Category Archives: just for gripes

I have many blessings in my life but I admit, I like to gripe. In fact, I do it rather well – anything from a Seinfeld-esque “did you ever notice” to a full-blown Chef!-type rant. It’s a great stress reliever for me, but I find it tends to wear on the nerves of my family when I offload onto them, so now I’m going to offload onto you instead. Cheers!

Merry Christmas, Now Play Nice! (Or, Let’s Boycott the Boycotts)

No, I’m not speaking to my kids, actually. I’m speaking to both sides of the “culture wars” being fought in the U.S. right now. You know who you are.

The Religious Right is boycotting places like Home Depot for being friendly to gays or something like that. Tell me, American Family Association, who you are helping by this boycott? I thought the mandate to Christians was to spread good news and love, the love of Jesus. What good news are you spreading? Who is learning about love by your actions? Who ends up believing the gospel because of your boycott? Sure, that’s just what the gospel message needs: put a bunch of people out of work by shutting down their stores. No work? No worries, because at least Home Depot can’t be nice to gays any more! (Christians: go read What Would Jesus Boycott? if you need more convincing.)

On the other hand, we have the LGBT groups boycotting the Salvation Army for the reverse reason. The Salvation Army is one of the biggest charity organizations around. They help enormous numbers of people. They are have one of the lowest overhead cost of any charity, which means more of your dollar goes to actually help people (as opposed to going to advertising mailers and salaries), and they are extremely well rated at Charity Watch. But – sorry, homeless folks. No Christmas dinner for you, because we’re boycotting this charity.

We’ve already established that I’m not talking to kids, right? This is America and not everyone agrees on everything … and most of us think that’s a pretty good thing. If you personally don’t like the Salvation Army, or Home Depot, or the corner store, then don’t take your money there. But seriously, grow up and play nice and quit the boycotts. Quit trying to drive everyone out of business who doesn’t agree with you. Guess what, you’ll never have everyone agree with you! So quit the name-calling and the “you can’t just tolerate me, you must agree with me” crap.

Next time you’re asked to join a boycott, ask yourself: Who is being helped? Who is being hurt? Am I hurting real people just to make a political point? And, practically speaking: Is forcing my agenda onto people who don’t want it actually going to help or hurt my agenda in the end? Let’s boycott the boycotts, because I can tell you then end of this war if you want to hear it: No one wins.

Don’t You Hate It When …

hair gel accident

Actual Anti-Frizz Gel Spill

You know how after you put some anti-frizzies gel on your hair, you set down the bottle and leave the little pop-up lid open by accident, and then by further accident someone comes along and knocks it over and no one notices it for hours and it leaks all over the three necklaces and two sets of earrings that were lying on the bathroom counter near it? Yeah, don’t you hate when that happens?

To the Potential Wardrobe Malfunction in the Restaurant

To the lady … er, woman sitting directly in my unobstructed line of vision at the restaurant this evening: I really didn’t want to spend the entirety of my family dinner wondering if your next deep breath was going to reveal the extent of your artificial endowments.


woodpecker shirtSpecifically, woodpeckers that decide to nest at the top of a metal chimney. Woodpeckers who, whilst nesting at the top of said metal chimney, enjoy employing their beaks on said metal chimney at 5:00 a.m. (You may enjoy knowing that the acoustic properties of a metal chimney into a room with a little furniture and ceramic tile flooring turn out to be really excellent!) Woodpeckers who, whilst nesting and rat-a-tatting at 5:00 a.m. at the top of said metal chimney, turn out to be protected so that the only thing exterminators can do is try to scare them away from the said metal chimney by climbing a giant ladder, hanging shiny Christmas tinsel at the top of said metal chimney, and then charging in excess of $350 to go away, but not before kindly informing one that if the Christmas tinsel idea works, it will in fact only work for the current nesting season and have no effect on future woodpeckers who may choose to nest upon said metal chimney.

I suppose it might be considered comforting to know that the exterminator was correct in his assessment that the woodpeckers would be back next nesting season. Armed with a metal spoon and the knowledge that they just need to have their nesting patterns broken, I’m banging back!

Why Don’t They Just Make Kid’s Clothes Disposable?

That’s all.

Kids and Cleaning

How is it that, presented with a three-foot-square pile of their junk to put away, every single time they will locate the one object they don’t know where to put, and walk around mournfully with it in their hands, as if nothing can progress until this single object has found its home, and it is no fault to them that the rest of the pile cannot be addressed until this one solitary object has been properly bestowed?

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