Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas, Hanukkah, Holiday Schmoliday and Dishwasher Detergent

I know there's always a whole lot of ruckus this time of year with the conservative folk bemoaning the demise of Christmas.  I read somewhere once that this was completely fabricated by the likes of Rush Limbaugh (ouch, it hurts to even type the name!), but nevertheless, each year the theory is trundled out and amidst all the commercial frippery we are called upon to witness the "heathenization of our youngsters."

If you'll forgive the curse, I think it's a crock of sh$#%.

Yesterday, both my sons performed in two different holiday music concerts. Oliver, in elementary school, where minds are still supple and impressionable, played the triangle. There were skits about having gay parents; there were skits about compassion and dignity and respect. This is a school that is unapologetically progressive. All the music was original -- not a single carol or jingle bell rock or dreidel was invoked, and guess what?

Oliver claimed that the triangle is goofy, but he wore a zip tie...

It was fantastic and Christmas is still coming to our house!

Over on the other side of town, Henry, in middle school, dressed with his classmates in black dress pants and shirts and sang a series of holiday songs.

I know I'm biased, but my son is seriously handsome.

Some were traditional religious carols and others traditional Christmas pop. Individual students sang solos, played violins and clarinets and cellos. People stood and cheered and clapped. Because this is Los Angeles and so many people in our neighborhood work in "the business," there were a whole lot of big cameras. It was fantastic.

That whole thing about "taking back Christmas" is just boring, if you ask me. It's right up there with the "take back America" thing and the "I'm not letting no government come between me and my doctor" thing. Just the other day I listened to a long story about how Americans are complaining that their dishes are not getting clean anymore, and the reason why is that detergent companies have taken phosphates out of dishwasher detergent. Hallelujah, is what I say. If you've been living under a rock somewhere, you might not be aware that phosphates pollute the water, cause algae bloom and are generally bad, bad, bad, even if they do remove those stubborn water stains and fingerprints from your glassware. I heard a woman on the radio complaining about it and she said in a very thick Southern accent that I'm going down to the hardware store and buy me some phosphate to add to my detergent because I'm not sure I trust these people who are saying it causes the algae bloom.

Ahhhh, we Americans and our priorities.

Merry Christmas and you can take algae bloom and dying waterways and shove it.

If you think it's offensive to juxtapose a little good old-fashioned liberal political talk in with your kids' holiday schmoliday music concerts, don't read any further because I was just going to tell you about the dad at the school that is now a mom...


  1. I just noticed my blog is number one on your blog roll! My ego is super happy about that, thank you!

    BTW, I always appreciate your perspective on things.

  2. yes, and while people are bemoaning the removal of phosphates they never connect the birdshit history of the product.
    'Tis rare you see the word bristling used for cameras. But apt I think. Are these people Paparazzi.

  3. I'm not a christian anymore, don't believe that baby Jesus was born to save the world from itself but I still wish everyone a Merry Christmas. If tolerance and compassion are wrong, then I don't wanna be right.

  4. Damn. I love you. And your family. And that progressive school. And I heard a thing on NPR about the phosphate panic too. Women in Oregon or one of those states above you are sending designated criminal housewives to go to neighboring states where phosphate is still allowed in the dishwashing detergent to bring it back in bulk. So that yes, they can have clean glasses.
    I don't even have a dishwasher! And we survive.
    Don't get me started on the health care.
    Merry Christmas, honey. You can have all of mine you want.

  5. Wow...I can just feel all my socialist Canadian values fading as your children play triangles and accept homosexuality as just, whatevs... The funny part of all of this is that biblical scholars accept, for the most part, that Jesus was likely born in the spring. The same scholarship knows that the early Church shoved "Christmas" over a very ancient pagan "longest night" festival of light, to kill it. Crazy world.

  6. The demise of traditions is often a very good thing.

    Tolerance . Amen to that. The hardest thing for me to accept would be those paparazzi parents too I think. But never say never.

    Never say never.

  7. I love your irony. And I feel like I'm living under a rock:)

  8. Henry sure does look handsome, that's for sure! I love the progressive views in Oliver's school. That's great.

    Merry Christmas to you too!

  9. Phosphates are are horrible for all natural ecosystems. I am being dead serious and I am knowledgeable regarding the subject.

    Phosphates do absolutely nothing to help or better the cleaning process nor does it quicken the process at all. It does absolutely nothing to help or aide in stain removal nor does it help in any way to cover up or make it less visible.

    THE ONLY reason phosphates are added to detergent is that it produces bubbles. NO matter what you do, explain, show, say, repeatedly and scientifically disprove that the bubbles DO NOTHING and that they ARE BAD FOR AND HURTING OUR PLANET, THAT SOAP WITHOUT IT CLEANS EXACTLY THE SAME, people are reassured the soap has been added to the solution. If they see no bubbles they think their dishes are not cleant.

    If you suspect your maid to be using just plain water to clean dishes and refuses to add soap and you think she is lying and you refuse to add soap yourself to the solution, I guess phosphates might be used as an indicator that soap has been added.

    otherwise it is nothing but a pollutant.

  10. I heard the same thing on the radio. Too funny!

    And as for Christmas, I consider myself a "recovering Catholic" and I feel more spiritual and Christmasy now as an adult with no formal religion than I ever did as a child who was genuflecting and taking communion and supposedly taking part in all of the traditional Christian things about the holiday.

    Love your unapologetically progressive school!

  11. This post is just one of the reasons I love you, Elizabeth.

    And ditto Lilith's comment.

  12. Your children are gorgeous. You are right.
    I hope you won't let the idiocy of the things people say get to you, or spoil your enjoyment. The spirit of this time of year is real, and it is precious. It belongs to each of us. Sending love to you.

  13. it's not your bias, Henry IS smashingly handsome.

  14. I'm intolerant of intolerance on either side of the holiday issue. Why can't people feel free to practice whatever customs want but without pressuring others to go along with them?

    I rarely use the dishwasher, you can't wash cookware, silverware or heirloom dishes in them. But even my dish soap hasn't had phosphates since sometime in the early 1990s.

  15. Yah, take back Christmas and go out and spend your money to save the country's economy, it's the patriotic thing to do. Plus, add all your packaging to the landfill for good measure and wash your holiday dishes with phosphates .... Just because it's a free country AND Jesus' birthday. Argh.

  16. This may be one of my favorite posts of the whole year! I love the two holiday concerts, I LOVE that you actually TOOK PICTURES of people taking pictures with their over-the-top cameras, I love your comments on the detergents. This is making me smile from ear to ear, all of it.

  17. Can you expect folk to embrace no phosphates when the average IQ in the US is 98? Lets all move to Equatorial Guinea where we would be geniuses. (IQ average: 59) And are right, Henry is a serious looker! You make such pretty kids!



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