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.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Just a quick post to show off the beauty of my chirrens and my state.

Have a good one, y'all. Go play in the water.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Vacation

Hey, everyone- Missie has been rather excruciatingly busy with work in like, Palm Springs and Denver and stuff...feel the sympathy flowing through your bones?

And I've had some rather personal crises of late, so we need to take a blog vacation. We'll see you July!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

In All Solemnity, I Turn Over The Keys...Er, Reins

It's Father's Day. And I am thankful that I hit the Dad jackpot; I have a very distinguished Dad from whom I inherited no sense of style at all. Honestly, he is Senior Ken Doll. His hair is never out of place, hair, I must add, that is not iron gray but a gorgeous silver-white. Of course. He worked for a gentlemen's clothier for years and it shows. He is way too sophisticated to have a kid like me, but still fun.

I also have a stepfather who is as much Dad to me as my bio-Dad. He was a football player back in the day, and despite his age and numerous back surgeries, he'll always be eight feet tall to me. He's a strong silent type with a high-pitched cackle of a laugh that I miss hearing. I'm exceedingly grateful that he went back to work, in real estate, right before my mom got sick. I know he was able to keep busy and be surrounded by friends after she died.

I also got a great father-in-law. He doesn't look a thing like hubs, but they think and act as one. Right down to the Demon of Uncontrollable Punning.

My husband is also a fabulous father. And he is proving it by this one act: He is teaching the kids how to drive.

I carried them, had surgeries and episiotomies having them, potty trained them, taught them to read and tie their shoes and dress themselves, and had (and continue to have) the sex talks with them. I taught them about personal grooming and deodorant and shampoo. I, in short, am done. I'll be on hand to pick them up at parties if they're in trouble, to hug after broken hearts, and to help choose colleges, but the Next Big Thing is totally on hubby's shoulders.

Which is good, because OHMIGODSHE'SFIFTEENANDAHALF! She's demanding the book from the DMV! She's ready to study and take the written test! My baby! My little angel! DRIVING!

Talk me down, friends, talk me down.

I know I will be like my mom was- she was convinced she had a brake on the passenger side floorboard. I'm surprised she didn't put her foot right through, and try to brake the car ala Flintstones. In the most terrifying moments, she was also a master of hissing like an angry rattler as she sucked in enough air through her teeth to make everyone in the car pass out.

Which is why I'm so totally happy to turn this responsibility over to him, and I won't have to drive with the kids until they've safely mastered the skill. Right? Right?

Sigh. I'd better stock up on oxygen bottles and reinforce the floorboards.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What Goes Through My Mailbox

Like most of you, I have a spam filter on my e-mail. It doesn't work as well as it should; I still get notes from Patricia49 on this great new drug to inhance my manhood, and it is amazing how many deposed African royals want me to launder their money for a small fee.

But every so often I get a good one, like this one from my brother:

"TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride downthe hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound, CD's or Ipods, no cell! phones!, no personal computers , no Internet or chat rooms... WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes. We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! If YOU are one of them... CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were."

I was smiling all through this, laughing as I remembered my glory days. Then I thought, why don't my kids have lives like this? Why can't they bike across town to the candy store and stay out until dark, or even after dark as long as everyone was in the front yard?

Then I read this little entry from my mailbox:

"After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack and get on-line. She logged on under her screen name ByAngel213. She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on. She sent him an instant message:

ByAngel213:Hi. I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following me home today. It was really weird!

GoTo123:LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be following you? Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?

ByAngel213:Of course I do. LOL I guess it was my imagination cuz' I didn't see anybody when I looked out.

GoTo123:Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't done that have you?

ByAngel213:Of course not. I'm not stupid you know.

GoTo123:Did you have a softball game after school today?

ByAngel213:Yes and we won!!

GoTo123:That's great! Who did you play?

ByAngel213:We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so gross! They look like bees. LOL

GoTo123:What is your team called?

ByAngel213:We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our uniforms. They are really cool.

GoTo1 23: Did you pitch?

ByAngel213:No I play second base. I got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home. I don't want them mad at me. Bye!

GoTo123:Catch you later. Bye

Meanwhile.......GoTo123 went to the member menu and began to search for her profile. When it came up, he highlighted it and printed it out. He took out a pen and began to write down what he knew about Angel so far.Her name: Shannon. Birthday: Jan. 3, 1994. Age: 13. State where she lived: North Carolina. Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to the mall. Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she had just told him. He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m. every afternoon until her parents came home from work. He knew she played softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the team was named the Canton Cats. Her favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in the eighth grade at the Canton Junior High School. She had told him all this in the conversations they had online. He had enough information to find her now.

Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the living room.

"Shannon, come here," her father called. He sounded upset and she couldn't imagine why. She went into the room to see a man sitting on the sofa."Sit down," her father began. "This man has just told us a most interesting story about you."

Shannon sat back. How could he tell her parents anything? She had never seen him before.

"Do you know who I am, Shannon ?" the man asked. "I am a police officer and your online friend, GoTo123. I pretend to be a kid online, to protect kids like you. But some don't. I had a friend whose daughter was like you. Only she wasn't as lucky. The guy found her and murdered her while she was home alone. Kids are taught not to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it all the time online. The wrong people trick you into giving out information a little here and there. Before you know it, you have told them enough for them to find you without even realizing you have done it. I hope you've learned a lesson from this and won't do it again."

Good grief. No wonder our kids are locked in our houses, but even there they aren't completely safe. They can't have a life like I did because they don't live in the same world I did. Sometimes I honestly wonder if I should have had kids at all to send them out into this dump. Then again, if anyone can make this place better by being in it, it would be my babies. No conclusions, no words of wisdom, just...sigh.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Half-Breeds Gone Wild!

If there's one thing we can thank the romance publishing industry for, it's that they give Native Americans the same sensitive, dignified treatment they give the rest of us.

Silken Savage

Robyn: That guy either doesn't see too well in the dark or he's really desperate. But what is up with that jaguar in the tree? We don't have those in North America, do we?

Missie: Nice "Endora from the original Bewitched" eye makeup she's got going on there. I looove it when covers accurately reflect the time period of the story.
Comanche Sunset

Robyn: Wow. I didn't know the sun was still huge and orange but the rest of the sky was black at sunset in the desert. I clutched my chest that way once. I had heartburn.
Missie: It doesn't look as much like the Texas Plains as it does the seventh circle of hell.

Savage Conquest

Robyn: Ummm...where's her right leg?

Missie: Let me get this straight...She's not ON the horse, but dangling off the side somehow while he holds on to her with one arm at the same time the horse is rearing? Somebody explain the physics of that one to me.

Sioux Slave

Missie: No. Blech. No.
Robyn: Honey, come on. How many more times do we have to play 'Pocahontas saves John Smith?'
Up next: Lusty Mormon Appreciation Society!

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Big Moment

Three little words? Nah. In Romancelandia, it is known as The Big Moment.

I Love You.

The ultimate point of any romance. And frequently, the one that makes me want to pluck my eyes from their sockets.

Heroes inevitably spout Byronesque poetry when telling their ladies they love them. If a hero has been, up until TBM, a dashing, charming, witty man, then okay. It's in character. I can deal with that just fine. Even if the guy is a strong, silent type, if we've seen that he feels these things deeply, I'm okay with that too. Particularly in historicals; if you've ever read diaries from even 100 years ago people were much more verbose than they are now. I can only imagine what a Victorian man would think of us with our LOL's and OMG's and stubborn refusal to capitalize our i's because that just takes too much time, yo?

My favorite? Some book that I forgot the name of a long time ago, but I still remember this part: (the hero, telling his lady that he'll never have much money) "...but I can promise you a heart that beats for you, and you alone, until it beats no more." Le Swoon!

But those heroes are few and far between. I'll admit it right now- most romances seem to favor Alpha cavemen. Not that I mind, humina-humina. But to have these guys who are usually too insensitive to say 'please' when asking for the salt suddenly waxing poetic about her sapphire eyes and his dazzled senses and how Life Means Nothing Without Her? Blech. Who is this guy, and what have you done with the real hero of this book?

Jayne Ann Krentz is probably my favorite author of TBM. In her historicals (Amanda Quick) she frequently has the heroines say it first, usually in an angry fit. In the middle of a fight with a pig-headed hero, the heroine will shout, "I do not want you to get yourself killed in this duel because I love you, you great hulking idiot!" or something like that. Hee. I love it when she storms out and he's left there with his jaw hanging open. When it's his turn, he'll usually botch some attempt to be traditionally romantic, which of course results in it being even more so.

In JAK's contemps, I like it even better. These guys just don't want to say it, period. In The Pirate, the heroine has decided to leave the resort island the hero owns, partly because he won't talk to her when she wants him to. On the runway, he screams up in his jeep, and starts putting her luggage in his vehicle. She demands that he stop, that This Time She's Really Leaving, etc., when this ultimate Alpha basically asks why she's being such a baby. She tells him that he's never said he loved her.

Now, I was cringing. I knew I'd read of the eyes softening, the going down on one knee, the taking of her hand, and the huge proclamation before all and sundry that no one else on earth could love you more than I and you made my life complete and I didn't know I had a heart until you took it, upon which they would kiss as the tearful onlookers awwwed and applauded. But the still angry hero barely looks at her, growls "I love you," and finishes putting her stuff in the jeep. She's left standing there sputtering until he puts her in the jeep, too. I cheered!

What about you? When The Big Moment occurs, do you like it realistic, actions-speak-louder-than-words, or do you dig the sappy stuff?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Good Thing You Told Me

Dear CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, and FoxNews,

Thank you so much. I really appreciate the way you guys are right on the news that matters to simple folk like me across America. Those of us who raise our families, go to church, work hard, and pay taxes. Those of us who wonder how we will have money for our childrens' college tuition while funding our own retirement and possibly taking care of our aging parents. Those of us who report for jobs that are not our dream careers, day after day, month after month, year after year, just to make ends meet for our families.

You know us. You know us so well.

Because if there is one subject that constantly comes up in my house, usually at night while snuggling in bed with my husband right before sleep claims our exhausted bodies and we rise again early the next morn to start the rat race all over, it is this...

What has Lindsay Lohan done today?

You would think with all the things going on in the world such as disease, war, pestilence, unrest, and a government that spends our money like drunken sailors on shore leave, that my husband and I might have our minds occupied with weightier matters.

But you would be wrong if you thought that. And you, Oh Wise Media Gurus, are never wrong.

With your glow in the dark teeth and your overstyled hair and your designer suits, you deliver the news I want and NEED. I feel like YOU.GET.ME. You understand. You know that I don't want something simple like what the weather forecast may be or if the Fed is going to raise interest rates. NO! You tell me what a coked-out sluttified starlet's latest shenanigans are within the first five minutes of your broadcast!

And for that, I thank you.

Way to investigate. Way to report. WAY.TO.READ.MY.MIND.


Your loyal viewer*,**

*(who didn't make last year what LL has sniffed up her nose in the last thirty days)

**(and who only knew about the sniffery because she was forced to endure that story before getting her real news.)