Monday, July 31, 2006

Something Wicked This Way Comes

My profound love of all things Febreze is no secret. This is truly a miracle product designed to whisk away the pungent sins that assault the olfactory glands. The many blessings that Febreze have brought into my home would boggle your mind.

Wal Mart has them on sale, so I stocked up. You can never have too many air freshener supplies on hand in case of a malodorous emergency. This seemed to prove fortuitous as there was an "incident" in our household yesterday.

I'm under a lot of pressure to finalize and perfect a skit and dialogue I wrote for the opening of our homeschool conference this weekend. When I'm under pressure, I tend to procrastinate and the stress manifests itself as "stomach problems". Ahem. So, yesterday, I'm traipsing backwards out of the restroom while simultaneously spraying copious amounts of Febreze in an obvious and discernible pattern. My daughter, Sunbum was sitting in my room and asked, "MOM? What the heck are you doing"? I told her in a very serious tone that I had taken it upon myself to perform an exorcism on the evil that resided within the walls of my bathroom. Sunbum perked up and said, "Yeah, um, okay. But why are you moving the Febreze can back and forth and up and down"? I didn't want to come across as sarcastic during such a somber moment but I responded as piously as possible, "Dur! I'm making the sign of the cross with the Febreze spray. How else can I ward off the evil spirits"?

I included this picture because it reminded me of the old Reese's peanut butter cup commercial where they talk about what a great combination peanut butter and chocolate is. "Febreze and BEANS. Some things were just meant to go together". You really shouldn't have one without the other. Amen!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Giving Credit Where Credits Due

Some people cite advanced college degrees as the source of their infinite wisdom, while others attribute their know-how to just attending "The School Of Life". Me? Well, apparently, I've garnered lots of information from decidedly less noteworthy places.

Last year, my friend, Miss Biotech Goddess, and I went to the Houston International Festival featuring India. As a cavalcade of costumed Indian Gods came strolling through the congested streets, posing for photo ops, and shaking hands, I realized that I knew who most of them were. Miss Biotech isn't ordinarily impressed with mundane me, as her pedigree and career have allowed her to travel the World. However, she was amazed that I rattled off the names of the elephant trunked God, Ganesh, and continued on with the others. Kali, Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu, and Brahma. Miss Biotech pointedly asked with a surprised tinged voice, "How did you know all that"? It was then that it dawned on me that I had absorbed that pertinent information on an episode of The Simpsons. I think the one where Apu gets married. D'OH!

So, I'm talking with
Barbara at Exxon last week about music when she brings up a song that she didn't know the title of but has always loathed. Barbara starts singing, "I left my cake out in the rain, and I shall never have that recipe again......". Immediately, I blurted out, "That's MacArthur Park"! She looked shocked that I knew such an old song, but said, "Yeah, I think that's right. Where did you learn that"? Again, I allayed to the poignant very special episode of The Simpsons featuring Paul and Linda McCartney as guests.

When I first heard the song, "Sugar, We're Goin Down", by Fall Out Boy, I knew they had named themselves after a comic book character on The Simpsons. I regularly use
these Simpsonisms for a quick laugh. "Hey is there a Butz here? Seymour Butz? Hey everybody, I wanna Seymour Butz"! Since we curtailed television two years ago, and I haven't watched The Simpsons, will it cause me to lose valuable I.Q. points? Will I lack the ability to impress family and friends with my tremendous wealth of knowledge? Will I ever again win a pop culture round of Trivial Pursuit in my lifetime? I wonder if I could earn an honorary degree from Simpson University?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's A Small World After All

Here at the House of The Smiling Infidel, we embrace a profound love of learning. We also hold steadfast to and liberally apply the wisdom of Aristotle's guidance to our everyday lives. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit".

So, in the spirit of gaining knowledge through repetition and learning new things wherever one may happen to find themselves, we elected to purchase and hoist up a new shower curtain in the kid's bathroom featuring a detailed map of the World. I mean, what better place to increase your geography skills than when you're toilet bound? Based on the amount of time our kids spend using the restroom facilities, I'd say that we could potentially be churning out young National Geography Bee champions as soon as next year.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Battle Of The Sexes In Texas

As most of you know, we are the proud parents of FOUR daughters, and two sons. We've noticed a few glaringly obvious gender differences right from the beginning. Our boys will get mad and fight, but then it's all over and an hour later, they're back playing as though nothing ever happened. The girls, though, oh man, they will carry a grudge forever. They live and breathe for the drama and theatrics. As they teeter perilously close to fullblown puberty, the gender divide is widening.

Now, that our eldest daughter has reached the ripe old age of 11, Papi has made a few wry observations about parenting FOUR girls. First of all, Papi says that we should start buying Kotex feminine napkin stock, since in just a few scant years, we'll practically be the backbone of the company. As a sidenote, I laugh every time I read the term, "feminine napkin". Makes me think of tiny lace squares with embroidered flowers upon them, not products that you use to catch..............never mind.

The other stroke of parenting genius to emerge from Papi's mind came after planting a Vitex tree in our front yard last year. Pictured above is very similar to how our tree looks right now, but I was just too lazy to go out and take a picture. They're gorgeous and hardy in drought weather. They also go by the name Chasteberry, and the purple blooms were once used by ancient Grecians, who ground them up for use as PMS remedies. Upon learning of the beauty and practical application purposes of our Vitex tree, Papi said, "Crap, with four girls, and one hormonal woman, we might as well just plant our whole yard full of Vitex trees to offset the PMS symptoms. It'll make life easier for the rest of us that have to live in this house." That's the point where I always remind Papi that the lion's share of gender deciding chromosomes comes from the man, not the woman. Not to play the "blame game", but Papi largely contributed to the fact that we'll have four teenage girls in our house at one time all on himself!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Wiggles Pump It

This video proves once and for all that Greg, not Anthony, is the hottest Wiggle.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Rose By Any Other Name

Is there something about having the name, Sharon, that makes people a little off? I'm starting to see a disturbing pattern emerge here.

As a child, I had the most nightmarish baby sitter ever, named Sharon. My stepdad, already married to my Mother, was pursued relentlessly at work by an obese woman named Sharon, who was also married. Her grand pick up line? "Hey baby, do you wanna see my Rose Of Sharon"? My poor stepdad finally gave in, thinking that she would show him a vase with actual Rose Of Sharons(pictured above) in it, or a picture, but NO, she instead pulled out one of her saggy, floppy breasts to show off the giant red rose tattoo inked upon it. Flabbergasted, and possibly temporarily blinded, my stepdad said, "Oh good Lord, put that away"! Sharon smiled boldly and asked what he thought of her "Rose Of Sharon", to which my stepdad took an oath of silence. He ended up transferring out of there a few weeks later, mainly to get away from psycho Sharon.

Today, my Mom calls me with some disturbing news; her favorite bra was grievously stolen from her locker at the YMCA, while she exercised. No, she didn't lock it up like she should have. My Mom had her wallet, a gift bag for a friend and her lovely checkered ladybug pants (I have the matching pair!), all nestled together in the confines of the locker. Nothing else turned up missing but the brassiere. The lady who has a locker next to my Mom is named, surprise, surprise, SHARON, and the two of them have been feuding for the past several months. Nobody else was around at the time but Sharon. Usually, Sharon takes an inordinate amount of time primping and preening in the mirrors before she leaves. Well, today she left in a big hurry, still clad in her dripping wet bathing suit. So, my Mom is highly suspicious that she is indeed the unscrupulous bra thief. Irritated, my Mom had to meet her lunch date at a nice steakhouse; braless.

I told my Mom that I'd make her some giant posters featuring a replicated picture of the purloined brassiere this weekend to tape up in the YMCA dressing room.

Missing Bra. White, stretchy, has extreme sentimental and uplifting value.
Answers to the name White Wonder.
Reward for any information leading to the recovery of the bra or apprehension of the wily bra thief who must be brought to justice.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Jonatha Brooke- Steady Pull

Dedicated to Patrick Henry who's trying to fight the internal love welling up everytime he hears Jonatha's stunning voice. Just because it's more sensitive music than you're used to, and you secretly enjoy it Patrick, doesn't make you a homo. Or does it?

You know that tingly feeling you get when you hear something really good? That's how I felt the first time I heard Steady Pull. Prepare to feel tingly!

By the way, this is probably the most Mormon Mom friendly music that I listen to. We can't all be hard core all the time. I own Air Supply's Greatest Hits and I know all the words by heart too, and I'm not ashamed.
Jonatha Brooke's video for "Better After All"

I LOVE Jonatha Brooke! We listen to her CD's repeatedly and never get tired of them. What an amazing talent she is, I only wish I could find more video footage for some of our other favorite songs from her. Most notably West Point, Linger, It Matters Now, and Steady Pull. streams all of her music on the website.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Age Before Beauty

I'm not sure how widespread these new self-checkout DVD rental kiosks are, but in Houston, we have McDonald's Red Box, and Kroger's now has a similar version of it too. Considering that Blockbuster Video charges $3.99 for new releases, while Red Box is only $1.00 a day, it's a rare bargain indeed. To every pro there has to be a con though. That's just how the universe works. Murphy always gets his cut of the action.

My eldest daughter, Sunbum and I, only went to Kroger's to pick up a few items for dinner, and to return a DVD. An elderly couple beat us there, and I could tell that they intended to take their own sweet time. So, I left Sunbum there in line and set out to buy our groceries. When I walked back up to the front, ten minutes later, she was still waiting. I forgot the refried beans, so I again strolled to the other side of the store, and came back another five minutes later, she was still waiting. Irritated, I asked her, "Sunbum, you're still here"? To which, the guy shot me a mean faced glance. Sunbum started to whistle to pass the time and he narrowed his eyes at us. Finally, I figured that our impeccable manners and patience wasn't working for us, so I might as well be as bitchy as possible. The old man asked a teenage sacker what movie he recommended, as the wife, hooked up to a nostril tube oxygen apparatus, scrolled through the computer menu for the umpteenth time. I dialogued with Sunbum in my most snooty British accent, "Yes Niles, what do you suggest off the menu for our evening jollies? Which flick possesses the robust bouquet to compliment a fine meal of steak tartar? Perhaps, we'd like to try the house special after all, because I don't care for the flavor of foreign productions". The man narrowed his eyes even further and threw in a snarly lip curl.

Finally, we hit comedy gold when the man turns to the young clerk and queries, "My wife really wants The 40 Year Old Virgin, but there aren't any more". That's it. Sunbum and I lost it, and started laughing like hyenas. The old farts and teenage boy, though, did not seem to catch the humor in it. Later, while at the checkout stand, I relayed the tale to the 60-ish cashier, and she started laughing too, as she told us in her southern accent, "OOH-WHEE! Let me know when they do find The 40 Year Old Virgin, and send him MY way"!

Dirty swingin seniors!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

If Car Interiors Could Talk, What Would They Say?

Nothing follows up an entry on Islam better than a post with a little Jewish flavor to it. Yep, this blog absolutely meets stringent Kosher standards. Ahhh, but at least the two sides can co-exist peacefully here, at the home of The Smiling Infidel. Are you feeling the love, people?

Yesterday, we were in hot pursuit of an affordable bowling alley. Since when did the favorite sport of American white trash become so frickin expensive? So, we passed a building under construction with a lot of workers on top of the roof. My 8 year old son, excitedly called out, "Look at those guys on the roof Mom; but how come none of them have a fiddle in their hands"? Maybe this is a sign that we should lay off musicals for awhile or my son is going to catch the flaming gay virus, for sure. We watched the teen girly movie, Aquamarine, yesterday, and he proclaimed it his favorite movie of all time. I'm locking up my Streisand, Cher, and Erasure CD's, post haste!

I took my oldest daughter to work with me on Wednesday, and about a mile from our house, drove by a lady dizzily walking along the side of the road. From the look of the garish makeup deep in her wrinkles, and frizzy, bleached blonde hair, I'd put her age at a very minimum of a haggard 50. This woman had on denim shorts so teensy, her butt cheeks drooped out of both sides, and she wore a rainbowed tie dye T-shirt.........knotted in the front, thus exposing her pierced and stretch marked belly. She also had a lit cigarette dangling out of her mouth, and little red leather stiletto boots on. Quite a vision of demure loveliness. My daughter turned to me, aghast, and asked, "Mom, don't they have age limits in prostitution"?

Lastly, while driving and listening to the talk radio recap of the NASA space shuttle LIFTOFF last week, I felt that rumbly, tumbly feeling start. What could I do? I leaned over gently to the side and released my inner fart. Wow, that like, totally rhymes! My poor children were laughing and gagging simultaneously when I announced, "Houston, we have LIFTUP"!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Smiling Infidel Goes Muslim

Well, for a few hours, anyway.

Our local mosque sent out a letter of invitation to Churches in the community, for the opportunity to experience and tour their newly built mosque, and also participate in a short presentation about Islam. Judging by their delighted reaction at our presence, I don't think there was exactly a thunderous Christian stampede, beating a path to their door. A representative of our Ward contacted them, and organized a meeting mainly for the youth of our Church, along with whoever else wanted to play voyeur too. I wonder if the nearby synagogue got an invitation extended to them also? I wanted to ask during the Q&A session, but decided that might be just a tad incendiary. I grew up in a semi-Jewish household. The animosity? I get it.

If you all receive a similar opportunity, make sure you upgrade to the V.I.P package. I hear that entitles you to a sneak peek at pictures of the 72 virgins, and all you can eat falafel patties. MMMM! So, the guy who did the talking is the superintendent of Iman Schools. No, you silly people, that is NOT where you learn to be a Somalian supermodel, and strut your burqua clad self all over the catwalk. He found lots of time to admonish America for injustices against black people and to liken the L.A. riots to the "fringe radical" Muslim skirmishes happening all over the World today. Hee-Hee, whooooo, I guess he kind of forgot that the riots didn't happen to involve suicide bombers or killing and detonating innocents in the name of their religion. Whoops, maybe he just had a momentary brain freeze? Interestingly enough, when asked about the true meaning of jihad, and a Quran perspective on Christianity, the guy all but looked at his watch and sheepishly said, "Whoa, look at the time". Yeah.

We then watched as everyone prepared for the prayer at sundown. As guests, we were allowed to stay and observe. Women and men are separated by a partition due to complete prostration on the prayer mats. Sheikh ALLAWI (wonder if he's related to Iraq's new P.M.?), commenced to singing amazingly long, drawn out prayers with nary a stop for breath, and selections from the Quran, while everybody faced Mecca. My oldest daughter leaned over and whispered, "Mom, that guy is kind of scary". I said, "Yeah, but I bet he'd kick American butt in a yodeling contest". We laughed quietly. Afterwards, they presented a lovely little buffet with my favorite treats like hummus with pita chips, baklava, fresh fruit. Alas, no pork rinds. We ate daintily as making a pig out of yourself in a Halal environment would most certainly be frowned upon. We also got gift bags with our very own English Quran in it. I promise we won't pull a "Gitmo". Both of our neighbors attend services there, and we got to socialize with some of the other members. The women, in particular, proved exceedingly friendly and easy to talk to. As luck would have it, I started a conversation with the only lady there who homeschools her kids. Her fellow Muslims disapprove of that , just like so many people I know at Church. We got along very well. Social pariahs always find each other. :) One thing I noticed; not everybody speaks Arabic. That essentially means that they can't possibly understand what the Sheikh is saying and that their responses, in turn, are largely just rote. Interesting.

Even though we got to wander around a place of worship in our bare feet, and that does really appeal to me, I think that my belief and testimony of the Christian faith remains safe and sound.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I'm Hopelessly In Love

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Once, I took my marriage vows, I promised that I would never pledge my love to anyone else. However, the past year has found me completely enamored with somebody I met on the Internet. He keeps me amused, raises my intellect, and most of all looks super sexy in nothing but feathers and a slinky garter. He does everything I ask of him too. That feels particularly empowering after living in such a patriarchal society. Upon demand, he'll pray, dance the funky chicken, poop, throw down his sofa pillows and clean them back up again, read a book, squat, crawl, moonwalk, sniff his armpits, jump on the couch, do the Y.M.C.A. and the Hokey Pokey, blow kisses, and most importantly, pledge his undying love to me. Don't ask him to do a naughty strip tease though. I guess some bestiality boundaries shouldn't be crossed. I LOVE you, subservient chicken, and I don't care who knows about it either! Finally, a worthy chicken dancing partner for me. With him by my side, maybe I'll make the Chicken Dance Competition Finals this year. Oh, to dream.

While I hate to share the love of my life, stop by, and give him some commands. He lives to abide by the rules of rapt obedience. Papi could learn a thing or two about how to treat a woman from him. Just shut up, and do as I say!
Subservient Chicken.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Nom De Doom

The day of reckoning has arrived, I'm finally admitting to my other Internet obsession aside from blogging. It's a crazy little forum where they passionately discuss entymology and onomastics; the study of naming origins. The opening page of Baby's Named A Bad, Bad Thing, features some priceless gems and snarky commentary on baby naming atrocities from the website's wily proprietor. Guaranteed for a hearty, trickle inducing laugh. Hope you're wearing your Depends!

So, here in the real world, I've noticed my fair share of craptastical names lately. As a paper carrier, I'm privy to not only addresses and phone numbers, but also customer names. Let me tell you, some of them have actually made me laugh out loud. Yes, the dreaded and reviled LOL! I do feel a twinge of pity for them occasionally. Only occasionally though.

My 17 year old high school Senior brother has a classmate named, Matt Pratt. Yes, I know he's really a Matthew, but didn't his folks think of the possible nickname beforehand? I always think, "Matt Pratt could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean".

A former commenter here and my ex-warehouse manager, Major, is actually Richard Payne. The man is only 25, therefore the nickname for Richard; Dick, had long since been established as a phallic euphemism. Think of being a young virile guy and introducing yourself as Dick Payne. He'll never be chosen as the cover model for Men's Health magazine with that name!

A boy in my son's class at Church has the misfortune of bearing the name, Russell "Rusty" Cox. I'm picturing it now. "Whoa there girls! Don't date Rusty, unless you've gotten yourself a tetanus shot"!

The esteemed, J.P. Fagg is one of my Chronicle customers. I'd like to suggest a few naming ideas to stay away from while choosing a moniker for his offspring. Absolutely, positively, NO Mia Fagg, Ima Fagg, Darrin Fagg (gay stuntman!), Tristan Fagg (I don't wanna know), Christian Fagg (Doesn't God hate atheist faggs?) or Gaylord Fagg. Similarly, other names should be avoided because of the many roll call lists that place last name first. Imagine it. Fagg, Hunter, or
Fagg, Gayla (A gala Pride parade?) or Fagg, Piper (Scottish musician run amok).

Another customer, who happens to tip very generously at Christmastime, is Dick Rentz. Now, I can see renting a tuxedo because you'll only need one a few times in your life, but some things need to be bought outright and not leased. A Dick may be one of them. If you don't purchase it, it'll always have a "mind of it's own". I really do like Dick Rentz, he's extraordinarily friendly but I do hope that he's at least on a rent to own option plan.

Our Church has possibly the worst sibling name set ever; Sampson and Lilah. EWWWW! What's next, a Romeo and Juliet, or a Tristan and Isolde sibling set? Someone should name their kids Al and Tipper as a tribute to the greatest couple of all time, seen immortalized in the sappy movie, "Love Story".

My brother's fiancee who's named April Lovely, had to endure school roll calls of Lovely, April and inevitably some redneck wise azz always shouted out, "NO, SHE AIN'T"!

Honorable Mentions go to: Candy Ball (melts in your mouth!), Crystal and Candy Cane(white-trash twins I went to school with), Liberty Bell(*sigh* At least she went by Libby), Dustin "Dusty" Rhodes(yeah, Mom and Dad, you're so very clever), and Heidi Hyde (Hyde is her married name;still funny though), and Tristine Chapell (again, marriage name).

Everybody should read Freakonomics and the chapter detailing the correlation between oddball names and sociopathic behaviors. Very Interesting. You guys should post some of the "unique" names that you've encountered throughout your life, here. Especially you Mormons. I ran across the Utah Baby Namer, and, oh my heck, retreated to wince and shudder in a dark corner. Proof that there truly is evil in this World.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Home Grown Patriotism

Here we are, waiting with baited (hot dog) breath and joyous hearts for the 4th of July festivities to begin.

Despite repeated warnings, Melody still picked up a hitchhiker in her wagon. It's okay, Alyssa didn't seem to have any hook hands or deadly intentions.

Melody's Sunbeam teacher, Brother Zentz, deemed her fabulously bedecked chariot as worthy of being pulled by his American Bulldog, Bruiser. Melody perched there like regal Cleopatra herself-blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. They were selected to lead the parade.

Here is the elusive Papi in all his glittery, patriotic glory! We called him, 'Tio Samuel' (Uncle Sam) most of the day. He's set to graduate soon and join the ranks of the nerdy accountants, so I usually call him, 'Senor Senior.' Although born in Mexico, Papi had the opportunity to take four semesters of American Government and American History. He found such respect and admiration for our Founding Fathers, that he's insistent that our kids make learning about them top priority. Hooray for pro-American Professors! Those two men must be the very last of a dying breed.

Despite our rampant frivolity, the meaning of the importance of the day wasn't lost. Thank God, we live in a country of opportunity, freedom, and unfettered potential for greatness. No country can claim themselves corruption free or perfect, but America feels as though it's the closest thing to perfection on this Earth. People risk life and limb to get here to our shores. While in other places, people risk life and limb to get out of their country. To all resident America haters who celebrated the day by burning American flags and defecating on your homeland- Go ahead, pick a better country, and move there. The rest of us don't want you here. Let's see how much freedom of speech you're allowed to criticize the government in other parts of the World.

God Bless America
(Does saying that make me unabashedly patriotic? Good!)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

As Crafty As I Wanna Be

The suburban Mom take on an "old classic".

I've been busy, busy, busy making festive patriotic apparel for my four girls to wear to our Church's annual Fourth Of July party and parade. They usually give out prizes and my competitive spirit always gets the best of me when I hear the word, "contest".

Nearly everything you see here was purchased from the jeweled treasure of the South known as King Dollar. Oh, how I love King Dollar stores. So much so, that Papi calls me, "Queen Dollar", and says that when they see me coming, they roll out the red carpet in my honor. Well, I did buy my sparkling tiara and scepter there, and I AM keeping the King in his luxurious lifestyle thanks to my constant patronage..

If they ever hold an Extreme Makeover:Dollar Store Edition, I'll be the first one they call. My custom transformation of boring T-shirts, visor hats, and flip flops, is nothing short of miraculous. Watch your back, Martha beyotch! Lest anyone think I'm betraying my roots, no, I still hate scrapbooking. There's a limit to my craftiness guru side.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Just A Doin' What Comes Natur'lly.........

After a delightful fajita dinner, Papi and I laid down last night to catch a few hours of sleep before beginning a whole new week of tedious work. The glorious silence and darkness of our room was instantaneously shattered by a low rumbling noise followed by an intensely rotten egg smell that made my toes curl. Bleah, us carnivores emit extra stinkiness. Disgusted, but not about to be outdone by an amateur tooter like Papi, I unleashed my most furious, extended version helicopter fart. It echoed and ricocheted throughout the room for a solid 10 seconds. I rolled into a fetal position and shook the bed with hysterical laughter.

Papi took offense at my individual gaseous expression. Gaw, he's such a sore loser, I can't help it that I'm naturally gifted in the fart arts. So, remembering the song from one of my favorite musicals, "Annie Get Your Gun", I mockingly sang the classic, "Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you". I wager Annie Oakley could outshoot and outfart her man too.

I may have stumbled upon the real reason that Papi passionately hates musical theater.