The Rules

Henceforth:

1) All restaurants will give you free bread. Good bread, not the cheap peasant loaf they keep on hand for disliked relatives and poor tippers. Violators will be jabbed at with the jagged crust until they learn their lesson or require medical assistance.

2) No restaurant will require me to say anything like “Triple Moo-tini Milksplosion” in order to obtain a beverage or foodstuff. Violators will be required to have an equally ridiculous nickname branded on their foreheads.

3)  All dogs will be issued a memo that they may regard me from a respectful distance (let’s say 300 yards) but must not in any way lick, nuzzle, touch, smell or shed on me. Violators will be shaven in the style of a Standard Poodle, regardless of breed, and re-named “FiFi.” Ditto for their owners.**

4) Phonetic spellings are immediately illegal and must be corrected at the shop owner’s expense. Shops with names involving both “Kwik” and “E-Z” will be burned down and the earth salted.

5) All customer service staff will be friendly and eager to assist. All managers will  be solicitous and defer to the customer in matters of dispute. All stores will be laid out in such a way that a reasonable woman in her early 30’s armed with semi-concrete notions of what she wants can find it. Violators will be abandoned in the labyrinthine innards of a decrepit Meijer and forced to attempt escape while fleeing baggers infected with whatever everyone had in 28 Days Later.

6) All cute shoes will come in sizes larger than “zygote.” Clothing for larger girls will NOT be emblazoned with four enormous flowers, nor millions of tiny ones. All bras will fit properly the first time.

7) Slanket and its bastard offspring are immediately and indefinitely illegal. Anything combining a Slanket with a Popeil product is extremely illegal.

8 ) Grammar, syntax and punctuation will be cherished and used properly. Using LOLspeak, IM-ese or L33Tspeak will be punishable by tattooing of The Elements of Style on the inside of the offender’s eyelids.

9) Michael Bay is now illegal. Anyone found to be aiding and abetting Michael Bay is hereby sentenced to star in a remake of their all-time favorite film, directed by Michael Bay, written by Michael Bay, and co-starring Michael Bay.

With a special guest appearance by Michael Bay.

10) All Americans will appreciate the inherent value of other cultures. All other cultures will appreciate that we are so loud and big and boisterous because we have enormous hearts. Everyone, everywhere, will take better care of this blue rock we share. Violators will be locked in a room with both Paulie Shore and Yahoo Serious. Repeat offenders will be handcuffed to them.

Thank you for your cooperation. We now resume our regularly scheduled reality.

[**ATTENTION DOG PEOPLE: I know, I know, I am a soulless creature from beyond Hell because I don’t want dogs touching me. I’m at peace with this. Also, of COURSE I didn’t mean YOUR dog.]
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CDL Blogoversary, Day Two: Adam Lambert’s Loss is Our Gain

We’re celebrating Claire De Lunacy’s First Blogoversary, and I’ve invited some very gracious and awesome friends to contribute to this mess, sharing their words with you, my beloved readers. Through June 10th, there will be a new post from a different guest each day, culminating with a new, full-length short story by yours truly. I hope you enjoy my guests’ work as much as I do, and I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens during the NEXT year.

[Today’s Guest Blog is by Blanca Meneses, a friend I met on “The Twitter.”  Blanca is Cuban American and has lived in the US since 1969. She has an MBA in International Business, a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and a Paralegal Certificate. She currently works as an in-house paralegal at a Fortune 500 company. When not working, Blanca focuses on her photography. She resides in Miami with her partner and their Goldendoodle, Cocker Spaniel and two cats. Visit her online at http://www.blancameneses.com]

I sit here today still dumbfounded by the results of American Idol. I still feel confusion and disbelief when I think about the results. I mean, Adam Lambert should have won, right? Right? He’s multitalented and the best contestant ever to compete on American Idol. But for some reason, or reasons, he did not win. We all know that now.

I remember that on that Wednesday evening, May 20, 2009, I was sitting in front of my big flat screen tv with my partner and our two dogs watching American Idol with the Bose stereo system blasting away just waiting for the results. Finally, after all the artists sang, some better than others, and after they dimmed the lights, my heart began to race. I was nervous but optimistic and hopeful. I was so confident, as I”m sure were many other Adam fans, that Adam would win. But when Ryan Seacrest announced Kris Allen as the winner I was in utter shock and disbelief and felt mentally and emotionally stiff. I couldn’t move! The phone rang. It was my partner’s mother. I’m screaming saying that this is BS! What?! What?! What?! What????!!!! The unthinkable had happened! Kris Allen won.

I was enraged. I went on Facebook to tell the whole world how I felt. My status was not pretty. In fact, I was fuming! I went on Twitter to tell the whole world how I felt. My 140 characters were not pretty. In fact, I was still fuming! Why didn’t Adam win? How did this happen? I was perplexed and upset! I was so enraged I even shedded a few tears.

Tears? Why yes, tears. Tears because I took his loss personal. Tears because I believe Adam Lambert lost because he’s “different” and obviously more colorful than the conservative Kris Allen, who, in my belief, didn’t win on talent alone. Adam Lambert has not really admitted he’s gay, but he is quite flamboyant. His black fingernails, his heavy eyeliner, his walk, his thick make-up, and at times his clothing, all gave way for people to think that he was over the top in every which way. But more important than anything, he is unbelievably talented.

Did Kris Allen win because of the conservative vote? Did Adam Lambert lose because he’s “different”? We might never know; however, there is wide speculation and much talk that the reason Adam lost and Kris won was because the conservative vote pushed Kris over the edge. So now, all of a sudden, we have conservatism vs liberalism and red states vs blue states in an American Idol competition. And here I was thinking that the election was over.

The bottom line here is that this country, although some states are making progress with LGBT issues and we have a Democratic president and a Democratic congress, is still quite conservative. It is the fight of the religious right vs those that are to the left of the religious right. I do believe that more and more people are becoming more accepting of LGBT people, but I also believe that homophonia is still alive and kicking in the good old USA.

So, in the end, I had to accept that Adam had lost this year’s American Idol crown. But, I do believe that he is well on his way to having an abundance of success. As a matter of fact, he might just be on his way to becoming the lead singer for Queen. Sweet and at the same time ironic, isn’t it?

Here’s to you Adam and to your undeniable talent!

[It’s me again. Regardless of American Idol‘s role as, ahem, “entertainment,” I do believe that Adam’s decision to be open about his homosexuality adversely affected his shot at the crown. As Blanca said, his loss will ultimately be America’s gain, especially since the runners-up from Idol seem to make a bigger splash more often than their crown-winning counterparts.

Special thanks to Blanca for sharing her views! Be sure to stop by her site to say “hola!”

Tune in tomorrow for some short fiction!]

UNACCEPTABLE!!! (Holiday Edition 2008)

Dear Readers:

With the holidays just around the corner, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the season. To help you make sense of this time of both joy and insane busy-ness, our planet’s top minds (Actual number of minds: one. Actual proximity to the top: eh, up there somewhere between home schooled kids and that Ken Jennings guy) have declared the following things to be immediately and irrevocably unacceptable for all eternity.

To wit:

1) Slanket: SNUGGILY UNACCEPTABLE!!! Yeah, yeah, I know, it was part of my Giftstravaganza Guide. That’s because we all need something we can buy on a whim and give to the person who would otherwise be receiving Hickory Farms products from us. But Slanket (and its insidious, low-rent doppelganger, the Snuggie) are forces for evil in this world, encouraging slothful, couch-based living and, more terrifyingly, ensconcing their victims in cozy warmth that will lull them gently into slumber – a slumber that will prove most unfortunate when they are captured by the aliens who created Slanket and taken off-world for menial labor and the entertainment of the alien masses.

FEEL MY TOASTY WRATH: Henceforth, all Slankets will be used to pacify violent offenders in our nation’s maximum security prisons. Alternatively, they may be turned around and used as bathrobes for giants.

2) Christmas in October: ANACHRONISTICALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! OK, so I can understand that retailers don’t want to set out their holiday wares on December 22nd. But do they need to start bombarding us with Christmas cheer the same week as Halloween? Hello, there’s a whole ‘nother holiday in between the two! And I, for one, think National Cake Day deserves a little more respect.

TASTE MY TIMELY JUSTICE: From this day on, anyone caught displaying a Santa and a Jack O’ Lantern concurrently will be forced to watch “A Christmas Story” on mute while listening to Vincent Price’s soliloquy from “Thriller” on a loop.

3) Novelty Christmas Music Performed  by Animals: ANTHROPOMORPHICALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! You know they’re out there, waiting. During the rest of the year, you feel confident you can avoid them. Oh, sure, you might be exposed to the occasional Billy Bass or analogous Chthulu-level horror, but overall you have an excellent radar when it comes to people who enjoy watching animals sing. Then along comes Christmakwaanzukkah, and suddenly you can’t open an e-mail or a white elephant gift without being exposed to – God help us all – Jingle Cats, Bark the Halls or whatever the hell this is. What in the name of all that is good and holy happened to Silent Night?

MY BITE IS WORSE THAN MY BARK: The degree of unacceptability involved requires the harshest treatment: offenders will henceforth be locked in a room with Bob Barker, a tarp and pruning shears, and will only be released when they have been spayed and/or neutered. It’s for the good of the species, people.

4) Delivering a Flawless Rendition of Steve Martin’s Christmas soliloquy from My Blue Heaven and Receiving Only Dull, Cow-Eyed Stares in Return: ENSEMBLE-COMEDICALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! You spend years perfecting your craft (i.e., practicing in an offhand manner and relying heavily on your brain’s inability to forget anything it’s been exposed to, ever), and these are the thanks you get? Do you think that accent happens by itself, people? I put GEL IN MY HAIR, for Pete’s Sake! GEL!

WHAT’S ARUGULA? IT’S A VEG-A-TAB-UL: You are all hereby ordered to watch this movie and love it as I do, or I will be forced to reveal my hitherto-hidden infinite mental powers and wish you all into a cornfield.

5) The Following Conversation, Held Annually: PARENTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!

<RING, RING>

MA: Hello?

MOI: Hey, Ma. What does Dad want for Christmas this year?

MA: Well, you know your father. He’s impossible to buy for.

MOI: What about a tool? I think I saw a Deluxe HeeberJeeber 2000 on sale at Sears. Does he have one of those?

MA: Oh, honey, who knows what he’s got out in that garage? I haven’t been out there since 1978, and I don’t plan to go back. You know the socket wrenches went feral back in the early 90’s!

MOI: OK, well, what about clothes? I saw a very nice sweatshirt/flannel lumberjack thing/Cleveland Browns hat at the store the other day and…

MA: <noncommittal noise>

MOI: What?

MA: Well, I already got him one of those.

MOI: DAMN IT!

This is why my father has received a wallet from me every year for thirty-two years. They’re stacked up like cordwood.

I’M NOT A FREAKING PSYCHIC: Let the clarion call go forth, to the four corners of the land! Whoever invents a device that will detect the three tools my father does not already own at Christmas time shall receive a bounty of gold doubloons and, it goes without saying, several nice wallets.

Ignore these tips at your peril, my friends, because at any time, anywhere, you could find your stocking filled with a lump of coal we like to call…UNACCEPTABLE!!!

Things That Should Not Be: Collectibles Edition

I’m a fairly easy-going sort. When I see someone wearing, say, a trucker hat and a winkingly self-aware novelty tee shirt, I smile and say “Hey, hipsters need love, too.” When I’m parking my car and someone driving a Speck or Microbe or whatever the hell these wind-up cars are called steals my spot TWO SECONDS before I pull into it, I (try to) think “Well, they’re doing their part for the environment. I don’t mind walking seventeen blocks in four-inch heels.” Now that I’m an aunt, I find myself forced to endure things such as Ben 10 and Hannah Montana in order to remain in the good graces of The Little Emperor and Her Highness, also known as my nephew and niece.

In fact, I will even go so far as to tolerate the collections of knick-knacks, gewgaws and miscellaneous crap my friends and loved ones have in their homes (if only because I know I must have somewhere to flee in the event my book collection causes my home to collapse, killing the neighbors).

However, sometimes the percolating cesspool of popular culture belches forth an abomination so hideous, so wildly unacceptable, that I must speak out. “Why share these things, then?” I hear you asking. “Why not work to conceal them from the innocent eyes of those who may encounter them and be forever scarred?”

Because if I must suffer, so must you all, say I.

To wit:

1) Terrifyingly “adorable” Gangsta Babies. The dead-eyed stare of a doll is already fairly creepy; add piles of bling, typo-riddled marketing copy filtered through the paternalistic racism most commonly associated with Rudyard Kipling (“Carrot-toped homey” comes to mind) and the soullessly malevolent, emerald-green gaze of Pookie, and you’re looking at a lifetime of sleepless nights, my friend.

2) A thin candy shell over a pulsating heart of evil. OK, I promise not every entry will be about the disturbing fauxbies generated ad infinitum by the, uh, disturbing fauxby industry. However, these M&M babies ignited a special fire of searing hatred in my heart by committing the dual crime of being advertised in last month’s issue of Smithsonian AND making it impossible for me to eat delicious M&M’s without seeing their creepy little faces whispering “I melt for no one.”

3) Anything encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Swarovski walks a fine line – on the one hand, they have some lovely crystal pieces and jewelry that (almost) justify their price by adding beauty to your home, office, ears, navel, septum, et hoc genus omne. On the other, they’ve apparently decided to release all their leftover bits to the masses for use as spackle for EVERYTHING EVER. One young woman, encrusted head to toe in Swarovski, recently caused a ten-car pileup simply by stepping into the sunlight. OK, not really, but it’ll happen, mark my words.

And for those of you with too little taste and too much money who want something a little, ahem, “classier” than Swarovski, why not browse here?

4) Anything found in the Museum of Food Anomalies Give this site a gander, and you will never, ever look at your salad the same way. The banana with a face in it will haunt my dreams.

5) Peripheral junk-obelia that only hastens the demise of civilization. Hollywood has long ago abandoned any pretense of artistic integrity – try to remember the last popular film that didn’t feature a McToy tie-in or squawking electronic gadget released along with it – but sometimes, they run right past Ridiculous and scamper, giggling, into the arms of Utter Desolation of the Soul. These “dusty jams” may be a little out of date, but that just illustrates the longevity of our culture’s sad pageant of marketing-based suck-itude. My personal “favorite?” The C3PO tape dispenser. Nothing says “Amber Alert!” like a droid with a crotch-mounted tape wheel. YIKES.

**Note Bene**: I don’t agree with the site’s rating system, as I find both German Teachers and John Wayne to be indicative of quality and goodness, rather than horribleness and inanity.

OK, kids, I know you’ve got your own set of criteria for this category. Please, bring me your ALF alarm clocks, your Jesus action figures, your snack foods based on moderately successful second-generation children’s programs: there is room for all at the table of Things That Should Not Be!

Unacceptable!

In the interest of public safety and not being arrested/Tased™/beaten with socks full of walnuts by the hoi polloi, I usually keep my wellspring of wrath sealed away beneath the much calmer waters of snarkiness and, ahem, “humor.” However, around this time every year, as we slide inexorably toward another series of days reserved for mad dogs and Englishmen, the temperature, humidity, and general ass-itude of the idiots of the world join forces to push me to the breaking point, and I must let my vitriol pour forth upon the heads of those nouns (both proper and common) so richly deserving of it.

To wit:

Beardy Dude who already has ten delicious “everything” bagels and, even though it’s clear that I intend to nab the last one after he goes on his greedy way, takes the last one “just in case”: UNACCEPTABLE!! You are hereby ordered to surrender your place in line and have all your bagels replaced with today’s “gourmet” flavor. Let’s see how everyone back at the office likes “Rose Petal and Gorgonzola,” Mr. Piggy!

Random acquaintance who likes to make cracks about my being transgendered but still looks down my shirt every chance he gets: UNACCEPTABLE!! You are hereby ordered to buy me a novelty t-shirt reading “I see you’ve already met the twins” and/or “My eyes are up here” with a wacky arrow pointing upward.

Sweaty shirtless guy with enough body hair for Locks of Love who, despite having seen me not ten seconds ago, asks me AGAIN if it’s “hot enough” for me: UNACCEPTABLE!! You are hereby sentenced to wear three sweatshirts and a plastic bag until you pass out just like Martin Lawrence!

Swimsuit manufacturers who are clearly in league with the Devil and, as a result, offer products designed to make me feel like either a stripper or a sausage trying to escape its casing: EXCEEDINGLY UNACCEPTABLE!! You are hereby sentenced to walk down the street past a crowd of recently-released sex offenders wearing only a piece of lettuce and two old Skoal lids, tied together with dental floss!

Judgmental old bat who feels it is her duty to point out what a sinner I am and berate me loudly through her clacking dentures even though she’s out shopping for shoes with her gay grandson I saw at the club macking on some burly welder or something last weekend: WILDLY UNACCEPTABLE!! You are hereby ordered to get a clue and remove the enormous, pink, Be-Dazzled™, dildo-shaped plank from your eye before plucking the transgendered splinter out of mine!

Also, you smell like death. It’s called soap -look into it!

Patrick Rothfuss, whose next book is not scheduled for release until 2009: UNDERSTANDABLE BUT ULTIMATELY…UNACCEPTABLE!! You are hereby ordered to STOP pretending you’re Robert Jordan and release your novels in a timely fashion so we’re not stuck with a cliffhanger when you die! Also, you are ordered to send me an autographed galley of the next book immediately so I can lord my superiority over all other fans posthaste!

Robin Meade who, despite being awakened in the middle of the night by a clearly insensitive husband, remains infuriatingly married and straight: UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!! You are hereby ordered to read this pamphlet, entitled “Why Boys Are Icky: Les Be Friends!” You are furthermore ordered to change your daily greeting from “Morning, Sunshine!” to “Morning, Sunshine! And by “Sunshine,” I mean Claire. The rest of you bastards can suck it!”

Alarmingly anorexic counter girl at any restaurant ever who, upon hearing my order for at least five lunch orders to take back to the office, looks me over, smirks and says “Is this for here, or to go?”: UNSPEAKABLY UNACCEPTABLE! You are hereby sentenced to eat your own horrible fast food until you return to a healthy weight for a human being or your exhausted heart implodes from a combination of malnutrition and grease, you smug little tart!

That is all for now. Tread lightly, my friends, lest you arouse my mighty wrath and become…

UNACCEPTABLE!