Friday, September 07, 2012


The 2012 conventions have adjourned, to the delight of television viewers everywhere, but our intrepid Hot Flash reporter was there, observing the suspenseful nomination process. Okay, well, maybe not there, and maybe asleep on the couch, but the television was on. And here are our fair and balanced observations:

We are either in deep doo-doo or marching forward toward the land of milk and honey. The Republicans displayed the ever increasing national debt on a nifty digital display throughout the convention, whereas the Democrats SHOULD have had a nifty digital display of the number of dumbass things the Republicans have said lately. (Legitimate rape, anyone?)

A Lassie Democrat
Full disclosure: I am what is referred to in my family as a “Lassie Democrat”, in that if Lassie ran for president as a Democrat, she/he would get my vote. I am not ashamed to admit that my allegiance to the Democratic party began in 2nd grade at Our Lady of Perpetual Guilt grade school, where the nuns were beside themselves at the thought that a nice Irish Catholic boy might become president. And I thought John F. Kennedy was just really cute. The nuns were summarily overwhelmed with joy when he was elected, which is probably the closest to orgasm they ever got, seeing as both “impure thoughts” and “touching oneself impurely” could be mortal sins which might condemn you to hell for all eternity. Or not. It just depended. They never elaborated on exactly what it depended on, thus thrusting the students of Perpetual Guilt into a state of confusion, as well as a state of harboring impure thoughts, now that they were forbidden. ( Ha ha. I said “thrusting”.) But I digress.

 I’ll admit that I tried to watch the Republican convention, but kept falling asleep on the couch, missing not only the candidate’s speech, but the lively dialog between Clint Eastwood and a chair. Doesn’t the GOP have an advance team to vet the speeches of crotchety old men on national teevee? Or at least someone backstage to wrest the chair away from Dirty Harry?

I did stay awake for a lot of Democratic convention, however, and found Obama’s speech to be adequate, but mostly I watched Malia and Sasha look bored out of their minds. It must be hard to come of age in the White House, when your dad is up in front of a bunch of people BEING TOTALLY LAME instead of driving you to the mall like a normal dad. I was impressed that neither were caught picking their noses, scratching, or adjusting their underwear. They were probably briefed ahead of time that rolling of eyes, yawning, and texting were grounds for relocation to Guantanamo Bay, which, by the way, is still open.

My biggest problem, however, is Michelle Obama. Bitch. How DOES she obtain those sexy, well-toned arms? It’s all her fault that sleeveless dresses are still in fashion, which don’t flatter those of us of a certain age. I would do arm exercises, but I fear the subsequent rotator cuff surgery that would inevitably follow. At least the Republicans have had First Ladies that didn’t make me feel inferior. Barbara Bush, anyone?

The highlight of the Democratic convention, of course, was not Barack, but Bill. Oh, Bill, please, can’t you be president again? The constitution is just so problematic. Surely those term limits are just suggestions, not absolutes. We ladies want you back. That twinkle in your eye, the florid oratory. I know those were meant for me, you old horndog, you. I have a blue dress. Call me.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I am sitting in the airport, waiting for my interminably delayed flight. To pass the time, I buy a book at the bookstore, “Fifty Shades of Grey”. I begin to doze off, the book dropping into my lap…

I wake with a start to the luscious sensation of someone nibbling on my earlobe, as that someone whispers in my ear, “Ana, I only have desire for you. You intoxicate me. I am obsessed with you.” Holy crap! It’s Christian Grey, totally hot multibillionaire rich handsome rich brilliant rich young rich CEO, and I am in his luxury condo and his luxury arms!

I am swept away by the strange sensations sweeping over me. His touch is like a warm tidal wave, carrying me away to greater heights of ecstasy. His kisses to my nubile young body are like hot fudge to a scoop of ice cream, waking me from my cold and dismal being. He murmurs huskily, “Darling, I want you. I need you. Simply sign this master-slave contract, and we can begin our strange but erotic time together”. Swooning, I whisper, “Of course, Christian. Where’s the pen?’

Suddenly, I hear the familiar whirring of wings and a loud “Plop!” behind me. Dammit. It’s Fairy Godmother. She is always in my face.

“Hullo, Fairy Godmother”, I say sullenly to the rotund figure who has interrupted my lustful encounter with the handsome Mr. Grey. And rich. Did I mention rich?

“Ana, what the HELL are you doing?” she demands.

I roll my eyes. “Well, it’s none of your business, but if you must know, I am about to enter into a master/sex slave relationship with handsome and rich Mr. Grey.”

She frowns at me. “But what about all our training? You are a Disney Princess! And you realize, of course, that Mr. Grey is a sadist?”

“He’s not a sadist. He’s just really bossy”, I pout.

“What happened with Prince Charming? Why do I fix you up anyway?”

“Ewww, Prince Charming is so BORING. And besides that, I think he’s gay”.

Fairy Godmother looks at me peevishly. “He’s not gay, he just dresses really nice”.

“Well, I don’t think he has anything … Down There”, I say petulantly.

“Of course he does. You are thinking of Ken. So where did you meet this loser, anyway?” demand Fairy Godmother.

“At the Home Depot. He was looking for duct tape”. I blush prettily.

“Ana!” Christian says insistently. “Come ON! I’ve got my rumpus room ready for us!”

“Of course, dear” I tell him sweetly. “Fairly Godmother, take off, will you? I’ve new stuff to try”.

Christian roars, “That’s Mr. Grey, SIR! Don’t ever call me dear!”

Fairy Godmother looks at me with disgust, and takes flight. A little awkwardly, as she has put on a few pounds.

“Have fun at your weight watchers meeting!” I shout to her derisively, I turn to my master, as we begin our sensual, but sorta kinky, time together.

Suddenly, I am awakened with a start. The loudspeaker booms, “Flight 123 to Washington DC has been cancelled! Please go to the Customer Service center, where you will stand in line for 3 hours to be put on the next flight which will be delayed”.

Shit. Au revoir, my kinky, handsome billionaire dreamboat. And did I mention rich?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fear of Flying

The airlines have become their own terrorist organization. Step into an airport with an e-ticket in hand, and you have now become a victim. Or better yet, a prisoner of war. Residents of Guantanamo Bay may have more rights than you do once you step foot in an airport. You will soon suffer the indignities of cancelled flights, delayed flights, rerouted flights, uncomprehending ticket agents, bad food, no food, surly flight attendants, etc. Waterboarding may become an acceptable alternative.

Recently, the Hotflash family flew to a faraway western state to watch child #2 actually graduate from college. In all fairness, I will not name the airline. I’ll just call it UA. UA decided that our pleasant direct flights clearly provided too much convenience and comfort, and so it casually eliminated these, and replaced them with bad connections and cancellations.

Yes, I know, everybody complains about the airlines. It’s sort of like childbirth: yes, it hurts, then it’s over, so shut up about it. But think about it: if your car doesn’t start in the morning, do you just call your boss and say the trip to work is cancelled? You had better just find another way to get your sorry ass to work.

Ms. Hotflash is usually a kind and patient person. But the airlines work on my last nerve.


The TSA: The lady in the pink polyester pants with the T-shirt that says, “World’s Best Grandma” and a Disney World tote bag is probably not a terrorist. Chances are she is not a drug mule, either. She may have 3 ounces of dangerous Milk of Magnesia in her purse, however, which must be carefully scrutinized.

For those of you who prefer to opt out of the full body scan (in which your viscera is slowly fried by the “safe” amounts of radiation each time you pass through), you are in luck! You can spend a few intimate moments with a TSA agent who will probe your crotch for weapons of mass destruction.

Seating: There is a torture practice in which the victim is placed in a small cell, too short to stand up, too narrow to sit down. Airplane designers derived inspiration from this, and designed the seating arrangement in coach. Additional torment may be applied as the passenger in front of you leans his seat all the way back, shoving your laptop/drink into your face. Good times.

Luggage: Passengers haul their steamer-trunk sized bags on board, optimistically thinking they qualify as   carry-ons. They try to shove these items in the overhead bins, hoping to defy the laws of gravity, mass, and the space-time continuum. Other modestly sized baggage already stowed is pulverized. So much for the ceramic figurine you were bringing home to grandma.

Airline bathrooms: In a plane with 90 seats, there will be 1 bathroom for the 8 people in first class, and a single bathroom back in the bowels of coach for the rest of the great unwashed. One passenger usually decides to attend a major gastrointestinal event in that bathroom as the hordes are waiting in line outside, bladders crying out in anguish. Around this time, “the captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign! Please return to your seats!” The Marquis de Sade would be proud.

So I am led to wonder, how different is our treatment by the airlines to the treatment of a POW? I referred to the Geneva Convention Treaty on Treatment of Prisoners of War

Article 3b prohibits “The taking of hostages”. Just try to exit a plane that’s been sitting on the tarmac for 3 hours. I rest my case.

Article 3c prohibits “Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment”. (See Things that Annoy Me, Airline Bathrooms, above).

 Article 15 states: “The Power detaining prisoners of war shall be bound to provide free of charge for their maintenance and for the medical attention required by their state of health. “ I interpret this as FREE FOOD, not $9 nasty “snack boxes” foisted upon us. No, UA, a box of crackers, olives and hummus is NOT “tapas”.

Article 18 states: “All effects and articles of personal use …shall remain in the possession of prisoners of war”. This implies that the bag you checked to Cleveland SHALL NOT be sent to Dubai.

Oh, I could go on and on. But you get the point. On my next vacation, I shall just go to Guantanamo Bay. I’ll bet the flight will be direct, the food will be free, and I hear the weather’s quite nice in Cuba.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I consider myself to be rather cool. Despite my vintage age, I pride myself on being up on the cool trends, down with the popular culture, even edgy. Yes, my coolness is one of my finer attributes.

For example, music. Just recently I discovered a new hot female singer. Her name is Lady Gaga. Her music has a good beat and is easy to dance to. I can floss my teeth in record time to “Bad Romance”. To boost my knowledge of this new phenom, I turned to that great warehouse of all knowledge, Wikipedia. Imagine my surprise that Lady Gaga has been around since at least 2008. Why was I not informed?

Not to be discouraged, I found another new talent by name of Adele. Plunging toilets or other unsavory activities are greatly enhanced by the driving rhythms of “Rumor Has It”. Again, I turn to Wikipedia, only to find that Adele has also been on the scene since 2008.

Recently, I watched a rerun of “Saturday Night Live”, and the host was enthusing about the musical guest, Robyn. Who the hell is Robyn? (I know, I know, Wikipedia says she’s been around since 1997).

Two questions disturb my sleep: First of all, why do I not know about these cultural trends? And secondly, why don’t these young ladies have last names? Lady Gaga, Adele, Robyn, Florence (and her machine), Bjork, etc.  Are they foundlings, dropped off at the orphanage by their unnamed parents, forced to go through life with only one name? Does this identity crisis fuel their music? Does it inform the inspiration for their art? Just like Cher?*

It’s not just musical trends that are passing me by. Social media is out of control, and needs to take a time out. I’ve got Facebook figured out, but what about Tumblr? Reddit, Pinterest? I went to the Tumblr web site. It says that “Tumblogs are the easiest way to share yourself”, but there are no instructions on their home page, preferably in a large font. My good friend Wiki tells me, “Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website.” Umm…what?

Pinterest just pisses me off. I had to ask for an “invitation”. (Please sir, may I have another?) A few days later it came, but I was told I had to register through Facebook or Twitter. I refuse to do that, because then Mark Zuckerberg will take my personal information and sell to the Romanians, who are compiling a dossier on me under the heading of “Clueless Boomer”. So no pinboards for me. They would probably just be titled “Things that annoy me”.

So I have a proposal for any of you internet-savvy youngsters reading this. Create a web site for Baby Boomers such as myself who want to stay hip and happenin’. It can be funded by the rich assortment of companies wishing to market to us, hawking such products as Depends, Rascals, and catheters. You can have sections such as Music, Internet, Apparel (no mom jeans!), and Hair (so that we aren’t going around in the same hairdo we wore in the 70’s). It can be updated weekly, no more than that, because we need time to absorb new information. I will take a cut of the profits, of course for providing this great idea.

And use a large font, please. You’re Welcome.

* Cher, also a parentless child, expressed her anguish in the seminal recording, “Half Breed”.

Monday, April 16, 2012


The folks at Restoration Hardware have obviously misjudged the design sense of the Hotflash household. We recently received a shrink-wrapped package of catalogs from them. I put it on the scale. It weighed 5 pounds. It was a set of 3 books, Indoor, Outdoor, and “Big Style, Small Spaces!”

The catalogs were full of fascinating objects. For example, on page 67, there was an iron stag’s head, complete with very large antlers.

Besides the obvious problems of heaving an iron head on the wall, this raises the burning question, “Who wants this?” Here in fly-over country, if you want a head on the wall, you just get a gun, kill a mammal, and slap it on the wall. But maybe those crazy kids on the coasts think this is just the shiznit. Plus it’s vegan.

On page 308, you can find the “Salvaged Wood Vintner's Hutch”. This appears to be a stack of old wood pallets, which does fit the definition of both salvaged and wood. However, this item costs $2995, whereas I know of a dumpster where you pick up old pallets for free.

Page 476 regales us with “French Rope Chandeliers”, which look like macramĂ© on steroids.  I did macrame in the 70’s and it looked tacky then, too.

As I ponder the meaning of life at 2AM, I wonder,”Who designs this claptrap? What are they teaching the kids in design/art/interior decorating/marketing school these days? Is there no adult supervision? Who can afford to buy a salvaged wood vintner's hutch, and do guests say, ‘Hey! That looks like a pile of old wood pallets!’”

We also receive the J. Crew catalog. Again, their marketers have misjudged the denizens of the Hotflash household, thinking we might actually wear (or fit in) these clothes. The J. Crew catalog is full of teensy little girls in teensy little pants, with such whimsical names such as, “toothpick jean” and “matchstick jean”.

There is an exercise in the social sciences called the “windshield survey”, in which you drive around the neighborhood or town you are analyzing, getting a feel for the general lay of the land (not unlike high school when we got in the family station wagon and drove to the A&W Root Beer stand and then the local lover’s lane, where we would honk at our classmates who were actually getting some action). Obviously, the designers at J. Crew never did a windshield survey of my neck of the woods, or they would note that most folks are a tad more substantial than matchsticks. It’s not just my town. I was in Texas last week, and those folks are no toothpicks, either.   

The men’s clothing is no better. The models all look like they came home from college for a funeral and had to wear their little brothers' sportcoat.   Again, as I survey the landscape, I spot no one who could wear these skinny mini jackets. Even child #2, a slender but well-toned young man, could not fit into these clothes. Countless hours of mind-numbing laps as a member of various swim teams have graced him with lats and shoulders that prevent him from sporting that underfed but fashionable look. Apparently one must either have the nutritional status of a crackhead (but with nice teeth, please!) or a muscle-wasting disease in order to wear J. Crew menswear.

Then there are the Athleta and Title 9 catalogs. These catalogs are basically interchangeable. They are full of photos of muscular young women with six-packs and broad shoulders, hauling surf boards and large dogs around.  Many pages are devoted to supporting the racks of these fine young women. But yet again, as I scrutinize the local population, I see neither rippling calf muscles or six packs (except of the carbonated kind).

It is a national tragedy to see how our fashion and interior designers are so out of touch with the real world. I recommend they leave their rarified confines for a tour of Real America, complete with our large butts and Barca-loungers. What a surprise for them! They would skulk back to the coasts, thinking to themselves, "Those people have no taste at all". But then maybe they would make some pants with a little more fabric in them.  For us. Please.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Recently there was a brief but mighty blip in the interwebs, involving 85 year old Marilyn Hagerty, of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Ms. Hagerty, despite her golden years, is a columnist for the Grand Forks Herald, including “Eatbeat” a restaurant review column.

The frenzy began when Ms. Hagerty reviewed the Olive Garden restaurant, which had just opened in Grand Forks. Her review was a nice, sincere account of her visit. Having once lived in a small town in Illinois (population 7000), I can tell you that getting any chain restaurant to open is a cause for celebration. When McDonald’s came to town, I was beside myself with joy. But I digress.

Once the review was posted, some snotty-nosed snark-faced bloggers and twitterers pounced, mocking anyone who would review a chain restaurant. And to review it irony-free! How dare she! To you kids, I say, GET A JOB. I also say, QUIT MAKING FUN OF THIS NICE OLD LADY. She’s employed, are you? Or are you sponging off of Mom and Dad, or living on somebody’s couch?

Subsequently, as her review went viral, the rest of the internet decided they had better talk nice, because making fun of nice 85-year old ladies is kind of the pinnacle of douche-i-ness. And besides, SHE HAS A JOB, do you?

I have a confession to make: I like the Olive Garden. I like their soup and salad and breadstick lunch. I like their meatballs, you can eat half and have the rest for lunch tomorrow. And I like their white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. So sue me.

Coming from Chicago, this may seem to be blasphemy, or at least approaching trailer trash-talk. Chicago is considered a mecca for foodies, and is the home of several palaces of “molecular gastronomy”, including Moto, which claims to be like “taking part in a multi-sensory science experiment”, and providing a “post-modern, interactive and fantastical gastronomical ride”. Seriously? Now that I’m out of high school, I would prefer not to pay top dollar to take part in a science experiment, especially since back then it usually involved dissecting frogs which always ended up being the females and full of yukky eggs. Restaurants such as Moto strive to “deconstruct” food, in other words, make it not look like food. I invite you to check out the pictures on their web site. What exactly are you eating?

But the Big Kahuna, the Superbowl of fancy schmancy restaurants, is Alinea. Considered one of the finest restaurants in the world, Alinea attempts to relieve you of $210 for its 20+ course dinner, not including drinks, of course. Inspecting their website, I find that the sample menu features “Wooly Pig with fennel, orange, and squid”. Mmmm. I tend to avoid eating wooly food, as it has usually resided in my refrigerator too long. My restaurant correspondent, a close relative of mine, has actually been to Alinea, and she reports that dessert involved the chef squirting chocolate stuff all over the tablecloth. Really. Honey, I can do that at home for you and charge you much less. Where’s the Hershey’s syrup?

Hey, guys, wouldn’t it be fun to compare Olive Garden to Alinea? Let’s keep score, and see who wins!

The front of Alinea

 1. Location: Alinea has no sign on its door. You just have to Know. In contrast, Olive Gardens have large signs in front of them, usually with pictures of grapes on them. You can feel confident when you walk in the door that you are in a restaurant, and not a methadone clinic or somebody's trendy hipster townhouse. Score 1 for Olive Garden.

The front of an Olive Garden
 2. Alinea’s prix fixe menu is $210. That means fixed price, you backwoods heathens. Not including wine. My culinary correspondent informs me that she and a friend forked over $600 for dinner for two. Olive Garden charges $6.95 for its soup, salad and breadstick lunch. Not too shabby. Add a glass of wine or two, and you’re still under $20. Score 1 for Olive Garden.

3. It can take 4 or 5 hours to eat at Alinea. You can stuff your face and get out of Olive Garden in an hour or so. Frankly, I just don’t know anybody I want to talk to for 5 hours straight while waiting for the interminable procession of unrecognizable food. Nope, can’t think of anybody. Score 1 for Olive Garden.

4. At Alinea, people take pictures of their dinner and post them on Flickr. You don’t have to do that at the Olive Garden. Nobody needs to see a picture of your meatball. Score 1 for Olive Garden.

5. And most importantly, at Alinea, you may not know what you are eating until the waitstaff explains it to you. They may even have to instruct you how to eat it. At the Olive Garden, you can usually recognize your food. And you use a knife and fork, the way the dear Lord and your mother wanted you to eat.

So, in summary, it looks like the Olive Garden wins hands down over Alinea, 5-0. So don’t you brats blogging on your Ipads make fun of that nice old lady. She knows a winner when she sees one.

Friday, March 09, 2012


It’s been a hard week for womankind. We’ve been called sluts and prostitutes, our access to contraception is being questioned by old white men, and Rick Santorum would like to keep us barefoot and pregnant. What a country! It seems that the current conversation on women’s rights (or should we even have them?) has regressed to Neanderthal times. (“Ugh! Me hit you on head! What’s for dinner?”)

However, the most alarming, frightening, insidious threat to womankind is not even publicly recognized. That which confines us, which limits our activities, which hampers our very movement and joy of life. Yes, ladies, you know what I’m talkin’ about.


For the uninitiated, Spanx are the latest reiteration of the girdle of the 1950’s. Also known as “shapewear” (a term obviously coined by marketing majors), Spanx are a torture device for women which consists of stretchy underwear which extends down the thighs and often up past the waist, all in the line of duty, smoothing those unrepenting fat rolls which love to gather about the midsection of many females.

 The Spanx web site advertises “Tummy-taming”, “Thigh-trimming”, and “Butt boosting” Body Shapers, in order to convince the rest of the world that the wearer has the body of a 20 year old, despite having been around the block a few times. I’m amazed that the Spanx people haven’t devised a Shaper yet that just pulls all the way up past the chin to cover the mouth, in order to control those female outbursts demanding contraception. It could be advertised as “Rushwear!”

 “Sluts! Prostitutes! Try Rush Limbaugh’s new line of shapewear, for the woman who just can’t keep her mouth shut! Control your fat, control your mouth! Ask for Rushwear at your lingerie counter!”

I personally hate Spanx. The obvious comparison is that of a sausage stuffed in a too-small casing. And besides being uncomfortable, they are a health risk. As a Medical Professional, I am here to warn you of the dangers of tight clothing.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal listed some of the many dangers:
  • Nerve compression
  •  Digestive issues
  • Lightheadedness from inability to expand the lungs enough for adequate oxygen intake
  • Painful welts where the apparel digs into the skin
All this suffering just to erase the muffin top! I say, honor the muffin top. Rejoice in that extra flesh! Celebrate that you have extra calories stored away when civilization ends as we know it (or, as Republicans would infer, if Obama gets elected again). Just as in baking, where the top of the muffin is often the good stuff, so should we consider our muffin tops the good stuff, and stop trying to conceal them in latex and spandex. 

And you male readers, you’re not off the hook. Look! There is shapewear for men! Amusingly called “Manx” , they are designed to “eliminate bulk under clothes”. A nice way of saying, Yeah, fatso, we’re talkin’ to you.

There is a bright side to the shapewear threat, however. Used as a contraceptive, Spanx/Manx can handily prevent conception, as the mood will have passed and the Barry White tape be over by the time the shapewear is removed. And Rick Santorum can breathe a sign of relief.

Friday, March 02, 2012


It’s the time of year again when the media goes college-bound: articles about getting into a fancy school, how to pay for that fancy school, how to cope if your child doesn’t get into a fancy school. One would think that any child who didn’t get accepted into an Ivy should just hang up their hopes and dreams and become a crack addict. The amount of parental angst, if it could be converted into BTUs, could power Times Square. Parents hire “college consultants”, make campus visits, and write help with their little darlings’ personal statements.

I find this all very amusing, as it is the antithesis of my college experience.

When I was a girl, my father sat me down to have The Talk about college. The Talk went something like this: “You can go to any state school in Illinois”. (Actually, that was exactly The Talk). Well, that certainly cleared things up. My father had given older brother the same talk. Older brother had flirted with the idea of the priesthood, and had wanted to go to Notre Dame, but that idea was quashed pretty damn quick. As attractive it was for a good Catholic family to have a son as a priest, state tuition was more important. Older brother ended up going to a state school in Illinois, where he discovered sorority girls and immediately forgot about this priest nonsense.

So I applied to Big Ass State University (BASU), because they had an engineering department, and I was so smart, I was going to be an engineer. Not just engineering, but Engineering Physics. No, I had no idea what that was, but it sounded impressive.

Off I went to BASU, that of the low tuition and teeming hordes of students. Mom and Dad dropped me off (none of this silly orientation foolishness), and hightailed it home, where they probably cracked open the Cold Duck and planned their trip to Europe (20 countries in 21 days!)

At BASU, I cried from homesickness for about 4 months, until one morning when I woke up and realized that I could 1) do whatever I damn well pleased and 2) get into any campus bar with just my university ID. I ended up joining a sorority, got a cute frat boy boyfriend, and immediately dropped Engineering Physics because, shit, Calculus was HARD. Psychology, my new easier major, was much more relevant and I could plan on Saving the World.

BASU was a fine experience, because nobody really gave a crap about us. My psychology advisor put up a sign every semester during class enrollment time, stating that he was unavailable for advising. Our undergraduate classes were primary taught by TA’s (teaching assistants), some of who actually spoke English. The bulging, flatulent BASU bureaucracy became our obstacle course to master. BASU gave us a big taste of the real world.

Of course, I do still have recurrent nightmares in which I get my report card, which informs me that I flunked Norwegian. Oh, no! I don’t remember even signing up for Norwegian! And it’s on my permanent record!

Despite these hardships, I have such fond memories of BASU. The smell of fresh manure wafting over campus in the spring, heralding the new fertilization of the campus agriculture farms. The mind-numbing expanse of cornfields that surrounded the campus. And, of course, did I mention being able to get into campus bars with just my university ID?

My fellow BASU students and I have managed, despite these humble beginnings, to sort of succeed in the real world, in that none of us are crack addicts or are living in a storage unit. So, parents, relax. After all, if your kid goes to Fancy U to major in Medieval Musical Instruments, she’s just going to become a waitress anyway.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Oh, Newt. Funny, foolish, Newt. Funny, delusional, psychopathic Newt. How do you possibly think you will ever get the presidential nomination? Because we women have looooong memories.

Let’s jog your memory, Newt Gingrich. You dropped in to see wife #1 in the hospital while she was recovering from cancer surgery. To discuss a divorce. Now, Newt has vigorously denied this, but why let the facts ruin a good story?

Meanwhile, Newt was kanoodling with a congressional aide, Marianne Ginther, who became wife #2. Unfortunately, she very thoughtlessly developed multiple sclerosis. Wives can be such bitches.

Subsequently, Newt began kanoodling with Callista Bisek, another congressional aide, she of the blonde helmet hair hairdo. Newt suggested an open marriage to wife #2. (“Hey! It’ll be fun! Meet new people!”)

Wife #2 wisely declined.

After dumping wife #2, Newt married Helmet Head, thus winning the year’s John Edwards Award for Excellence in Douche-Baggery. There are rumors of threesomes and swinging, but my fact-checker is in rehab, so we will just have to go on gossip and innuendo. Plus, the visuals are just so disturbing.

Yes, women have long memories. We can remember both real and imagined slights from grade school on. We can let an alleged insult stew and fester over years, only to be regurgitated and masticated intermittently, not unlike a cow chewing her cud. These memories need to be processed regularly, to keep them fresh! And to feed revenge fantasies. And if we can process them again with our girlfriends, the experience becomes even more delightful.

So, we remember you dumping wife #1 with cancer, dumping wife #2 with MS, and I’m sure that at some point, wife #3 will be discarded as her platinum blonde begins to tarnish and the plastic surgery begins to droop. Whatever the real facts are, the data shows you’re not a Nice Man to your wives. And we women remember.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I’ve decided to start a blog, because I realized that I have many Deep Thoughts which need to be shared over the Interwebs. I know that those of you in cyberland will savor every word, but be forewarned, I will only post once a week or so, and may run out of enthusiasm by March. That being said, I would like to start by sharing with you on How to be a Good Parent. If I offend anybody, I apologize in advance. Maybe.

There’s been a flurry of books published lately on Good Parenting, mostly discussing how bad American parents are. Amy Chua wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”, in which she proclaims that Chinese mothers are superior due to chaining their offspring to the baby grand until they perfect a Beethoven Sonata and recite the Fibonacci sequence between bottles.

The latest book is amazingly called, “Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting” (did this woman not have an editor?) This book extols the virtues of sort of ignoring your offspring while sipping espresso in the cafĂ©, and yet their children sleep through the night, eat foie gras, and prepare for a government career of 3 hour lunches and mocking tourists. How do they do it?

My personal theory is that it is all in our genes. Americans are an amazing genetic goulash of various nationalities and disorders. Our ancestors were all losers, peasants, attention-deficit risk-takers, criminals on the lam, and starving Irishmen. My own offspring are German Irish Italian Russian Polish Czech. I’m sure the Mongol Horde is mixed in there somewhere. One of their misguided junior high teachers once assigned them to document a Christmas (oops, sorry) Holiday tradition or food based on their ethnic or country heritage. Wonder bread? Jello? All the kids, being mutts with no background, made up their traditions, which usually involved hiding a coin in a loaf of bread. An event which never happened at our house.

So American children don’t have the spunk of our various reprobate ancestors bred out of them. However, I have found the key to raising amazing American children. I count myself as an expert because neither of them have yet been in prison (that I know of).
First of all, you must be lazy. I am constantly amazed at the amount of energy American parents put into carting their spawn to various sporting events, in the hopes that they will some day get a College Scholarship and play (lacrosse rugby Jenga etc) at the university, when most of them really want to go to the university to drink beer and learn anatomy. I perfected the art of discouraging extra coaching, travel teams, year round training, and accelerated classes under the assumption that it created far too much work for me. Instead, we spent many hours lounging around the family room watching “The Real World” on MTV, where I would emphasize that these trashy girls did not have the sort of values I wanted my children to develop, and ewww, her hair is just so nasty!

Next, you should allow them to find their own way. This saves a lot of tears. Child number one decided that she “must” play the clarinet, but after a year of making sounds that caused the dog to howl, she gave it up, with my enthusiastic encouragement. She eventually chose cheerleading, and we spent many happy hours watching ESPN cheer tournaments and making fun of the teams who were uncoordinated. Now, THERE’S family values!

Child #2 decided to forego college and joined the military with our encouragement and support (Who are we kidding here? He was 18, legal, and signed up before I could go on a hunger strike and chain myself to the recruiter’s desk). He emerged 4 years later a fine young man, and will graduate from college this May (oh please please please). Thanks, Uncle Sam! We weren’t able to be helicopter parents, because the Air Force just wouldn’t let us on the helicopter!

So, in conclusion, when you have that urge to sign your child up for various enrichment activities, sports, or music lessons, first check the TV listings. What programs will you miss while chauffeuring them? Do you want to spend your nights relearning calculus? (or learning it for the first time?) Remember, they won’t listen to you anyway, because the genes of some long gone ancestor will be whispering in their ear, “Take a chance! Do your own thing! Go west! (or wherever they go now)” And we’ll have much more interesting children than those French or Chinese kids, although they will never play the piano.