I look back over old posts and I remember. I remember when this blog was, well, not hugely popular, but popular enough. I had readers who commented with me, with each other, and made my posts far funnier with their input. When I read old posts, sometimes I surprise myself and laugh. I guess I was funnier then, or maybe I just had better ideas, or maybe, I know, maybe I just wrote more. You take a few months or a year or two here and there off and it’s like people just don’t wait around or something.
Though I think it was more than that. At some point, maybe I outstayed my welcome. I am frankly not sure what to do with myself anymore. I’m not hugely depressed anymore. I’m just – here. I haven’t worked outside the home in nearly two years. This blog kept me going through years of work that was so difficult to maintain along with anything else. My readers, my blog friends, kept me going.
This blog got noticed because I covered some of the worst books of all time, 50 Shades of Grey. But from there, other stories from my life came, “funny stories of angst”, as my counselor said. Sad Pony and Squirrel, stupid TLC coverage, Boppo the clown, a sparkle pony, some creature with a lightbulb for a butt, stories told with Disney princess dolls in the snow, making fun of Dragon Tales and earning the ire of its crazed fans, the murder of virtual people, and a little bit of politics. I was Alice, someone wittier and I don’t know, hipper than the real me. I’m not sure if anyone even uses “hip” anymore. Whatever.
I miss the old days though. Some bloggers I knew way back then are still out there, and they still come by here, and I am thankful for that. One or two decided they hated me. Others, I’m not sure. Maybe they got writer’s block and just stopped. Maybe they just got lives and drifted away. I’m not sure, but they aren’t here. I know people still read, or bots at least. Something. I know I don’t write enough, or often enough, but at times I wonder if that would even matter.
I wonder if I matter.
My girls, my Things, who have been such a part of this blog are growing up so fast. My eldest is starting college, and my youngest, my Thing Two, is a sophomore in high school. They were so little when I started. Before I know it, they will be ready to fly away. That is as it should be, and I hope I have prepared them. But I’m not sure I will be prepared to be left in the nest. Sure, I have my husband, Mr. Alice, but it’s not the same. They are my purpose. I am a mother. I’m not sure what else I am.
I want to be Alice. But I don’t think Wonderland will ever be what it was again. And I don’t know where else to go.
You are probably all wondering, “Hey, Alice, didn’t we just have these debates?” and I will answer “Yes, because this is groundhog year.” At least we have made progress in that . . . 0 candidates have dropped out, in spite of no one knowing or caring who most of these people are, and that includes, in the case of John Delaney, their own staff. Seriously, Delaney’s staff said, “Dude, drop out, you’re embarrassing us,” and Delaney was like “Naw, it’ll be fine.”
I will admit that I thought it was Bill Deblasio’s team who told him to drop out, but Thing One said it was Delaney, so yeah I couldn’t even remember which one’s team had less faith in them, but I’m gonna hazard a guess that most of their people are already tired of the free sucky campaign trail food and just want to go home, and this mess just started. I know I’m tired, and I’m not even campaigning. As far as I know.
I also goofed on the picture I posted with the last debate report by using a picture from the first debate part one instead of the first debate part two, but luckily no one else noticed that these were 10 different people either, or at least no one bothered to point it out to me. Which is why I have this little message for most of our contenders, and I will try to be gentle.
DROP OUT NOW, EVEN YOUR MOM WON’T VOTE FOR YOU, LOSER.
Okay, that out of the way, I should get to the actual debate. They mixed it up a little, putting Bernie in a different group so that he could smack someone besides Biden this time. Last night’s Jeopardy stage had Bernie “I have one volume” Sanders, Mayor Pete “Yes I’m over 18” Buttigieg, Elizabeth “Did I mention the free stuff?” Warren, Beto “Did you hear my Spanish?” O’Rourke, that self-help hippy lady, the dude whose people said drop out, and those other guys.
Since we don’t have regular cable, my Things and I struggled to find the actual live debate on Youtube, since it was littered with tons of before-game footage that no one watched of individual candidates, people talking about those candidates, and people talking about the people talking about the candidates. Our server also ran super slow from the mothers of the candidates watching the same debate cause someone had to do it. My friend Ravin sent me a wave of texts from the CNN live stream keeping me up to date while Thing Two, our computer expert, pressed buttons and shouted at Youtube. Ravin’s assessment below:
Sanders, Warren, Amy Klobachar, and bunch more white people.
Who let Marianne off the island, and why does a New Age self help guru have enough support to waste oxygen on the debate stage?
John Delaney – he’s bald but doesn’t make it look good like Booker does.
Tim Ryan: “It’s all bad.”
Hickeyloopery was unemployed for two years. So hire him for President!
Amy: I am from the Midwest!
Beto, my favorite Texas politician. He might make a good VP.
The gay mayor: Just skip Gen X and vote for a Millennial! I’m also from the Midwest and cooler than that Amy person.
Warren just said “spinelessness.”
Bernie: I know the statistics. I will punch Trump.
Please, take my employer health care!
And Warren interrupted. Congrats, first one!
Warren: Stop using Republican talking points. Here is a sad anecdote.
Amy the Streetfighter from the Iron Range.
Tim Ryan: If we set a progressive platform, the Republicans will call us socialists. If we set a moderate platform and use Republican talking points, they will call us socialists.
…Wait – that was Butiggieg.
Tim: You don’t know that Bernie.
Bernie: I do know, I wrote the damn bill!
“Thank you” from the moderator means “Shut up now.” Someone hit Amy with a clue stick!
Warren: Fight! Fight! Fight!
Boring Bald Guy: Boring is sensible. Boring is realistic. Boring can be big.
Moderator: Boring Amy, I dare you to piss off all your peers.
Boring Amy: No thank you.
Boring Bald Guy: Carbon capture.
Props to Beto for setting foot in Tucumcari.
Mayor Pete: Nominate me and Trump will look like a total jackass on the podium next to me at the debates.
Marianne: Uses the term “dark psychic energy” and still sounds like a better choice than Trump. Also adds, “40 acres and a mule for every freed slave is trillions of dollars in today’s dollars.”
Boring not bald guy: I can take a whole minute to say “Maybe.”
Gay Mayor: Quotes Bible to shame Christian conservatives in the Senate for blocking the raise in minimum wage.
Uncool Amy: Screw English majors. (I paraphrase)
News flash Elizabeth Warren: We already were the first country to use a nuclear weapon.
Ravin’s overall opinion: I officially like Pete Buttigieg best of tonight’s crowd. I think he will make it to the next level in the Game of Delegates along with Warren and Sanders. The others are doomed. Also, you should reprise your Hunger Games: Presidential Debate Edition on the blog.
Last election, I didn’t do Hunger Games, that was another thing with the Disney princess dolls – keep up, Ravin. I did have Queen Elsa run against Hans last time with a lot of the campaign done via fake Facebook chat, which seemed silly at the time but in hindsight was some sort of premonition about our first President Twitter. I don’t think I could get anymore ridiculous than what’s actually happening, but I’m certainly willing to give it the old English major try (thanks, Amy!)
Anyhoo, I liked Ravin’s summary enough to steal it and use it as my own post, but unlike Melania, I did give credit. Granted, most people could have come up with my pal’s overall assessment without the debate, but some people (cough 90 percent of the candidates) really, really need an intervention with the American public and a stun gun. Thanks to all these guys clogging the debate, whenever a candidate started to make sense, suggest an actual policy, or try to finish a sentence, the moderator told them to shut up by saying “Thank you!” Because our possible Future Leader of the Free World should be given as much time as Ms. America to solve world peace.
Stay tuned tonight for part two of part two and yeah we need to get this down to ten people AT MINIMUM cause I’m confusing myself. Tonight’s debate will feature front runner and Crest toothpaste sponsor Joe “No more Mr.
Sadface Nice Guy What Do You Mean I’m with Kamala again?” Biden, Kamala “Take a bite outta Joe” Harris, the Hispanic guy, the black bald guy, the Asian guy with the oopsie broken mike, those other two women, and the other old white guys. I’d have said more, but CNN only offered me their faces, and like I can remember that many names.
Seriously, how many of them can you name? A free sparkle pony to whoever can get five or more! Stay tuned!
Yippee Ki-yay, it’s time for round two of the Democratic debate. Now last time Trump dared to tweet that the debate was boring, which is just unreal cause Democrats are super exciting! Watch as Trump commits horrible, treasonous acts and the Democrats do . . . absolutely nothing about it! Granted compared to the Republicans whose main tasks lately have been keeping Trump from going through with these acts by regulating his schedule like a toddler’s, taking papers from his desk without him noticing, and praising him for righting what he just screwed up, I guess they are rather dull.
But the second debate was different! We got another ten candidates on the Jeopardy stage, but this time they included a couple of people that some Americans probably knew about like Bernie “Wild Hands” Sanders and “Sleepy Joe” Biden. Also there were a few women and more white guys.
Now for the line-up.
Sen. Berrrrrrrnieeee Saaaanders! (crowd of crazed Bernie fans cheer!)
Joooooe Biiiiden! (He was our Vice President for eight years. No, really.)
Mayor Peeeeete Buttigiegggg! (The overqualified gay guy with unpronounceable name!)
Sen. Kaaamalaaaa Harris! (A women and Indian and Black! Democratic jackpot!)
Former Gov. Jooooohhhhn Hickenlooper! (I didn’t make up that name!)
Sen. Kirrrrsten Gillibraaaand! (Some blond chick!)
Sen. Miiiichael Beeennnett! (One of those guys on the postage stamp I assume!)
Rep. Errrrric Swaaaalwell! (Was probably there too!)
Aaaandrewww Laaang! (Spoke one entire time I think!) and finally . . .
Maaariaaanne Wiiiiiillliamsoooon! (Self-help author you’ve never heard of! Really!)
It goes without saying that I had to look most of these people up and then count twice to make sure I didn’t miss one of them. Anyhoo, good old Joe Biden came in as the front runner, complete with a “Kick Me” sign on his back. Bernie Sanders stood beside him, wildly swinging his hands and avoiding spit and a possible shank from Kamala Harris as she and Biden battled it out. At first Biden came in swinging, wisely denying he ever did anything wrong EVER even when presented with a golden opportunity for redemption (I can see why he’s our frontrunner!), but after a while he just hung his head in resignation for the rest of the Democrat dogpile.
Here’s a quick play-by-play for our viewing audience!
Moderator: I can’t believe I drew the short straw AGAIN! Okay, you’ll all get 60 seconds to explain how you will solve every world problem ever! First we’ll talk about . . .
Swalwell: Can I talk?
Moderator: Wait, who are you again?
Swalwell: I’m Eric, gawd! Okay, Biden is SO OLD, so he needs to hand off the torch to young guys! Like me! I look about ten years younger!
Biden: Oh, you can take that torch off my dead body! (grins blindingly)
Swalwell: So what, in a few months?
Kamala Harris: Let’s not have a food fight here! At least not until I get to take a few bites out of Biden!
Moderator: Let’s talk racism! Hola, Pete, donde esta el bano?
Pete B.: Hablo Espanol y seis otra languages! El suck it!
Harris: Pretty sure I’m qualified to talk about race seeing as how I’m the only black person.
Moderator: Yikes. Remember to not keep it to 60 seconds!
Harris: Hey, Joe, wtf with not being okay with busing for desegregation back in the 70’s. Btw, I was one of the kids on the bus, dufus, so here’s your chance on a golden platter to admit a mistake.
Biden: I did not say no to busing, I said no to something having to do with someone else saying no to busing, so it wasn’t me, it was that other guy in this other position that wasn’t mine so I am totally right and you’re wrong.
Harris: WTF, no, you were like so obviously wrong . . .
Biden: Was not!
Harris: Yes you were I have all these facts . . .
Biden: I can’t heeeeaaar you!
Harris: I’m gonna climb over Bernie and put my fist in your . . .
Moderator: Moving on . . . let’s get a new topic . . .
Kirsten Gillibrand: I can talk on any topic and I will, cause I know a lot of stuff and I’m going to tell you all about it. I have, like, so many experiences, and you just don’t even know what I’ve gone through being an attractive white woman . . .
Harris: Bitch, please.
Moderator: How are you guys going to get your policies past Mitch “The Turtle” McConnell?
Biden: I’m planning on taking him out behind the shed.
Moderator: Works for me! What’s the first thing you’ll accomplish?
Sanders: (waves hands wildly, smacking Biden on the shoulder – this happened) I – will – create – an American – revolution! I – right here – will guarantee each and – every – rutabaga – a free education! I – will – give healthcare! I will call on the many faced God to – destroy our enemies!
Moderator: Bernie, are you high?
Sanders: Every – man – and woman – should have a chance to smoke weed – or do mushrooms – as a human right!
Moderator: Okey dokey. How will you all stop gun violence in 60 seconds?
Swalwell: Everyone can keep their guns! Except the bad guys! Wait, am I a Republican?
Moderator: I still have no idea who you are. I’m going to have to turn off your mike like I did Yang’s.
Yang: (whisper whisper whisper) Hey no fair . . .
Marianne Williamson: On my authority as a self-help author, I say we need to use the power of LOVE and crystals and possibly acupuncture.
Harris: Why is she even here?
Moderator: She slipped past security. John Hickenlooper, what’s with your name?
Hickenlooper: I am part looper and part hick, and proud. At least you can pronounce it, I mean we gonna call the gay guy President Pete?
Buttigieg: It beats President Hickenpooper.
Moderator: Let’s talk religion. Gay guy, what do you think of Republicans always spouting religion? Not asking you in particular for any specific reason of course.
Buttigieg: Pretty sure Jesus cared more about feeding poor people than condemning gays, but he only mentions the poor in the Bible about 50 million times, so what do I know?
Moderator: How about the border? Since you all love Spanish, I’m assuming you’re all for decriminalizing illegal border crossings?
(all raise their hands except Micheal Bennet)
Michael Bennet: Wait, did I miss something?
Moderator: Just the debate. Everyone may now proceed to leap onto Biden and rip him to pieces.
(all do so until Biden looks very, very sadfaced)
Moderator: Darn the luck, looks like this debate is over! (look of relief from Biden) Everyone go home and please rethink your life choices.
So there you are, that’s just how it happened, or how I remember it anyway, which is good enough since most of these people will disappear back into the ether by the next round, God help us all.
Your raving reporter Alice again signing off, adios!
Strap yourselves in, guys, cause the next presidential run is fully underway, with just twenty (TWENTY) Democratic contenders – this beats out the 17 Republican contenders in 2016 – hoping to beat one moronic toddler dictator Republican president. You’d think at this point we’d be rather confident that we could beat Trump, but you’d be wrong, of course. There is no way he should have won the first time, and certainly no way he should have a shot in Hades of winning this time, but this is America, and the land is dark and full of morons.
Speaking of stupidity, let’s get to the candidates. I wanted to write this before watching any commentary or reading any articles by “professional debate reporters” so that you could get it from the point of view of a confused blogger. You’re welcome. This first debate reminded me a little too strongly of an episode of Game of Thrones. You aren’t sure who half the characters are, but it doesn’t matter because most of them are likely to be killed off pretty quickly. This might be literal for some of these candidates, who are really freaking old. This is not just some ageist remark. I recently watched Biden, our 76 year old former Vice President who obviously has a great deal of political experience – despite being somewhat out of touch with reality – stumble on multiple words during the high point of his speech at a rally. It was less like, ah well everyone flubs a word, and more like OMG is he having a stroke?
We didn’t get a shot at Biden last night, but we got ten other guys and gals (we get the other ten today, oh woot!). It wasn’t just a stretch of white guys, nope, there were three, count ’em, three women, at least one of whom had a purpose to be there, a black guy, and a Hispanic guy. Also several tall white guys. I watched the debate with my Things, who tried to help me out in remembering who was who, or at least catching their names on the screen when they talked. Thing Two took some great pictures, as you’ll see below. Anyway, they threw the candidates up on screen like we were on a giant-sized episode of Jeopardy, complete with podiums that light up when the candidate rings in, er, speaks. So here they are:
Senator Elizabeth Warren (Girl! Rough around the edges but has a puppy!)
Senator Corey Booker (The black guy with the shiny head)
Representative Beto O’Rourke (Guy from Texas with a hot mugshot)
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (Another girl!)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (White New Yorker guy)
Former Hud Secretary Julian Castro (Hispanic guy!)
Sen Amy Klobacher (what are all these women persons doing here?)
Gov. Jay Inslee (I . . .have no idea. Some white guy.)
Rep. John Delaney (Again no clue.)
Rep. Tim Ryan ( Um?)
It was kind of hard for most of them to stand out. I did recognize Beto O’Rourke, former representative from Texas who just ran for governor and lost by one of the narrowest margins in Texas history, a state that has run red for decades. That may be as much an example of how much Republicans have sucked as it is Beto’s actual qualifications. Anyhoo, it turns out he is not half Mexican, half Irish (I’d love to see that household!) but just a guy with an Irish name and a Hispanic nickname. He does speak Spanish as he lets everyone know by randomly starting out answering a question in Spanish. I think I was supposed to be impressed, but mostly I was confused as despite years of Spanish in school, I didn’t know what he was saying.
At least he had the excuse of speaking another language with his confusion, along with two others (I think) who also showed they could speak another language. Look, guys, we have limited time – just send us a resume with your skills, mmkay?
I don’t have the patience (or the memory) to cover how they didn’t really answer the questions, so here’s just a little sample for brevity’s sake.
Moderator: Booker, could you answer this question about black people, you being black and all and representing black people?
Corey Booker: Yes, I could, and much better than Beto there, who had really dumb policies and is so not as hot as I am . . .
Beto O’Rourke: Oh yeah, people loved my mug shot, man, what you talkin’ about . . .
Booker: I’m speaking here, what do you think this is, debate?
Beto O’Rourke: Spanish people love me, watch me speak Spanish! Estupido!
Moderator: Maybe later, O’Rourke, let’s ask Julio Castro – that is you and not your twin right?
Julian Castro: Maaaybe, Hola! Como estas!
Moderator: Right, so, how about those Latinos? Should we let them in? You being the Latino representative here.
Beto O’Rourke: Me too! They call me Beto . . .
Julian Castro: You’re white, please stop. I have interesting things to say.
Moderator: Enough of that!
Elizabeth Warren: I’m concerned about Tim Ryan over there. His eyes are bulging out like he just got pantsed big time.
Tim Ryan: I literally can’t blink.
Moderator: He’ll be fine. Now let’s have this white male candidate talk about women’s issues. No pressure.
White male candidate: I have a good record on women’s issues, and they should get abortions, cause I want to live.
Amy Klobacher: I think these two women candidates and I know better. Cause women! Am I right? Huh?
Moderator: Your fellow candidates are staring in horror. Shut up. Now about the environment . . .
Tulsi Gabbar: I’m for the environment. But you should know that I don’t just have good cheekbones. I was in the military! Unlike you wimps.
Beto O’Rourke: Hey, I have good cheekbones too!
Elizabeth Warren: This is not about cheekbones! This is about giving away free stuff – like free college for all, and no more homework for schoolchildren ever. You get a diploma, you get a diploma, YOU get a diploma!
Amy Klobacher: But who is going to fund this college?
Elizabeth Warren: Your face is, Amy.
Moderator: Back to the questions, please raise your hand if you would like to pander to your audience.
(All raise hands)
Moderator: Great, each of you gets 45 seconds and not one second more . . . I mean it . . . I’m going to get the water bottle . . .
(Sprays all candidates with a hose until they stop talking.)
So that was part one! How did you guys feel about it? Did you get that sinking feeling that we are totally screwed? Well don’t give up yet, wait until tonight when we have the second round with Biden, Sanders, the way overqualified gay guy, and the others. Then give up.
Stay tuned, this is Alice, your raving reporter, signing out.
Hey, all, I was cleaning out my draft folder of doom, and found this review of Game of Thrones from er 2014 (?) that I possibly didn’t publish, since I can’t find it anywhere. Since people are all into the last season and all that, I figured I’d throw it up here so they can be reminded that it’s been insane since the beginning. Also, it’s a post! Check out up top for like a few other episodes, woot.
Welcome back, sparkleponies! It’s gonna be a hot time in the old Westeros tonight! Or something! A really cool thing happens in this episode. It involves Rat Nose and a bunch of molten gold. But we’ll get to that.
But it’s the best part of the episode. Besides Tyrion, naturally.
We start off with Ned lying in bed with a big owie. King Fatty and Queen Bitchy argue about what to do with Ned. The king is like crap, just get your stupid wife to release Tyrion who is the only decent part of this show and make up with that creeper Jaime so I can get back to drinking. Queen Bitchy wants him punished cause he’s so irritatingly good and then insults her husband saying she wears the iron pants in this family. He slaps her. I don’t normally applaud this, but in her case, yay!
Ned wants to go home, but the king is like if I have to suffer so do you, and gives him his job as the Hand back. Ned says “oh yay.”
Dany of the Barbarians plays with dragon eggs and fire, but doesn’t get burned. Do not try this with dragon eggs at home, kids.
That stupid three-eyed raven appears in Bran Stark’s dream again and I have no idea what that means and don’t care. His saddle is made so he gets to happily ride off straight into trouble which is what happens when you have a teenager babysit his little brother. Bran is nearly killed by a bunch of forest hobos, but is rescued, so we get to continue to hear him whine. Yay.
Arya Stark practices with her sword fighting instructor, who looks like some dude from the cast of Fame. She learns the only god she should worship is Death, and she should tell him “Not today.” Considering this story, you might as well worship death cause you see a lot of the guy, and it probably will be today.
Back to Dany again who is eating a bloody horse heart. Yummy! She has to eat the whole thing and not puke so someone can do a prophecy of her unborn kid – yeah that’s right, she’s pregnant, remember? She manages to keep it down, cause, wtf how did she do that? I couldn’t keep down toast! Anyway, the priestess says she will have “the stallion that mounts the world” and the less said about that the better. Dany yells that she’ll name her son Prego or something and the barbarians chant while Beefcake carries her around like she won the Superbowl.
Tyrion offers to confess to his crimes and is taken out of his sky cell. His crimes include lying, gambling, cheating, sleeping with prostitutes, and playing practical jokes. Hell, he’s so pure compared to the others he could be on this world’s Barney and Friends. Then he insists on a trial from Lady Psycho (Cate Stark’s sister.) It occurs to me I’m going to have trouble distinguishing people if I name them “pscyho”. Anyway, he gets his trial by combat. Psycho’s champion is a noble knight and Tyrion’s is a sword by hire named Brawn or yeah that works. Tyrion’s buddy wins, cause remember honor = stupid. Tyrion walks out of the place whistling.
King Fatty goes hunting while his squire (part of the eeeevil Lannister fam) gives him more and more wine. I can’t imagine where THIS could be going.
A peasant refugee from some massacre (ain’t that always happenin’ with them peasants?) says that Mountain guy, who works for the Lannisters (doesn’t everyone?) was behind it. Why? Out of revenge for Ned’s idiot wife taking Tyrion. D’oh! So Ned declares the guy an enemy of the throne, cause doing that to someone who works for the sociopaths in charge is a brilliant idea. Remember. Nobility = No Common Sense.
Sansa Stark (Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!) acts like a rude little twit to her . . . nurse? I dunno, and like Sansa, I don’t care. Joffrey pretends to be sorry and gives her a kiss (fumigate, fumigate) and Sansa is all in LURRVE and mad, mad, mad that Dad is making her leave this charming place for her own safety! Gawd, Dad! Ned looks in the Big Book o’ Thrones and sees that all the others in the king’s line had black hair but his kids have blond hair which means oh-oh unless you know, genetics, but they don’t know that stuff I guess so oh well.
Back with the barbarians, Rat Nose gets drunk and threatens to kill Dany’s baby right in front of Beefcake, who is like 3 of Rat Nose. Beefcake finally gets fed up and tells him he can have his crown. Then he has his men hold Rat Nose down while he throws gold in a hot cauldron and Rat Nose thinks oh crap, this might have been a bad idea, right before Beefcake pours gold all over his head, saying “A crown for a king.” Dude only knows like 10 words, but he makes them count. Buh-bye Rat Nose!
Now for our song. To the tune of “The Love Boat”
Game of Thrones (The Death Boat)
Climb Aboard. They’re expecting you. (bwah ha ha)
Death, life’s final reward.
Stab someone, they’ll try to stab you too
Game-of-Thrones! Promises something for everyone
Sex and violence
And Tyrion insulting peeps
Like an open wound or a festering sore
Game of Throoooooooooones! It’s Game of Throoooones! (hey-ah!)
Season 1, Episode 6
Death toll: 2, some knight guy, Rat Nose
Nakey toll: 1, Some prostitute lifts up her dress as a goodbye. And some people just send cards!
Update: Still decluttering around here. This happy joy joy life changing process is taking a while, because there’s so much stuff and I rapidly vacillate from wanting to throw it all away in a blaze of glory, to wanting to gather my stuff in my hands and spit “My preciousss!” into imaginary cameras.
I’ve seen a lot of complaints about Marie Kondo (see that older post) and other organizing gurus and how this whole minimalism concept and the idea of throwing out extra consumer crap is only for rich people because poor people can’t afford stuff. The writers of these articles have clearly never met a poor person. As if you have to have money for stuff! I’ve never had a great deal of money, but I’ve always had stuff. People love giving you stuff, because they redecorated or they just watched Netflix and now they have a spare entertainment center, or couch, or bed, or recliner, or T.V., or child. And yes we’ve gotten every one of those things given to us – except the child. Our children were DIY projects.
But I digress. Time to begin.
Step One: Clothes
We’ve also been given hand-me-down clothes – so many clothes – by well meaning people. Thing One gets clothes, and Thing Two gets clothes, then Thing Two gets the clothes that Thing One just outgrew. So she gets twice the clothes, and guess what? They almost all spark joy in this kid, so she doesn’t like giving them up. It’s hard to complain since my children have dressed like I spent hours in the dark searching Ambercrombie and Fitch when in fact I shop at Walmart where I can get shirts for a dollar. One dollar shirts, guys. Did I need the shirt? Did they? Well, not exactly, but hey you can wait a month to do laundry!
Maybe not the best plan. I honestly thought I didn’t hold on to clothes that much before I started all of this, but it turns out I don’t really hold onto clothes so much as I just lose them in various places. I have also changed size over the years, so I have clothes in various sizes because I might lose weight, or I might gain it. You just never know. The forties are fun! I’ve gotten rid of bags of clothes, though, and lots of extra bed linens because there is no way I’m folding more than two sets of fitted sheets. I’m also not using Marie’s cute little vertical napkin folding technique because it takes too damn long and I hang up most of my stuff. Unless it’s a fitted sheet. Then I properly cram it into my bottom dresser drawer in one giant wad, the way God intended.
Our town has made giving stuff away much easier by installing lots of dumpsters painted bright colors that are marked for the Children’s Home. This is awesome because I can drop my junk off and not have to show my face or talk to anyone. It’s just like I’m throwing it away, only I’m not, I’m doing a good deed just like all those people did for me! The only problem is that you can only dump clothes or shoes into it, not appliances or electronics or children – which you’d think they’d want being a Children’s Home and all. I do wonder if they get unwanted stuff dumped in there anyway. For instance, I heard that someone once dumped a live chicken into the book drop at the downtown library. It sure sounds like a hilarious idea – I mean a terrible thing to do. Thank goodness they now have cameras to keep people from this kind of mayhem.
So I’ve gone through my clothes once, and Thing Two volunteered a bag of clothes in exchange for four new clothing items at JC Penny’s where we were supposed to be shopping for dress shoes for her sister’s prom. I wasn’t going to let her get them, but then she showed me that they were three to five dollars, marked down from forty dollars, so of course I was suckered into it. She’s smart, that Thing Two. There isn’t a thing in her closet at the moment, but the clothes make a nice, comfy carpet, so there’s that at least. You are not supposed to “Konmari” someone else’s items, unless you can be super crafty about it so they don’t find out. So I still have the kids’ clothes left. My husband has few clothes, so that’s not a problem. The extra cars and car parts might be, since I can’t lift those into dumpsters. Not super crafty like anyway.
So does my house look better? Not a whole lot, but I’m making progress. Of some sort. While waiting for your house to transform you, I invite you to check out a different perspective on cleaning. Jennifer McCartney (author of “The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the House”) is the real deal. She is sarcastic and funny and gets paid for it, which means I should hate her on principal, but I still enjoyed her books. If only I could get my parodies to market faster. Maybe if I marked them “Twilight Sexy Times Declutter Wars”.
Anyone else spring cleaning in April? Let me know. Also, do you want some stuff?
“You say eether and I say eyether
You say neether and I say nyther
Eether, eyether, neether, nyther
Let’s call the whole thing off!”
– “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”
I’ve considered writing about this whole shutdown thing for – what is it – 30 some odd days now. CNN had a handy timer right down to the second, cause they are useful that way. I’m pretty sure most of the world knows how stupid we are by now, but just in case our government shut down for 35 days because well . . . here’s a quick summary:
Trump blarts, “We need a wall cause caravans and criminals and my red hats are mad I didn’t do it yet.”
Rest of Gov’t, “No big deal. You haven’t accomplished anything you promised. Have a hamburger and sign this saying you won’t shut down the government because you didn’t get millions for your petty little pointless project.”
Trump, “Okey dokey, oh lookie Fox News.”
Fox News, “Blah blah Trump is a wiener for signing yadda yadda.”
Trump, “I am NOT a wiener! No sign! Want wall!”
Government shuts down.
Ah, right, that’s it. But don’t worry, they said. It’s temporary. Even if it’s right before Christmas. I mean – who needs a government? We get anarchy with government anyway, so let’s call the whole thing off!
Now it was up to the Democrats, or rather Nancy Pelosi with the rest of the Democrats staring at their newspapers, to try to negotiate a deal with Trump. The first meeting went like this:
Trump: Am I getting my wall?
Trump stomps out.
35 days later . . .
Yeah, so maybe not so much fun. Turns out we do need a government for a few minor things to get done like:
Paying 800,000 government workers. (Billionaire Republican Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says “They should just take out a loan”. Or maybe sell one of their yachts, Wilbur? “How about making a deal with the grocery store to pay later?”, dumbs Trump. Yes, he really did say that.)
Keeping poor people alive through programs like Food Stamps and WIC. (What poor people? Ask your neighbors for help! Like that government worker guy next door!)
Ironically, security for stuff other than the Mexican border like TSA, the Coast Guard, the FBI (they do stuff other than investigate you, Trump):
But good news, a few days ago the government reopened (expect the news on time, none of the time on the Alice network) but only for a few weeks. Fox News continues to say that Trump got a great deal. After all, the government opened back up after over a month, and he didn’t get a wall. Or anything else. So since this was such a success, it only makes sense that he would ask for exactly the same thing in a few weeks.
I think I can guess what Nancy’s answer will be. But what is our answer? How are we going to stop this ridiculous gridlock in our political system? Maybe we should ask our mother country, the Brits! They’d know.
So much of this Poppins chick, and so little time before people get bored with me and go fly a kite. I have spent time reading Mary Poppins Comes Back by author P.L. Travers (the book Mary Poppins Returns is based upon) where our dear nanny continues to terrorize the children while admiring herself in every reflection. Oh, sure, there are a lot of adventures, and once she even goes into a Royal Doulton bowl to rescue a child she abandoned, but don’t expect any hugs or sentiment, kiddies. What does she look like, a human or something?
As I mentioned briefly last time, the books are definitely a departure from what are now two Disney movies, though both movies pull from the books, Returns taking more than the former. Last weekend Thing One and I watched a matinee of Mary Poppins Returns. We literally had the entire theater to ourselves which is just as I like it. People do so ruin a movie theater experience.
What I find strange are the reactions to this sequel. Some people seem downright offended by it, as if Disney were trying to replace Julie Andrews or Dick Van Dyke, both of whom are still alive, though a wee bit old for the parts now. (Dick Van Dyke did play the role of an old banker man in the sequel as he did the first time, though they didn’t need as much old man makeup this time.) So you end up seeing online magazine and Youtube reviews with headings like this: “‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Review: A Truck Full of Sugar Can’t Make This Uplift Go Down.” Thank you, New York Times, you big snots. We also find pics pitting Julie against Emily in what must be a fight to the death.
The above picture came from The Guardian which asked the question “Is Mary Poppins a feminist?” because . . . that was what the movies were totally about? No, the real issue is the supposed competition. It’s clearly not okay to like both versions, for different reasons. Yet they are going to be compared anyway, so I’ll try a comparison between both movies and the book, from specific scenes. If the second movie is a repeat of the first, it is only because the second book is also a repeat of the first, as you’ll see.
Sweeps vs Leeries: The original Mary Poppins movie had lovable Bert, the chimney sweep who stayed positive no matter what degrading job you gave him, or how many times Mary Poppins put him in the friend zone. He sings the songs “Chim-chim-cheree”, an opening number later reprised, as well as the show (and heart) stopping number “Step in Time.” The amount of dancing, acrobatics, singing, and insane never-ending chaos is quite impressive, especially considering Dyke had no formal dance training. It’s surprising no British families expressed annoyance at their constant dancing on their rooftops, but then again, there was a scary amount of chimney sweeps in London at that time.
Mary Poppins Returns gives us Jack, Bert’s former apprentice turned lamp-lighter (or Leerie) played by Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame. Instead of a Chimney Sweep mafia, now Leerie gangs roam the streets, lighting lamps while flying upside down on anachronistic bicycles. Or so they say. I bet Mary Poppins just invented the bicycles herself and gave them to the Leeries on the condition that they attempt to kill themselves for her entertainment just like the sweeps did. They do a fine job trying with “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”, the sequel’s answer to “Step in Time”. He also opens the movie with “The Lovely London Sky”, which might be more of an anachronism than the bicycles since I’m fairly sure that London’s been polluted a long time. One disturbing detail: a commenter on one review I read said “It makes sense that Jack was Bert’s apprentice as a child, since the kids could slide down in small places easier”. Nice thing to think about, Bert dropping Jack down chimneys with a reassuring “Chim-Chim-Cheerie, kiddo!”
The Books: While Bert does appear in the first book, it’s only for a chapter, and it’s just Mary Poppins and him, no kids. Bert is actually a combination of several characters mentioned briefly in the books, and I imagine Jack must be as well, though there is no Jack in the book Mary Poppins Comes Back.
Bird Lady vs Balloon Lady
The Bird Lady appears in the first Mary Poppins movie along with the heart-breaking song “Feed the Birds”. Mary summons her through a snow globe, and the kids see her later on the steps, but never get to give her their tuppence, which goes to the bankers who outright take it from little Micheal who throws a fit about his money being stolen. This leads to people going insane and withdrawing money, even if they weren’t in the building while the child was yelling. Later when the father walks by the steps, she isn’t there, leading you to believe she’s probably dead, though luckily I missed this as a kid. I still say she could have taken a day off, you know.
Fun fact: Walt found this 90 something year old lady and dragged her onto the set to play the Bird Woman just before she died.
Mary Poppins Returns gives us the Balloon Lady, played by Angela Landsbury who can just do anything she wants, and you will love her. She hands out balloons that take people up in the air as she sings the song “Nowhere to Go but Up”, sort of the theme song of this presidential administration. It’s much like the song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from Mary Poppins as it ends the movie on a happy high note. Returns gives us more than one answer to the tear-jerker “Feed the Birds” with “The Conversation” where a now grown Micheal talks about his dead wife (yes the dead mom Disney curse is present here) as well as “The Place Where the Lost Things Go” a lullaby that Mary Poppins sings, also about dead mom who is apparently in the same place where Mary lost her favorite spoon. Even though I love both these songs and they made me cry in the theater, I still wonder: does that mean my socks are in Heaven?
Fun fact: Micheal’s tuppence plays a role in the conclusion of Mary Poppins Returns, so, um, without too many spoilers, it’s basically good thing he didn’t give his money to that Bird Woman after all! So – not giving to charity is good?
The Books: There is a short chapter in the original Mary Poppins about the Bird Lady, and interestingly, this is not a lesson that Mary teaches at all. Surprise! Mary hates birds and unlike Julie, she sure as heck doesn’t sing to them. The children give tuppence to the Bird Woman in order to feed the birds all on their own. The birds swarm Mary and steal a flower from Mary’s hat and put it on the Bird Woman’s hat. Mary gets seriously ticked off about this whole thing, and waves the birds away while snapping “You ought to be in a pie – that’s where you ought to be!”. I’m kind of surprised she didn’t assault the Bird Woman for her flower back.
The Balloon Woman does appear in the book’s sequel, though she gives balloons that lift people to the skies to Mary Poppins and the children only and not the father as well. They do get their names printed on them magically, so that’s cool and all.
I could go on forever with the comparisons, but I’ll try to sum up the rest quickly. While Mary and Bert and kids jump into a drawing for “Jolly Holiday”, a number filled with 2-D animation, Mary, Jack and kids jump into a china bowl for “A Cover is Not the Book”, a number filled with 2-D animation, and a surprising amount of innuendo as Mary changes into that chick from Chicago. The drawing is in the first Mary Poppins book, and the bowl in the second, though the stories are different. Mary goes into the drawing with Bert alone in the book, while in the movie she just abandons the kids for some alone time with Bert. In the book Mary Poppins Comes Back, Jane is kidnapped into the bowl and rescued by Mary Poppins while in the movie – okay the kids are kidnapped again but save each other. Mary Poppins also has insane relatives in both movies and the books, so at least in some ways she’s kind of like us. Well, us if everything in the universe, including us, thought we were fantastic.
Mary Poppins vs Mary Poppins Returns
What are the major differences between the Marys? Tone definitely is different, as the mother is dead in the second version rather than just a dim wit that leaves the children with a dirty chimney sweep she has never met (Bert) so that she can get to her suffragette meeting. The sequel also takes place 30 years after the first, and involves Jane and the widowed Micheal and his children. No word on Mr. and Mrs. Banks, so I suppose they were six-feet under too. Time passes much more slowly in the books which always involve the same Banks children, though there are five children instead of two. The mother is still incapable of parenting though. Judging by the memories of the mother in Mary Poppins Returns, that mother was actually competent, which was probably why they had to kill her.
The stakes are definitely higher, for while there was no real villain in the first movie – unless you count the father’s bosses who sack him only to rehire him hours later – there are villains in the sequel. The boss of the bank is a rather over-the-top evil Colin Firth who personally wants to repossess the Banks’ house because having a dead wife was not enough punishment for poor Micheal. The children’s fantasy land even gets a villain at one point in a wolf representing the banker, so no relief there, kids. Mary only has to get the parents to pay a little more attention to the kids in the first, while she has to drag Micheal out of depression (Pish posh, she’s been dead a year, codfish!), get him to better appreciate the children, and help him keep his house. She sends poor Jack on top of Big Ben at one point to stop time when she could have easily done it herself. That’s Mary Poppins, for you. Prove your love to me that I may treat you crappy and leave!
Still, I do love Emily Blunt’s Mary Poppins. No, she’s not Julie Andrews, but she isn’t trying to imitate her. She has a delightful way of employing a constant use of sarcasm with the children, while artfully rolling her eyes. What kind of mother figure does that? Shut up, Thing One and Thing Two. I did enjoy Mary’s relationship with Bert more than her relationship with Jack. Lin Manuel Miranda is a great showman, and I enjoyed his numbers, but there was just a greater chemistry between the two leads in the first, in my opinion.
What about the songs? I loved every song in the first Mary Poppins. I’m not completely taken with every song in the second, though they grow on me as I listen to the soundtrack. One has to remember that the first Mary has had since 1964 to shove songs into our brain. My favorite so far is “Can You Imagine That?”, a song she sings to the children who have tried to become mini adults in the wake of their mother’s passing. The oldest boy says he doesn’t take bubbles in his bath, and Mary snarks “Well I guess you’ll just have to a-vooooid them then.” Cue eyeroll.
I guess the best thing about both movies, and even the book, is that they encourage people to use their imagination and find the child, and the joy, they once knew. And here I was thinking that maybe I should be more adult like other moms and vacuum and cook and stuff instead of playing dolls with my kids, but it turns out I’m really just well-adjusted according to Mary Poppins. And Mary Poppins is never wrong.