We Really Are Living in the Future

There are some days that I wake up and pinch myself, wondering if I’m dreaming, or if I’m living as a character in a science fiction novel set in the year 2525.

Maybe I should start paying for the images I use on this blog. This is what I got on the freebie site when I searched

Maybe I should start paying for the images I use on this blog. This is what I got on the freebie site when I searched “The Future.”

I guess it all started way back in 2008, when a black guy got elected President. That’s when I first got the feeling that I was living in the future. And then again, a few years later, when Colorado decriminalized weed. I checked the calendar, and it was 2012, not 2212. And now, just the other day, in the 21st century, not the 23rd century, when the  Supreme Court decided that same-sex marriage is A-OK in the USA.

“Did you ever think you would live to see <insert astounding new event here>?” I find myself asking friends and family, as well as random strangers who have the misfortune of standing next to me on the commuter train platform when I’m feeling chatty.

The other day, I asked that same question when a package delivered from Amazon arrived on my doorstep.

“You sure get a lot of packages, Karen,” the mail carrier, Ruth, said as she handed the small box to me. She’s right. We do get a lot of packages, enough so that I’m on a first name basis with a United States postal worker.

While we do get a lot of packages, I had not ordered anything from Amazon recently, or at least, not that I could recall. There have been times when mysterious deliveries come to my door and only after opening the container do I remember that oh, yes, I did order Hot Buns™ 2 Piece Set for Light Hair back when I thought wearing my hair twisted in a tight knot at the back of my head would give me the appearance of seriousness and sophistication I was looking for, instead of just a screaming migraine.

I shook the box the mail carrier gave me, to see if its rattle would give away its secret. The contents shifted inscrutably. I decided it must be something my husband had ordered, although it arrived addressed to me, and left it there on the entryway table for him.

When my husband came home that evening, he denied ordering anything from Amazon. The entire family gathered around the mystery box.

Is it a bomb or just birthday greetings from Great Aunt Ethel-Anne?

Is it a bomb or just birthday greetings from Great Aunt Ethel-Anne?

“Maybe it’s a mistake,” I said, though, in my head, I’m thinking “bomb” not “mistake.” I don’t say it out loud so as not to frighten the children. Don’t be ridiculous, the sane voice in my head said. Who would want to mail bomb us? The insane voice in my head answered, No one ever thinks they’re going to get mail bombed. That’s what makes it so diabolical: the surprise factor.

“Maybe it’s a present,” the six year old said. Her birthday is in three weeks, although the event has been top of mind for her for going on six months now.

“Only one way to find out,” my husband said. He took hold of the box and ripped off the packaging tape. “Look, it’s that thing you ordered!”

While I’m relieved it’s not a bomb, I can’t remember any “thing” I ordered. I peered into the box and remembered. “Oh, yeah, that thing.”

That thing.

That thing.

“That thing” is the Amazon Echo, the voice-activated electronic personal assistant. I’d received an invitation about a year ago, asking me if I wanted to be part of the exclusive few to be offered the opportunity to pre-order the Echo at an introductory price of $99, and it would ship as soon as it was available.

I forwarded the email to my husband. “Would we have any use for this thing?” I asked him.

My husband, who has never seen a gadget he could not find a use for, replied, “Oh, yeah! Let’s get that thing!”

So here it was, that thing, arriving on our doorstep so many months later, after we’d forgotten that we ever even wanted it. It sits in our living room, listening for its “wake word” (“Alexa!”), ready to spring to life at our command.

“Alexa! Weather forecast.”

“Currently, it’s sixty degrees with showers. You can expect more of the same today, with a high of 76 and a low of 58.”

“Alexa! To Do list.”

“What would you like me to add to your To Do list?”

The Echo comes with an associated smartphone application, and the items I’ve added by voice to a list show up on my phone in text. It’s actually pretty neat, though Alexa’s interpretation of what I’ve said can be hit or miss. Here’s what she thought I wanted at the grocery store.

IMG_0468

I don’t remember what I said that Alexa heard as “Boppy,” but all that seafood I’m buying? That’s supposed to be Fancy Feast cat food. I’m thinking the cats at our house have somehow figured out a way to get Alexa to hear “Fresh Lobster and Shrimp” when I say “Grilled Liver in Gravy.”

And some of Alexa’s interpretations are downright prescient. After an early morning battle between Panic at the Disco (the musical request of my twelve-year-old daughter) and the soundtrack to Teen Beach 2 (the preference of her six-year-old sister), I shouted

“Alexa! Play morning music.”

For a moment, I feared the Echo would hear “mourning” instead of “morning” and fill the house with funeral dirges. Instead, Alexa responded

“You are listening to the Classical Hangover playlist.”

The soothing strains of Pachelbel’s Canon in D came through the speakers and I thought, artificial intelligence is really freaking brilliant.

Of course, there are detractors. Some folks are wary of  technology sitting in our homes, listening, listening, listening to our every  hiccup and fart move. I came across this comment on a review of the product over on CNET.

I collect and analyze consumer data from AC Nielsen and customer loyalty cards for a living. I’m not a tin foil hat wearer, but this product straight up scares me. The only reason Amazon made this was to squeeze more money from Prime users, thats it. Now it can start collecting trends based on age, race, location, time of day, etc and correlate that to other Echo users across the country. Guaranteed, Amazon will apply all this information towards better marketing to you. Leave it in your bedroom, and it will learn when you go to sleep and wake up, how well you sleep, when you have sex, if you watch TV in bed, etc. It has the ability to learn all of your friends and family, where they live, and anything you say out loud in your home. Amazon’s ultimate wet dream would be the ability to collect your thoughts, but we aren’t there yet. 

I showed the piece to my husband and asked, “Do you really think Amazon will be able to track how often we have sex? I’m thinking they just know how often I buy cherry-flavored lube, which is not the same thing.”

On that note, Dear Reader, I’ll leave you with the information that the Echo is now available to purchase without an invitation for the much less attractive price of $179.99, if you’ve got any money left over after you buy cherry-flavored lube.

Royalty free stock photos, including some of the images in this post, can be found at freeimages.com. The photo of the Echo is taken from the Amazon website, and is believed to be used under the doctrine of Fair Use and does not violate US or International copyright law. The screenshot of my shopping list is from my phone.

My Mission to Mars

Mars needs women. And men. And quirky musicians and nerdy physicians.

These are the sorts of folks who have applied for the Mars One project. You may have read about the project before. It’s a private, not-for-profit endeavor that plans to send normal, average, everyday people to the red planet on a one-way ticket (that’s cheaper than a round-trip fare, natch). Anyway, the Washington Post profiled some of the applicants in a recent piece titled,”Would you leave your family behind to be the first human to set foot on Mars?

With a decade until takeoff, Mars One founders reasoned that they don’t need the most experienced, educated or credentialed astronauts. They need people — four for the first trip, and four every two years after that — who can psychologically handle spending the rest of their lives with only each other on a planet no human has ever set foot upon.

I’ll admit, yes, there are days I would leave my family behind to set foot anywhere other than the  Philadelphia suburb where we reside, including Mars. Like the other day when my daughter shared some information (“The toilets in our house clog all the time.”) with a playmate’s mother.

That was one day where I wished I could hop a rocket to Mars.

Or when my husband moved the sofa in the living room so that when he lies down on it, he can still see the TV.

“You’re upsetting the conversational arrangement of the furniture,” I said. “Now when guests come over, there will be a lot of awkward silences, due to the position of the couch.”

“When do we ever have guests?” he asked.

“Just put the damn sofa back where it was.”

And while we argued, I again wished I could book a ticket to Mars.

But upon further research, I’m thinking I might prefer a tropical island here on Earth a bit more than the foreboding surface of the fourth planet from the sun. Mars has a thin atmosphere that’s full of huge dusty, rusty sandstorms stirred up from its iron surface. It’s mostly really cold, even colder than this interminable 2015 winter. The surface cannot support life as we know it, but some scientists believe there may be something going on below ground: perhaps there’s water, and maybe some one-celled amoebas or something floating around there.

As the planet is uninhabitable, the successful applicants to the program wouldn’t actually be living “on” Mars. They’ll be living in a space station camped on the surface, sort of like how some RVers park in the lots of different Walmart SuperCenters as they travel around the country. I guess technically they’re seeing the whole United States, but doesn’t one WalMart SuperCenter pretty much look like any other? My point is, if I can’t actually go out and experience WalMart Mars, why not just stay home? Oh, sure, I guess I can look out the window and see WalMart Mars, or put on some insulated suit that protects me against WalMart Mars*, but what’s the point? It seems like a lot of work to live your life as a shut-in with only occasional excursions out dressed like the Michelin Man for only as long as your oxygen tank holds out.

I’m sure I could never “psychologically handle” a trip to Mars. I suffer from all sorts of anxieties (mix some acrophobia, agoraphobia, and claustrophobia with a healthy dose of misanthropy and you’ll wind up with the cocktail that is me) that would make me the world’s worst Mars One Martian. I doubt if I would be able to survive the lift-off, let alone the 34 million mile journey.

Mars-onauts.

Mars-onauts.

Me, on the spaceship to Mars: You don’t think this spaceship is going to crash, do you? Never mind worrying about surviving on the surface of Mars, we could die right here, on the launchpad, in a fiery explosion. And did you get a good look at the pilot? He looks like a drinker to me. I hope he’s sober today. And could they make this spaceship any smaller, do you think? I feel like a sardine in a can. Is that how you feel? What a way to die, trapped like a sardine in a can. Oh, God, I don’t want to die! Not like this, not like a sardine in a can!

In the unlikely event that I survived the flight to Mars without one of the other passengers cutting off my oxygen supply, the worst part of the ordeal was to come: I’d have to live with the same three people for two whole years until the next mission arrived.

See, I already live with the same three people: my two kids and my husband. And I don’t much like being with them a lot of the time. Imagine if I were trapped with people I hadn’t carried in my womb for nine months, or the guy who I still (occasionally) want to be with naked.

I just don’t see it ending well.

Me, on Mars: Who the fuck left the top off the toothpaste again? Now it’s all floated off to God knows where. What, did you forget that we’re living in an environment with only a third of the gravitational pull as Earth? Next time, before you pull a dumbass move like this, take a look out the window. See all that red dust blowing up a shitstorm out there? That’s because we’re on fucking Mars, you assholes! Now put the fucking top back on the toothpaste!

Besides fighting with each other, just what are “average” people supposed to do all day on Mars, which is 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth? I guess they won’t be conducting experiments because they aren’t scientists, or else the experiments they conduct will have to be like the ones from my eighth grade science fair where half the class stuck copper wires into a potato and called it a day. But even I must admit that extra forty minutes would come in handy, and, at the very least, no one will have an excuse for not completing the Amazing 37-Minute Workout.

For most people, I imagine the deal breaker with the Mars One project is that you can’t come back. Still, there seem to be an awful lot of people who aren’t bothered by this requirement. According to yesterday’s news release, there were 202,586 applicants, and that number has now been winnowed down to a crazy lucky 100.

*Wouldn’t it be great if there really were suits you could wear to protect yourself against Walmart?

Royalty-free stock photos, including the images in this post, can be found at freeimages.com.

Yes Means Yes

During my brief foray into the corporate world, I had an older colleague who shared the wisdom that it’s always easier to seek forgiveness than to get permission. I’ve been thinking all these years that was a clever bit of advice until I read about the passage of California SB 967 and now I’m thinking it’s always better to get permission than to go to jail for rape.

California SB 967, which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law last month, states that schools will be denied public funding unless they adopt policies regarding sexual assault to include the affirmative consent standard, and a bunch of other stuff (requiring prevention and outreach programs, detailed victim-centered protocols, comprehensive training of staff). Of course, the reactionaries on the right (are there any other kind?) have focused on the affirmative consent standard, and not the fact that the effect of the law is to withdraw public funding from universities that fail to establish these policies, not run around and arrest people who have sex with women who don’t respond like Molly Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

But I want to know, what’s so wrong with affirmative consent? What’s so wrong with making sure we’re all on the same page before we whip out our dirty sexy bits?

A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou. And a Dumpster.

A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou. And a Dumpster.

Believe me, I know how blessed my life has been in that I have never been the victim of sexual assault, unless you count that guy who put his hand on my ass while we shared a cigarette near the Dumpster behind the Stop N Shop where we both worked that summer. Would it have killed him to ask, “Hey, can I put my hand on your ass?” Would that have ruined the “romance” of the moment?

I guess the idea of asking permission isn’t so foreign to me since I married a guy who asked, after a spirited make out session on his living room sofa, “Do you want to go upstairs?” before proceeding further.

In fact, maybe that’s why I married him, because he asked.

So what’s wrong with asking permission? Perhaps some folks are uncomfortable admitting they’re thinking about sex, or they want sex. Perhaps they’re afraid to put words to their desires.

Still, part of me can’t help but think that people who aren’t willing to ask for permission are the ones who know they won’t get it.

Royalty free images, including the one in this post, can be found at freeimages.com. 

 

Finger Lickin’ Con

Do you ever stop and wonder just how gullible people are?

Seven Herbs and Spices and a $30,000 check for Internet Extortion.

Yes, it is finger lickin’ good, but you’ll have to go elsewhere on account of your face.

I had to stop and wonder about this, again, when I read about the Internet Outrage of the Week, Little Girl Kicked Out of KFC. Quick summary: Grandma claims heartless Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC workers kicked her and her three year old granddaughter out of some Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC in Mississippi after another customer complained about the girl’s disfiguring facial scars, suffered back in April when the girl was attacked by Granpa’s pitbulls. Auntie posts the incident on Facebook, donations flood in to the tune of $130,000 and Kentucky Fried Chicken KFC promises $30,000 and an investigation.

I read the story and was reminded of previous Internet Outrages of the Week.  Perhaps you remember the Red Lobster waitress,Toni Christina Jenkins, in Tennessee who logged onto Facebook to post a picture of a customer’s receipt with the N word written in place of a tip amount. And just to show that the Northeast, home of Eastern Elitism, is not immune to this phenomenon, Dayna Morales, a waitress in New Jersey, claimed that a customer wrote this novel note on the receipt in lieu of leaving a tip: “Sorry, I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and the way you live your life.” Morales must be the last living person not to have a Facebook account so her story did not go viral until Have a Gay Day posted it on their Facebook.

Now my curriculum vitae includes the double misfortune of having waitressed and also worked in the fast food industry and all the stories sounded, well, odd to me when I first heard them.  My experience one long, horrible summer working as the “Fry Girl” (I scooped french fries into their cartons during the lunch rush) at Wendy’s™ had taught me that customers who eat fast food want to eat food fast, they don’t sit around the dining area observing the other patrons to determine who might offend their sensibilities enough to disturb the digestion of a Junior Cheeseburger Deluxe, ordered off the Dollar Menu (since my sojourn at Wendy’s™, there’s been a name change and it’s now the Right Price, Right Size Menu and it costs you a $1.49). And also, fast food workers lack both the initiative to respond as well as act on customer complaints, so if someone did complain (which was unlikely), it was hard for me to believe that an employee of the restaurant would do anything.

As for waitressing, a few customers tip well, a few don’t tip at all, but most give the standard 15-20%. No one ever wrote me any offensive messages on the receipt, unless we count that dorky guy who wrote his phone number that one time. Considering the sort of waitress I was, someone probably should have taken a moment to give me some helpful career advice such as “You suck!” on the tip line.  Diners are more concerned about the food, their date, whether they’ll make the movie on time, why their car makes that weird noise every time they turn right, or just about anything other than their server. I really doubted that someone would communicate their racism or homophobia using the forum of a restaurant receipt.

Here's some money, Internet Stranger.  I hope you feel better.

Here’s some money, Internet Stranger. I hope you feel better.

As you may have guessed, both stories turned out to be hoaxes: the Red Lobster customer came forward to proclaim that he was no racist, just cheap, and had stiffed the waitress and wrote nothing on the tip line and a New Jersey couple contacted the news media with their copy of the receipt showing an $18 tip on a $93 check and no reference to “lifestyle.” Unfortunately, the stories weren’t debunked until Jenkins got $10,000 and Morales $3,000 from strangers on the Internet who had heard about their (fake) plights.

And I suspected this KFC story would turn out to be untrue as well. By Wednesday, the results of the internal investigation were released. From the Washington Post“Viral Story of Disfigured Girl Kicked Out of KFC Was a Hoax”:

Security camera footage from that KFC and another near the hospital did not show children matching Victoria’s description going into either restaurant on May 15, according to sources interviewed by the Leader-Call. Nor did any orders taken that day include both sweet tea and mashed potatoes – what Mullins claimed she ordered for her granddaughter.

I guess my interest in this story and others like it comes from the fact that we are so quick to believe the worst about our fellow human beings (“Of course some idiot complained about a scarred girl, and of course the idiot fast food workers kicked the poor girl out!”) and also our willingness to give money to strangers on the Internet, while we walk by homeless people warming themselves over heating grates in Center City Philadelphia (ok, maybe you haven’t done that, but I’ll admit that I have).

Or maybe I’m the one who’s believing the worst about my fellow human beings when I’m skeptical about the story of a scarred girl in Mississippi.

If You Ban Sex, I’m Going To Take My Ball and Go Home

 

My leftovers will look deceptively edible!

A deal at any price!

As an American, I’ve found it hard to get aroused excited about the 2014 FIFA World Cup, currently being held in and around Rio de Janeiro.  Oh, wait. I better take a moment to explain to my American readers what I’m talking about: the World Cup is this global soccer football soccer tournament held every four years.  A really big thing in other places not located in the United States.  It really is.  I know, I can’t believe it, either, but I’m not shitting you, it’s a very big deal.  I even saw a huge pile of US team jerseys for sale at Costco this past weekend that I, along with all the other shoppers, ignored as we headed off to buy the 42 pound bag of Scoop Away cat litter and the 128-piece Rubbermaid food storage set.

1998163_full-prtEvery so often, I’ll come across a World Cup news story that is so unusual that it piques even my American interest. For example, I was particularly startled by this story, US Team Defeats Ghana. After reading that headline, I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.  Yes, the United States team, led by their captain, Clint Dempsey, managed to win its opening match on Monday!  My red white and blue heart swells with national pride. On the flip side, how depressed is the entire nation of Ghana right now?  I mean, they lost to the Americans.  The Americans!

I’m not sure why Americans, who are exceptional at every thing else, suck at soccer football soccer. Perhaps it has something to do with what you have to do to be good at it. From cbssports.com:

Mexican national team coach Miguel Herrera wants his team thinking about football during the World Cup, not sex.

As such, Herrera has banned his team from having sex during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

You can't even get to first base in this game!

Ooooooh. Now I understand why they never score.

And the Mexicans went out and beat Cameroon, 1-0, last Friday. Then the Mexican team went on to play one of the tournament’s favorites, Brazil, to a tie on Tuesday. Those of us here at Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please can only hope that their powers of abstinence are waning. And if the Mexicans lose their next match, I’m calling a victory for sex.

Go Croatia!

You can catch all the exciting World Cup action televised on ABC and ESPN/ESPN2 and streamed on WatchABC and WatchESPN.  Or you can watch paint dry.

Royalty free stock photos including the image in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.  The image of the happy lady with all her lovely plastic containers comes the Rubbermaid website and is believed to comply with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law.  The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil official poster is used in accordance with the guidelines published here.

 

It’s 3am, I Must Be Up Reading Your Blog

Daily Post at WordPress.com

The Daily Prompt from the Daily Post for February 26:

What is the best dream you’ve ever had? Recount it for us in all its ethereal glory. If no dream stands out in your memory, recount your worst nightmare. Leave no frightening detail out.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us IMAGINARY.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

I’m one of those people who not only remembers my dreams, but I’m also annoying enough to tell you about them, in excruciating detail, over breakfast.

“. . . and then all my teeth started to fall out,” I’ll say to you while you’re waiting for your cup of coffee to cool enough to drink.

“And they felt like shards of broken glass in my mouth,” I’ll continue even though you’re not even listening anymore, you’re thinking about how your period is late and maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to hook up with Brad after all.  Or else you’re thinking about how the dog’s breath has been smelling funny lately and you should make an appointment with the vet for her after work.

But there I am, my voice droning on, still detailing my dream to you as though I haven’t even noticed your eyes glazing over.  Sometimes I’ll even add dramatic hand gestures to my story-telling, pantomiming the dream sequence.

“So I had to spit them out of my mouth and into my hand, one by one, like this.” I hold my hands before my mouth and make several loud “Ptooey!” noises.

“And then I held my hands out for everyone to see.” I hold out my palms to you. With only a slight hesitation, you lean forward to check to see if there are any teeth there.  There are not.  It was only a dream.

"Mmmm, of course I'll be your girlfriend, James Franco."

“Mmmm, of course I’ll be your girlfriend, James Franco.”

My husband is one of those people who never remembers his dreams.

“Not even the sex ones?” I asked.

“No, not even the sex ones, ” he said.

“Ok, well, then let me tell you about this sex dream I had last night . . .” Fortunately, this particular sex dream co-starred my husband (they don’t always).

Anyway, I’ve always assumed that people like my husband who don’t remember their dreams are rational and no-nonsense.  Meanwhile, people who do remember their dreams like me are creative and maybe a little bit dippy.

Now along comes this study, “Resting Brain Activity Varies with Dream Recall Frequency Between Subjects,” that says that I’m all wrong.  Dream recall has nothing to do with being creative!  It’s merely a matter of how soundly one sleeps.  From the Washington Post article on the research:

In general, dream recall is thought to require some amount of wakefulness during the night for the vision to be encoded in longer-term memory. But it is not known what causes some people to wake up more than others.

So people who wake up a lot at night have the opportunity to remember their dreams and store them in long term memory so they can recall them later, while people who sleep through until the alarm clock goes off never get that chance.

This makes perfect sense to me because I remember my dreams and I never sleep through the night! In fact, you may have noticed the odd time stamps on the comments I leave on your blog and you’ve been scratching your head wondering what time zone I live in.  Is it Brunei Darussalam Time? How about Hawaii-Aleutian Daylight Time?  No, it’s Eastern Standard Time and it really is 3am and I’m up reading your blog.

Royalty free stock photos including the image in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.

Tin Pan Anniversary

Like a railroad train bearing down on me in an episode of a silent movie serial, my wedding anniversary is fast approaching.

I’ve long struggled with what to give my husband for the day that will live in infamy our anniversary and find myself consulting those lists of traditional gifts each year.  You can find out what you’re supposed to give (or get) every year here. For those of you who don’t know how the internet works, I’ll provide the list for the first ten years of marriage:

  1. Paper
  2. Cotton
  3. Leather
  4. Fruit, flowers
  5. Wood
  6. Sugar
  7. Copper, wool
  8. Bronze
  9. Pottery, willow
  10. Tin
I knew I should have gotten him the DVD!

How am I supposed to wrap this?

Looks like last year I was supposed to give him a piece of pottery or a willow.  A willow?   Yes, a willow.  I wonder if that means the tree or the filmI guess it doesn’t matter since we both forgot our anniversary last year.  About a week later I finally remembered that I’d forgotten, but since he didn’t even remember that he forgot, I decided to save this bit of information to use against him in our next argument (“Not only did you leave the toilet seat up, but you forgot our anniversary, you bastard!”)

So this year it looks like I’m supposed to give him something made of tin.  Amazon.com suggests the “luxurious” Bentley’s Finest Tea Classic Collection Tin Gift Set (certified Kosher!), as well as tin cufflinks and a photo frame (“Cheap looking and definitely not what was expected” writes one disappointed purchaser).

I guess any of those ideas would be better than what one Pennsylvania couple decided to do together to commemorate their three-week (here I am, worrying about what to give for ten years of marriage while other couples celebrate their marriages as a weekly event!) anniversary.  From the NY Daily News:

They celebrated their three-week wedding anniversary and Veteran’s Day by killing a man for the thrill of it, according to police.

Elytte Barbour, 22, and his 18-year-old bride, Miranda, are charged with murder for the Nov. 11 killing of Troy LaFerrara, 42, a man who answered the woman’s Craigslist ad offering companionship in the form of “delightful conversation.”

I’ve warned you all about Craigslist before in the posts You Really Can Find Anything on CraigslistAdventures in Babymaking and Too Stupid to Live but I guess poor, doomed Troy LaFerrara was not a follower of Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please . Let his life (and death) be a lesson to you all to keep on following my blog.

As if murdering a stranger off Craigslist to celebrate your anniversary isn’t shocking enough, Mrs. Barbour is now claiming to be a mass-murdering Satanist.  Because, you know, why not?  I’m sure she has nothing better to do than think up crazy bullshit while lying around her cell waiting for trial.

As for me, I’m lying around wondering if it’s too much to hope my husband will forget about our anniversary again this year.

Royalty free stock photos including the image in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.

Who’s in Charge Here, Anyway?

I made the mistake of clicking on this link, GOP congressman’s book: ‘The wife is to voluntarily submit’ to her husband, only because I thought it would be a kinky BDSM sex story.  I was disappointed to find that it was just more of the same-old reactionary blather from a Republican Congressman about how his marriage is better than my marriage on account of submission.  Or subjugation.  Or subshrubs, or something.  (Subshrub is actually a word, I’m not making it up.  It’s a synonym for bush, which brings me right around the circle back to sex, I think.)

The supposed inspiration for the congressman’s ideas for connubial bliss comes from the book of Ephesians, chapter five, verses 22-24.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

It's a metaphor. No, it's supposed to be taken literally.  No, it's a metaphor . . .

It’s a metaphor. No, it’s supposed to be taken literally. No, it’s a metaphor . . .

I never understood why Christians take certain passages of the Bible literally while other passages are meant metaphorically.  How am I supposed to know to submit to my husband in everything, and also know not  to gouge out my own eyes when I sin (Mark 9:47)? Long-time (even short-time) readers of this blog know that I enjoy a bit of sinning now and then, and I don’t think my husband is going to be happy being married to a woman with two bloody eye sockets, no matter how much I submit.

It’s all very confusing.

But I want my marriage to be as happy as Congressman Pearce’s, so I’m willing to give this submission thing a go.  I went to the store and bought what I needed before approaching my husband with this new idea to improve our marriage.

“What do you think you’re doing with those handcuffs and nipple clips?” he asked me.

I pointed to Congressman Pearce’s book on the coffee table.  I know.  I know.  You thought I already understood that the Congressman didn’t mean that sort of submission, but I was counting on the fact that my husband had not bothered to read the book.

We'll have Twizzlers for dessert.

It’s what’s for dinner.

“He doesn’t mean that kind of submission,” my husband said.  Drat!  He had read the book.  “I think he means I’m supposed to command you to make what I want for dinner and stuff like that.”

I threw the handcuffs and nipple clips down in disgust.  “Forget about it!  We’re not eating bacon cheeseburgers and malted milk balls for dinner every night!”

My husband moved closer to me.  “What about doing that thing with your tongue that I like?”

“I save that for your birthday.”

My husband thought hard about how else he could get me to submit.  Finally, something occurred to him.  “How about you let me watch that public television special on model trains?”

“All right.  But not on the big TV.  You can watch on the little one, upstairs in the attic, by yourself.”

My husband smiled and nodded and then climbed the three flights of stairs to our musty attic where he watched his television program alone.

Maybe this submission thing really is good for your marriage.

Royalty free stock photos including the image in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNGThe image of the box of Whoppers® is taken from Hershey corporate website and is believed to comply with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law.

 

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Reproduction Ruined My Sex Life

From the file “Water is Wet, Also” comes this news: Happier Relationships for Couples Without Children,  a headline to which all the fruitful and multiplying couples in the world collectively responded, “No shit.”

If you click on the linky-link you’ll find out that the Open University interviewed over 5,000 people to come to this not-so-startling conclusion.  The Open University, by the way, sounds like a totally made up name for a fake school, which it sort of is.  You can check out their website here if you want.  Anyway, in 100 years, we’ll all probably be speaking of Open University in revered tones and praying that our great-great-great grandchildren get accepted there.  People probably snickered about Cambridge and Yale and the Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy when they were new, too.

Let’s see what the 5,000 folks at the Open University had to say about relationships and happiness and everything.

For both men and women, those who did not have children ranked the quality of their relationship more highly than those who did. They also did significantly more to “maintain” their relationship, such as taking time to go out together or talk, than those with children.

By “taking time to go out together or talk” they mean “have sex”, right?  Because that’s what I would mean by it.

I think that was just the cat using the litterbox!

Did you just hear one of the kids cough?

My own robust marital sex life took a downward turn the night our four year old wandered into our bedroom looking for a glass of water.  The experience so scarred my husband he was still shaking about it three days later.  Luckily, his psyche (and his penis) eventually recovered and we resumed our sexual relationship, only now sex was quiet, quick and furtive.  Also, my husband added this tantalizing question to his foreplay routine:

“Are you sure they’re asleep?”

I don’t know what he expected me to do to ensure our kids were soundly asleep.  Maybe spike their juice boxes with Vicks® Nyquil®?

Since the phenomenon of coitus interruptus de filii (or whatever we want to call it) is so widespread,

Mommy put on her nice underwear tonight.  Time to come down with a stomach virus!

Mommy put on her nice underwear tonight. Time to come down with a stomach virus!

there must be some advantage to children having evolved this ability to disrupt their parents’ sex lives.  Now that I think about it, it’s quite obvious: family resources are limited and the more children there are the thinner those resources get spread around, so it makes sense for the existing children to not want more children.  It’s the same reason why baby birds peck their siblings (sometimes to death) in the nest: they want a bigger share of that worm.  Since humans don’t have beaks, we had to develop another technique to limit the number of competitors within the family.  I imagine it works something like this, just as Daddy puts a little Marvin Gaye on the stereo and Mommy slips out of her pair of good underwear.

INT. Children’s Bedroom. Night.

Older Sister: (throwing a shoe across the room at Younger Sister asleep in bed)  Wake up!  I think they’re trying to have sex again!

Younger Sister: Huh?  What?

Older Sister:  They’re trying to have sex!  You better go in there and tell them you had a scary dream or something.

Younger Sister: Why?

Older Sister: To stop them from having sex!

Younger Sister: Why do I want them to stop having sex?  What do I care?  I don’t even know what sex is!

Older Sister: Sex is how you make babies, stupid.  If only I’d known what they were up to the night you were conceived.  Oh, well.  Now it’s in both our interest to stop anymore babies from coming into this house!   As it is, my future is already full of Friday nights waiting tables to pay for college.  And you better start taking kindergarten more seriously! They’re not going to throw away our limited financial resources on someone who gets a “Needs to Improve” in Listens Attentively!  Now go on, get in there.  Tell them your tummy hurts and I’ll go downstairs and start a fire in the microwave with a piece of aluminum foil.


Royalty free stock photos including the images in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.

A Different Sort of Hunger Games

I can’t decide what I find more amazing about the news story, Woman Sets Speed Record Eating 72-Ounce Steak: is it the size of the steak (four and a half pounds!) or the speed it took Molly Schuyler to eat it (four minutes!)?

There used to be a reality show on the Travel Channel, Man v. Food, in which the host took on eating challenges at restaurants around the United States.  On one episode he ate a bucket of chicken wings, on another episode he ate a gigantic burrito–you get the idea.  I first discovered the show when I was pregnant and ravenous and nauseous (all at the same time) years ago.  The show has since wrapped production but it airs endlessly in repeats so you can still catch it if you want to watch a guy eat a whole mess of not-always-appetizing food.

Here’s a bit from the episode filmed in Philadelphia where he ate a giant cheesesteak, natch.

I like burritos and chicken wings and steak as much as the next non-competitive food eating woman, but just last week at Outback Steakhouse® I dithered over whether to order the 6 oz. or 9 oz. filet.

My Patient Bloke Husband:  How hungry are you?

Sheila Me: I’m pretty hungry.

No Rules. Just Right. Wait, there is one rule. You have to eat it all in four minutes.

My Decisive Bloke Husband: The nine ounce.

Sheila Me: I may not be that hungry.

My Five Year Old Joey:  (pointing to the 20 oz. Porterhouse) I want this.

My Nine Year Old Joey: You can’t get that.  You have to order off the Joey menu.  (pointing to the 24 oz. ribeye)  I’m gonna order that, though.

Outback Server: Are you folks ready to order?

My Annoyed Bloke Husband: They’ll both have the Grilled Cheese-a-roos.  She’ll have the 9 oz filet and I’ll have the New York Strip.  And a Classic Steakhouse Martini.  Make it a double.

Needless to say, I didn’t finish the 9 oz filet (I knew I should have ordered the 6 oz!) and I can’t imagine a scenario in which I could scarf down 72 ounces of beef, like Molly Schuyler did. And she weighs 120 pounds, so she ate 1/27 of her weight!  She’s sort of like those ants who can lift 50x their own weight, only instead of heaving that grain of sand to the very top of the anthill, she eats it!

You can (still!) watch episodes of Man v. Food on the Travel Channel.  Check your cable listings for dates and times.

The image in this post comes from the Outback Steakhouse® corporate website and is believed to comply with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law.

The Daily Prompt today:

Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us a CURRENT EVENT.