• DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    by Mary Beth Ellis
  • Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Random House Trade Paperbacks
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Tuesday
Jun032008

BREAKING BACHELORETTE NEWS

There was so very, very much to be horrified by in tonight's episode of The Bachelorette, and the worst moment wasn't even when Ellen DeGeneres ordered all the men to drop their pants, and it wasn't when one of the men given the heave-ho placidly says "She didn't reject me, she just chose other guys," and it wasn't when The Bachelorette slammingly told the story of the death of her mother in incredibly excruciating and depressing detail, and it wasn't when one of the guys announced, "I woke up this morning thinking, 'You know, she's not my kind of girl, but now I've got a case of the DeAnnas.'"

No, no, it was when DeAnna (or ABC, or Mike Fleiss, or Chris The Rose Ceremony Guy, or whoever it is to blame) bought a star for one of the men on the show and named it after his son to... show she's okay with him at some point in the past having had sex with his ex-wife for the purpose of procreation, or something? And he cried, and she slouched into her strapless dress, and it all would have been very touching IF THE CERTIFICATE MEANT ANYTHING AT ALL IN THE REALM OF ASTRONOMY.

Because that star? It's been named already, and it's not "Ty." It's RUC 9274 or something equally astronomy-ey. You can pick a star and firmly deem it "Fourth Hair Down, Seventeenth Across On My Left Buttcheek" and embroider a tea towel announcing this and it would be 100% as official.

Well, so what if it's not scientifically recognized? What's the big deal? This. This is the big deal. From Phil Plait, author of Bad Astronomy:

Imagine being an astronomer during an observatory’s public night, happily showing people the wonders of the universe through the telescope, then having someone ask you to see the star they named after their daughter who died tragically. They only have the name they gave it, not the position or any other name that might be useful. Worse, they really, honestly think that every astronomer has access to the ISR (International Star Registry) and can easily find their star. Having run many a public night myself, I can only imagine how horrible I would feel. In such cases, what do you do, tell the people they were lied to, or deceived, crushing them? Or do you keep quiet, spare their raw feelings, and perpetuate the lie by showing them some random star?

Many astronomers don’t have to imagine this. It’s happened to them.


Oh-kay. There. Now you know. ABC, will you kindly stop perpetuating crap space information? Give us something real and inspiring from the heavens, something substantive, something roaringly amazing, something affecting our daily lives. Give us broken space station toilet coverage. YES.

celestial flush at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

Sunday
Jun012008

Welcome Freelance Switch Readers

Are you in-betweening, too?

Thursday
May292008

Seaming  

It's late. I'm late posting today, and I'm sorry. For the past week, I have been very concerned with togas. No, don't ask. I have made two of them, and there has been patterns and thread and directions and wrong sides together and interfacings and tears and hemming and ribbon and again, seriously, you don't want to know. I will simply submit to you that after two separate attempts at sewing classes, if there's a way to unspeakably mangle the act of adhering two pieces of fabric together with a piece of thread, I will find it, and then I will cry about it like a little *&%#^. I'm trying hard, really, really hard, not to categorize this as a basic human failing, but at 31 I'm running out of things to be competent at, here.

I'm thinking back on my life and trying to categorize all the things I've done without notching some kind of catastrophic failure or humiliation along the way. So far, the Success List includes:

1) Braiding my own hair

I'll get back to you when the togas are pressed, but I don't have hopes of that going very going well, either. I've managed to anger the iron, somehow. All I did to it was plug it in, and it started beeping in an extremely pissed manner. I'll get back to you on this once I've apologized.

turning in basic humanity competency card at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com
Monday
May262008

At Arlington

You are lions to little me, and what's more, you never thought of yourselves as such.

You stood in straight lines at attention where my legs buckle with fear, with fatigue, with laziness.

You stayed kept your politics to yourself so that I might speak of reality television and infomercials.

You bent with the weight of heavy gear and heavy responsibility so that I could stand impatiently in amusement park ride lines, cell phone in one hand, cold drink in the other.

Your family followed you without complaint so that I can lay my head down at night without any real concern as to whether or not mine is safe.

You drank dirty, warm water so that I could have my choice of bottled Perrier in the endless aisles of a well-swept grocery store.

You submitted to the orders of others so that I can pick up and lay down work at will.

You stayed up all night, watching, so that I could sleep in and roll my eyes at the cost of a Frappuccino.

You missed the birth of your first child so that I could weep over not having had a vacation in the past year.

You put your entire career on hold so that I could fret over the low pay for freelance writers these days.

You endured desert heat so that I could smack at the thermostat and make a single phone call to fix it.

You live in assigned quarters, tents even, so that I could complain about property taxes.

You hauled crates of humanitarian aid into Jeeps so that I could tap the softness of my arms and complain about the terrible shape I was in--how fat, how underdeveloped.

You drove tanks into sniper fire so that I could look around the quiet streets of my small suburb and say, "There's nothing going on around here."

You put off higher education so that I could gnash my teeth over my alma mater's poor football showing.

You shivered in driving rains so that I could tell everyone from my heated home that I was having trouble adjusting to these terrible Virginia winters after five years in Florida.

You climbed into fighter jets so that I could balk at the poor customer service of the airlines.

You read technical manuals so that I could kill twenty minutes with a gardening magazine.

You deferred credit to others when I said, "Why aren't I famous yet?"

You ate another MRE so I could sigh over microwaved leftovers from a bulging refrigerator.

You said, "Give me a gun," when I said, "But a rerun of Golden Girls is on."

You said, "I'll go," when I said, "I'm too important here."

You said, "Send me," when I said, "I'm afraid to die."

You said, "For others," when I said, "For me."

And I thank you.

very grateful at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

Friday
May232008

His Holy Halfpipe

Here is a lovely Victorian painting of St. Joseph, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Child Jesus, and the Child Jesus' snowboard:


What seals it is the nervous attitude of Mary: "Oh, dear. I just know He's going to dump some fresh powder so He can jib off the side of the house and frontside ollie into some sick 1080's before He air-to-fakies down the halfpipe." And Joseph's like, "Well, if He breaks an arm, that'll learn Him, and He'll just instantaneously heal it anyway."

straight to at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com