Praise the llord

The other night the husband and I were channel surfing when we landed on a church service on a cable access station.  This was a fancy-pants, African-American church with lots of brass and velvet and a preacher in flowing robes.  We don’t typically (well, ever) watch local church services on TV, but we felt compelled to stop and check this one out because we heard the minister say something about a llama.

At first, I thought that I had misunderstood (because, you know, lots of words sound like “llama”) or that he was going to read Llama Llama Red Pajama during his sermon for some weird reason or that maybe “llama” referred to some sort of animal-sounding religious person, like a cardinal.  As I was trying to work this out, suddenly some farmer-looking woman was leading a real, live llama up to the ornate altar.

I used to attend a Unitarian Universalist church, and if this had happened there, no one would have thought this was in any way strange.  In fact, I’m pretty certain that I attended a service there once where someone did bring a llama (but I think it was kept outside).  I also once went to a llama festival in Utah that was put on by Hare Krishnas.  I don’t know what llamas have to do with Hare Kirshnas (seems like rabbits should be their thing given their name), but whatever.  These folks were clearly not UUs or Hare Krishnas.

I wanted to watch a bit longer to see what was going on, especially since the preacher was obviously afraid the llama was going to bite him, and I figured there was a good chance that that llama might poop on the plush carpet at some point.  However, my husband apparently doesn’t share my interest in llama-based religious services and clicked over to something else.  While he was laughing it up at The Soup, I kept wondering about that llama.  I’ve come up with a few theories:

a)       “Llama” was incorrectly translated as “donkey” in the Bible.  Which totally changes the mental image I have of the Christmas Story and Palm Sunday.

b)       Is Your Mama a Llama? is actually a religious tale disguised as a children’s book.

c)       Llamas are some kind of new trend in churches, like services with rock bands and facilities with gyms.

d)      It was meant to be a visual punchline to a joke that begins, “Why did the llama go to church?”

I really have no idea.  So, dear readers, I’m asking you.  Why would there be a llama at church?

While you’re thinking about that, enjoy this song about llamas:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbPDKHXWlLQ

All the news that’s fit to embarrass

Last night my daughter was working on her homework.  She had some assignment that involved current events or the news or something.  I don’t really quite know as I’m a horrible parent and wasn’t really paying attention to what she was doing.  She asked me to tell her about three news stories I had read or watched that day.  I couldn’t really recall anything that stuck out for me, so I pulled up the history on my computer and discovered that these were the hard-hitting news articles I had read:

–           “AMC Begs Jon Hamm to Put His Penis Away”

–           “15 Hilarious Tweets about Jon Hamm’s Penis”

–           “The Lululemon Sheer Pants Debacle Gets All Crisis-y”

–           “Man Is Arrested on Burglary Charge After Falling Through Ceiling” (at a store filled with shoppers.  Hilarious.)

–           “33 Dogs That Cannot Even Handle It Right Now”

–           “Snake Blamed for Burning Down Home” (because of a woman’s creative extermination method)

–           “Bradley Cooper Sports Pink Curlers on Movie Set”

Since these were probably not what her teacher had in mind (and because I didn’t think a nine-year-old needed to know about Jon Hamm’s schlong) (and because I didn’t want her teacher to think I sit around all day reading about Jon Hamm’s schlong), I did the only thing I knew to do.  I told her to ask her father.

I have no idea what stories he read yesterday, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t involve see-through yoga pants, funny dogs, or dicks.  I guess we’ll find out when she gets the assignment back.  Or when the school calls.

I’m kind of like Aaron Spelling (when I’m asleep)

I sometimes dream about TV shows that don’t exist.  Which is unfortunate since the world will never know my creative genius.  These are just a few of the hit shows that won’t be coming to a TV near you anytime soon (or ever):

Fire Brigade   A reality show that follows the trials and tribulations of a group of firefighters in London.   There’s plenty of danger, action, and suspense as viewers go along on calls and see up close what it’s like to fight a fire or respond to an emergency.  Plus, there’s romance, turmoil, and tragedy as we get a peek inside the private lives of the men and women who risk their lives.

Syd and Nancy  A flamboyant, has-been rapper (think Flavor Flav) named Syd learns that he is the beneficiary of a tycoon’s billion-dollar fortune.  But there’s a catch:  In order to get the money, he must take care of a cantankerous, eccentric octogenarian (think Billie Bird).  Hijinks ensue.

Winnebago!  It’s crucial that there’s an exclamation point in the title because this show is all about fun! and adventure!  and more fun!  A reality show/game show in which a group of people travels around the country in a—you guessed it—Winnebago facing all sorts of crazy challenges.  The winner gets his/her own Winnebago.  Get it?  You “win a Bago”!

Tiny  A series that documents the diminutive.  From the world’s smallest park (Portland, Oregon’s Mills End Park) to frogs no bigger than your fingernail to itty bitty books, this show is big on small.

But wait!  I not only create new shows, I also have great ideas for ones that are real.  To wit:

Portlandia   After deciding that the bed and breakfast business isn’t for them, Peter and Nance instead embark on turning their home into a prison.  In his trademark stammering, anxious way, Peter explains that a lot has changed since he and Nance started running a prison, most notably that the kitchen is now devoid of all utensils, save plastic spoons, and that the backyard is simply known now as “The Yard.”

Somebody get me a meeting with a network executive!

The last to know

I can pinpoint the exact moment when I realized I was destined to be forever unhip.  The year was 1982 and I was 12.  All of my classmates were raving about something called “I Ran.”  I thought that a bunch of junior high schoolers had suddenly and inexplicably become concerned about the Middle East.  It wasn’t until someone brought a boom box to school that I discovered that “I Ran” was a song.

In those days, pretty much the only ways to hear new music were by listening to the radio or watching shows like American Bandstand and Solid Gold (and, if you were lucky and didn’t live in the sticks like I did, MTV).  Today, there are probably hundreds of places to hear new music, from YouTube to Spotify to Pandora (but not so much MTV anymore).  Given the seemingly endless options for listening to music, what I’m about to say sounds even more pathetic.

A few months ago I was listening to music the old-fashioned way—on the radio—when I heard “Somebody That I Used Know” by Goyte.  It usually takes several listens before I can form an opinion on a song, but this was so wonderfully written, both lyrically and musically, and the voices were so good, and the whole thing was just so different than anything I’d heard in a while that I instantly loved it.  I couldn’t wait to hear it again and tell everyone about it.  I found the video on YouTube and posted a link to it on Facebook.  I said something like “Just heard this song and LOVE it!”  There wasn’t a huge response, other than someone saying that they thought the video was cool and someone else saying that they always liked that song.  “Always” struck me as an odd word to use since I had just heard this song for the first time maybe five hours before.  How long could it have been around?

I found out the next day.  On the phone with my friend Amy, I gushed about the song.  She was incredulous when I said I’d only heard it for the first time the day before.  “That song was everywhere this summer!” she informed me.  “How could you not have heard it?  There is even a video on YouTube making fun of just how ubiquitous this song is!”  Translation:  “What rock have you been living under?”  It was “I Ran” all over again.

So this is probably not a good place to mention that I have never heard “Call Me Maybe.”  But at least I have heard of it, so that’s progress.  Right?

Lies, lies, lies, yeah

At nine, my daughter is at an age where kids seem to tell a lot of lies.  Yesterday we had a big ol’ to-do because she snuck a fruit leather out of the pantry after I told her she couldn’t have it.  Her brother saw her do it and tattled on her.  He doesn’t like that kind of fruit leather, so I knew he didn’t take it and was trying to frame her.  Later, my husband found the empty wrapper stuffed in the couch cushions.  When I confronted her about it, wrapper in hand and witness and fellow investigator at my side (I resisted the urge to point at her and cry, “J’accuse!”), she simply said she didn’t do it.  Actually, she yelled that at us and then told us we hated her, but the point is she didn’t completely fabricate some elaborate explanation for what happened.  If she were Carolyn Keene, “The Mystery of the Missing Fruit Leather” would be a Nancy Drew haiku instead of a novel (and not a very exciting one).

At first, I thought, “Is that the best you can do?”  I mean you could have tried to convince me we have rats or that you must have been sleepwalking or that your brother saying he hated those fruit leathers was really just a ruse so he could pull off a snack heist.  But then I thought, “Thank God, that’s the best you can do!”  You see, when I was about her age, telling lies was a sort of hobby for me.  I came up with tons of elaborate, ridiculous lies, ones that now I can’t imagine anyone could have possibly believed.  Here’s a sampling of some of the whoppers I told my classmates:

I had gotten my ears pierced even though I hadn’t.  This would seem hard to pull off since everyone could plainly see that I wasn’t wearing earrings.  Why it didn’t occur to me to just swipe a pair of my mom’s clip-ons I don’t know.  Noting the obvious has never been my strong suit.  Instead, I told my friends that threaded through my earlobes were invisible wires, the same kind they used on The Muppet Show to make the puppets look like they were moving on their own.  My mom had gotten a sample of Oil of Olay in the mail, and after she’d used up all the lotion, I filled the tiny glass bottle with water, which I dabbed on my ears periodically throughout the day.  “It’s to keep my ears from getting infected,” I told everyone.

An Italian family with five kids lived next door to me.  This in and of itself doesn’t sound too outlandish, except that at the time I lived in a trailer court.  In Kentucky.  I told people there was a daughter my age named Martinez and a boy a few years older named Arvin.  Time has erased the names of the others, but I’m sure they sounded just as authentically Italian as those do.  They had pink satin carpet and ate spaghetti every night with sauces we Americans never heard of, like one made with Cheez-Whiz and ground beef and another one that involved hot dogs in some way.

After school let out each day, I went to another school.  For reasons I can’t comprehend, I said it was called “Social School.”  There, I had three teachers, whom I bestowed with the oh-so-original names of Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Johnson, and Mrs. Nelson.  It was pretty much like regular school, except we learned things like cooking and sewing.

My parents took me to cocktail parties.  I wore fancy gowns and high heels and sipped on martinis.  Because kids who live in trailer courts do this all the time, right?

I had a psychiatrist.  Clearly, someone should have realized this was one lie that desperately needed to become the truth.