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A New Product Round-up and Book Review, of Sorts

December 20th, 2006

Everyone has been sending me stuff, but have I been kind enough to review any of it? Noooooooooooo. Too busy bitching at Emilio Estevez.

Reviewed today:

And, just to mix things up:

Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook, by Carole Raymond. (And no, I don’t like the placement of that apostrophe, either. Talk to Carole’s publisher about it, not me.)

The God of Small Things, by the political, brilliant and irrepressible writer and speaker Arundhati Roy.

And… (mixing it up, get it?) how about the Jiffy Mixes recipe book? If you go to their website they’ll send you, one, too. If you have an Easy-Bake Oven, Jiffy Mixes work just splendidly and do not cost as much as the Easy-Bake mixes.

Ready? Because this is going to be kind of erratic, I’m just warning you. Jiffy, how I love thee. “Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten”? It’s a little late for us here. Dr. Perlmutter claims he can teach you to “build a better brain and increase IQ by up to 30 points.” Stimulate the memory with mobiles, spread out their shots, get rid of toxins, breast feed, keep their environment as stress-free as possible, get ’em away from the TV and video games. Darn it — my kids are upstairs right now, watching Peanuts so I can write. Not just that — Wacky Nekkid Mini-Neighbor is over, watching TV with them.

Not enough I’m ruining my own kids’ IQs — I have to take the neighbor kid down with ’em, too.

“Don’t think twice/it’s alright…”
— Bob Dylan

Now, let’s learn some Spanish together. This kit is great — we’ve loved playing with it and learning from it. I love the way the male speaker says, “!Hola, Lola!” all chipper, about every ten minutes. (This kit is also available in French and Italian versions.) Each kit comes with activity books, three sixty-minute CDs, stickers and crayons. As far as I’m concerned, everything should be packaged with crayons and stickers. Physics textbook? Here are your goodies with it. Tax forms? Oooooooooh, two sets of crayons for you. Just an idea.

Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook — I love this book because the recipes live up to their claim to be “quick, easy, cheap and tasty.” Hey, that’s me! Just kidding. I loved the recipes for Roasted Root Vegetables with Garlic Butter, Vegetable Pancakes with Sesame Sauce, “Hash in a Flash” and Cinnamon-Maple Granola. No, I’m not including them here — go buy a copy of the book.

“Bitchfest,” oh, bitchfest. Bitch magazine is a long-time favorite of mine. (No, rilly?) This book is great because the editors have compiled ten years’ worth of stuff, with a funny foreword by Margaret Cho. I have a lot of favorite columns in this book, but I especially enjoyed “Stormin’ Norma: Why I Love the Queen of Teen” by Andi Zeisler; “In Re-Mission: Why Does Redbook Magazine Want to Keep Us On Our Backs?” by Amy Harter; and “Pratt-fall: Ten Things to Hate About Jane” by Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler. Bitch on, women…

Now, Arundhati Roy. I’m nuts about her. I was listening to a speech she gave, it was on the radio. I was driving at the time. I had to pull over because her words were powerful and unflinching. She cuts right to the chase in a brave, eloquent fashion. Why aren’t many, many other writers, artists and politicians speaking out like this?

I don’t give a shit if Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Britney are up to their usual bullshit. It does impress me that George Clooney is making the films that he is (“Syriana,” “Good Night, and Good Luck”) and that he, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are doing the political work that they are to keep the public informed and active.

Yeah, let’s hear Bill Clinton speak out against the war. Or Hillary. Hillary in 2008? No. Hillary, you are no Wacky Mommy. Wacky Mommy has no faith in Hillary Clinton or her dog of a husband. Yes, blowjobs do count as sex, let’s just get that cleared up right here and now.

Jimmy Carter? Your local senator? How about the president? Are any of them saying what needs to be said? How about saying yes to feminism and people’s right to live unmolested and unhurt? We have a right to decent healthcare, decent wages, living wages. We deserve that — all of us, all around the world. We need to keep working, and speaking out. Especially for those who can’t or won’t. Go sign up with Moms Rising. Speak out against the war. Give money if you have it. Volunteer at the local senior center, or your neighborhood school. Do whatever you have to do to practice your politics, but don’t stay quiet.




  1. edj says

    On principle, I hate the book about raising a smarter kid. I no sooner read the title then I was beseiged (beseiged, I tell you!) by guilt, fear, and regret. I hate books like that! I instantly knew I had failed my children because they are all past 5. And are they intelligent? Well actually, yeah, they’re fine, they’re bilingual, they’ll prob turn out ok. Sigh…
    And I’m TOTALLY with you on the include-crayons-and-stickers thing.
    Good for you teaching your kids Spanish! Americans need to be exposed to lots of lang when they are small cuz, people, it’s embarrasing when you come to Africa and your househelper, who went to work when she was 10 and can’t even read speaks 4 languages and you went to college but can only speak 1 and you can see that she thinks you’re a bit stupid cuz she can learn a new lang in a flash and you can’t even make the “ein” sound. ANd it’s embarrassing when people say, right in front of you but in another lang, “Americans are so stupid about language” or ask you “Why can’t Americans learn other languages?” Yeah. Teach the children; they will lead the way.

    December 22nd, 2006 | #

  2. Anne says

    I agree with you about Arundhati Roy. I too have stopped the car to listen to her speeches. I remember reading “The God of Small Things” when my daughter was a baby. I sobbed and sobbed. The same with “The Kite Runner”. If you think you are tender-hearted or easily outraged about violence to children at the pre-kid stage, wait until after you have them.

    December 24th, 2006 | #

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