MSP News – In a shocking break with 24-hour news channel protocol, MSNBC reported on the capture of Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam. An actual story, not a moving ticker tape along the bottom of the screen. Live coverage with Richard Engel. The word Trump wasn’t uttered for over 34 minutes in a row.
Calls to MSNBC executives were not returned, but at least one insider confided that the brief news leak was a relief. “To cover something related to terror, as opposed to politics. It’s uplifting. I had no idea how depressed I’d become. I’ve learned to find my sunshine where I can.”
A Trump employee shared that the billionaire “is baffled.” However, Trump released the following statement: “MSNBC thought Salah Who-The-Hell-Is-He-Anyway was more important than the front runner for the Presidency. This is HUGE. You hear me? HUGE. If this keeps up, there could be riots.The people love me, you know, they love me. They’ll riot.”
Reports indicate that despite the 34+ minute lull in Trump news, nothing bad happened. No riots are planned at this time.
Just Four Friggin’ Lines is a daily, workweek, pretty random, mostly reliable series for people who have the attention span of a goldfish with Alzheimer’s. People who have to cram their verse in between tweezing and waxing. Or mowing, as the case may be. There’s no judgment here; after all, it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines. You and your monobrow are welcome.
Read, enjoy, share and contribute your own four-liner in the Comments below. I triple dog dare you. Do it or I’ll give you a noogie. C’mon, it’s Just Four Friggin’ Lines!
Follow Miss Snarky Pants on Instagram at dinsworth or on Twitter @CristyCLewis.
1. If one is the loneliest number, I suspect seven is Homecoming Queen. 3.14159265359 is Most Likely to Be Irrational and Transcendental. And sixty-nine is annoyed that everyone keeps trying to stick a misogynistic label to her perky breasts.
2. Ever wonder if Jesus might have just been a really good magician? Thank you, my disciples. Now for my next trick, I shall turneth thy water into a full-bodied Merlot. Or my blood. Just kidding. No, it’s my blood.
3. Is it just me or does the word “feces” sound like a pharaoh’s name? It’s probably just me.
4. I miss Pluto. What’s up with these astronomers suddenly downgrading Pluto from planet to dwarf planet. (And yes, I realize this happened in 2006. I’ve been catching up on my reading.) That’s not even PC. Shouldn’t Pluto be referred to as a little people planet? And what about the mnemonic device I used to remember the planets’ names in order? My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine makes no sense without the big finish: Pizzas. Frankly, I think we should all be wearing black and sitting shiva. It’s only been nine years and everyone’s over it, like we weren’t lied to since second grade science class. I blame Neil deGrasse Tyson.
5. Why doesn’t everyone double-knot their laces? I mean, why risk an untied shoe when you don’t have to? Seems like there should be a law.
6. Since snakes come in every color but purple, shouldn’t garden hoses only come in purple? Otherwise, we’re just torturing ourselves every time we walk in our yards and are accosted by garden hoses impersonating snakes.
7. Maybe people with minimalist, modern homes aren’t classy and restrained, but too poor to buy dust-covered chotchkies. And maybe their furniture is comfortable.
8. What’s up with all the confusion about the words gender and sexual preference? When did anyone write “gay” in the gender box on an application?
9. Schools no longer teach children how to write in cursive. Ha! I know more than a fifth-grader. Finally. But they don’t carry around the pain of losing Pluto.
10. The other day, I told someone on FB that he was “missing a sensitivity chip.” You know I’m pissed when I start quoting Jennifer Aniston. Steal her husband and she turns into a beast with words as her fangs.
Miss Snarky Pants is a humor and satire blog. If you don’t get it, you should move along quietly or be mocked.
FT. LEE, NJ – Copies of personal emails between Chris Christie and his former Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, were released to several media outlets today, in which the Governor directs Kelly to “f*ck [sic] with that black kid, the one from the rally,” now identified as Ft. Lee second grader, Nate Hoffman. “Plant some pot in his locker or something,” Christie directed Kelly.
Kelly’s immediate email response: “Governor, he’s eight. He doesn’t have a locker.”
“I don’t care. No calls me Christie Pisstie, anymore, and gets away with it,” Christie replied minutes later. “Aren’t his parents those D-word, organic farmers who refused to let us put a billboard on their property? F*ckin’ hippies.”
“I’m not going to stash marijuana in his [Nate Hoffman’s] desk,” Kelly wrote back, explaining that buying pot would be “illegal, and I’m just not willing to do that.”
After Christie asked Kelly what she proposed, Kelly replied that their investigation into the Hoffman family indicated that Nate is “autistic and attends a private, special needs school in the city. He can become agitated when trapped in a car or any small, enclosed space for long periods of time.”
After Kelly rejected Christie’s suggestion that “someone rig the elevator at Hoffman’s school” as too dangerous to other students, she proposed, via email, “Why don’t we just conduct a traffic study and close a few lanes of the George Washington Bridge all next week?”
Christie responded, “During the first week of school? On 9/11? I love it when you talk dirty like that. Make it happen.”
The boy’s mother, Diane Hoffman, confirmed that “some Christie thug” visited their farm and questioned her about an incident that had occurred a week prior at a Barbara Buono rally. “I explained that my son is autistic. He wasn’t shouting, Christie Pisstie; he was hollering, Kristy Pisstie, because his little sister is named Kristy and she had just wet her pants.” When the man asked if her son had a vendetta against Governor Christie, Hoffman said, ” I told him that my son thinks the President is DJ Lance Rock. Unless Chris Christie is on Yo Gabba Gabba!, he’s not on my son’s radar.”
Hoffman’s father, Marcus, who drives his son to school every morning, is “infuriated” that the Governor would exact this kind of revenge upon a young, innocent child – all because of perceived name-calling. “Nate screamed for nearly three hours straight that morning,” he said. “Three hours in a Prius. My right ear has been ringing non-stop since September 11th.”
In an ironic twist, the Hoffmans decided to keep their son home until the lane closures ended, so Christie’s target “got the week off of school, and spent most of his free time watching Nickelodeon and playing games on his Xbox,” while thousands of drivers were forced to sit in traffic for hours each day, and local emergency services were severely impacted.
In response to the release of these emails, Governor Christie issued a statement, which reads, in part, “I’m thrilled that the Hoffmans have confirmed what I’ve been saying all along: Mayor Sokolich wasn’t on my radar screen.”
While the Ft. Lee family haven’t, yet, contemplated legal action, when asked how he thought Governor Christie should be punished for his actions, Marcus Hoffman said, “I think Christie should have to spend a weekend with Nate. In a Smart car. In bumper-to-bumper traffic. Windows up, motherf*cker!”
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Thanks to the across-the-board nightmare the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics have been thus far, I realized there was a secondary irony in the rainbow-colored Olympic rings – one that didn’t exist until the games were held in a country that has recently restricted some of the most important aspects of the Russian LGBT people’s lives. In 2012, Russia passed legislation banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. Last year, another law forbidding homosexuality in literature and the rainbow flag symbol were passed.
What’s next? Adios, Crayolas. Ciao, prisms. Do svidaniya, unicorn shit. Sayonara, Skittles. Putin doesn’t want anyone to taste your rainbow.
More recently, the country has enacted a law prohibiting the LGBT community from holding parades in the capital city of Moscow for the next 100 years. Hold up, President Putin. Stalin called; he wants his homophobic laws back…along with the title of “Manliest Man in Moscow.”
By criminalizing the dissemination of LBGT information to minors, Putin has officially stigmatized members of the LGBT community – not just in Russia, but across the world. Moreover, this law makes it nearly impossible for gays and transgender people to hold protests on behalf of restoring these basic, human rights – because children are everywhere. The shirtless, dickless, cowboy president has, in one swift move, set human rights in Russia back at least 60 years. Pull out your crinolines and penny loafers, comrades; it’s about to get Iron-ic Curtain, in here.
While I observed the Sochi facade crumble – along with its hotels – over the last few weeks, I also realized that its failure is merely a sign of a sturdier, steel shade that has been pulled across Russia’s windows to the world. Enacted in a country notorious for its propaganda, this legislation is nothing more than a manner in which to legitimize the beliefs and acts of every homophobic hate group within Russia’s boundaries.
Hmmmm. Why does this sound so familiar? A country systematically stigmatizing a particular minority, enacting laws meant to separate that minority from the majority, blaming that minority for the country’s economic downturn, and gradually eliminating that minority’s rights – to live – altogether. I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Oh, that’s it! Danka schoen.
Here we have the Russian President still in the dawn of his third term. Let’s face it – the dawn of his third and fourth, 12-year long term. When you’re a former KGB agent and sociopath, you don’t accept the legitimacy of silly things like laws that prevent you from being in charge. No, before you complete your first 8-year reign, you restructure the government so that Russian governors report to the Prime Minister, select and endorse your successor, step down, and immediately accept the title of, wait for it, PrimeMinister – from your tag team member, the new President Dmitry Medvedev, who looks like what would happen if Colin Firth and James Bond made it. And enjoyed it.
Except you probably didn’t know that. Why? Because no one ever talks about former President Medvedev, who is, currently, Prime Minister Medvedev (seeing a pattern here?), unless they’re explaining Putin’s rise to power. Or how much taller he is than Medvedev. Or how Medvedev was a pawn and his presidency was a tiny, 4-year bone thrown to Russian liberals that accomplished nothing. Simply put, Dmitry Medvedev was to Russia what President John Tyler was to the United States.
Never heard of him either, have you? All you need to know is that Tyler’s opponents reportedly didn’t take him or his presidency seriously, and referred to him as “His Accidency” or “The Acting President.” He’s widely considered one of the United States’ worst Presidents. So don’t expect to see Firth onscreen, wearing one of Medvedev’s characteristic, fat Windsor knots, and stuttering his way through one of the invisible, former president’s speeches anytime soon.
But back to Putin’s rise to power. After ensuring that the presidential term length law is extended from four to six years, Medvedev conveniently declines to run again so that Putin is elected President of Mother Russia in 2012 for a third, non-consecutive term. Russia’s revolving political door circulates just one leader, a cycle seemingly limited only by Putin’s lifespan. Or is it? I’d bet my Stoli-packed linen closet* that Putin had himself cloned long ago, and, somewhere in a remote, Siberian laboratory, miniature Vlads are chasing one another around a playroom. With their shirts off.
So, while I appreciated and respected President Obama’s bold decision to not send any Cabinet members to Sochi and to, instead, appoint several openly gay athletes as U.S. Delegates to the Olympics, I think a brighter, louder message representing our antipathy for Russia’s homophobic stance would have been a change of costume – you know, rainbow-colored uniforms. We could ask Calvin Klein to design them. They could be partially-striped like a rainbow flag and —
What the f**k?
Wait, GERMANY beat us to it? The Germany? The Germany that nearly exterminated the Jews and, likely would have succeeded, had they not tried to beat the Soviet Union on its own turf. In winter. The Germany that allowed Hitler, possibly the most widely-despised man of the last century, to lead them into the heart of cruelty and evil, then abandon them – a scorched and scorned country – to pick up the pieces and apologize. To everyone.
You know, Germany. Junior. He’s that kid you picked on in school – the one who overcompensated for his father being a despised, homicidal dictator, by throwing keg parties, which everyone promptly vacated, as soon as the beer ran out and the house was trashed. Even though it wasn’t Junior’s fault that his dad murdered your grandparents, you’ve never really forgiven him. Sure, at reunions, you dismiss any ill will. “It’s all good,” you say, but, deep down, you’re not gonna have anything to do with Junior again unless free beer is involved. Craft beer. American craft beer.
Sure, President Obama gave Putin the finger with his LGBT-loaded U.S. Delegation. And, don’t get me wrong, I felt good about that. It was like a shot of testosterone surged through my estrogen-loaded body. I walked like I had balls. Buffalo balls. I was proud of my president. Proud to be an American. Shame those balls turned out to be hemorrhoids.
But then Junior comes along and, not only shoots the Russian President a huge, colorful BIRD at the internationally-aired, opening ceremonies of the most important event of his presidency, he then sticks that rainbow-wrapped middle finger up Putin’s ass – an act not yet illegal in Russia – and demonstrates that Germany has huden so big, they make Putin’s look like a mosquito’s eyeballs.
Holy comeback, Batman!
By the way, I feel it’s only appropriate that I share with you that I am one quarter German. Both my mother and grandmother were born there.
Until today, I’ve never been really proud of that fact.
Danke schoen, Germany.
Miss Snarky Pants
*As if I’d drink Stoli. Ketel One, please…
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It’s true. I’ve denied it for years, not because I was ashamed of being a hypochondriac, but because I didn’t think the word applied to me. Why? Miss Snarky Pants, with all of her books, her degrees, her 4-year reign as FCS’s Spelling Bee Champion – don’t be a hater! – never bothered to look up the friggin’ word in a dictionary. Nope, I determined its meaning from overhearing its usage in every day speech. My parents, for example, used the word a lot, and, come to think of it, slewed their eyes towards me whenever they uttered it. For all these years, I’d been operating under the delusion that a hypochondriac was a person who believed they had many illnesses, when, in fact, they did not.
Color me red when I discovered the error of my ways. The cornerstone upon which the entire foundation of who I am and what I believe was crushed when I Googled hypochondriac, only to discover that Dictionary.com defines it as “an excessive preoccupation with one’s health, usually focusing on some particular symptom, [sic] as cardiac or gastric problems.” For a moment, I thought, That’s not me. I usually think I have cancer. I’m not worried about my heart…except for when I can feel its beat pulsing in my temples, and then I’m certain I’m suffering an aneurysm. Hey, it could happen. And my gastric problems are real. You can’t fake diarrhea.
I scrolled down to the second definition: a person who worries or talks excessively about his or her health. Crap! I couldn’t deny it. My health sneaks its way into every conversation I have these days. I get asked, “How are you feeling?” more often than Taylor Swift gets asked, “Who are you going to write a nasty song about next week dating?” For example, today while I was warning my outdoorsy neighbor about the recent mosquito-borne pathogen outbreak in Florida, she blurted out, “What the hell is dengue fever?” However, her next question was “How’s your stomach feeling?” This woman has never even used my bathroom, but she’s knows that my bowel has been distressed lately.
And yes, I’m terrified that I’m going to contract dengue fever. Why?
(1) Eight cases have been reported in Florida in the last few weeks, in two counties: Martin and Miami-Dade. Granted, I don’t live in either of those counties, but mosquitoes can fly. Fly! They aren’t constrained by the nightmarish gridlock on I-4 as families squeeze in a pre-Labor Day Disney visit. No, mosquitoes view that arterial roadway as, well, an actual artery. Moreover, the Aedes aegypti, the species of mosquito that typically carries the virus, prefers human blood to that of other mammalians. Did I mention that only the breeding females transmit the disease? Mothersuckers!
(2) Iknow someone who contracted dengue fever while in Central America. Obviously, the disease isn’t all that rare. His case was so severe, he prayed to God for death. And he’s an atheist.
(3) When it comes to mosquitoes, my blood is a bottle of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Jeroboam. No, make that a FREE bottle of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Jeroboam. Yeah, I had to Google that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Their lust for my blood culminates almost daily in a feeding frenzy that’s convinced me that no vampire could ever resist me. Take that, Bella Swan.
(4) I’m an unlucky person. Sort of. In my mind, most of the good things that have happened to me in life resulted from hard work and perky breasts, not good fortune.
The problem is that I’m a recovering attorney, and my mind operates in a very specific way. When I assess that there is a threat within a 500 mile or so radius, I scour the Internet for evidence to support or dismiss that threat. After reading dozens of articles, blogs, Wikipedia entries, and a couple of double-blind, random, placebo-controlled studies, and determining that the threat is valid, I then begin comparing the disease’s list of symptoms with my current ailments. Dengue fever sufferers, for example, may expect fevers as high as 106 F, severe headaches, body rash, joint and muscle pain so draconian it can cause contortions, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, and minor bleeding from the gums and nose.
My gums bled this morning when I brushed my teeth. My lower back is killing me and I’ve had recurrent abdominal distress for over two weeks. Someone’s tap dancing on a nerve directly behind my left eye, as I write. I could be dying. But the only doctor I’ve seen in months is my chiropractor.
Why? Because I don’t really believe I have, or am going to catch, dengue fever, but the chance exists. In law, you might call it reasonable doubt or preponderance of the evidence. If there is any reasonable doubt that I could be bitten by an infected mosquito, then I have to take the necessary precautions to make sure that neither I, nor Hubby, my family, all my FB friends, all my Twitter friends, all the friends whom I’ve actually met, the lady in front of me in the checkout line who looks like she has a weak immune system, and each and every one of my adoring blog readers, contract dengue fever. Does that make me a hypochondriac or just a concerned citizen who believes that Benjamin Franklin was correct when he wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? C’mon, he nailed the whole electricity thing. The dude had mad smart skills.
Call me a hypochondriac, but it won’t stop me from hiding indoors after dusk for the next couple of months. After all, I live in one of the warmest, wettest places in the country, and that doesn’t take into account Tampa’s strip clubs, which are a hot mess all on their own. My yard breeds mosquitoes the way those Duggars spawn children. Our 1920’s bungalow rests on bricks stacked a foot high – and, based on the bites that pepper my calves and ankles – the dark, sweltering space below it is probably the largest Aedes aegypti neonatal unit in Florida.
Today, I’ll be calling our local mosquito control center and requesting that they do a drive by drenching. Likewise, thrice-daily DEET baths, and mesh body armor after dark are probably in order. I’ve considered sending Hubby outside 5 to 10 minutes ahead of me as a decoy of sorts, but that would involve stepping over a serious moral line. One I’d readily cross (hey, his immune system has my lymph nodes mounted on wooden plaque hanging on its wall), but those pesky, little bloodsuckers won’t touch him. It’s like his mother bottle-fed him a diet of Off! mixed with Skin So Soft. I thought spouses were supposed to have each other’s backs, but mine won’t even donate a pint of blood.
Prevention is the key to beating hypochondria. If I’m not bitten by a mosquito, I won’t worry that my headache is indicative of blistering fevers and aching muscles to come. Or, if I don’t leave the house until Thanksgiving. Or if I temporarily move to Antarctica.
Plus, I have bigger concerns. Did you know that spices can carry salmonella? The FDA will be releasing a study that shows that 15% of coriander, 12% of both basil and oregano, and 4% of regular ol’ peppercorns imported to the United States are contaminated with the potentially-deadly virus. Americans are particularly at risk because we tend to add pepper to our food after it is cooked – and the heating process is what destroys the salmonella virus.
Now ask yourself, Have I sprinkled a little fresh, ground pepper to my food recently? When did the chef add that coriander to my curry? What about the basil I use in my homemade Italian vinaigrette?
Now who’s the hypochondriac?
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The definition of wit arose in a discussion I had the other night over beer and hamburgers. As a general rule, I’m against wit when meat, cheese and hops are involved as the effort is rarely remembered the following day since the recipients of the wit are either still stewing in their cholesterol-induced brain swell or just hungover. I, personally, have yet to ponder someone’s witticism from the night before while my head is dangling over the porcelain throne, so I’m assuming no one else does either.
Truth be told, I’m rarely witty whether or not beef and Budweiser is being consumed. Why, you ask? Clearly, I’m a mammoth of intellectual funny-isms or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. The problem is that I’m slow to wit. I come up with clever epigrams approximately fifty-one minutes after the witty comment would have been appropriate. Granted, my observations are often much more adroit than the retorts made by my compatriots at the time, but they’re late. Way late. Running-out-to-the-24-hour-pharmacy-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-buy-a-pregnancy-test late. This is fine if you’re writing a column or posting on Facebook, but I suspect that my friends may wonder if I’ve hired a ghost writer exclusively for those purposes because in person, my comments often tend to invoke the nervous laughter that is only uttered when others are uncomfortable or feel obligated to do something other than stare. You know what I’m talking about. Pity laughter – the awkward chuckle often heard in funeral parlors as friends and loved ones discuss zany things the deceased used to do when they weren’t so…well, dead.
Until recently, however, I’d always thought I was witty. Like everyone, I would have, on occasion, a particularly good evening. During these rare events, droll observations would drip off my lips like drool off a St. Bernard’s muzzle. Strangers would contemplate inviting me to dinner parties in the future. I basked in the glow of my sheer cleverness. My friends, on the other hand, would shrug and finally credit the alcohol. When I was having an off night (which in reality was a typical night), I consoled myself with the knowledge that I would write something incredibly astute and hilarious at a later date. Something that would be published. Something that would one day appear in quote books or, alternatively, quote websites or quote clouds as physical books will probably be extinct by the time I’m dead – and everyone knows the most surefire way to be included in a collection of quotes is to be dead first.
But back to the other night. A typical night, I might add, made even more typical by the fact that I was dining with a woman who has more degrees than a thermometer and was educated in Britain, the Birthplace of Wit; a gay man (Oh, step off your PC soapbox – if a gay man could carry a child in the uterus he doesn’t have, he would also be the Birthplace of Wit!) and my husband, perhaps one of the funniest people on the planet. I didn’t have a chance in hell. And they were talking about France and things that are French. If I was Sarah Palin, I’d tell you that I’ve been to France. But the truth is that I had a two hour layover in the Charles de Gaulle airport on the way to London. I did buy a baguette with brie on it and some Loreal hair conditioner, but I don’t think that truly constitutes having experienced the City of Lights. Unless, as I pointed out, you’re Sarah Palin – and then you wouldn’t have to buy a sandwich or hair products. You’d just claim you could see the Eiffel Tower from your First Class seat and go back to reading your magazine, the name of which would escape you.
My gay friend lived in Paris for several years, and my uber-educated friend is one of those artsy-types with an obsession for obscure European facts. My sole comment during this portion of the conversation consisted of something like, “What do you expect? They’re French.” This is my go-to statement when chatter turns to things francais because it applies universally. Doesn’t matter if you’re discussing the French’s attitude towards their politicians’ mistresses, their penchant for smoking from the time they can sit upright in a pram, or their insistence upon putting mushrooms in absolutely everything they cook. The easiest response for one who can’t come up with something witty is to simply chime in, “What do you expect? They’re French.” Following said statement with a knowing chortle is completely optional.
Grateful as I was when the discussion turned away from French cinema, I was disturbed when it turned to the topic of wit, generating a lively debate surrounding the word’s definition. Now, I’ve always ascribed to what is generally considered to be the most common definition of the word – at least according to those silly books that collect such information, a.k.a. dictionaries – and they define wit as “the natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence.” As I have been perceiving and understanding things since I was knee-high to Tom Cruise, I was confident that I fit the bill. Hell, I possess a very expensive advanced degree and I’ve never failed a test in my life. Okay, that’s not completely true. I actually failed my first driver’s test, but I was set-up and, anyway, I totally aced the written portion. As I was saying, arbitrary tests that don’t involve operating something with a carburetor concede that I qualify as an intelligent human being. Then again, poop-throwing in chimps is considered a sign of intelligence, so the bar can’t be all that high.
Our dinner companions – my husband excluded as he does have to live with me – insisted that wit involves a timing component, and argued that if brilliance doesn’t strike as swiftly as lightning, it might as well not bother to strike at all. Granted, some dictionaries list “quickness of perception” or an ability for repartee or banter in their definitions of wit. But it’s never the first definition. It’s not the primary definition. Heck, on one website, it was subsection (d) of the third definition. Regardless, it was the meaning of choice for my friends. (And may I point out here and now that my gay friend is the same friend who once erroneously claimed that The Osmonds outsold Sonny and Cher in their heyday, so his perception is clearly warped). But, as former employer of mine used to say ad nauseum, “Perception is everything.” You can’t be witty in a vacuum. Wit requires an audience. In my case, I thought an audience of people with nothing better to do than read my meanderings was sufficient, but that evening I was informed that it was not the same. Apparently, in the Aesop fable, wit is the rabbit and the old adage of “slow and steady wins the race” doesn’t apply. My humor is the turtle and muddling along at a consistent pace just doesn’t cut it. Wit isn’t a marathon; it’s a sprint. If I can’t swiftly enunciate a zinger or amuse dinner guests with banter worthy of a Nora Ephron film, I might as well don a dunce cap and resign myself to eating Taco Bell in dark room by myself – maybe with with Carrot Top if I’m lucky. Actually, I think I’d rather eat alone. At least I’m funny on paper.
For days now, I’ve wallowed in this pit of dullard despair until someone recognized by millions as being remarkably witty – in fact, he’s paid quite a lot of money to be witty – appeared to take up my case. In a recent HBO special, comedian Ricky Gervais suggested that Oscar Wilde, the Godfather of Wit, also suffered from Dilatory Epigram Syndrome. When asked by a customs official if he had anything to declare, Wilde famously stated, “Only my intelligence.” Gervais suggested that the retort had probably occurred to Wilde sometime after an earlier encounter with a customs official. You know, one of those, “Damn! I should have said this!” moments. I know those moments well. Really well. Not on a first name basis well, but on a secret-birthmarks-that-no-one-else-knows-about well. According to Gervais, once Wilde had that moment, he stored it up and waited, crouched like a spider ready to attack. Please ask me if I’ve something to declare, he would think to himself. And finally, someone did. Wilde declared his genius. Then he died. Now he’s got entire books of quotes devoted entirely to things he allegedly said or wrote.
This may shatter many people’s perception of Wilde as the erudite dinner guest who spit out impromptu witticisms the way Americans spit out haggis into their napkins in a Scottish pub. If his initiation of a clever comment was machine gun rapid, I’ve always fantasized Wilde’s voice as luxuriously slow and languid. When he opened his mouth to speak, I imagine the guests’ forks would hover inches below their mouths because whatever choice bite was to emerge from Wilde’s lips was certainly tastier than anything on their plates. However, Gervais’ view suggests that the playwright and poet may have practiced his quips religiously in his state room, pacing the short length of the carpet reciting the verbal gems he would deliver should the appropriate question be offered. Perhaps he scribbled down all the things he wished he’d said at the previous evening’s dinner party into a little notebook, then rattled them off as soon as the opportunity arose again later in the week.
During the Victorian era, the issues of politics, English society, literature and the arts, and religion were popular topics in dining and drawing rooms all over Britain. It would have been easy for Wilde to anticipate future conversations and arm himself accordingly, loading his quips like bullets into a pistol and pulling the trigger whenever appropriate. When the subject of the Americas or politics was broached, he could rattle off, “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people,” a statement which would have signaled uproarious laughter and tittering at any Victorian table. If the topic turned to fellow playwright, critic and frequent dinner guest, George Bernard Shaw, Wilde may have been well-prepped when he slung this backhanded compliment: “Bernard Shaw is an excellent man; he has not an enemy in the world, and none of his friends like him.” In a closed society, self-described by Wilde as one in which one only “has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people…” in order to be admitted, amusing the cream of London society would have been a priority in order to ensure his continued success, both socially and financially.
So to those friends of mine whose synapses fire away quickly over appetizers, leaving the rest of us behind in a haze of smoke and clever diatribes, I say,” Erm…hold on second. It’s right on the tip of my tongue. Just give me a second. No, really. This is going to be hilarious.” Forget it, I’ll get back to you in about fifty-one minutes and when I do, prepare to die. Or maybe you’ll just blush or giggle or get a little embarrassed because I did it in print. Online. And everyone who knows me also knows who you are, so it kinda sucks for you, really. But I will do it. I’ll be witty and you’ll rue the day you ever said I wasn’t. The slow and steady spirit of Oscar Wilde inhabits me. Can I say that it’s a little uncomfortable because he was a large man? An awfully large man.
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I am so disappointed in you. After thousands of people worked tirelessly to ensure that your husband, President Barack Obama, was again elected to the highest office in this country, you go and blow his inauguration for all of us. A week later, I’m still appalled. For a woman with such class, intelligence and beauty, how could you steal your husband’s thunder as you did? It was his big day; the last time he’ll ever place his hand on a Bible and be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in front of millions of chilled constituents and television viewers. But thanks to you, most Americans will only remember January 21, 2013 as the day the First Lady debuted bangs.
Before you begin with the excuses, I realize you technically took your bangs out for a trial run a few days earlier to celebrate your 49th birthday and the launch of your Twitter account, but the world didn’t officially check out your new fringe until Inauguration Day. As First Lady, someone must have educated you on the significant buzz generated by something as drastic as thick, flirty bangs. For crying out loud, one of the world’s most renowned experts on First Lady Dos and Don’ts, literally and figuratively, has been working for your husband for the last four years as Secretary of State.
Did you not think to consult with Hillary Clinton before embarking upon such a controversial voyage toward sassy bobdom? Did four years of the planet’s pop culture obsession with your J. Crew cardigans, your finely-honed triceps and your dazzling smile not clue you in to the fact that everything you do is so amazeballs, it makes your husband’s accomplishments appear minuscule by comparison? How can a measly president keep up?
Don’t believe me? Here are just a few conversations that I totally made up to illustrate my point have overheard in the past couple of years:
American 1: “Hey, did you hear that Osama Bin Laden is dead?”
American 2: “About damn time. Anyway, did you see that incredible dress that Michelle Obama wore on Oprah today? Her arms are totally ripped!”
American 1: “I’m so psyched. Thanks to President Obama and Obamacare, my health insurance is going to cover my pre-existing conditions and my birth control pills.”
American 2: “Huh? Did you hear that Michelle Obama is nominated for a Grammy? I loved her book. I’ve heard that the vegetables she grows in the White House garden have ten times as many vitamins as your standard organic fare – and you can develop super hero powers after eating them. Sasha, for example, once gave Chuck Norris a painful wedgie that left him so disabled he had to change the name of his show to Walker With A Limp, Texas Ranger. After eating a single serving of White House garden broccoli, Malia memorized the entire Oxford English Dictionary…in Finnish.
American 1: “Thanks to President Obama’s support, my state legalized gay marriage, and now my partner and I can finally get hitched after twenty-five years together.”
American 2: “I’m pretty sure that was Michelle Obama’s idea; after all, her designer of choice, Jason Wu, is gay. Plus, nothing screams equality like her sassy ass bangs.”
Is this sinking in, Michelle? Do you realize that, at this very moment, if you were to Google “Michelle Obama Hair,” you’d find an astounding 106 million results? Your hair alone culls more than three times the hits as does Adolf Hitler’s entire murderous career – one which was nearly outshone by the black caterpillar named Otto who lived above his upper lip. Hillary Clinton, whose tresses were famously criticized throughout her two term tenure as First Lady, garners a paltry 31 million results – and she’s been in the public eye for over twenty years. In a world in which bad news always seems to trump good news, it’s confounding to discover that the positive reviews about your gleaming mane easily outnumber the negative appraisals of Hillary’s helmet head.
Perhaps it’s difficult for someone like you, someone who’s never had a bad hair day in her life, to understand the power of bangs. They’re a decisive, aggressive move, much like invading Russia in winter or refusing to use Gatling guns at Little Bighorn – and we all know how those choices impacted Hitler and Custer, respectively. Poor little Taylor Swift was transformed from gawky, teen queen into a sleek, man-eater with one long snip across her forehead and a few passes with a flat iron. Suddenly, she metamorphosized from a mother-in-law’s wet dream into the bane of every eligible bachelor’s existence. When Michael J. Fox doesn’t want his son to date you, that’s a pretty clear indication that you’ve succumbed to fringe-induced flooziness.
The thing that really chaps my ass, Michelle, is that you allowed a mere flight of fancy to outshine your hubby on his big day. Let’s face it; bangs are almost always snipped on a whim. And just like that last martini, bold, blunt bangs are almost always a mistake…unless your name is Zooey Deschanel, who doesn’t count because her eyeballs are so large, they have their own satellites. No one can carry bangs off for long and growing them out is worse than being informed that your sober living partner is Charlie Sheen.
Of course, the greater concern is – now that you’ve demonstrated a desire to one-up the president – what you are planning to debut at the State of the Union address? Knee cap liposuction? Eyelash extensions? A neon pink merkin?
May I suggest something that makes an impact, yet is temporary? Something that President Obama and you can do together. A statement that will eliminate the image of your bangs from our collective memory and bring your lovely forehead out of hiding. A look that will demonstrate your solidarity as America’s most famous, most beloved – and most romantic – couple.
With Great Respect and Admiration,
Miss Snarky Pants
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Michelle Obama With Bangs: HuffingtonPost.comHillary Clinton Hair Don’t: CBS.comMichelle Obama With Guns: Allure.comChuck Norris: FishingJones.comAdolph Hitler: Wikipedia.comZooey Deschanel: Allure.com
Growing up, I was a picky eater. Tomatoes were persona non grata on my plate. Though I recognized that the “I’m-A-Fruit-Masquerading-As-A-Vegetable” meant well, I couldn’t understand why tomatoes insisted on encasing their precious seeds in something the consistency of snot. Oranges were also out of the question. If we were meant to eat them, why would the powers that be weave all that stringy, pulpy crap throughout an orange’s flesh? Bananas? Fuggetaboutit! After three bites, the funniest of fruits becomes slimy on the inside, almost as if a tomato had dropped by for an evening of inter-genus plant sex and didn’t bother to clean up the wet spot post-coitus.
Despite the lure of a red-lipped, ginger psycho clown, I may have been the only kid in America who didn’t want to devour a McDonalds’ hamburger – or any burger, for that matter. Ground meat could contain, well, anything. Animal bone. Truck parts. Factory workers’ fingers. Bits of curling, ginger, evil clown hair. My fears were confirmed when my parents forced me to eat a homemade hamburger and, with my very first mouthful, I bit down on a piece of dreadedgristle. Okay, no one ever called it the dreadedgristle but me. Still, when your mother tells you to spit it out and continue eating, you realize that the gristle shouldn’t have been there, much like Michele Bachmann at Drag Queen Bingo. It didn’t help that no one would explain to me exactly what gristle was, how it ended up in my burger, or what would happen to me if I accidentally swallowed a piece of it. All I knew was that it sounded a lot like grisly – as in grisly murder.
On the rare occasion in which I did chow down on a slab o’ meat, it had to be completely exorcised of the sinister fat that wound its way around and throughout the cooked piece of carcass. Fat was disgusting. Like gum, it could be chewed and chewed, but unlike gum, it didn’t taste like fruit, nor could it be blown into pink bubbles. It did introduce me to my overactive gag reflex which is called into action anytime my mouth comes into contact with something that doesn’t belong in it. Okay, maybe not everything. Nonetheless, every round of Junior Miss Snarky Pants vs. Fatty Porkchop ended the same way: with little balls of masticated pig flesh hidden in my napkin or beneath the rim of my dinner plate.
Perhaps the most baffling part of my childhood was spent trying to figure out (1) why people ate fruits and berries that were covered in hair or fuzz; and (2) why people would bother eating foods that required one to spit a portion of that food back out again. With regard to the first, I couldn’t and still can’t comprehend why a human being would deliberately ingest hair. Is it not generally considered bad form to lick one’s cat or dog in order to groom them? If so, then why would a person consume a peach? Or a strawberry? Any fruit that wants to be eaten should have the decency to shave first.
Likewise, it was puzzling to be told by my mother that when eating watermelon, I should spit out the seeds. Although I didn’t harbor the fear that a watermelon would grow in my stomach if I swallowed one of its teardrop-shaped seeds, I was offended by the watermelon’s audacity to have so many seeds, not to mention the fact that it allowed them to spread throughout its flesh like those obnoxious people in the airport terminal who plop all of their carry-on luggage on the empty chairs so that no one else can sit down. Watermelon is a fruit that has no respect for the people who eat it, unlike, say, the apple – who keeps its seeds under control, confined to its core. An apple begs – no, pleads – to be eaten; small and encased in a protective, but edible, skin, it promises to be fast about it and not waste your time. Watermelons are so laissex-fucking-faire about the whole thing. Come eat me, the watermelon purrs, but don’t make any plans because you’re going to need a chainsaw in order to open me up and then it’ll take all afternoon for you to sort through my flesh with your tongue, reserve the seeds in the side of your cheek and then spit them out before starting all over again. This is why watermelons are only eaten at picnics on lazy Sundays and not during your half hour lunch break at work. Sorry, Kitchen Slattern, watermelon vodka shots don’t count. If they did, I’d reach the suggested daily allowance of fruit by 10:30 a.m. each morning.
So why the diatribe about my awkward relationship with food, which, by the way, was accurately diagnosed as texture issues by someone with no medical or psychological background whatsoever? Because although I wasn’t a fan of certain foods as a young child, it didn’t prevent me from correctly identifying a vast array of veggies, fruits and berries – even if I didn’t like them. Today’s kids – and teenagers, for that matter – don’t know the first thing about fresh produce. Now before you begin typing out an indignant comment in which you paint your particular child as a lover of all fruits and vegetables, one who personally tends to her own organic garden and orchard which she fertilizes with homemade compost, take a moment to watch celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, as he asks a classroom of first graders to identify some common fruits and vegetables:
My only consolation is that the child pronounced potato as po-tay-toe instead of po-tah-toe, like some Downton Abbey lord of the manor. That and the knowledge that if the little moppet had been sired by a migrant farm worker, he would’ve known the difference. You may be thinking to yourself, “These children are merely six years old.” Yeah, well those six year olds know how to write binary code, count to 1,000 in Mandarin and recite the entirety of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows verbatim. The reason they can’t tell the difference between a potato and tomato is because everything they eat comes out of a can or a box. How would a non-breeder like myself know this? Because these processed food-eating garbage disposals kids eventually grow into the teenagers who work as cashiers at my local Super Wal-Mart – the same cashiers who inevitably hold up the line for twenty minutes as they scan page after page of laminated, illustrated produce printouts because they’ve never seen a butternut squash in their entire lives. Or an avocado. Or spinach. Or a tomato – or was that a potato?
Despite my attempts to assist the cashier by saying, “Erm, that’s a butternut squash,” the confused teenager will call for manager assistance – probably because customer-perpetrated produce fraud is sooooooo rampant these days – and then me, the cashier and the twelve shoppers in line behind me will all wait. And wait. And wait. Eventually, the overworked Wal-Mart manager will arrive and declare the foreign substance in the cashier’s hands to be a butternut squash. Before I can say, “Hah! Don’t tell me that I don’t know my gourds,” the manager has raced off to another checkout stand to announce that baby carrots are coming through (no, they don’t wear diapers), and to a third aisle to identify a bell pepper that had the nerve to be both red and green at the same time. In the end, it doesn’t matter because the manager will have to revisit my aisle multiple times because the cashier has confused red cabbage with iceberg lettuce, and doesn’t know the difference between a zucchini and a cucumber. Which means Hubby’s ice cream has melted and my almond milk is warm. Grrrrrr.
Of course, the larger issue is that if a teenager old enough to work at Wal-Mart can’t identify most vegetables and fruits just by looking at them, he or she probably isn’t going to buy those fruit and vegetables for the children that he or she will one day spawn. Within two generations, we’ll be surrounded by millions of Honey Boo Boos, who eat nothing but roadkill, ‘sketti and cheese balls. For those of you who have wisely resisted the urge to tune in to watch Honey Boo Boo and her talking belly, ‘sketti is spaghetti noodles served with a sauce made from ketchup and margarine. I’m pretty sure that Bizarre Food’s Andrew Zimmern, who, incidentally, follows Miss Snarky Pants on Twitter (I know…OMG!), just threw up in his mouth.
Much in the same way that we describe alcohol as being distilled multiple times, the fruits and vegetables of the future will be processed again and again until they no longer resemble their original selves. The only way we’ll be able to distinguish pureed carrots from pureed sweet potatoes will be by reading the printing on the frozen, cardboard box they come in – because, Lord knows, our kids won’t be able to tell by looking at the photo. If we don’t make changes now, our fresh produce will be molded and shaped by technology, becoming – in the process of being, erm, processed – as unrecognizable as that chick from “Dirty Dancing.” What was her name again? Jennifer Grape?
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What foods did you hate when you were a child? Do you eat any of them now?