Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!

So, today I have two more seemingly unrelated but intriguing topics for discussion: Armageddon and Whoopie Pie.

Last night I turned on the news (not something I make a habit of... I prefer to inform myself through the more traditional web-print and Jon Stewart's opening comentary) and was shocked by the headline: "Armageddon: is it the end times?" When the head-rush ended I tuned into the youngish reporter who was explaining that a number of Evangelical Protestants are interpretting the recent upsurgance in Mid-East violence, unexplainable earthquakes and natural disasters, and the president's insistance that we all get federal ID cards as signs of the Apocolypse rather than, I dunno, a 1,000 year dispute, global warming and infringements on the Bill of Rights. "Indeed!" a preacher shouted at me as the CNN headline ticker ran beneath the shocked but pleased faces of his congregants, "The Rapture could happen before I'm done speaking with you here!"
So. The Rapture. And here I had a dinner party scheduled for tomorrow night.
It wasn't until the end of the rather lengthy segment that the reporter reminded her viewers that her report was entirely based on one religious peoples' interpretation of events and not, say, facts. (This has always struck me as strange oxymoron - fundamentalists, those who believe the Bible is to be read word for word without interpretation by lowly humans, are the first to interpret Revelation through a modern lens). I giggled nervously. Really? CNN is reporting on the Rapture? How is this possible?
Furthermore, what's with the obession over the second coming? What's the deal with, as it was explained to me last night, "hedging your bets" with the big guy upstairs while ignoring the suffering of local, national and global neighbors? Why sit hearing about a Rapture that may or may not happen during your lifetime when you could be feeding the hungry, or at the very least, finding a bit of personal happiness and truth?
Not to mention: is it possible to legitmately believe that this is as bad as it's going to get? Really? Cause I can think of far worse scenarios for the reappearance of Christ. I don't think we've messed things up enough to yet require a holy intervention of the Rapture's magnitude. Perhaps some prayer and meditation and soul-searching. But God gave up being a micro-manager some 2000 years ago.
Not to say that I wholly discount discussions of the Rapture. I think I believe a little too strongly that we all have a bit of truth to tell to make the "their crazy" claim. And I can't deny anyone the right to their own beliefs, and wouldn't since I like to be let alone with mine. But CNN? I gave up on fair and balanced a long time ago and have resigned myself to receiving news and information from sources who wave their liberal flag loud and proud. But the Rapture? That just seems irresponsible.
Having found a grocery store that I adore (mmmm... oraganic food and large supplies of Tab....) I have been investigating indiginous delicacies. What, I ask, are foods that natives are attached to? Maple Syrup, baked beans and clam chowder were some immediate responses. But then there were these strange cupcake tops with icing sitting under a sign that read "Whoopie Pie." I resisted for a month, but this week I tried them.
And they. are. HEAVENLY. They are the perfect mix of cupcake and sugary icing... like homemade oreos. And there are, I have been told, multiple varieties of this tasty confection: chocolate, pumpkin and peanut butter. Yumm!
How taken am I with this gourmet treat? Well, for a long time I have wanted delicately decorated chocolate cupcakes to serve as my wedding cake (in the future... the far distant future...). Very French, and it removes the whole need to "cut the cake" which I've always found rather distastful. After all, if I spend days, weeks getting ready for this life changing event, I have no intention of having pictures of my face covered in cake. But I digress. Upon first tasting the Whoopie Pie I began to imagine a Whoopie Tower in lew of my long beloved cupcakes. I'm not totally convinced, but I'm also not alone. So now, it's possible that everyone will get a bit of Whoopie at my wedding - which is really as God intended, Rapture or not.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

No way! I'm the only one who supposed to be cute on this show!

There are two topics I wish to discuss this evening: Female sexual exploration and experimentation in mainstream Hollywood and the recently released Animaniacs DVD. Such choices. Where to start?

Lisa met Chelsea at the knocking school
Chelsea didn't feel like following the rules
So they left the place for another school
Where the boys go with boys and the girls with girls

Chelsea was the one who's been abused
It changed her philosophy in '82
She says, "Inch for inch and pound for pound"
Who needs boys when there's Lisa round?"

But in the first moment of her waking up
She knows she's losing it, oh yeah she's losing it
When the first cup of coffee tastes like washing up
She knows she's losing it, oh yeah she's losing it
~ She's Losing It, Belle and Sebastian

It all started when I was supposed to be writing a paper for a class and insead found myself watching Opera's answer to Lifetime: Oxygen (or "Oh!" as it seems to go by now). Kissing Jessica Stein, a movie I had never heard of and seemed to be made on a rather tight budget, was playing and as that guy from 10th Kingdom and The Gilmore Girls played what I thought was the romantic lead I decided it was better than whatever polical diatribe I was trying to get behind (I suppose I could have been reinturpreting history or ploting the end of the patriarchy-- my work in undergrad, as you can see, was very important). However, the movie soon took a turn for the unexpected when the 30-something, neurotic, Jewish heroine became fed up with the straight singles scene and "accidentaly" answered a personal ad posted by another woman. The movie became an exporation of Jessica's sexuality. Why did she believe she was straight when none of her male-female relationships had ever been successful or satisfying? She had so much more in common with the woman she met in the bar. Didn't it stand to reason that this woman was just as likely to be her soulmate as her brother's best friend who broke her heart in college and continues to torment her daily with his pent up writer angst? Would her family accept her as a lesbian? Could she accept herself as such? Would she ever figure out how to make-out with her girlfriend without getting sketched out?
What impressed me was how carefully the movie dealt with these issues. Jessica explored each question in a manner that was not contrived but more like the haphazard exploration of real life. Yes, her family could accept her as she was. Yes, she felt a deep connection to a woman, which shocked the hell out of her. No, she was not a lesbian (she still got sketched out whenever her "girlfriend" tried to touch her). And she could only enter into a legit hetero relationship when she stopped lying to herself and trying to please everyone else. She had to please herself first, and that might involve some things that suprised society and herself.
I hadn't thought about this film until it was brought back to my attention twice in a week. First, a friend asked me if I had seen it and when I explained that I had she told me she had some trouble with its message. It seemed, to her, that the movie suggested the female sexual exploration was a stage that inevitably had women returning to a socially acceptable hetero relationship. I didn't come away from the movie with this impression at all, but she explained how she had, and I suppose it's possible to interpret it that way. Then I watched Imagine Me and You in which Piper Perabo (that's right, the girl from the uber-classy Coyote Ugly - don't get me wrong, I loved it too) meets the love of her life- a woman -at her own wedding. The relationship develops as Piper's marriage falls apart and the happy couple ends the movie sipping hot coffee on a park bench enjoying the change of seasons together. Although a bit simple plot and character-wise, it too was an interesting exploration into understanding why we believe we are who we are and how we react when something challenges our self-perceptions.
I suppose, once a student of human behavior in the societal contexts of gender, always a student of human behavior in the societal constructs of gender.

As for the Animaniacs, I am beyond thrilled about the recently released DVD set. Animanics and Pinky and the Brain were some of the funniest, smartest cartoons that helped to shape my young mind.

Dot: Oh, oh, my heart aches with the sorrow of a thousand scouts. No merit badge. I mourn my loss.
Yakko: Say, those acting classes are really paying off.

Yakko: Citizens of Anvilania, I stand before you, because if I was behind you, you couldn't see me.