It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!: a review

Greatpumpkin“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

While the other kids are showing off their costumes and trick-or-treating for candy, Linus sits in the pumpkin patch and tacitly teaches us about hope, self-doubt, and humility.

Every year, Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin… and every year, Linus is disappointed. Yet he persists: he tries to sustain the wavering hope that this year something transcendent will visit him, will validate his years of sacrifice and trust.

Linus: Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to! I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.

Linus is the Fox Mulder of the Peanuts gang: he wants to believe. I love you, Linus, even though you’re the sad puppet of a fundamentalist gourd-based religious faction.


For the moment, an injury keeps me confined to the couch*. My chief entertainments: leafing idly through cookbooks and watching the full season of Monk that The Fella brought home for me.

This combination has a most lovely side effect, instilling the urgent desire to bake piles of pastries and to clean the house from top to bottom, while my infirmity completely prevents me from undertaking the actual work. I get a vicarious buzz of household virtue while remaining completely immobile.

* Okay, not the couch: a nest of blankets of the floor, where I can spread out, where I can topple over without falling too far, where I can loll over and press my spasming back against the hard floor. This is not my finest hour.


Fashion your own Julia Sugarbaker rant, courtesy of NPR. Before you read the text, make a quick list of:

an appetizer
a famous criminal*
an inexpensive retailer
a small amount of money
a metal
a breakfast cereal
an environmental problem
a popular gadget
a junk food
a reality show
a kind of candy
a sporting event
a historical figure named “John”
a celebrity named “John”
an article of clothing
a home electronics component
a chain restaurant
a city in the southern U.S.
a popular toy
a literary figure

You will insert these, Mad Libs style, into the text of the rant. My rant:

I would rather spend two hours sharing a plate of escargot with Claus von Bülow* than watch a woman who apparently purchased her intellect at Claire’s Boutique for three dollars a satchelful chase twenty-five men with biceps made of zinc and heads packed with Cap’n Crunch.

Because when future generations look upon what we have left for them, which may by then be little more than melted icecaps and millions of non-biodegradable pedicure eggs, I fear they will conclude that they would have welcomed bread and circuses if only they had realized the alternative was Funyons and MILF Island.

[sits down and crosses arms, but then immediately stands back up]

And let me tell you a little something about romance: Handing out roses like you are a mascot throwing Pixie Stix to the assembled hooligans at a cockfight is not my idea of romance. Romance is a man who knows the difference between John Adams and John Mayer and who is capable of putting on a pair of shoes without scratching his head as if he is connecting an iPod docking station without the instruction manual.

So do not ask yourself why I do not particularly enjoy a television show where the assembled male candidates represent romantic prospects inferior to the workers on the night shift at the Applebee’s in Valdosta. Ask yourself whether, after a lifetime playing with a cultural paddleball and dancing on the grave of Henry James, you will ever…recover…your dignity.

*or, in this case, a defendant in a murder trial.


Every week or two, I spend a few minutes idly browsing the local outlet of an enormous retailer, hoping to find a good pair of boots, a plain sweater, or a replacement bookbag. Along with the usual discounted or discontinued goods, they also offer returned items. Sometimes these returns are complete with monogram; sometimes the monogram is woefully and obviously mispelled.

And that is how, poking through the messenger bags and bookbags, I came thiiiiis close to buying a slate gray messenger bag embroidered with the intersection of sci-fi geek and grammar geek: Doctor Whom.

banana and acorns

spaced After epic delays and legal blocks (and more than a few bootlegs from Europe making their way to the States), the much beloved BBC series Spaced has arrived in Region 1!

And for a few of us, it couldn’t be more timely. Thanks to a generous benefactor, I’ve seen most of the episodes, but some suffered from glitches and dropped sound bites, so last night I was struck dumb with surprise and delight to hear [very mild spoiler] Daisy’s assessment of a break-up:

Daisy: In the end, our relationship was just like a sandwich toaster, y’know? You just forget you’ve got one, and it sits there at the top of the cupboard collecting a layer of greasy fudge, and even if you do see it you assume it’s broken, ’cause you think “Oh, if it’s working I’d be using it all the time surely,” but y’know, you don’t. And it just sits there. Then one day, you get an overwhelming desire for toasted sandwiches, y’know? And you get it down and it works, and you can’t believe it, y’know? And then you make every kind of toasted sandwich there is, you have toasted sandwich parties, y’know? You make Marmite and cheese, chocolate and…
Tim: Pilchards.
Daisy: Banana and…
Bilbo: Acorns.
Daisy: Acorns. And then as quickly as the desire comes, it just goes. And then you put the toasted sandwich maker away. And… you know what?
Tim: What?
Daisy: You don’t miss it.
Bilbo: So what you’re saying is “Don’t hide the toasted sandwich maker away, use him regularly and you’ll get the most out of him.”
Tim: No, she’s saying “Chuck your boyfriend, have a sandwich.”

Coincidence? I think not.
Aaaaanyway…. skip to the end: don’t space Sandwich Party 2, starting Friday, July 25th and lasting all weekend.


When the occasion arises to watch TV at my brother’s place, I think I’ll make the popcorn while he sets up.

My ex had a similarly baroque set-up, and he fussed and kvetched over me while I learned the necessary sequences to initiate TV-watching and program taping. I became pretty well accustomed to it, able to walk into the room, click a mere six or seven buttons, and settle down to watch a show.

Then came the evil day: he left one of the many remotes on the couch, and in his absence, I sat on it. If my bum knew what buttons it pressed (and in what sequence) to produce that daunting blue screen, it wasn’t telling. When he came home to discover my rash act (She dared to sit!) had prevented me from taping that night’s re-run of Babylon 5*, the house rang with pointed disappointment and condescension.

Did I mention: ex?

*I am so not making this up.

I am participating in NaBloPoMo.

The wine-dark sea

At about 6:00 this morning, the local WeatherGuy was cheerfully rattling along with his usual predictions when suddenly he was taken by the Muse.

WG: [jauntily] “…so, you can expect to see some occasional light sprinkles, but nothing major, but this afternoon —” [head tilts, eyes glaze, and voice becomes low and melodic] “the sky will grow cloudy… and the sun will dim…” [shakes head almost imperceptibly; face clears and voice rises to normal] “and, eh, temps will drop, so keep an eye on those overnight temps!”

Thanks for the forecast, Homer.

No picnic

The host of the PBS cooking show I’m half-watching just announced in her forced, faux-breezy way, “When I think of picnics, I think of two words: fresh and simple.”

Huh. When I think of picnics, I think of two words: sunscreen and bees.