Sunday
Sep132009

Mary Hurts My Brain

One of the biggest bonuses you get for having a kid is the opportunity to relive some of those things you loved as a kid. One of the biggest drawbacks of having a kid is that sometimes you get the task of reliving some of the things you hated as a kid.

I hated Mary Poppins.

For a long time, I thought I hated Mary Poppins because it was The Choice in flicks for school assemblies when I was growing up. Every year right before Christmas break we would gather in the gym, seated in crisp rows in metal folding chairs, and get the "privilege" of watching that AWFUL movie. But only if we were good. Secretly, I tried every year to do something stupid enough to get banned, but I think the teachers were more determined to get an afternoon without kids than they were to use the movie as a true reward for the kids. Besides, making a kid sit in an uncomfortable, cold metal chair for two and a half hours is obviously punishment enough.

Because I am clearly the least selfish human on earth (ha!), I put aside my hatred for that stupid British nanny and let Alexis watch the movie. It might have been in part to prove my point that she likes musicals in general, and doesn't really demand that she be allowed to watch Hannah Montana and High School Musical all the time. It might have also been in part because it was free on On Demand. Whatever. The point is, I let her watch it.

OMFG.

I hated that movie not just because of the school assembly torture, but also because I have never been stoned while watching it. I don't think it could possibly make any sense unless you are, and in the brief moments when something semi-sensical is going on, it's maddening in a whole other sort of way. Evidence:

1. The father is a totally douchebag. I don't care what year the movie was set in, demanding that your glass of brandy be ready at 6:03 makes you a jerk. The only good thing about the guy being such a poopoobrain is that I got to hear Alexis say, "He's really mean. He shouldn't be mean like that to the mommy." Sing it, sista!

2. Bert (Dick Van Dyke's character) is essentially a homeless, unemployed guy who flits about from job-to-job every day. In what universe is that something to be admired? I think he's totally got a friends with benefits thing going on with Mary, which makes no sense considering how bad his fake accent is in the movie. He attended the Madonna School of Bad English Accents, methinks.

3. I can't hate on Mary herself, to be honest. Julie Andrews was smokin' hot (and not nearly as excessively skinny as the Mary Clones who wander Walt Disney World). Only she could rock pink shoes with a red dress, but did she really have to be soooooo uptight? Puh-leeze.

4. When I watched the scene where Mary and the kids join some old dude in a giggle fit that causes them to float in the air, I fully realized how many drugs the Disney Imagineers/Writers were using back in the 60's. HOLY CRAP. Not only were the writers a few crayons short of a rainbow, they were encouraging nannies everywhere to give The Happy Hallucinogen Juice to the kids.

5. What the frack is with the old guy who acts like he's on a boat when really he's on the roof of a house? I'm serious here, people. I don't understand. Is the guy old and senile and instead of putting him in a home his family decided to build him a "special place" up on the roof? Is he locked up there so he doesn't try to mingle with the sane people on the street? Who thought it was a good idea to give him a working cannon?

Of course, Alexis LOVES the movie. Loves, loves, loves, loves it. I guess that means that I can suffer through more High School Musical and Hannah Montana, or I can torture my brain with Mary Poppins.

At least I know that when the chimney sweep dudes step in time, they can totally wipe the floor with those lame High School Musical boys.

Saturday
Sep122009

Post #999 at This Site

Friday
Sep112009

An Explanation

Each year on this date, I use this space to take a moment and remember the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Last year, I even used this space to raise money for the Flight 93 Memorial Fund. I started thinking about what I should do this year way back in July. I thought about the fact that I get dozens of product review offers each week, which could probably easily be turned into giveaways or sponsors. I thought about adding a button to make donations directly. I thought about some of the people I've met who would surely be willing to help. I thought about a lot of things.

But I didn't do anything.

I wasn't sure why, but each time I would think about how to best use this space for 9/11, I became uneasy. I couldn't place my finger on it until two nights ago.

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When I think back to that awful day eight years ago, I mostly remember the emotions associated with what happened. There was fear and uncertainty, terror and concern. As the hours passed, those emotions gave way for sadness and anger, and then outrage and disgust. But as the days began to go by, something happened. There was no real explanation for it, but if you walked out the front door of your house and looked around, you probably felt it, too.

Pride.

I know that when I stood outside our front door and looked around at our neighbor's houses, everywhere I looked I saw American flags flying high. There was a sense that we were all in this crazy thing called life together, and that we needed to put aside differences and work along side one another to make a difference.

When there was a national moment of silence, I stood on our stoop lighting a candle, as did hundreds of our neighbors. Later that night, I looked on as a neighbor who was as radically far-right as they come (hint: he has a morning talk radio show) stood nodding in agreement with another neighbor who was as radically far-left as they come. They may not have agreed on many things, but they respected one another and were willing to hear different opinions. They found commonality and respect for one another in a time of national crisis.

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Remember in the months after 9/11 how the Dixie Chicks got into a LOT of trouble for saying that they were ashamed that George W Bush was from their home state of Texas? It seemed that many people felt that the Office of the President of the United States of America was a position that demanded respect. It didn't matter if you agreed with the man, you simply didn't disrespect him by shouting craziness in the middle of a concert.

Personally, I didn't really see the big deal. They were at a concert with thousands who were there to hear music. The fans weren't there to learn about government policy, become informed on a topic that would certainly effect them, or even in a situation where the line would have lasting impact on their opinion of the President. It was sort of like yelling it from a back porch, but with a little bit of an audience who may or may not even be paying attention. Freedom of speech, and all that.

Some felt the Dixie Chicks had toed a line, a line that shouldn't be crossed. It was a time to show the utmost of respect for all human beings because we had just been reminded just how fragile life can be.

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Fast forward to a few nights ago and President Obama's health care address. In a controlled situation, in a room where everyone who enters agrees to a certain decorum of behavior, at a time when it was one person's turn to explain his side of an issue, a Senator yelled out "You lie."

Maybe you don't see the correlation to the Dixie Chicks and the Bush incident, but I do. If the Dixie Chicks toed a line of being disrespectful towards the President, then the Senator stomped all over that line and then leaned back and spit on it. In some people's eyes, that stomping was OK. It was justifiable. It was something to cheer.

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What happened to us? When did we become a nation so terribly divided that we forgot to show basic respect to other human beings? It's not just that Presidential Address. Tonight at the Farmer's Market it was apparent that people have gotten ruder. More than one grown woman smashed Alexis in the head with their bags because they were in too much of a rush to care if there was anyone in front of them. Twice I was shoved aside by someone who perceived themselves to be in a bigger hurry than me. The sounds of snapping and rude judgment floated through the air.

People have stopped showing each other basic respect.

We have forgotten the lessons of 9/11, and for that, I personally am very ashamed.


(Photo taken in 2008 at the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County, PA. More are in my Flickr set.)

You can make donations to the Flight 93 Memorial Fund here.