February 27, 2005

-image-oscars and the grouch

All right. I’m the grouch. I’m watching the Oscars right now. Can I just say sumpin’ here? What is with the staging tonight?! May I please say that it deeply, honestly sucks? They’re bringing the nominees for some of the less sexy awards — Art Direction, Costume Design — ONTO THE STAGE, just to stand there, waiting in front of the whole watching world to see if they’ve won, like some athletic losers hoping to be picked for the softball team in junior high PE.

When the Oscar is announced, the winner steps forward, and the losers — well, the losers are whisked offstage to their shame dates with Doritos and Ding Dongs and, ultimately, the panic disorders that began the night they got the humiliating thrill of standing onstage as the LOSERS at the freaking ACADEMY AWARDS, no less!! The stage should be the magical place where the winning happens, not the place where the nightmares begin. Don’t make a spectacle of the poor, disappointed people. What’s next? Losers are devoured by lions? Chased by blood-thirsty paparazzi?

Ah. Now I see the directors are also having the stars go INTO THE AUDIENCE to present these awards that nobody cares about. Here’s Cate Blanchett, loitering in an aisle, announcing whatever award this is. And the winner is ….. shockingly, that person in the aisle seat right next to her. WOW. I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING! Now this hapless winner has stepped up to the rickety microphone — which just magically appeared — to give her speech in this ultra-glam locale.

And, and this lucky gal gets to be upstaged throughout her entire speech by the eye-catching, attention-grabbing presence of Cate Blanchett who is still in the shot — because the shot’s too freaking wide and the aisle’s too freaking narrow and it’s utterly freaking stoopid. (Hmm …. seems I’m a little bugged.)

But back to my live rant. Look, don’t steal the winner’s moment by making them seem pale in comparison to the luminous, unreal aura of a movie star. Don’t put the winner or the star in some clunky, stupid, but “new” location, just to be avant-garde. Don’t put the winner in an aisle where they have their backs to half the audience. They’re upstaging themselves — through no fault of their own. No thoughtful director would do that to his “people.” It strikes me as insensitive. And I understand it seems like an expeditious TV choice. Sure, you’re cutting down on “walking” time if the winner is sitting or standing right there. But it takes something away from the grandeur of the show and it certainly steals something ineffable from the winner’s moment. Hey, when we practice our acceptance speeches in our mirrors, we’re imaining ourselves walking our glorious walk up to that glorious stage, not standing in a squishy aisle, battling for screen time with a person who’s paid to be a screen hog. That’s the winner’s moment and it shouldn’t be messed with, FOR. PETE’S. SAKE! (Wow. Seems I am disproportionately annoyed.)

But — I just can’t stop!

Because what other “avant-garde” locations await us tonight??

I mean, are we going to see “Gwyneth Paltrow presenting from …. the slimy-floored kitchen!” or “Nicole Kidman ….. from the alley trash cans with the deranged hobo reaction!” or “Anthony Hopkins …. presenting a winner, some losers, and a few snivelers, LIVE …. from the men’s room urinals!” ??

WHO THE HELL KNOWS??

Okay. Shhhh. Gotta watch.

February 24, 2005

-image-just when I thought I wasn’t special

My friend Greg at What Attitude Problem had this just-for-fun quiz up the other day: Which Fantasy/Sci-Fi Character Are You? Apparently, in this Other Realm I am not even female — nope. I am Luke Skywalker — son of that evil, heavy breather with the unfortunate head gear who wants to destroy the universe. But wait. Don’t I attack and try to kill him? (But then don’t do it because I’m so thoroughly noble that I don’t want to give in to the hate, etc.?) Hmmmm …. feeling a little better.

After all, this definitive, life-altering quiz does say of Me-Luke:

Boldly striving to overcome the darkness both in this world and within yourself, you are righteously devoted to forging your own destiny.

And then, this telling quote from Me-Luke:

“It’s your choice, but I warn you not to underestimate my powers.”

(Oh, yeahhh. Someone throw me a light saber ….)

Update: Now I’m shamelessly stealing something else from dear Greg (who got it from Boar’s Head Tavern.) It’s another quiz (Hey, I’m sorry. I’m still malaisey): Worldview Center’s Christian Worldview Test. Go to that page, scroll to the bottom where you have to “register” (as your Fantasy/Sci-Fi Character, of course) in order to take the test.

I agree with Greg; some of the questions are a wee scary — and seemingly out of place. (Well, one in particular, but I won’t give it away. Take the test and tell me which one strikes you that way.)

I scored — as did Greg — as “Strong Biblical Worldview Thinker.” Good for me, I guess? But as a commenter over at Boar’s Head Tavern said, “Is this test inerrant?” As I took it, I felt like I knew what answers were expected of me to get the “highest score.” Ah, old habits truly die hard.

We may have the “proper worldview,” but how is that translating over into our lives — how we live, how we love Jesus, how we love one another …. our lifeview ….

(This Just In: MB is YODA. Drat that man! How long’s he gonna hold that over my lame li’l Luke Skywalker head? Stupid quiz.)

February 18, 2005

-image-transparency

This morning, a courageous woman named Joann left a comment on my old post “some straights and some homos“. Because that post is now archived and because I wanted more people to read what she shared, I’m posting her comment here, front and center. I deeply respect people like her and dear Greg at What Attitude Problem who are willing to be so achingly transparent. Here is her comment:

I am a Christian, and for awhile after becoming one, I spoke very harshly against homosexuality. I was self-righteous about it in almost every way possible (the only thing I didn’t do was support hatred and violence). But guess what? I soon developed a homosexual crush on a female friend of mine named Nancy (who is also married), and I am only just now learning to overcome my self-righteous attitude concerning homosexuality. Go figure, huh? So, now I finally agree that there is absolutely nothing wrong with meeting and making friends with practicing gays and lesbians, as long as we remain just that, friends, and we don’t get all preachy and self-righteous about their behavior at them. In other words, kindness and friendship will go a longer way in encouraging gays and lesbians to change than if we preached to them and tried to enforce our own Christian beliefs on them. Believe me, I learned that the hard way recently, and that’s why I am glad that I’ve decided not to be so harshly judgmental anymore. After all, none of us Christians would like it if a gay man or woman came up to us one day and tried to convert us into homosexuals now, would we? So what right do we have in trying to convert them into Christians? None! Gays and lesbians are human, too, so I’m glad that we are finally accepting them and giving them the dignity and respect that they deserve.

As for my homosexual crush on Nancy? The good news is that I’m almost completely over it, thanks to God’s mercy, glory, and grace. The bad news? Even though I don’t have sinful sex dreams or fantasies about her anymore, and I no longer have the desire to sleep with her, I still have a lot of nonsexual dreams and fantasies about her, so I’m still struggling.

I may not be a homosexual anymore, but I’m not going to be so harshly against homosexuality anymore, either. Instead, every gay man and woman I meet will be treated with loving kindness, dignity, and respect by me, and I’ll even try to make friends with a few, too!

Amen. And amen. Thank you, Joann, for the blessing.

February 15, 2005

-image-no title — I’m just that lazy

Because I’m a lazy, lazy girl and a bad hen, I’m doing a rerun. And furthering my bad henny-ness, it’s not even my own rerun, but Jeff Goldstein’s from Protein Wisdom. I’m just extremely taken with his conversations with inanimate objects from back in June 2004. Now, I suppose they’re R rated. So if you’re gonna get all squinchy, don’t say I didn’t warn you. But I’m willing to guarantee you the giggles — so much so that if you don’t get a severe case of aforementioned giggles, I will make you some, oh, maple oatmeal scones (neither dry and crumbly nor hockey pucky), or …. or coconut butter cream cupcakes or …. Jello . (You must monitor your giggles on the honor system, peeps.)

February 14, 2005

-image-joke’s on me

Okay. Valentine’s Day shake-up. I’m a rooster-less hen. In a hen house twist of cosmic proportions, my rooster has suddenly flown the coop for the next week and a half. Guess a “chick” flick by myself at the mall is my punishment for those unhelpful V-Day boot camp posts.

(I’ll just be over here … clucking … by myself …)

February 12, 2005

-image-fatherhood 2

Greg over at What Attitude Problem? has part 2 of his post on Fatherhood. You really must go check it out and hear the perspective of a man formerly in the homosexual lifestyle. A man who truly and deeply understands the importance of redemptive Fathering. His thoughtful insights need to be heard, to be weighed by the Church at large. Go …. Read ….

February 11, 2005

-image-valentine’s day boot camp, part 2

Okay. Part 2. As I said to all you roosters, it is a dratted manufactured holiday. We clucky little hens know that. But let me also say that I don’t think it’s manufactured just for our exclusive, prima donna, henny benefit. If you’re a hen who lounges around the hen house on Valentine’s Day waiting for the rooster to rock your world while you do nothing, you are a bad hen! Bad. Hen. (Well, those are a couple words I never thought I’d write together.)

Anyway, look. Maybe it’s just a matter of perspective. There’s obligatory romance and optional romance. Obligatory includes the birthdays, the anniversaries, perhaps the Christmas season, and, yes, V-Day. Optional includes, well, all other days. And, yes, optional romance is more romantic. But what’s wrong with looking at the obligatory days as an opportunity for roosters and hens to enhance the love level, to turn up the heat in the hen house?

Perhaps men fear our expectations: “Ahhhh! She wants a big, chubby diamond. She wants a screamingly expensive gift. She wants the la-di-da dinner with all those confusing, prissy forks!” No, no, and no! (Diamonds don’t make me all dewy. Expensive gifts scare me a bit. And prissy forks make me cry.) Not every woman expects — or even wants — the extravagant gesture. Many of us are happiest, most charmed, most swept off our feet by gestures that take some time, some thought, some creativity. And yes, ideally, we should be engaged in “the loooove” all year ’round, but when life interferes or we’ve gotten a little lazy, these days are a good chance to play a little lovey-dovey catch up. Do that little extra credit. Get that glow that lingers after a lovely — and even little — gesture.

All right. Shaddup, already, and give the !@$?! ideas, Trace. Here we go:

1. Write that list I referred to in part 1 — the reasons why you love her. Although, don’t do it if you can only think of three. Do put in some of her physical attributes that are your, uh, favorites. (But — perhaps — don’t make that the whole list.) And, hens, you can do this, too.

2. Buy a box of those kid Valentines. Write a little something on each one. Be romantic. Be racy. Whatever. Tape ’em to the walls. Put some in the mailbox. Hide them in your sock drawer. Fill his briefcase. You get the idea. S-p-r-e-a-d the love.

3. Send him/her a card each day for the week of Valentine’s. Better yet, make a card. MB has a gift with drawing. He can draw the funniest cartoons, so I have a few cards like that. Love ’em.

4. So if you have artistic gifts, use them. Draw, paint, write, etc., something that expresses “the love.” Maybe on the bathroom mirror.

5. Valentine’s Day is on Monday, so to help your beloved be more relaxed for the week ahead make Sunday night “Spa Night.” Break out the scented oils, massage lotions, fluffy towels, cucumber slices, etc. Use your computer — or hand make — a brochure creatively describing the services offered by your “spa.” (Choose whatever MPAA rating you’d like. )

6. Roosters — rent her favorite romantic movie, pop the popcorn, get out the cozy blanket for two. If the movie’s “Gone with the Wind, ” tell her she has to kiss you every time one character says another character’s name — say, oh, “Rhett,” for instance. She sees her favorite romance, but you get a little bit, too.

7. Make him his favorite meal. Or make her her favorite meal. Oh, and set it up picnic style on the floor …. or the bed. Candles, candles. (But as Smokey the Bear says, above all, “Be firesafe.”)

8. Brush her hair. Be gentle. It’s simple. It’s romantic.

9. Music, music, music …. ah, sweet music ….

10. Go to your favorite takeout place. Order aforementioned takeout. Smuggle takeout into the movies in a shopping bag. Don’t know why I love this one, but I do.

11. Slow dance in a restaurant — one that doesn’t have a dance floor. I guarantee people will applaud you.

12. Give yourself $5 each to spend at your favorite convenience store. See what kind of unusual stuff you can buy to have yourself a li’l diverting evening. Maybe some paints, paper, frozen cookie dough, temporary tattoos, nail polish …. trust me, that’s an interesting evening.

13. Go to your beloved’s car at work. Attach some balloons to the side mirror, windshield, etc. Before tying up one of the balloons, enclose a little love note — or a destination where to meet you and when. Leave a card with a co-worker complicit in this plan. Card should contain pin and instructions to pop balloons until note is found. Make complicit co-worker take pictures.

14. Roosters — Pajamagram.com. Order by tomorrow. Guaranteed V-Day delivery. Nice.

15. Revive the art of the love letter. If that’s not you, here are some thoughts to borrow:

“My dear Girl, I love you ever and ever and without reserve. The more I have known you, the more have I lov’d …. The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest ….”

John Keats — but you can write something like that. I do believe you can.

16. Go to your favorite bookstore. Buy each other two books: One you know they’ll like; one you’d like them to read. (A gift and a present, plus reading. Yippee!)

17. Moonlight stroll. Hold hands. (In the rain. With no umbrella.) What, doesn’t everyone do it that way?

18. Have a Betty Crocker evening. Pick out the most decadent sounding dessert from your cookbooks. Shop for the ingredients and make it together from scratch. Don’t worry about gettin’ messy. In fact, the messier the better. You can always clean each other up later. 😉

19. And hens — Well, there’s always this and it usually gets a laugh. It’s something I invented called “The Boomerang Card”: Buy yourself a beautiful blank card. Write a love letter to yourself, rhapsodizing shamelessly about the wonders of yoouuuu. Don’t hold back. Embellish effusively. At the bottom of the card, draw an X and a line. Under the line write: “If you agree, sign your assent on the line above.” MB always laughs at these, keeps them, and gives them to me later.

20. Roosters — We hens are verbal, verrrrry verbal. So try this:

Look — really look — into her eyes, take her hand, and tell her something along this theme: “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. You take my breath away and make my knees go weak and I’m so in love with you.” Etc., etc. Improvise freely, but mean it — and keep looking at her.

That oughtta shut ‘er up.

All righty! Just a few, not-so-expensive ideas from me to you.

And now, all you roosters and hens, Carpe That Confounding, Obligatory Diem!

February 10, 2005

-image-valentine’s day boot camp, part 1

Years ago, my fiance, Snake, and I had a wee row on Valentine’s Day. I had gotten him The Perfect Gift and he’d gotten me bupkis. Na-da. Unless you count that bitter chill in the air between us. He sat there with The Perfect Gift cradled in his lap and explained:

“I didn’t get you anything,” he sniffed, “because I knew you were expecting it.” Hmm …. Jack Frost nipping at my nose …. Now, a strange, convoluted, ah, discussion ensued.

“Well, what did I do or say that made you think I expected it?” I was bewildered.

“Nothing,” said Snake. “I just knew you did. You shouldn’t expect it, you know. And since you expected it, I didn’t do it.” I watched as he fiddled with The Perfect Gift in his lap.

I won’t relay more of what was said, because it basically went roundy-round on those two comments. Ain’t love grand.

Thankfully, I shed Mr. Snake from my life before ever slithering down the aisle to become Mrs. Snake.

So yes, that “day” is comin’. That !#&?! day dedicated to delight, delirium …. and dashed hopes.

Yep.

Birds-Trees-Hearts-and-Flowers Day.

Drunk-Dial-Your-Ex Day.

Lame ‘n’ Crappy Ol’ Valentine’s Day.

Please remain calm!

I know it’s a dratted manufactured holiday, fellas. Maybe we “shouldn’t expect it,” but, well, we’re history’s worst monsters and we do. Try looking at it this way: You have the chance to “outlove” ALL OTHER MEN. You could be the talk of all your wife’s friends, sending those green-eyed hens home to their roosters, clucking, “Why can’t you be more like Walter?!” You could be, if only for one day, The World’s Greatest Lover.

Trust me. Your woman will likely brag about you if you sweep ‘er off her dainty little feet. Why? Because women like to make other women feel bad. “If I’m the Queen, that means you’re not.” Well, maybe that’s a tad harsh. (But have you met any women?)

So, roosters, In the spirit of that !#&?! day, I’m serving up some ideas to get you to that lofty, long-for position of World’s … Greatest … Lover … Some of these are mine, some aren’t. I’ll do a few in this post — more in another. Here we go:

1. Understand the difference between a present and a gift:

A present is something you give because you want your beloved to have it.

A gift is something you give because you’re sure your beloved wants it.

Roosters — That Dustbuster is a present. That lacy little somethin’-somethin’ might be, too. Think about that.

Hens — Underwear, ties, and socks — unless handmade by you or your precious, wide-eyed 4-year-old — are presents.

“And extreme lustbusters,” MB is chiming in.

“Thanks, babe,” is what I lovingly say to him but what I’m thinking is “Hey — get your own !?@!#! blog!”

2. All right. Let’s get this over with. Flowers — eh. They’re okay, but every other WGL contender is doing it, so big whoop. That doesn’t set you apart as the BEST. Don’t do roses — unless they’re absolutelytutely her favorite. Meaning she’ll drop everything because she’s gone weak in the knees and passionately kiss you for …. hmm … say, at least 30 seconds. Then they’re probably her favorite.

3. Chocolate — if she LOVES it. See reaction above. But get the best you can afford. Not a Whitman’s Sampler that you bought in the drugstore from a slow-moving, loquacious cashier named Agnes on the way home from work …. on Valentine’s Day.

4. Okay. Old standbys out of the way. I’m gonna say something that’s true for me — and for my girlfriends (hey, we talk about this): We’d rather you take some time, be creative, than spend a lot of money. Sometimes the simplest things can make the most impact. A few years ago, My Beloved wrote me a list of reasons why he loved me. It was touching and funny and melted me. I took time, creativity. And I loved it. I remember there were a lot more reasons than I could have thought of — and more than I think I deserve. I still have that list. I still look at that list.

5. Last entry for this post — and necessary precursor to what’s coming in the next:

Roosters and Hens — Lovely presentation is part of the gift. It shows you took just a little extra time. It shows “the love.” If you are not “gifted” at this, please — oh, please — have someone do it for you. If you’re not sure whether you’re gifted at this, you can send me a picture of something you’ve wrapped — 😉 I’ll tell you straight. (Hey, in college I worked retail, wrapping gifts and preparing gift baskets for a very shi-shi-poo-poo store. So I got pretty darn good at — well, at shi-shi-poo-poo wrapping.) At least keep some handy-dandy gift bags on hand, get some excelsior (straw-like stuff from arts stores) or tissue — and nice it up! Come on. I know you can do it. (Or contact me and I’ll do it for you — I really would. Because I love to do that.) Yeah, I know …. I’m weird.

Okay, henhouse dismissed … for now …

February 7, 2005

-image-not for wimps — but you ain’t a wimp, right?

Well, yippeeeee!! The Anchoress must be feeling rambunctious today — and I couldn’t be happier! She’s reprising her classic vagina post from December — a deliriously explosive satire of the whole insipid Eve-Ensler-Vagina-Monologues culture. Don’t be sittin’ here listening to me tell you about it. If you missed it the first time, you’ve got a second chance to check it out.

(Ummm … you’re not still here, are you?)

February 4, 2005

-image-worship

Ken over at I Threw a Brick Through a Window has a thoughtful, timely series on worship — what it is, what it isn’t. The series has four parts so far. Here are links to parts 1, 2 , and 3. Part 4 is up there on the main page still. Ken’s new to the blogosphere. Go check him out, read his series, say howdy.

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