Cocking A Snook Too!

Independent, Irreverent Unschoolers – or at least one – Take On the Universe

My Picks: The Worst Christmas Song/Movie November 23, 2007

Filed under: Criticism of the Stupid,Experimental,Funnies — Meredith @ 7:25 pm

Don’t forget to vote! Here are my picks.

Worst Song: “The Christmas Shoes.”

Every time I hear this song, I want to gouge out my own eyes. If I ever listen to it, it’s only so that I can loudly talk through the whole thing, explaining to everyone within earshot the enormity of my hatred for this self-indulgent drivel. This is the kind of song that makes me want to reform the welfare system so I never have to hear whiny ballads about poor children ever ever again.

Here’s the rundown: a poor child wants to buy his mother shoes before she dies. The guy behind him in line – purportedly singing the ditty – watches him empty his change onto the counter and “count his pennies for what seemed like years,” and when the kid doesn’t have enough, the guy ponies up.

I can’t even begin to describe all the things wrong with this story. Why is a kid out alone on Christmas Eve? Why isn’t the kid at home with his DYING MOTHER? Who was supervising him? Is his dad a wino, or what? Has he no extended family? And if this guy genuinely wanted to help this kid and his family, couldn’t he GIVE THE KID A RIDE HOME? Or write him a check to offset the cost of the mother’s funeral? Instead of buying shoes for this woman who is most likely bedridden?

Bob Carlisle, who sings the song, talks through the verses in an annoyingly conversational angst-ridden monotone and wails through the chorus as though someone is repeatedly poking him in a vital organ – “And I want her to look BEAU-tiful if MOM-ma meets JEE-sUs……..to-NIGHT.”

They actually made a movie of this song, with Rob Lowe the Curse’d………but it was so bad even I didn’t see it. Thus, my pick for worst Christmas movie is

Worst Movie: “One Magic Christmas”

This movie features Mary Steenburgen as a desperately poor mom at the end of her rope with two guilt-ridden children and an emasculated out-of-work husband. Needless to say, they can’t afford a merry Christmas. Enter Happy Christmas Angel to show them how much they love each other! Right? Well, almost.

The angel, a hangdog Harry Dean Stanton in a trenchcoat and fedora which make him look just like the polygamous cult leader I always think of him as, is not exactly Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life.

Harry decides that the best way to make Mary appreciate what she’s got is to magically disappear what little money there is in the family bank account. As you may imagine, this turn of events only makes Mary more shrewish, snapping at her kids, screaming at her useless husband, and generally raging at God.

Since she failed to respond to this brilliant tactic, the angel magics a bank heist next to Mary’s work. Mary’s husband gets shot, and the robbers try to run away his car, in which the kids were waiting. The robbers drive the car into a river in their haste, drowning the kids. Yes, you read that right: the Happy Christmas Angel just killed Mary Steenburgen’s entire family in front of her.

Feeling jolly now, Mary? Are ya?

But it’s okay! The angel Harry has the whole family hidden away in Santa’s workshop, and after Mary treks about twenty-five-billion miles in the snow, she gets them back! And they’re all happy and together! But they’re still desperately poor! But that’s okay, really! Because Harry Dean Stanton has ways of making you merry. Ways you don’t want to know about.

I hope this kicks off some worthwhile ranting/voting. Read the instructions in the vote post, and comment! Merry Christmas runup!

 

The History of Psychology August 31, 2007

A side-track in the ongoing Principles of Sociology series.

They both end in “ology”, right?

history-of-psychology0001.jpg

 

The Principles of Sociology (Part 2) August 29, 2007

This is the second piece of the continuing series, “The Principles of Sociology as Understood By Me, Explained Through Crudely Drawn Cartoons.” (more…)

 

The Principles of Sociology (Part 1)

As my mom is bursting with pride to tell everyone, I am enrolled in Sociology 101 this fall. It is highly illuminating, and I felt that I should share some of my knowledge with you. I also felt that this knowledge should be in the format of allegorical cartoons of stick figures.

So I proudly present my drawing (the first in a many-part series) illustrating what I gleaned in my first two classes. Please, read with discretion — I would not want you imprisoned by the board of education for gaining complete understanding of the basics of sociology without paying them money. The board of education can be quite brutal, what with their secret roaming police who keep an extensive list about what you read, where, and when, and I would not want your death on my head. (more…)

 

A Fairy Tale Steeped in Allegory June 15, 2007

Once upon a time there was a high school. It was a beautiful high school, and rich in history, being more than 200 years old, and everybody in town wanted to attend it. With its fine roots in liberal education and the almost unprecedented power over their own destinies that it bestowed upon its students, it was unlike any other high school in the district, or indeed, the state. At the turn of the last century, whole families, many of them Irish and Eastern European, moved across town so that they’d be zoned for it. The high school welcomed them with open arms, but the students weren’t so kind. It is my sad duty to report that many of these new students were beaten up, or had their lockers vandalized. Thankfully, things settled down, and the high school was once again a harmonious whole.

In the 40s, there was a shameless and dangerous power grab by a school superintendent a few districts over. He was intent upon eventually absorbing every school in the state into his district, under his control, and decreeing with a wave of his hand who could stay and who could not. Fortunately, the president of the student body, a well-liked disabled guy named Frank, worked tirelessly with the other schools until the superintendent was voted safely out of office.

But our story begins about fifteen years ago with the election of a Jock to Student Body President. The Jock was a nice guy, everybody liked him, and there was no denying that he had charm. He was a great guy to grab a burger with, and, whoever you were, you felt like the Jock knew where you were coming from. At this time – actually, to this day – the Jock was going steady with someone who defied high school logic.

Instead of dating a cheerleader, as guys of his ilk so often do, the Jock had chosen a militant, angry feminist, who, until she began seeing the Jock, was known to the student body at large only as “That Chick Who Stands In Front Of The Cafeteria Yelling Ayn Rand Quotes At The Top Of Her Lungs”.

Even though many students found her abrasive, they couldn’t deny that the Jock’s Girlfriend knew politics, so they hesitatingly took her along with him. There were rumors that the Jock was seeing other girls on the side, everybody heard the rumors, even the Jock’s Girlfriend, but most chose to ignore them. The whole school exploded, though, when it turned out that the Jock was Friends With Benefits with a freshman girl named Monica. There was some fallout, talk of expulsion, but the Jock and his girlfriend stood their ground. The students were a little confused when the Jock’s Girlfriend, with all her talk of feminism and equality, didn’t leave him for his transgression. Instead, she affected a “stand by your man” attitude about the whole thing, a concept her feminist girlfriends weren’t sure if they should take offense to.

The next Student Body President was from Texas, he, too, was a jock, but with a Cowboy sensibility. The only person to run against him was former Student Body Vice President, a Math Geek. Well, I say the only person, but Ralph ran too. Ralph, an intense loner, ran for Student Body President every election, always garnering no more votes than he had friends. Ralph had Big Ideas about what the high school could be, and had even caused some huge shakeups in the Driver’s Ed program, penalizing students for not wearing seat belts. But Ralph kind of creeped out the other students with his Big Ideas, and, perhaps sadly, was never elected. (more…)

 

Of (Puppy) Dogs and Marines May 26, 2007

There’s a little girl who lives next door to me, about 5, and fully capable of walking and talking and waving to me on occasion, which is always mind-blowing because I remember her family moving in prior to her existence.

The family is, I guess, a good one, at least in the traditional American sense. They have a yard with nice grass and a back deck, an easy southern drawl on the rare occasions I hear them speak. They play country music on the radio on the weekend, host some sort of church get-together on Wednesday nights. They possess a comfortable façade of Americana, which I’m sure I could peel back quite easily, revealing a healthy amount of sordidness, but I won’t.

They also have the meanest dog I’ve ever met.

He’s a Boston Terrier, a breed second only to the pug in its tenacious ugliness. He despises me even more than he despises the rest of the world; whenever we’re outside together, he runs to the edge of his yard and threatens me in every way he can. He once chased a garbage man up a brick mailbox.

But today, as I tried to relax in my backyard, swinging languidly in my Hammock of Death–long story–I became aware of the little girl next door.

“That’s MY soccer ball,” I heard her say to someone in an imperious voice that sounded suspiciously like my own. “That’s not YOUR soccer ball!”

I realized she was talking to the dog, and looked up just in time to see her pick him up, pull him to her, and lug him from one end of her yard to the other.

The weirdest thing was that the dog wasn’t angry, snarling, incensed as he is at the very sight of me. He was docile, even a little nonplussed — ho-hum, my girl is picking me up again, what a blessing I don’t have to walk.

And it got me thinking: What may be a hideously mean and ugly attack dog to one person may be somebody else’s puppy. Once this thought entered my head, of course, it rolled around and marinated itself, seemingly at random, with other thoughts from earlier in the week.

Wednesday, I made the mistake of watching the 10 o’clock news, and caught a sad local interest story. You know the one I mean, it runs on local stations everywhere now. A hometown boy who graduated from the same high school as your boss’ son, knows all the good places to eat, like you, not like the college students who aren’t from here and think they know everything even though they never leave downtown. He became a marine, and now he’s dead, mortar shell or something to the heart. And he was only 21 years old, and he left behind a wife and baby.

I’ve never really been anti-war, not that I’m intent on “staying the course” or anything either. I figure that I don’t know anything about fighting a war, or even the middle east, and I try, as a rule, not to wax rhapsodic on topics I can’t discuss with some degree of education. So I’m not going to really have an anti-war moment now.

I’m kind of with A.J. Soprano on this one — he’s been studying the middle east conflict this season. While not assigning blame, he’s wondering: How can you not be depressed? How can you wake up in the morning knowing that all this is going on in the world and keep going day after day?

What the hell is wrong with us (and here I mean ALL of us, the human race at large) that we can justify taking someone else’s life? Is oil a reason? Is the fact that we disagree on what (imaginary) sentient being controls the universe a reason? What kind of bullshit reasons are those? When you get right down to it, is anything an excuse? Is there ever a good enough reason to take a life for a principle, to look at a person in front of you, and forget that maybe he’s someone’s husband? Someone’s child? Someone’s father?

Hell. He could even be somebody’s puppy.

 

Poetry Thursday May 16, 2007

Filed under: Experimental,Literary Stuff,Poetry Thursday — Meredith @ 11:39 am

There is this incredibly cool outfit called Poetry Thursday, dedicated to helping bloggers share a love of reading and writing poetry with others. Every Friday, Poetry Thursday posts a reading or writing prompt, and, before noon on the following Thursday, participants post their poems on their blogs and put the links to the poems back at Poetry Thursday.

I’m still looking for a way to get involved, so y’all can look forward to many more mid-week poems, but for now, I was satisfied to browse through their “completely optional idea” archives. I was inspired to write two poems, one with the prompt of “food” and one with the prompt of “intense personal experience”. Enjoy.

A Love Letter to Chick-Fil-A Waffle Fries
Sometimes I don’t know which part is best
Or if it’s the harmonious whole that makes you irresistible.
There’s your salty golden brown crunchy-but-soft fried outside
The mashed potato that squeezes out of its confines into my mouth as I chew
The almost too sweet bite of the generic ketchup
The shape that allows me, with one unladylike stretch of my jaw,
To drape you across all my tastebuds at once.
I adore you, my salty darlings,
But my mom always makes me share.

Drowning
I keep telling you, I only let you almost drown once.
I just had my head in the cabinet for five minutes, maybe less,
I thought you couldn’t get in trouble that fast, you could barely even walk.
I thought you were dead; you were doing the dead man’s float, surrounded by blue,
I couldn’t even see your blonde ringlets; you were soaked to the bone.
I remember mom jumping in after you, screaming at me to call 911,
I remember her appearing before me, like some terrifying statue to a God of destruction,
I remember the water beading off of her, puddling, you, quiet, horribly limp.
I heard later that you just stopped breathing, altogether,
I thought this sounded bad, but you didn’t inhale any water. Our grandma came that day,
I don’t remember that. She might as well not have been there,
I just remember getting shoved off on the neighbors while mom went in the ambulance,
I know that they made me grilled cheese, and cut it diagonally, which tastes better.
I don’t know what went on next, but you aren’t dead, and it wasn’t my fault, at least
I know that’s what dad kept telling me over and over on the way to the hospital. But
I keep telling you, it was just the one time.