Last night John and I were discussing "Blurred Lines," (because it is a Serious Song and requires Serious, Scholarly Analysis) and how the narrative about it has changed from "it was just a summer jam we laid down in half an hour" to "listen to the lyrics; it's really a feminist manifesto" (referencing the "that man is not your maker" line, etc.), and I commented to John that I find it interesting that there is segment of the male population that is co-opting the mutlilayered feminist message and condensing it down to "feminism means you are free to have sex with me." Sure, that is part of the feminist message--women are, or should be, agents unto themselves who get to decide to have sex--but it's also that they get to decide NOT to have sex if they don't want to, and also a few other things like control over the decisions that affect their lives, and equal access to education and economic opportunity--you know, little things like that. But thanks, mans, for trying to turn sexual autonomy into another pickup line. Love you for that. Which is not to say that I don't enjoy the mindless groove of "Blurred Lines." I dig it immensely when my kids are not around. But let's not pretend Robin Thicke is some champion of egalitarianism. And by the way, if I were him, I would have lost "Thicke" as a surname as soon as I was of age. It's an unattractive name and makes me think of warts and sweat.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Well, I guess I'm surrounded by unsupportive naysayers, because you would not BELIEVE the blowback I am getting about my plans to make a smorgastarta. Here's the background: a while ago I saw a piece about smorgastartas on The Kitchn, and fell instantly in love. Who would not want a sandwich cake, which is what a smorgastarta is? Idiots, that's who. But everyone I told about it made rude noises and comments, and when I decided yesterday that for my pending 37th I was going to treat myself and make a smorgastarta, they all chimed right in again with the negative energy. Boo to them, they are closed-minded and provincial. Do they see the total hypocrisy in their refusal to accept the smorgastarta? What is a club sandwich, after all, but a layered sandwich? It's just a small smorgastarta!
Monday, July 29, 2013
My birthday is coming up, and I'm trying to decide what to do, cake-wise. Perhaps you remember the layered pie from a couple of years ago--two pies, one on top of the other, a success structurally, but disappointing in the taste department. The berry pie was too bland. Then if I remember correctly, last year was a banana trifle which was the bomb, as Grant says. Are people saying "the bomb" again? Of all the phrases to bring back, that would not be my first choice. Anyway, I'm thinking about my favorite flavors and textures to see if I can come up with a good birthday treat. I like gooeyness, chocolate, cream cheese frosting, carrot cake, butter, cinnamon and sugar, and fruit. And doughnuts. So a computer would probably tell me I would like a cherpumple, but that computer would be wrong. No cinnamon with chocolate! No fruit with carrot cake! I'm quite hard to please, you know. I'm a fancy girl.
Methinks a multi-layered cake-sized kouign-amann would not go amiss. Or a giant old-fashioned doughnut. Do you remember the bundt cake mixes that had a tunnel of pudding? Why did they stop making those? How stupid of them. I bet people would be all up ons. Oh, I remember--my sister Aleece made me a Boston Cream Pie one year recently. So my memory is off, but in any case, I've had some good birthday cakes and I want the trend to continue. Suggestions?
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
My keyboard smells and feels a little bit like someone had chocolate on their hands. I know what you're thinking, but it wasn't me--the kids always use my computer to watch movies when John and I are gone. They did it. They repaid my trust with treachery.
Somebody is finally cutting down the dead birch tree in Vilda's yard across the street. They've been trying to sell the house for probably two years now, since not long after she passed away, and I'm sure the giant dead tree was not sweetening the deal for anybody. It's a fun old house with two and a half acres with it--it goes all the way up to the cemetery in the back yard. Do any of you cool kids want to buy it? In a world where I had more money, a lot more money, than I have now, I would buy it and turn it into a bed and breakfast/guest house for my family and friends. New shingles, new shutters, new windows, kibosh the juniper bushes and put in perennials, kitchen garden in the back, nice linens in all the rooms, and then people would come and stay in it, then I would forget to give them their room key, then the cats would sneak into their rooms and poop on their stuff, then I would forget to feed them breakfast, and if I did remember to feed them I would be all, "I'm too tired to cook this morning. You serve yourselves. There's yogurt in the fridge and bananas on the counter," then I would be poor and people would say rude, true things about how crappy my bed and breakfast is, the end. I have lots of great ideas about having a restaurant/bed and breakfast/greenhouse/goat dairy/nail art salon, but I am so bad at running things. I'm a terrible employee and a terrible boss. Truly, I am almost totally useless. What does the future hold for someone like me? Public shaming. Financial dissolution. Homelessness. Incurable disease.
Oh, I just remembered, it was me who got chocolate on the keyboard. Sorry for the mean things I said, kids. I was trying to figure out how to make frozen hot chocolate without hot chocolate mix, and I made a big mess, and I've decided that there are some times when it might be handy to have at least a little bit of milk chocolate in the house. But in the end the frozen hot chocolate turned out great, which is all that matters.
Our dishwasher is broken again. I hate Amana. I want Wile E. Coyote to practice one of his terrible Road Runner schemes on the Amana factory. That's what they need, a total corporate restructuring that goes BOOM MEEP MEEP.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
You guys, I am majorly geeking out about this Michael Pollan book I'm reading. I'm into the fermentation section, and I am going to just start eating bacteria by the handful, I'm so excited. I love that at my family reunion on Saturday I could talk with like-minded folks about fermentation and the hygiene hypothesis and the duplicity of bees. In our conversation Soulemama was mentioned disparagingly and dismissed, because really. There are people on the internet I visit when I need to immerse myself in a roiling bath of misanthropy, and if I had read much of Soulemama I'm afraid she'd be on that list. There are some hate destinations that I am ashamed to tell you about, because of how undeserving they are of my spite. Good people, most of them, better and kinder and more hard-working than me, I'm sure. One of them is a longtime acquaintance of one of my sisters, and I just snarl and hiss and say horrible, cruel things about her. Everything is so starry-eyed and precious and it makes me BARF. I think one of the Snow Queen's mirror fragments got lodged in my heart and eyes when I was a child, and now I have all this hatred and venom burbling away inside me, and frankly, I like it. I have heard, and this is so anecdotal, that some people with bipolar disorder are difficult to treat; that they often refuse to take their medication because they enjoy their manic phases. If this is true, and if anger were at all like mania, then I think I might understand the attraction a little bit. Surrendering to strong emotion is very seductive. Are there things that you read or watch specifically to make yourself angry? Who is more horrid, Gwyneth Paltrow or Anne Hathaway?
I just saw a tampon commercial that's either real or a joke, and in it there are two girls, one of them ostensibly wearing a leak-proof tampon, and A SHARK COMES AND EATS THE OTHER ONE and there is blood all over the place and flinging body parts. Welp, guess I'm not sleeping tonight.
Monday, July 8, 2013
The Pat Benatar concert was entertaining. Her speaking voice sounds almost painful, it's so raspy. But I guess if you spend that many years belting it's going to affect you. She still sounds great when she sings, though, and I suppose I will forgive her for not singing "Shadows of the Night." Pat Benatar is an interesting person. I did my toenails in a houndstooth pattern, courtesy of Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips, which you can see on my Twitter feed, and my left thumbnail black with a turquoise lightning bolt. I'm super hardcore that way.
1. grab frames, go out to hive while wearing skirt and t-shirt
Friday, July 5, 2013
My sister and her family are coming back from Australia in just five days! I am ever so excited to see them, and not just because they'll probably be bringing treats from Down Under. But now that you mention it, why do all the other countries have better treats than we do? I think we're gradually closing the licorice gap, if only through imports. Allsorts are still an abomination, but at least we have access to something like RJ's Black Soft Natural Eating Licorice, which is a delight. The chocolate gap, however, is really embarrassing. Boutique chocolate shops often have quite good chocolate, but the standard stuff in the candy aisle is waxy and gritty and simplistic. But adjusting for the better chocolate, do the treats seem better than they are because they're foreign to us, or are they really that much better? Are there any American treats that people from other countries regard with starry-eyed wonder? Everyone: go ask all the people you know who have lived outside the United States if we have any treat worth being proud of. What about something that was invented here in the U.S.--is there anything like that? I hope so. I would like for us to export something tasty along with the obesity.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
There were two women (one from NOW and one from the Susan B. Anthony List) having a fairly decorous fight on Diane Rehm today, and I know you're going to say, Layne, since when is your blog a garbled, hamfisted NPR recap blog, but hear me out.
They were fighting about abortion and the new regulations and laws going into place in various places around the country, and of course one of the callers brought up how anti-abortionists claim to value life, and yet Texas practices capital punishment--and very vigorously so--so how can they say they value life when they're executing people, etc.
Here's a piece of advice from a pro-choice religious person: pro-abortionists need to deep-six that as a talking point. They think they are illuminating an area of moral hypocrisy, but I really don't think that's what's going on (at least in this case--moral hypocrisy abounds all along the ideological spectrum, amiright?). I'm guessing the opinions of anti-abortionists go something like this: lives are not equally valuable. Whenever life begins (I think most anti-abortionists believe it's at some point pre-birth), nobody would imply that--however it was conceived--there is any wrongdoing on the part of the unborn child. A person on death row, however, can reasonably be assumed (for our purposes today we're assuming there was no miscarriage of justice) to have committed a fairly heinous crime--has taken life him- or herself. That is a person who had a chance and blew it. I'm sure there are people who believe that all lives are equal, but most of us would probably agree that an innocent life is more worth saving than a guilty one. Stop comparing unborn babies to criminals, it's a false comparison and a dumb idea.
I think a much more effective argument is the one I've started seeing more lately, which is the question of why the potential child's life should be valued more highly than the life of the actual, existing woman carrying it. Another good one, I think, is why are the babies seemingly so much more valuable and worth protecting before they're born than after? I think these are more compelling and more likely to engage people in a discussion.
I'm just observing here. Have you ever been watching/listening to someone that you felt like you might agree with if they weren't making such a dumb argument?
Monday, July 1, 2013
Well, I just heard something depressing. Diane Rehm is talking to some guy who wrote a book about Lego, and he said that one of the Lego developer people told him that they have observed that when boys get a Lego set, the first thing they do when they open the box is throw away the female minifigures. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I find that pretty chilling. Because what it looks like is that boys--at least the boys they observed--are born with the opinion that women are disposable, and that they cannot identify with them. The Lego guy said that the only female minifigure that doesn't immediately get ditched is Hermione Granger. This, at least, I find encouraging, because it seems that contrary to popular belief, boys are not threatened by smart, accomplished women.
I'm probably overthinking this.