Friday, August 11, 2006

Going to the Dogs

OK, now I finally get it. The other day I saw a guy out walking (or maybe it was jogging) and he had a pooch in a stroller. How ridiculous is that. Well, apparently, not very....

Today I was reading some back clippings, stuff I'd saved for a time such as this, and I read about the doggie strollers that are like baby jogging strollers. Isn't the whole point of a dog, though, to let them get some exercise?

Continuing in this vein, there's a store in Toronto devoted to dogs, and it sells school uniforms (yes, for dogs), hoodies, tennis dresses, Hawaiian shirts and even wedding dresses. (I wonder -- if it's a same sex marriage, who gets to wear the dress??)

Lastly, there's a much bigger trend in small dogs, like Yorkies, daschunds, chihauhaus, etc. because of the travel lifestyle, and the ease of being able to carry a dog on board when it's as small as that.

Now all we need is for Al-Quaeda to figure out how to make a walking suicide bomb out of a lapdog.

On Being Inoffensive

I've just finished reading a great book on writing, by Sol Stein. His last chapter talks about the writer as shill, the one who will write inoffensive pap in order to put food on the table, or in my case to pay the orthodontic bills so that my kids will have a perfect, even set of choppers.

This leads to what I write in order to pay said doc. I write decorating stories about model homes and model suites -- those lovely little airless vignettes intended to dictate to the consumer what an interior should look like. The mantra should read like a William Morris anti-statement: I will have nothing interesting, unusual, beautiful or even remotely functional in my home.

After a year and a half of writing this mindless drivel, I can tell you pretty much that 90% of these builders don't know what it's like to live in the real world. And, incidentally, most of them are men.

You can't imagine how many pictures I get of "lovely" furniture (for the most part, cheap offshore construction, dark stain on particle board with a plastic varnish to give it the durability that will withstand the abuse the public can give out.) If you can unglue your eyes from the arresting decor for a moment, though, you'll notice all the flaws. Like electrical outlets in places they have no business being, and several of them clustered together. These little white squares are jarring on an expanse of builder beige or taupe.

Layouts: formal front living and dining rooms pay lip service to the name and function of these spaces. In reality, they look more like doctor's waiting rooms, uncomfortably crammed into the small space beside the door.

Corridors, Scarlet O'Hara staircases, double height ceilings with no sense of proportion or scale, eat up a goodly portion of these monstrous homes, so that if you parse it down to room sizes, it's clear that these subdivision homes have precious little more room than a standard three-bedroom semi in the heart of the city.

OK, that's enough for now. I will continue my rant anon.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Spare Tires and all

Belinda wrote an interesting reflection today on her blog about flabbiness and eating properly, and the spiritual analogy to that.

I'd like to add that when Jesus was speaking to the Jews about daily bread, life was hard. They were hungry, so a piece of bread was a big deal. He was saying I am your daily bread.

Now, however, the tables have completely turned. We have TOO much to eat, we are flabby and overweight. I would also say that spiritually we're overweight as well -- too much puffy feeling, and not enough discipline. I know that sounds kind of harsh, and there's long been the need of a correction in the feeling department (I grew up in an age when telling your kids you love them was just not done!).

But we are so concerned that everyone gets "fed" on the heavenly bread, that we're not focusing too much on the heavenly diet and exercise program!

Belinda's reflection was so right about saying what I put in my body today, shows up in a few days or months, and likewise spiritually. But have we really broken that down to see what it means in concrete terms?

For one thing, it means obedience to God's word and will. When I let my kids do what they want, they are restless and unhappy, without moorings. When I'm too strict, they are uptight and nervous.

It also means not ingesting too much of a bad thing, so our flirtations with pop culture, no matter how much control we think we have on ourselves or our kids, can be courting disaster if not kept in check. A little junk food now and then is fine, but a steady diet of it will make you weak, not able to think clearly, and craving more.