July's Theme: Food
The NapalmBobo theme for July is food, so I'll be participating.

While it doesn't officially start until tomorrow, I will start early by stating that, contrary to some people's opinion, sausage and ice cream do not a balanced dinner make.

I'm very busy today, watching Al Gato and Terasita's children and going to ballet lessons and dog sitting my neighbor's part ox/part golden retriever. I don't have time to google a good sausage picture.

Feel free to leave some in the comments.
Why Don't They Make Colors Like This Anymore?

While Andy Williams generally makes me nauseous (he and Lena Horne have ruined Christmas music for all eternity), the colors and dancing in this video are helping me to stop worrying about my newspaper delivery man.

He and his car with the defective muffler rumble dependably down the street every morning between 5:30 and 6 a.m., but not today.

What could have happened to him? Is he sick? Stranded on the road someplace? Hungover? I hope he's okay.

I'll just keep watching this video in a loop until my paper gets here...
Truth. Absolutely.

What do this newspaper column and this book have in common, other than me reading them?

They both illustrate how unknowable the "absolute truth" is.

It's not that I don't believe in an "absolute truth;" I certainly do. However, I believe that it's simply not within any one person's grasp, due to various factors that cloud our imperfect human abilities.

And when a crowd tries to figure it out together, we don't do much better. Many times, we do worse.

Even within collectives that agree upon certain "truths," there are many interpretations of what that truth is, or what it means. It doesn't matter if the group in question is religious, scientific, philosophical, or even a cluster of witnesses to an event.

This idea, that none of us has a lock on the "truth," is different than simple tolerance. Tolerance means countenancing differences.

But I'm talking about something more than saying, "You're different, and (likely or possibly) wrong, but I'm not going to chop your head off or force you to change."
Mr. Zorn sums it up nicely in the word "humility." This humility requires introspection, an acknowledgment and acceptance of our own fallibility.

I've been guilty of lacking this sort of humility. What about you?
I Wanted to Stay Upbeat and Talk about Cherry Pie, but...

The following pull-out quotes from this story disturb me greatly, above and beyond the obvious threat to children's health it presents:

"Late last year, other lawmakers—no one will say who — inserted the provision allowing companies to use in-house labs. The Senate then passed that legislation in March."

No one will say "who?" NO ONE WILL SAY "WHO?", That's just great. How, exactly, are these assholes supposed to be voted out of office for acting against the interest of their electorate if we don't know who they are? And isn't anyone going to find out?


"She said no one should fear that Mattel employees would be less strict than an independent lab.

'Wouldn't that same logic apply to independent labs that have huge contracts with big players in the industry?' she asked."

The fact she has a point is terrifying. She's saying there's no such thing as an independent investigator, because they're all reliant on corporate money anyways, so what's the point? That's comforting.

Finally, liar, liar, pants on fire...

"A similar provision allowing companies to certify their own products popped up in House legislation, which passed last December. Jodi Seth, a spokeswoman for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said members of both parties agreed to add the provision because they worried there weren't enough labs to handle the testing required by the bill.

Likewise, Mattel's Bongiovanni said that independent labs couldn't handle all of Mattel's testing in a timely manner.

But Intertek Plc., one of the world's largest consumer-product testing companies, said it could absorb Mattel's business and more. Intertek has substantially expanded its lab space to test children's products in the last year and has enough capacity to meet the added demand an independent-testing mandate would bring, said Gene Rider, Intertek's North American president of consumer goods."

Let's pretend what the Mattel lady says is true, which is in serious doubt. You'd rather put suspect toys out on the market than take your time making sure they're safe? Timeliness outweighs safety?

Even if what they say is true, that Mattel's labs are bigger and more sophisticated than others out there, why not just tell Mattel they must allow independent investigators to use these wonderful labs? Why does Mattel get to supply the people who do the testing? Who are they, Willy Wonka, allowed to close their doors to outsiders?

I will tell you my solution to this quandry. I will only buy my toys here. They used to have a sign inside the doorway that said, "We don't sell Mattel (and other suspect brands -- I forget them all now)." I didn't notice it last time I was in there. Maybe they were forced to take it down; I don't know.

But I do know they care about kids and customers in general. They have earned my trust and my business.

Mattel has earned my distrust and my disgust.

To end on a happy note, here's a cherry pie recipe.
I'm Worried about My Country
Although propagandists claim "liberals hate America," I can tell you as a left-of-center mother, I don't hate it. I worry about it. Like a child of mine that is experimenting with drugs or hanging out with the "wrong crowd," I still love it but desperately want it to change its ways before its ways change it irrevocably.

Is this the America we want? Does this or this sound like America is doing well, or backsliding into the 19th century?

I don't like the trampling of rights that have taken place in the name of "security." My personal economic status and the nation's economic status have both declined alarmingly. Our country is losing ground. These things have happened since the new millennium began. Do the math -- these policies must change.

Does that mean more corporate taxes? You may be surprised to know we already have a high corporate tax rate. However, look at this:

"Although the United States has the second highest statutory corporate tax, the background paper reports that U.S. corporate income tax revenue (federal and state) as a percentage of GDP paradoxically is much lower than the OECD average — 2.2 percent in the United States versus an OECD average of 3.4 percent — over the 2000-2005 period. In short, the OECD data present a conundrum — the United States has the second highest combined statutory corporate tax rate among OECD countries, yet is tied with Hungary in raising the fourth lowest amount of combined corporate income tax revenue relative to GDP in 2004."

Why aren't many corporations investing back into America and its people? Perhaps the question isn't "why do liberals hate America," but "why do corporations hate America?"

Maybe "hate" is a strong word. Corporations don't "hate" America, they just treat it like a skanky girlfriend they use, abuse and borrow money from without giving anything back.

And I'm starting to feel an itchy, burning sensation like they infected us with something nasty, too.

I don't think this trend is irreversible. I may be a skeptic, but I'm not a cynic. But we're not going to get what we need by continuing this cycle, or by begging for a scrap of kindness or charity.

We, the American people, deserve respect and proper treatment. It's time we demanded it from our no-good, two-timing, lying, cheating scumbag of a partner -- our corporations.
Now That's Just Inappropriate
We went to the CCC (Creepy Christian Compound) yesterday for my nephew's first birthday. There's just something not right about those people. It's not anything to call the cops about; it's just... icky. Something you just can't put your finger on, but they're just... creepy.

For an example, take the very first time I met these people. I was either engaged to or newly married to Dilf, and we were helping his sister move out of his mother's basement into an apartment. The Creepies were there, too. I bent over to pick up a box, and Mr. Creepie slapped me playfully on the bottom.

I knew my husband/fiancee/only-person-authorized-to-touch-my-bottom was upstairs, so I turned around in shock to see who would be slapping a grown woman on the butt. As I glared at the offending party, my eyes narrowing into enraged slits and the color rising to my cheeks (the ones on my face), Dilf's sister lept between us and began pleadingly placating me. "It's okay, it's just what we do in their house when someone bends over, it's okay..." (Dilf's sister had cared for the Creepie children for years, basically raising them, if you recall from previous blog posts.)

I let it go, with a warning glance over my shoulder. Dilf was outraged when I told him about it on the car ride home. Mostly, he was outraged at me for denying him the opportunity to give Mr. Creepie the upbraiding he'd been so wanting to give him for years upon years of intensely disliking the man.

Likewise, at the party yesterday, the family exhibited icky, yet unactionable, behavior. The Creepie children are now grown, and had dates with them. The daughter's date snuggled up to Mrs. Creepie, engaging in flirtatious behavior that I can't imagine in a thousand bazillion years either Dilf or my brothers-in-law repeating with my own mom.

The son, on the other hand, brought a very sweet, cute, engaging young girl to the party. She was like the one normal Munster niece. I found out later that she will be living with the Creepies.

On the face that might not seem all that odd, except that the Creepies ALWAYS have at least two young, unrelated, single women living with them at all times. That's why I call it a "compound."

But I'm sure it's all okay; Mr. Creepie was wearing this yesterday. So, just because he lives in a mansion with his wife and at least two other women at all times, he's no Hugh Hefner, right?

Hugh Hefner may have a saggy, leathery nutsack and be a doddering sexist jerk, but at least he's not a hypocrite.
Rain, Rain Go Away... or I May, Possibly, Die
This Sunday, Dilf's crazy sister is having our nephew's (her son's) first birthday party at the home where she formerly nannied. They are graciously allowing her to use the pool house and pool. You may remember these people from before.

The forecast calls for 77 degrees (Fahrenheit, for our foreign readers) an thunderstorms. If I am stuck in a crazy Christian compound pool house with these people, I may not come out alive. Or sane. Or, I may go insane and they won't come out alive.

Regardless, I doubt it will be as much fun as this:

but we can hope.
Is It Anti-American to Be Anti-Corporation?

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power -- Benito Mussolini"

(note - I'm going to completely ramble here, without any coherent transitions from one thought to the next. So, don't even bother telling me I'm crazy; I already know.)

Free enterprise is not corporatism. Corporatism favors big business at the expense of everyone else. That's what we have now. Corporatism is based on greed.

The problem with greed is that it goes for the fast, easy money without regard for the consequences. Sustainability is somebody else's problem to deal with.

It's also cowardly. It doesn't invest in hope or new ideas.

It's not just amoral, it's immoral. It won't give up it's short term gains to "do the right thing." Corporatists argued against abolishing the slave trade.

I oppose corporatism, but it's not enough to be against a thing without being in favor of something else.

I am in favor of clean water. I am in favor of clean air. I favor farmers being able to re-use seeds as nature (I like God) intended. I support public education and libraries. I like the unadulterated truth. I want to be able to eat something or take a medicine and know that it will help me and not hurt me. I want scientists to be independently funded so their results are not questionable. Ditto reporters. I need roads to ride on. I want my children to have a childhood filled with learning and play, not working for a corporation. I like tranquility and fairness and everyone getting an equal chance.

Corporations don't want me to have these things, because they don't want to pay taxes for schools or health care or new roads or pollution-reducing technology. They don't want to commit to quality products, because it costs less to sell dangerous shit. They don't want anyone looking at them or reporting on them, because, for now, we can still refuse to buy their products. Corporations would prefer to be unregulated monopolies, because that's money, baby.

I want someone who will stand up and say, "Corporatism is not freedom. It is not democratic. It is not what America should be." We have stood for blatant unfairness long enough.

Who will do that? And actually follow through, I mean. I want to vote for that person. I wish I knew who that was.
Gift Ideas
Look! Now mommy's favorite peace-and-quiet juice can come from a hip new hip flask!

Summer vacation? (sip) I LOVE summer vacation!
For My Neighbors to the West
Iowa is suffering right now. It's so bad that President Bush is headed out to see it, so you know it's got to be horrible to get him out of his hidey hole.

He hasn't declared it a federal disaster area yet; I wonder if he will. I mean, it's not like we have any spare money to help these poor people out, thanks to the Iraq debacle. Hey, that thing also took away a great number of National Guard members who would normally be home to help out in their home state, but who's counting the number of ways Bush's lie-based quagmire is hurting our country right now. Well, me, but...

But this story isn't about George Bush, but another disaster devastating our fellow suffering countrypeople right now. While a flood like this is more gradual and the footage less dramatic, it is no less catastrophic for the people and the towns it affects. Especially in agricultural areas, the water damage is only part of the problem. Add the health issues of bloated, dead livestock and manure and rotting vegetation and you have a clean-up that is horrific at best.

I remember the flooding in 1993. I flew over it in an airplane, nearly two months after the initial rainfalls that led to the disaster. The water still sat at the rooftops of houses and farms. That's economic and emotional devastation for the people. Afterwards, they face not only cleanup but the tiresome task of dealing with insurance companies and seed companies (Monsanto is the devil) and whoever else they owe money without the ability to pay.

Of course, back then state coffers weren't stretched to the limits they are today, and the federal government was able to help out.

And what will happen to our artificially inflated food prices now, now that they have a real excuse to pin them on?

Hang in there, Iowans. We're rooting for you, thinking of you, and will do what we can to help. We're all in this smelly, soggy boat together.
How Do People Who Are Outrageously Horrible Not Realize They Are Horrible?
I love reading advice columns. It allows me to indulge my nosiness, bossiness and know-it-all-iness without actually harming anyone.

It's not often that I am shocked and/or sickened by a letter (not even in Savage Love), but something about this letter horrified me.

How do you write a letter like that, probably read it over for grammatical errors before you send it to the newspaper, and not view your life in a negative light?

Let's break this down. You're married to someone who provides you with a "comfortable" life. You've had multiple affairs, many (perhaps all?) with men who are also married. Your "problem" is how to get them to buy you more stuff, "Just because?" Just because what? You're a nasty, grasping, faithless whore who lies and cheats and is never happy with what she has?

When I was single, I viewed extramarital affairs as a breach of trust, a breaking of a promise to a supposed loved one, and as selfish. Those things were bad enough. Now that I am married for 10 years, sharing a household and raising children with someone, I realize that it's even worse than that. It's difficult to explain what I mean... but the joint effort involved in making a life together is so... I mean, you're so intimately and completely part of one another's lives... I don't know. It would be like ignoring your own child to take another child to his/her little league games, and out for ice cream, and tucking them into bed and giving them a goodnight kiss, all while you left your own flesh and blood alone and defenseless. Maybe that's just my personal feeling.

Then, added to her callous indifference to love and loyalty, she's greedy? And sees her "problem" as how to get people to buy her more presents?

Someone should truly give her what she deserves.
It Doesn't Matter What I Post About, the Comments Turn to Gay Marriage
I'm at the point where I want government to get out of the "marriage" business entirely and leave that up to the religious institutions. I know in my religion, we have seven sacraments, and marriage is the only one that government pokes its nose into. You can get a death certificate without a funeral, right? Why not a "household declaration document" without a wedding?

Because that's what I propose -- a "household declaration" as opposed to a "marriage," and anyone can get one. Because you know what? I'm thinking just allowing gays the benefits of marriage isn't fair, either.

Take my cousin, for example. She's an orphan. She "adopted" my Aunt Betty, who had no children and who was a widow. I think she should've been able to extend insurance benefits and received tax benefits and been able to make health care decisions for Aunt Betty, and Aunt Betty for her. I think they should've been able to declare each other "next of kin." (Aunt Betty died years ago, so it's not germaine to the conversation now.)

I think nonsexual yet permanent partnerships such as that shouldn't be ignored, either. I think non-married heterosexual couples, homosexual couples, platonic roommates planning on living together more than one year, family members setting up a joint household (like my two uncles an aunt who lived together their entire lives) AND people planning to spend the rest of their lives together as a romantic could should ALL get this document, for legal reasons. Some great legal mind who has handled a bazillion divorces and/or probate and/or family law should write it up.

And when these partnerships dissolve, they can either be as simple as filling out a dissolution form, or go to court when conflicts arise.

I realized that this would re-legalize polygamy. Truthfully, (my family would be shocked) I don't give a shit. I really don't. To me, if people want to live all weird and crazy they should be able to. If something's "a sin," let God deal with it. Is He somehow incapable? And if I have to explain wacko situations to my kids, so be it. Amish people have to explain to their kids why everyone else gets to whiz by in a car while they're plodding along in a horse in buggy; I can explain my religion to my kids, too.

It doesn't matter whether I, personally, find the partnership morally correct or even practically workable. If my moral stance were translated into law, divorces would be a lot more difficult to come by. But I don't believe everybody has to follow my religion. (Nor do I think people who get divorced are immoral, by the way. Hey, I got one myself once.)

However, polygamy was outlawed for a reason. At least, I suppose it was. But I am having a hard time finding out why, other than trying to "normalize" the Mormons to the established British legal tradition (which our country mimicked, despite our "Revolution.")

I don't know, if it's going to take up so much precious time arguing about, I don't see any benefit to keeping "tradition" other than providing another political wedge between us, drawing our attention away from real problems.

I guess if I had to come up with a slogan to sum up my views on the subject, it would be, "I don't care; make it fair." If our country falls apart because of it, we can always change the laws back. That's the beauty of our government. We can try things out and change them back if they don't work.
I'll See Your "Relax," and Raise You One "Ultra Relax"
Here ya go, Sysm.

One Bad Music Thursday Special, coming right up.
America Has Lost That "New Country" Smell, and Now It Smells Like "Those People"

Because I went to the doctor's office yesterday, I read Readers Digest. Because I read Reader's Digest, I read a quote from Bono. Astoundingly, this quote set my mind a-thinkin'.

He said, "Ireland, where I come from, is a country, not an idea. But America is an idea." Interesting. I guess humans have peopled the globe and established countries through migration throughout history, always in search of a better life, so in that respect, the Americas are no different. But he makes a point; our nation was created by a set of written documents putting forth a set of philosophical beliefs, not by circumstance or a conquering foreign army or anything like that.

But it also explains to me why America has gotten off track: it's become so well-established that "Those People" have ruined it. Not irreparably, mind you, but ruined nonetheless. "Those People" always jump in after someone more fun, more clever, more passionate, more noble, more visionary, and/or with more aesthetic sense has started something good -- and they ruin it by trying to own it or control it.

I don't know exactly who "Those People" are, but I know the mark of their damage. "Those People" move into quaint little seaside villages or exciting new artist enclaves and drain them of their life essence and vitality. They put up "big box" retailers. They enact ordinances. They know how "other people" should act, and bully them until they are either in jail, fined out of existence, or demoralized into acquiescence.

These people can be either conservative or liberal, depending on what tool they want to use to beat "other people" into oblivion. They have some sort of evil hive-mind that somehow destroys both innovation and time-tested goodness alike. The only positive thing they have ever done is raise the overall quality of readily available coffee.

They are an amorphous blob, difficult to describe or pin down, but they seem to hold all the money and power. Oh, poor people definitely contribute to "Those People." Sadly, many poor people aspire to become "Those People," and jump on the bandwagon the minute they get any semblance of money or power. They just don't have the means to inflict the damage that the monied/empowered ones do.

A partial list of their crimes:

  • Taking over other people's ethnic traditions, foods, dress or music, changing it to make it more "familiar" and "comfortable" for themselves, and thereby draining it of its beauty, joy, and/or power. In America, that translates to changing it into something more vaguely "Anglo-Saxon," in other countries, the prevailing culture would destroy it in its own way. Examples: Olive Garden, Taco Bell, top 40 music
  • Moving into neighborhoods starving artists have changed from seedy and dangerous into funky and exciting, "gentrifying" it into bland oblivion and driving out the artists by driving up the prices; moving out when neighborhood isn't chic anymore; moving on to the next "hot" area populated by the artists they chased out; repeat until entire city is ruined
  • Destroying the soul of any religion or philosophy by joining, then "tweaking" beliefs until they become devoid of actual meaning
If I ever come across any of "Those People," I'm going to give them such a slap.
Today's the Day! I Can Feel It!
It'll all be over after today, people -- the lethargy, the metabolism problems, the ... what's the word? I can't think of it... something something brain not working right something something.

Today I see the doctor about my troubling thyroid. I am going to march into the office and perform my best Vinnie Barbarino impression: Gimme drugs, gimme drugs.

Expect the quality and quantity of my blog posts to improve dramatically. Or not.

In other good news, our government is protecting us from wines with bad integrity. We may have polluted ground water and decreasing air quality and substandard Chinese goods may kill a few toddlers here or senior heart patients there, but wine enthusiasts will NOT be defrauded under the Bush government.

I feel so protected.
Übermilf Down! Übermilf Down!
For some reason, this poster reminds me of getting Dilf's monthly paycheck.

Hey, look, you're bringing in more money than ever, even when we had dual incomes!

Hey, look, prices on everything we need to survive have skyrocketed beyond our comprehension! We have less disposable income! And no one seems to give a crap!

I'm feeling discouraged lately. And Elder is sick. So, that's why I'm a poopy head.
MonsterQuest Pimps Out Pig for Porcine Porno
I've become addicted to MonsterQuest. Why is this show on The History Channel? I don't know. Why is Ice Road Truckers? Or those shows about what could possibly happen in the future? Why do I keep watching these things? I don't know!

MonsterQuest is basically the same show over and over, only they insert the name and legend a different mythical beast each week. Let me recreate an episode for you:

"Is [insert Bigfoot or some other beastie here] real? These [hunters, fishermen, drunken/high rural teenagers] say yes! They took a picture! [Zoology expert, marine biologist or other expert] looks at grainy picture of tiny object taken from 3 blocks away from subject. Expert says, 'That's a [housecat, hummingbird, man in a rented costume]' Narrator says in ominous tone, 'OR IS IT???'

So normally it's just harmless fun. Sometimes, I even think some of them could be animals once thought to be extinct, but still have a few hangers-on that have managed to evade human detection until now. But last night... well, let's just say you have one more good reason to be grateful you're not a wild boar living in Texas.

Investigators were looking to prove the existence of 1,000 lb. monster boars running around. So far, the extra large specimens found and killed by hunters have been pen-raised pigs who escaped, which explains their extra-large size. Domesticated pigs that size are exceptional, but not note-worthy.

Wild pigs, however, lead a much more hard-scrabble existence and the appearance of a hog or hogs that size could mean either mutation or the re-emergence of a hog-like creature thought to be long extinct.

To investigate, they trapped a run-of-the-mill wild boar. In fact, he looked kinda small to me. They were able to hold him down and strap a camera onto him, as a matter of fact. Then, they squirted the poor little guy with female pig pheromones, slapped him on the ass, and sent him off into the underbrush to "attract" a big bad mack daddy monster boar, and capture their special encounter on film!

Does that not sound cruel to you? Why didn't they just tart him up with some lipstick and fake eyelashes while they were at it! Didn't they stop to consider what would happen to the little guy once Big Bubba Boar got a hold of him?

I didn't see the last 15 minutes of the show, so I don't know what happened. I hope for the best but expect the worst.
Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

If being easily irritated, impatient and rebellious is sexy, then call me MILF -- Übermilf.

So you want more huh?
Click here!

Perverts, scram. There's nothing for you here.

Now, who wants cupcakes?

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