Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Buckle up and hold on – this one’s a full on rant.

I heard on the news about the Freedom Towers being built at the World Trade Center site. I was shocked because I always thought when I heard ‘Freedom Towers’ it was just a joke that would never actually stick. Like when my mom says the word Horse-pital instead of hospital. Sure, I use the word, but would never use it in a moment of seriousness. “HELP! I’m bleeding! Take me to the horse-pital!”

At home, my husband calls me Hooch Manelli and I’ll answer him. But I can’t imagine being in a doctor’s waiting room and hearing, “Mrs. Manelli…Hooch? The doctor will see you now.”

So why would we impose a made up use of a word on a serious tragedy? Our memorials from World War II are simply called War War II memorials. And our Vietnam Memorials are called the Vietnam Memorials, not the War-We-Shouldn’t-Have-Died-In Memorial. In this day and age the word Freedom is more of a marketing term than anything else, so it would be less offensive to see the site called ‘World Trade Center Memorial – Sponsored by Pepsi.”

Let’s reflect on the word freedom over the past several years.

I’ll start with the most shameful first. When there was an actual effort to start calling French Fries “Freedom Fries” instead. I’m confident that historians will look back and consider this the lowest point in American history. Three House office building cafeterias actually held a press conference to announce the new menu with Freedom Toast and Freedom Fries. How humiliating. I’m still blushing.

It would have been less embarrassing if we had sent a few ships over to France, only for the sailors to moon them. At least then, our government would be acting like mature sixteen year-olds instead of five year-olds.

Then there’s Iraq. Some brilliant marketing person realized that if we fight for freedom, Americans will rally behind the government. Because fighting for freedom sounds much catchier than fighting for oil. And the irony here is of course that the people there still aren’t free.

And then there was the wire-tapping for freedom. I could go on and on. But I won’t.

Even after all of the shameful acts and embarrassing cover-ups, I’m still proud to be an American. America is like family. Sure politicians do stuff to humiliate me and I think, “I can’t believe I’m related twice-vote removed to that person,” but I'm still part of the American family.

So while I enjoy ‘Freedom’, I wish I could have more of the free with less of the dumb.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Labelmaker Beats Bev in a 4-0 Victory

I'm compelled to address the rampant problem of over-packaging.

A few weeks ago, I ordered a labelmaker at work. It came in a cardboard box the size of a TV. I broke that down and tore apart the bubblewrap to get to the labelmaker’s bulletproof plastic packaging. I fought to get it open and gave up when I broke a nail. Quite frankly, nothing at work is worth losing a nail over.

So I set it on my desk. Over the past couple of weeks, a few people asked to use it. Each time, I eagerly handed it over and each time the disgruntled co-worker returned it unopened.

Today I had enough. I looked at Labelmaker and said, “Alright, it’s you and me. Head to head.” (Ding. Ding.)

I grabbed a pair of scissors and we started to tussle. I don’t know exactly what happened over the next fifteen minutes, but arms flailed, buttons were pushed and plastic was torn. I ended up with a scratched arm, snagged sweater, bent pair of scissors and a bad attitude. Labelmaker ended up with a smug grin.

With my adrenaline amped, I went back in the ring. I finally wrestled Lablemaker to the ground and pulled off the plastic, only to realize that he was powerless. Really powerless, he needed batteries.

I went to the supply drawer to get batteries and they were also packaged in Bevproof plastic. I looked at my mangled scissors and thought, "I'm gonna need a new pair for this fight." So I reached for a new pair of scissors and that's when I stood stumped. Scissors also come in hard packaging that requires scissors to open!