Friday, June 20, 2014

Cougar Monitor

There is something about ambiguous product names that makes me crazy. Like, baby wipes, I get it - clearly they are wipes for babies, not wipes made of babies. That's easy. But it took me forever to work up the courage to read the label on the bottle of fish sauce and see whether it was sauce for fish or sauce of fish. (Spoiler alert: it's of fish. Fermented fish. Ick.) And clam juice? Like, how the heck does one juice clams? But there it is, hidden in the fine print, presumably because that is just so damn gross that it can't be advertised directly in the name (e.g., Juice of Clams).

It seems really quite immoral that companies are allowed on one hand to advertise Made With Real Fruit Juice! in big bold print to trick stupid people into thinking that gummy candies are ever anything even close to being "fruit", yet on the other hand keep the whole "we have squeezed clams for your dining pleasure" business on the down low. Those companies probably all have some sneaky wordsmith on board, fine-printing their way straight to the bank. What kind of jerk makes a living writing weasel words to give the dubious products of big corporations a veneer of wholesomeness? I mean, not me, that's for sure...


So I was out doing some field work this past week - alone (my fave!) - when I got an emergency stand down call from the office: "There's been a cougar sighting 30 miles away - we're sending someone out to escort you around. Just wait in your truck until they get there."

Multiple ironies are woven into this little nugget. The painfully obvious: unless that particular cougar was a serial killer who planned on hitching a ride to my site to do away with me that very afternoon, the likelihood of my being eaten by a cougar had not increased at all by virtue of someone having laid eyes on one 30 miles away.

Secondly, it had only been a few minutes since I had hunkered down for a snack of celery sticks and peanut butter and pondered how pleasant it was to not be working in bear country where you have to think about actively making yourself seem not-delicious - oh yeah. Cougars too. Whoops.

And finally, who did they send out to act as Cougar Monitor for this middle-aged lady but a cute li'l 20-year-old boy.

Monitor for... or monitor of? The name reveals naught.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dance Fever

We bought Small Fry a clock radio for his birthday. It's shaped like a giant Lego brick (a two-er, if you're interested) (red) and it has since become an unexpected source of joy and consternation in our house. As is often the case with such things, the joy is his; the consternation mine.

Small Fry L-O-V-E-S his clock radio. He spends every morning dancing around his room in various stages of undress, and I spend every morning yelling PUT. YOUR. PANTS. ON! RIGHT NOW! But every song is a song he loves, and songs he loves just make him dance around naked. No amount of parental disapproval or threats of tardiness for school are going to change that. He's gonna be a hit in college.

If it was just music, that would be one thing. But there are also ads, and announcements, and news on the radio. Small Fry will come bolting into my room - usually naked - and announce breathlessly, "Mommy! There has been a multi-vehicle collision on the Calf Robe Bridge! Emergency services are on the scene!" then run back to his room to catch the next thrill coming down the pipes.

Thanks to Small Fry's clock radio, we have learned A Great Many Things at our house. We have learned that Calaway Park was opening (dammit!). That a wine festival was happening on the weekend (sweet!). That komodo dragons and a rhinoceros are coming to the Zoo. That McDonald's now offers three delicious flavours of iced frappe: coffee, caramel and vanilla chai tea. That Hooters is the ultimate Father's Day destination ("Mommy, we have to take Daddy to Hooters! My radio told me!"). That if we shop at Old Navy, we could win an incredible Brazilian adventure to the World Cup.

(Good golly. I just commissioned a Brazilian adventure expressly for Father's Day - do I really have to suffer through Old Navy and Hooters too?)

I had sortof forgotten about this Eerily Accurate Recall Stage (EARS) - Medium Fry went through it too, years ago. Seeing EARS in action again really strengthens my resolve to limit my children's exposure to advertising, because I find it seriously disturbing to see just how effective it is on the impressionable young mind. Just like smoking, I guess you've gotta catch 'em young if you want them to tirelessly campaign to go visit the new rhinoceros or celebrate Father's Day in an olde-tyme fried food and misogyny theme park, because surely no one else is listening.

But he drew a portrait - a loving, detailed, and vaguely Cubist portrait - of his clock radio on the table at Montana's the other night. With the numbers all square like digital clocks show them, and a happy stick version of himself dancing beside it. (Probably naked.) And my resolve to save him from the dangers of Hooters ads weakened.

Besides. I wouldn't have known about that wine festival if he hadn't told me.