You oughta be…

A Christmas card arrived the other day, with photos. I was stunned to discover that the little baby I’d once visited in Milwaukee is now a) grown up; and b) has a Jewfro, even though he’s Catholic. How did that happen?

This didn’t start me down a weepy path of nostalgia and humming “Sunrise, Sunset.” It made me think I want to see Mary’s backyard Christmas cactus in faraway Los Angeles, which she claims blooms at Christmas every year. Yes, friends, it made me think of …the power of pictures.

So now until the end of the year, it’s Send Me a Picture time here at NN.C. I’ll start:

If I were an Airedale, I’d have killed you by now.

You all know who this is. The day he got his hair cut, there was an Airedale in the next cage at the groomer’s, a dog of truly fearsome energy. Airedales are terriers, but with the complicating factor that they weigh 80 pounds or so. When we were struggling to train ha ha our own terrier, Alan and I would often remark that if this dog weighed an ounce over 20 pounds, the experience would be a lot less comical and perhaps even life-threatening. (Yes. Spriggy flunked out of puppy first grade when the instructor decided to assert her dominance over him by pinning him to the floor and he brazenly growled in her face for several minutes. He never did stop, although the instructor decided she had other dogs to teach and finally let him up, with a comment that he might actually be untrainable. This was the next-to-last session, and we didn’t go back for graduation. By the way, as soon as she let him up he was all waggy and friendly again, but man, this dog does not submit to anyone.)

He will wear his antlers for 30 seconds or so. Be quick with that camera, and you’ll get your shot.


Sorry to be boring today, but I have two stories to write and that 7,000-word (plus appendices — I keep having to add that) anal blister of an edit to get started on. I’ll leave you with a huge story you can read if you feel like it and wring hands over in the comments: Little Hotties, from last week’s New Yorker. It’s about the Bratz dolls, which give parents fits. Why? Because they look like pint-size hoochie mamas, that’s why. I’m pleased to say that Kate has already passed through her Bratz period. I considered objecting to them — it’s hard to hide your horror when you see them the first time — but decided on a different strategy: Going limp. Not only did I go limp, I aided and abetted. When Kate asked for a new Bratz for Christmas, I went out and bought the trashiest one I could find. The Bratz I bought that year made a Vegas streetwalker look like Julie Andrews — short skirt, bootz, and my favorite style detail, a faux-fur shrug over a halter top.

See, my Barbie experience taught me something that they don’t teach in Women’s Studies courses: Little girls don’t see dolls the way you do. You see “slutty,” they see “pretty.” Kate didn’t ask for short skirts and halter tops; she just played with them. And then she graduated to American Girls and all the Bratz are down in the basement, legless and seminude, waiting for the next garage sale. Parents of younger girls, behold I say unto you: All things must pass. And so will this.

Posted at 11:12 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

15 responses to “You oughta be…”

  1. brian stouder said on December 15, 2006 at 11:38 am

    The Bratz bug missed Shelby (now 8); she went from Barbies to American Girl (thanks to gramma!) – with several build-a-bears thrown in. Chloe (now 21/2) we shall see about.

    Still, I DID get a little shudder from the (well-turned) phrase all the Bratz are down in the basement, legless and seminude, waiting for the next garage sale.

    Sorta has the demented-Chicago-clown thing going

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  2. brian stouder said on December 15, 2006 at 11:40 am

    Don’t know how I got the little face w/sunglasses! I put the numeral eight up there, where it appears.

    As an experiment, here it is again: 8

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  3. mary said on December 15, 2006 at 11:53 am

    You have to make similar decisions with boys when it comes to weapons/war toys/gruesome things. I was okay with the plastic cap guns, but I never sprang for the air-soft things or paint ball. This year is Pete’s skateboard year. Older son is getting a digital camera and money. But both of them, whether they want it or not, are getting marshmallow guns.

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  4. brian stouder said on December 15, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    You have to make similar decisions with boys when it comes to weapons/war toys/gruesome things

    Pam and I fight that battle (so to speak) with regard to PlayStation3 games. We relent occasionally and let Grant (our 11 year old) get aircraft games – despite that such things are ‘First Person Shooter’ games, which we specifically don’t allow.

    I say ‘don’t allow’ – but of course they make it past us occasionally (the Star Wars games are pretty violent; their didge is that you’re wreaking destruction against machines rather than beings. Weak reasoning, but both sides get something. Grant gets to shoot things, and mom and I at least get the small consolation that he is not laying waste to German or Japanese villages)

    When we hit the video rental place, Grant heads for the games, and we encourage racing games and football (etc)

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  5. mary said on December 15, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    When we go to the video game/computer game store I always, like for years now, suggest my kids get either train simulator (with the multiplayer add option) or my favorite, John Deere bean farmer. These are computer games, and they must be absolutely coma inducing. Nonetheless, I feel the need to make like I’m carrying them to the register every single time. I love to hear the screams.

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  6. nancy said on December 15, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    So are you sending the Christmas-cactus picture, Mary?

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  7. mary said on December 15, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    It has to be taken first. I’m going to the posada in downtown LA tomorrow, and that might provide some good shots for the holiday spirit.

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  8. Maryo said on December 15, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    Re: Bratz. Nancy, I often use (and give you credit for) your line from one of the last times you wrote about them. I now exclusively call them Skankz — unless, of course, my own girls are in the room. Many of my fellow MOGs (mothers of girls) smile knowingly.

    That said, my oldest, now 10, informed me over the past 24 hours that she might kinda sorta want a Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses doll for Christmas. Seems we never grow out of these things.

    Anyway, my girls actually like the Barbie “My Scene” dolls and DVDs. They’re a toned-down version of the Skankz, and not nearly as popular across the board as the Skankz are.

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  9. Jennifer said on December 15, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    That pooch is too cute.

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  10. mary said on December 15, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    Extremely cute. I was at the animal shelter last night dropping off a Christmas donation (a case of rawhide bones) and there was a Jack Russell Westie mix that was inordinately cute. If I didn’t have two hundred and seventy pounds of dogs already, he would have come home with me.

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  11. alex said on December 15, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    My mom tells me my sister-in-law is going through the “no you can’t have one of those god-awful things” with her four-year-old daughter at present. I actually enjoyed the New Yorker piece. It made me want to cheer for the upstart little company. And if Naomi Wolfe thinks Skankz are a good thing, maybe we shouldn’t take it all so damned seriously.

    Actually, the pettiness of the Mattel attorneys in the story is nothing. When I lived in Chicago, there was an artist who was issued a cease and desist letter by Mattel for utilizing old Barbie body parts in her work.

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  12. Mark said on December 16, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    The idea that what grownup people find “slutty” to be “pretty” just shows that kids don’t have much context yet, right? We know they’re slutty because they’re what streetwalkers actually wear to do their jobs, but kids don’t know that yet … that people in real life don’t actually dress that way. Oh, wait. They do. I’ve come to realize in the last few years that the way a lot of young people (and we’re surrounded by young people in Ann Arbor) view clothing: If it’s expensive, it must be “nice.” Which means the super short miniskirt and extra-deep-cut, skintight top that a young woman shelled out $200 bucks for at the mall is “nice” and therefore is appropriate to wear shopping, to a restaurant like Gandy Dancer, or church, or most unbelievably, to a professional office. For guys, same goes for the $180 Red Wings hockey jersey that only gets worn to “nice occasions.” It’s weird, but now that I’ve wrapped my mind around it, it makes a lot of sense in our culture. All in all, I’m glad my kids are both boys, bad as that might be when they’re teens.

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  13. Barb said on December 18, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    This photo proves I have finally lost my mind. But at 12 and 15, my kids will no longer pose sweetly with Santa.

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  14. poochlover said on December 24, 2006 at 10:00 am

    Glad to see that all is well with Spriggy — except for having to have on the antlers for the picture, of course! Darby and Sophie are now two-and-a-half and one-and-a-half and trying gallantly to live up to Reese’s legacy. We wish you, Alan, Kate and Spriggy a very Merry Christmas!

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  15. Eiram said on March 22, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks man, i agree

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