Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mystery Puddles, Snow Days, and Cute Guy Friday

Okay, so something weird's going on at my house. The past couple of days, right before the blizzard hit, there were unexplainable puddles. Random, strange puddles in random, strange places. Not near a sink or a toilet or any water pipe that I'm aware of. The wall's not wet. The ceiling's not dripping. Nor does the carpet squish. I mean, we've got to have some kind of leak, right? And before you ask, no, the dog isn't leaking. It's just plain water. Unless someone's walking around with ice cubes in their pockets, we must have some ghost who got lost trying to get away from the wreckage of the Titanic.

And we have snow! Real snow! Five freaking inches of snow!! Why am I so excited about this, you ask? Because Oklahoma generally gets one good winter storm a year, and it usually isn't snow. It's ice. The closest we get to actual snow is charitably called sneet. Impossible to build a snowman or even a good snowball, it's worse to try and drive in the stuff. Our city has like three trucks to spread salt and sand- I have seen plows stuck in ditches. That's because no one here knows how to drive on ice.

You'll invariably be stuck behind one of two people: the idiot who thinks it's fun to tie water ski ropes to the back of the truck and tow his beer-soaked buddies on a sled behind him as fast as he can possibly drive, or the woman who is convinced that 'taking it easy on the road' means going FIFTEEN miles an hour. On the highway.

And of course, school's out. Which is a good thing, since our bus drivers have a hard enough time on a clear, warm day with a minimum of traffic. But 'snow day' for teens is apparently vastly different than 'snow day' for kids. Before, if they had a day off school so they wouldn't jeopardize their lives on the streets, they spent the whole day jeopardizing their lives on the streets. Snow, ice angels, hockey, iceball fights, you name it. I had to drag them inside to make sure they didn't have frostbite or wouldn't get hit by truck skiers. But now? I had to threaten and bribe just to get one of them to walk the dog, who was so turned on by the cold she spent fifteen minutes running around the house in a hyper fit after her constitutional. For teens, snow day=sleep. Come to think of it, that's not a bad idea.

And just because I feel like it, here's someone I wouldn't mind curling up on the sofa with on a cold, blustery day: Hugh Jackman.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Who'd A Thunkit?

I have some really bad news for you guys.

I need you to sit down, take a deep breath, and make sure there are no sharp objects in your hands. Find a quiet spot and prepare yourself because I cannot be having anything bad happen to any of you just because of what I am about to share.

And maybe grab some Kleenex, too.

Are you ready? Ya sure?

Deep breath....

Pamela Anderson has filed for divorce from Kid Rock after four long months of marriage.

I know! I can hardly believe it! Because nothing says eternal commitment before God for all time like getting married in a barely-there white bikini with Just Married spelled out in rhinestones on the butt. I thought for sure they would beat the odds and last forever. Or at least until Christmas.

But it is such a good thing that they don't have any kids who'll be affected by this...

Oh, that's right. She has two sons, ages 10 and 8, from former husband Tommy Lee. (Can you imagine? "Yeah, my dad is Tommy Lee, and my stepdad is Kid Rock! Oh, and the entire world has seen vast portions of my mom's anatomy." No way will these kids need therapy.) And he has one son from a previous "relationship". Too bad neither one of them are taking their relationships with their kids seriously enough to be choosy about who comes into their lives and how long they stay.

So even though yet another Hollywood marriage bites the dust, there is still hope, my friends. We'll always have TomKat.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Random Black Friday Musings

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, if you celebrate. Hubster had to work, but got home about 4:30. We still had the traditional dinner, just in the evening. It was so nice! I mean, I still cooked way too much, but I didn't have to get up at the crack of OHMYGOD to put in the turkey. It was just us four and no more, and if I may be permitted a holiday blasphemy, that was kind of nice too. I was able to drink an entire cup of coffee before it cooled and watch THE WHOLE PARADE. I love parades. I'm a total sucker for them. I'm so glad my kids are used to my dorkiness. "Look!" I squealed. "Barry Manilow's going to sing in Herald Square!"

"Happy you're enjoying yourself, Mom."

Last Thanksgiving was the last time I really saw my mom. I'm very, very thankful that we decided to stick my brother-in-law's family with the dishes and ran off to a quiet spot to talk. I never in a million years thought it would be the last time I'd sit and giggle with her over absolutely nothing important, but I thank God that I had the chance.

I missed out on something today. And I'm jubilant. No after-Thanksgiving sales this morning, hurray! I used to do that big-time, especially when the kids were small. I got all psyched for it, up at 4:30am, sweats and running shoes ready, elbows hardened for the inevitable block-and-poke so that lesser bargain hunters didn't horn in on MY finds. But the older I get, the less I want to face the ordnance in the field. Almost everyone is getting gift cards or something from an online catalog. If I can't click it, you ain't gettin it. My elbows aren't what they used to be.

In better news, my sister-in-law is hiring me to write some things for her company's website. I'm having a lot of fun, but the best part is that I SHALL BE PAID. I can now tell everyone that I am a freelance writer and not feel that I'm telling a fib. I don't know why most of us unpubbed writers feel it necessary to proclaim that fact. I can't just say, "I'm a writer." That feels shady, somehow, if I can't back it up with a printed book title. It shouldn't, it just does. If I say I write and can show the book, people think, "writer." If I say I write and have nothing published, people think, "bum."

And that ridiculous Mind-Sticker song has gone incessantly through my head, thanks to Girl con Queso. She found some more (more!) of those TAB commercials. See them here. I laughed so hard I almost had a Depends moment. Not because of the bad music, or bad fashion, ladies playing tennis by themselves, or the snotty announcer telling me to get a clue. I'm laughing at the men whose minds have been stuck. These poor schmucks are wandering around walking into walls because they can't quit thinking about boinking their wives. At least you hope the mind-stickers are their wives. Can you imagine the conversation at home?

"Harry, you what?"

"Drove into a tree."

"How on earth did you do that?"

"Simple. I just stepped on the gas."

"Seriously, what happened? Did you swerve to miss a dog or a kid on a bike or something?"

"If you really want to know, it's your fault."

"My fault? How?"

"It's that tennis outfit you had on yesterday. I couldn't stop thinking about it and imagining all sorts of things you could do with a tennis racket. If you had just let yourself go like the other women on this block, it never would have happened."

"Shut up and get me a TAB."

Monday, November 20, 2006

More About Us! (Cause We Know You're Fascinated)

Michelle tagged us. 5 Things You Don't Know About Me.

Do you how hard that was, since I've blathered on about practically everything to you people?

Here's Missie's list:

1. I wear perfume, body spray, or scented lotion every single day, no matter what. Except when camping.
2. I am a terrible cook but a terrific baker.
3. The name Alison had never popped up on my baby name radar--ever---until one day in my sixth month when my husband mentioned he liked that name.
4. I have been on Weight Watchers since June 27 and have lost 16.8 lbs so far.
4.a. Today is my 47th consective day exercising. I have never done anything in my life for 47 consecutive days, other than complaining.
5. Other than a brief stint working in a daycare in my teens, I have only worked in the medical field for my entire career.

Mine is stranger but not as impressive:

1. I hate it when my food touches each other on the plate.
2. I took ballroom dancing in college and can still do a pretty good tango.
3. Right out of high school, I was in a community production of South Pacific. The woman playing Bloody Mary got sick after opening weekend, and I was handed the part with no rehearsal- with 12 performances to go. (I was marvelous, dahling.)
4. I have not lost any weight and intend to gain a bit over the holidays. Life is too short to skip pumpkin pie.
5. I was almost lynched once by a group of angry drag queens in a gay bar in Dallas, Texas.

Quirkychild and starvingwritenow, you're it!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Weighing In On The KA Heroine

Much has been debated in Romancelandia lately about the so-called “kick ass” or KA heroine. Harlequin’s line dedicated to the KA, Bombshell, was recently discontinued, and it sparked a debate about whether or not the average romance reader really wanted to read about the KA woman.

Now, some of the books in that line didn’t have Wonder Woman, Xena, or even Sydney Bristow. Some of those heroines were KA brain trusts, but I think the perception of physical women endured. With a few notable exceptions, romances haven’t been as successful with KA’s as television shows have. I have to wonder why?

We’re all in favor of strong, independent, capable women, right? I like reading about a damsel who can slay her own dragon; and there’s a lot to admire about them. However, I think there are a couple of places where the KA romance heroine falls.

Certainly not her fashion sense. J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas is the one I can think of who wasn’t necessarily confident in that area. The KA isn’t afraid to showcase her, er, assets in the latest leather ensemble. Even though it’s skin tight, she can still hide about fourteen weapons. That’s style, baby.

Of course to do that, she has to keep herself in shape. Our girl usually eats like an 8-yr-old and drinks like a fish, but she can perform physical feats no ordinary woman can. Who wouldn’t love reading about that? Finally, no fainting woman who reacts to stress by not being able to eat a single bite- but that’s a whole different rant. The KA can eat as much chocolate as she wants.

She can be a mentor to other women. Who wouldn’t want to inspire some insipid jellyfish waif to get a little backbone? Even if the waif is us? I mean, every woman secretly wants to be her, right? We’d all like to be powerful enough, just once, to knock the snot out of the salesman who automatically talks to the husband and only includes us when pointing out the color. To have the ability to grab the smarmy, lecherous co-worker by his Golden Globes and point out the advantages of singing in the Vienna Boy’s Choir. To…well, okay, I’m going there; hang on and promise you’ll still like me. TO BE A MAN.

I think one place that KA’s fail is their invincibility. No wonder they deserve an action figure. I have never seen a KA lose a fight. Never. If you know of one, clue me in. Oh, they may get caught at the end, through treachery or drugged chocolate, from which of course they’ll escape; but in the regular middle-of-the-book thug fights every action protag must have, they never wind up getting their clocks cleaned. Male KA’s? Get beaten up all the frigging time. Again, that’s another rant.

But IMO the big place romance KA’s trip is the hero. Steve Trevor was a war pilot, for goodness sake. Heartthrob gorgeous, with the sparkly teeth and everything. He was honorable, upright, polite to old ladies and children and had great hair. He fought Nazis, okay?? Who could get more heroic than that? But next to Wonder Woman, he was the biggest goober alive. He got caught or kidnapped or got the snot beaten out of him (see? I told you!) regularly, and Wonder Woman wound up having to save him every time.

I’m not saying the romance heroine can’t do the saving once in awhile; I love it when she steps up to the plate. And though I love hairy chest-thumping men I have liked beta and gamma heroes, too. But I think I’m a pretty typical romance reader, and I like it when Alpha Hero comes to the rescue. Part of the fun is seeing the Big Strong Man fall to pieces when faced with his feelings for the heroine. When he bends his knee, figuratively or literally, he acknowledges that this woman has power over him. He has to change how he’s always looked at the world and his place in it. I hate waifs, and I love a good strong heroine, but when the KA shows up, it is very difficult to portray equality with the hero. (Nora does it very well with Eve Dallas and Roarke.) Part of the appeal of the KA is her physical power in a world where physical strength is still where men outdo us; seeing her bend her knee doesn’t have the same satisfaction for me.

All that said, I’ll still love watching reruns of Xena and Buffy, and I’ll probably see the new Wonder Woman flick when it comes out. And I’ll still go to bed dreaming of kicking the crap out of that grocery clerk who focuses on my chest instead of my face.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Be A Mind-Sticker

Saw this on Ellen and had to grab it. Ah, the 70's. Gotta love it.

Tab TV commercial

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veteran's Day

Please go here and view a wonderful slide presentation to honor our fighting men and women. No matter how you feel about the war, please pray for and support our troops.

To those who have fought in past wars, a heartfelt thank you.

To those currently fighting, a prayer that you can come home soon.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What's Happened to Us?

I watched a great interview with a guy I regularly drool over. A Gladiator. Master. Commander.

Russell Crowe. I think he's a fabulous actor, and he's a perfect subject for a romance hero. But the thing that got me about the interview with Mr. Intensity was his answers to the inevitable rehashing of the Phone Throwing Incident.

Don't get me wrong- grown people should be able to control their tempers, at least to the point where they don't throw things. Especially at other people. I am not condoning Russell's actions, no matter how personally appetizing I find him.

When the interviewer- Steve Croft, 60 Minutes, I think- questioned him on the matter, Russell said something along these lines: "Where I come from, we would have thrown a couple of punches, gotten up, shook hands, apologized, and that would have been the end of it." Instead, police were called, charges filed, and so much press over a third-degree misdemeanor that called for a $160 fine you would have thought he was Hitler incarnate confessing to mass murder. Add to that the concierge who had the phone chucked at him sued him for several million dollars for pain and suffering. Russell made some not-too-nice insinuations about the American legal system and how easy it is to abuse it.

As a patriotic, proud, bleed-stars-and-stripes American, I have to agree. I can remember a time when two guys might have let their tempers get the better of them, and yes. After the fight, they would have stood up, shook hands, apologized, and that would have been the end of it. When did Americans get so pissy? The image we all like to have of ourselves- the John Wayneish pioneers, tough, hardy, honorable- has fallen to the wayside. There are people like that still around, of course, but those noble souls are being outnumbered and outvoted by brats who think they are actually worth hundreds of millions of dollars if they spill their own freaking coffee in their own freaking laps.

I get infuriated when I think of how much time and money is taken up in our courts with frivolous stupid lawsuits that, in time gone by, would have been settled with a handshake, or, at the least, with an arbitrator. And for no more reason than this- many Americans have become pissy little whiners with a horribly inflated sense of what they're owed in this life. How many people who truly need judicial intervention have to practically forsake it because the courts are so clogged with these spoiled children?

Granted, we're all so money-hungry I'm sure there's a ka-ching factor at work here too. You can't slip on a grape in the grocery store without three ambulance-chasers trying to convince you that you don't just need money for the doctor or time off work, but compensation for your pain and suffering. Yes, I let my two year old loose in the store and he threw the grapes on the floor and I didn't stop him, but I have pain and suffering, you heartless corporate conglomerate! This is your fault, somehow!

I remember the old Bloom County cartoon that depicted a lawyer suing a camera company because they were negligent in not warning customers Do Not Photograph Psychopathic Paparazzi-Hating Celebrities For Injury May Result.

Which brings me back to Russell Yummy Crowe. I suppose he could sue the hotel for the psychological pain and suffering they inflicted on him by their inferior phone service preventing him from contacting his family, right? Or he could have done what he did. Accepted responsibility, apologized, paid his fine, and, I'm sure he wishes, that was the end of it.

That used to be the American Way. Too bad an Australian has to remind us of it.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Christmas Toys

I wonder what my childhood would have been like had I been given these toys for Christmas, from the Archie McPhee catalog:

Every child faces a breakout of head lice in school. Why not make it fun for the tykes? As you pour poisonous chemicals on their little heads to kill the infecting horde, let the kids hug on Dig Dig the Head Louse Plushy Toy.

Of course, after de-lousing every organic surface in the house, your little one may have hygiene and cleaning issues. Help them explore these feelings with the Obsessive Compulsive Action Figure, complete with anti-bacterial moist towelettes. You never know who handled the toy before you, right?

We want to make sure that all these emotional upheavals don't bring on bad behavior. Fight the peer pressure! Any child forced to see exactly where cigarettes come from will not take up the habit anytime soon. Warning: they may discover a lifelong dislike of donkeys.

If the little darlings have some aggression that just has to come out, let them role play with their favorite doll and the Helpless B-Movie Victims. Or skip the doll and let them be the one to terrorize the poor citizens.

Be careful when unleashing this force, though. It can go too far. WAY TOO FAR. Go here if you don't believe me. Happy shopping, everyone!