Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Olé!

The Dotytron-Lagerfelds are going on vacation!  Come March Break, we are headed to the Mayan Rivieria with Ehm-Do and Momma D and the Big Yam in tow!  We decided on an all-inclusive vacation.  Can I just say this: researching all-inclusives is one of the most taxing things I've ever done.  It's about a million times harder than researching an à la carte vacation, where you book your hotel, flight, and activities separately.  The variables involved are so frustrating!  Especially when you're dealing with any constraint in any of the variables (different age groups wanting different activities, time of departure, length of stay, budget).  It's insane. 

And then on top of that, you have to deal with the loonies on Trip Advisor when you're cross-referencing your resort options.  Trip Advisor reveals the worst in humanity, in my opinion.  First of all, you have the people there whose MINDS ARE BLOWN because the staff will fold a towel into a swan and scatter a few perfunctory rose petals and who insist on lavishly documenting this phenomena and then POSTING THOSE PHOTOS FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO SEE.  That makes NO SENSE to me!  Are there actually people out there who consider "animal towel folding skills" a useful metric for determining a resort's suitability?  Then there are the people who complain about a hotel being "too humid' or who are really, really desperate for a wide range of non-buffet restaurants, because for some reason, when they're in Mexico, they simply must taste Japanese food as envisioned by an underpaid Mexican hospitality worker?  All I want is grilled fish and tacos.  I also suspect, that the differences between the food at the "Italian," "French," or "Japanese" restaurants is on par with the difference between the pancakes at the International House of Pancakes - that is, purely a question of semantics.  Finally, why do people on Trip Advisor insist on uploading their PERSONAL PHOTOS?  Why do I want to see your snot nosed kid with his arm around the "entertainment" staff like they're best friends (you see "friendly, personable staff", I see "colonialism in action")?  Why do I want to see your new bride posing in front of a non-descript hedge that could be anywhere?  

Anyway, we're booked now and it's out of my hands.  Although apparently Mexican laws have changed and because I had the temerity to not change my name when I got hitched and have a different last name than my son, I might need a signed, notarized letter saying that it's okay for us to be travelling (even though both parents are going)?  

This is the time of year when I have mini-apoplectic rages each time I open the mailbox and come across yet another letter addressed to "Mr. & Mrs. The Dotytron" or "Family Dotytron."  It is ALWAYS the Dotytron's side of the family.  It ALWAYS drives me berserk.  

I might have started a flame war with Momma D.  Hahaha.  She posted this thing from Ben Stein in "reaction" to the White House referring to their Christmas trees as "holiday trees" for the first time ever this year.  Anyway, noted scholar and respected cultural critic (snick) Ben Stein allegedly had this to say:

"My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me  even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled  trees, Christmas trees.  I don’t feel threatened.  I don’t feel  discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me.  I don’t think they are  slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.  In fact, I kind  of like it.  It shows that we are all brothers and sisters  celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that  there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach  house in Malibu.  If people want a crèche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting  pushed around for being Christians.  I think people who believe in  God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.  I have no  idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist  country.  I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it  being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it  another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship  celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God ?  I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.  But  there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from  and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many  jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little  different:  This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s  intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham’s daughter  was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could  God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane Katrina)..   Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.  She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for  years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our  government and to get out of our lives.  And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.  How can we expect God to  give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us  alone?’
In light of recent  events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.  I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.  Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.  The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal,  and love your neighbour as yourself.  And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock  said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their  little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem  (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide).  We said an expert should know what he’s talking about.  And we said okay.
Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has  a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’
Funny how simple it is  for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to  hell.  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail  and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages  regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace,  but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing  yet?
Funny how when you  forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list  because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you  for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of  us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit…
If not, then just discard  it….. no one will know you did.  But, if you discard this thought  process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is  in.
My Best Regards,  Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein"
So basically I said on Momma D's Facebook, that Ben Stein DOESN'T BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION (he's also pro-life). Therefore, I don't consider him a reliable authority on well...anything. Furthermore, that saying that things like Hurricane Katrina and other atrocities happen because we've ejected god from schools and our lives is disrespectful and illogical. And that the idea that people can only get their moral compass from god (any god) is outright wrong.

This is how I feel when people get all uppity about you saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas":

The Big Yam is standing in for me.

Like seriously?  Who cares?  GUESS WHAT CHRISTIANS?  YOU'RE NOT UNDER ATTACK.  Relax.  It's so childish to me.  Like white supremacy (as a catch-all description) is changing in the wake of acceptance of the fact that we live in a multicultural society and there is a shift in the power dynamics (arguable, in terms of real power), and of course people get all up in arms because for once they're on the receiving end.  How do you think all those First Nations that we shipped off to residential schools felt?!? Also, it's just so rich that THIS is an issue for Christmas defenders.  Also, there is nothing remotely Christian about Christmas Trees so I feel like the entire Ben Stein essay is based on a faulty premise.  

The above photo cracks me up.  Poor, poor Miss J.  Santa showed up for the party at one of the drop-in centres and that's the Big Yam losing his s**t.  We've gotten grief from Momma D about not taking the Big Yam to have his picture taken with Santa, but the photo above encapsulates our opinions on the matter nicely.  There is no way in hell that I would ever waste precious minutes of my life on what would be a traumatic experience for all involved.  That is why Miss J is both a saint AND worth her weight in gold.  

On Saturday we had the Annual Dotytron Family Christmas party, potluck style in Oakville. Nany made devilled eggs and I single-handedly ate at least 10.  It was a feast for the ages!  There was an unfortunate incident which will forthwith be referred to as "Butter Chicken Gate" but other than that, things went smoothly.  Then Lolly and SMckay came over and this happened:

Yes, that is the limited-time special, Pizza Hut Hot Dog Stuffed Crust pizza (we got Canadian).  We've decided that SMckay is going to do her co-op placement at Pizza Hut just to find out whether they use one giant long hot dog link or whether it's a bunch of cocktail weenies.  Either way, delicious.

Sunday was a lazy, snoozy day.  We had a Hanukkah meal with Dr. Rei and Uncle Hanbo.  They got us Manischewitz which is basically like sour grape syrup.  The meal was braised brisket (I tried a new recipe - Smitten's tangy braised brisket, which I didn't like as much as the brisket bourguignon I made last year), potato & parsnip latkes, and this brussels sprouts & carrot horseradish casserole dealie.  I also made us apple cake with whiskey toffee sauce and ice cream.


The Dotytron is participating in a one-day, government sanctioned strike today.  We thought it'd be so hilarious if he showed up to picket being like, "Stereotypical Strike Guy" - wearing a worn denim jacket, a fisherman's cap, fingerless gloves, and hauling an empty oil drum in the car to burn stuff in, and bringing an old ghetto blaster to play Bruce Springsteen on.  LOL!  Picturing him doing that is so funny!  I feel like it's short film material.

Last night we had the Dotytron's colleague from last year's school and her husband over for dinner.  We had the Chicago deep dish pizza that I had planned on serving on Friday night.  Good save, us!  With an arugala salad to cut the richness:


Then I had to listen to supremely nerdy classical music talk (one of them is a French horn player, the other one is a violinist).  Stuff like: "You try playing a fugue at 14!" or "Like, I feel like he's the closest thing we have to a real, live wizard" (about some conductor I don't know or care about), or "Let's drink all of whatever we have in the house, and listen to Mahler until we pass out!"  It was pretty nerdy and I ducked out early because I felt like my presence was just impeding the classical music dorkfest.  

Finally, here is a bonus video of the Big Yam doing his legit Mandarin into his racist, fake Mandarin (at the 17 second mark):





Fin.


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