Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Archive for the tag “pop culture”

Day 7 of the Whole Life Challenge, or What I am Proud of

This still sucks.  Honestly.  Everyone said it would get better.  Now, I am not technically crying anymore, but nevertheless, I still fricking hate this.

I am staring at a chocolate bar.  There is longing in my heart.  I yearn.

I am hungry.  I have decided that I hate water.

I am NOT proud of my willpower.  I do have some kick-ass willpower, though.  But, I don’t feel an emotion that cancels out all of the other negativity that emanates from my belly.

So, in an attempt not to bring everyone down, I will list for you instead things I AM proud of.

rem

  1.  I know all of the words to “It’s the End of the World as We Know it” by REM.  I break this out at, you know, parties and other social gatherings where I am high on life (or vodka).  This one shows my age, just like the realization that internet research didn’t really exist until after I had graduated from college.  I had to read BOOKS.
  2. I can do “The Carlton.”  This one shows my age, too.  carltonNo, I do not perform this sacred dance on command.  I gotsta be in the mooood for it.  But, I rock at it.  It is one of the many ways I am awesome. (Note:  Working out and eating right are not typically ways in which I am awesome, hence my loathing of this challenge.)
  3. skull I can Hamlet my ass off.  When kids leave my class, they lurv this play and I can’t blame them.  It’s the bomb-diggity.  Best work of literature ever.  And, I am magical at it.  I seem to have some sort of witchcraftery I can spin on unsuspecting young minds.  Follow me into the darkness and despair of Shakespearean tragedy, little ones…
  4. I am super good at embarrassing my kids.  That “Carlton” dance ain’t the only moves I got in the ol’ repertoire.  My oldest HATES to see me dance.  So, naturally, I do it as much as possible.  I get professional-grade eyerolls every time.  Bazinga!dancin
  5. I am a beast at Taboo.  Come at me, bro.  I will destroy you.  My husband and I make a fearsome team.  You do NOT want some of this.  We will embarrass you.  This actually makes us no fun to play with at all.  We’re crazy competitive and will trash talk you at this simple party game until you want to take back that hostess gift you brought and go the hell home.taboo

Feel free to comment and tell me what cool tricks and talents you have, too!  If you rock at the Whole Life Challenge, though, and think it is super easy and chocolate is not even that hard for you to avoid, you can keep that shit to yourself.

A Shout-Out to my Homies Rockin’ it on a 19th-Century Farm

This morning, while watching the news, I was struck with a thought:  What the hell is happening to this generation?

Y’all know I’m a mom.  And, I am a high school teacher.  In my tenure in both of these important jobs, I have seen some sees.

But, lemme just tell you that what made me wonder about current culture wasn’t the fatal shooting I heard about that happened within the city limits of the school district where I worked for a decade before taking my current job.  It wasn’t the entertainment news that seemed to make it everyone’s business to care whether Beyonce is pregnant or not.

It was a car commercial.

This commercial was for a vehicle that boasted that it had “125 horses.”

It irked me for a number of reasons.

I shall list them for you not so much because I feel as though you have been waiting on the edge of your seat since July for me to post something fabulous, but rather because I loves me a good list.

1. Why “horses” and not “horsepower”?  Is this a sign of our getitdonenow times that signifies we are now just too George Jetson to be bothered with saying two extra syllables?  Is this a sign that the Orwell-ocalypse is upon us and we are paring down our already paltry American vocabulary?  Are Big Motor companies just going to start calling things “double-plus good” from now on?

2.  Why are we even referencing horsepower at all anymore?  Is there anyone on the non-Amish parts of the planet that can even identify the physics of the power of a single horse, thereby being able to fathom the force that can be generated when this energy is multiplied to represent 125 horses?  How relevant is this as a reference and what does it even mean.  I defy even ONE carbuyer to explain to me, plainly, what horsepower is in basic terms of force.

3.  Who really cares about horsepower, anyway, unless you are currently somehow living in 19th-century West Virginia and are tending to your crops?  When you know that a vehicle’s weight, the amount of friction that can occur, and basic torque are other (and perhaps better?) factors on which to judge how well a vehicle pulls, what is even the difference?  I get that some of you gun-rackers need them horsies to haul home your kill of buck for yer kin, but realistically, how much does horsepower even factor in to the average buyers’ concerns?

4.  Marketing sucks.  Big donkey balls.  Tricky wordsmithery, flashy bullshittitude, empty language, meaningless boasts:  I can’t even figure out if I really want a Diet Coke anymore or if the evil elves at Fancy Pants DoubleTalk Advertising Agency, Inc. have crept into my subconscious psyche and have fooled me.  “125 horses?” Bah.  I shant be swayed by your reference to the earth’s most majestic creatures.  (But, if it had “125-unicorn power” I might be sold.)

5.  Finally, Big Car Company:  you’re not cool.  The cool kids are all abbreviating their words so that shit is barely recognizable anymore.  Things are “totes adorbs,” and if you don’t get it, you’re probably just “jelly” of those of us who do, aight?  But, srsly, you, BCC, are comprised of a boardroom full of fat white men with whitish, thinning hair, blah-colored suits and eyeglasses.  Y’all ain’t turnt up and popular.  Stop acting a fool and use regs words, else I keep throwin’ shade at y’all.

 

Now that I have gotten that all out in the open, I do feel a tad better.   I mean, not about the world in which I am raising my children, but just better because I got to rant for a bit.  Thanks for the indulgence.

 

Miley Cyrus is just trying to f#(k me

WordleI guess every generation of kids has the same essential goal:  to piss off “authority.”

I came to this bombshell of a conclusion the other day when I stumbled upon a video posted on Facebook by an old friend.  It was a segment of “Donahue” (what a damn terrible show that was) from 1995 that talked about the horrifying dangers of the new trend of slam-dancing.  One whole child DIED when he (shockingly) fell down.  I mean, he FELL, you guys.  There are absolutely NO other circumstances, Phil Donahue seemed to suggest, under which a 17-year old could fall and die.  THESE MOSH PITS MUST BE STOPPED!

Enter Marilyn Manson and two other yahoos from his band that I probably could once identify, but now at my age just look like assholes.  Mr. Manson, as he agreed Donahue could call him, suggested that indeed, throwing one’s body into a crowd of hyped up concert-goers could be dangerous, but that it was the danger that made it appealing.  It’s a thrill of a different sort — fueled by adrenaline, hard music, camaraderie, and maybe just a teensy bit of weed.

As a 37-year old adult, I kinda wanted to punch that Twiggy fucktwit next to Manson who only “spoke” via a tiny Walkman with some weird recording on it that he occasionally held up to his stage mic.  As a kid who was 18 in 1995 when this moshing phenomena was rolling along (and who MAY have partaken in a pit or two herself) I thought that this whole thing was just goddamn ridiculous.  Take your fear-mongering elsewhere, 20-years-ago-Donahue, you look like a douchebag right now.

But here’s the thing:  all of the adults in the audience were shocked — SHOCKED, I SAY! — that kids would call this abomination of God’s earth “dancing.”  They were about 30 seconds away from getting the town pastor to abolish all dancing altogether (except for one brave kids who would save the day after a long routine of gymnasti-boogie in a warehouse, I assume).

shock rockAnd, Donahue commented that Manson’s “look” reminded him a bit of Alice Cooper.

Indeed.  And that’s the thing, right?  Since pretty much, like, forever (or at least since my parents were born, which was sooooooooooooo long ago — Hi, Mom!  Love you!), the goal of youth culture is to fuck the establishment, right?  Nirvana throwing their guitars in the air, NWA even having the name “NWA,” Madonna dry-humping a stage, Pink Floyd shaving eyebrows (and nipples, do I remember?  I try to block it out.  I was traumatized by “The Wall”), Ozzy eating bats, “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” “NOT” being about hallucinogenics, Elvis’ hips, and so on — it was all just so youth culture could separate itself as much as possible from the established adult “normalcy.”

In the aforementioned video clip, Donahue mentioned, as he looked at the shirt-and-tie-clad father of the young man who had died in a mosh accident and the leather-clad Marilyn Manson seated next to him, that never before had there been such a sharp contrast between generations.

I disagree.  If you put a guy in slacks and JC Penney neckwear next to, say, Flavor Flav, Robert Smith, Iggy Pop, Sid Vicious, or any of the members of KISS, you might notice that there are some differences.

mileyAnd, I, of course, am a mom and a high school teacher.  I roll my eyes when my students say they like Miley Cyrus or Lil Wayne because, you know, I don’t personally love overexposed brats or misogyny, but their goal is likely the same as was the goal of Henry Rollins, Tupac or Rage Against the Machine.

Only, now I am the establishment they’re trying to fuck.

Then and Now, Inside and Out

I will admit that when I sat down at my computer I had very little to say.  And, that, frankly, kinda scared the hell out of me.

Who am I if I am not a loudmouthed, sarcastic know-it-all who has something to say about everything?

I just don’t know.

My instinct, for some reason was to comment about Tupac.  I think it is because I saw a teenager wearing a t-shirt today that had Biggie and Tupac on it.  Tupac was flicking off the camera.  It made me think about the whole concept of rebellion and whether it was inherently good or bad — or neither — or both.

When I was a teenager, I remember there was a bit of a resurgence of 1960’s hippie fashion and culture.  I bought cheap babydoll dresses at Contempo Casuals and discovered The Beatles and people started tie-dying everything around them.  Then Hypercolor t-shirts became the post-modern pseudo-tie-dye reinvention.  Ugh.

And, during this time, I thought everyone over 19 was pretty fucking dumb.  They just didn’t understand reality.  This reality, of course, was whatever I believed it to be in my 14 years of wisdom.  No one, you better believe, was dumber than my parents.  They were super, ultra, extra dumb and could never hope to understand my world in all its complicatedness.

I was a rebel in my own mind.  I never got into any trouble whatsoever.  I once drove a car for about 5 whole minutes before I was 16 and had a license.  I never had to serve any penance for this crime, though.

anarchyYet, I empathized with those who struggled.  My soul seemed to identify with those who felt the need to revolt.  Maybe I listened to too many Sex Pistols songs or Sonic Youth feedback.  There was always a sort of fire in my tiny, adolescent belly that yearned to be in London (and be older), with my fist in the air and a snarl on my face.  I scrawled lyrics to Pixies songs on my school notebooks, then went to AP English class in my cheerleader uniform where I discussed philosophy and later filled out college applications to some of the more prestigious universities in my area.

I never felt like a hypocrite.  I just felt (then and now) that the person inside me didn’t always match the person I showed to the public.  Or the person my parents expected me to become.

I never rebelled.  Not in any real way.  And, I do think – now as an adult – that all of the teeny-bopper bullshit whining that I hear constantly about how adults don’t understand and the world is so cruel and the soul is so black and we’re just so misunderstood is played out and pretty fucking annoying.  I have become my parents.  But, I already knew that.

But, still, I kinda like seeing that picture of Tupac with a very adamant middle finger proudly on display on that kid’s shirt.  Part of me still identifies with the fuck-you attitude.

It is what makes me so charming.  And lovable.

I know you are but what am I?

She was the kind of girl who smoked cigarettes in a car with rolled-up windows while fuzzy dice dangled on her rearview mirror.  I am sure she owned plenty of leopard print.  I would be certain that whatever her name would be, it would end with an “i.”

He scrawled on desks in high school with the end of a pen that no longer worked.  And he only owned clothes with band names on them or things that were made out of threadbare denim or cheap, knock-off leather.

Her friends all loved pink and had big hair and wore plastic bracelets and shoes.  One had a button on her purse that said “Save Ferris.”  Another knew the perfect way to scrunch up her socks at the ankle so that they were just awesome enough.

He hung with guys who snarled a lot.  They couldn’t afford muscle cars, so they hung calendars of them in their rooms instead.  They pretended to know about the world.

Everyone believed, firmly, that these kids were going nowhere in life.  Now they’re 40.  They wear shirts with buttons and pants that have to be ironed.  They have kids and a mortgage and a sensible SUV with a top-rated carseat inside.  They have no idea what the coolest music is anymore, but they do know all about Doc McStuffins.

This might sound like people you know.  One of those people might even be you.

The person who wrote this was once cool, I am sure.  Now she uses adult diapers and complains that the rain hurts her knees.

The person who wrote this was once cool, I am sure. Now she uses adult diapers and complains that the rain hurts her knees.

So, you’re old.  That sucks.

I understand.

But, I offer no solace.  There shall be no respite from the weariness of your lamentable aging today.

Instead, I offer you this:

*next summer, Forrest Gump will be 20 years old.  That makes Haley Joel Osment (young Forrest) now 24.  He could be your coworker.  Or worse, your boss.

*it has been 30 years since Michael Jackson first did that Moonwalk on TV while performing Billie Jean and 30 years since Vanessa Williams became the first Black Miss America.

*If you had had a child the night Seinfeld aired its final episode, that child would now be a freshman in high school.

*If Nirvana’s Nevermind were a person, it could now legally drink in the United States.  Actually, it was released 22 years ago.

*It has been 43 years since the first heavy metal album was released.  Original headbangers would now risk serious injury for rockin’ out.

*It has been exactly 40 years now since psychology experts removed homosexuality from its list of disorders.  It took Denmark another 16 years to be the first to legalize same-sex marriages.  It took 26 total years from that date for California to offer some rights for same-sex couples in committed relationships.

Remember these guys?  If so, you are at least 30.  The show ended in 1981.  Muppet Babies ended in 1992.

Remember these guys? If so, you are at least 30. The show ended in 1981. Muppet Babies ended in 1992.

*It has been 34 years since Nickelodeon first launched as a channel.

*It has been nearly a decade since Facebook launched as a social networking site.

*28 years have passed since the launch of the first Super Mario Brothers.

*If you were 13 years old when Pac Man first came out in the US, you are now 45 years old, geezer.

*If you were 18 when Jimi Hendrix died, you are now 61 years old.  Criminey.

*Cyndi Lauper is 59.

*Gene Simmons is 63.

*Pee Wee Herman is 60.

*TuPac would be 42 years old now, had he lived.

*Denise Huxtable from the Cosby Show would turn 46 this year.

*William Shatner is 81.

*Chuck Norris is 72.

*Brad Pitt is 48.  Two and a half years younger than George Clooney.

and, finally,

*Ralph Macchio, the Karate Kid is freaking 50 years old.

Wow.

 

YOU’RE OLD.

Getting old is awesome.  At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Getting old is awesome. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Turn Up Your Radio (if you dare)

Remember when singers could sing?

My grandma used to tell me that it would never get better than “Moon River.”  I’d roll my eyes at her and wonder why she would refuse to get with the program and jump into the “current times.”

Now, I proudly say, GRANDMA KNEW HER SHIT.

I could write feverishly about how Auto-Tune has ruined contemporary performance.  And, I could go on for a really friggin’ long time about how the only real talent in America anymore just might be on stages, not in recording studios.

And I think about all of the bullshit in education.  The standardized testing.  The Common Core.  The state guidelines.  The benchmarks.

And nobody makes multi-million dollar artists sing for their suppers.  They could sound like…well..ME…and get a contract.  So long as they know the right people, end up in the right place, or own the right wigs.

We test the bejesus out of kids these days so that we can allegedly assess their understandings of literature, geometry, history, grammar, biology, algebra and chemistry.  In the end, the only people who actually end up answering for these assessments, though, aren’t the kids who either did or did not take them seriously, but are the educators whose livelihoods depend now on encouraging a 13-year old to sit for two hours and fill in bubbles accurately in silence.

Yet, we don’t require a goddamn thing — not even talent — from the demigods to whom we pay our sheckles for their willingness to make noises come out of their diaphragms.

Spectacular.

I propose an A Capella singing assessment be issued to all singing “artists.”  In fairness, I should have, perhaps, also put “singing” in quotation marks as well.

The airwaves would be very different.

Although, then, perhaps the only thing that might come of that would be that vocal coaches all over the country would get their salaries tied to how many of their pupils passed those tests.  And then the system would be all fucked up.

 

Coulda Done Without…

Tell me, friends:  who among us cannot appreciate the beauty in the little things in life?

Ah, the beauty of the world around us.  Some days I just can't fucking find it.

Ah, the beauty of the world around us. Some days I just can’t fucking find it

I can’t.

Sometimes even the voices in my own head are of people I’d like to punch in the trachea.

The past two days have been days like that.  I have felt a permanent snarl on my face.  It isn’t iconic like Billy Idol’s or quirky like Elvis’ or cute like a puppy’s.  It is the physical manifestation of disappointment in the human race.  It is the muscular byproduct of my involvement in a culture of stupidity.

Let’s explore some things that are wacky, ridiculous, senseless or just generically aggravating for thinking people.

Strange Days, indeed

Strange Days, indeed

1.  Television.  I have before chronicled my irritation with some modern-day children’s programming.  What has happened?  Where are the Snorks?  Can I get some Great Space Coaster up in here?  I miss my Electric Company.  I feel sorry for kids today who will never learn who is “bouncing here and there and everywhere,” with “high adventure that’s beyond compare.”

2.  Modern technology and inventions.  Now, I am not going to bitch about kids who try sexting, or about the problems with Windows 8.  I am going to complain about the inventions of items such as antenna balls, the Snuggie, the ShamWow, The Shake Weight, the Flowbee, the KFC “Double Down,” and the laser disc.  Where are we going, world?  I don’t want to know what is next up for a world that has invented the wearable DVD player, “Two Broke Girls,” and those little decorative pieces of junk that you cram in the holes of your equally stupid Crocs.

3.  Baby Names from Mars.  What are some of you thinking?  Now, I am really sorry if you are the proud mother of an Orangejello, Nevaeh, Q’Daunteus, Le-A, Yummalewis, Princess, Rambo, Angelbaby, Cha Cha, Kredonshea, Sugar, Zither or Falopiana.  Actually, I am sorrier for your kids.

4.  Prissy Drinkers.  When I was in college, I was repeatedly annoyed by girls who would go to frat parties and not be willing to drink beer.  “I don’t liiiiiike beer,” they’d twirl their hair and whine.  Really, assclown?  You came to a FRAT PARTY.  Oh, yes, Sweet Cheeks, let me get you a Pomegranate Cosmo.  You’re 19.  Drink Schlitz with the rest of the crew.  And, get your hands on that barrel and your feet in the air and be fun, dammit.

5.  The Discriminatory Childless.  Everyone’s an expert, right?  There is no shortage of people out there who have no children of their own, but who will roll eyes, scoff, or even offer unwelcome advice about you and your kids.  Now, I used to be one of the Discriminatory Childless.  And, then I had two kids.  And, now I am sorry to that mother I yelled at at Wal-Mart that one time.

Tell that to the perky-perks.

Tell that to the perky-perks.

6.  The Habitually Optimistic.  I am a grump by nature.  It is just who I am.  My husband asks me all the time “what’s wrong” or mentions, sweetly of course, that I “look miserable.”  Most of the time I am not what I would say is “miserable.”  But, I am adorably misanthropic.  Well, at least that is how I like to think of myself.  But nothing makes me grumpier than when I am faced with a perky, doe-eyed happy-cat.  You know the type.  Ever see “Office Space?”  I think about “Accounts Payable, Nina Speaking…JUST a moment!” repeated enough times to make me want to vomit all over her rainbow-colored world.

Feel free to share with me the things you could do without in this world.  Grump with me.  Try it.  First one’s free.

 

Sex Sells

I have been feeling unmotivated lately.

I’ve not posted here in a while because I (for once) haven’t had much to say.  This is pretty unusual for me in general.  I typically do not shut up.  Like, ever.

So, instead of trying to force it here, I thought I would just make a post that we can all enjoy…

Here you go.

Historic movie eye candy.kevin

You’re welcome.taye2

brad carypaulgeorgejamesmarlondaniel     leo  mattwillsean patrick

Things That Don’t Suck

I love countdowns, top 10 lists, music charts, awards shows and all manner of things that intend to compare things to other things and figure out which among them is “best.”

In its heyday, I had never missed an episode of “I Love the 70’s,” “I Love the 80’s,” “I Love the 90’s,” “I Love the New Millennium,” or any of the spinoffs that resulted.  I also would likely stop channel surfing immediately if I were ever to find one of VH1’s other nuggets of fabulousness such as “Best Week Ever,” “50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs…Ever,” or “100 Greatest One-hit Wonders.”

I loves me a good list.

And, at Off Duty Mom, we’ve compiled our own lists that were pretty awesomesauce.  Sometimes I admitted to having lists of popular culture moments I’ve enjoyed even though I know they’re all pretty lame.  And, I have had a list of things I realized I was too damn old to properly comprehend.  I now would like to share with you…

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE…

1.  Skee-Lo’s “I Wish” — Arguably one of the most fun songs written, um, ever.  I say “arguably” as some may argue this point.  They’d be wrong.  I might listen to discussions that would consider Paperboy’s “Ditty,” House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” or Digital Underground’s “Humpty Dance” as being on-par.  I enjoy all of these songs, but have really given this a whole lot of thought, people.  Don’t question my all-knowing pop-culture awesomeness.

2.  The Diaper Genie — There has been so much debate regarding whether or not this item is necessary for parents.  I just want to say that this product has made my life far more convenient than it might otherwise be.  For the true environmentalist (which I am not, though I do recycle and stuff — I am not a Neanderthal, after all), I can see why there might be some concern about how necessary it is to use so much more plastic than is absolutely necessary.  But, I have to admit that I don’t really give a crap about that too much.  Or, rather, the crap that I do give to the world is preferably wrapped in stink-reducing magic bags that form blue poop sausages I can create with the use of just one hand.  Sexy.

…and it shall be called “The Diaper Genie” and ye all shall rejoice…

3.  Diet Coke — Full of chemicals and stuffed with too much sodium to actually reduce my thirst and replenish my body’s needs, Diet Coke is still one of my first loves.  It has no redeeming qualities.  But, neither did that guy from New York that one time and a lack of redeeming qualities didn’t stop me then and (as I am a woman of principles, after all), it won’t stop me now.

That heart on the can is probably how they tricked me…

4.  My Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo — The company claims that I ought to be getting 17 MPG in the city, but I think my husband would throw a damn party if that ever happened.  It’s usually more in the ballpark of 12, he claims.  But, that 8-cylinder engine makes it really easy to get you quickly out of my way.  Since, in an earlier post, I established that I hate people, a powerful vehicle is just what I need to get away from you all.  And, enjoy your Prius, sucker, when you’re stuck in a mud puddle.

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t NEED roads…

5.  President Obama — Yup.  I was sucked in by the flowery, inspiring speeches and charisma.  And, I still love this guy.  I have nothing else I can say.  I still love President Clinton, too.  I’d buy just about anything those two guys were selling.  Charm, magnetism, pizzazz.  Yes, please.  I will never vote for anyone who says “misunderestimate,” spells “potato” with an “e,” cannot name a single major US newspaper, or blows off a life-long proclivity for hate-mongering by claiming to having been a mere prep-school prankster.

I am not sure what all of this says about me.  But, I decided long ago that I was really good with “me” as-is, so I am thinking that I probably don’t actually care what this all says about me.

Instead, allow me to open up the polls here and welcome you to join in the discussion of other things that don’t suck.  Comment here, if you’d like, about other things you enjoy regardless of whether others share your enjoyment.  I’ll be interested to hear differing viewpoints.  Join in.

 

 

Laying down the law

 Having posted recently about not understanding some people’s affinity for some of the worst popular music of all time (which I insist was all made after 1995), I started thinking about pop culture more.

Truthfully, I am obsessed with movies, music and tv from the 80’s and 90’s.  I even tried out for VH1’s “World Series of Pop Culture” with a team of other pop-culture addicts.  I am still floored that we didn’t make it past the first round.  There just couldn’t have been anyone better than we were.

But, in my pondering about the pop culture of my youth in that last post, I made reference to the fact that my parents banned hardcore rap in my house right at the height of the gangsta rap movement when everything was very political and driven.  They, of course, never listened much to the lyrics to know anything beyong the fact that they were violent (or so they had heard) and used racial slurs.  A whole lot.

That has led me to think at length about other things my folks banned at our house.  Warning:  this list is odd.

1.  The Simpsons — My mother insisted that Bart Simpson (who she didn’t know by name, but instead referred to as “that child”) was “disrespectful.”  Most of my questions, however, regarding her reasons for disallowing this program in her household were simply met with a pursed-lipped sour scowl and disapproving head shake.  So, I am still not 100% certain what her beef was, but I think that she probably heard the “Eat my shorts!” tagline once and decided that it was NOT for her precious baby girl’s ears.  It’s funny how philosophical, political and deep the social commentary is on this show, though.  It’s a shame mom never got the chance to learn that guns are “for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face!”

Is that Immanuel Kant or a Tracey Ullman spin-off?

2.  Married With Children — This show was notoriously forbidden in my home as a kid.  I never really showed much interest in watching it, though, so I am not really sure why my mother so vehemently protested against this in my presence.  It kinda made me want to watch it, actually, though, so let that be a lesson about getting your kids to do (or not do) what you want them to do (or not do).  But, I always thought that the show was a little…contrived.  At my age as a young teenager, I didn’t really get the winky humor.  My husband would now cringe since he was actually a big fan, but honestly, I just never really found it that appealing. 

Keepin' it classy.

Hey, Baby.

3. Dirty Dancing — Now, I know that the only reason I was not allowed to see this movie was because of the title.  I know this, of course, because my mother told me that “no child of mine is going to watch something called Dirty Dancing!”  Fast forward to a few months after the movie’s release when on a chilly February night I showed up at a friend’s house for a huge sleepover birthday party where the featured presentation involved Patrick Swayze’s gyrations and a botched back alley abortion procedure.  Scandal.  I thought for sure mom was going to turn me right around in the doorway and march me back home where everything was safe and we could peacefully watch “The Cosby Show” snuggled on the couch as a family.  But, she didn’t.  I stayed.  I saw the movie.  I had a nice time with my friends. I didn’t subsequently become a mass murderer.  Crisis averted.  And, now it’s my mom’s second favorite movie.  First is still “White Christmas.”  Nothing’s ever going to trump that.  Not even shirtless foxtrots.

NOOOO!!!! Casual shopping!!!!

4.  The mall — Well, to be fair, the mall itself wasn’t completely off-limits.  I just wasn’t allowed to drive there, be driven there by anyone who received a license after Nixon’s resignation, be left alone for any length of time there, or “hang out” there without a specific purpose.  To this day, I cannot browse.  It isn’t in my nature.  The desire for it was sucked out of my soul via my mother’s version of the  Ludovico Technique, apparently.

5.  Earrings — The rule in my household was that I would not be permitted to have piercings of any type until my 13th birthday.  Granted, piercing anything other than one’s ears was  not heard of in 1989 among the suburban masses, so their intention wasn’t to ban my becoming a punk, but was to ban my growing up too quickly since earrings somehow signified (perhaps to my father more than to my mother) maturity.  My mom’s needle-phobia wasn’t putting her in a position to want to rush me out to Piercing Pagoda to watch a dart gun press metal alloy through her daughter’s flesh, either, I am sure.

As a parent myself now, I wish I could say that I am more reasonable than my parents were, but that would be a lie.  I am totally irrational and have ridiculous rules and look forward to embarassing my children by dancing at their school dances.  One might say that I have learned NOTHING from my parents’ example.  They made things difficult for me and they made me want them to walk three steps behind me in public.  But, I maintain that they taught me everything I needed to know about how to have a loving marriage and how to raise a clearly briliant, thoughtful, well-adjusted child.  Who is also beautiful.  And a genius.  And just awesome.

“Bikinis, zucchinis, martinis, no weenies”

 

With his phenomenal lyrical prowess, it is shocking -- shocking, I say -- that Juvenile didn't go further in his career.

The older I get, the older I get.

I barely understood my own youth culture half the time.

Then, I became a teacher. I thought I was young and easy to relate to at 22. But in actuality, I had no patience for or frame of reference by which to truly understand pants that start at your thighs, giant, tire-sized piercings or obsessions with Justin Bieber.

If I can’t even relate to a Juvenile (yeah–that was really his stage name. I don’t think irony was intended) song that came out the same year I graduated from college, I don’t know how I will be able to connect with my kids’ generation.

Yet, I still try to understand that song from the 90’s. I heard it today. Here’s what I gathered:

The gentleman insists that his female companion reverse her direction and move her pear-shaped physique in his direction. Repeatedly. Perhaps this young woman is afflicted with some type of malady that increases the size of her hindquarters and also causes her to be hard of hearing. If, indeed, she were suffering from hearing loss, that would be unfortunate since she’d miss the opportunity to hear the veritable cornucopia of words that rhyme with “yeah,” most of which, not surprisingly, are actually the word “yeah” itself. Fascinating.  And it doesn’t end there.

Ummm...it's not just me, right? I can't be the only one who doesn't understand how some people get to be famous.

Does Britney Spears really resurrect the world’s worst pick-up line from about 1982 and ask, “If I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me?”  Did Will Smith not teach his kid better writing ideas other than “I whip my hair back and forth?”  Did Nicki Minaj just say that her panties were coming off?  Did the Black Eyed Peas really tell me to, “Get up off [their] genitals?”  Just when I didn’t think it could get worse than “My Humps.”  But, then, I realized that J. Lo’s 2011 song features a briliant piece of artistry: 

“That badonkadonk is like a trunk full of bass on an old-school Chevy
Seven tray donky donk
All I need is some vodka and some shonky-tonk
And watch she gon’ get Donkey Kong”

>sigh<  I just don’t even know what to say about that.  Luckily, someone else did:  http://entertainment.ca.msn.com/music/photos/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=29514912&page=10

 

There's a novel idea: THINKING. Thank you, Chuck D.

I used to think that my parents were so lame because they thought that 10,000 Maniacs were a riotous punk bank (they must be with that name, right?) and that Nirvana was shocking for busting up so many guitars.  And, forget gangsta rap from my youth of the late 80’s — I wasn’t allowed to listen to it, but at least it had a message.  And a point.  If you tell me that 9-1-1 is a “joke,” I can at least understand your plight in the American ghettos and the idea that your community is continually ignored by the very system that is supposed to save human lives.  What I will not soon understand is Rihanna begging to be loved like she’s “a hot pie.” 

I don’t know what I would do if I had to listen to my kids hear Katy Perry ask to see someone’s peacock, cock, cock, cock. Honestly. That’s a real song, people. I wish I were kidding.

When my 3-year old is 16, what crap will he be listening to?  And what stupid shit is he going to do to his hair?

What I’d love to know is whether I am just old and out of touch or if popular culture is just becoming that much more vapid. 

Your daughter's role model. I actually found a picture that wasn't overtly sexual. Winning.

Of course, I prefer to believe that youth culture sucks.  I don’t think that’s all there is to it, though. 

Truth is, I am now my parents.  How did that happen?

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