Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Silliest Harry Potter Quiz So Far

But it kept me in giggles.


WHO ARE YOU SCREWING AT HOGWARTS??


You scored as Harry Potter. If you went to Hogwarts you would hitting it with Harry Potter. The fact that he's famous isn't the only reason your screwing him. Its those sexy glasses, that cute little scar, and the fact that he has no regard for authority is a major turn on. He had you on your back the second he told you that little sob story about his parents.
Get down girl, go ahead get down.

Harry Potter


90%

Fred and George Weasley


65%

Cedric Diggory


65%

Ron Weasley


60%

Draco Malfoy


60%

Victor Krum


30%

Percy Weasley


25%

No one, your a prude


0%

WHO ARE YOU SCREWING AT HOGWARTS??

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Track Santa!

If we have to be spending so much of our tax dollars on national defense, isn't it nice to know that NORAD is keeping track of Jolly Old St. Nick's flight path?

Slightly Unclear On The Concept


Julian and Pablo (his penguin) would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Julian is very excited about Santa Claus and the reindeer. He knows that Santa comes down chimneys and fills stockings. He knows that Santa sees you when you are sleeping and knows when you're awake. However, Julian does not seem to understand the nature of Santa's list. He shouts "naughty or nice" when singing about Santa and I can just tell that, in Julian's mind, just making it onto one of Santa's lists is the big accomplishment, that, for Santa, naughty and nice are really not that different. While this may be a good thing to realize early on in life so that he doesn't spend his formative years wondering why really good things happen to really bad people, right now it is not such a good thing for us, his parents, as it means he is taking great joy in being naughty. For the past few weeks he has called Fred at work (or rather, he has demanded that I call Fred for him) and then shouted through the phone, "I'm naughty Daddy" with total glee. You can just tell that he thinks every time he pulls the cat's tail or purposely tips a glass of water on the floor, Santa is making a note somewhere and smiling.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Can't Get It Out Of My Head

I spend most of my out my out of the house time at one of four places: the gym, the supermarket, the thrift store, and my mother's house. What these places all have in common (in addition to me) is that they are playing the Christmas music right now. My mom is let off the hook on this because she is doing it in self-defense, to keep my dad from playing right wing talk radio (at least this is what she says, however, I know dad is listening to NPR on his side of the house, so I am not sure if this is just what she is telling me so that I don't get all grinchy with her). But the gym, the supermarket, and the thrift store are playing the radio station that has been playing Christmas music since Halloween. Which means I have heard every rendition of Jingle Bells, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, Baby, It's Cold Outside, and Santa Baby ever recorded. Which isn't terrible, really (hey, you should hear the stuff played at the thrift store the rest of the year). However, the song which I have heard an inordinate number of times, a song about which I had almost forgotten as I don't think I have heard it since it was released twenty odd years ago, is Last Christmas by Wham!

I'm afraid I will have to vociferously disagree with whoever contributed to the Wikipedia entry on this song. It is most definitely NOT one of the great cultural achievements of our time. I do completely agree with the bit in the wiki entry which notes that the song has almost nothing to do with Christmas and the small reference in the chorus was just added in order to cash in on the holiday market.

The song drives me nuts.

For starters, doesn't anyone remember how totally beautiful George Michael was back then? And he was fairly articulate and had a gorgeous voice. How the heck am I supposed to believe that anyone would dump him and/or cheat on him? I know, I know, beauty, eloquence, and the voice of an angel aren't everything and everyone gets their heart broken, but still, it is a bit much to expect us mere mortals to believe that almost anyone, man or woman, who received George Michael's heart for Christmas would give it away (especially not the very next day).

But really, that isn't the problem. George Michael wrote some other breakup songs which rang true, my inability to believe is not simply a function of George Michael seeming like the 80s version of Bryan Ferry (another man whose heartbreak in songs seemed unbelievable to me-I mean, he's Bryan Ferry, who the hell would break up with someone so suave and sophisticated and attractive? Then I watched the Jerry Hall E! True Hollywood Story and had my answer, but I digress.) The problem is the song and melody are so simplistic. I don't doubt that the character in the song has had his heart broken, but I also don't imagine that the character is over the age of thirteen and his definition of love is one involving fantasy, milk shakes, and hand holding i.e. I expect that the protagonist won't even remember this girl five years from now and, if he does, it will be with sort of rueful embarrassment, a "how silly was I to even call that emotion love?" sort of memory. I didn't even buy it when I was thirteen and had never had my heart broken.

The song is twinkie and simple and, for most of the song, George sounds like he is phoning in his performance. He sounds as committed to the song as Gwen Stefani sounded to her wretched cover of Talk Talk's It's My Life, except, in that case, the reason she sounds so overprocessed and simple is because she doesn't have nearly as much talent as her PR people want us to believe. That and she didn't write the song (not that I am opposed to covers, but seriously, why bother if you are only going to put out a crap product to which it is embarrassing to listen?) But George Michael has a great deal of singing talent and wrote the song and, when you read the lyrics, there are moments which are not simple ("A face on a lover with a fire in his heart, A man under cover but you tore him apart" for example), so why does he only bust out his voice towards the end? Because it happens, just as one is about to discount the song, you hear him sing over the chorus "you gave me away" and there is so much emotion in his voice that, frankly, he transcends the song, he is no longer some kid who has been dumped for another, he is the abandoned child confronting his parents, the man who returns home to his family only to find all the locks have been changed on the doors, he is the person with wounds which time cannot heal--in short, all the emotion that he failed to put into the rest of the song is that one line and it is heartbreaking. It is that one line, I am positive, which makes it impossible for me to shake the song from my consciousness.

I hear the song every day. I find I have grown to want to hear the song so that I get it out of the way because, oddly enough, I only hear it once a day, so if I don't hear it early on, it is like torture waiting and wondering when I will be ambushed by the song. I find myself humming the song in public when it isn't being played. I can't understand why this song has crawled out of the woodwork after all these years to torment me.

This time of year is stressful enough even if you aren't being stalked by the Ghost of Bad Christmas Songs Past. The only thing worse, really would be to be haunted by the Ghost of Bad Christmas Songs Present. If I must be followed by bad holiday songs, is it too much to ask for the Ghost of Bad Christmas Songs Future chase me around?

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

There's A World Outside Your Window

It's been 22 years since Do They Know It's Christmas? and I still cry every time I hear the song. I apologize in advance for the disjointed nature of this post. I have a lot to say and, frankly, I lack the talent to say it well or with style.

We are extremely lucky to live in this incredibly wealthy country, where we have access to clean water and abundant amounts of food, where we have shelter from the cold, where we are safe to practice our religious beliefs. As a female, I have been lucky to have been born in a time and place where I could get an education equal to my brother's, where I do not have to fear rape while getting water for my family or as punishment for accusations made against my family, where pregnancy and child birth are not the most common cause of death for women and infants. This accident of birth is something for which I will be forever grateful, it truly is the greatest gift I have been given, and one which makes all other gifts pale. All I can do in return is to pass along what I can.

So, yes, I really like the shoes and I am really happy they are mine. I have a few things for Fred which I picked up yesterday, Julian is getting a stocking full of clementines (which may cause him to explode from joy--he really loves the little oranges), and I knit scarves for the whole family. However, I can't really buy big gifts for the people closest to me because there are a lot more people in the world who need gifts more than we do, people for whom the Christmas bells ringing are the clanging chimes of doom. I need to do more than thank God that it's them and not me.

This year, as in previous years, we bought books for all the children in our lives. The kids are getting older so, I hope, we will eventually be able to buy them shares of animals. Ordinarily, I feel uncomfortable about giving donations in lieu of gifts (because, unless requested, I worry it is the philanthropic equivalent of giving bowling ball with Homer on it), however, who could quibble with the gift of livestock?

In 2002, Mukhtar Mai was gang raped on the orders of her village elders in 2002. Instead of keeping quiet and, maybe, killing herself to restore her own honor, she spoke out. Her mother encouraged her, telling her that "Someone has to be the first drop of rain." Mukhtar Mai pressed charges against the men who raped her and they were found guilty (though their convictions were overturned, the Pakistani Supreme Court is currently reviewing the case) and she received a compensation check from the government. She used the $8,300 to start schools in her village. I don't know where she found the courage to continue to fight, I don't know where she found the grace to give back to the village, but I am so astounded that she did.

I first became aware of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital the way most people do, I saw the commercials. But then, a few years ago, a very young girl I know began treatment there and I came to find out what a marvelous place it is for children and their families.

I know I was naive at twelve, but I believed that we would end poverty in the eighties, that we wouldn't still be talking about famine and disease in Africa all these years later. Perhaps it is naive of me to think that signing a petition and giving money will do anything, but the alternative (apathy and inertia) is unacceptable. I know it is probably naive of me now, but I believe we can make poverty history before Julian reaches adulthood. I hope that when he is old enough to understand the lyrics of the song, I will be able to talk about famine in Africa in the past tense.

So this year, as in previous years, most of the money which could be spent on Xboxes and Prada will be donated to charity. The greatest gift to give is life.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oh My Precious

Think you can resist the lure of Christmas? Think you can't be turned into a gibbering, drooling, cackling materialist? Yeah, Smeagol thought so too, just before he found the ring. So there I was, thinking about how Santa will be filling Julian's stocking with oranges and apples and that I would be telling him that Christmas was about more than stuff, when I saw these Swarovski crystal studded shoes on sale (except in silver, which look even more fabulous) and, suddenly, it was like a mirror was held up and I saw myself for who I really am. Now, in books and movies, when a big "see how you are" revelation occurs, the receiver of said revelation usually goes on to dedicate his or her life to making the world a better place or they go completely nuts. I am too busy admiring my feet in the crystal shoes to go mad and, while I want the world to be a better place, I must insist that the shoes not be harmed. Tomorrow I will tell you all about the organizations to whom we plan to send the money we won't be spending on Christmas gifts. Today, however, I wanted to talk about the shoes.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Spontaneous Meme!

Thanks to Stuntmother for this crazy ass meme: reach for the nearest book, turn to the 123 page, find the fifth sentence and post the next three.
"Henry," he said at last, "How long ago was it that his mother died?"
Grampa thought a bit. "It was...well, in July of last year. Almost a year ago now."
The book: The Curse of the Blue Figurine by John Bellairs. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have this sort of book lying on the floor of our office, but I went to the thrift store the other day and all Julian's Christmas books (or books I bought for his future reading years) are here. Is the book any good? I have no idea, but it was only a quarter, so I am willing to give it a shot for now (also, he is only two, I am guessing I have a few years before I need to review this one.)

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Laundry Day

This is what laundry day looks like when you own a ridiculous number of black dresses. Because, of course, I can't throw the dresses in the dryer. In fact, I think the manufacturers would all attack me for throwing them in the front load washer on delicate with Woolite Dark, but I am a snob and don't entirely trust the dry cleaning.

I have a bag of five black dresses I am going to sell to Disgraceland or give to charity. I was excited that I managed to choosed five dresses with which I could part. I know, the fact that I have never worn them should make it easy to delete these from the closet. Should being the operative word. The problem with having any sort of collection is that the collection takes on life of its own and one hangs onto items solely because they add to the collection, even if the item in question adds nothing but its presence. Fred was not terribly encouraged by my bag of clothes, observing that I was just intending to buy more black dresses to take their place. Which is probably true (screw the probably part, now that nanowrimo is over, I have all this time and the thirft store is just sitting there, calling to me). I guess we know what he won't be buying me for Christmas this year (not that I was expecting anything anyway as we don't exchange gifts, but still...)

I know I am not getting anyone's sympathy with this post, but do you have any idea how annoying it is to have this many clothes and to still feel like I have nothing to wear? I blame motherhood. Back in my pre-child days, clothes were not a problem. But now, well, no matter how informal the black dress, chances are it is still too dressy for the playground.