-year-old.

When I got pregnant for the first time, my husband started a crusade to make me stop cursing so I would not corrupt our child. What a pain in the ass. I had already given up coffee and wine for our precious bundle; now this. What had Dalton given up? The S.O.B. put a jar in the kitchen and I was supposed to pay a quarter each time I swore. I told him to fuck off.

But once the baby was born, I realized that it would be embarrassing to have a toddler exclaiming "shit" when he fell down in the playground. I agreed to cease saying the worst curses, so as to set a good example.

Ten years later, we're still working out the kinks. I refuse to classify "crap" as a curse. Dalton refuses to make it neutral. If he chastises me for saying "crap" in front of the kids (as in, "You kids better clean up all this crap"), I am likely to lose my tenuous hold on my temper. I let him have fuck, frigging, shit, ass, etc; I think I deserve crap. Crap crap crappity crap crap.

Dalton, if you are reading this, I have a confession to make. I said "fucking" in front of the kids this morning. This was at 8:15 when you were inside blow drying the frozen pipes. I was standing in the 2 degree cold wearing my coat over yoga pants and a pajama top, about to drive the kids to school because the bus had never come. Our daughter wouldn't put on her gloves because they are "fat." Our son said he thought we had missed the bus when we went inside to get my car keys. That's when I said it. "Are you fucking kidding me?"

I apologize to you, my Brownie troop, our minister, and the kids. And also the lady who was walking her dog by our house when I said it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Earbuds: I hate them

The New York Times has provided validation for one of my many pet peeves: earbuds. Virginia Heffernan, who writes The Medium column in the NYT Magazine, cites research that earbuds are bad for your hearing. No offense to the scientists who conducted the research, because I'm excited to have proof--but we needed a study to prove this? Really, that blasting music into a device that you shove in your ears will cause hearing loss?

Virgina laments the fact that hearing loss in teenagers has jumped 33 percent since 1994, but her larger point is the isolation that escalating earbud use fosters in our society. Totally agree, and my kids aren't allowed to use earbuds, but I am, according to many, a neurotic lunatic.

The main thing I want to focus on here, though, is the pain engendered by earbuds. Doesn't it hurt you to cram those things into your ears? I just won't do it. I have the old fashioned kind of headphones that fit over your ears. It occurs to me that earbuds are the aural equivalent of thongs. Am I overly sensitive? Maybe.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Five Reasons Why Black Swan starring Natalie Portman is a Sickening Male Fantasy

Imagine you are a fly on the wall at a meeting between the three (male) writers and the (male) director. Some sample dialogue.

1. "Those dancer chicks sure are hot."

2. "Except the old ones. They are not so hot. Let the camera linger on that one's wrinkly back. Gross. Also, the mother is over 40, so she is really not hot. Light her super harshly."

3. "Psycho dancer chicks are really hot. But not when they act frigid. Let's have the dude in charge seduce Natalie Portman! To loosen her up! Also, make her masturbate as part of her job description. That's hot!"

4. "It's really hot when psycho dancer chicks lose their minds and stab themselves to death."

5. "How about a sex scene between hot ballerinas! Let's put Natalie Portman in bed with another chick! OK, I think we have a movie."