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Author: toni

~ 09/24/09


Okay. Here’s a kid that’s clearly in Kanye’s camp with regard to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video. Sorry Taylor. This baby likes his videos Fosse style.

Too funny.

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Author: toni

Welcome to MOVIE MATH where we review a movie and see if it adds up to family fun.

If you read the post earlier in the week about folks we knew cutting in line, you know Julia was VERY excited to see this movie.  And after the cutsy debacle, and an aborted attempt to get good seats, we finally got in to a later show. Was it worth all the heartache, betrayal and agony?


CLOUDY, WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (3-D) – On the surface (and by that I mean the trailers we were bombarded with for weeks prior to its release) this movie looked like a fun children’s flick. It had all the elements. Goofy man character, spunky love interest, giant food and the increasingly popular 3-D. But what was served up to us in the theater was a bizarre, rather nightmarish tale that felt more like Tim Burton and less like Pixar. The setting was depressing and creepy. Sardines play prominently in the plot. And you know how everyone feels about sardines. It’s about a misfit inventor living in a dying sardine-manufacturing town. He is an outcast and misunderstood until he invents a machine that turns water into food and accidentally shoots it into the sky. The result: It’s raining food, hallelujah! And while the food falling from the sky is initially amusing, eventually it turns into something out of a bad dream. In fact, I think I had this dream once after a rather large Thanksgiving dinner. Only the food was chasing me instead of falling on me. Anway, big food stops being funny when it threatens to crush you to death. Also, when you mix monkey poop with ice cream. And when a character gets so fat he looks like Jabba the Hut. At a certain point Julia (7) started to find the whole thing really scary. And when human-sized headless roasted chickens swallow a guy whole, well, she was pretty much DONE with the film. Now I personally didn’t hate it. I mean, it wasn’t SHARK TALES (ugh). It had a nice message about acceptance, a touching father-son subplot and fun twist when we learn the ditzy weather girl character is secretly super smart. Plus the 3-D was quite good. And Randy the perfekt husband really enjoyed the bizarre, twisted humor. He laughed out loud several times. But for the discriminating and, yes, okay, uber-sensitive 7 year-old in our midst, it was a definite and resounding NO!  (Now playing in theaters)



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Author: toni

~ 09/23/09

Okay. Here’s one up for debate on the bad mommy-o-meter. Following is a video that some customer took of a mother MELISSA CATHERINE SMITH-MEANS (37) of Alabama DRAGGING her kid through a Verizon store on a leash.

She has since been charged with felony cruelty to children and has had to retain a lawyer. Now the mom maintains that this was a game and that the kid ASKED her to do it. She told DR. PHIL (cuz you know, abusive moms need their 5 minutes also) that her husband does it to the kid all the time at home…in fun!

Sound nuts? Well, I should have prefaced that information by saying they are a military family. And having grown up myself in a household with a STEPFATHER who was career military, I know their idea of fun and punishment can have a VERY different tone than what the average parent’s idea is.

Anyhow, after watching this clip a few times, I’m pretty sure SMITH-MEANS (an unfortunate but possibly accurate name) is lying through her teeth to save her ass.

But the question is, does she deserve to be in such deep trouble now?

Look, as a mom who has had her last nerve worked more than once, I can imagine a situation where a kid throws a tantrum in a store and decides he ain’t going anywhere.

They do the DEAD-WEIGHT DROP. You know that one. Where they just make their little body go limp and even if they’re one of those bony bird kids, suddenly feel like they weigh as much as the bag of cement you stick in your trunk in the winter to give you traction on the ice. Julia did that A LOT! It’s one of the super powers children have… along with poop so toxic it should be declared a Superfund Site.

So, I can imagine a frustrated mom, tired, late for picking up another kid, embarrassed by the tantrum her kid is throwing, suddenly saying FINE! and dragging the kid out the store.

Then again, she coulda been really pissed to find out that her cell phone plan didn’t offer rollover minutes.

Whatever. I’ve never dragged my kid. Not with a leash anyway. I’m not a believer in those things. But I have certainly picked up Julia like a sack of potatoes and thrown her upside down over my shoulder and hauled her terrible-twos tantrum throwing self into the car.

Fortunately, I haven’t done that in some time. Not because I haven’t wanted to, but because now it would require a visit to the orthopedic surgeon. Now I just threaten to ground her from treats. I know. Cruel. But you gotta find your child’s weakness and prey on it. It’s a mother’s job. After all, when they’re teens, they’ll prey on your overwhelming concern by staying out all hours and not letting you know they haven’t died in a drunken car accident. So think of it as early payback.


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Author: toni

~ 09/22/09


As someone who has had extensive first hand experience with the health care system this year, I can’t imagine what would have happened to us without our health insurance. Also, I saw SICKO recently, so I’m having a lot of feelings about this Health Care Reform thing.

But I gotta admit, in our fervor to make sure that every American has the right to health care, there has been one group entirely overlooked. The Insurance Executives.

WILL FERRELL and a bunch of Hollywood stars have championed this cause in this very funny (if it weren’t so scarily true) video PSA made by Funny or Die.

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Author: toni


Julia, who is 7, desperately wants pierced ears. The reasons? Most of her friends have them AND she likes sparkly things.

I could use the old argument “if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” But really, what kid buys that? And frankly, I have no argument against liking sparkly things. I mean, what girl doesn’t?

Truthfully, it’s hard for me to tell her no. After all, my Mom’s Italian and in Italy piercing an infant girl’s ears is the equivalent of circumcising boys. Very ritualistic and done immediately after birth. So, I had my ears pierced even before I knew how to put my fingers in my mouth, let alone use them to put in earrings.

When my ears holes closed up, I had my ears pierced AGAIN for my 7th birthday. And we were living in PANAMA at the time so it was quite an experience. The folks in Panama often wear nose rings so piercing parlors are as common there as Starbucks are here. I still remember the smoky tent and the old Panamanian woman with a nose ring the size of a bull’s, doing the deed. Despite her age, her hand was steady and it didn’t hurt a bit. I’ve had pierced ears ever since.

So why not let Julia get hers pierced? Her father, RANDY THE PERKET HUSBAND, is opposed until she’s 13.

Which is ironic since when we started dating, he had a pierced ear. And quite the wild youth, I might add. It really wasn’t until he became a father that he retired that little diamond stud.

He says it’s because she’s not old enough to take care of her ears — kind of a health/hygiene thing. But honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find a more responsible kid at her age.

So what’s the REAL reason? I don’t know. I suspect it has something to do with her “growing up” too fast. I think it’s hard for daddies to let go of their little girls. Pierced ears are just a step away from pierced bellybuttons, then tattoos and the next thing you know she’s visiting Planned Parenthood and riding off with a guy named SPIKE on his hog.

Anyway, since I get so much of a say in so much of what Julia does. I think I’ll give him this one.

Meanwhile, Julia took some of her allowance and bought clip-on earrings from CLAIRE’S. They’re the perfekt solution. Well, except for the fact that they cut off the blood supply to her ear lobes. But nothing is perfect, is it?



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Author: toni

~ 09/21/09


So yesterday, Randy the perfekt husband and I took Julia to the 3-D movie CLOUDY WITH THE CHANCE OF MEATBALLS. Saying Julia was excited about seeing this film is putting it mildly. She’s been talking about it since she saw the trailers. Part of the frenzy also had to do with the carefully plotted and highly manipulative campaign by Nickelodeon to repeatedly show MIRANDA COSGROVE’s video of the movie’s theme song “RAINING SUNSHINE” between every episode of Spongebob Squarepants and iCarly.

So, by the time we stood in line to get the tickets, Julia was practically frothing at the mouth whilst singing,” It’s raining Sunshine, All over mankind.” Scintillating lyrics, indeed. But at least it wasn’t PINK singing yet another song about the joys of binge alcohol consumption.

Anyhoo, foreseeing the madness that the movie was going to beget (there was no other family film last weekend and we parents are always desperate in this area) we bought our tickets in the morning for the 2:25 pm show.

After Randy came back from the golf course, we stopped for a quick lunch at the Red Robin and then, realizing it was getting close to showtime, rushed over to the theater.

We arrived at 2 pm. Coincidentally at the same time as a little girl (I’ll call her JANE) formerly of Julia’s dance class, and Jane’s FATHER and her LITTLE SISTER. We exchanged “hellos” as we had our tickets torn and walked down the hall toward the movie theater in step with one another.

We turned the corner to be greeted with the longest line I’ve seen since those pictures of the bread lines during the Great Depression. And that’s when I got depressed as I realized we were WAAAAAY back at the line and were unlikely to get choice seats. Still, believers of the ancient tribal law of yore “first come, first serve”, we took our place at the back of the line and waited to be let in. There were some stragglers who got in line behind us, but I didn’t see Jane and her family anywhere near us in line.

Had they seen the line and given up, opting to trade in their tickets for a later show and better seats, I wondered? Probably.

And then, just as the teenaged pimply faced USHER retracted the rope to let the line in, I spotted them. They were hovering at the front of the theater door.

NO! They couldn’t possibly be doing what I thought they were doing! And then sure enough…. THEY CUT IN LINE!

Once the line started into the theater, I saw Jane’s DAD take her and her sister by the hand and quickly, stealthily, SLITHER his way into the crowd, disappearing into the theater.

And what was worse, Julia saw it too!

JULIA: Hey! How come Jane got to go into the theater before us?

ME: Because her dad is a rude, pushy slimeball who obviously hasn’t heard of that other ancient tribal law of yore… NO CUTSIES!

Okay. I didn’t say that, I just WANTED to say it. Instead, I just took Julia’s hand and we made our way into the theater…when it was our turn, I might add.

And sure enough, the only seats left were front row, corner. And I don’t know about you, but I CAN’T do front row, corner at a movie. Particularly in Michael Bey movies or ones where giant food is going to come out of the screen at me.


ME: I’m sorry sweetie. We’ll have to give the tickets back. We can’t stay for the movie.

Julia’s face fell. She was utterly heartbroken in the way that only 7 year-olds who haven’t truly experienced heartbreak can be.

JULIA: But Jane is staying!


She pointed and I spotted THEM! Jane, her dad and sister, sitting in the middle seat, in the middle row of the theater. THE PERFECT SEATS. Ill-gotten perfect seats.

Okay. Now I know there are worse things in the world. Seriously, on the scale of travesties and injustices, this is way below say, some woman in Yemen getting stoned to death for speaking up to her husband. Or adoption brokers kidnapping babies from Chinese families to place into western homes for a fee.

And normally, I wouldn’t have made such a big deal out of it.  But the matter was made worse by the fact that we KNEW these people. That Julia had SEEN it happen. And the fact that she was not going to get to see the movie because we did what we were supposed to do.

So what did I do? Well, what would any respectable mom do? I told on them.

Actually, first I turned the whole situation into a life lesson by discussing it with Julia on the way home. I told her how wrong it was. Then I made sure that she undertsood that it wasn’t Jane’s fault, but her Father’s. That it was he who showed poor judgement. And that he was a poor example to his kids. And how she should never do that.

THEN, I told on them. I called Jane’s mom when I got home and told her the whole thing. And said that I didn’t appreciate what her husband did and that it put me in a tough position having to explain it all to Julia.

She thought I was crazy and weird. She didn’t say it in so many words, but I could tell by the tone she took with me which was similar to the tone you’d take with an ax-wielding madman. Very pacifying and like you’re talking to child.

And when I got off the phone I realized I probably hadn’t solved anything. If anything, I created an awkward situation when we see them at the next recital. But you know what, I don’t care. I’m sick of rude people who feel entitled and think they can do anything they want to get their way!

Randy the perfekt husband thinks I shouldn’t be so surprised. He is a cynic who thinks much of the world is like this. AND that in fact, such people often get ahead in life.

He’s probably right. But that doesn’t mean my kid has to be that way. Or that I should keep my mouth shut about it. So, I’ll continue to embarrass the family by yelling at the a-hole who parks in the handicapped spot to get their take-out. Or the nimrod who throws his empty cigarette pack out his window on the street. Or, yes, the dad who cuts in line at the movie theater.

It’s just who I am.

In the end, we took Julia to a later show. She didn’t like the movie. Go figure.




Note: For a book to help teach your kid (or some adults) a lesson about line fairness click on the following title CUTTING IN LINE ISN’T FAIR   available at Amazon.

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