Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An Open Letter To China

Dear China,

Stop trying to kill me. 

It seems like
every day, I read a new story about how you're pumping up my food,
medicines and hygiene products with antifreeze. First, you have me
frantically reading the ingredients on my dog's pet food to make sure
I'm not feeding her tainted wheat gluten. Then, you target my

And recently, I had to rummage through all of Zev's
toys to make sure my toddler's favorite choo-choo trains weren't
covered in lead paint. Next, I hear you've slipped unsafe food color
into my juice. 

What gives, China?

Sure, it's possible
that the dissemination of toxic substances is the result of lax
government oversight in the face of cutthroat global economic
realities. But, I prefer to think of this as you trying, very
specifically, to kill me.

After all, the recent recall of
Thomas the Train cars went into effect the very same day I bought my
son a huge train set for his birthday. Coincidence? I think not. And
when did all those Panamanians keel over dead from poisoned cough syrup
manufactured in China? The same week I developed a respiratory
infection! Case closed: You're trying to kill me. Now, stop.

have no reason to target me. I'm not a terribly powerful person
(despite the affirmations I tell my mirror each morning), and once you
get to know me, I'm actually kinda nice. I'm certain that if you and I
enjoyed a few beers together, you'd realize you don't really want to
fill my mouth with kerosene.   

You'd know that all I want to do
is to be able to buy ridiculously cheap cough medicine produced through
the toil of impoverished laborers in your country without having to
feel bad … about what might be lurking in the syrup.

I harbor no ill will, China. Can't we just be friends? 

considered the possibility that it's not just me you're after, that
these toxic products are part of a larger plot to bring all Americans
to their knees. But there are two things wrong with this idea: 1. It
takes the focus away from me, and 2. It would never work.

month in Alabama, 11-year-old Jamison Stone unloaded eight shots from a
.50-caliber revolver into a 1,060-pound pig, then chased it for three
hours in the woods, before walking right up to the hulking
9-foot-4-inch beast and shooting it dead with a point-blank shot.   

You think your little red choo-choo trains are going to take down a nation of Jamison Stones? No. Clearly, it's me you're after.

think I know why, too: It's because I'm on to you. When the history
books about modern American culture are finally written (in Mandarin,
no doubt), it will be clear that terrorist attacks and diethylene
glycol didn't topple our nation. Britney Spears did. 

I was at
an improv comedy class the other night where actors had to riff on
different celebrities. When given the suggestion "Barack Obama," half
the actors stared at each other blankly.

"Barack Obama is a presidential candidate," the instructor had to explain. 

Another suggestion came in from the audience: "Paris Hilton."

"Yeah, OK," the actors said. "Let's just go with Paris Hilton." 

we do bother to pay attention to current events, it's only for the
purposes of exploitation and personal profit. Have you seen Maxim's
July issue featuring Women of the Israeli Defense Forces?

course you have. I have your number, China. Now that I hang out with
stay-at-home moms I have a better grasp of how pervasive – and toxic –
celebrity culture is in America.   

It seems we gobble up more
gossip than cola, cookies and candy combined. There is no way that
anything we consume this much of could possibly be made in America – we
couldn't afford it if it were. So that means, somehow, celebrity
obsession is made in China.

I'm not entirely sure how it all
works, but I'm certain that you want to snuff me out before I get close
enough to Lindsay Lohan to check for a "Made in China" label on the
back of her neck. 

Let me assure you, China, that I have no
intention of foiling your plot. I have completely succumbed –
surrendered – to your mass-produced celebrity obsessions. I'm even
planning on TiVoing Paris Hilton's first post-jailhouse interview.

put down the toothpaste, and let's declare a truce: Grab a seat on my
couch, China, click on the tube, and we'll watch what they say about
Rosie on "The View." You can bring the popcorn.   

On second thought, I'll handle the snacks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Paris Hilton vs. My Husband's Penis

This week, I will delight you all with musings about Paris Hilton.

will write about Paris Hilton because I am not allowed to write about
how my husband fell on some jungle gym equipment at the park, tore 40
percent of his urethra and has been catheterized and bedridden for the
past 32 days.   

I would write about how my husband fell on some
jungle gym equipment and tore 40 percent of his urethra, but Hubby says
he can't stand to relive the accident and would prefer that I not tell
the whole world what happened to him. So, in deference to him, here are
a few words about the convicted heiress: She's facing a rough, rough
time. The media are cracking crude jokes at her expense, mocking the
Carl's Jr. spokesmodel for her In-N-Out jail stay. Being downright mean.

But at least she has a perfectly intact urethra.

sorry. I am trying really, really hard to care about Paris Hilton's
jail scandal. I'm told (by the guy who has been convalescing on my
couch for the past month) that such trivial fluff will get my mind off
my husband's injury.

So here goes: I feel for any girl of
privilege who is suddenly jolted awake with a bucket of ice-cold
reality. Mock her all you like, but she didn't choose to be born into a
bubble of wealth and ignorance.   

Her problems with the law are
likely going to have some long-term effects on her public image – think
of all the sex videos she's going to have to make just to get people to
stop talking about this! Of course the whole experience would have been
a lot worse for her had she, say, fallen on the red carpet at the MTV
Movie Awards and torn her urethra, and then gone to jail. That would
have been lousy.

It would have been worse, still, if she had
been sentenced to 30 months in prison for obstructing a CIA leak
investigation – and then torn her urethra. Because, even if she got a
presidential pardon for part of that, she'd still have a torn urethra.   

As it is, Paris' urethra is in good shape. And, I hear, one of her fellow inmates even made her an origami butterfly.

does not have an origami anything. Not only that, but he so far has
been confined to bed for almost as long as Paris' sentence. So on the
face of things, I'd say Hubby has it much worse. Not that I'm writing
about Hubby's situation. I promised I wouldn't.   

So … Paris. Yes. Paris. Paris, I'm guessing, hates her life right now.

stuck in her cell, missing her dog and feeling whatever pain it is she
feels from the "medical condition" that hastened her short-lived
jailhouse release. 

In this way, she's a lot like Hubby. Hubby,
too, is in pain and misses picking up his son. But, unlike Paris, he's
surrounded by his dog and his distractions (mountains of comic books).

to think of it, Hubby is even encouraged to take narcotics, which I'm
pretty sure is currently off-limits for Paris. So, in that way, he's
got it better.   

Also, our extraordinary friends have been
amazingly generous with their books, culinary skills, DVDs and visits,
lifting Hubby's spirits higher than Paris Hilton's skirt … which
reminds me: This column is about Paris Hilton.

I pity poor
Paris. Since she's a celebutante, the First Amendment allows people to
flap their gums about her dealings with the penal system all they want.
Same can't be said for Hubby and his penile system. 

Oh, who am
I kidding? I can't care about Paris Hilton when there isn't a 400-pound
gorilla sitting on my brain. Heaven knows I can't care about her now.

tossing my Us Weekly, shutting out of and heading back to the
couch to hang out with Hubby. I can't get my mind off of his ailing
state, so I'll leave the Paris parsing to the rest of the pundits. 

But, if she happens to tear her urethra, give me a call.