Monday, October 30, 2006

The Devil's Night--Oh, And Halloween's Coming, Too

We're in full-on Halloween preparation mode here at Casa Polito. The Kleenex ghosts are flying off the tree (Literally flying off in some cases, courtesy of some drunk teenage haters that swooped by early yesterday morning. Thanks for thinking of the children, jerks!), and the giant spider web and its resident are hanging from the doorway. Pumpkins are coming tonight and costumes are well on their way to being brilliant and adorable. Pictures to come!

I think that for once, we've done a pretty good job of a. being prepared with decorations and fun projects for the big 'Ween, and b. not exhausting the kids completely by October 25. In San Francisco, it's entirely possible to be so overstimmed/oversugared/over Halloween in general far before the big night, since you can go to about 10 parties and events a day for at least 10 days before. Living in Halloween Central is hard work and very exhausting if you don't pace yourself. But we've limited Halloween to pumpkin carving and decorating and costume making and saving the sugar and all-out hyperactivity until Tuesday.

Which brings me to the important part, the candy. As far as Gianni's concerned, Halloween could be a day-long insurance seminar, as long as there's sugar involved. He has complete tunnel vision focused laser-like on all of the loot he'll be getting tomorrow. He is pretty equal-opportunity when it comes to candy--at this age, it's all good. Amazing how a kid who makes me take basil and herbs off of the top of his pizza because it's "green stuff" can wolf down circus peanuts like they're the delectable bon bons of the gods.

We try to be good Halloweeners and buy the good candy--you can't go wrong with chocolate bars and jolly ranchers. But some parents will just never learn. A short list of some of the nasty-ass shit we've gotten in Gianni's bag, and in general the vilest stuff that goes masquerading as "candy" this time of year:

1. Candy Corn--Seriously people, this stuff is the devil's eyeteeth. Which makes it on some level appropriate for Halloween. But as a candy treat? Candy corn BLOWS. Like the Santa Anas. Why do you continue to buy it? Because it's orange? Because it's sweet? Because it comes in nice little individually-wrapped pouches? If there was ever a case where the sum of the parts does not add up to anything good, this is it. No one likes candy corn. And if they do, there's something wrong with them. Save it for the candy farm animals.

2. Those Peanut Butter Chewy Things--You know what I'm talking about, those nasty little chews wrapped in orange and black wrappers. I would have thought these things had died out from natural selection years ago, but no. Every year in Gianni's bag, we get a handful of vaguely peanut-flavored evil. Hey, adults who buy these things--have you ever TASTED them? You probably think that dog turds wrapped up in orange and black are a cute idea, too. It's enough to make you barf in the moment, and then you still get the joy of picking them out of your teeth and having your dentist yell at you a month later for eating them. It's the worst of both worlds.

3. Sugar-Free Candy--On the flip side of the sticky peanut chews from hell, there's the sugar-free candy, devoid of any pleasure at all. Are you the black-hole of fun? Have you totally forgotten what it's like to be a kid? Why don't you just give out STD pamphlets and Bibles and be done with it? My downstairs neighbor gave sugar-free candy a few years back, and I openly accused her of hitting the crack pipe. And to prove my point, kids trick-or-treating actually snubbed her candy bucket, looking at it like it smelled bad or was sprouting hair. Do you really think kids aren't going to know that it's sugar-free? Even the smallest ones are smarter than that. You can go inside and eat all the sugar-free candy and carrot sticks you want, but one day a year, suck it up and throw the kids some Snickers bars.

4. Toothbrushes--Yet another self-righteous public-service announcement masquerading as a Halloween "treat." Yes, we know! Kids eat sugar on Halloween! Alert the media! Even dentists aren't stupid enough to try this trick. And I'm pretty sure most kids already have toothbrushes. I want to set up a stand at the end of the block where kids can exchange their toothbrushes for actual sugary treats. Kind of like needle exchange. Giving out toothbrushes at Halloween won't get kids to brush their teeth more; it'll just get them to think you're an asshole and egg your house.

5. No Candy--It's amazing that anyone would ever THINK to actively and vehemently not give candy at Halloween. Yet it happens. Don't want to participate? Turn off your lights and hide. Better yet, leave the neighborhood. Go out for a nice dinner and a movie. Avoid! Here's what not to do: put a sign in your window telling any and all who walk by that you're not doing Halloween because you hate kids/think it promotes devil worship/can't imagine celebrating a holiday when there is so much pain in the world and September 11 just happened and all those poor people are suffering. Note that the last one ACTUALLY HAPPENED in our neighborhood in 2001. Hi, why don't you put up a sign instead that just says BRING ON THE ROTTEN EGGS! COSTCO HAS GREAT DEALS ON TOILET PAPER! IF YOU HURRY THEY'LL STILL BE OPEN! Idiots.

On one level, I'm hoping that I come back here on Wednesday with nothing but smiles and pictures of adorable kids in costume. But realistically, there will be some morons. And I live to serve. So here's to Halloween, may it provide with great stories that we can mock for years to come. But no candy corn. I beg of you.

Friday, October 13, 2006

An Open Letter

Dear KGO's Pete Wilson,

Fuck you.

Your pal,

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Me and Mr. T

The T-Man, Pre-Katrina

Mr. T is back in action!

One of the most underappreciated performers of our generation is giving interviews, touting his new reality series called--of COURSE--"I Pity the Fool." According to the T, in the show he helps struggling businesses and families with his own brand of tough luv.

Among the things the Reuters story reveals:

  • He struggled with, and survived, T-cell lymphoma (oh, the irony!). Way to go, man. The story also says that "As his illness became known, the calls offering him work stopped which Mr. T put down to the stigma surrounding cancer." Uh-huh. Whatever gets you through the night, Mr. T. (He is now in remission, so we should be seeing him all over the silver screen now that he is not contagious.)
  • Mr. T stopped wearing gold chains because he felt that "after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast and New Orleans as it felt wrong to be covered in wealth when others had lost everything."
  • And, he won't do just ANY reality show. ""Before this show I was offered some other reality TV shows but I won't do anything with nudity, obscenities, eating worms or things like that." Good to know the man has his standards.
Seriously, how can you not love Mr. T? Sure, he cut all those trees down in Lake Forest, but he's such a righteous dude. When I was in college, I was working in downtown Chicago and Mr. T drove by us, right down Michigan Avenue, in a cherry-red Rolls Royce convertible (License plate: MR T). He was in full Mohawk-and-gold-chain T-regalia and looking like he was on top of the world. We all waved and shouted, "Hey, Mr. T!" and he smiled and waved right back. He was and always will be a man of the people. And hey, after what, 20 years, he's still here. Long live the T.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Terror in the Skies

Take that, Tree Huggers!

It’s Fleet Week in San Francisco! The Blue Angels are in the house! Grab your earplugs, civilians!

You’ll want to block out the deafening noise, the incessant roar, that horrifying sound that makes you want to crouch under your desk in fetal position until it’s all over.

And I’m not talking about the jet noise.

I’m talking about the whiiiiining.

“They’re so looouuudd!”

“We’re waaaasting taxpayer dooolllaaars!”

“I caaan’t wooork! The noise makes it impossible to coooncentrate!”

“Why do they have to come every yeeear?”

It is the great San Francisco pastime, a Blue State merit badge, the mark of a true progressive intellectual, to bitch about the Blue Angels. You either love them or you hate them, and if you care about our country and our planet, you hate them, of course. It's the first thing they teach you at UC Santa Cruz. A vote for the Blue Angels is a vote for the Other Side, or at least a big red flag drawing attention to your blissful ignorance. Right?

Not so fast, hippies.

I vote Democrat. I take Muni. I give money to progressive causes. I think George W. Bush is a smirking, brainless chimp.

But I love the Blue Angels. Like good coffee and the Gay Pride Parade, it’s one of those things that makes living in San Francisco such a gift. That’s right, the Blue Angels and the Pride Parade. And I know I’m not the first one to think of them both in the same paragraph.

I savor my peace and quiet as much as the next working mom of two, but the Blue Angels are just cool. They are fast! And shiny! And they do cool stuff! There is something to be said for primal audiovisual gratification. Come on. Is San Francisco really so far up it’s own ass that we can’t come out for two days and have a little fun? Let’s leave our agendas inside for a few hours, shall we?

I hear you. They pimp for the Navy. They glorify war. They burn fuel. They could crash into one another over downtown and take us all down in a flaming ball of hellfire. Blah Blah Blah. Having armies and fighting wars? Not the same thing. I wish our armed forces were doing something besides fighting a brainless war for oil, but I still appreciate them. Personally, I am happy to see the Blue Angels are here trick-riding over the Bay and not out shooting folks. (I know, they don’t shoot folks, but as long as we’re all making blanket generalizations…)

True, those planes burn a shitload of fuel. It's wrong. Tell you what: Why don’t you leave your cars at home and take the train down to the Valley to go to work, and maybe turn your computers off for a week, and not fly down to Disneyland twice a year, and pick your kids up by public transportation instead of driving them to and from school and the soccer field every day, and then we can talk.

Frankly, between the deterioration of third-world infrastructure and the population explosion and the global warming and the overfishing and the greedy warmongering, I think we are so far fucked in so many other crucial ways that grounding the Blue Angels for a weekend is really not going to do the trick. There are many other things I'd put the kibosh on first--No Child Left Behind, Dennis Hastert's franking privileges, at least one of our stupid wars...let's not cut out something that's actually entertaining and doesn't harm anyone.

Then there's the NOISE. Oh, the humanity. You can’t work? It’s too loud? Both of my kids were, well, kids during Fleet Week, when the Blue Angels flew directly over our house during naptime. Did either of them even twitch, much less wake up? I THINK NOT. So cowboy up; if the kids can sleep through it, so can you. Pin your ADD on something else.

Ahem. I apologize. I’m not a hawkish jackass. And I love you all. Really. But please, people, you live in a beautiful place. You’re not in the Midwest. You walk outside and you see sun, and mountains, and ocean, and yes, the Blue Angels. Life is good. All I have to do is look at my 6-year-old son staring at the sky with an expression of wonder on his face and say, anything that makes my kid that happy can’t be all bad. Until he drives down the block in his SUV to mail his application to Halliburton, I’m going to keep my head up and enjoy the show.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Army Dresses Down

My friend Lily is the most unconventional Army wife I know. She is a talented, no-bullshit writer, former fetish-zine editor, and ex-stripper and sex-positive issues advocate. Not the kind of lady you usually meet at an Army spouse luncheon. But she and her alt cred live a wonderful life up in the Hudson River Valley with her West Point officer husband, two teenaged stepsons, and an adorable golden lab. The places love takes you....

Anyway, Lily has a great op-ed in the Times today, on her sentimental sadness about the retirement of the Army's Battle Dress Uniform for more modern combat duds. It's really wonderful and I'm so glad she's writing about her life. She shows so well that the Army is not just Them, it's all of us. Thanks, Lily.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Best. Music Video. Ever.

Or, at least the best that I've seen in months.

In my continuing quest to spotlight things that anyone under 35 has already seen a thousand times over, I LOVE this video from Ok Go. The song (and the album, and their other album) are great, too. Very power-pop, Knack-esque with Cars and Cardigans undertones and other groovy 70s/80s influences. This was choreographed by one of the band members and his sister, and it is their SECOND single-take video. (A Million Ways was the first, and it's also pretty awesome.) Ok Go, I bow down before you and your treadmill gracefulness!

Important, Hard-Hitting News

How about that Foley freak? Did anyone catch the Veronica Mars premiere last night? Read any good books lately?

Okay, I'll stop pretending that I care what's going on in the world. I just wanted to post a complimentary picture of Tea. Is she cute or what?