But seriously, folks…

WOW! I had no idea my post about the NFL cheerleaders would get so much attention and pluck so many nerves! I’ve never had a “real” debate like that in my comments, and it was fascinating to watch it unfold. Except for a few comments that got a little too personal, that is.  But those folks can’t help it if they’re not nearly as enlightened as my loyal readers! Most commenters understood my point and appreciated the debate, and I’d like to thank you all for weighing in.

Yes, even you.

And thanks, Washington Express, for quoting me! Come back again and visit soon!

Listen. We’re all mature adults here, right? And really, with the state of the world these days, and in the larger scheme of things, does any of this really, really matter? Aren’t we all just dust in the wind?

One commenter who came late to yesterday’s dance thought our discussion was all a bunch of fluff:

Get a life people, everything in this world had gotten sexier, why wouldnt cheerleaders, and cheerleaders dont cheer much anymore they dance. I think there are more important issues out there!

WOW! Great point! There are more important issues out there! Lots of ’em! And we should be discussing them right here in this space.

It’s time to get serious!

Taking my commenter’s lead, I propose we dispense with all humor and instead debate some weightier topics. Matters of import. Take poverty, for instance. I learned here that:

According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”

And then there’s the crisis in Darfur, summarized here by Amnesty International:

The conflict in Darfur, Sudan, has led to some of the worst human rights abuses imaginable, including systematic and widespread murder, rape, abduction and displacement. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed by both deliberate and indiscriminate attacks, and over 2.5 million civilians have been displaced. Though violence persists, the UN Security Council has mandated what may be an effective peacekeeping operation to guarantee security for the people of Darfur.

Oh, and how about healthcare reform? And the whole thing about the so-called “death panels” (thanks, Sarah Palin!)?

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Now there is some heavy stuff! Some meaty issues! I mean, who are we to be debating the merits of whether the “cheerleaders” are really leading cheers and whether their provocative dancing belongs on the sidelines of an NFL game, and whether the NFL game is really just about the GAME, or part of a larger spectacle that includes a variety of entertainment items, much like a three-ring circus?

WHAT WAS I THINKING?

**slaps forehead**

So, if anyone cares to debate a more serious topic, choose from one of the above, or pick your own and let’s get started!  You over there, lurking behind your monitor? You go first.

Mixed-up theology

So. Things have calmed down significantly Chez Soup since I flipped out about not having time to blog.  All the pre-Christmas prep was completed more or less on time.  Santa’s only real SNAFU was that she he brought an Xbox 360 (which his elves refurbished and resold on eBay) but forgot to procure a game to play on it. (All together now: D’OH!) Fortunately, Son was able to borrow a game from an out-of-town neighbor, and with my promise to take him shopping to buy THE ONE GAME that he REALLY WANTED, all was again right with the world. In fact, he said not once, but twice, “This is the best Christmas EVER!” And coming from a hard-to-impress tween, that meant a lot to us. I mean, to Santa.

Meanwhile, word has reached the far corners of the rodent community that it’s DANGEROUS in them there kitchen drawers! We’ve had nary a sign of those clever little dog food-hoarding invaders for the past few days.  Which is good, because I’m getting tired of retrieving the drawers’ contents from various piles and boxes located in other rooms. Maybe we’ll be able to reassemble things soon. Thanks, readers, for all the hints! Especially to the alarmingly knowledgeable Laura. I don’t want to know how she knows so much about mouse carnage but am oh so grateful she shared some tips.

Christmas is a time of traditions, and, like you, I found myself reminiscing about Christmases past. In particular, I was remembering Christmas Eve several years ago. We had recently relocated to Pennsylvania and had not yet found a church where we wanted to worship, so we were guests at a large, mainstream protestant denomination church. The service was billed as a “family” service and was to feature a dramatic musical presentation. That sounds nice, we thought. Something different. Maybe the kids will enjoy it.

Because Christmas is not the time to be unkind, I will simply say this: It was a lot longer than it needed to be. Especially for a presentation that was supposed to appeal to children.  But the real problem for us was in the story’s plot, for you see, the children were trying to help SANTA CLAUS find the TRUE MEANING of CHRISTMAS, and in the end, they had successfully converted Santa to understand that the birth of the baby Jesus was the reason for Christmas.

And Santa was all, “Oh, of course, you’re right! NOW I understand!” and slapped his forehead, then gave all of the toys in his sleigh to the less fortunate, dismissed the elves, divested himself of all his worldly possessions, gave all his money to the church, and became a monk, THE END.

Um…. Seriously??? Were we the only ones who recognized the obvious clash of the secular traditions with the religious theology?  Hard enough to work that out in our own brains, let alone explain it to These Kids Nowadays, and this little play was not helping our cause one bit.

Curt and I made the mistake of making eye contact and then it was all we could do to not giggle. He and I were both brought up in the church, and our families raised us observing both secular and religious traditions.  And, while we “got it,” we still agree that in many cases, it feels tidier to keep the secular traditions separate from the religious. For example, we both grew up attending church-hosted HALLOWEEN parties.  Huh?  A holiday with Pagan roots, in the church basement? The candy corn be with you. And also with you! Trick or Treat, Amen!

Or perhaps even better: In my little country church, there was an annual Easter EGG HUNT, the day after Good Friday, in the cemetery. I kid you not. The Church Moms would hard-boil and dye real eggs and hide them amongst the tombstones, and the little kids would scramble about, retrieving them.  Well, most of them. The guys who were in charge of mowing the grass in the cemetery would inevitably discover one or two come June or July. Because nothing says “The Lord is Risen Indeed!” like a rotting chicken egg!

Where was I? Oh, yes. So there we were, attempting reverence, yet having to fight the urge to roll our eyes at the thought of Santa being Born Again, when the ushers began handing out neon glow sticks. Now, for the uninitiated, many Christmas Eve services feature candles, and the worshippers pass the flame to each other in order to represent Christ’s light spreading throughout the world.  It’s a lovely, symbolic tradition. At family services, many churches opt for little flashlights because open flames and children do not mix. But this church? GLOW STICKS. So we waved our neon purple and green and orange glow sticks, singing Silent Night, because, really – nothing says “Jesus is Born” like a symbolic flame small plastic tube filled with glowing chemicals.

The minister dismissed the crowd with the traditional instruction to “carry the light of Christ into the world”, which feels great when it’s a flame but a little bit funky when it’s a glow stick.  Nevertheless,  we tucked the light of Christ into our pockets exited the building even more confused than ever about how to reconcile the “reason for the season” with the consumeristic gift-fest that Christmas seems to have become, and struggled to find words to explain to the children that these small, imported glow sticks actually represented the earliest beginnings of Christianity.

We piled into the car and joined the line of traffic that was attempting to leave the area.  There were a couple of helpful men in orange vests, waving those lighted stick-thingys to send cars through the intersection.   I noticed one of the guys had one large stick in his left hand, and in his right hand? He was using one of the church service glow sticks to provide direction to the vehicles. Yes – he was directing traffic with THE LIGHT OF CHRIST.

I’m not sure that’s what the minister meant, but hey, you can read whatever you want into that bit of confused theology.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the unambiguously secular New Year’s Eve party.  Fireworks? Guns? Noisemakers? Champagne? Nothing confusing about that.

Stay Chez Soup for Inauguration

I heard on the radio yesterday that some guy in Maryland is dividing his yard into campsites for tents and charging $100 per night for any hardy soul who wants to brave the elements in proximity of the Washington, DC inauguration festivities in January. My friend Randi was joking on Facebook about renting her apartment for some silly coin during the same time. But the more I think about it, I figure, why joke? There is Real Income Potential here, less than one hour from the Nation’s Capital, and I would be silly not to exploit it.

Thus, I present to you, the accommodations at Chez Soup. It’s kind of like a bed and breakfast, in that we can offer you someplace to sleep, and something for you to eat in the morning (although we can’t promise that you will sleep on a bed, or have access to traditional breakfast foods). On the plus side, it’s more or less climate-controlled (though not chaos-controlled), which definitely trumps that guy offering tent sites.

We present four unique choices for your consideration. (To view my helpful annotations, click on the photo, then click again.  Click your brower’s back button to return.)

SOFA SUITE

Amenities include brick fireplace, 46″ LCD HD-TV with pay per view and DVD player, extensive library including board games, CDs, and tons of family photographs.  Closest option to the common kitchen / dining area.  Shared bathroom on the whole other end of the house just a short walk away.  Not all that drafty. Will remind you of your dorm / hostel days, except that you seriously have to sleep on the couch. It’s not a pull-out. But I promise you, it’s oh-so comfortable.

SOFA SUITE

LOWER-LEVEL LIVING

This sequestered suite is sure to book early. Featuring its own bathroom, adjacent office with high-speed internet access, laundry facilities (with litter box), plus tons of storage shelving rooms, this suite could comfortably hold two adults for several days before we would even notice your presence. The real selling point here is definitely the ghetto-gym complimentary workout facilities, conveniently located right in the room! Extra blankets and space heater(s) available upon request.

Lower Level Luxury!

SOMEPLACE FOR THE KIDS TO CRASH

Here at Chez Soup, we offer something for everyone. Got kids? Bring ’em! They can stay in the older boys’ room.  We’ll send them to friends for “sleepovers” while you’re here.  Check out this feature-filled, squalor- amenity-packed room! Pets are already included, so no need to bring your own.

Kids Crash Here!

MASTER BEDROOM: WHY NOT?

Our fourth option is geared towards the budget-minded visitor, or the guest who desires to really get to know his (or her) hosts.  Our master bedroom features a king-size bed, and frankly, it’s so big that there are some nights where we never cross the middle. When lodging is at a premium near Washington, DC, that translates to wasted space! Why not throw your sleeping bag right on top of the bed – we’ll stay under the covers – and settle in.  We’re all friends here. Please note: snorers, talkers, kickers, elbow-throwers and sleepwalkers are encouraged to consider our other options first.  Use of remote control is not permitted, but if we like you, we’ll probably share the master bathroom with you.

Why Not?

INQUIRIES, RESERVATIONS, TERMS:

Inquire with soupisnotafingerfood (at) gmail (dot) com. First come, first served. Shuttle to Metro available for additional charge upon request. Please note dietary restrictions, pet and/or squalor allergies or quirky habits before submitting your nonrefundable deposit. Cash only;  will consider barter, depending on what you’re offering. Reduced rates may be available if you can fold laundry, babysit, walk the dog, clean, caulk, fix stuff, or bring beer, gin and/or wine. Void where prohibited. This is only a joke. Please don’t take me seriously. I mean it. Well, kinda. Money talks, after all.