June 29, 2006

-image-don’t worry, pipey, you’ll be okay!

Piper is getting her tonsils and adenoids removed today (well, Friday.) Do not talk to her about it or she will shush you and her eyes will bug out. Do not try to tell her that she’ll be asleep and won’t feel a thing and that when she wakes up, she’ll get tons of ice cream. She will not be cheered. And you really don’t want those big blue eyes of hers to well up on you, do you? Trust me, you do not.

So let’s just say this in the merest whisper: Don’t worry, Pipey! You’ll be okay!

Oh, and this:


(Shhhhhhhhhhhh ……)

June 28, 2006

-image-“what’s all the rumpus about?”

I’ve been sitting here flipping through my worn-out copy of Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing about Grace?

(Have I said enough times on this blog how much I love Philip Yancey? No? I mean, I can always say it again: Oh, how I LOVES me some Philip Yancey!)

Anyway, I’m just in the mood to throw out some random quotes and stories from this great and, for me, life-shaping book. And I can find jewels on literally every page of this book. For instance, here’s one I love — with C. S. Lewis! — that Yancey included:

During a British conference on comparative religion, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room.

“What’s all the rumpus about?” he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions.

Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”

After some discussion, the conferees had to agree. The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish covenant, and Muslim code of law — each of these offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.

A quote Yancey uses from Frederick Buechner:

People are prepared for everything except for the fact that beyond the darkness of their blindness there is a great light. They are prepared to go on breaking their backs plowing the same old field until the cows come home without seeing, until they stub their toes on it, that there is a treasure buried in that field rich enough to buy Texas. They are prepared for a God who strikes hard bargains but not for a God who gives as much for an hour’s work as for a day’s. They are prepared for a mustard-seed kingdom of God no bigger than the eye of a newt but not for the great banyan it becomes with birds in its branches singing Mozart. They are prepared for the potluck supper at First Presbyterian but not for the marriage supper of the Lamb ….

Oh, and if you haven’t read this book, read it — read it for the chapter called “Grace-Healed Eyes” about Christian author and Yancey’s friend, Mel White, a gay man who stayed in the closet for YEARS, was married, was a ghostwriter for very prominent Christian figures and what happened when he eventually came out of the closet. That whole chapter just staggers me, what it says about grace and “ungrace,” as Yancey calls it. Here’s a brief story:

A network television crew did a segment in which they interviewed Mel, his wife, his friends, and his parents. Remarkably, Mel’s wife continued to support him and speak highly of him after the divorce; she even wrote the foreword to his book. Mel’s parents, conservative Christians and respected pillars of the community (Mel’s father had been his city’s mayor), had a tougher time accepting the situation. After Mel broke the news to them, they went through various stages of shock and denial.

At one point, a TV interviewer asked Mel’s parents on-camera, “You know what other Christians are saying about your son. They say he’s an abomination. What do you think about that?”

“Well,” Mel’s mother answered in a sweet, quavery voice, “he may be an abomination, but he’s still our pride and joy.”

That line has stayed with me because I came to see it as a heartrending definition of grace. I came to see that Mel White’s mother expressed how God views every one of us. In some ways we are all abominations to God — All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God — and yet somehow, against all reason, God loves us anyhow. Grace declares that we are still God’s pride and joy.

And lastly (for now anyway!) here’s a description Yancey includes of a scene in the movie Ironweed. I love this:

The characters played by Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep stumble across an old Eskimo woman lying in the snow, probably drunk. Besotted themselves, the two debate what they should do about her.

“Is she drunk or a bum?” asks Nicholson.

“Just a bum. Been one all her life.”

“And before that?”

“She was a whore in Alaska.”

“She hasn’t been a whore all her life. Before that?”

“I dunno. Just a little kid, I guess.

“Well, a little kid’s something. It’s not a bum and it’s not a whore. It’s something. Let’s take her in.”

The two vagrants were seeing the Eskimo woman through the lens of grace. Where society say only a bum and a whore, grace saw “a little kid,” a person made in the image of God no matter how defaced that image had become.

Maybe that’s what all the rumpus is about.

June 27, 2006

-image-dime store memories

Okay. Go here to this gallery of dime store toy packaging.

Oh, and come back.

Let’s discuss, shall we?

— The one that says, “If you put on a pair of spectacles and a set of tiger teeth, you will be changed to a wonderful man immediately”?? Um, Lee Marvin, GOD KNOWS the pain I felt watching you grunt out songs in Paint Your Wagon, but you didn’t have to resort to modeling for dime store toy packaging with a broken comb in your mouth, did you? DID YOU??

— The Cat Rabbit Mask. “Hey bullies! Wonderin’ who to beat up next??”

Cat Face the Terrible, Feared from Coast to Coast, just in case you don’t want to be a cat and a rabbit and dead. Now, I AM scared by Cat Face the Terrible, but only because Cat Face the Terrible is clearly a Sleestack disguised as a cowboy and it really shivers me timbers. Just look at those big buggy eyes. STOP IT, SLEESTACK COWBOY! You sicken me.

— The “Hillbily Doll.” Made by Hillbilies. Spelled by Hillbilies. I kinda want wun.

— Okay. The Plastic Hut is clearly NOT an “educational and funny toy.” It is a chore. Involving pecky little chickens. Sorry, Billy. But that is obviously a pecky chicken guillotine and those other pecky chickens have no clue they’re about to be finger-lickin’ GOOOOD and Billy has no clue that the “educational and funny” part comes when he learns the real and bloody meaning of “running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”

“And don’t you be comin’ back in this house, boy, til you larn you that lessin and you plucked all dem chicks!!”

Damn Hillbilies.

Shrunken Heads! What?! Those weren’t real? (Don’t tell my brother.)

UFO Wonder Gun. Spare Ammo. Hm. You know, I don’t really care for a toy that implies I can’t or WON’T be able to kill the evil one-eyed space alien that wants to kill ME. I don’t like a toy that basically says, “Good luck, kid. You’re gonna need it.” Look, toy, do you believe in me or don’t you? Do you have my back or don’t you?? Because if you’re just gonna toss me some extra shells and run away all scaredy cat, then let’s just end this right here, right now. I don’t need your scorn. You sicken me.

Wear a Wierdo. Look, Hillbilies. You are wearing me out. There’s a reason you’re still Hillbilies. Du you no what it is?

Bob Doll. Um, Bob, WHAT are you doing posing all puffed-up on the beach in your grungy grey undies? Didn’t Mom Doll ever teach you the importance of clean underwear? Didn’t Mom Doll ever show you how to avoid unsightly greying of your laundry whites? Do you even see that chick splashing willy-nilly in the water just to get away from you and your grungy greyness?? Sorry, Bob. I just can’t hang with a toy with such blatant contempt for cleanliness.

Darling Baby. Now, that thing is just a freak. Why do I feel I’m looking at kiddie p-o-r-n? Why do I feel the need to call the cops? Why can’t I shake the feeling that Darling Baby grows up to be Bob Doll?

Insult Cards, 25 cents? What an insult.

— A Life-Alike Rabbit made with unbreakable polyethylene. I had a Life-Alike Rabbit once. His name was Hopscotch and l loved him and hopped around with him and scolded him for his perpetual pellet making and buried him the day I find him in his cage all stiff and stretched out and decidedly non-Life-Alike. Shoulda gotten one made with unbreakable polyethylene.

Lovely Toys. Oh, the ego on you. If only I had a 25-cent insult card to take you down a peg, you uppity little toy!!

— The Mobile one is my favorite, I think. I like how it’s straightforward and unpretentious and Alexander Calder-y. It just is what it is. You, Mobile, you would be my friend.

— And the last one, Plastic Goofy Teeth, Life-Like in a Dopy Way: Well, let’s just agree never to speak again of the pitiful decline of Lee Marvin we’ve all witnessed here. At least he’s dead now.

And damn you, dopy Hillbilies. You sicken me.

-image-I dunno …. because it’s tuesday and I think it’s funny?

Actress Tuesday Weld, when asked by a reporter what drove her into seclusion in the ’70s:

“I think it was a Buick.”

June 26, 2006

-image-it’s all magellan’s fault

This FREAKS me out.

UPDATE: I’M A SUCKER. IT’S NOT REAL. OH WELL.

SUCKAHHH!!!

-image-worse if you’re drooling, though

Hahahahahahahaha!!!

June 25, 2006

-image-magellan monday

(Okay. It’s not technically Monday, but I’m not staying up til midnight to post this and I don’t know how to fudge the date, so bleeah. It’s Monday! It IS!!)

And now, no segue.

Soooo ….. (actually, “soooo” is a perfectly appropriate segue, in my opinion) … more from the Magellan book I’m reading: Over the Edge of the World, by Laurence Bergreen.

Well, the whole mutiny thing I mentioned here has already happened — at least the attempt — and the ships have only been at sea for about 2 months. In a surprising turn, it was led by the inexperienced, disgruntled fellow who’d been granted equal status to Magellan’s by the Head of the Spanish House of Commerce. Magellan was prepared so the attempt failed, but I have a feeling much worse things are a’comin’. Turns out, though, King Charles never intended for this man, Cartagena, and Magellan to share power. But, you see, Cartagena was the illegitimate son of the Head of the House of Commerce and the House’s purposes were served by removing Magellan’s partner — a Portuguese — and replacing him with Cartagena, a Spaniard, who, along with a few other key Spaniards on board, was given final say over the disposition of the fleet, its resources, and its proceeds. Yowsa, Magellan. At this point, Cartagena’s been labeled a mutineer and stripped of his command, but he’s still there, obviously, and still has influence with the crew members and hasn’t magically become experienced or gruntled.

Raise your hand if you think this does not bode well?

The ship stopped in Rio de Janeiro where the crew — uh, made nice with the naked native ladies and Magellan traded with the men:

He took on fresh supplies of water and provision, trading insignificant trinkets, such as tiny bells that he had brought with him from Seville, for precious food. “The people of this place gave for a knife or fishhook five or six fowls and for a comb, a brace of geese,” Pigafetta (the ship’s diarist) wrote. “For a small mirror or a pair of scissors, they gave as many fish as ten men could have eaten. For a bell or a leather lace, they gave us a basketful of fruit. And for a king of playing cards, of the kind used in Italy, they gave me five fowls and even thought they cheated me.”

This bit is fascinating to me — what each culture valued, how they took advantage of one another. Here’s another excerpt from their time ashore in Rio:

“One day, a beautiful woman came to the flagship, where I was,” Pigafetta wrote, “for no other reason than to seek what chance might offer. While there and waiting, she cast her eyes upon the master’s room and saw a nail longer than one finger. Picking it up very delightedly and neatly, she thrust it between the lips of her vagina, and bending down low, immediately departed, the Captain General (Magellan) and I having seen the action.”

The reason for the astonishing behavior was the great value the natives placed on metal objects such as nails, hammers, hooks, and mirrors, all of which were considered to be more valuable than gold, more valuable, perhaps, than life itself.

Um, owie owie owie owie owie owie OWIE!!!

I’ve read that several times now and I cross my legs every damn time.

One final note for Magellan Monday:

Seems one sailor was found sodomizing one of the young boys on board. Spanish law at the time set the punishment at death — death by strangulation. So tie a rope around his neck and throw him overboard, right? I mean, that seems expeditious, right? So of course, that’s what they’d do, right?? Nope.

On the appointed date of execution, one of the sailors — hooded, to protect his identity — just hands-on strangled the offender in full view of the other men, as a warning.

I’m telling you, I can’t keep reading with my heart racing and my eyes bugging out and my legs crossed real tight.

It’s very uncomfy.

June 22, 2006

-image-unless I get really inspired ….

…. I’m takin’ a break until Monday.

Besides, blogging is totally interfering with my World Cupping.

June 21, 2006

-image-little miss roll-on head

Here’s the ad I just saw on TV:

A smiling woman stands in front of an elaborate background featuring: plain blue. She’s smiling, yes, BUT, according to the voiceover, she has a killer headache. She continues to smile despite the killer headache and begins to robotically rub what looks like Ban roll-on across her forehead. She is STILL smiling even though her forehead is now slick and dripping with Ban roll-on and how is that not getting in her eyes and she just keeps rubbing and I really don’t think she understands what Ban roll-on is for.

I begin to doubt she really has a headache.

Suddenly, the voiceover voice starts YELLING at me, repeatedly — like the night I stayed at my girlfriend’s house and it was too hot and I couldn’t sleep so I opened the window a just a crack, I swear, and a voiceover voice SCREAMED

“YOU HAVE VIOLATED A PROTECTED AREA!! YOU HAVE VIOLATED A PROTECTED AREA!! YOU HAVE VIOLATED A PROTECTED AREA!!”

like I was a RAPIST or something. But I have to admit I thought it was kinda funny to watch my friend run spastically up and down the hallway while her little kid also ran spastically up and down the hallway whilst holding onto his crotch like grim death.

Um, anyway ….. oh, the commercial!

No, so this voiceover voice was YELLING too. This is what it yelled:

“HEAD ON — APPLIED DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD! HEAD ON — APPLIED DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD! HEAD ON — APPLIED DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD!!!”

OKAAAY, DUDE! CALM DOWN! STOP YELLING AT ME! YOU’RE GIVING ME A HEADACHE!

YOU HAVE VIOLATED A PROTECTED AREA!!!!

-image-before and after

Holy moly! WordGirl got me hooked on this site. Go check out some of these before and after images and you will feel soooo much better about yourself. An excellent, timely reminder that — basically — everyone is ugly. Stars? Ugly. Models? Ugly. Cult followers? Ugly. Also: Embarrassing.

Click on “portfolio” and then “before and after.” BUT be sure to click on the “composite/manipulation” link, too.

My favs — The one with Tom Cruise. I kept clicking before/after–before/after, watched his hairline, and giggled with glee.

Oh, and the one with “Desperate Housewives.” How many actresses were calling their publicists after THAT one? Um, 4?

Biggest freak-out? The one with — well, I think that’s Christina Aguilera, but she looks so coked up in that photo, it’s hard to tell. I don’t want to give it away, but ack! ACK! And I kept clicking on it, too!

See? NO one is actually good looking which is why we need God.

He’s got some ‘splaining to do.

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