Monday, December 21, 2009

Thou Shalt Steal

Imagine you head to church on the Sunday before Christmas, expecting to hear a sermon on the birth of Christ or charitable giving or loving your neighbors. You sing a hymn, say a prayer, and then the priest opens his Bible, turns to Exodus 20, and says, "Thou shalt steal!"

You might think the universe had warped into the Twilight Zone, but this is exactly what happened to a group of churchgoers in England last Sunday. The Reverend Tim Jones told his congregation of (surely stunned) parishioners that, in these tough economic times, " advice as a Christian priest is to shoplift."

Yes, you read that right. Father Robin Hood says, "My advice does not contradict the Bible's eighth commandment because God's love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich,"; i.e., if you are starving, stealing doesn't count, especially if you take things from someone who already has plenty.

Or something like that.

Just make sure you only steal from "large national businesses", says Reverend Jones, because ultimately the costs will passed on to other customers. Avoid the small, family-owned businesses if you can.

For those of you who are getting your knickers in a twist, Rev. Jones thinks you should get over yourselves. After all, according to him, shoplifting is preferable to other acts of desperation like burglary or prostitution. And we wouldn't want people resorting to those things, now would we?

Well, of course not. But for heaven's sake (literally), how can this man not see that stealing is the absolute wrong way to go about meeting the needs of one's family? Where is Jones's sermon asking his congregation to open their hearts and wallets to help those who are destitute? Where is his advice to volunteer at soup kitchens, to help the unemployed find jobs, to offer their homes to the homeless? In other words, to engage in Christlike service?

I guess it's just easier to pass the buck. Rev. Jones wouldn't want his parishioners to feel compelled to sacrifice their own time or resources, so he advises the poor to run to the nearest faceless retail giant and take what they need. No one has to extend themselves to others, and no one (supposedly) gets hurt.

If Reverend Jones really thinks stealing is the best way to take care of oneself, I'm surprised he didn't offer a reformed version of the nativity as part of his sermon, telling his parishioners that the shepherds should have ditched their humble life among the sheep and run off with the gold, frankincense and myrrh. After all, the wise men were rich and didn't need it, and surely baby Jesus had no need for bottles of expensive perfume.

Now that would have been a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Day

We had all sorts things we planned to do today. Instead, we are hunkered down in our house, sipping hot chocolate, playing Candy Land, and exclaiming over the huge amounts of snow outside (record snowfall!). David and Michael did venture out to shovel the front walk a couple of times (much to Michael's delight, as you can see), but that has been the extent of our outdoor activity today.

I think tomorrow a snowman might be in order.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Open Letter

Dear Population of the World (Especially Hollywood):

Stop taking nude photos and videos of yourself to give to your honey. Just stop it. Even if you intended them to be private, they will surface eventually. Especially if you email them.



Seriously, I can't even count the number of news articles that appear on a daily basis about some celebrity/beauty pageant contestant/government official who decided to strip down to her birthday suit and mark the occasion with a photo or video. Then, when the picture or video makes its internet debut, the celebrity/beauty pageant contestant/government official has to be all, like, "That was supposed to be private! I feel so violated and betrayed... blah blah blah."

Of course, according to the latest celebrity to be caught posing in her all-together, Rihanna, (who says the leaking of her nudie photos was "the worst thing that could possibly ever happen to [her]" and that she was so "humiliated" and "embarrassed" by the ordeal) added that she thinks everyone should take nude pictures of themselves: "if you don't send your boyfriend naked pictures, then I feel bad for him."


The irony of her humiliation (and that of many other celebs as well, especially those who enjoy filming sex scenes in hopes of becoming "serious" actors) is that when I googled the quote to find a reliable source to verify its authenticity, one magazine came up with the quote and an almost-nude professional picture of Rihanna. Seriously, but for a few well-placed, double-sided-sticky-taped pieces of fabric, she was, for all intents and purposes, totally naked.

Not sure why one photo is so "humiliating" and another is "art" but whatever.

That's Hollywood for you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Anyone Seen My Marbles?

I think I've officially lost my mind. I know this, because in running errands a few days ago, I knew I needed to pick up stamps. I also needed to mail some packages at the post office. After the usual Target run I thought, "I should stop at Costco before I go to the post office so that I can get stamps."

I was about two seconds from pulling into the Costco parking lot when I decided I only had enough energy for one more errand. Post office in, Costco out. Only after I had mailed my packages and the clerk asked, "Do you need stamps?" did the lightbulb blink on.

I can't believe I almost made an extra stop at Costco for stamps when I was on my way to the post office of all places!

Do they make a multi-vitamin for stupidity? I know there are vitamins out there to help with memory, but frankly, there is only one way to explain this episode:

I am an idiot.

I won't tell you about the batch of cookies I burned or the load of laundry I left gathering mildew in the washer for two days.

Before this week, the last case of brain absenteeism occurred a month ago when we ordered a wallpaper border for the nursery. "Two rolls will be plenty," we thought. Only after the border had arrived did we think it might be smart to measure the room. Verdict? One more length of border, please, plus processing charges. Sigh. But, the border is now up, our marriage survived the experience intact (though we mutually agreed never to hang actual wallpaper), I only had to sit down for half an hour afterwards, and hey, the nursery looks cute.

I went to bed last night hoping this new week wouldn't include quite so much brainlessness on my part. Then, when I woke up this morning and fished for my glasses on the nightstand, I couldn't find them. That's when I realized I could actually see what time it was without putting my nose to the alarm clock.

Yup, I forgot to take out my contacts last night.

At least I didn't forget to brush my teeth.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Michael turned three last weekend! He is now one year older and one year wiser. Well, maybe wiser isn't the right word. Perhaps one year more smart-alecky or mischievous. But we love him to pieces, nonetheless.

Happy Birthday, Michael! from Bonnie on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Never Fear, Dennis Rodman is Here!

Unless you never turn on the news or read the paper, you've probably heard by now that golf great Tiger Woods is in a little hot water. More like a lot of hot water - say, the kind you'd find in a jacuzzi. Sprinkle in a dozen or so skanky barbie doll impersonators who each claim to have had, um, alone time, with the married Woods and you start to get a better idea.

I'm sure Tiger's wife is not pleased with all these goings on, but he may not have to worry about holding onto his wallet in the inevitable divorce proceedings. After all, according to that bastion of Hollywood morality, Dennis Rodman, Tiger "didn't do anything wrong...".

Allow me to rewind. Woods has an entire cheerleading squad claiming to have had affairs with him - a charge he hasn't denied - and yet, according to Rodman, it's no big deal?

Hmmm... let me check my sin-o-meter again. Adultery... ding ding ding! Yup, still wrong.

Rodman continues his defense of Woods, saying, "Once your life is under a microscope everyone wants to look at you and just nitpick everything you do so bad.” Well, that may be true, but we are not talking about a choice to eat non-organic cereal here. We are talking about a guy cheating on his wife multiple times with multiple women.

It's not nitpicky to expect better behavior from someone who is well-known and looked up to as a role model.

I mean, we might expect this sort of thing from Dennis Rodman, but Tiger Woods? Come on, dude. We're disappointed in you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baby Planners

I am in full procrastination mode, avoiding the onerous task of finishing our annual Christmas letter. Right now I'm thinking of bagging the whole thing and sending out some Fourth of July greetings next summer. But since I just purchased a roll of 100 stamps, I suppose it would be wise use them before the cost of postage triples six months from now and I'm stuck attaching 75 one cent stamps to each envelope.

I admit, it does seem rather ironic that I am procrastinating writing one thing by writing another. But this is fun, not work, and as we all know, fun should always come before work. (Right, Mom?)

Since I'm currently in the market for baby products, news articles related to car seats and strollers generally catch my eye. I usually come away from such articles thinking, "$800 for a stroller? Really? These people are morons." But now, I realize the people who buy $800 strollers have nothing on the people who hire someone to do the purchasing for them.

Apparently, enlisting the services of a "Baby Planner" is the thing to do when you are expecting a little bundle of joy. One mother who subscribes to the service (which can cost up to $150 an hour) justified it by saying, "Everybody has different opinions. Then you ask your friends and they have different opinions." Ergo, hire an expert.

Um, I hate to break it to you, lady, but your baby planner will have yet another opinion, most likely steering you toward the most expensive things on the market. But, as a bonus, she will install your car seat for you if you don't have time (the lack of which seems to be the motivating force behind many parents seeking the help of baby planners).

For heaven's sake, if you don't have time to pick out a car seat or do a little research among your friends and family, just what are you going to do once Junior arrives? Of course, actual parenting is a non-issue for many of these people, I'm sure - that's what the nanny is for. (Another little Baby Planner bonus - she will do the nanny interviewing for you. No need to inspect your child's primary caregiver personally!)

The thing is that babies really don't need a lot. They certainly don't need enough things to warrant hiring a professional to procure everything for them. Food, clothing, diapers, a car seat, and somewhere to sleep - that about covers it. Parents will figure out what else they need or want as they go along. Half the stuff these baby planning experts want you to buy before the birth of your child are not even necessary until the kid is 6 months old, anyway. You do not need to have your high chair set up before you bring your baby home from the hospital.

Besides, why would you want to take the expensive suggestions of a "professional" over the advice of a friend who has actually had a baby or two? A fancy stroller may be good in theory, but in reality it will probably be a pain in the neck (and the wallet), and a friend who has been through a stroller or two could give you that advice for free.

The only possible explanation I can come up with for this ridiculousness is that parents have stopped thinking of babies as children and started thinking of them as trophies whose sole purpose in life is to make their parents look good. If that is the case, hiring a baby planner is just another way to get a head start on that trophy spit-shine.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to spend $800 on a Bugaboo stroller. Only the best for my children.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Addiction Label

There are all sorts of things one can be addicted to - smoking, alcohol, drugs, pornography. There's a "sickness" for everything nowadays. Caught in a tight spot with a credit card company? Blame your addiction to spending and declare bankruptcy. Say something racist to a police officer? There's always alcohol addiction to pin it on.

This is not to minimize the devastation brought about by true addictions, but when the repentance for every sin is to make a trite apology and then run off to rehab for a few weeks, or to label bad behavior as a sickness to shift the blame away from one's own actions, then it's a problem. Calling something an addiction does not absolve one of personal responsibility.

But, in today's blame culture, where seemingly everything can be forgiven just by saying, "I'm addicted", why not shout your sins from the rooftops? If everyone understands that you just couldn't help yourself and offers sympathy to soothe your guilty conscience, why not share your dirty laundry with the world?

I'm not sure if salving her wounds with the excuse of addiction was the motivation for Irene Vilar to write a memoir about her experiences, but whatever her reasoning may be, her story is one so horrifying and so disgusting that any reasonable person should shrink from pardoning her actions.

Between the ages of 16 and 33, Ms. Vilar terminated fifteen pregnancies. That's fifteen human lives destroyed at the rate of nearly one a year. She blames it on the fact that her husband at the time did not want children, and, unable to stop herself from experiencing the thrill of conceiving and its attendant possibility of motherhood, she "forgot" her birth control pills again and again. But, as the tendrils of post-conception fear wrapped their way around her heart, soon the reality of the situation would settle upon her and, in panic, she would seek out an abortion.

"Of course, this did not mean I wanted to do it again and again," she says. "A druggie also wants to stop every time."

Well, that may be true. But we are not talking about a needle and some heroin here. We are talking about human beings with beating hearts being sucked away to make room for their mother's next conception "high". I don't care what your stance on abortion is or whether or not you think it should be legal. The fact is that this story should disgust everyone, NARAL-ite or not. It is a tragedy that the sacredness of human life has been diminished to such depths that it is acceptable to participate so cavalierly in its destruction. But, even more tragic, is the fact that labeling that destruction as an addiction allowed someone to write blamelessly about it afterwards.

When a label can excuse even the taking of human life, truly, we could not sink any lower.