One Fabulous Thing

…because each day has at least one.

03.16.2010 Tell Me What You Really Think March 18, 2010

Filed under: Books,Humor — onefabulousthing @ 9:34 pm

As I was shopping for books to give my young relative to hopefully help foster his newfound love of reading, I spent many happy minutes reading the reviews on some of my choices on Amazon.com.

To spare you the suspense, I ended up sending him one of my favorites from childhood: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and some of my husband’s: The Hardy Boys Starter Set. I also looked at The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events Book 1), but decided to save that for next year. I mention it here because that one had some of the best reviews, many by school-aged children who obviously had some sort of assignment to read the book, write a review on Amazon.com, then comment on each other’s reviews.

I love this idea. I also love that I can read these reviews and so clearly hear the voice of an earnest middle-schooler using his or her best descriptive skills and rigid paragraph format. Or reviews like this one, written about From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler:

This is the worst book i have ever read. Just keep in mind that everything i say is true… in my perspective. I don’t like this book mainly for two reasons… one is that i read this for school and we had to do a lot of comprehension questions with it… so that just ruined the future of me having feelings for this book. The second reason i hated this book is because it included tooooo much information. On every single topic/thing in the muesuem, the author included information about it… this book got tiring to read at times. But, that’s just what i think, so i would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading flat-out information.

Excellent. All the information! And the explaining! How terrible that this kid’s potential future feelings for this book were ruined by a school assignment.

Of course, there are plenty of other Amazon.com listings that have notable reviews, like The Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee, the Tuscan Whole Milk: 1 Gallon, and the Playmobil Security Checkpoint. There is just something really great about the reviews written by kids that brings me right back to being that age and having similar assignments. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read through some of these the next time you are stuck at your desk on a boring call.

So, Fabulous Thing #75: Kid’s reviews on Amazon.com.

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03.12.2010 An Open Letter To…You Know Who You Are March 15, 2010

Filed under: Humor — onefabulousthing @ 8:08 pm

Once in a while, a piece of written work crosses your path that causes you to nod in agreement, laugh out loud in an “Oh, yeah, tell it!” sort of way, and make you thankful that blogs and social networking sites exist so you can share the truth far and wide.

Today, I read one of those pieces: 25 And Over

I will quote the intro here so that you will be enticed to follow the link and read the rest immediately:

If you have reached the age of 25, I have a bit of bad news for you, to wit: it is time, if you have not already done so, for you to emerge from your cocoon of post-adolescent dithering and self-absorption and join the rest of us in the world. Past the quarter-century mark, you see, certain actions, attitudes, and behaviors will simply no longer do, and while it might seem unpleasant to feign a maturity and solicitousness towards others that you may not genuinely feel, it is not only appreciated by others but necessary for your continued survival. Continuing to insist past that point that good manners, thoughtfulness, and grooming oppress you in some way is inappropriate and irritating.

Grow up.

And when I instruct you to grow up, I do not mean that you must read up on mortgage rates, put aside candy necklaces, or desist from substituting the word “poo” for crucial syllables of movie titles. Silliness is not only still permitted but actively encouraged. You must, however, stop viewing carelessness, tardiness, helplessness, or any other quality better suited to a child as either charming or somehow beyond your control. A certain grace period for the development of basic consideration and self-sufficiency is assumed, but once you have turned 25, the grace period is over, and starring in a film in your head in which you walk the earth alone is no longer considered a valid lifestyle choice, but rather grounds for exclusion from social occasions.

My simple wish for this Friday is that everyone who needs to recognizes any parts of themselves reflected in this essay, and endeavors to make some changes. Failing that, I hope that anyone who reads this and recognizes a certain someone in their lives to whom this pertains is amused and validated.

So, Fabulous Thing #71: Dead-on social commentary.

 

02.27.2010 They Do March 1, 2010

Filed under: Family,Humor — onefabulousthing @ 10:31 pm

Today was the wedding of the woman who I wrote about a few weeks ago, the woman in my family-by-marriage that chose to wed for the first time at an age where no one expected that to happen. Her sisters thought they had put their bridesmaid days behind them, and her mother never thought she’d have to purchase another Mother of The Bride outfit. But today, she was escorted down the aisle by her brother, and married by her other brother. When the question was asked, “Who gives this woman to this man?” the bride’s seven nephews (there are no nieces) stood in turn from oldest to youngest and said, “I do.”

On the other side of the aisle, the groom’s three grown children were there to support their father. His two sons acted as his best men, and when the time came for them to hand over the rings they turned and faced each other, pulled the rings out of their tuxedo pockets, and in unison turned to the crowd and said, “He went to Jared!” It brought the house down. My father in law turned to me and said, “I think our family has met it’s match.”

As I listened to the rest of the vows, I was thinking a lot about how marriage extends a family. Looking around, I realized that I was now connected to all of the people there because of the union of these two people. It was a neat feeling, making the world seem a little smaller and less lonely.

Through the reception, as I watched the groom’s sons give touching and sincere speeches and dance along with their sister and their significant others, it made me think about what this marriage means for them. I am also the child of divorced parents, but it happened when I was too young to remember any different than my mother being married to my stepfather. To be an adult and go through the process of grieving your parents’ marriage, then opening yourself up to welcome a new partner for your father, is pretty remarkable. To throw your whole self into it, from “Shake Your Groove Thing” to decorating the getaway car, is just fabulous.

So, Fabulous Thing #58: She did, he did, they did, we did.

 

02.25.2010 Curling, Explained (Sort Of) February 28, 2010

Filed under: Family,Humor — onefabulousthing @ 9:30 pm

I’ve been a casual viewer of this Olympics, mainly because a lot of the significant events have happened during times when I have been at work or asleep, and the results are everywhere on the internet pretty much immediately afterward so it’s not really worth recording. I always find the personal stories of the athletes and teams compelling, and the bits I have caught have had that element featured prominently in the coverage.

Tonight, after a day that seemed to stretch on for far too long, my husband and I were relaxing on the couch watching some events that were prerecorded. Since I had not yet heard (or honestly, paid attention to) the results for curling, we left it on. My husband is in between jobs right now and has been spending some time relaxing at home this week, so he has been able to watch more than I have. I had never known him to be a curling fan, but as we watched and I messed around on the internet, he was carrying on and exclaiming like he had money on the event.

He started remarking about “rocks” and “ends,” and I paid more attention. I guessed that he had gotten wrapped up in more of the Olympics than I had thought, and since I had always found curling interesting but sort of difficult to parse I was eager to have him break it down for me. We went on like that for a few minutes, me really impressed at how quickly he had picked it up.

Then he mentioned that the move one of the players made was called a “loonie,” and my antennae went up. He followed that up with an overenthusiatic show of disappointment at what seemed like an insignificant move. I called him out and he admitted that he had no idea what was going on. The fabulous thing about it, besides the laugh, is that he shook me out of the terrible habit I have of turning inward after a long day instead of reaching out and connecting with the one person who can help me relax and unwind the best.

So, Fabulous Thing #56: “Sweeping” a bad day under the rug.

 

02.19.2010 I Think The Word Is “Sarcasm” February 21, 2010

Filed under: Humor,Politics,Television — onefabulousthing @ 5:38 pm

I might not think that Family Guy is such a funny show if I didn’t live in Rhode Island. Probably, but maybe not. The local references coupled with the referential bits that speak exactly to my generation make it a very enjoyable 19 minutes to spend every week (thank you, DVR). My tastes in television shows tend to run more toward the dark and dramatic (Dexter, Weeds, Mad Men, Big Love, Criminal Minds) so the occasional comedy like 30 Rock, The Office, or Family Guy is a nice break from the heavy content of the other shows. Here’s the trick to keeping it light entertainment: I don’t take it seriously. I know it is in the spirit of irreverent comedy when Michael Scott says things that are not accepting of other people’s religions, when Jack Donaghy says something classist, or when any character on Family Guy says anything.

Some people have a difficult time with humor, or maybe they just have a really easy time overpersonalizing things because of their rampant narcissism. Potentially they just aren’t capable of looking past the superficial aspects of something to suss the true meaning. Not a comedic example, but I remember way back when the movie Natural Born Killers came out, there were a bunch of people all in an outrage about how it “glorified violence.” I know it’s hard work to actually put a few moments of critical thought into an opinion before you spew it all over the place, so here – let me help you sort it all out.

After the February 14th episode of Family Guy, when the character Chris dates a young woman with Down syndrome (who also happens to be opinionated, demanding, and not one to suffer fools), Sarah Palin took to Facebook to complain about the episode. Granted, the young woman in the episode did refer to Palin when asked what her parents did, saying “my mother’s the former governor of Alaska”; but Palin was taking umbrage on behalf of her son Trig, who has Down syndrome as well (in case you have been living under a rock and didn’t know that).

After I heard that, my eyes rolled so far back in my head I was afraid they wouldn’t come back. You see, the episode exactly did not make fun of people with Down syndrome. It did make fun of Sarah Palin, since she has made sure everyone knows that she is the mother of a child with Down syndrome, but how dare you reference she has a child with Down syndrome! Keep her family out of it, thankyouverymuch! However, I really have no agency to speak out about the ridiculousness of this perceived attack on her son.

Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress with Down syndrome who voiced the young woman on Family Guy does though. Here is Friedman’s interview with the New York Times on the subject, and here is an article where she is quoted as saying:

“I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor.” She added that in her family, “we think laughing is good,” and that she was raised by her parents “to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life.”

Ms. Friedman continued, “My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.”

This is exactly, exactly the point. How insulting is it to Ms. Friedman to insinuate that she didn’t understand that she was being made fun of, or that the Palin family are the sole deciders of what is and is not appropriate when it comes to people with Down syndrome? I love it when people can see past perceived political correctness and actually speak to the truth of a matter.

So, Fabulous Thing #50: Andrea Fay Friedman. Rock on, lady.