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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

2007-08-01 ... 10:11 a.m.


1. Today I double-dog-dared myself to answer all (internal) phone calls at my office with "Salaam aleikum." I figured I could play dumb and fake an Islamic conversion if anyone in charge seriously questioned it. The few people who did call me either did not notice or did not say anything, though, which made me a little sad. Maybe my workplace is just more tolerant than the Black Muslims who used to sell the Final Call near my old Hyde Park bus stop. When I lived down there I went through a phase of salaam aleikum-ing those guys daily, figuring even their cranky, race-baiting version of Allah would have to approve of greetings and courtesy, but no dice: they never spoke to me. They never wanted to sell a paper to this white girl, either, and the refrain of "Final Call, Final Call" would mysteriously cease when I was near. One day I made a big deal about extending my dollar to the be-bow-tied merchant, with eye contact and everything, and said, "Final Call, please." He was very grumpy but he did give me one, and I enjoyed the Farrakhan-themed crossword all the way to work.

2. I am obsessed with the sentence construction where something lacked in X, but made up for it in Y. It seems logically lacking to me, for it postulates that X and Y are equal, and that the amounts are exact---there is an X-shaped hole, but somehow Y comes through with just enough Y-ness to plug it. It is telling that this structure only really works with adjectives or non-concrete nouns: you can't say that what an apple pie lacked in apples it made up for in nail polish remover. A selection of Google results:

Lacked: quality/made up for in: volume
Lacked: size/made up for in: attitude
Lacked: experience/made up for in: enthusiasm
Lacked: charisma and photogenic looks/made up for in: quavering operatic voice and melodramatic narratives of unrequited love
Lacked: carpentry skill/made up for in: glue
Lacked: Excel wizardry/made for in: strategic insight

Here is another discussion of these phrases in the form of a "how to review anything" guide.

3. A certain famous parenting message board, which I have to say is like shooting hippies in a barrel when it comes to easy snark targets, has a thread about something called "nonviolent communication." This must be another term for "talking your child to death." Normally I would not quote crazy people at such length, but this is just too good not to share:

DS grabs a toy from another child. I'd say either (not married to exact NVC language here): "I was concerned when I saw you take that toy from her without asking, because I want us to respect each other (I value respecting others). Were you frustrated because you wanted the toy and she was using it?....." Or "Oh, I see that you like that toy and want to use it. I also see that dc is crying. I think she's feeling upset because she was using the toy when you took it, and she didn't want anyone to take it from her without asking. Let's work this out together..." Or "I saw you take the toy, what's up? Oh, you wanted to use it and you didn't want to wait. It can be hard to wait. I see that dc is crying, I think she's upset because she was using the toy and doesn't want people grabbing it from her. Let's work this out..."

OMG MOMMY SHUT UP. I can't even figure out which kids are supposed to be responsive to this speech. A toddler would be all "blah blah blah blah say what to the what now?" A preschooler (okay, MY preschooler) would tune this right out, and most likely is ready for more of an immediate consequence for toy-grabbery than a tedious lecture. (I am sure the nonviolent communication people would rather call it a "dialogue" than a "lecture," but notice how there is only one right answer to those fake parental questions?) A school-aged kid should be over the grabbing phase, and if not, it is probably time to be a bit more ton-of-bricks and a bit less let's-work-this-out (plus probably time for the wronged child to start sticking the hell up for him/herself).

4. This past weekend I saw The Thermals and The Dials at Subterranean. It was okay but the crowd was very strange: a fair bit of Standard Hipster Types #1 through #17, sure, but also a lot of thick-necked guys with the air-punching and singing along. I had somehow blanked on the fact that it was an all-ages show (although being out and about before sunset should have been a clue), so I was briefly puzzled by the big magic-markered X's on some kids' hands. Are that many people showing edge these days? I wondered, and wandered upstairs for another beer and to lean against the wall some more. Then one of the X kids approached me and said, "You have a wristband, if I give you the money could you buy me a drink?" Aha, all-ages show, mystery solved! I gave him a Mom Look but said sure, but when I came back with his vodka tonic he seemed to think he should hang around, bring his friends over, and chat me up, and I just was not in the mood for making new friends so I said, "Are you guys virgins?" They looked collectively offended and said no, so I said, "That's too bad, I'm kind of on a scavenger hunt." I really don't know where that came from but they ended up going away, so THE END.

5. The following day I drank at an undisclosed location and fell in love with this sign. It is a motorized panorama that manages to combine an homage to Alpine architecture, fake stained glass, the warm fuzzy feeling of cheap beer in cans, and the beauty of the northwoods all in one gorgeous novelty bar item. These signs sell for upwards of $700 on eBay, but I feel no need for ownership as long as I can visit this one occasionally in its lovely dank low-ceilinged setting.

6. I rather regret that my daughter has picked up the pseudo-word "chillax" and says it all the time, without even the slightest knowledge of its illegitimacy. She'll just be chillaxing in her room if I need her. Chillax Mom, this parking space is plenty big enough. Sigh.

7. I am off to Woods Hole (ahem), right about soon. I hope to have a chillaxing time and to post many Cape Cod anecdotes upon my return. Lobsters up, hoes down.

8. One more Nora thing: I was eavesdropping on her bathtub time as she staged an epic, watery battle between an Incredible Hulk action figure and a rubber duck. She was narrating the whole thing, of course.

Nora: And THEN! The next MORNING! He RETURNED! He CAME BACK! That's what RETURNED means!

That absolutely slayed me. We interrupt this solitary imaginary play for some definitions!

---mimi smartypants took that soft tuft and she knitted a Thneed.


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