Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Beck stops here

I’m not a fan of GleN Beck.

It’s not just because I am a tree hugging, Dixie Chicks album owning, blue state living, Barack Obama picture hanging on my fridge lefty.

It’s because he is bat shit crazy.

I have some other words I like to use to describe him. Shrill. Hack. Narcissistic. Shock Jock. Opportunist. Vainglorious.

Ok, I looked that last one up.

Those words might seem like insults, but they aren’t really.

Shrill – He screams. He really does. All the live long day. He doesn’t just scream at the people he hates. He screams at his own fans.

Hack – He does an easy job that requires little if any work and is greatly rewarded. Heck, he just stuck his name on a novel that someone else wrote. He just had to come up with an idea. Which is “socialist America.” Then he picks up an additional six-figure paycheck for saying “buy gold.” Way to go there, Hack.

Narcissistic -GleN Beck thinks God talks to him. And not in the loony-tunes, padded room, purple crayon carrying way. But as in, GleN Beck believes that he is chosen. He’s a genuflect away from Tim Tebow territory.

Shock Jock – Self-explanatory.

Opportunist – Overly self-explanatory.

Vainglorious – That’s a pretty word, huh? It means boastful or proud. And GleN sure does love himself. And his message. And his gold. And his ratings. And frankly, he earned them, so he should be proud. Now that’s vainglorious.

But keep in mind that even though I think Beck is bat shit crazy, I mean that in a qualified way. As in, crazy like a fox, and not just the super-flashy-with-the-production-elements Fox that pays him more than I’ll ever see in my life for a single afternoon of shrill, narcissistic, opportunist, vainglorious, shock jock hackery.

Enter Beck’s 8/28 rally. If you haven’t heard of it, I am terribly jealous of you. Beck is hosting a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC tomorrow, August 28, the same place and the same date, 47 years later, of the famous “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Junior. Beck says the rally is to “Restore Honor.” Because we need to restore the honor in this country, because it’s gone, I tell you. ALL GONE.

Of course, when Michelle Obama even suggested that she had not spent her entire life proud and gushing in love with the good old USA, she was berated as being shameful. How DARE someone suggest they haven’t always been proud of a nation while our soldiers are in the midst of fighting for the freedom that we are blessed with. We should all LOVE our country. Here we are, two years later, same country, same boys overseas fighting the same war, but now the country is honorless.

Whatever.

Back to Beck.

Beck, a self-described student of history who wraps himself in the American Flag while scribbling the names of the most important and influential men in the country on his chalkboard had no idea of even a time frame for the most famous speech of the Civil Rights movement?

I’m sure Tim Russert is smiling from heaven that Beck stole his whiteboard idea and passes it off as his own on a chalkboard, by the way.

But here’s the thing. Everyone who is angry about this is furious of Beck’s alleged attempt to hijack MLK, the Civil Rights movement, and apparently, the spirit of MLK’s speech itself. Because we all know Beck is a strong black man, fighting oppression and working for peace and equality.

But me? I think they’ve got it all wrong.

It’s not about Martin Luther King, Junior. It never was. Of course Beck knew August 28 was the anniversary of the “I have a dream” speech. But he didnt’ pick that day to try to cling to the Civil Right movement. GleN looked at August 28 in Washington, DC and saw gold as sure as the overpriced nuggets he hawks on the Fox News Channel. He saw thousands of faces. Faces of color. And he wants in.

GleN Beck is going to count the people who are there to mark the “I have a dream speech” as part of his audience. Let’s say he gets his 300,000 attendees that he’s predicted will come to see him and the mom of the newest Dancing with the Stars early cast-off candidate Sarah Palin. At that very moment, there’s also a civil rights rally, not in the same place, but near by. Very near by. And naturally most of those folks will float to the Lincoln Memorial. Some to honor MLK, some just to see what’s going on, some for both reasons. And as they do, Beck will count them (and their much darker faces) as part of *his* rally. Boom, 1 million people have attended his event. Hoo-yow!

It’s not about him hijacking MLK’s speech, or the Civil Rights movement, or anything like that. It has always been to make the Tea Party look more credible by scheduling it on a day and place where a few hundred thousand people were set to be anyway. It’s like setting a rally for Grant Park during the Taste of Chicago. Maybe it’s just you and a few dozen people for your cause, but you can say, LOOK AT ALL THE PEOPLE. Hell, hand out a few fliers to passers-by, and you’ve “spread the word” even.
 
People have been arguing that his ulterior motive was to hijack the anniversary of MLK’s historic speech. But in reality, it’s about hijacking people who are simply trying to remember a Civil Rights legend. It’s a scam to inflate his numbers and make the Tea Party look like they have more support — and more support from people of color — then they actually have. I feel 100 percent competent that, come Monday, Beck will be showing the overhead video of his crowd, and it will be ENORMOUS, and he will say something along the lines of “look at what has been inspired here! Honor is OURS!” And he won’t qualify that many, heck, maybe most, were there not because they feel America has no honor, but because they want to pay their respects to a man who had more honor in his little finger then GleN Beck will ever have in his entire (former) coke-sniffing race-baiting body.
 
Like I said, though. Crazy like a fox.
 
I leave you with a little nugget of Beck’s fool’s gold. Beck has been advertising that his rally will benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), a non-profit that aids the families of fallen and injured soldiers (the ones who are fighting for the country with no honor). So when you get to the rally, make sure to buy your “Restoring Honor” merchandise to benefit these families. Just don’t read the fine print on that merchandise:
The purchase of Restoring Honor Rally merchandise is not a donation to SOWF, but all net proceeds from the sale of Restoring Honor Rally merchandise is being donated to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. All contributions made to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) will first be applied to the costs of the Restoring Honor Rally taking place on August 28, 2010. All contributions in excess of these costs will then be retained by the SOWF.
Millionaire Beck isn’t paying for this massive rally by himself. No no no. He’s going to get those in attendance to pay for it for him. Then he’s going to play his pipe, and off the cliff they shall jump! GleN’s going to have to sell a LOT of t-shirts and bumper stickers to pay for the fees for security management and clean-up and everything else that comes with his big rally. Hope SOWF isn’t depending too much on that donation.

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Summer’s last blast

It was a familiar sight this morning. The backpacks. The fresh haircuts. The shiny new shoes. The refusal to listen. Ah, yes, back to school time has arrived.

I love summer with a passion that few people understand. Sure, everyone seems to enjoy the warm weather and cookouts and lazy weekends. But more people seem to look with disdain on the chores of mowing and weeding and watering and would rather wrap themselves in the manufactured cool air comfort of the air conditioning than spend 15 minutes on the back deck in 90 degree temperatures. Not me. I love a good drippy sweat down my back and a breeze through the house, even a hot one. My husband and children, on the other hand, do not. So, on goes the air.

But sooner or later, it has to end. Even if the heat stays, the official “school’s out for summer” season ceases. Today was that day, but we didn’t let it come without the children getting one last night of fun. Enter the Joliet Jackhammers!

The Jackhammers are a non-affiliated minor league team. And man are they not good. If there were 1,000 people at last night’s game, I would be shocked. This year’s schedule was AWFUL, they were out of town most weekends. Despite the fact that they play teams with awesome names (like last night’s rival the Kansas City T-Bones, and the Edmonton Crackercats, former home of Canada’s favorite baseball son, Stubby Clapp), people simple don’t show up. Which is a shame because the stadium is nice and family friendly and there’s BEER there. Even this wasn’t enough to draw a crowd last night:

That’s right, the San Diego Chicken was in Jackhammers country for the last night of summer vacation!

That’s Hank running down to try to get a ball. I tried very hard to take pictures of The Chicken on the field, and every one of them turned out like this, even when Jim took the camera and got closer. Like The Chicken watched that video from The Ring at some point in the past seven days. See:

I must confess, he was funny. Did all the old gags. Held up the eye chart for the ump. Engaged in a water balloon fight with the opposing team. Bit the ump on the head. Good times.

Not to worry, we did get one good shot:

That’s George, terrified out of his mind, getting an autograph with his Poppy. Thanks The  Chicken!!

The game also had a few other notable memories, like Hank getting his very first ice cream in a helmet cup:

Just like when you were a kid, he shelled out a full $5 for a helmet ice cream, only to get the Marlins. Is there any other helmet out there? Maybe KC? Maybe? Seriously, why don’t they just stock local ice cream places that serve helmet ice cream with LOCAL teams. Is it really too much money to print up a Jackhammers logo, if nothing else? Freaking Marlins.

Anyway, the night was a fun success, the kids had a blast and everyone came home with autographed photos from The Chicken. Jim, however, declined to bring his to work, stating that hanging it next to his ginormous White Sox World Series photos and Blackhawks Stanley Cup paraphernalia would be “weird.” Whatever.

Now, Hank is at school, and George is apparently sleeping off his sugar hangover:

He’s still wearing last night’s clothes, because that’s just how I roll as a mother.

Speaking of, I would be remiss to not mention my two mother-of-the-year nomination worthy moments from last night.

First — Slug Bug. Upon leaving the game, a silver Beetle drove past. Naturally prompting me to yell out “SLUG BUG SILVER” while delivering a swift punch to Hank’s arm. Right in front of a Joliet cop. “That was a pretty hard hit,” the cop says to me, raising an eyebrow. Not skipping a beat, I snap back, “He knows the rules.” That’s parenting!

Second — To be filed under “I can’t believe I just said that to a child, my own child for that matter!” Out in left field there was a small cage, inside of which were two small goats. Like a mini-petting zoo for the family friendly park. Children were petting the goats, giving them crap to eat, that kind of stuff. When I say children, I mean other people’s children. Not mine. Because that’s nasty. If I wanted my kids to pet farm animals, I’d live on a farm. They are livestock, not kittens. Anyway, two of the customer service type gals opened up the gate and went into the cage, where they pet the animals and showed them off to the children around them.

“Mom,” Hank says. “Mom, those girls are in the cage with the goats!”

Before I could stop the words from coming out of my mouth, I said to Hank, just 8-years-old, “Wow, you usually only see that in Tijuana.”

Let’s hope that’s not the first thing he tells his little friends about during the first day of school. Happy Back-to-School season everyone!

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Dads, daughters and dookie

It all happened several summers ago.

There we were, enjoying the Happy Place. For those of you unfamiliar with the Happy Place, it looks like this:

This is Lake Jordan from my point of view, former home of the fabulous Clearwater Resort, current home of fun, sun and Karaoke Bob. Those are my feet. If you look closely, there is something on my big toe. If I had to guess, I would say it was food. The Happy Place is also the messy place.

This is what children look like in the Happy Place:

George

Cece

Oh my God how HAPPY is that?? You can see why we call it the Happy Place, eh? Check out how my brother feels about it. Spoiler alert: HE LOVES IT TOO.

In case you were wondering, The Happy Place is in Wisconsin. So all those folks scouring the globe for a place of peace and happiness and parties featuring rude beer and roasted pigs, stop looking in tropical or exotic locations. A little bit southeast of the Wisconsin Dells is all you need to know.

Anyway, back to my story. It all happened several summers ago. There we were, enjoying the Happy Place. Now, it’s important to know that over its history as a vacation destination, the Happy Place once hosted two resorts and one campground. The campground remains, but the resorts have all given way to more upscale lakeside homes (which may or may not always come with more upscale residents). But on any given weekend in summer, the lake is crawling with boats, jet skis, swimmers, fishermen and other water babies. On any given weekend in winter, the lake is packed full of ice houses and fisherman who, for some demented reason, think that it is fun to drill a hole in the ice and sit there until a fish grabs hold. Clearwater Resort is gone, in its place (but at the top of the hill instead of lakeside) is the tacky and lovable Boondock’s Bar (home of the aforementioned Karaoke Bob. Don’t put in too many songs, he won’t call you).

It is safe to say that upon the thousands and thousands of bodies that have taken to the water over the years, sooner or later, someone is going to have a little dookie. You know what I mean. Number two. Pinch one off. Doodie in the pool. A dump, if you will. In the water. In its history, an Illinois politician who shall remain nameless may have been one of those who took the Browns to the Superbowl at the back of the lake, only, you know, the Browns were a poop and the Superbowl is Lake Jordan. You probably didn’t need me to explain that.

Anyway, as we enjoyed the back of the lake that hot summer afternoon, I heard a familiar voice call for my attention.

“Hey Kid!”

It was my father.

My parents have five children. Carrie, Tommy, Laura, Amy and Marney. And in his lifetime, my father has actually used those names only a handful of times. We are all called, affectionately, Kid, Stosh, Gertrude or Ike. In trouble? Thy name is Clown. In super trouble and about to get hit? You’re called Pal, and you better duck. Call out any of those monikers while we are together, and all of us will turn. But, I was being called Kid, so clearly, I was not in trouble.

“Hey Kid!”

I turn.

“Catch.”

*toss*

In slow motion, I saw it. Being hurdled at me. Brown. Stiff. Log-like.

*smack*

It hits me.

“Dad just threw dookie at Marney!!!!!!!!” Laura shouts.

There was the evidence, floating in the water. My father, upon spotting dookie in the water, thought, “Hmmmmm, what should I do with this? Oh look, there’s my youngest child, I better throw it at her.”

And so it was.

Thus began the family legend of how my father threw dookie at me. Now, to this day, he SWEARS it was just a stick, and I suppose that is possible. Water-logged branchery submerged in Lake Jordan is plentiful, and certainly takes on a dookie-like appearance. And of course, after being doused with dung, I screamed like a little girl and swatted it away, so I certainly didn’t inspect it a la Bill Murray.

Still, I prefer to say that my father, when listing his life achievements, can put “I threw dookie at my kid” somewhere near the top. Or, perhaps, the bottom (bah-dum-dum).

My father turned 71 years old this week. Brought into this world on August 17, 1939, he’s still as sassy as ever — dookie throwing abilities and all. So when you see him, wish him a Happy Birthday.  But be careful at the Happy Place. He’ll throw dookie at you, too.

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A mother’s words of wisdom – part 1

I’ve decided that I need to start chronicling the things I say to my children. Not because I give stellar parenting advice or because I am mother of the year, but because most times, I am astonished at the things I say within seconds of them leaving my mouth.

Today’s actual statement to the boys:

“Please don’t kiss each other’s butts.”

Boys.

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Sock it to me – part 2

Check it out:

I know what you’re thinking. We get it, Marney, your husband has a sock problem. He leaves them around. Blah blah blah, deal with it already.

But wait, there’s more.

You see, while this scene seems reminiscent of my last post, there is a very distinct difference between these nasty old tube socks and the ones usually on my floor. See, this isn’t my floor. This is under the table of the screened-in porch of my parent’s lake house. And those socks? Why, they were pulled from the ugly-toed feet of my very own father.

So however the prophecy works — you marry your father, you turn into your mother, both perhaps — it is fulfilled.

Damn socks.

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