Monday, February 27, 2012

Things (and People) That P*ss me Off

1. The recent rise in 'artisanal' everything. Not everything needs to be laboriously hand-crafted by a dedicated artiste, and calling some things 'artisan' is just plain stupid, particularly when it's obvious said product is anything but. Yes, I get that the word has cache, but when Lean freaking Cuisine starts using it, the word totally loses its meaning. I recently saw some pseudo-hoity-toity 'chef-inspired' frozen dinners at the grocery store. You realize that's a senseless designation, right? You're saying, "This is food...inspired by people who, um, make food for a living." Would you try to sell someone an "architect-inspired" home? A bartender-inspired cocktail? No? Then chill out.
Artisan-crafted bread from Companion (a local bakery)? Yeah, I'll buy that (literally and figuratively). Artisanal bread from Panera, or some other chain? Not so much. Hand-made chocolates? Fine. Cheeses? OK. Microbrews? Yeah, I guess. But Tostito's 'Artisan Recipe Chips'? Domino's Artisan Pizza? No. Don't make me come over there.  

2.Well, at the moment Rick Santorum is leading the pack--both in terms of position among Republican presidential candidates and in terms of making my blood boil. If I hadn't sourced a lot of his craziness myself--that is, if a pal had just mentioned some of his statements during the course of a conversation--I wouldn't believe it. "No one's THAT fundy," I would say. "Surely no one would make a statement like that in 2012...especially while trying to win an election." But no, he really DID say that consensual same-sex relationships are akin to bestiality. He really DID say that separation of church and state makes him "want to throw up." Yes, he DID say that there's no such thing as a liberal Christian, DID say that working mothers don't really love their children, and DID say that birth control (not abortion...birth control) is wrong, and "encourages a culture of permissiveness..." Got news for you, Rick. Even the folks you're pandering to (and sweet baby Jesus do I hope you're pandering...please tell me you don't actually believe all this stuff with the vehemence you project...please?) aren't behind you on this stuff. According to a CBS poll, 89% of CATHOLICS believe you can use birth control and still be a good Christian. Hell, 75% of American women have used oral contraceptives at one time or another. Go ahead and spout your insanity, though, Rick...I want to see you alienate as many potential voters as possible. And in a weird way, I have to offer you kudos--I didn't expect to see another candidate as cray-cray as Michelle Bachmann for a while. So congrats on that, I guess.

3. I know this makes me sound like an ancient misanthrope (You kids get off my lawn!), but: Children screaming/running/generally reenacting portions of The Exorcist in restaurants and stores. Yes, I get that kids sometimes need to blow off steam. I get that occasionally they squeal and cry and gyre and gimbol in the wabe. But--if your baby/toddler has been crying ceaselessly, at roughly the same decibel level as a jet engine, for the past five minutes...maybe it would be a good idea to take them outside or to the bathroom and see what's going on. This benefits both your child, who may be tired or dirty-diapered or uncomfortable, and myself, who is beginning (despite my best intentions) to entertain fantasies in which the earth opens its maw and swallows your entire enchanting little family. As for young kids who run around the grocery store (unsupervised, it hardly needs to be said) as if participating in the pediatric Olympic semi-finals...it's really only a matter of time until one of them gets hurt. I don't blame the kids here, I should say--it's a parenting issue. Rein your child in--even if it means literally buying one of those semi-appalling kiddie leashes. At least your child won't lose his front teeth when he runs face-first into a shopping cart he didn't see.

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