Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Kristians of the Korn

The other night I went with George and our friend Oddrun to see Jesus Camp, a new documentary that explores the methods used by extreme Kristians* to indoctrinate their young children.

I want you all to go watch this movie immediately. However, I need to provide a disclaimer: there is not a single reader of this blog, or at least no reader I have interacted with, who will not be shocked and horrified by this film. I’m talking about bone chilling, spine tingling fear of what is happening on the screen in front of you. Just remember, Gentle Readers, this is the price we pay for opening our eyes to what is going on in the US. It is not pretty.

Although I have long been fascinated by the whole
Christian vs. Kristian phenomenon, this documentary was especially difficult to watch. I cringed almost the entire two hours we spent in the theater. And poor Oddrun. Whenever I looked over at her, she had her hand firmly cemented over her mouth – probably for fear that she would lose her lunch.

But the reaction-award of the evening goes to our beloved George. While Oddrun and I were squirming in our seats, feeling like we might need to leave the theater, George sat there in stony silence, his face pale and expressionless. At one point I leaned over and asked if he was OK.

“No,” he replied, whispering.

“I’m sorry. Is this just too much for you?”


“It’s just so depressing, right?”


“Oh. Well, do you feel sick or something?” I felt his forehead.


“Well what is it, then?” I asked.

His deadpan reply:

“I thought we were seeing a movie about kids who go to church. You didn’t tell me it was 'The Making of
Children of the Corn.'”

I started giggling and could not stop for the next twenty minutes. Kind of ruined the end of the film for me, but it was the funniest thing he’s said to me in our nine years together. He deserves some credit for that.

*Glossary for new CPW members:

Christian (noun): One who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Example: “Now that CP sure behaves like a good Christian! He helps the poor and feeds the hungry!”

Kristian (noun): A crazy ass religious fanatic who claims to be Christian but whose words, actions and beliefs bear no resemblance to anything even remotely related to Jesus Christ. Example: “To hell with the hungry! Let God take care of them! Us Kristians are gunna go hang us sum Christ-killers & homosexuals! Or at least make sure they cain’t get no health insurance. Yee haw!”

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Mama Gin Files: Home Improvements - Part 2

Ruby with Mama Gin

I love George’s sister Ruby. She is my favorite sister-in-law. She is also just about the biggest character I’ve ever known.

Ruby went to Erasmus high school in Brooklyn, and graduated just a few years after Barbra Streisand. I tell you this just to give you an idea of what it’s like when she speaks. Imagine Fran Drescher’s voice coming out of a 5’4” Chinese-American woman, and you’ve pretty much got the picture.

Ruby has a tendency to go on & on about things, which drives George up the wall. But for some reason, it doesn’t bother me, mainly because I am just so fascinated by the way she talks and by the amusing way she phrases everything. To give you an example, here is an excerpt of one of her tirades about her ex-boyfriend, Kenny:

He’s so lazy. His idea of a good time is to come over to my apartment and jump into my bed in his underweahs. So I says to him “Kenny, why do you always have to jump into my bed in your underweahs? Why don’t you take me out or somethin?” So now he comes over and takes me to dinnah and a movie. And then he comes back and jumps into my bed in his undeweahs. So finally I says to him “Kenny! Get your drippy dick out of my bed!”

Ruby lives about ten blocks from us, so we see her a lot. Unfortunately, Ruby’s relationship with Mama Gin is even worse than George’s. “Worse” is an understatement, actually. I’m talking about a really bad relationship. They get along about as well as Hitler and Golda Meir would have. Think Ann Coulter and Susan Sarandon. Jesus and Satan. In fact, Ruby feels about Mama Gin the way Courtney Love does about a shower. Utter repulsion.

Ruby and Mama Gin generally can’t be in the same room for ten minutes before one of them is screaming and/or hurling blunt objects at the other. I have actually witnessed the two of them coming to blows.

So by this point you’re probably wondering “what does this Mama Gin Files installment have to do with home improvement?” Well, I’m about to tell you the mother of all home improvement stories.

Ruby is a school teacher, and usually takes her summers off. So, one summer when George wanted to do some remodeling in the large entryway of the house, he hired Ruby to paint for him.

This was no ordinary paint job. This job involved tall ladders, days of scraping off peeling paint, and long-arm rollers. Due to the sheer height of the ceilings in the main entryway, this was one of those jobs you’re only too glad to outsource. And Ruby, who is handy with any sort of artwork, was happy to step in.

The only problem was the Mama Gin factor. This time, unlike my previous painting story, there would be no apartment for Ruby to hide in. No door to bolt, no apartment to lock, no window to cover. She would be right out in the open, at Mama Gin’s mercy, for eight hours a day.

I was quite worried about this, but George simply decided that Ruby would have to make her own decisions on how to handle her mother.

As it turns out, I had good reason to worry.

The afternoon of Ruby’s first day on the job, I called in to check our answering machine and heard the following message from Lenore, our upstairs tenant. I could hear a faint commotion going on in the background.

Ummm, George? This is Lenore. I’m not sure what to do here. There’s this Chinese woman doing some work in the hallway, and she’s screaming at your mother. At the top of her lungs. It’s really loud. It sounds like it might get violent if it hasn’t already. I’m really freaked out and I’m afraid to leave the apartment. Do you know who this person is? I’m thinking I might call the police. Please call me as soon as you get this – I don’t know what to do.

It seems that Mama Gin came out into the hallway to keep Ruby “company” while she worked. “Keeping her company” apparently involved standing at the bottom of the ladder for about two hours straight saying “why you scrape ceiling? Don’t scrape ceiling. Paint dry, paint fall off, no good. Don’t paint ceiling, no good. Too hot. Paint melt off wall. Why you paint? You no good paint. Your cousin paint better. Get cousin to paint. Where Georgie? Why Georgie not paint? Georgie get marry? Tom have gurlfriend. He marry, move out. Don’t paint. Why you scrape? Scrape no good. Paint melt, don’t paint. You fall off ladder, no good. Why Georgie no have gurlfriend? Don’t paint!”

Ruby tried her best to block it out, but finally couldn’t take it any more. That’s when she started screaming, terrifying our tenants in the process.

“Moooooothaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!! Shaaaaaaaddddddddddddddddaaaaaap!!!!!!!!!!! Shhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttttttttttt aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaappppp!!!!! Shaaaaadddddddddaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!!!!!!!!”

Apparently she had quite the little breakdown.

The funniest part is that it had no effect on Mama Gin, who would launch right back in to her lecturing the second Ruby stopped screaming.

Lenore was able to calm down once she realized it was just George’s sister in the hallway. All the same, I think she found somewhere else to spend her time for the next few days until Ruby was able to complete the job.

Next on board: CP & George remodel their kitchen, to the horror of Mama Gin.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saturday schedule (sloth version)

Arose: 11:30 am (but only because we went to bed at 5:30 am)

Read: New York Magazine; many blogs; email (non-work)

Watched: Mean Girls; The Parent Trap; Sybil (part two only); some low budget HGTV style show about organizing your apartment; Ride with the Devil; Exorcist: The Beginning; a really disturbing re-enactment of the torture of Guantanamo prisoners; NYC-TV (various restaurant review shows; review of South by Southwest (alternative music festival in Austin, TX); Body Electric); Rent

Consumed: A lot of coffee; whole wheat toast with lingonberry preserves; huevos rancheros; an apple; an orange; Trader Joe’s chocolate covered blueberries (both milk & dark); licorice; potage of potato, leek & kohlrabi; tuna noodle hot dish topped with melted swiss & potato chips; milk & Chips Ahoy

Wore: a t-shirt & shorts, but only due to need to walk to store for potato chips and half&half

Miscellaneous activities: looked for school photo for online pageant but didn’t find; made mental note to speak with sister who may have a copy; logged onto employer’s network to learn about new databases I’ll need next week, obtaining new cyberstalking ideas in the process; scratched itches on boyfriend’s dry feet; informed George that Lindsay Lohan is now a whore; decided to backup files from wounded computer, but soon abandoned in favor of more tv viewing; wondered how old Jesse Martin is; noted that the boyfriend from Lisa Picard is Famous was very ugly in that movie but not quite as bad in Rent; Sudoku

Bathed: not applicable

So much for our hip New York lifestyle.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Notice! October 1st, Online Pageant!

This is not anyone I know. It is an anonymous hipster.

Gentle Readers,
Our friend
Beth has announced the first annual Little Miss Sunshine Online Pageant!

Competing in The Little Miss Sunshine Online Pageant is easy. Just follow these steps:

1. Visit this post in Beth's blog and let her know you'll participate by leaving a comment.

2. Find an old school picture of yourself. The geekier the better.

3. Post your picture on your blog on the morning of Sunday, October 1.

4. Visit Beth's blog again, where she will provide a list of contestants with links to their photos.

This way, you see, we will be able to crown our very own Little Miss Sunshine!
Remember, this is a very important online beauty contest. We hope to see you there.


Friday, September 22, 2006

The Mama Gin Files: Home Improvements - Part 1

Mama Gin likes to help out whenever we engage in a home improvement project. Of course, her definition of "help out" is to torment you to the point where you'd choose to torch the property rather than deal with her for one more second.

My first home improvement project, a number of years ago, was to paint our apartment. This was quite an endeavor, since at the time the apartment was jam packed with furniture and other items. Just prepping for the job took several days.

When I finally began the actual paint job, I started with the trim around the front windows. Although it was January, I kept the windows open while I worked to protect myself from the fumes.

What I had forgotten to take into account is that Mama Gin comes to our windows to spy on us about three times a day. This would surely cause trouble. When Mama Gin went outside eventually and saw that I had the windows open, she became alarmed. She came down to the apartment and knocked on the door.

"Why window open? No good, no good."

"I'm painting."

"Why you paint? No good."

"To make the apartment look better."

"No, no paint, too cold. No good."

"It will be ok, don't worry about it." I closed the door.

We repeated the above scene about six times in the next twenty minutes. Finally, I became so frustrated that I just complied with her request, shut the windows and took a break.

A little while later, George came home. I told him Mama Gin was harassing me as I was trying to work.

"Don't worry about it, just keep working. I'll take care of it if she comes down again." So I opened the windows and resumed the job. Sure enough, five minutes later we heard the rapping of Mama Gin's greasy knuckles on the door.

"Ma, get out of here! Tom is just trying to make the place look nicer. Leave him alone." A heated discussion in Chinese ensued, after which George chased her back upstairs and bolted the door so that she couldn't come down again.

But Mama Gin is not so easily defeated, and in about three minutes was once again standing outside our living room window.

"No no no!!!! Close window!!! All heat go out, you cold, no good!!!" Why she cared, I have no idea since she doesn't pay the utilities for the house.

She kept on at me until I was ready to scream.

"George, I can't take this! Make her stop!"

"Just close the window. You can open it once in a while to air the place out."

I followed his advice, which worked rather nicely except for the fact that Mama Gin did not go away. She put her face right up to the window pane and rapped on it as she continued to admonish me. It was getting creepy.

Finally George suggested we do exactly as Mama Gin does with her own windows, which is to tape newspaper on them to prevent anyone from looking in. I did.

For the next several hours I continued to paint the trim around the front windows, to the muffled sounds of Mama Gin crying "Don't paint! Don't paint!"

Stay tuned for the next installment. It gets even better.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Declaration of the CP No. 2: Work related emails

I have many policies. Not everyone enjoys my policies, but they are important nonetheless. Sometimes I have a policy without even realizing it. Then when I figure out that I have the policy, I become glad of it and declare it officially.

I discovered such a policy this summer involving emails at work. I get hundreds of emails a week. Sometimes about a hundred a day, give or take a few. I read and respond to the ones that seem really important, and especially the ones that come from friends and friendly co-"workers." And, most of the time, emails that come from my boss and from my clients. The rest I open and then try to file somewhere I can find later if needed.

What I discovered this summer, however, is that any email that is longer than two paragraphs, I simply ignore. No matter who it's from. I open it, glance at it briefly and then just close it without taking any further action. My brain just can't absorb that much information, so I don't even try. Apparently, I have unwittingly instated a two-paragraph-maximum policy.

I found out about my policy the hard way.

One day at lunch, some of my co-"workers" started bitching about some project they were working on. For the sake of this story, we'll call it "Project X."

J: "So where are you with Project X? Isn't it annoying?"

A: "Oh. My. God. Can we just talk about Project X for a minute? Are they fucking kidding me with this? When the hell am I supposed to do this? I'll have to pull an all-nighter to get this in by Friday."

J: "I know. I hate it. I wish they would stop asking for this stuff."

G: "So how did you guys approach it - did you do the list first and then get all the data to fill in, or did you make the calls to see who was interested before you did that other spreadsheet?"

Tom: "Project X? What is that?"

J+A+G: "What do you mean? It's due Friday. Haven't you started it?"

Tom: "Started what? I don't even know what you guys are talking about."

A+G: "Didn't M forward you that email from the home office?"

Tom: "Hmm, probably... maybe I didn't see it."

J: "Well I know she forwarded it to you, because I got it and you were on the email."

Tom: "Oh, ok....."

So you see, these emails are a real problem. When I went to look at my overflowing inbox, I realized that I simply stopped reading any email that exceeded two paragraphs in length. No matter who it was from. Even if it was from my boss.

My boss forwards a lot of emails from the bigwigs in our home office. I don't really care about the bigwigs in our home office because I don't know most of them, they don't know me, and I don't aspire to work anywhere near them. So I just ignore them. Even when they try to talk to me through my boss.
And especially when they try to talk to me through my boss via long, rambling emails.

I went and had a little chat with my boss. Since I'm brutally honest by nature, I simply informed her that my policy prevented me from finding out about Project X in a timely fashion, and that I would need an extension to complete it on time.

My boss likes me, but let's just say she was not impressed by this news, or by my policy.

"Tom, I appreciate how busy you are and that you do a great job taking care of your accounts. But I really need you to start reading your emails. Do you think you can do that?"

I still haven't given her a firm answer. Instead, I got J+A+G to promise to let me know when anything important comes up over email.

Despite this minor setback, I think my policy turned out to be a good one. I'm much more efficient at work now that everyone knows I won't read all their crap.

Mmmmm, bacon

Everyone who is important knows that Lulu loves bacon.

Lulu also likes cats, as do I.

If Lulu and I were to have a child, this is what it might look like.

There is hope for humanity, after all.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Confidential to MJH

Thanks to suggestions from our trustworthy blogger sources Dale and Beth, there is a new Tom&Mindy movie on the horizon: Little Miss Sunshine. What an odd, odd movie. In other words, right up our alley.

I don't know about the rest of you, but that little girl is my new hero.

This is one I will surely own. Thanks, B&D!


ps: Min, go see this immediately.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dear Gentle Readers

Dear Gentle Readers,

My personal laptop (which George also uses) is on its last leg and we will soon buy a new one. Meanwhile, we can't really use our computer, which means my blogging time has been curtailed seriously. Despite rumors to the contrary, I do actually work sometimes when I'm at my job, which means daytime blogging is not always available. And at night I only blog if a) I bring my work laptop home with me; and 2) I can rip my work laptop away from George, who is porn ... er, I mean computer starved all day every day now that ours is on the blink.

What does this mean for you, my Gentle Readers? Well, for one thing I have fallen behind on my duty to reply, pithily, to all the delightful comments you leave here at CPW. Likewise, although I do try to logon and read your blogs, I feel pressed for time to leave the impressive number of unbelievably profound and hilarious comments that you, my stalkees, have come to expect from CPW.

It's very hard to live up to being me, sometimes.

But please know that I still care. I kept my promise. Don't keep your distance.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

CPW's Mormon Wednesdays: Jesus is White!

This is Mormon Jesus. He's white!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Today's Mormon lesson is on the whiteness of Jesus and His true followers! The Mormons originally taught that dark skinned people had something wrong with them spiritually. The Native Americans had strayed from God a few thousand years ago, resulting in their being given red skin. (Hmmm, red, maybe like SATAN?)

I'm not sure what it was specifically the Mormons taught about blacks, but it wasn't pretty. In fact, black people didn't get to hold the priesthood in Mormondom until 1977.

Yes, that would be 1977, folks.

And then blacks only got to start holding the priesthood in 1977 because the leader of the church, also known to Mormons as The Prophet, gets to make up the rules as he goes. The Mormons refer to this as the Prophet having a "revelation," but come on, who are we kidding here?

Some of you may tell me that what counts is that they got it right in the end! Shouldn't we be nicer to them because they finally came around?

Well, since I am currently The Prophet of CPW, I get to make up the rules of CPW as I go! The answer to your question, Gentle Readers, is NO. If your church is so fucking stupid that it took you until 1977 to start letting blacks in, you have no reason to be here. You need to go away.

And that's despite the
Celestial Underwear.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Remembering the Victims of 9-11: Geoffrey Thomas Campbell

The 2,996 project is a special blogging event taking place on 2,996 different blogs. On September 11, 2006, these nearly three thousand bloggers, of which I am one, are each posting a tribute to one of the 2,996 people who perished in the terrorist attacks five years ago.

And so today, here at CPW, we are honoring the memory of Mr. Geoffrey Thomas Campbell.

Geoff Campbell was a jet-setter who traveled widely all over the globe, visiting many countries and continents in both hemispheres. Although his family makes their home in Northampton, England, Geoff came to live in the US in 1999, where he worked for Reuters Consulting Group in the World Trade Center.

Not long after his arrival here, Geoffrey met the woman who would later become his fiancée, Ms. Caroline Burbank of New York. Caroline describes Geoffrey as a kind and gentle soul, who was always the first to welcome a newcomer and invite him or her out for a cocktail. Caroline also recalls his sense of humor, specifically about the way they met.

She had overheard Geoff talking to someone in a bar, when she began to make fun of his British accent. Instead of being offended, Geoff laughed along with Caroline, exchanged e-mail addresses and eventually asked her out on a date. Later they got engaged, moved into a Chelsea apartment which they shared with two cats, and enjoyed a trip together to visit Geoff's family in England in August of 2001.

Geoff was killed in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, before he and Caroline could follow through on their vows to marry. He was 31.

Geoff was a fun-loving person, whose many friends and colleagues describe as enjoying a drink and a laugh. Mark Anderson of London discusses how much he always enjoyed Geoffrey's company over drinks when they worked together at an investment bank.

Both Samantha Cammarata and Mary Duffy of New York have fond memories of amusing discussions with Geoff during the time they spent together. Mary specifically remembers relaxing with both Geoff and Samantha in Geoff's back garden, where they shared beers and friendship. One thing that Mary finds especially noteworthy about Geoff is the amiable environment he was able to create in his home. "Even the cats were friendly," she remarked on another online remembrance of Geoff.

Geoff seemed to meet good friends wherever he went. John McCormack recalls spending six months working with Geoffrey in Istanbul, and describes his fondness for partying with him. John notes that he always thinks of Geoff when he hears the song "Wonderwall" by Oasis.

In addition to John from Istanbul, other friends from faraway places have taken the trouble to post online remembrances to their English friend. Both Luigi Rondanini, who met Geoff in Buenos Aires, and Juan Jimenez, who met him in Madrid, have only nice things to say. "He was a great guy," notes Luigi on another website.

In addition to being fun, Geoff is remembered as being an especially nice person. Sarah Ashdown of London recalls how he comforted her in her grief after the death of her father, describing Geoff as "solid." Javonn Jenkins, who also knew Geoffrey, notes that he was a "good and kind man" who never had an unkind word to say about anyone.

It is possible that Geoffrey's good nature and sense of humor might be summed up by a funny note left on another website by his friend, Cathie Campbell of San Francisco, where she declares that she "will never forget the dodgy Jesus and Mary Chain haircut." If Geoffrey were able to read this, I suspect he would respond with a hearty LOL.

Peace be with Geoffrey, his family and loved ones, this day and always.


Click here to view the quilt square that was made for Geoffrey as part of the United in Memory project.

Geoffrey Thomas Campbell

Saturday, September 09, 2006

New Girlfriend

It's official. CP is in love with Reese Witherspoon.

I first began to admire her in the Legally Blonde movies. Then, I developed a full-on crush after her performance in Walk the Line.

But last night I went to Blockbuster while George was making a delicious dinner of Japanese curry and rice. He requested V for Vendetta, which I got for him. I also noticed a Reese movie I hadn't seen, Just Like Heaven, which I decided to rent.

Ok, so now the crush is over. I am full-fledgedly in love with this woman. Love her, love her, love her.

And the movie made me cry. What a friggin Mary. But nonetheless, if Reese came a-knockin', I'd have to ask George for some time off. He'd understand, because he cried too.

Let the cyberstalking commence.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Cyberstalking Mishap

The quality of my cyberstalking skills may be on the decline. One of my victims from earlier this year appears to have caught on to my hijnks, and has now shut down his blog to outsiders. No more gaping at his life from afar. Damn. Must have caught me spying.

Oh well, at least we still have
Martha Dumptruck.

CPW Confessional: All My Children

Both Old Lady and Gizmorox have been blogging about soap operas lately, which reminds me that I have a confession to make.

When I was a kid I got addicted to All My Children, but I was embarassed to admit it to anyone. During the summers I would watch it every day at noon, but I would have to sit really close to the TV so that I could turn the channel quickly if I heard somone coming into the room. Made it hard to follow the story sometimes.

I outgrew my embarassment about liking All My Children by the time I graduated from high school, but today I'm embarassed about my prior embarassment.

How screwy is that?

There's been an accident!

Our blogging friend Dale recently told a funny story about the time he got hit by the same truck twice within a 20-second window. Some people have all the luck.

At least Dale got to go to the hospital, and for three days! Probably missed some school while he was at it.

I, on the other hand, am about to tell you the story of how I, instead of being taken to a hospital, was flippantly ignored for more than a day after sustaining injuries from a very dangerous fall. I was eight years old when this happened.

We had just moved to a new town, into a big old house where some friends of the family were visiting us one Sunday afternoon. I decided to show Patti, who was about a year older than me, around the neighborhood. Quite the little host, I was.

During our little neighborhood frolic we ended up in front of our church, a modern structure with nice landscaping that included a sunken gravel pit surrounded by a ten-foot stone wall.

Being the little idiot I was, I climbed up on one of the walls and called for Patti to come join me. When she hesitated, I started doing something dumb to show off. I think I was trying to stand up on the wall to pretend I was on a balance beam or something.

I vaguely remember the backwards fall and hitting some bushes in the gravel pit below, before rolling down all the way to hit my head on some large rocks. I don’t remember anything else about the next ten minutes or so that I spent in the gravel pit. Patti later told me she went looking for a rope to try to pull me out, before noticing there was a stairway leading down into the pit. She came down to escort me out, which I don’t remember at all.

I started to come to my senses as Patti was leading me down the street in search of my house. She feared she would not be able to recognize the house as she had only been introduced to it earlier that day. I remember being in a complete daze, kind of a hazy fog, while Patti continually asked me “Is this your house? How about this one? Yes? No?”

I kept asking her if I was dreaming, since everything seemed so foggy. She pinched me, saying “did you feel that? If you did, then you’re not dreaming. Now tell me where your house is.”

I blanked out again, and didn’t come to until I was standing in our downstairs bathroom, with both my and Patti’s mother washing off my many scrapes and bruises. My mom seemed barely interested, while Patti’s mother kept shouting “what were you two doing, anyway?” to Patti, who was sitting in the living room.

After I was cleaned up, the adults deposited me on the couch and resumed their visit. Apparently, it didn’t register with them that I had fallen from a ten-foot wall, been knocked unconscious, and was visibly dazed to the point that I would not have gotten myself home absent Patti’s assistance. In all fairness, Patti probably didn’t tell them exactly what happened for fear of being reprimanded, since she was, after all, the older one of us. But still. Jesus Christ. Can’t two educated, grown women tell when a young child probably has a concussion? Did the fact that I didn’t even know where I was make any impression at all on them? I guess not.

Later that evening, as I was still lying on the couch, I realized my right arm hurt like living hell. My brother-in-law, who had stopped over for some reason, wrapped it in an ace bandage for me, and I went to bed.

The next morning my arm was still throbbing, and I could barely get my clothes on. I made myself late for school because of my “dawdling,” and my mother’s comments regarding the latter were fairly devoid of warmth. I honestly don’t remember how I made it through the day.

When I got home from school that afternoon, my sister, who was a nurse, was at the house and told me she was taking me to the hospital for x-rays. Apparently, my brother-in-law had gone home and mentioned the injury to her, prompting her to phone my mom the next day to see how I was doing. Marg apparently expressed some confusion as to why my parents didn’t realize I had hurt my arm. And although I wasn’t privy to the conversation that followed, I’ve been told it encompassed various exchanges involving words such as “neglectful and “unfit.” Off to the hospital we went!

About five minutes after we entered the E.R., I was being asked questions like “what took you so long to come here?” and “why on earth didn’t you tell your parents your arm hurt so badly?” How is an eight year old supposed to respond to such questions? I gave one especially cloying nurse a terse response along the line of “because I’m DUMB!” for which I was swiftly reprimanded by my sister.

The doctor who set the broken bone just about killed me, and I repeatedly yelled “why do you have to keep SQUEEZING it?!” at him. My sister kept exclaiming “Thomas!” But I was pissed. I had been grossly wronged on all accounts, and I was ready to take names.

The only satisfying part of this story for me is the memory of the look on my mother’s face when I returned home and walked through the back door wearing a full-arm plaster cast. That, and the knowledge that a little parental guilt goes a long, long way. I still bring this incident up now and again when my mom and I are together, and when I’m on my game, I can make her cry in under ten seconds.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Mama Gin Files: CP has a Gurlfriend, Betty

This is our cat, Betty. She was never my girlfriend.

Faithful readers of The Mama Gin Files already know about Mama Gin’s obsession with George finding a girlfriend and getting married.

Occasionally, her obsession comes to visit me as well, and she harangues me about not being married. The only reason she cares about this is that my finding a girlfriend and getting married would get me out of the way, enabling her to marry George off. But I allow myself to feel cared about, anyway.

One day when I was home alone, Mama Gin came down for a visit.

“Tom, I want talk to you. You should get marry.”

“Well, thank you for your concern, but I don't want to get married. I’m happy living here with George.”

“But you have gurlfriend! You marry her.”

“Excuse me, but I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“Yes, you have gurlfriend. I see. You write to her.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“You write her postcard. I see it. It say ‘Betty.’ B-E-T-T-Y. Betty.”

George and I like to send postcards when we travel. During our trip to Europe in 2003, we sent one to our cat, Betty, because we thought it would be funny. Apparently, Mama Gin didn’t share in our sense of humor.

“Betty is our cat, Mama Gin. ”


“A cat. Betty is a cat. She's not my girlfriend, she's a cat. We sent her the card as a joke.”

“Wha? No gurlfriend? Nooooo! Why you send card to cat?”

“We were just playing around. We thought it would be funny.”

“Cat can’t read card!”

“I told you, it was just a joke.”

“No, no good, no good. You get marry.”
She continued to shake her head slowly as she trudged back up the stairs.

We still miss Betty for many reasons, one of them being her ability to torment Mama Gin in so many ways.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Mama Gin Files: Georgie Crying!

Every now and again George tries some sort of reverse psychology on Mama Gin. And then he remembers that reverse psychology with a psychotic person is a labyrinth you would best not walk into.

One day Mama Gin came down to tell George about an article she read in one of her Chinese newspapers. This article told her that men who don’t get married, but who instead choose to live with other men, often get depressed and commit suicide. “See, you need get marry!”

A little while later when she came down to repeat her wisdom for about the fiftieth time in one hour, George tried the following tack with her:

“Mom, you coming down to bother me every five minutes is making me very depressed. I’m so depressed I might kill myself. I cry constantly because you won’t leave me alone. Why do you want to make me cry? Please leave me alone.”

That shut her up, and she went back upstairs. But oh, how his victory was short lived.

A few days later, when I was home alone, Mama Gin came down.

“Tom, I want talk to you. Georgie sad. He crying. Cause of you. You live here. No good. Georgie need get marry.” It was very Mrs. Swan-like, the way she said it.

“Mama Gin, I think Georgie is happy living with me. He doesn’t want to get married.”

“No, Georgie crying. He sad. You move out.”

“Well, if Georgie wanted me to move out, I would. But he doesn’t want me to. He likes it with me here.”

“But I want Georgie get MARRY!” She was losing her Mrs. Swan-like casual tone.

“Well, I understand that you want Georgie to get married. But Georgie doesn’t want to get married. He’s happy with me.”

“But Georgie CRYING!”

“Well, I think he cries sometimes because you bother him all the time. Just leave him alone, and he’ll stop crying.”

“No, no good, no good.” She walked back up the steps.

But of course, we had to replay the scene about thirty times before she wore herself out.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Wherein Mindy June Had to Stop Reading "The Corrections"

Last week I told Mindy June I was planning to read this book at some point.

"Oh my God. I can't stand that book."

"When did you read it?"

"I didn't. I got part way through it and I had to stop."


"Because not one character had any redeeming quality whatsoever. Plus, a specific thing happened at one point that made me decide I had no need to continue reading that book."

"What was it?"

"Trust me, if you get to it, you will know immediately. Even my book club wouldn't keep reading after that."

"Was it a sex thing?"

"I'm not discussing this with you. If you want to read it, go ahead. But when you get to the part that made me decide to stop reading, you will know."

Well, we love a challenge over here at CPW! So of course, I had to check The Corrections out from the library immediately.

So far, I'm kind of enjoying the book. She is definitely right that most of the characters are not very nice. This Jonathan Franzen obviously doesn't think too highly of humanity.

I am only on page 83 right now, so please do not give me any spoilers in your comments.

However, I suspect I may have come to the part that made Mindy quit reading. And if this isn't it, I can't wait for what must be up ahead.

The following occurs on pages 76-77. If you do not want to know what happens, stop reading now. (Parents, you may also want to keep your kids away from this next paragraph.)

It was early January and the woods around Carparts Creek were soggy with melting snow. Only the shopping-center sky above central Connecticut and the digital readouts of his home electronics cast light on his carnal labors. He was kneeling at the feet of his chaise and sniffing its plush minutely, inch by inch, in hopes that some vaginal tang might still be lingering eight weeks after Melissa Paquette had lain here. Ordinarily distinct and identifiable smells - dust, sweat, urine, the dayroom reek of cigarette smoke, the fugitive afterscent of quim - became abstract and indistinguishable from oversmelling, and so he had to pause again and again to refresh his nostrils. He worked his lips down into the chaise's buttoned navels and kissed the lint and grit and crumbs and hairs that had collected in them. None of the three spots where he thought he smelled Melissa was unambiguously tangy, but after exhaustive comparison he was able to settle on the least questionable of the three spots, near a button just south of the backrest, and give it his full nasal attention. He fingered other buttons with both hands, the cool plush chafing his nether parts in a poor approximation of Melissa's skin, until finally he achieved sufficient belief in the smell's reality - sufficient faith that he still possessed some relic of Melissa - to consummate the act.

Was that it, Min?


ps: Remember, commenters, no spoilers! I'm still reading!