Whenever I listen to mainstream pop music, it immediately occurs to me that the genre is not exactly riddled with rocket scientists. As we head into the weekend, please allow me to highlight a few examples.

Tik Tok, Ke$ha

Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack
Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t coming back
I’m talking – pedicure on our toes, toes
Trying on all our clothes, clothes

Now, I’m not overly familiar with Ke$ha’s background, though it apparently included one ill-advised decision to eschew the letter s. I do know that around these parts, it is extremely difficult to get a pedicure on any part of your body except your toes. But I guess you have to be really, really clear about that in Ke$ha’s neck of the woods.

Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z

Yeah, Im’ma up at Brooklyn,
Now I’m down in Tribeca,
Right next to DeNiro,
But I’ll be hood forever,
I’m the new Sinatra

To me, Jay-Z does and will always look like a wildly misplaced accountant. Go on, try to tell me I’m wrong:

I’d like to meet the lyricist who took a look at Jay-Z, listened to his songs, and then thought, “Egads! This guy is JUST LIKE SINATRA.” I’m going to go out on a limb here and propose that this person is well acquainted with whoever suggested the dollar sign to Ke$ha. You know what? I bet they met in a Mensa meeting.

Obsession, Mariah Carey

It’s confusing yo, you’re confused you know
Why you wasting your time
Got you all fired up with your Napoleon complex
Seeing right through you like you’re bathing in Windex

Wait. What was I going to say about this again? Oh, right. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  And also: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

 Sexy Bitch, David Guetta featuring Akon

She’s nothing like a girl you’ve ever seen before
Nothing you can compare to your neighbourhood ho
I’m tryna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful

Now that’s a line that is begging to be tried out in a bar. Actually, maybe the lyricist already did. I’m thinking it went down something like this.

Lyricist: Girl, you are HOT.

Girl: Oh, yeah? How hot?

Lyricist: Well, it’s tricky to put it into words.

Girl: Go ahead, try. I’ve got time.

Lyricist: Okay. Let me start by saying that I cannot even compare you to the neighborhood ‘ho. Not even if I try REALLY, REALLY hard.

[Bouncer appears. End scene.]

Media outlets reported this week that the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that the hot dog be redesigned. Apparently, 17 percent of children 10 and under who die of choking do so while eating a hot dog. According to one doctor, a hot dog is pretty much the “perfect plug for a child’s airway.” 

(Great. Freakin’ fantastic. Now I used the word plug in a post. As if using jailbait and mom porn wasn’t bad enough. With plug, it shall be like the Trifecta of Filthy Search Terms. Oh, THE LENGTHS I GO TO FOR THIS BLOG.)

Now I just don’t know. Without diminishing in any way the tragedy of families who have lost a child to a choking accident, I’m not convinced that a redesign is really necessary here. Some chopping into bite-size pieces? Sure. Some careful observation of your child when eating? Of course. But a redesign? Maybe for Toyota accelerators, yes, but not the hot dog.

I’m not sure if today’s parents have actually lost their common sense or if manufacturers, government officials, and the medical community just think we have. For instance, this is Aura’s current favorite toy.

Yep, it’s slime. Yep, it’s gross. And yep, it makes the most terrifically awesome disgusting sound when you slap it. But despite what you probably might not think, you are NOT supposed to eat it. See? The bottle says so.

Perhaps some warnings are a little too much, even possibly weakening the value of warnings that are really needed. Also, where are those other labels, the ones parents themselves would write? Where, I ask you, is the BEWARE! DANGER! sticker on parking lots, where Aura has now fallen once for every month of her life with forehead gravel-imprint marks to prove it? Door hinges, tile floors, wheels on shopping carts, the occasionally sharp-edged, lawsuit-worthy Lego block…hell. I’m going out tonight and getting me a label maker.

And if anything needs a stern cautionary sentence or two, it’s these kids themselves. Something like “CAUTION. THIS SMALL PERSON HAS COME IN CONTACT WITH APPROXIMATELY ONE MILLION BILLION OTHER SMALL PEOPLE. IT IS GUARANTEED HE OR SHE WILL GET SICK, GET YOU SICK, AND GENERALLY SERVE AS AN EXAMPLE OF WALKING PLAGUE.”  That would work nicely, I think.

In the meantime, I’m so capitalizing on the hot-dog fear. I hear that the first person to come up with a plausible redesign wins a lifetime supply of foam wall coverings. You know, because walls hurt you if you run into them.

I must say, I was rather taken aback when I received the following Home Energy Report in the mail last week.

Actually, I wasn’t only taken aback. I’d say I went through several stages of reaction. I’ll openly admit that the first stage was pride and perhaps a little self-congratulation. We, the people in this apparently rampant-with-energy-greed household, are above average! A full 114% above average! Not everyone can make that claim, you know! Particularly not those crunchy hippies with their REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS and AIR-DRIED CLOTHING and GOVERNMENT-APPROVED ENERGY-EFFICIENT APPLIANCES.

Then I realized we were those hippies. So I moved on to the embarrassment stage, which I believe was probably the main objective of this nifty line graph:

As I ran around turning out lights and pulling the television plug right in the middle of Aura’s nightly viewing of The Electric Company, I began to panic. Did all my neighbors get this same report? On their reports, was it noted that #19, that house up on the hill, was totally skewing the neighborhood average? Were there forcible suggestions that maybe the people at #19 should not be invited to any more neighborhood BBQs and, also, that little girl whose balls periodically roll down the hill into their yards? KICK HER. As I stood there in our kitchen, now eerily silent thanks to the newly unplugged refrigerator, and listened to the sounds of Aura fumbling her way through the darkness, I couldn’t help but wonder.

The embarrassment eventually gave way to anxiety and fury and a bunch of other emotions I typically reserve for Senate campaigns and the American Idol results show. By the time last weekend rolled around, I was terrified to even drive through the neighborhood, slumping low in the driver’s seat as I waited for the sound of compact fluorescent bulbs pelting my windows.

Honestly, I’m stupefied. Our heat is oil. We cook with natural gas. Sure, I run the washer and dryer a lot, but what can I say, besides that we’re evidently a sloppy lot? We’re pretty good about turning out lights when we’re not in a room, and we rarely forget to power down our laptops. And for heaven’s sake, I can barely remember where the vacuum is, never mind USE it.

All I can come up with? The fans. We all have fans next to our beds for white noise. It started with me in college, then I passed on the addiction to Adam, and we collectively helped Aura develop her own dependence. We even hooked my mother, who has been living with us for several weeks. It’s like Fan Central here. One can only imagine the furrowed brows of the electric company officials, huddled as they surely are around our file, perplexed by the fact that our energy usage actually goes up at night instead of down.

Poor patsies. They’ll never figure this one out. Well, they might, once our house is the catalyst for the blackout of the Northeast corridor. But for now? I think we’ll sleep just fine, our fans drowning out the sounds of neighbors rioting outside. They can stomp their Birkenstocks as loud as they want. We won’t hear a thing.

…And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

DAY 8

Setting: 1980s, Earth

…And God looked down upon what he had created and was not pleased. “These people!” God said. “They are spending wildly and unwisely. Just look at all those Swatch watches and Tupperware parties. It is now time to show them the error of their ways.”

And so God introduced a new creation, one He believed would finally and quickly demonstrate to people how foolishly they were wasting their money. It was a creation, He predicted, that would end the problem once and for all. It was:

THE CLAW MACHINE

Unfortunately, God may have given His people a little too much credit. Turns out that as soon as one generation learns its Claw Machine lesson, another one comes along and needs some firm, costly educating, all over again.

Everyone blames the recession on the mortgage industry, but God? As always, He knows better.

***The winner of the Linaloos.com giveaway is Val!  Yay, Val!

Observations from this weekend’s viewing of Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate! (otherwise known as Disney on Ice: Let’s Throw Together Everything from Birthdays to a Hawaiian Luau and Call it a Holiday! Also, Let’s Claim That, and I Quote, “Christmas is the Holiday Celebrated Everywhere in the World!” Because at Disney We Say SCREW YOU to Political Correctness!).

If you find yourself roped into Disney on Ice, be sure to spring for the Club Level or whatever your local arena calls the area that shares space with the luxury boxes. Sure, your three-year-old might claim that the seats closer to the ice are better, but that’s because she doesn’t appreciate leather seats. LEATHER. Plus the Club Level has quieter, line-less bathrooms and a concession stand that sells salads. It’s nice to look at salads when you’re waiting in line for a bag of overpriced cotton candy. Just seems healthier, somehow.

Also, while on the subject of the Club Level (now alternatively named the Kate Needs to Get Out More Level), we should talk about the cupholders. As in somewhere to put your cup besides your lap, into which your $7 Diet Coke will surely spill, causing you to call the people responsible for the design of the arena Very Bad Names in a loud voice that attracts glares from other parents who apparently do not use Very Bad Names, so busy are they on their PATH TO SAINTHOOD.

(Sorry. Momentary flashback to last year’s Disney on Ice. It is possible that 2009 was not my best year. Let us move on to the actual show.)

So, perhaps the otherwise perfect Club Level does have the disadvantage of being a little too far away from the ice for great photographs. But rest assured, that is Goofy.

What is it with Goofy, anyway? Why is he even a character? I can only assume Mickey and Minnie stumbled upon him during recess one day and took immediate pity on him, what with all his cries of “Gorsh!” and “Golly!” He’s like the simpering fool we’ve all known and been kind to but secretly wish would disappear. Let’s face it: Having a friend like Goofy is not good for anyone’s image.

Not that Minnie is exactly a shining beacon of intellect herself. I tell you, if she clasped her gloved hands and squealed “Oh, Mickeeeeey!” one more time, I was going to march right down from the Club Level and deck her. It’s as if she’s determined to singlehandedly set women’s rights back 60 years. All while wearing a wardrobe completely made up of polka-dotted dresses. For the love of God, mouse: BUY SOME PANTS.

Mickey? Eh, it’s Mickey. His allure continues to mystify me. I mean, he’s okay, but how did an animal we would kill on sight in our households, a creature whose every other sentence is “Oh, boy!”  become one of the most cherished icons in the world? Color me baffled.

I have nothing bad to say about Jasmine. On the contrary: She was always my favorite Disney heroine. And just look at that costume! The girl has abs of steel and is not afraid to bare them. Pretty ballsy, when you consider from where old Jas harkens. Somehow I don’t think she’d make it in much of the modern-day Middle East. But in Disney’s Middle East? No problemo. Bare navels for all.

Somewhere during the second half of the show, I realized that it is really only princes and a select few male country singers who can get away with a ponytail. The rest just look like those IT guys at work whom you know have a closet full of weird black t-shirts and regularly attend comic-book conventions.

Same with capes. Except not even country singers can get away with those suckers.

Finally, I’ve gotta give Daisy credit. Decades may have passed since her creation, yet she remains the same brassy broad she always was. Never mind the come-and-go Southern accent and her penchant for putting her hands on her hips to make her chest look more prominent. The duck would flirt with a broom if it looked like it took home a good salary. She wants it all: the mansion, the luxury car, the expensive furniture.

Well, hell. I for one know where she can find some nice leather seats.

Miley Cyrus has gotten a lot of criticism for some recent choices, including certain navel-baring couture and that stint where she was writhing around a pole. However, after a recent visit to the mall, I’m thinking Build-A-Bear Workshop is actually responsible for the sluttification of America.  That, and those little girls’ shorts with words emblazoned directly across the bum. Those suckers are downright bawdy.

To be clear, I’m talking about the sluttification of young girls, not boys. Boys who shop at Build-A-Bear are presented with a rather slim selection of behavioral suggestions. As far as I can tell, Build-A-Bear believes that a boy and his bear will want to act like a police officer, a fire fighter, or the kind of little nipper who would happily wear a High School Musical! emblazoned t-shirt. Oh, or a hunter. A chilly one.

But for girls? Build-A-Bear presents an armful of options! Many of them best accompanied by a stripper pole much like Miley’s! Here, let me show you.

Official B-A-B name: Gold Quilted Coat

Real Name: Even ‘Hos Get Cold

Why Your Bear Needs It: Because those street corners can get nippy.

Official B-A-B name: Pink Boa Slippers

Real Name: Nuances of Adult Entertainment

Why Your Bear Needs It: Because strippers get naked, but exotic dancers keep their shoes on.

Official B-A-B name: Pink Ruched Sequin Purse

Real Name: The Chinatown Special

Why Your Bear Needs It: Because escort services pay knockoff salaries, not designer salaries.

Official B-A-B name: Blonde Wig/Brown Wig

Real Name: Budget Photo Spread Solution

Why Your Bear Needs It: Because those cheapskates at Hustler don’t pay for extensions.

Official B-A-B name: Purple Sparkle Camera Cell Phone

Real Name: Purple Glitter Paycheck

Why Your Bear Needs It: Because pimps don’t call landlines anymore.

Seriously, though: What happened to the long, flannel nightgowns my Cabbage Patch Kids used to wear? Also, I distinctly remember the days when your Barbie wasn’t supposed to leave the house in a miniskirt. Unless it was Businesswoman Barbie, who was able to pass the skirt off as part of a power suit. OH, HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED.

Since it’s Monday, let’s get the stupid out of the way, okay? Okay. (If you’re one of those annoyingly sunny Monday people, feel free to skip to the bottom. But then you’re a bottom-feeder. Get it? Bottom-fee….oh, forget it.)

Three Stupid Things That Came to My Attention This Weekend

Stupid Thing#1: My Chocolate Boycott

So, this giving up chocolate thing. It was just about as smart as swearing off turkey in November, or deciding to really, really hate bunnies right around Easter. Maybe next time I could NOT give it up immediately before Valentine’s Day. You know, the holiday when every single thing you see is made of chocolate. While running errands this weekend, I witnessed chocolate lollipops, chocolate roses, chocolate puppies. I tell you, if I see one more piece of chocolate, I’m going to eat a real puppy. But first I’ll squirt some chocolate sauce on him.

Stupid Thing #2: Unnecessary Instructions

The warnings and useless instructions that many manufacturers put on their products to cover their butts often kill me. For example, a couple of months ago, Adam noticed the following boldface sentence in our new car seat’s instruction manual: “This child-restraint system is to be installed by adults ONLY.” 

I wonder. Do you think there are families out there who send their three-year-old down to the garage with a 40-pound car seat and a brief lecture on the LATCH system, only to stumble upon this warning while their child is at work? “Hell’s bells, Martha! Get down there! WE’RE supposed to be installing that sucker, not Junior!”

Here’s another one, from this weekend. My dry-hands situation only continues to worsen, so I finally consulted a dermatologist, who prescribed the following steroid ointment.

I really can’t imagine looking at that tube, applying some steroid cream to my hands, and then thinking, “My eyes! I should inject this into my eyes! It will make them so STRONG and MOIST and NON-DRY.” But apparently someone did. Someone stupid.

Stupid Thing #3: The English Language

Lately, Aura has begun expressing more of an interest in learning to read and spell. As I try to help her weave her way through the thorny world of phonics, I am beginning to realize just how much of the English language is  imbecilic. How am I supposed to justify the existence of irregular verbs, never mind the fact that yes, the Moon in Goodnight Moon makes a long double-consonant sound, while book itself has a short double-consonant sound? Or cough versus enough? Diphthongs? IT GOES ON AND ON.

You know the English language had to be invented by a man. Some German tribal guy, back in the fifth century, freshly arrived on the continent that would become Britain. He was probably looking for Plaque Street, got lost, and being too stubborn to ask for directions, made up a new road and called it Plague Street, changing the vowel sound for good measure. And so it began, all because the GPS industry took about fifteen centuries too many to get with it.

The Giveaway!

Remember that cute hair clip Aura was wearing a few blog posts ago?  Well, how would your favorite little girl like three of her own—or, alternatively, how would you like a key wristlet? Jen of Linaloos.com has generously offered you all those very options. All you have to do to enter is go to her site, find three clips or one wristlet you would like, and list them in a comment here on my blog. The winner will be chosen at random next Tuesday, February 16.

Really, you should do it.  Jen makes a great product, repurposing vintage sweaters to make her felted creations. Her designs are superb (cupcake pigtail clips, anyone?) and she gives back ten percent of every purchase to various,   well-deserving charities.

So, DO IT. 

Thank you, and have a very non-stupid day.