Monday, February 27, 2006

Recipe contest!

Hey! My friend flea is having an Embarrassing Dinner contest. This arose out of flea's post about dishes made with assorted "cream of" soups—objectively terrifying foods that you love anyway for nostalgic reasons. Flea's grandmother specialized in Broccoli Casserole with cream of mushroom soup; mine made us grilled cheese sandwiches exclusively with Velveeta.

If you'd like to enter an Embarrassing Dinner recipe you love (rule #1: "It must be something you have actually prepared and eaten, that you love."), head over to flea's contest post and leave your recipe in the comments. Flea, JT, and I will be the judges who select the three best recipes, and within the next two weeks, we'll get together to cook those three dishes, attempt to eat them, and try to persuade our children (ages 6, 6, 5, 3, and 3—JT's baby is hereby excused since he's not big on solids yet) to taste them.

Fresh ingredients play little part in the truly Embarrassing Dinner (see rule #2). Rule #3 is no red meat; flea and I won't eat it. Feel free to substitute veggie/soy/tofu/turkey/chicken replacements for anything in the beef or pork family.

Oh! I suppose you want to know what the prize is. The grand prize is an informative videotape entitled Fuck Your Way to Fitness and a "mildly alarming" sex toy (flea is the proprietor of the Honeysuckle Shop, of course). The two runners-up will receive as-yet-undetermined prizes.

P.S. The submission deadline is March 7, so you still have time to dig up your favorite Embarrassing Dinner!

Hey, womenfolk

Anyone else have a landing strip?

Spam is so boring

Lately, all my spam has been so dull. Most spams are "from" a person with a crazy first name (like Ernesztina or Nickolethia) and no last name, and they're 30% watches, 30% debt relief, 30% cheap prescriptions, and a smattering of miscellaneous penis alerts, stock tips, or mortgage offers. The debt relief category is killing me:

abolish all of your credi't card deb't so you can get command of your wea1th
Abolish all you are indebted for not even sending another cent
Abolish everything you are indebted for not even paying an other cent
Abolish everything you owe without paying another dime
Eliminate all that you are indebted for with out mailing an other dollar
Eliminate everything you owe not even paying another dime
Eliminate everything you owe not even paying another dime [Copycat!]
Eradicate all you owe with out paying another dollar
Get rid of all you are indebted for without mailing another cent
Get rid of everything you are indebted for not even paying an other cent

You see how unoriginal these subject lines are? Well, except for that first one—apostrophizing credit and debt a masterstroke. Here's what I'd do if I were writing these things. I'd mix up the word order a bit, and for the love of god, have these people never heard of a plugged nickel?

Here's my contribution (and spammers, please, feel free to use this subject line; you don't even have to attribute it to me:

Wipe out every plugged nickel of your obligations—every single one!

Yes, that sucks too—but this is spam we're talking about. But these people, they just need to quit with the without/not even sending/mailing/paying any more tropes. Really, now.

South Dakota's abortion ban

I know I've been doing a terrible job (or at least a not-terrific job) of updating this here blog. I will try to do better (and funnier), honest.

Right now, I want to send you over to Charlie's post about the new abortion ban passed by the South Dakota legislature. Charlie lists some key points that are often overlooked, and provides links to other posts on this important topic.

South Dakota's abortion ban was designed to be appealed to the Supreme Court, where the antiabortion forces hope the ban will be upheld by the current batch of justices. (I'm so sorry that Sandra Day O'Connor's husband was ill—if only this voice of moderation could be immortal and surrounded by immortal loved ones, eh?) There are those who feel confident that the Supremes will be reasonable and knock down the ban, but we don't really know what Roberts and Alito will do yet. If they prove to be good little friends for Thomas and Scalia, we're in a heap of trouble in the years ahead.

If only Bush hadn't picked up that electoral edge in 2004—sigh.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Bad Finger

Last night, Ben asked me, "Which is the bad finger?" and gave me "the finger" but with his ring finger. I showed him which finger it's supposed to be, but told him it's rude to flip the bird at someone and it hurts people's feelings.

Like any clever child, Ben knows how to work the angles, so he gave himself the finger, and said, "Look, it doesn't hurt my feelings," and asked me, his mother, to give him The Bad Finger. (I refused. See what a good role model I am?)

Mr. Tangerine walked into the room, so I explained what Ben and I had been discussing. Good old Dad concurred with my judgment and told Ben not to wield The Bad Finger—and certainly never at school.

Ben knows that there are certain things that should be done only when one is alone. So he ducked into my bedroom, closed the door, and gave himself The Bad Finger in private! Then he opened the door when he was done, satisfaction achieved.

Add that to the list of things that may be done when one is in private: a wild rumpus for one, giving oneself The Bad Finger"...what else is there?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Essay of the month

Here's the best piece of writing I've read all month: Chris Clarke's post, "The cursorial life." It's about life, writing, and spiders. If spiders freak you out, you might want to skip it, but you'll miss out on some fantastic writing. Go. Read.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I do not care for cats. Yes, they can be fluffy and cute, but I don't trust 'em any further than I can throw 'em. Actually, that's a lie. I could throw a cat clear across the room, but I wouldn't trust it a centimeter. I get creeped out by the feeling of a cat's paw walking on my lap, I don't much care for them brushing past my shin, I don't like the chilly little nose, and I certainly don't enjoy their tongues.

It all goes back to when I was about five years old, and a neighbor's housecat got out. My sister went to pet the pretty kitty, but the pretty kitty was alarmed by this. The pretty kitty bit a chunk out of my sister's thigh, took a few nibbles out of her knee, and raked long claw marks up her shin. I got shunted off to the next-door neighbor's for a few hours (they had a vinyl-covered couch, and vinyl pathways protecting the mottled harvest-gold shag carpet—oh, the trauma!) while my parents took my sister to the emergency room (that's "casualty" for you Brits, isn't it?). My sister had long, narrow strips of first-aid tape striping her shin, small bandages on her knee, and a big dressing on her thigh wound. Cats being filthy and disgusting creatures (Do you dispute this? What do cats lick? Every part of their hairy bodies. Plus they walk in their toilets.), of course, that big bite wound became infected. My sister still has a good-sized scar on her leg, and I still bear the mental scars—an abiding mistrust and fear of cats. You can tell me your cat is sweet and loving, but I still won't trust it and won't want it on my lap.

This post was inspired by Becky's post on her gay cat, where I left a comment about my childhood pet's sexual proclivities. Yes, our English springer spaniel Abby (officially named Lady Aberlyn, after that freaky lady from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood) livened up every slumber party my sister and I had. We'd grab somebody's pillow, plant an idea in Abby's dog brain, and next thing you know, somebody's pillow is getting the humping of a lifetime. Some dogs hump people's legs, but our dog had a fetish for pillows. (Does this make you want to hear My Humps?)

A friend of mine once had two cats named Nigel and Mr. French. I believe it was Nigel who was a sexual deviant. His owner would wake up to discover Nigel gripping the blanket in his teeth, pulling it back and forth in his crotch. Sometimes he'd be in another room with a blanket, but getting off on the blanket in private wasn't good enough. He'd drag the blanket into the room where his owner was, strictly to have an audience when he yanked his blankie.

Another friend of mine has a boyfriend named Nigel, who apparently finds it surprising that Americans think "Nigel" is kind of a silly name, and breathtakingly British. (We do.) As far as I know, human Nigel has never heard about cat Nigel, but now that it's on the Internets, his girlfriend can send him the link and spare herself the indignity of recounting the sordid tale aloud.

I know Blogger has been misbehaving lately and making it hard to read or write comments, but if you luck out and it actually works, feel free to share your own stories of perversity in the animal kingdom, ailurophobia, or Nigels. (Something for everyone, eh?)

Whence they came

Rob Helpy-Chalk just posted a list of search terms that brought people to his blog. Herewith, some recent ones for Orange Tangerine:

butt cracks (Naturally!)

prostate massage pictures (Sorry, I got nothin'.)

how to age and rip your jeans (For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, why?)

i'ma women [sic] and my nipples are small (You don't say.)

orange twizzlers (Ew!)

indoor waterpark bacteria (Sorry, I don't know much on the subject.)

attractive brassiere implants (Really?)

sugar sandwich (I still haven't tried the butter-and-sugar sandwich, but I do like me some buttered toast with sugar sprinkled on top.)

john dodd beast car (I don't know how you ended up here, but try this search with quotes.)

And my personal favorite of this batch: tricks for voiding postpartum (Sorry, I had a C-section and have no information for you.)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Alternative Smut Writing Workshop

Okay, many of my readers are, like me, not part of the NASCAR demographic. Some of you were constitutionally unable to write a snippet of NASCAR smut. Because I am a compassionate soul, I hereby offer a few alternative writing assignments. Choose one of the following scenarios:

1. Good lovin' with a thinking woman's man (or woman, if you are so inclined); examples include Charlie Rose, Paul Krugman, Hendrik Hertzberg, Bill Clinton, but you are encouraged to pick your own intellectual hottie.

2. Good lovin' in an academic or professional setting.

3. Totally hedonistic realization of all your fantasies.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Could someone Windex the Johari window?

Do you want to tell me what you think of me? Then head over to my Johari window and toss some adjectives at me...

New stuff: Go fling invective at me at the negative Nohari window, too.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

NASCAR-smut writing assignment

Becky the Absent-Minded Housewife left this comment on the NASCAR-romance post: ...his racing suit outlined every muscle, every rippling ridge of his well defined manhood. When he threw me on the hood of his Ferrari I knew that I was his and his alone, bending like a cheap fender to his steely will...

Okay, Becky has gotten us off. To a good start! Gotten us off to a good start, I mean. Your mission, should you choose to accept it—and I know you will, because nobody wants to disappoint Her Juiciness—is to compose your own excerpt from a smutty little automotive romance novel. The writing workshop is now open; please take a seat in the comments and show us what you've got.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

So not my demographic

I do enjoy my Entertainment Weekly subscription. I always have something to read while brushing or flossing my teeth (DoctorMama, holla!) or sitting down to pee, and I stay up to date on the latest in show business, books, and music. Now, I won't pretend it didn't sting when The Most Fabulous Documentary That Ever Was (i.e., Wordplay) didn't rate an actual review from the EW critics who went to Sundance—but at least they were kind enough to include the crossword movie in their list of five Sundance breakouts.

Last week's issue of EW alerted me to the most important new development in the publishing world: NASCAR-licensed Harlequin romances. The first in the series is called Into the Groove. It'll be followed by two more titles this year and 19 next year. Now, if you're looking for out-and-out motor-sports smut, this ain't for you—NASCAR's keeping the books at a PG-13 level. Each volume will, I presume, involve a male race-car driver and a female love interest.

This is absolutely, positively, indubitably a book series I will never read. Why not? I am female, after all. But NASCAR? Ick. I'm a city girl, and us city folks are a tad less inclined to love motor sports. And Harlequin romances? Ick. Frankly, I just might be too smart for the NASCAR Harlequin combo. I daresay the NASCAR Harlequin vibe is aptly summed up by the Amazon customer reviews. At this writing, there are three reviews, averaging 4 stars apiece: two 5-star raves and one 2-star rave. Yes, that's right. One reader raved about the book ("It held my attention all the way, I can't wait for the next 2. I hope the next 2 are as good. Thank you from a true diehard NASCAR fan. Its worth reading.I give it the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP CHAMPIONSHIP!!!") and bestowed a 2-star rating on the book. The intricacies of both the 5-star rating system and the conventions of punctuation have eluded her. You see? I am in the Proper Punctuation demographic, not the NASCAR Groupie demographic.

I'm holding out for the series of romance novels involving infectious-disease epidemiologists who construct crossword puzzles. Now that could be hot. What? There's a market for that sort of thing. I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gee, you think?

NYT headline today: Some Democrats Are Sensing Missed Opportunities. "Democrats described a growing sense that they had failed to take full advantage of the troubles that have plagued Mr. Bush and his party since the middle of last year, driving down the president's approval ratings, opening divisions among Republicans in Congress over policy and potentially putting control of the House and Senate into play in November... 'We seem to be losing our voice when it comes to the basic things people worry about,' Mr. Dodd said."

Do you hear the resounding chorus throughout the land as people check out the NYT's home page today? All the voices saying "No shit, Sherlock," "Well, duh," "Hello, where have you people been?" and "Oh, come on! You're just noticing this now?"

Lofty aspirations

Ben's room. Last night, at bedtime.

Ben: When I'm a grown-up, I'm going to live here. I'm going to stay home with you, Mommy.
Me: You know, I might well be back at work when you're grown up.
Ben: Why?
Me: Because. It could happen.
Ben: Then I'll stay home and clean the house.
Me: You better believe you're gonna clean the house! When you're grown up, I'm not cleaning up after you.

Ben's room. Tonight, at bedtime. After recounting the above exchange to Mr. Tangerine (which cracked Ben up).

Ben: And I'm gonna play with my cars.
Mr. Tangerine (whispering to me): He'll line up all the cars in a row.
All: Uproarious laughter.

(The living room rug currently features 38 Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars in one row and nine in the next row. Ben insists that they not be disturbed.)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

This 'n' that

Where I live, December was cold. Really cold. As in "one of the coldest Decembers in the past 140 years" cold. But I got used to bundling up any time I left the house and wearing my boots to trudge through the unmelting snow, and it wasn't so bad. Then, after Christmas, it warmed up, leading to one of the warmest Januaries (is that the correct plural of January?) in the weather annals. During the course of that month, I went to the mountains in Utah for Sundance, and damn, it was cold. I was out of practice with the bundling-up business, and it was just so c-c-c-cold. Now it's February, and while it's not as cold as the December nasties, it's colder than it was all last month. But I need not complain bitterly, for Santa Claus brought me toasty warm shoes. (Technically, I shopped for the shoes myself and gave them to Mr. Tangerine to wrap up as a Christmas present.) But I bought lovely chocolate brown shoes, and I kept finding myself wearing them with black tops, so now I've ordered a black pair. It's the only way I'll get through February, March, and the cold part of April. Omigod, slipping into these shoes is like swaddling your feet in warm blankets, no matter how long you're out in the cold. Sure, they're low-backed slides, but they're warmer than my boots. If your feet tend to get cold, these shoes will delight them.

Wow. Weather blogging and shoe blogging! For an encore, without further ado, not necessarily medically sound information on parasomnias. What's a parasomnia? It's a sleep disorder that involves some sort of activity while you're sleeping—it could mean sleepwalking, nightmares, sleep terrors, or strange behaviors that pop up during REM sleep. That last one is bizarre; people with REM sleep behavior disorder act out vivid, violent dreams while they're asleep. They'll talk or yell, punch, kick, or grab, sit up, jump out of bed, flail their arms—all of which can be most alarming if you're sleeping with one of these people. Can you imagine? (You know, Mr. Tangerine once bit my shoulder in his sleep. He must have been dreaming about snacking, eh?)

The most bloggable parasomnia hasn't been widely accepted by the medical establishment, and I can't say whether it merits being an officially sanctioned diagnosis. However, it makes for some good readin': Check out and learn about "sexsomnia" (click a few links if you're bored). This is not to be confused with postcoital sleepiness used to relieve insomnia, nor with being unable to sleep because you've got sex on your mind. Nope, "sexsomnia" is sexual behavior that occurs, like sleepwalking, while a person is sound asleep from a neurological standpoint. It could be a man mauling his partner in the middle of the night and having no memory of it (and if he's not dreaming about foreplay first, hmm, that could be off-putting to the partner). It could be a woman having a really spicy dream and having herself a good ol' time under the covers, alone or with her bed partner. Or it could be a guy who pleasures himself in his sleep. Throw in a scenario in which a couple's sex life has dwindled—how would you feel if your honey never wanted to do it with you, but he or she woke you up nightly while having an unconscious wild rumpus for one?

You know what? I like that phrase: wild rumpus for one. Definitely more fun when you're awake, though...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Who can't you stand?

I found this link over at ding's house: It's "The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005" list. I know you people are busy, so I've cherry-picked the highlights for you:

Michael Brown (#35), formerly in charge of destroying FEMA: A man of geological indolence, Brown makes lichens seem dynamic.

In the write-up for Kenneth Tomlinson (#32), who was hired to deliberalize PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the BEAST folks point out: ...Why is [it] that those who rail against "racial quotas" have no problem with affirmative action when it’s applied to newsroom ideology?

Then there's a Joe Lieberman (#28) quote that's ripe for a smackdown: "Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion." Apparently, it also doesn’t mean freedom from asinine revisionism. (Lieberman irks me.)

Regarding Paris Hilton (#25): Squints inexplicably for photo ops, suggesting even minimal focus is beyond her. Her continued success as a celebrity famous for nothing, despite the eerie resemblance she bears to the inbred banjoist from Deliverance and a lack of talent so profound that others become duller as they approach her, indicates that something is fundamentally wrong with humanity.

The BEAST team doesn't much care for Karl Rove (#15): A greasy pig whose only distinction in life is his total lack of decency. Rove is decidedly not a genius; he is simply missing the part of his soul that prevents the rest of us from kicking elderly women in the face. His admirers have elevated fanatical, amoral ambition to the status of a virtue, along with lying, cheating, and negligent homicide, all in the name of "values." Quite possibly the worst person in the worst White House in American history.

BEAST's suggested punishment for the NYT's White House bootlicker, Elisabeth Bumiller (#14): The Times' reign as the "paper of record" is finally brought to an end when the paper’s headquarters are demolished by readers upon publication of Bumiller’s final dispatch, "Bush’s Taint: Sweet Like Honey." (Gotta love any mention of the taint.)

I always enjoy criticism of Bill O'Reilly (#10): Even Limbaugh must bow before O’Reilly’s unparalleled bullying skills and ability to deliver undiluted bullshit with an air of brusque authority. O’Reilly is so comfortable with his astounding hypocrisy that he didn’t skip a beat when he was publicly revealed to be a comically perverse sexual harasser, continuing to sanctimoniously moralize about the corrosive effects of rap music and intellectualism on American society. Main tactic against his critics, whose jobs rank among the easiest in the world, is to accuse them of his own methods: arbitrary smears, selective quotation, partisan motivation, and intellectual cowardice. Infuriatingly claims to be a political "independent" who just happens to parrot virtually every Republican talking point and equate mainstream liberals with Nazis and Stalinists. Claimed his call for abandoning San Francisco to al Qaeda bombing was "satirical," which is itself the funniest thing he’s ever said. An honest to goodness list-making Joe McCarthy wannabe, with the ACLU standing in for the Communist Party.

There's so much to say about Tom DeLay (#5), but this encapsulates it all: A politician so horrible, his prior career as an exterminator constitutes fratricide.

Bush and Cheney are #3 and #2, respectively, but more entertaining are the charges against the #1 most loathsome American, Pat Robertson: If Pat Robertson’s local Starbucks caught fire, he would claim that God was punishing them for giving him a caramel latte when he ordered vanilla. Robertson has always been a demonic charlatan with the credibility of Miss Cleo and a lust for Armageddon in his vile, rat-toad heart, but this was really his year to shine. In 2005, Robertson called on God to vacate seats in the Supreme Court (the almighty obliged, killing Rehnquist), advocated assassinating Hugo Chavez, said ‘judicial activists’ were a more serious threat to America than terrorists, called criticism of the war treason, said John Roberts should be thankful for Hurricane Katrina, which he implied was “connected” to Roe v. Wade, attributed Ariel Sharon’s stroke to divine retribution for the Gaza pullout, said “the Antichrist is probably a Jew alive in Israel today,” and implied that God would wipe the residents of Dover, PA off the map for rejecting Creationism. Not to mention raising huge sums of cash from his zombie army, much of which is diverted from his charity operations to his business interests, including African diamond mines. Has long advocated that America simply ignore the Supreme Court. Robertson’s God is an insecure, misogynistic, homicidal fanatic—just like Pat.

Friday, February 03, 2006

"Mom, I love airplane food."

...or so Ben announced tonight. Now that actual airplane food is hard to come by when you fly coach, though, what Ben considers "airplane food" is the McDonalds food purchased in the terminal minutes before our boarding call.

I've been erratic, scattered, and focused elsewhere lately, which doesn't make for a compelling blog. I haven't even been keeping up with my usual schedule of obsessive blog reading. Will these doldrums pass? Has anyone suffered from this and emerged from it as the same time-wasting Internet-obsessed person they were pre-doldrums?

Which reminds me—I did a crossword puzzle the other day that taught me a new term: mouse potato, or the computer-junkie equivalent of a couch potato. (A friend suggested combining both potato forms by sitting on the couch with a laptop and the TV turned on. Brilliant! Must purchase iBook immediately.)

Plus I still haven't repaid the sleep debt I accumulated during the Sundance Film Festival. (And yes, the current medical opinion seems to be that one can and should try to catch up by somehow reclaiming one's missed sleep hours. I edit some sleep medicine review articles each year. Ask me about parasomnias sometime. People can do some truly weird shit when they're physiologically sound asleep.) I sit here before the bright monitor, just past 11:00 at night, yawning away, trying to catch up on my residual Internet debt ("I can stop any time I want") and thereby sacrificing any chance of catching up on sleep.

Will someone please tuck me in?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Two bits

Rob Helpy-Chalk, you recently said you found Morgan Spurlock's facial hair a tad off-putting. Rob, this is for you.