Monday, April 20, 2009

Naked Cheer

Today's flavor: blackberry crepes - looks really rich, substantial, but be careful because if they are rolled too tightly, a hot nasty mess could splatter all over your face.

Oooooh controversy. I caught this story about a cheer coach who got fired because she posed for Playboy, and I thought, this will be popcorn-worthy. (Here's the Today Show story Some of the parents and students support the firing, some want her to get the job back, some want her branded with the a big "S" on her forehead (what "S" is for, you can decide). Ok, that's mostly expected. But the thing that's really going to get the fur flying is that the family that exposed her (get it, "exposed"?) only did so after their daughter was disqualified from joining the cheerleading team due to unexcused absences. My gut reaction is to roll my eyes at puritanical attitudes and people who are always ready to break out the torches and pitch forks. But when the morally superior family denies the notion that they might have been looking for a little payback, I move from the eye-roll to a rant of: "Oh, you nasty, petty, phony, sanctimonious, tiny, tiny people. Who do you think you're kidding?" You could almost feel them clenching when Matt Lauer suggested that they might have been motivated by their own agenda rather than their claim of the greater good. Come on people, if you're going to try to ruin somebody, and you were propelled on to your high horse by spite, well go on with your bad self, but own it. Don't sit there and talk about setting examples and respect while mentally taping your fingers together and saying 'eeeex-cel-lent" in that Mr. Burns (The Simpsons) way. The two wrongs don't make a right concept be damned - I find these parents' behavior much worse than the coach's transgression. And let's not forget all the other outraged families who absolutely had to run to their computers and burn their poor, suffering eyes with the offending images - but only to inform their objections, of course. I totally get why parents react strongly to learning that someone with (at best) questionable judgment and, ahem, loose morals, is in charge of impressionable young minds. I get it, I'm just not going to fly into a fit of righteous indignation about it.
Carlie Beck, accused of being a
very, very bad role model

I know what you're thinking, but my opinion here has nothing to do with the idea that if I looked like that chick, I'd be walking around naked as much as possible. I'm not completely without parental instincts - I don't want my kids by influenced by a depraved element any more than any other mom. But in this case: 1)nudity doesn't bother me and neither does sexuality; 2)so long as she's not recruiting fellow models; 4) she is well-qualified and effective in the job; and 4) I trust my ability to raise my kids with the moral priorities observed by my family. More over, it's a great opportunity to have a hideously uncomfortable conversation with teenagers about all that stuff so many parents are quite sure their little angels know nothing about.

But by supporting this coach aren't you sending the message that you condone her choice to pose nude? Aren't you concerned kids might find this acceptable and even pursue this course as well? Um, no. I am so confident in my parenting skills, that I'm sure my awesomeness will prevail above all other influences. Also, there's the fact that my privileged kids will damn well behave to my satisfaction if they are to be properly equipped with technology and credit cards. I don't expect that a coach who poses naked would deteriorate my child's character any more than one who smokes, or is divorced, or loves the NRA, or spends weekends in full Trekkie regalia. She is there to help girls learn how to successfully bounce around and shake their booties in tiny skirts in order to praise and encourage their male counterparts - not to teach high-minded self-actualization. (No, I don't actually know what that last bit means, but it sounds about right.)
The image of cheerleading must
be preserved for the sake of all of
our daughters who have dreams
of going pro, like this wholesome
NFL cheerleader.

Alright, you former cheerleaders and cheer moms, keep your panties on (I don't usually go for puns, but I just can't resist in this post) - I know it's athletic and teaches stuff like teamwork, sportsmanship and the importance of always nailing a big, bright smile to your face. Oh, crap. I went and flavored it with irreverence again, didn't I?

*Sigh* As much as I adore each and every one of you readers, it's just impossible (for me) to write on this topic and not offend/disgust/piss-off some of you. Well, go yell at me in the comment section, I'll respect your point of view won't delete it (unless I feel like it).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wedding Profits

Today's flavor - butter creme frosting: an overly sweetened confection and short-lived pleasure

I'm helping a friend with her wedding plans, and this served as a convenient reason to spend hours browsing all the yummy wedding/bridal sites and brilliant ideas to be found online. *Sigh* I've been married 11 years, and my wedding happened before you could do more than send a few dial-up emails on that interweb thingy. Well, it's a different world, but one thing has not changed: weddings and all wedding-related paraphernalia are ex-pen-$ive. (If you really want to class the thing up, anyway.) Hey, put your hand down -I know there are plenty of inexpensive, really lovely options if you're just creative enough. Still, even if our friends are not quite American Express Black posh - plastic cutlery, mid-shelf booze, a home-made cake, and your neighbor's teenage son serving as DJ is not going to work. Flowers, decent food, non-crap favors, and wedding-worthy photography should not be done on the cheap. My big gripe - and don't I always have many? - is that providers of wedding products and services are so willing to take advantage of the fact that this is the dream day and has to be "perfect" - and perfect is gonna cost you.

Of course, all the money in the world won't buy you class. Such a proud day for Mariah's mom.

Well, it turns out, you can comfortably go into temporary (hopefully temporary) debt to pay for your wedding and come out ahead. Pray tell, how? you ask. The key is matching your budget to your guest list. Let's face it, you're doing this anyway - you know you want the childhood friends and not-so-beloved relatives to be properly impressed and without any fodder for derision.

[This post is being interrupted to roll my eyes at readers who swear they are so "down-to-earth" they would have paper plates and canned beer at their own weddings; and of course, when they attend a wedding, they are strictly there to share in a special day. Well, go buckle up your Birkenstocks and braid your armpit hair, while the rest of us enjoy a yummy cup of real life.]

Expensive and tasteful don't always go hand-in-hand.

Where was I? Right. Brides and mothers-of-brides, take a good, hard look at your guest list. Do you have enough "A" list guests? These are not necessarily the people that you most adore. These are the people that write big checks either out of obligation, guilt, pity, pride, ostentatiousness or even generosity. Also, create a second guest list. This one is of acquaintances, people who probably don't like you, business associates that run in much wealthier social circles than you, and people who live much too far away to travel to your wedding. And ladies, don't forget your exes - nothing says "I'm over you, see how well I'm doing" like a check dripping with zeroes. Odds are, most of these people will send their regrets with a $weet gift.

For my friends' wedding, we have a challenging dynamic: this couple is getting married well into their thirties - not old, or "late" as far as I'm concerned, but at the age where they are both in a better financial position than their parents. So, while potential invitees would expect such a well-heeled couple to have an elegant affair, the bride and groom, are in fact, the "can't we just have a picnic?" types. Although they can certainly afford posh, they are sadly, quite practical. They insist that the nice chunk of change required for even an average wedding celebration would be put to better use as the 10% down for their new home. Oh, well, if you're going to talk sense, you're really limiting your options, aren't you? So, in addition to helping to design center pieces and talking the bride out of wearing a sun dress, I'm tasked with extolling the, ahem, virtues of the Wedding for Profit concept.

While I'm writing this it occurs to me that I'm going to have start programming my husband (and start a wedding fund) today, as my oldest is 10 and plans to get married in 17 years. I mean what if she wants a designer frock, like this Reem Acra couture, for her big day? Hmmmm, maybe a sun dress is not such a bad idea.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Honestly, you need professional help...

Today's flavor: chocolate souffle - so yummy, but even if you don't mess up the ingredients, you really have to know what you're doing to get it right.

"Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor..." Carrie Fisher as Marie in - well, if you don't know, look it up. Of course if you look it up and you haven't seen it, you'll need to see it straight away, or I can't have you here, I just can't. Right. Well, I digress. The point is, why don't people know when they need professional help? I'm not talking about screwed up childhood type of help - that's too depressing and this is far more important. I'm talking about people who: choose pastel formica countertops for their kitchens; feel their toilet seat back needs to be dressed up with something fuzzy; truly believe Crocs are cute and trendy; don't see that their short on the sides, long in back hairstyle is, infact, a mullet; don't understand that blushing the apple of the cheek does not mean make your cheek look like an apple; don't understand that the short sleeve shirt with a tie look only works on Sipowicz*; believe that having English as their first language means they can write; truly believe that watching enough HGTV qualifies them to make perfect wedding favors and centerpieces; think that mastering PowerPoint makes them a fab logo designer; are confident that knowing how to flip the circuit breakers equals a vast knowledge of wiring; are sure that lifting 3lb weights will make them "too muscular" so they'll keep their flab, thank you...oh, I could go on and on.
Someone saved a pretty penny by doing her own mural and getting these, umm, interesting accessories at BigLots!Ain't it classy?

So, build your own deck if you must, go ahead and give your kids a haircut at home, make your own wedding cake...But please ask yourself this first: "If I do this myself will it cause anyone bodily harm? Be a crime of fashion and/or good taste? Be so poorly executed, it will cause other people's computers to crash from disgust?" If the answer is "NO," you should be ok. If your answer is "YES," please - for the love of all things that don't make eyes bleed - get some professional help.

The truly unfortunate thing is that this woman probably has people who call themselves her friends, and yet they let this happen.

Disclaimer: Writing this post does not mean I'm not guilty of any of the above-noted infractions, but at least I'm always aware of my amature status.

*Aw, come on! You remember Sipowicz, don't you?

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