But First...
I've been acknowledged by an alcohol-soaked disembodied head who lives in a bedpan. Apparently, there are sorts of rules and conditions attached to accepting the award he has nudged in my direction with his forehead (not having any hands, you see), and I can't deal with all of that falderal right now. So I will give you another example of how America continues to sabotage itself.

This story, on its surface, appears to be a feel-good success story. And it is! A heartwarming tale of near-tragedy, ending in happiness for everyone. It would've ended there in an earlier, simpler time; but we live in the age of the internet, when everyone with an opinion can't help but express it. Whoever invented the "comment" section should be ashamed of him/herself.

The problem? The use of the word "miracle" in the title.

Now, I don't take the word "miracle" literally. To me, when someone uses the word "miracle" to describe a narrowly-avoided catastrophe, I think of it more in terms of "Isn't it amazing that things worked out okay when so many things could've gone wrong? That Murphy's Law for once didn't prevail? Isn't it awesome when a plan comes together?" I don't picture a giant Monty Python-esque finger descending from the sky and touching the people involved. That so many things can go wrong in a situation like that that it's pretty remarkable when things turn out okay. In fact, maybe the whole sordid comment-mess could've been avoided if the writer had just used "Remarkable!" instead of "Miracle!"

But he didn't. And so instead of rejoicing in the fact that some poor guy in Colorado Springs isn't crying his eyes out during the winter holidays and that two little boys haven't lost their mother, people are debating the existence of God and insulting each other over it.

You know what? Your opinion really isn't that important. Let it go. For your sake as well as ours. Is this proof that God has a "special purpose" for that mom and her baby? No. And thanks for the pressure to perform, jerk. Do you have to overreact to the word "miracle" and use it as the chance to make sweeping generalizations about religion and people who believe in God? No. And this is why nobody invites you out anymore, too.

What should've been an opportunity for EVERYBODY to agree, like when we all got together to hate Kanye West, that this was a GOOD THING that happened. We don't get happy endings very often. Can't we just relish it without fighting?
All That Time Off and All I Came Up With Is THIS?
I do have a piece of news: my niece is now engaged to marry this one fireman/EMT guy who's shown up for Thanksgiving and Christmas a couple of times, and managed not to run away screaming for some reason.

I picked out a wedding band for them. Not the kind you put on your finger, the kind you drunkenly dance to and hope your pants don't fall down in the process. Since they are "A Hillbilly Tribute To AC/DC" (example:)

they will play "Shook Me All Night Long". This means Dilf will be able to perform his legendary "leg as a guitar" dance, which he only performs at weddings and only to that particular song. I have a picture of said leg dance, but I cannot for the life of me find it.

I know the picture came from this wedding, which remains the only wedding I have attended that ended with a trip to a bowling alley. Maybe if I moved to Cleveland or Milwaukee, that would change. (You can also see honest and for real pictures of me in that post, with my head attached and not wearing a cupcake apron.)

Whenever I search through my archives, I am reminded of what a good blog I used to have. Maybe my New Years Resolution will be to return to my previous glory.
My Neighborhood is Truly Awesome
We got back home late last night.

This morning, we found out a neighbor on the next street's house burnt down last night. They have a sixth-grade boy and a fifth-grade girl. They do not have relatives in the area.

Their dog, a beautiful springer spaniel only 2 years old, died from smoke inhalation. The boy was beside himself with grief, blaming himself, because it was his boy scout wreath that had caught fire from the fireplace. The dad was badly burnt on his hands -- he instinctively grabbed the wreath to get it off the wall so he could extinguish it. He's supposed to start a new job tomorrow.

All of this is very tragic, but it could've been worse. It could've happened in a different neighborhood.

I walked over to where the family was staying, another neighbor's house. (I was a little nervous; I'm a sympathetic crier and I had a feeling there would be tears. Even when I'm not feeling it, like when some stupid sappy movie is deliberately manipulating me and I DON'T WANT to CRY, if the person onscreen is crying, I will cry. I HATE THAT!) I was coming to offer to replace the Christmas gifts lost (I have to do all of my shopping in the next couple of days anyway.) I was also coming to tell them ANOTHER neighbor who was in Michigan for Christmas had offered their house to them.

Seated at the table was the highly organized and very capable Vice President of the PTA, who had already sprung into action and mobilized the neighborhood. Clothes, transportation, food, help with paperwork, advice about dealing with insurance companies, even taking over the mother's volunteer obligations -- all taken care of ALREADY. New rental housing within the neighborhood was being found by another neighbor who was a real estate agent, so the family would be disrupted as little as possible.

To give you an idea of this neighborhood's attention to detail, when the mother was out in nothing but her nightgown as the sirens wailed and her house was up in flames, someone threw a Chicago Bears sweatshirt on her. Another neighbor ran in his house and threw another on top to cover it up.

See, she's a Packers fan. The situation called for a PACKERS sweatshirt. And he just happened to have one for her.

Dear invading armies: I wouldn't suggest trying to take us over. We have our shit TOGETHER.

If I was an invading army, I would think twice about trying to take us over.
I am busy in a tizzy. Please read Doc's Christmas tale in lieu of my usual crap.

This totally sucks. You probably shouldn't bother reading it.

My Friday Flash Fiction is a bit abbreviated due to the fact I am moving on Friday and better have my ass in gear. Which it is most definitely not. In gear, that is. So, I just re-used an idea and slapped something together. The picture has very little to do with the story; I just liked it.

Starter sentence in blue, as usual.

"As the rumble receded westward, a fine layer of dust settled on the tall stack of vintage condom boxes." The people inside the decrepit 7-11 scrambled for the exits. They streamed out of the doors, if 2 customers and one store clerk can be considered a stream, at record speed.

It turns out they escaped just in time, as the Ghost of Christmas Disappointed reconsidered and decided that a 7-11 was, in fact, worthy of destruction. They screamed as the giant velvet foot crushed the building in which they had been standing moments before. Their relief and gratitude to be left alive caused the Ghost to shrink slightly, but then he expanded again when the skater punk mourned the loss of his beloved Slurpee machine.

Despite regaining his momentary loss in stature, the Ghost vowed not to be so sloppy in the future. Gratitude was one of the few things that could destroy him.
And Now, For Something Completely Self-Indulgent

Just because it makes me happy.
A Virus! A Deadly Story Virus!
Splotchy started it. Cormac continued it and tagged me. Here's my contribution.

Splotchy's initial paragraph is first, Cormac's comes next separated by three asterisks, and mine comes after his, separated by the second set of asterisks.

The story:

The mall was crowded. There were happy people, angry people, people in a hurry, even a few people sleeping on benches. To the security guard, they were a blur of coats, hats and scarves. He was just beginning his second eight hour shift. He yawned, leaning against a pillar in the food court, the aftertaste of terrible mall cookies lingering on his tongue. His eyes abruptly snapped open with the loud sound of glass shattering behind him.


The glass landed on the main concourse floor and the strung Christmas lights around the mall made the floor glitter like a field of glittering gems. Out of Hot Topic came a huge tasseled-shod foot and the glass cracked like ice under the foot's immense weight. Above that antiquated shoe was a massive muscular leg, clad in green tights.

The elder Mrs. Hajba knows what this creature is and she screams out its name, yet no one understands her. Mostly because everyone else is too busy screaming, but also because the only person would understand, her daughter Anastasia, is across the mall at T.G. McFunster's...trying to find husband number four, lest her, and her mother be deported.

This being that apparently is unknown to America, stands some sixteen feet tall in bright green and red clothing that would be more suitable to the Renaissance. The brute is muscular and misshapen, with veins that bulge and throb at a preternaturally speed. Its skin is bright white, and its teeth silver and black like tinsel. The eyes of the beast have no pupils or irises to speak of. They could best be described as giant red, opaque Christmas ball ornaments.

Mrs. Hajba summons every brain cell that American TV soaps haven't manged to destroy yet and she yells at the security guard, "It's Ghost of Kreestmass Disappoint-ted!"


The towering figure grew larger and more robust whenever a fresh wail of despair rose from the crowd. With their purchasing power diminished as each mighty footstep destroyed yet another retail outlet, the people were beside themselves in grief and misery. The creature fed on it and grew larger and more resplendent as he crushed the materialistic hopes and dreams of everyone present.

After every last boutique, kiosk and anchor store had been reduced to rubble, the monster turned his attention to the town outside the mall. By now deafening strains of Andy Williams singing "It's the hap-piest feeling of aaaaalllll" and Lena Horne's bastardized version of "Jingle Bells" and countless vapid holiday screechings by Celine Dion and Mariah Carey were being broadcast through the curled-up toes of the monster's immense velvet slippers.

His glittering grin expanded as he smashed the BMW dealership. He became incandescent when he demolished the upscale cigar lounge. When he took out a strip mall containing both a Whole Foods and a Costco, he grew at such an exponential rate that his red stocking capped-head was no longer visible from ground level. Still, he moved on.

Until he came to the town's hospital.

He shrank a little when he heard the Girl Scout troop singing to the senior citizens at the assisted-living facility located on the grounds of the hospital. His grin disappeared when a woman handed a plate of homemade cookies and brownies to the emergency crew who had shown up to help her when her car spun out on the ice and crashed into a pillar.

But he knew he was doomed when he felt a woman getting wheeled into an elevator on the fourth floor, her newborn infant in her arms. She was heading to the sixth floor, where her grandmother lay in recovery from colon cancer surgery.

He plummeted down when the women laid eyes on one another and wept, each grateful for the gift of life. As the new mother gently laid her infant in her grandmother's arms, the tiniest wail of defeat could be heard from the crack in the sidewalk outside, if you were close enough to hear it. But he was not dead yet. Oh, no.

I tag Todd, Nick, Darth Roker, CTK and Dr. Zaius. And anyone else who read this.
Pierogi Post -- Just Under the Wire

I am trying to get my grandma's pierogi recipe back. I vow to make them for Christmas.

I have officially blogged today.
Fa-La-La-La Flash Fiction
As usual, found here, starter sentence in blue:

"She was always threatening to punch someone in the face, but this time she meant it." If she could only lift her hand, ball it up into a fist, and apply the punitive force necessary to convey just how enraged she was... but she couldn't.

She lay there, trapped in unspeakable torment, unable to give voice to the soul wracked in agony that lay inside her broken, useless body. How long had she been here, she wondered. She assumed she was in the hospital, from the medicinal, chemical smells and cold, clinical light that filtered through her bandages. She could see... oh, yes, she could see... but that was more curse than blessing at this point...

Her head was held upright, facing forward, in a locked position. Her limbs, which were outside of her limited line of vision, were immovable. But she could wiggle her fingers and toes... she was not paralyzed. Her physical pain was felt in temporary bursts, then eradicated by a soothing drip into her veins. No, her misery was not physical in nature. Her very mind and spirit were being excoriated...

How did she wind up in such a state? The last thing she remembered was ... the dentist. She was going to the dentist! It was icy... she must've had an accident. Why the karmic punishment? Did she kill someone? Is that why she was being punished by all the imps and demons of hell? Wait... she could hear them talking... no, her car skidded and smashed into the guardrail... no one else injured...

Why, Lord, why? Why then am I made to suffer so? Please, make it stop. I'll do anything, anything if you take away the terror, the horror...

She emitted a low moan through her wired-shut jaw. The people in the room snapped to attention. "She's awake!" one unknown voice triumphantly announced.

"I think she wants something," added a concerned, tender onlooker. Could this be my savior, I thought? The one who brings an end to my suffering?

"She's looking at the TV," noted a familiar voice. Joe! My husband! He was there, in the room? I was at once relieved and outraged, that he would have allowed this situation. Perhaps he was too dismayed at my condition to realize... "I think she wants us to turn it up," he concluded.

Of all the times for him to be clueless, unaware of my deepest held convictions. Joe, Joe, how could you do this to me? I tried to scream, but all that came out was the thinnest of squeaks. "Yeah," he said, proud of himself. "She wants us to be quiet so she can watch the movie!"

Someday, I will be well again. I will go through painful yet effective sessions of physical therapy. I will come back stronger than ever, with one goal in mind: I will strangle my husband WITH MY BARE HANDS.

All voices in the room fell silent as the most dreaded words known to mankind came floating out of the television, carried upon the breath of Satan himself: "We now return to the 36-hour FaLaLaLa Lifetime movie marathon!"
Screw You, White-Lights-Only Snobs! Kiss My Colorful Ass!
That's right, you heard me.

Now, I'm not a complete hardliner. If you just prefer white lights, but have a live-and-let-live philosophy, but can ENJOY all sorts of lights, then you're cool with me.

I'm talking about the Judgy McJudgypantses out there who are so eager to develop a caste system based on Christmas lights. I put out colored lights ON PURPOSE just to PISS THEM OFF. And I make sure some of them blink, too.

Although the white is pretty, too. Except the new LED white ones; those have a bluish tinge. They're like powdered skim milk, a little too weak and watery and unnatural.

But I will defend to the death people who want to put out giant colored bulbs, bubble lights, and any and all manner of novelty lights in the pursuit of happiness. This is America, not Stick-Up-Your-Assland!

In other news, I do not live in a neighborhood with a homeowner's association. Duh. I'm not writing this from jail, am I?
I almost forgot to post today!
Please enjoy drunky Sandra Lee's Christmas Tree:

Video Magic
Finally! Something Christmas-Related to Excite Me.

No, it's not this.

Instead, I am making progress on a personal quest of mine, and that quest is to find this one Mac Davis Christmas special I remember seeing when I was little. I have been trying to find it since 2000 or so, when early attempts ended with unclicked links to nude Mac Davis pictures.

Every year I've tried unsuccessfully, instead finding things like this, and we all know how I feel about David Soul. The last David Soul Christmas story I remember is this one.

But this year -- THIS YEAR -- is different. I actually discovered the correct name and year of the special I had in mind. I still can't find any actual video of it, and that paltry description does nothing to capture how deliciously terrifying that episode was.

If Mac Davis is the prophet and visionary I've always thought him to be, in 2010 thought police will arrest you for remembering Christmas. Christmas has been replaced by "Commerce Day," when you top your tree with a glittering dollar sign. Mac Davis's character suddenly had a flash from his childhood, where he remembered something about a Nativity scene or some other religious artifact, and these silver-clad stormtroopers burst into his house and threw his whole family in jail! Why are all policemen in the future wearing aluminum foil suits?

Anyways, the "Christmas is too commercialized" theme is done to death, but I really liked the whole police state violence aspect from this show. If anyone knows how I could get a copy of it, I'd be very grateful.
It's Only Day Three and I'm Already Sick of Talking about Christmas

I'm just having a difficult time lately getting pissed off about things. I don't care anymore. Outside of the Gap commercial, I mean. Is that bad or good? I'm not even interested in going off on Cuntzilla and this totally insane tea party she's having on Sunday. I regret that I will miss her homemade marshmallows this year, as I am down to my last couple of weeks living out of state.

I am not excited at all about anything, although I did momentarily almost enjoy my hot bath last night. Does this mean I'm depressed? If so, why? Is this just a brain chemical thing? I thought they fixed that with my thyroid medicine?

In conclusion, I don't really care about anything, even the History Channel's latest "Nostradamus" nonsense claiming the Egyptian Book of the Dead corroborates 2012 as Earth's swan song. Their refrains of "some people claim" and cut-ins to crazy half-baked "authors" did cause some brief stirrings on my bullshit detector, but even that didn't rouse me from my stupor.

I guess I'll make meatloaf for dinner tonight.
The Gap is Stupid and Annoying and Christmas Makes It Worse
I'm not a historian or a religious scholar so let me just repeat two things I've read/heard that make sense to me:

* Early Christians decided to celebrate the feast day for Christ's Birth (that's right; no one ever claimed it was his ACTUAL birthday until fairly recently. Apparently morons can't wrap their tiny brains around a symbolic celebration, only a "birthday") around the winter solstice because they could party at the same time as every one else (in the Roman Empire) without standing out and getting their heads chopped off/fed to the lions/heads chopped off then fed to the lions;

* When the Roman Empire turned Christian, they adopted many of the pagan celebrations and just assigned them Christian justifications so people didn't have to give up the fun stuff.

Because the earliest mentions of December 25 as the feast day precede Rome's acceptance of Christianity, it's probably some combination of 1 and 2. Or maybe some other stuff. Like I said, I'm not a historian. But all this discussion is only secondary to my primary point, and that is The Gap is so vapid and useless they don't even know how irrelevant they are and I want to puke in one of their blue drawstring bags and mail it to the president of the company with a note attached that says, "You are so stupid you make me vomit."

Because of this commercial (and this one, but that's more about the horrifying little spoiled rotten snots in the video. If that's what the Übergirls have as future sorority sisters, I better start training them in armed combat now.):

Here's why the early Christians were smarter than The Gap (I'm using them as an example here of Corporate America, because Commerce is in the midst of taking over Christianity (other major religions to follow) and adapting it to ITS message. That is a post for another day.) The Christians took the pagan stuff and gave another set of meaning to the symbols and practices in place. Commerce wants us to keep up these rituals because it feeds its gaping maw of insatiable greed, but isn't offering us any real reason to do it other than... fun? But soon enough, they will become empty gestures and die out, because materialism is ultimately unsatisfying.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, you can't "86 the rules" without replacing them with something. Well, you can, but it's not going to work very well.
Don't Blame Christmas on Religion

Of all the misery-inducing, stomach-churning, ear-splitting nonsense that assails us at this time of year, none of it is actually driven by religion.

Think about who lies to you and tells you this is "the most wonderful time of the year." Is it the Bible? Or ultra-conservative sweaterphile Andy Williams? Who insists this is the "best time of the year," your local preacher/priest/rabbi or fascist corporate sell-out Burl Ives? (Later, I will discuss how Rankin Bass's holiday classic "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", featuring Mr. Ives, is a right-wing propaganda piece. I got that lecture every year from my dad.)

Instead of promising you perfection, leading you to crash and burn when nothing meets your artificially-raised expectations, religion tells you that in all likelihood your life will include some bossy Caesar-type forcing you to fill out paperwork in an inconvenient place at an inconvenient time, and when you show up, the hotel will have lost your reservation and you'll be screwed. Just because you might win one once in a while despite the odds doesn't mean all the crap flung your way disappears.

To explore the myths of the holiday season, I am making up my own nablopomo theme this month called "My Love-Hate Relationship with Christmas." And Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Because we can't forget to include the forced celebrations of other cultures that nearly escaped without their marketing segments being exploited.
Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

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

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Click here!

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

Now, who wants cupcakes?

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