Hello Vladitians! The pizza party is gonna happen tonight, rain or shine!
Please note that we will not be serving human flesh on any of our pizzas today. ( If this comment seems strange, google foot taco reddit. If you dare. )
see you soon!
We are throwing caution to the wind and declaring the party is ON. As I said in the earlier post today, there’s a chance you might get wet so we completely understand if you decide not to attend. But there will be pizza, salty-carb-laden snacks that come in bags, and SANGRIA! (also water, in bottles and/or falling from the sky onto your head).
5pm to 9pm is the time. See you soon, hopefully!
Hello, my fellow Vladitians. We haven’t decided yet! The most likely outcome will be that we do have the party but there might be some rain. And it’s an outdoor party, so you might get wet (but will enjoy free pizza and sangria!).
WE WILL POST A DEFINITE ANSWER BY 2PM TODAY. We fully understand that you might not want to come even if we do have the party, due to the crappy weather. Don’t feel obligated to come just because you RSVP’d ‘yes.’ Rainy and 60 is not as pleasant as sunny and 78. Then again, it’s better than 20 below zero!
Dear ex-Facebook friend,
You shared your feelings a couple of weeks ago on Facebook. Given the timing, it was probably in response to Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY award.
Here are your words in their entirety:
I wrote this as a letter to the editor in the [newspaper] about 7 or 8 years ago. I still believe it to be true. Never thought I would have to add transgenderism to it.
Alcoholic, obese, homosexual
How’s that for a combination of words for an ad on a dating service.
If you are an alcoholic, you have to find a way not to drink. Many men were made with a very strong sexual appetite but they have to find a way to control it. Many of us would like to over eat at the buffet or be a chocaholic but eventually that is going to damage our bodies. For many of us it is difficult to love our neighbor as ourselves, yet a healthy society can’t have everyone only looking out for “number one.”
Please keep these things in mind as forces in our society try to justify and normalize homosexuality. We need to help those who have such urges to overcome the temptation to which they are succumbing. Politicians today are saying that homosexuality is not a choice, but many individuals who have already made a choice to abandon such a lifestyle would disagree. Let’s support those who battle with this choice to help them make the right decision for their own well-being, not make laws that say this deviant lifestyle is okay, or even entitled to legal sanction on the same level as holy matrimony.
Always remember to hate the sin but love the sinner.
You start by impliedly comparing homosexual urges to overdrinking, overeating, and RAPING. I don’t even know what to say about that. Uh, congrats on the novel argument? Because that’s one I have to admit I hadn’t heard before- that consensual gay sex is akin to having sex with someone against their will. By force.
Then you say that there are forces in society trying to “justify and normalize homosexuality.” You are right on this count! As far as I can tell, those forces are made up of: gays, people related to gays, people who are friends with gays, people who watched an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy twelve years ago, people who get up in the morning, people with children, people without children, doctors, nurses, teachers, bus drivers, Christians, Jews, teenagers, the elderly, and basically anyone who is a thinking, breathing, compassionate individual.
“We need to help those who have such urges to overcome the temptation to which they are succumbing.” Why? Have they asked for your help? Do they want to ‘overcome the temptation’? Have they told you this directly??
“Politicians today are saying that homosexuality is not a choice, but many individuals who have already made a choice to abandon such a lifestyle would disagree.” I assume you’re referring to the ‘ex-gay’ movement.
From the Wikipedia entry: There have been various scandals related to this movement, including some self-claimed ex-gays having been found in same-sex relationships despite having denied this, as well as controversies over gay minors being forced to go to ex-gay camps against their will, and overt admissions by organizations related to the movement that conversion therapy does not work.
And more from Wikipedia: A large body of research and global scientific consensus indicates that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is compatible with normal mental health and social adjustment. Because of this, major mental health professional organizations discourage and caution individuals against attempting to change their sexual orientation to heterosexual, and warn that attempting to do so can be harmful.
“Let’s support those who battle with this choice to help them make the right decision for their own well-being, not make laws that say this deviant lifestyle is okay, or even entitled to legal sanction on the same level as holy matrimony.” “Always remember to hate the sin but love the sinner.”
Your use of the phrases “hate the sin” and “holy matrimony” makes me suspect that your views have been formed through religious education/study. In fact, it’s hard to imagine otherwise. And you are certainly entitled to whatever religious views you hold. How can I, a person who started an entire religion, possibly fault someone for following their heart in matters of worship? But you seem to have forgotten a very important point: in this country, we have SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. So your comment that we should “not make laws that say this deviant lifestyle is okay or even entitled to legal sanction on the same level as holy matrimony” is specious. It’s your chosen religion that has described homosexual behavior as “deviant” and “not okay”. However, we live in a secular country. What this means is that St. Vladimir’s House of Pizza Worship can enact a commandment that all Vladitians must eat pizza every day (hey that’s not a bad idea). But I can’t make this the law of my city, state, or country due to the aforementioned SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Do I need to say it again? Okay. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.
Ex-friend, you probably realize that you’re on the wrong side of history. That you’ll be one of those older Americans younger people can’t fathom. And you probably believe that you hold these views partly because of the time in which you grew up – a time when there was a Bruce Jenner, not a Caitlyn Jenner. But there are millions of us your age (and older) who are thrilled to witness gay marriage become the law of the land. Who applaud the fact that transgendered people are, more and more, being allowed/encouraged to be who they are. Who accept people for who they are as long as they live by the Golden Rule. It’s too bad you don’t want to be one of us.
The whole point of making a pinata is so that it can be whacked. But as you can tell, there were many steps involved in creating this Scalia pinata, and it took quite a bit of time. I highly recommend making your pinata represent someone you’re not that fond of, so that you’ll enjoy seeing people try to destroy it.
Here’s the man himself – US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He wears his hair in an interesting comb-back, possibly so that he can’t be accused of having a comb-over. Maybe it’s some sort of Catholic style? Regardless – it makes for pretty easy painting, so let’s get to that step:
I started with a base of “chamois” by Benjamin Moore, which gives just the right ‘caucasian corpse’ look. You can probably get a sample pint mixed at your hardware store for about $5. I had some black, white, and red paint already, to use for his features. For the lips, I mixed a smidge of red with some of the chamois paint. The above photo shows the first layer. His lips were a bit too pretty, so I ended up modifying them.
I painted the Scalia over the course of a day – you need the base to dry before painting the features. Also, if you use cloth mache there will be a whole lot of creases, wrinkles, etc. They add some pleasing character to his face but damn they take a long time to paint.
Here I am touching up the lips. Could ‘makeup artist’ be my next career? I never really put any on my own face (too lazy) but I greatly enjoyed perfecting Antonin’s lips.
I thought it would be funny to whack the pinata with a gavel – get it? Like a judge would use? So I bought this toy gavel on Amazon.
Look closely at the upper-right-hand corner. It clearly states that this plastic gavel is only for ages 14+. Well, shit! We planned to have children hit the Scalia. What to do, what to do… I ended up buying a Louisville slugger. There was NO age restriction on it! Phew!
It turns out kids hate Scalia even more than grownups do! To say they had a good time is putting it mildly.
You may have noticed that although there’s clearly a gaping flesh wound, there’s no candy on the ground. I didn’t actually put any into the pinata, because it was supposed to be about 150 degrees on Scalia-hitting day and I was afraid it would melt. So I kept it in the house and brought it out at the point in the demolition when Laffy Taffy and Snickers would normally have fallen. But the kids weren’t interested in it! All they wanted was to keep beating the shit out of Scalia!
Here’s one last photo of me with my creation. Thanks for checking out the tutorial, and I’ve gotta put in one last plug for papier mache artist Dan Reeder of Seattle, without whom this entire endeavor would not have been possible. Google him, buy his books, send him your winning lottery ticket. He deserves it! Okay, now go forth and pinata-ize the planet!
Ok, so when we left off we had two paper-mached halves of Antonin Scalia’s massive
Now we need to integrate a hanger into the piñata, rather than having something just attached to the top. My friend Sara and her husband Phil host a huge easter egg hunt every year and they make an egg-shaped piñata. She learned the hard way that you don’t want the first person who strikes it to just knock it to the ground. Because everyone wants a chance to hit the thing.
I didn’t take a photo of the wire-insertion step, but what you do is take a length of wire and twist it so there’s a loop in the middle, and two long ends. I used steel wire (probably 14 gauge or so) from the hardware store, but a wire hanger would work fine too. Just try not to think about the ghost of Joan Crawford yelling at you.
Poke a small hole in the top of the head and put the loop through it. You may need to compress the wire loop to get it through the hole (you want the hole to be as small as possible), then bend the loop into an oval again so that it looks like this:
Then turn it over and duct tape the wire to the underside of the skull:
The wire was still shifting around a lot despite the duct tape, so I added a layer of cloth mache over the whole operation (see below for cloth mache instructions):
The hanger works! This way the piñata won’t fall to the ground until everyone has gotten a chance to let Scalia know what they thought of his dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges.
OMG my hand is enormous!
After the cloth mache on the upper inside part of the skull dried overnight, I surgically reunited the two halves of Scalia’s skull with masking tape.
The newspaper stories/photos will help you line it up perfectly.
I used my lunch hour at work to create some body parts. Please excuse the messy desk! Genius can’t be contained, dontcha know…
Then I took the body parts home and attached them (with masking tape) to the head. Norman agreed to be the spokesmodel.
Speaking of heads – recently I was at our local modern art museum, the Walker Art Center. Their gift shop was having a huge sale, and I got the last two sets of these Mexican wrestler glass clingy things for $1 each! The second set has already been mailed to my childhood friend Tom, who is sharing them with his impressionable young daughter. You’re a good dad, Tom!
The luchadors don’t have anything to do with this project; I just thought you might like to see them.
Now for more cloth mache. The main technique here is to dip strips of fabric into Elmer’s glue. You can use any fabric you have lying around. If you don’t have any, your best/cheapest option is to go to your local thrift shop and buy an old sheet. Cut or rip it into strips. The size of the strip will depend on how big your piñata is. Don’t make them too big though because they’re harder to work with the larger they are. I ripped the strips as I went, because I needed different sizes for different areas of his noggin.
If your glue is as old as mine, you’ll need to thin it down a bit. Note to self: don’t buy Elmer’s glue by the gallon ever again.
Pour the glue into a container that you don’t mind throwing away afterward. (You could wash the container out, but I didn’t because our drains are slow enough as it is. I don’t want to make things worse.) Half an old milk carton would work great. Get each strip wet with water, wring out the water, then put the damp strip into the bowl of glue and swirl/mash it around to coat. (There are no photos of this stage because Norman wasn’t home and my hands were covered in glue so it didn’t seem prudent to grab my phone.) Place the wet-glue-soaked strip of fabric onto the piñata and smooth it out.
In the photo below, most of the cloth mache is on the head. It’s looking pretty generic. I could change my mind at this point and make the guy into Frankenstein, or Van Gogh (since I haven’t permanently attached the second ear yet).
Finally, here’s a completely off-topic but fantastic photo of the Brady Bunch meeting the Jackson 5:
Thanks for visiting! Come back soon for the 3rd and final installment of the tutorial.
So I was thinking, as one does, about making a pinata. I’d recently seen photos of the great pinatas that folks in Mexico were selling that looked like Donald Trump. Of course, this made me think about who I might I want to bash in the face (symbolically only of course!). The obvious choice was
douchbag Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Ugh. Even a cartoon rendition of him makes me want to wash my brain out with soap. Let’s all cleanse our collective cranial palate by looking at this cute little lamb getting a belly rub.
Ok, that’s much better. Let’s move on.
When making any form of paper mache, I tend to follow the methods of renowned Seattle papier mache artist Dan Reeder. You can google him if you want. I’m not gonna add a hyperlink that’s going to give you a 404 error in 2019. I plan ahead! Also, give a man a link and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to google and he’ll never get anything else productive done his whole life. Go forth and google “Dan Reeder papier mache.” You’ll see some really great stuff, I promise.
Anyhoo – start with either a giant wadded up ball of newspapers, or if you have a lot of stuff shipped to you from amazon, save up the bubble wrap. Make it into a head-shaped ball and wrap it with masking tape:
This is going to be a big head, because he is so full of himself. It’s a wonder he can fit through doorways. The actual Scalia, I mean. The pinata doesn’t have to fit through doorways since it’ll be outside.
Next step is to make a pile of newspaper strips. Here are my strips, although I probably should’ve made them smaller.
We don’t get the paper anymore because we are modern (and cheap) so I asked a friend if she had any. If you borrow newspaper from a classy friend, you might get the New York Times!
I feel smarter already. Ok, so we’re going to mix up some white flour (because “everyone’s a little bit racist” -Avenue Q) with warm tap water. Use Perrier if you want but you’re not impressing anyone! Mix it in approximately a 1:1 ratio. It should feel like thick soup.
This is our outdoor bar. I put down some cheap vinyl dropcloth from Home Depot to protect it, because the flour/water mix is yucky. We also wore blue disposable gloves. You can wear another color if you want but I can’t guarantee the outcome. You might end up accidentally making a Ruth Bader Ginsburg pinata.
Dip your hands into the flour mix, then rub them on a piece of newspaper that you’ve placed onto the form. Do NOT dip your newspaper into the ‘glue.’ Don’t do it! I’m warning you! It’s a federal offense. Your wet-flour-soaked hands will be perfect. All you need is for the newspaper to stick to the other strips.
Apply three or four layers of newspaper/glue. Then set your pinata somewhere to dry. Preferably somewhere it can’t get rained on as rain will really impede the drying time.
After a couple of days, it will be dry and really hard (that’s what she said). Find a serated knife, either in a kitchen drawer or sticking out of your ex-boyfriend’s abdomen.
Cut all around the head. I call this stage the lobotomy.
The paper mache should easily come off. Well, pretty easily at least. Took maybe two minutes. At this point you’re left with two halves of the skull.
I will post the rest of the Scalia pinata tutorial in a couple of days, after we’ve completed the other steps!
And finally for tonight, a photo from a couple years ago of the three of us. Rula is adorable but we can’t take credit. She is not our biological child.
The adult coloring-book craze has been garnering some attention from the media. I’m part of this craze. I own not one but TWO coloring books, and recently spent some pleasant time in an airport coloring – so pleasant that I was bummed when they started boarding my flight! But now it turns out that I’m regressing without even realizing it, and am a sad excuse for an adult.
I read an article from the New Yorker today, about the coloring-books-for-adults trend, and was struck by this passage:
Susan Jacoby, the author of “The Age of American Unreason,” was more unequivocally skeptical of the phenomenon. “There’s a line from the Bible, ‘When I was a child, I thought as a child, but as an adult, I put away childish things,’ ” she said. “The coloring book is an artifact of a broader cultural shift. And that cultural shift is a bad thing.” According to Jacoby, adults who immerse themselves in escapist fantasies like coloring books, camps, and preschool [where participants make crafts with glitter glue, take naps, etc. ] are regressing into safe patterns in order to avoid confronting the world around them. “I think the whole popularity of young-adult literature is a general decline of people not wanting to do things that require effort,” she said.
Ms. Jacoby, while I admire a great deal of your writing, I think you’re off-base on this one. Why are you so threatened by a goddamn coloring book? Your theory is that those who partake in activities one normally associates with childhood (coloring in a coloring book, crafts with glitter glue, playing recess-type games) are trying to avoid confronting the world around them and “not wanting to do things that require effort.”
There’s so much here to criticize. Let me start off with Why is avoiding confronting the world seen as a bad thing, or somehow immature? When I chose to put a washer and dryer in my house so that I didn’t have to lug my dirty clothes to a laundromat, I was trying to avoid confronting the world around me (the world once stole my favorite shirt from a communal washer!). Yet no one would argue that it’s somehow more virtuous to use a laundromat than it is to do laundry in my own basement. My recent decision to drive to work rather than taking public transportation is also a way to avoid people. So is that immature? Is it more mature to sit on a hot bus with a ton of strangers for 45 minutes, rather than to carpool with a friend for 15 minutes?
I engaged plenty with the world during the years of K-12, college, and graduate school. I engage with the world at my job, at the store, at my book club, at the gym, at the doctor’s office…. If I want to spend a couple of hours of my free time coloring in a fucking coloring book, are you seriously going to argue that I shouldn’t because the Bible said I should put away childish things? Really?!
Here are some other things that are associated with childhood: slogging through mud, climbing on a jungle gym, and running up and down hills. They are also associated with obstacle course racing. Part of the appeal for people (including my husband) who do these events is the fun of getting wet and dirty in ways that most haven’t experienced since childhood. But the races are also incredibly challenging and taxing, and the level of determination involved disproves your theory that people who enjoy ‘childlike’ activities don’t want to do things that require effort.
Let me show you what nuance is all about –
Responsible: paying my mortgage every month, holding down a full-time job, keeping up relationships with family members and friends, and sometimes coloring in an adult coloring book, playing Marco Polo in a swimming pool, or swinging on a swing in my backyard. Taking my dog to the vet and doing my taxes on time, while enjoying The Hunger Games novels and Dead Wake by Erik Larson equally.
Irresponsible: spending all the money that would normally go toward my mortgage buying adult coloring books, fancy pens, and tetherball poles for my yard. Sending dick pics to people who don’t want to see my dick (if I had one). Telling a friend I’ll meet her for a glass of wine and then not showing up (hey, that one is very grown-up! Kids don’t meet/ditch their friends at winebars).
Face it, Ms. Jacoby. The world is not black and white. You cannot paint those of us who enjoy “childish” activities with that broad of a brush. (Or your fingers, if you’re finger-painting, which apparently you would never do.) So long as adults are being responsible, paying their bills, and supporting their loved ones, why is it bad for our culture if they also want to play kickball on the weekend? I think our culture could do with more happy people trying to recapture a childlike sense of wonder. Hell, I met my husband at the YMCA when I took his jump-rope class (for adults only, and not because we were naked – oy, the bouncing!). And I took the class because I remembered how much I’d loved to jump rope when I was a kid. So recapturing my youth has turned out pretty well for me. And for my parents, who’ll be getting a pretty coloring-book page from their middle-aged daughter to display proudly on their fridge.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who confuses ‘astronomy’ and ‘astrology’. I have to think really hard to remember which one involves planets and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and which one says that I’m a Virgo with Scorpio rising. Which BTW means the following (or so the internet just told me): “Scorpio rising – you come across as secretive, powerful, dominating, enduring, intuitive, assertive, charismatic, magnetic, willful, daring, clear-sighted, passionate, creative, independent, vigorous, generous, loyal, hard-working, persevering, indomitable, possessive, shrewd, stubborn, ambitious, instinctive, tenacious, sexual, sexy, proud, intense and competitive. But you may also be aggressive, destructive, stubborn, anxious, tyrannical, perverse, sadistic, violent, self-centered, complex, critical, cruel, nasty, jealous, calculating, vulnerable and dissembling.”
That’s a fuckload of adjectives but they still managed to leave out thin-haired, hedonistic, and pathologically unable to refill the ice-cube tray.
The Scorpio rising description was information overload so I couldn’t be bothered to look up my Moon sign. Here’s a nice photo of Moons Over My Hammy though. You can order this next time you’re at Denny’s.
During my tween years, I discovered astrologer Jeane Dixon, who is pictured below either receiving a divine signal or getting a migraine.
Jeane arrived on the scene in a big way when she told Franklin D. Roosevelt that he had less than six months to live. Shortly after this forecast was published in the papers, he unexpectedly died. People were like, WHA-AT? She suddenly had some cache. And then some cash, once she syndicated her daily horoscopes. Those horoscopes ran in our local small-town paper, and were so vague they could portend just about anything. “Today, you will encounter someone difficult.” Wow – you’re really going out on a limb with that one, Jeane. But what was I expecting? I wanted the stars to tell me whether Bruce Watkins would invite me to the 8th grade dinner-dance, but on this and every other burning question my 13-year-old self had, the Virgo horoscope was maddeningly silent.
The inability to differentiate astrology and astronomy has been with me my whole life. During college at the University of Illinois I took an astronomy class. You’d think this would have clarified the issue in my mind, but you’d be wrong. Possibly because I hated the boring-ass professor, skipped class a lot, and got a C.
Maybe part of my problem was that during the same time period, First Lady Nancy Reagan famously consulted an astrologer. She wanted help after John Hinckley (in an attempt to impress Jodie Foster) tried to assassinate the president. The media gave her a ton of shit so the White House tried to downplay the whole thing. But Ronnie’s former Chief of Staff later reported that the astrologer had advised about the best timing for just about everything: summit meetings, debates, Ronnie’s 1985 cancer surgery, and even departure times for Air Force One. Nancy reportedly paid the
astronomer astrologer $3000 a month. The semi-famous, semi-hidden woman later wrote a memoir:
Nancy also wrote a memoir. In it, she addressed the astrology controversy by saying that Ronnie had told her, “If it makes you feel better, go ahead and do it. But be careful. It might look a little odd if it ever came out.” I have to say, as much as I think Ronald Reagan was a complete asshat, that advice is actually helpful for EVERYTHING YOU EVER DO. Because it will come out. Everyone’s got video on their phone.