Dear Abby is Off #18

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a monthly feature in which Ryan takes an actual letter written to “Dear Abby” and answers it himself. For further background see the introductory post here, or maybe also here. This post should not be read while operating heavy machinery or driving a vehicle. Even one of those self-driven cars. Actually, especially if it’s one of those self-driven cars.)

Dear Abby is off #18This month’s letter was published on October 19, 2014, and quoted in full, reads as follows:

DEAR ABBY: I am a retired widow, crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. Every October, I start dreading Halloween, which I consider to be a legal form of extortion. Living on Social Security, I really don’t want to waste money for candy. Also, it is difficult for me to get up and down every five minutes to hand out candy. Too many of the “children” are 16- to 19-year-old males. I have tried keeping the lights off and “hiding” in my bedroom, but I wake the next morning to find toilet paper in my trees and shrubbery. Once, my front door had been sprayed “Stingy Old Witch.” The police said they couldn’t act because I didn’t see who did it. Of course, even if I had seen them, they probably would have been in a costume. Do you have any suggestions? — GROUCHY GRANDMA IN AUSTIN, TEXAS

DEAR GROUCHY GRANDMA IN AUSTIN, TEXAS: First let me just say, you’re preaching to the choir, (grand)sister. I’m a retired trick-or-treater, also crippled, not from rheumatoid arthritis but emotionally from the Great Pumpkin Fiasco of 1994 (vengeance is a dish best served with an exploding football, Charlie Brown. Comeuppance!). I also dread Halloween, although I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a legal form of extortion. If anything it’s racketeering, conceived of and carried out by the Candy Industrial Complex, with the help of their co-conspirators Big Costume and the all-powerful Pumpkin Cartel. But extortion? Please. That’s being a little dramatic, don’t you think?

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Taylor Swift, Feminist

Feminism has gotten a lot of airtime among celebrities lately. You’ll hear some pop stars like Beyonce saying they’re feminists, and others like Shailene Woodley saying they aren’t. But whether or not celebs are directly answering “Do you like feminism? Check yes or no,” anyone who has a hand in pop culture still has a chance to send us a message.

Especially the ones who make popular music.

Come along for the ride as I examine Taylor Swift’s progression as a feminist. Why? Because tween girls and teen girls and adult men and women love Taylor. I’m mostly interested in the young women, really, and how they’re introduced to the concept of feminism in their formative years. Because let’s face it, we all take life lessons from the pop culture we absorb in our youth. I may have survived some pretty vapid influences as a teenager in the 90s, but Buffy the Vampire Slayer taught me a lot about the strength of women. I’m sure Taylor fits the role of Sarah Michelle Gellar for thousands of teens today.

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Literary Limericks: Television Edition

By now, you may have noticed that Gilmore Girls is trending all over Facebook. In honor of the release of the show on Netflix, I thought I’d take this edition of Literary Limericks and devote it to a unique bunch of stories, albeit televised ones. For the rest of the series, click here. Oh! And watch out for spoilers!

Gilmore Girls, Part 1
There once was a girl from Stars Hollow
Who said “where you lead, I will follow.”
Her nickname was Rory
(It’s kind of a long story)
And (in sadness) caused Dean to wallow. Continue reading

The Growing Season: Oh Hey! We’re Pregnant

That night, Jack and I take turns calling our parents and giving them the good news. Both sets are joyful, but the ringing in my eardrums from my mom’s scream tells me that the news is slightly more earth-shattering for my side of the family. Maybe this comes with the territory of having a daughter whose biological clock is ticking away as she scampers off to New York rather than settling down close to home. Or maybe Mom’s just bored and wants something to brag to her friends about. Either way, we receive two sets of congratulations and are made to promise timely updates. I know this won’t be a problem since my mom will likely be calling on a daily basis from now until the baby arrives, or maybe just forever.

Next are the sibling calls, and we tackle these simultaneously, Jack on one side of the room and me on the other. He calls his brother while I call mine, and when I tell Matt that I have news, he replies that he does as well.

“Bet mine is bigger,” I taunt him. Continue reading