How to tell your kids you’re not voting for Obama this year

It’s a tough situation. Your kids come over from the city for the weekend before the election, decked out in Obama shirts, buttons, and rally signs, and ask if you’re ready to vote this year.  “Yes, of course I am,” you answer. They didn’t seem to notice there are no Obama signs in your front yard, that you change the subject every time they bring up how much they hate Mitt Romney, or the Book of Mormon sitting on the hall table.

How do you break it to your kids that you’re NOT voting for Obama this year?

You know what I mean, right? Sure, 2008 was great, and for a moment after you voted for Obama, you felt pretty cool. You went with the guy all the young kids were voting for, you helped elect the first black president, and your own kids thought you were the coolest parents ever. That lasted about a week. Then we went back to not being cool and they went back to ignoring us except when they want us to pay their smart phone bill again.

So being cool for a bit was fun and all, but I think I’ll go back to voting how I usually vote. I’m just not sure how to tell my kids, “I’m not really a liberal. I was just experimenting.”

So I did some brainstorming and came up with a few thoughts on how to subtlety, or not so subtlety, break it to your kids.

How to tell your kids you’re not voting for Obama this year:

  1. Tell them you’ll vote for Obama when the job market improves to the point that they can get a job and move out of your basement.
  2. Confess you never really liked using youtube and twitter to follow politics anyways.
  3. Leave a binder marked “Women” somewhere they’ll see it.
  4. Put a question mark next to your 2008 Obama “HOPE” poster and leave it somewhere they’ll see it.
  5. Mention that you’re just really excited Sarah Palin isn’t on the Republican ticket this year.
  6. Say, “Your father and I are getting a divorce.” When they start to cry, say, “Just kidding. We’re just not voting for Obama this year.” It will make not voting for Obama seem less important.
  7. Mention that, since you pay to fill up their gas twice a week, you’re not that excited to vote for a president who doesn’t like drilling.
  8. Say that even though you don’t actually believe in all the “birther” rumors, you don’t really consider Hawaii a part of the US either.
  9. Tell them Joe Biden hit on their mother.
  10. Say you’ll vote for Obama as soon as they stop “occupying wall street” and start occupying their own apartment.
  11. Tell them that it’s been long enough after George W. Bush that you don’t feel so crazy scared of republicans anymore.
  12. Tell them you’re just trying to disprove the old adage, “Once you go black…”
  13. Teach them a valuable lesson: a kiss is not a contract, and killing Bin Laden is not a vote.
  14. Now that “change has come to American,” you’re kinda ready for it to change back to the way things were when everyone had money.
  15. Tell them you’d rather be right than cool.

So there it is, I hope this helps. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few copies of “The Audacity of Hope” I want to put on eBay.

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How Downton Abbey Season 2 Should Have Ended

Nice try, guys. I can do better.

***Spoilers***

I’m a big fan of Downton Abbey. Huge. The Cousin Matthew and Mary love story, the Mr. Bates fiasco, the moral yet flawed Earl of Grantham, the fiendish Thomas, the anxiety-ridden Daisy and her emotionally abusive boss Mrs. Patmore. I love them all.

But I just finished watching Season 2 on Netflix, and I’ll be honest, I’m disappointed with how it ended. World War I ends, Matthew and Mary finally stop being silly and get engaged, Mr. Bates doesn’t get executed and he’s now legally married to the love of his life, Lord Crawly decides NOT have an affair, everyone is happy, everyone is still super rich. And that just sucks.

I don’t mean to tell the writers of Downton Abbey how to do their jobs, but where the hell are they supposed to go with season 3 now? Stories on television thrive on drama, conflict, and prolonging the unrequited love and sexual tension for as long as possible. Exhibit A, The Office (American Version): Jim and Pam apart, best show on television. Jim and Pam together, that annoying married couple with kids no one wants to hang out with.

Annnnd say goodbye to your sexual tension forever.

So I decided to fix the problem. This is how Downton Abbey season 2 SHOULD have ended.

How Downton Abbey Season 2 Should Have Ended

First, a pissed-off Sir Richard publishes the story of Mary getting so rowdy in the sheets with the Turk that she killed the man, causing Mary the anticipated shame that forces her to move to New York City, where all ruined, immoral people go to make a name for themselves.

At the same time, Mr. Bates is sentenced to death and his execution date is set. Miss O’Brien or Thomas or one of those semi-evil characters goes to the execution, and tells the whole Crawly family Mr. Bates is toast. An inconsolable Anna goes to America with Mary to escape the good memories that now haunt her, like when I had to sell that ceramic bowl I made at Color Me Mine with my ex-girlfriend from college on our first date.

Time to break out of this mo-fo.

Meanwhile, Lord Crawly DOES have an affair with that one maid whose name I can’t remember. But he’s a good man at heart, and immediately feels guilty about it and they part ways, just like they did in the real season 2. But the last few shots imply that we haven’t seen the last of the slutty widow maid yet.

While all that is going on, a guilt-ridden Matthew is still crying over the death of Lavinia like a pre-teen little girl who just had her first period. But as he’s wallowing in self-pity while still finding time to gaze just off camera to let all the female viewers bask in the glory of his perfect baby blues, he has a graphic dream where Lavinia appears and tells him to stop being gay and go after his true love. This is followed by some touching scene at Lavinia’s gravesite where he finally lays her and his guilt to rest, giving viewers an opportunity for a gentle cry and an encouraging shout as he runs to the boat dock to stop Mary from leaving for America.

Yup, there he is again, crying his gorgeous baby blue eyes out.

But he’s too late and arrives just in time to see her boat leaving. He sees her on board and yells her name, but a visibly depressed Mary is sulking and staring into the horizon and doesn’t see him. Matthew turns around to leave, all sad and crestfallen as Matthew often is, but out of the corner of his eye he sees a man who appears to be staring at him. It’s Mr. Bates. What?! Twist! No Way! I need to change my pants!!!  That’ll make them press “next episode” on their Roku box.

Matthew takes the emaciated and injured Mr. Bates back to his home to care for him, and as they sit sipping tea like proper English gentlemen, Mr. Bates tells Matthew the details of his escape. Mr. Bates was sentenced to hang, but literally seconds before the sentence was to be carried out, the court granted his lawyer’s request to reduce his sentence to life in prison instead of execution. Thomas mistakenly saw someone else get hanged, and since they all have hoods on when they’re hanged, it was an honest mistake. Or was it? Close up of Thomas with a face that’s hiding something, evil music outro …

It feels so good to be evil and gay.

Bates continues his story. After returning to jail, Bates heard about Anna leaving for America, and couldn’t stand to be in prison or live without her. He managed to escape in a really super cool way that they’ll show via flashback. Injured and on the run, he evades policemen and suspicious shopkeepers to arrive at the docks just a few moments too late, but just in time to see his friend Matthew Crawly whimpering like little boy who just found out what sex is and that his parents do it not just to make babies.

So Matthew and Mr. Bates hatch a scheme to escape England and get to America to find the women they love. A few close-ups of their hopeful, dashing faces for swoon-quality, cut to next scene.

By the end of the season finale, we see Mary and Anna arriving in New York City at the start of what would be called the roaring 20s (tell me THAT wouldn’t be a cool setting for season 3), Matthew boarding a ship and sneaking Mr. Bates on as a stow-away or in disguise or something, and Thomas doing something sneaky like he always does.

There she is, slutty maid what’s-her-face.

As the audience is pissing themselves full of anticipation and excitement over what season 3 will bring, we see the jilted Maid what’s-her-name demanding that Lord Crawly divorce his wife and marry her instead or she will cause legal and social problems for the Earl’s family, because she is PREGNANT and likely carrying the true heir of Downton Abbey. DUM dum DAHHH!

End of season. Everyone’s minds are blown. I drop the mic and walk away.

See? That gives Season 3 so much more excitement leading in and a lot of fodder for the writers to work with. They can film half of it in 1920s New York, half of it in post-war Downton Abbey in England. That’s a no-fail formula. Why I’m not an award-winning TV writer yet, I’ll never know. But I do know this. Downton Abbey is an awesome show that could be even better if they actually responded to my fan letters and screenplay critiques. But they don’t respond. Why? Because they are snobs. Just like the ones they created for Downton Abbey. And oh, how I love those snobs.

In closing, here’s a picture of Mary looking sad.

“Season 3 in 1920s New York? Ugh, why didn’t WE think of that?”

Decorating for Halloween in less than 27.5 Hours!

Hi everyone, I’m a busy mom balancing family and work, and if you’re like me, you don’t always have the time to decorate for each and every holiday. But I have some tips that can help you create an absolutely perfect family-friendly Halloween home in only 27.5 hours! That’s right, perfect Halloween memories and only miss one night of sleep! So put some coffee on and get ready for an easy yet unforgettable experience that your entire neighborhood will envy. They will. They have to.

Patio décor- only 5 hours 13 minutes, 8 energy shots, and 2 Vicodin

Spooky Dining Room

To create this spook-tacular experience, paint over your labor day colors using the Pumpkin Orange paint hue from Home Depot. While one of your seven coats is drying, get started on the fluffy paper décor. Simply take 3,782 layers of black and grey tissue paper (per fluff) with a couple of layer each segment eight to twelve sheets thick, drink 16 more ounces of coffee, hand fold them to the ruffle consistency desired, use an iron to set the folds, take a couple Fentanyl with three Red Bulls, fluff with a common household blow dryer, spray with your diluted scented paste-water solution, place in clothes dryer on medium heat for  3 minutes, immediately place in freezer, pluck out 14 strands of your own hair, then create the next layer of fluff. Repeat 37 times, bundle together, hang with fishing line, and viola! Hand-made Halloween décor in no time! You’ll have to do several at once while you paint the dinning room. Sip coffee throughout. Take a few more Fentanyl as needed. Discard human hair.

Spooky Dinning Room – 11 hours 49 minutes, 4 pots of coffee, and approx 4 Fentanyl

Home-made Halloween Spirits

This fun little refreshment is a favorite when we host our yearly Halloween Ball for the adults in our neighborhood. To make Spirits, ferment a healthy amount of dextrose/glucose, then Using a 30L air-tight fermenter barrel simply add water sugars and Turbo yeast to make 25L of alcohol base “wash.” After four cappuccinos and an OxyContin to control the “shakes,” use a still to distill and purify your base and separate the water and alcohol, then collect the alcohol vapor and cool it back down to collect high strength distillate at 40% spirit. Run your spirit through a gravity fed “carbon filter” to remove excess impurities, add water and the flavor of your choice, then just siphon it, bottle it in your own decorative bottles, add some fun labels, and let it age until your next big Halloween event!

Halloween Spirits- only 7 working hours and 37 minutes, more with periodic crying breaks.

Live Halloween Decoration

This one is simple and a favorite with our kids. Go to your local pet store and adopt a black cat. Give him a lot of “kitty-safe” sedatives so he stays purring and in place on your arrangement of organically grown pumpkins. Add a festive Halloween collar and maybe paint the claws orange, and that’s it! Don’t worry if you’re not ready to have a full-time pet. You can give him back after Halloween is over. Take some Claritin from your allergy medication storage, and give some to your kids should they have pet allergies.

Live Halloween Decoration- 1 hour 3 minutes, 13 Claritin, 5 Sudafed, mix with a bottle of the Spirits you just made

Hand-embroidered Terror Towels

Do this to add a “horrifying touch” to your bathroom. Buy common white hand towels from your local Bed, Bath and Beyond, and using black or blue thread, hand stitch “Bates Motel” on each towel. Take seven Adderall to help you focus on the details and speed up your embroidery rate, put a pencil in your mouth to protect your teeth from uncontrollable grinding and chattering.

Terror Towels – 2 hours 56 minutes, 7 Adderall, a #2 pencil or chunk of wood

Elegant Pumpkin Carving

Tired of the same boring pumpkin carving? Create an original hand-sketched drawing using skills learned from the adult education art night classes from the community college, create a transparency of your drawing, project that transparency onto the pumpkin using a mini light projector, cry on the sofa for seven minutes, trace the drawing on your pumpkin using a thin-tipped marker, take twelve Codeine, scream at yourself in the mirror for 30 full seconds, carefully begin carving following the trace with a set of tiny stainless steel, reinforced pumpkin knives, and when finished, insert self-rotating candle motor to create a spooky revolving lights effect inside. Oh how neat!

Expert Tip: If you find your eye is twitching and red, it’s likely because you’re not blinking, so remember to take frequent “blink” breaks.

Pumpkin Carving- 4 hours 5 minutes, 12 Codeine, screaming at yourself in the mirror optional. Remember to take “blink” breaks.

Hope these tips help! I typed this in fourteen minutes, which is four minutes longer than I budgeted in my day schedule, so I have to stop short and get back to the vegan organic Halloween cookies I have baking in our Mason Jar Window cooker. Happy Halloween! Seriously, it’s going to be sooooo happy. Happpy haaaappy hapepreoy haapppppppyyyyyyyyyyy…