This is weird, right? I can’t imagine that this is a good thing. I mean, are sushi chefs everywhere counting Flamin’ Hot Cheetos as their number one go-to ingredient for the absolute best, most delicious sushi? Now, I don’t eat sushi… but I’m guessing this dish wouldn’t be found on the menu of most sushi restaurants. It would, however, be found at the local grocery store that swears their sushi is made fresh daily, which I’ve spoken about before. I must say, I will forever be in awe of the American palate. And not in a good way. From deep-fried butter to Flamin’ Hot Cheeto sushi rolls. What will we think of next?
Anyone who knows me is aware that I am an introvert. I make no bones about it. Don’t get me wrong, I still do what I have to do when I have to do it, but generally speaking, I value my private time and my personal space. So naturally, when I have to fly, these things I enjoy are thrown completely out the window. If you’ve flown before, especially if you do it often, one of the biggest pet peeves you may have is children crying during the entire flight. However, there are a lot of folks out there who have no problem blocking that out with AirPods, a movie, or just a few decades of being a parent. But what if you were just peacefully sitting there on your flight and suddenly a few people got up and started handing out ukuleles to everyone, leading to an impromptu music lesson?
The “magical” ukulele event took place on Southwest Airlines and generated an unusually high response from the community. While there were a bunch of people who weren’t too keen on the idea (such as myself), there were also a lot of folks who somehow enjoyed it. I know, right? I’m not sure what’s wrong with them, but it takes all kinds, I guess. I should also point out that I wasn’t on the flight, I merely read about it, but I feel for any introvert in that situation. Along with the people who wanted nothing more than to catch a quick nap during their flight.
Can you imagine relaxing and leaning back (as much as you can lean back in seats made in hell), closing your eyes, and then BAM! Ukulele music … and not from talented folks, either. From people who had likely never held a ukulele before in their lives. I shudder to think. All I can say is, no. No, thanks. Let me off. I’ll catch the next flight, thank you very much.
These surprise events all started sometime before the pandemic, which is when Southwest became known for these onboard “surprise and delight” programs, but with traveling and the tourist scene slowing down, these little events have drastically slowed down as well.
One Twitter user commented, “If the flight I’m on ever turns into a surprise group music lesson I am going to sue the airline for $50 billion in emotional damages” and I can honestly say that I’m 100% in agreement with that.
Another user commented, “If you aren’t on board or you haven’t experienced it, it’s out of the ordinary, and that’s kind of the point. … It’s something special and uniquely Southwest.” Well, if that’s how Southwest flies, then I’ll be flying with literally anyone else. There could be some guy dressed as the Rocketeer flying people solely on his back to their location, and I’d be more than happy to take him up on the offer to get to my destination as long as he promised not to pull any crap like fucking ukulele lessons.
All kidding aside, this happened on a flight from Long Beach to Honolulu and while you may be wondering if it lasted the entire trip, luckily it was all pretty much over in about 20 minutes. At least the staff took pity on the passengers so they didn’t have to listen to a few dozen people trying to belt out the chords to “Freebird” on ukuleles from Cali all the way to Hawaii. Although, come to think of it, that might’ve just been self-preservation on the staff’s part.
I must admit though, a free ukulele would be kind of cool, but not as cool as a free parachute in that situation. And honestly, if you knew how I felt about jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, you’d realize how serious I am about hating an impromptu amateur ukulele concert.
I really don’t think there is a generation alive that hasn’t grown up with Disney in some way, shape or form. If I remember correctly, one of the first Disney cartoons to ever come out was back in the 20s and starred Oswald the rabbit instead of Mickey Mouse. Then in the 30s, a little animated jaunt came out from the studio called Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Perhaps you’ve heard of that one? A quick online search shows that there are a few people still alive in the states who were born between 1905 and 1910 who would have been in their 20s when Disney started making short cartoons which means even the oldest people in America had a little Disney in their early adult years. My generation grew up in front of the tv on Sunday evenings with The Wonderful World of Disney (followed by Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom).
All of this to say that it’s easy to see how kids grow into adults who are Disney babies at heart. I even know of childless couples who have no issue with going to Disneyland or Disney World or even confessing that they are obsessed with all things Disney. They even have Disney-themed weddings with nary a child in sight. I have friends in their 30s and 40s who readily admit that they’ve watched all the classics such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia, Lion King, etc., and why not? I mean, we were all young once, right? And if Disney is to be believed, we’re all young still.
But what about when an adult watches a Disney movie by themselves in today’s day and age? Well, depending on who you ask, that’s a whole different story. I’ve recently learned that it’s somewhat of a taboo subject and it’s where a lot of adults (especially men) draw the line. Admit that you like cartoons? Oof. Some people will definitely give you a few looks. I mean, I’m a Looney Tunes gal, love the show, and always have. Animaniacs? I am so there. I love Pixar and Disney movies too and even a few that fall outside the franchise names we all know, like FernGully (20th Century Fox), The Land Before Time (Universal), Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli), Howl’s Moving Castle (also Studio Ghibli), and many more. There are a lot of well-done animated features that I’d happily recommend to anyone looking for a good wholesome film to watch.
When my kids were younger, it was easy to get my cartoon fix. No one bats an eye at a mom taking their kid to the movies or plopping down on the couch to watch a round of Pinky and the Brain. I had plenty of “Oh, I’m just taking the kids to the movies!” or “I bought it for the kids!” moments. Yeah, that’s right, the kids. I’m sure there was a time or two when they were like, “but mom, I don’t want to watch Lady and Tramp again” and I’d snap back with, “too bad, we’re watching it anyway.” I may or may not be joking about that previous statement. But with my little ones not so little anymore, it’s become a bit more challenging to act like a grown-up while trying to enjoy my animated guilty pleasures. Now, along comes Bluey, which I actually came across by accident during a work trip while flipping through the channels of the hotel room tv late at night. But without a doubt, it instantly became one of my all-time favorites. I mean, come on! Cute little pups with Aussie accents? Yes, please!
Don’t get me wrong, I just don’t sit there yearning for cartoons regularly or turn on Amazon Prime and binge a season or two of SpongeBob SquarePants. Pfft. Of course, I don’t. I like dramas and action movies, and I consider myself a sucker for a good ole horror flick just as much as the next person, but who’s to say adults can’t enjoy an animated feature every now and again?
Either way, I’m going to do me and just assume that there are tons of people out there who feel the same way but just don’t want to admit they enjoy the occasional cartoon from time to time. Now excuse me, Bluey is on.
Has this ever happened to you? It’s a nice, crisp, fall weekend evening after a long, hard week of work and you’re ready to cuddle up with some cider, a blanket, and a spooky movie – as one does this time of year – when all of a sudden, boom! All hell is unleashed on you and your home through that nefarious streaming platform… Disney+.
No? Didn’t think so.
A Texas mom recently voiced her concerns about the new kids’ Halloween movie “Hocus Pocus 2” on the scariest place known to mankind: Facebook. From there, her warning to other parents went viral and the internet exploded into fiery pits of discussion threads mainly consisting of like-minded “Christians” killing the vibes of spooky season. Jamie Gooch, head fun-sucker, stated that “the whole movie is based on witches harvesting children for blood sacrifices” which is, ironically, the same thing Texas conservatives say about pro-choicers. I don’t know about you, but I sense a theme.
In interviews, Gooch goes on further to say, “Everybody thinks it’s fake and innocent, but they could be casting any type of spell that they want to, anything could be coming through that TV screen into your home.” Which is beyond ridiculous logic. I mean, come on. I am an avid viewer of “The Great British Baking Show” and “Love Island” but I have never once had a hot British snack, um, you know, a scone, come through my TV. Even when I prayed AND tried numerous spells.
Gooch, perhaps unsurprisingly, identifies as a Christian and stated that she and her family have not participated in Halloween in about four or five years because they’re not like regular Christians, they’re cool Christians. Okay, that last part I did make up, but it’s not hard to imagine Gooch trying to use a “Mean Girls” pop culture quote to her advantage when we all know she’s the type of person who would constantly try to make fetch happen.
She did in fact say that “For a Christian, we are held at a higher standard.” But I think Rotten Tomatoes would disagree. “Hocus Pocus 2” received a 63% on the tomatometer scale, while “The Passion of the Christ” got a 49% – define higher standard, Gooch.
It’s no surprise that right-wingers are so vehemently and loudly against any form of entertainment surrounding witchcraft. Witchcraft at its core is female centric. But hey, to be fair, they don’t like wizards either. Or at least, not the magical kind. Remember back in the late 1990s and early 2000s when the alt-right religious folks were so afraid of the Harry Potter novels? Even though the series got a generation of kids loving books, they called for a boycott to “save the children’s souls” and in some areas, the books were publicly burned “to fight demonic influence.” Conservatives were quick to write off J.K. Rowling entirely because of all the wizardry and magic, yet 20-some years later it turns out she has more in common with their bigoted views than we could have imagined. Quite frankly, conservatives, you can have her, and we’ll gladly keep the Sanderson Sisters.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try and cast a spell for that hot British snack.
I know I’ve been a bit quieter than usual here lately. No excuses really, just life getting in the way. But I figure you’ve had enough downtime from my tirades, so I’m determined to get back into the game on a more regular basis. Lucky you. Today felt like kind of a rant-y day, so again, lucky you!
Being a huge animal lover, there’s always been something that I just don’t understand. How is it that we can continue to encroach on wildlife and then wonder why they end up in our space? As humans continue to cut down tree after tree, painstakingly eliminating the vital forests of our planet, people somehow act surprised when a bear, deer, or alligator stumbles into your backyard. If we keep destroying their homelands, then we’re going to have to come to terms with having animal neighbors. And not in the “we’ll just kill them all” way that we’re doing now.
Well, I’ll admit, I don’t really want a bear sniffing around my house, but I’m also aware that not pissing it off and simply chasing it away with a few loud noises will do the trick just fine. Aside from those adorable little trash pandas, which most people call raccoons, animals don’t typically want to go through your trash. And honestly, raccoons would probably not have to dumpster dive either. They, like all animals, would rather survive on the natural bounty provided by their native habitats. Those same exact habitats that are being wiped out by, you guessed it, us humans. We create the problem and then complain about the problem we created. Oh, but those darn little critters, right? Deer tearing up the flower bed, opossums in the trash, squirrels stealing stuff from the garden… to hell with these pesky pests, right? Let’s all just ignore the reason these animals are forced into an urban lifestyle in the first place.
Here’s an idea. Maybe the space we are trying to evict them from was never our space to begin with. To them, we’re the pests. Consider the Merriam-Webster definitions of the word pest.
- A plague.
- Something resembling a pest in destructiveness.
- Someone or something who annoys, aka a nuisance.
Humans appear to fit the mold quite nicely. Considering the pollution and war we brought to this planet, and our constant failure at caring for it, we are arguably the most destructive plague in history.
Destructiveness? That little chipmunk dug a hole in your flowerbed because some lumber company just cleared out 20 acres of its habitat for that new development down the way. Shame on that rodent right? What was more destructive, the golf ball-sized hole under your chrysanthemums or wiping out an entire forest? Perfect lawns. Perfect gardens. Perfect perfect perfect. Animals apparently have no place in this façade of perfection.
A nuisance or something that annoys. The third definition of the word pest is pretty much exclusive to humans, gnats, houseflies, and mosquitoes. If you asked me to name 5 things that I find utterly annoying (aside from gnats, houseflies, and mosquitoes), I’m almost positive they would all be human-related. Let’s try.
- Being cut off while driving.
- Being placed on hold for longer than 5 minutes.
- Cold pizza and warm wine.
- Most movie remakes.
- People doing TikToks in the grocery store in front of the frosted shredded mini-wheats I have a coupon for.
Before you even argue with me, I get it, I do. You don’t want potentially life-threatening animals near your home, especially if you have children around. But if you live out in the country, this is just a part of life and you need to learn how to cope with it. Preferably without killing the animals who don’t realize that your home is now smack dab in the middle of what used to be their exclusive space.
If you’re closer to town and you’re dealing with pesky little critters like groundhogs and snakes, there are things you can do to safely deter them from certain areas of your property while still allowing them to, you know, live. If you’re a victim of chipmunk abuse, just pull up Google and look for natural and safe deterrents from these highly hostile, albeit teeny-tiny, monsters. That was sarcasm, of course, chipmunks are cute and harmless, but here, I’ll even do you one solid and give you a link to get started. Or, hey, here’s a novel idea, you could do what you’re always expecting everyone else around you to do… share.
Instead of worrying about the perfect lawn or the perfectly organized flower bed filled with ornamental flora, why not sow wildflowers and plants that attract and feed the wildlife you share this space with? Why not make your garden an oasis for all manner of creatures who, frankly, deserve to be here as much as you do? Instead of finding ways to oust them, find ways to grow your empathy and coexist with the animals.
We have destroyed the majority of the natural habitats that used to grace this planet right along with most of the animals who called those habitats home. It’s now up to us to maintain what is left and to ensure that the wildlife can stay wild and healthy. It’s a ridiculously easy thing to do once you get past the whole “mine mine mine” mindset.
When you ask someone what they do for fun, what are some of the typical answers you receive? If someone were to ask me that very question, I’d say that I enjoy reading books, watching movies, kicking back with some wine, and maybe even taking a nice little quiet vacation to a secluded beach or cabin somewhere. I’ve been known to explore the odd quaint town and even hike (ever so slowly). Some other acceptable answers may be camping, fishing, arts and crafts, or gaming, I mean the list of “what do you do for fun?” is literally endless.
However, one concept I have a hard time getting behind are the folks who put themselves in immediate danger for a little bit of excitement. Yeah, yeah, I get the whole haunted house genre, but I’m talking about real life “you can die” danger and not just the “might pee your pants if that teenaged zombie comes near me” danger. All for a kick.
Sure, virtually anything we do can be considered dangerous in some way, I mean, just watch the news. Even benign hobbies have their risks. You could end up getting mugged or shanked just from wearing the wrong sports jersey to the wrong game. A friend of mine saw this happen firsthand leaving an Eagles game in Philadelphia a few years ago when an elderly man in a Cowboys jersey got stabbed on the subway after the game.
While, yes, danger can be found anywhere, I’m referring to those danger-seeking adrenaline junkies who base jump from skyscrapers, walk along a barely-there ledge on the side of a cliff, surf shark-infested waters, or bungee jump over jagged rocks. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the whole adrenaline rush and everything, but still, you have to draw the line somewhere, right? I saw a TikTok video the other day where a person jumped off a boat and into a group of sharks he and friends had just been feeding. What about those people who run and flip from rooftop to rooftop? “Parkour!” in the words of Michael Scott from The Office. If the whole situation goes south, it can mean certain death, permanent maiming, or dismemberment. Okay, yeah, I get that THAT is part of the excitement, but seriously? It begs the simple question… what the hell?
Just recently, I watched a documentary on people who go “caving” as well, which is exploring the darkest, tightest caves they can find. I don’t know about all of that, but I do know that I’ve seen at least three horror movies that have me strongly convinced that journeying down into these deep, dark, unexplored places is a genuinely bad idea, not to mention anxiety-inducing. I’m already claustrophobic as it is so the last thing I want to do is wedge myself between two slabs of stone a hundred feet down in some pitch-black cavern where mutant wall-hugging monsters may or may not live.
Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “I kind of like some of those dangerous hobbies,” and if so, more power to you and safe travels! Perhaps younger me may have been a bit more adventurous when it comes down to risking my safety for a little bit of excitement, and let’s be honest, the world belongs to the younger generation. I’m reminded of this every time bands like Mötley Crüe, Nirvana, or Red Hot Chili Peppers come up on the classic rock playlist. Just know that some of you have some of us shaking our heads as we watch your antics and wonder what in the hell you were thinking getting into that predicament.
Hobby safely, my friends. And if you need me, I’ll be on the couch with a book, some wine, and a show queued up on Netflix.
Since 2022 is about 75% over, I figured it was time to start making progress on my New Years’ resolutions! My first one was to cut down on my alcohol intake, but have you seen what’s happening in the world on any given day? Yikes! Yeah, that one got thrown to the wayside almost immediately.
Next, I wanted to cut down on unnecessary spending. Not usually a problem because I don’t spend much on myself, but still. It’s difficult because “unnecessary” is such a subjective word. Some people might say that buying an iced coffee every time you leave your apartment is unnecessary, but I say it is actually a part of my ethnicity as I discovered recently on Ancestry.com. Iced coffee is in my blood.
So, I settled on my last resolution: exercise more. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate my body or how I look at all. I’m very much an advocate for body positivity, being comfortable in the skin you’re in, or whatever other Pinterest quote that comes to mind. I’d just like to stop getting handed weight-loss pamphlets when I go to the doctor for a sore throat. And since I’m not giving up the very things that contribute to my cushy padding, I might as well try to work it off. I mean, it sounds good in theory, right?
Entering gym culture as a newbie is extremely intimidating and overwhelming – there are SO many options: CrossFit, Pilates, Barre, oh my! Or you can just go rogue and walk around the weight room pretending you know what you’re doing until “Chad” who has more muscles than the Hulk, mansplains how to do a bicep curl. Cool, Chad, I thought this was the “judgment free zone.” So, I settled on trying out some classes because at least there, I would be intentionally seeking out advice, unlike the unsolicited variety from the likes of dear old Chad.
Spin classes have always intrigued me because I love the thought of losing weight while sitting down. But they are expensive. Because of my aforementioned iced coffee addiction, I’m not exactly swimming in the cash, so I had to find a reasonably priced option to start my fitness class journey, and this studio near my condo offered one week FREE. Perfect, exactly what I could afford and more importantly, what I was willing to put into my fitness journey.
I signed up for my first class called, “Britney vs. Christina” even though I’m not really a fan of pitting women against each other. Then I realized I had nothing to wear. I don’t think the ratty sweats that are older than my children were going to cut it. So I went online and spent just over $300 on leggings and matching tank tops with sayings on them like, “biker gang,” ”ride and shine,” and “they see me spinnin, they hatin.” I was ready!
When I got to the studio, I quickly learned that my quirky graphic tank top was not enough. These spin people were intense! I saw people velcro strapping on these funky looking shoes and carrying around monogrammed sweat towels… and stretching?! I have never once stretched to just sit down. I mean, what the hell? Who does that?
I tried getting on a bike towards the back of the room, cause, you know, raging introvert. But apparently that was “Susan’s bike” even though there were no name tags anywhere on that thing, so I ended up having to get on a bike in the front and center of the room. Ugh.
And then, wouldn’t you know it, I couldn’t even get on the damn thing. I’ve ridden a regular bike before, so I know how to mount a bike, in case you’re wondering. But these bikes are well, different. Our overly peppy instructor, Sasha, must have seen the complete and utter confusion across my face because she came and helped me adjust the bike to the appropriate height for me to hop onto the most uncomfortable seat I have ever placed my butt on, and I’ve even flown across the country on Spirit airlines. Seriously, who makes these seats? Someone who has never been handed a weight-loss pamphlet from a doctor, that’s for sure.
Sasha abruptly screamed through her headset that it was time for the class to begin, which almost startled me off the bike, but I didn’t quite fall off and I was able to clamber back on… reminiscent of that time I almost fell off a horse and had to scramble back on, legs and arms flailing, or else be squashed. I’ve also taken a couple of serious tumbles off bikes which are, shall we say, not fun. Now, I don’t think a spin bike would squash me like a 1200-pound Warmblood or toss me head over heels down a shale-lined lane like a mountain bike, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
Then, just as I had settled back into the god-awful seat, Britney Spears, “Toxic” began to blast over the loudspeakers in the too-dark room. For the first two minutes, a song that I have loved for way too many years turned into torture. Every spin class I’ve ever seen online shows folks happily smiling and loving life. This was not my experience. And this was just a warm-up?? For the last chorus of the song, Sasha, in an all-too-happy voice, told the class we could “freestyle” ride and “do whatever we want,” so I got up off my bike and walked over to the snack machine in the lobby.
As I sat on the ground eating a Snickers, I suddenly realized what their slogan “you’re not you when you’re hungry” meant on a spiritual level. I wasn’t me. I was at a spin class for goodness sakes. I could still hear Sasha in the studio encouraging the class to, “do whatever you want!” and I knew that this, right here, was exactly what I wanted to be doing. But, having spent so much money on spin class gear, I realized that it would’ve been cheaper to just sit at home on my couch and eat a Snickers than on the lobby floor of this spin class studio. It was over a $300 candy bar at that point. Who has that kind of money?
Why do they even have candy bars at a gym anyways? I guess that’s the circle of life, and capitalism. So, I left the spin studio to head back to my apartment, stopping on the way home for an iced coffee, because I have priorities. While sipping my drink and listening to the B-52s, I packed up the spin gear and sent it back to Amazon where it belonged. Existential crisis averted.
I hate to say I told you so, but, well, you know… I told you so. I don’t have a photo to back up my story, but I swear to you, it’s true. My local store has Christmas trees for sale. The fake variety. I mean, it’s not like they have real pine trees standing around. But still. Right next to the Autumn/Thanksgiving decorations and Halloween candy. I know time flies, but this is ridiculous.
In the waning days of August, as summer inched closer to its end yet still had plenty of bite to put sweat on the forehead at the height of the afternoon, I was in a local store to grab a few items and, lo and behold, I saw Halloween decorations staring back at me. Really!? In August the merchandisers were already starting to push Halloween on us!? Halloween, people! Now, I love Halloween, but still, this was a little much. I did a double take just to make sure I hadn’t maybe forgotten that I had previously slipped into a coma and having recently come out of aforesaid coma forgotten that it was actually the beginning of October. Nope. No coma. It was definitely August, and I was already being nudged to think about how I’m going to decorate my front porch for a night more than two months away!
Absurd, I know, but this is how the trend has been going for years now. Each successive holiday season, the celebration du jour has their products on sale earlier and earlier. My prediction? By mid-September, we’ll start seeing turkey cartoons and cornucopia centerpieces. By the time Halloween actually rolls around there will be plastic sleighs and reindeer horns for sale next to cash registers. On Christmas Eve we’ll be able to buy chalky candy hearts with “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me” tattooed on them. After we sing Auld Lang Syne we’ll crack open a Cadbury Cream Egg which, by the way, has already been on sale for a week.
It’s getting crazy how early each consecutive holiday season starts but is it really that unexpected? Should we be shocked? We do live in an age of capitalism, so getting the jump on the competitor is how a business thrives. And who doesn’t like being reminded of these great excuses to eat more than we can fit in, see family we can barely stand, and drink more than we ought to? But when is it too much?
Keep pushing the clock back the way it’s been going and before you know it kids will be sucking on candy canes on their way home from the 4th of July parade.
Today is Labor Day here in the U.S. I must confess that Labor Day is one of those holidays that has always confused me, mainly for its contradictory nature.
I mean on Mother’s Day, we celebrate mothers and gift them with the present of doing nothing all day (not that many mothers get away with actually using the gift). Father’s Day is the same way. We encourage fathers to do “their own thing” on their special day. The effects of most holidays coincide with the original purpose behind said holiday.
But not so Labor Day.
“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
Now, one would think from this description that workers should have the day off to relax and reap the rewards of the labor they’ve given to their employers and to society as a whole. And indeed, there are some who do have the day off. However, many of the hardest working folks do not. On this day of celebrating their contribution to the world as we know it and to the workforce in general, they are instead forced to work.
Retail workers bear the brunt, just as they do at Thanksgiving and Christmas, given all of the sales that crop up on Labor Day. But they’re by no means the only ones. Food service, convenience store workers, gas station attendants, paramedics, all manner of hospital employees to name a few. And yes, some of these good folks are essential personnel and life is much better and much safer (for the rest of us) with them in their respective jobs, even on holidays, and we’re thankful for it. Others not so much. Retail, food service, convenience stores, grocery stores. There’s no reason to not let these people enjoy a much deserved paid day off except… except… that it cuts into bloated profits. And we can’t have that now, can we?
So when all is said and done, Labor Day has been turned into a perverse contradiction of its original meaning and rather than truly celebrating the worker, it has devolved into just another way to take advantage of those who cannot afford to lose their jobs by protesting a holiday shift.
Such is America.