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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2005-03-15 ... 1:49 p.m.


Me: Remember when you used to say "MEMBRANE!" to me in that funny voice?
LT: Like this? MEMBRANE!
Me: Yes. I miss that.
LT: Aw baby. I will try and be a better husband from now on.


Me: Knock knock.
Nora: Knock knock!
Me: Now you say, "Who's there?"
Nora: Nora! Nora there! Knock knock! [mimes door opening] It's Nora! Hi Mommy!
Me: Okay, we'll switch. Nora who?
Nora: Knock knock!
Me: Who's there?
Nora: Nora!
Me: Nora who?
Nora: Who.
Me: Who who?
Nora: [delightedly] Owl! Owl says who who.
Me: One more time. Knock knock.
Nora: Owl! [takes off hooting and flying around the couch]


In the elevator, on the way back up to my desk from a cafeteria visit (cup of lentil soup, bottle of water, delicious and diabetic-coma-inducing fresh-baked toffee bar crunch cookie that makes me dizzy with love and happiness), the guy I am riding with says, "Man, that cafeteria plays some crappy CDs. Do you think they'd let me bring in some CDs to play in there?"

I wait half a beat, because who cannot know that the cafeteria plays a radio station? It's a crappy radio station, some ClearChannel monstrosity that is "all love songs" or something like that, but it is clearly a radio station---there is a commercial every fifteen seconds and DJ patter and news and weather. The guy is just standing there waiting for my answer about the CDs, so I say, carefully, "I think they play the radio."

"I know that," he says. "It was a joke."


I spent a year or so living in the Middle East, and working (illegally) at an advertising agency while LT did dissertation research. Our agency had some big-deal clients, including a few of the 600 or so crown princes of Saudi Arabia. One of these guys fell in love with me or, more precisely, with my office supplies. Crown Prince Whoever was a huge, intimidating, muscle-bound man who always wore a precisely ironed thobe, and who spoke in a deep and gravelly monotone. He would come to the office for meetings with my boss, and before they disappeared into the inner sanctum for several hours of coffee and bullshit, Crown Prince Whoever usually found an excuse to drop by my cubicle and borrow my highlighter pen. Boy, did that guy love my highlighter pen. He called it my "yellow marker." Nearly every day, I could count on Crown Prince Whoever showing up and intoning, "Mimi, may I borrow your yellow marker?" After the meeting he would return it with a solemn, "Thank you for the use of your yellow marker." I seriously considered buying him his own yellow marker, but I decided against it since there is probably some complicated protocol for non-work-visa-having American girls giving gifts to Middle Eastern royalty.

Anyway, one day Crown Prince Whoever showed up at my desk and once again said, "Mimi, may I borrow your yellow marker?"

"Here you go," I said, barely looking up from the fascinating corporate annual report blah blah I was writing.

Without laughing, smiling, or varying his tone one bit, he said, "Mimi, I was making a joke. Today I do not have need of your yellow marker."


I encourage everyone to make at least one of these baffling non-jokes this weekend. Tell the waitress you'd like the chicken enchiladas, and then reveal the punch line: only joking! Remind spouse to put paper towels on the grocery list: ha ha ha ha ha! We have plenty of paper towels!

Such fun!


1. Carpeting.
2. Shoes without backs. I think they are called "mules."
3. The fact that they are called "mules."
4. The phrase "a little girl from China." The aforementioned Cat-Sweatshirt People are very fond of this phrase, and I really shouldn't let it bother me, since it is accurate: Nora is a little (literally little, in fact) girl who was born in China. But to me it just speaks to the same old stereotype of the demure quiet petite polite Asian woman, the same "China-doll" exoticizing crap that my daughter will undoubtedly have to navigate and refute her whole life, and I am sick of hearing it.
5. Air freshener, of any sort.


1. My current laundry detergent claims to remove 99 stains, which reminds me a bit of the 99 names of god. I like "Al-Quddoos: The Holy, The One who is pure from any imperfection and clear from children and adversaries." Clear from children! Children, who are responsible for many of the 99 stains, come to think of it! Another good one is "Al-Ghafoor: The All-Forgiving, The Forgiving, The One who forgives a lot." OKAY ALLAH WE GET IT.

(More names of god.)

2. Overheard on the El: some guy gloating to his friend about how all the newspapers had the wrong hypothesis on the Lefkow murders. "The media is always ready to assume the worst of people," he said. "I knew there was more to that story. Always ready to assume the worst."

You know what, though? "Assuming the worst" about racist hate groups has served us pretty well so far. In this case it turns out no crazy neo-Nazi assholes were involved, and that's fine. But I think I will go on assuming the worst of them, in general. If that is okay with everyone.

3. My bus stop is across the street from a yeshiva, which its own website calls "a major center for Torah education in the Midwest." It is an incredibly high-traffic place in the early morning, with young Orthodox guys going in and out for prayers and classes and so forth, and also has a very busy parking lot. Today, while I waited for the bus, a yeshiva student walked up to one of the cars, opened the door, and set off a car alarm. Then he got in and fiddled with the steering column (car alarm still shrieking continuously), managed to shut the alarm off, and drove away. The whole process took about five minutes, while us bus-riders watched, occasionally glancing at each other and wondering if this was grand theft auto in progress. It seemed incongruous, that an Orthodox Jew would steal a car in broad daylight from what was presumably his own yeshiva's parking lot. However, given the non-reaction of all the witnesses, a car thief willing to grow a beard and wear a black hat could really do well in my neighborhood.

4. I don't know if I would call myself an atheist, exactly; my position on whether a god exists has always been more like "I don't know, and neither do you." Nonetheless, my kid is being raised religion-free, and thus I really liked this speech by Natalie Angier.

---mimi smartypants is a carbon-based life form cartwheeling toward nothingness.


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