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Pickin' Punkins

2003-10-22 - 10:24 p.m.


Did you notice how dark it was when you woke up this morning?

I�m not referring to the changes brought about by autumn.

I�m referring to the way we�re being taken back to THE DARK AGES!

Not that �partial-birth abortions� themselves are anything I want to advocate, but you know Baby Bush has lots of political b.s. up his sleeve in relation to this move, which is a major step toward undoing Roe v. Wade.

I nearly choked on my toothbrush this morning when I heard some Republican senator say on NPR that Baby Bush�s support for the ban on �partial-birth abortions� is �a statement that our country�s leader believes deeply in the value of every single human life.�

I think he forgot to add �unless, of course, those human lives belong to innocent Iraqi civilians!�

But, in the words of (attention: this is foreshadowing) The Great Molly Shannon, �... don�t even get me started.�

** Saturday Night �Synched**

Did you catch Britney Spears� amazing performance on �SNL� last weekend?

That first number, the dance number, was magical�in fact, so magical that it seemed as if her VOICE was coming from SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN HER THROAT!

I tell you, talent like that only comes along once in a lifetime� or thrice, if you count both members of Milli Vanilli.

Kinda makes you misty-eyed, doesn�t it, for the passionate days when Elvis Costello �bit the hand that fed him� and busted out with �Radio, Radio� when he wasn�t supposed to, or when Sinead ripped up a picture of the pope.

Actually, I�m just misty-eyed for anyone creating sound that emits from his or her vocal chords.

And speaking of �SNL,� it seems that another chapter has begun in that long, long history book, Being Really good for Awhile and Then Totally Starting to Suck and Then Getting Pretty Good Again�this chapter being titled �Starting to Suck Again.�

Even though I knew Will Ferrell and Tracy Morgan�two of my faves�would be gone this year, and even though I still miss Ana Gastayer and Molly Shannon, I was totally waiting all summer and early fall like an anxious kid for the season premiere, just like I used to for the new season of the Smurfs. ("Are we there yet, Papa Smurf? Huh? Huh? Are we there yet?�)

I�ve been an �SNL� fanatic ever since my parents let me stay up late enough to watch it, but after the young, female Tina Fey took the helm as head writer, it seemed like the show was actually being written for people like me in my age group--so it didn�t mean anything was socially or developmentally wrong with you if you plan your weekends around a 12-pack and �Weekend Update.�

But Lord almighty have the first few shows this season been un-funny. Last week�s show with Halle Berry was especially bad, with one skit about orgasm-inducing pills relying on such obvious, worse-than-pedestrian humor that when it was over, I honestly wondered if they�d forgotten to do part of the skit, or aired it when it wasn�t even finished being written. (Amy Pohler and others working in an office take the pills, say things like �Yes, good, wonderful� in a bored voice, and then make one pun on the word �coming.� Then end. What, you�re still waiting for the punch line? Me too!) Next week it�s Kelly Rippa and Outkast. Do you think they�ll have the nerve to rap-sync?



Have you been following the rather comical Cat vs. Disney debacle?

I have to say, I mainly agree with this guy, but now that I�m an advertising-ish person, I at least see Caterpillar�s point. Aligning yourself with rainforest chopper-uppers is like aligning yourself with baby-shakers or kitten-killers. But what a great case study for a Public Relations 101 text book, huh?


Today�s Twister:


by Tornado Ali

The first one came in the beginning of October: a darling, magazine-perfect photo, (sent to my hotmail account), of a toothless toddler standing behind a perfectly round pumpkin. The child in the photo was the niece of a college friend of mine. The e-mail message attached to the digital photo had this as a subject heading: �Daddy�s lil� pumpkin.� I thought it was cute. I forwarded it to my mom. Even though my mom doesn�t really know the kid or its parents.

I got another one a few days later, this time from my sister. But my sister doesn�t have kids. The baby in this photo (subject heading: �Pickin� Punkins�) was the child of one of my sister�s friends from college. This time, the baby was much younger, and wearing a pumpkin costume. The next e-mailed photo came from someone I used to work with, showing her nephew, a teeny-tiny baby, propped precariously between two pumpkins that looked like they could crush him.

I thought all the photos were cute. I truly love kids--almost more than anything else on earth. And I really do love other people�s kids. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I even want to be a parent in my future days, and I�ve entertained the thought that I might be happy enough as someone�s Really Rockin� Aunt, or, second choice, Really Rockin� Godparent. So again, let me make it clear that I really do love other peoples' kids.


I�m not really sure that I need to receive daily dispatches from the Land of Parenthood, via e-mailed photos, from people who I�ve spoken to three or four times in my life. Or from members of my high school class who I barely talk to anymore, but who are new parents with digital cameras and my e-mail address in their mass-mailing list. Or from my sister's high school friends, or from former co-workers I could barely stand even when I worked with them.

Don�t get me wrong. I�m really happy that my ex-co-worker has a cute nephew, and I�m sincerely happy for all these other parents.

But isn�t there some sort of philosophical question that needs to be raised here about parenting and technology?

Can you imagine, when we were babies back in the 70�s (or 60�s or 80�s or whenever), if our parents were taking Polaroids of our every spit bubble and diaper-doody and then snail-mailing them out to every person on their Christmas card list?

They wouldn�t have done that, would they have. It would�ve taken too much time, and maybe, when they were addressing the envelope to a person from their freshman year chemistry class, they�d stop and think. �... oh, wait. Maybe this is a little too much.�

And, of course, I should give full disclosure here: I don�t feel that I need a reminder of my own fleeting fertility, or of the societal pressure to procreate, in the form of a �Pickin� Punkins!� photo--each time I check my e-mail, which is about 10--or, ok, 100--times per day.

And then there�s the other side of the coin, which is down right horrible. At the place where I work, a person has been sending mass e-mails to all the hundreds of employees, giving day-by-day updates on a sick great-niece with a rare and fatal bone disease. I mentioned in my office the other day that our place of work could really benefit from a message board system, so people could place personal items like this rather than sending them out to hundreds of people, unsolicited. When I said this, a co-worker of mine looked at me scornfully and said, �That�s baby�s dying, you know.�

Um, yeah, I do know. And I don�t want to read about it every frickin� time I check my e-mail. It's too scary and depressing, and I can't help but feel awkward and uncomfortable when I read such detailed accounts about a tragedy within a family that I don't even know, (sent from an employee I wouldn't even recognize if I bumped into her in the hall).

And it's not just that I'm annoyed by the strange brand of spam. One of the reasons I sometimes think I don�t want to have kids is that I don�t think I could ever handle the pain of potentially losing one of them.

A crazy thought?

Maybe so, but it happens. And I�ve got plenty of evidence; all I need to do is check my e-mail.

P.S., R.I.P. Elliot Smith. ("....I'm never gonna know you now/ but I'm gonna love you anyhow...")

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