Saturday, July 31, 2010

Yo Quiero Taco Bell

Copyright 2010, Dawn Weber

You touch my taco? You die.

Nor may you munch my nachos or snatch my burrito. They are mine and mine alone, got it? I've got $3, I've got dinner. You don't? Move along.

I refer (what did you think I was talking about, perv?) to the wonderful culinary offerings of Taco Bell, that fine restaurant chain established in 1962 (bless you, Wikipedia) by one Glenn Bell, God rest his cheesy soul.

That's right. Here at the Lighten Up Center for Useless Information, we have determined that the honorable Mr. Bell passed away last January at the age of 86.

Also at LUCUI, we (and Wikipedia) have verified that the beloved "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" chihuahua, Gidget, also recently died, July 21, 2009, at age 15 after a stroke and resulting euthanization.

Both ripe old ages, no? This proves Lighten Up's theory that consuming Taco Bell's four main mouthwatering food groups, beef, cheese, lard, different cheese, are indeed nutritious and should be included as a regular part of the U.S. Food Pyramid.

Lighten Up further theorizes that the Taco Bell menu stimulates serotonin, and may cause addiction. Translation: It makes people happy. And may contain crack. Or both.

For instance:

This is the brain.

This is the brain on Taco Bell.

Need further proof of the Bell's Power? The Lighten Up Center for Useless Information went to the experts - Facebook friends. Take a look at these recent posts:

"Mexi-Melt! Yumm!" said Mari Darr Welch of Florida, who's been known to eat several in one sitting with me.

"Who said Taco Bell? OH MY GOD!" said Wisconsin's Heidi Frazier, always resorting to CAPITAL LETTERS when the BELL is mentioned usually, by me.

"I am craving Taco Bell and getting the shakes several times a day," said Stacey Hatton of Kansas. "Just say no to the Bell! I have to drive by it to get to my dance class. Ugly temptress to the weak-hearted. Five days clean from Ma T. Bell!"

Yes, like these women, I have a problem.

A problem made worse by late-night beverages shenanigans. That's right - I am, and for many decades have been - a proud partaker of the Fourth Meal.

Certain Saturday nights, out on the town with the husband, I start digging for change. And just before 2 a.m., I start elbowing and reminding him of an important task. This is never the overnight fun - and resulting sleep - he wishes for, but rather a quick run for the Border.

"Let's go. I want some Taco Bell," I say.

He sighs, grabs the keys and we hit the road. He knows his place, he knows the drill: My Drive-Thru Driver, my Menu-Board Man, my Staticky-Speaker-Stud.

"How can I help you?" says Teen-Taco-Bell-Boy.

"Yeah. She'll take two chicken soft tacos, a Nachos Supreme and a large diet," he says.

"Anything else?" says TTBB.

"Yeah. I want a Burrito Supreme, a regular soft taco and a medium diet," says the husband.

Damn straight, mister - get your own.

There's no touching my taco.

(Taco Bell also inspires mass amounts of creative talent. Check out Heidi Koch Frazer at, Stacey Hatton at and Mari Darr Welch at

Saturday, July 24, 2010

He Has A Mean Right Hook For An Old Dude

copyright 2010, Dawn Weber

Somebody's beating me up in the middle of the night.

And I think it's Father Time.

Eyes all baggy, forehead all furrowed, cheek all sleep-wrinkled - I wake each morning to a face that looks like it's gone 19 rounds with George Foreman. And his grill.

Beauty sleep? My booty!

Coffee in hand, I head to the mirror to assess injuries.

AHHHHH! My daughter’s gone and flipped the makeup mirror around to the “magnified” side again! This is not nice to do to a young lady of, um, 25, like myself…

Eyelashes pasted to puffy, crinkly eyes. Wrinkles have sprouted in new and unique areas, seemingly overnight. Dark circles that would do the grim reaper proud. And - wouldn’t you know it - a nice zit thrown in. Just for grins n’ giggles.

Ah, middle age. Wrinkles AND acne. A double delight!

You know, that Father Time is one mean S.O.B. - Stealer o' Beauty - and I hope Mother Nature and the Tooth Fairy gang up and kick his ass someday. (Just sayin'...)

Damages assessed, I reach for my weapons against Mr. Time. In fact, I've an entire heaping Longaberger basket filled with lotions, serums, gels, and potions - just to keep him away.

There's your standard lotions, SPF lotions, day lotions and night lotions, your alpha hydroxies, your retinols, your self tanners and your soothing gels. Your pore reducers, your exfoliators, your tone enhancers and your anti-oxidants…

And don't get me started on the eye creams. They have their own basket.

I was discussing the Father Time fight with my good friend Marj the other day, telling her how it's taking more and more of these "chemical weapons" to fight him off. She had this to say:

"It'll only get worse."

I don't know why I expected her to say anything else. This is her standard answer for everything. Marj, a few (EIGHT!) years older than me, is the Eeyore of Aging:

Me: "Now, what was it I was going to tell you? I can't remember what I was going to say..."
Marj: "It'll only get worse."
Me: (Different day) "Can you turn the music up? I can't quite hear it..."
Marj: “It'll only get worse."

Sometimes, she doesn't even listen before spreading her Message of Doom.

Me: "Hey Marj - do you want some potato chips?"
Marj: "It'll only get worse."

Whatever would I do without Wise Marj?

Seeking more Marj-ness, recently I told her that Father Time isn’t just pummeling my face each night. Judging by painful, tender muscles in strange, new places, he’s also pounding my shoulders, legs, back and hips. Each day, I wake to aching muscles in different bodily areas, wondering what I did to deserve the misery.

Of course, Marj also has a theory on Father Time’s nightly below-the-neck smack down:

Wise Marj: “Yep, that’s your Body Bingo.”
Me: “Huh?”
Wise Marj: “You know. It's when you wake up each morning, feeling what’s sore, trying to remember what you did the day before to hurt yourself in that particular spot. That's the Body Bingo.”

I asked Wise Marj what I could do to fight Father Time's nasty board game.

Really. Why do I bother asking? I knew her answer just as soon as she shrugged and uttered the words from her wise old mouth:

“It’ll only get worse.”

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It's Only Rock n' Roll But He Knows It...Better Than You!

(Post copyright 2010, Dawn Weber)

This just in!

Bon Jovi screws up their lyrics, the Beastie Boys are dead and AC/DC has a hit they know nothing about!

Thank you, Guitar Hero. You've created a Musical Monster Genius!

Yes, this popular video game has made my son, 7, a veritable rock n' roll expert. According to him.

The dude beats everyone on that game, even though he's so small that he has to hold the instrument across his lap, steel guitar-style. And this plastic-guitar virtuosity has got him thinking that he's an all-around modern-music master. I am so annoyed grateful!

He proved his brilliance the other day when we heard "Rock & Roll" by Led Zeppelin.

"Oh yeah! It's AC/DC!" he said, banging his little head.

"No, Levi, that's Led Zeppelin," I said.

"It is not! It's AC/DC!" he said.

"Sorry, bud. This song came out when I was two. I have the album. I had the cassette. I probably had the 8-track," I said to a boy who knows none of those terms. "I have it on my Ipod now - I'll show you. It's Led Zeppelin."

"Mom," he said, barely concealing his disdain for my stupidity. "I can tell - this is AC/DC."

"Ok, Levi, it's AC\DC," I said.

See there? You thought "Rock &Roll" was by Led Zeppelin, too. Obviously, you were wrong. Dummy.

Also, someone needs to call Jon Bon Jovi, stat. My boy informed me that the lyrics to "You Give Love a Bad Name" are all wrong. It's not:

"Shot through the heart/And you're to blame/Darlin' you give love/A bad name."

Oh, no. According to my kid, that particular line goes:

"Shock up your heart/And you're too late/You give love/A bad grade."

But wait, there's more! He's not only gifted in classic rock - he's also quite the rap music expert. Again, according to him. My daughter left her music blaring the other day, allowing he and I the following brilliant conversation:

"Hey Mom! It's your favorite rapper...M & M's!" he said.

"Well...Eminem is O.K.," I said, "but my favorite rapper is Kid Rock."

"Kid Rock isn't a rapper!" he said.

"Well, he used to rap, before he went country.Or rock. Or country..." I said.

"He isn't a rapper!" said the 7-year-old rap expert.

"O.K....then my favorite rapper is...the Beastie Boys," I said.

"The Beastie Boys?! They're dead!" he said.

"No, son, they're about my age. They're not dead. Yet," I said.

"Nah...they're dead," he said.

"OK, Levi. They're dead," I said.

And that? Is what happens when lame white people discuss rap music. No one wins. Least of all the poor Beastie Boys.

Somebody should call them, too - I'm sure they would like to contest their demise - but they'd quickly learn their lesson.

There's really no use arguing with the Guitar Hero.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Less Than a Mouthful's a Shame

copyright 2010, Dawn Weber

Tapas restaurants: itty bitty plates, teeny tiny portions and one small question. Where's the flippin’ beef?

These fancy-pants eateries are the latest trend and based on the concept of appetizers as dining. The "tapas" (Spanish word meaning 'ridiculously tiny mouse meal‘) are passed around and shared amongst the table.
F.Y.I? Anyone attempting to split my grub will draw back a bloody hand, featuring a protruding fork. I am an American girl of German lineage, raised in Youngstown around a bunch of Italians. I need some portions, yo. Meat, potatoes - and probably pasta.

Somehow, several joints like this have popped up around Columbus, Ohio. Great idea! Give one of fattest cities in one of the fattest nations, well, no food. Yeah. That'll work. No wonder the restaurants’ valets spend their evenings texting.

Not knowing what I, er, wasn’t getting myself into, I went to one of these joints recently. I'm a sucker for a beautiful place, with the fancy lighting and whatnot.

Trouble was, no one had told me of the Mouse Meals.

When my food arrived, I thought the server had made a mistake: three miniscule corn tortillas artfully arranged with a few tablespoons of salsa substance. What my husband likes to call “them-there European Portions.”

“Miss? I’m sorry. I didn’t order an appetizer. I ordered the fish tacos?” I said to the waitress.

“Oh Ma’am,” she said, losing tip percentage for old-lady-ma’am-word usage, “That is your meal. We serve tapas here..."

I examined my plate. I rubbed my eyes, and looked again. Enough food for, say, a kitten.

“Ma’am, usually people share each other’s tapas…” said the soon-to-be-tip-less server.

So I looked at my friend’s plate. She had a similar lack of grub. Between the two of us, we could have fed a small…..child.

I decided to really let that server have it! Give them the old what-for! Just let that joint’s management know exactly how I felt!

“Okay - great! Thanks!” I said,.

Sigh. My friend and I exchanged glances. I knew what she was thinking: Just who's the Einstein who came up with this concept, in this economy? Folks are poor!

She and I had decided to eat out as a special treat. Two working moms, full of your typical Mommy-Guilt. We don’t get out much. This lunch was our big hurrah for the month. And here we were. Stuck with the European Portions and a beautiful young waitress who was “ma’am”-ing us into an early grave.

So we made the best of it. Dug in, so to speak. And let me tell you, there was no sharing going on: those few bites of food weren’t going anywhere but down - into our guts.

Three minutes - and $30 each - later, we were done. Our normally way-too-brief 45-minute-lunch was more than enough. The good news? We still had time to hit the vending machines before clocking in.

I know, I know. This is the way French women eat, and the reason they’re all so thin and gorgeous. Blah, blah, blah - whatever.

But I’m from the U.S.A. Give me my large plate, my giant portions and my big belly. It’s the American Way.

Friday, July 2, 2010

They Are Not Hooker Shoes! (Fine. Just Take Me Dancing. Please?)

Photos and Post, Copyright 2010, Dawn Weber

He calls them the 'Dead Hooker Shoes.'

I prefer the term 'Dancing Shoes.'

My husband's only saying that because they light up... and strobe...with clear heels...and red lights.

O.K. So The Shoes aren't, how you say, 'subtle.' But believe me - I'm a 41-year-old mother of two. I've had enough 'subtle'.

And I'm not selling or giving away anything, especially, er, THAT. The only thing I put out around this place is peanut butter sandwiches.

You hungry?

Anyway, look at These Shoes!

In These Shoes, I am the Dancing Queen. Young and sweet. Only 17! (And I am so NOT a dead hooker...)

No one in These Shoes fixes peanut butter sandwiches. No one in These Shoes listens to whining. No one in These Shoes wipes a counter, a face, or a baby bottom.

Women (hell - even certain men) wearing These Shoes have fun! There is dancing! There is craziness! There is debauchery!

If you're not careful, there is jail time!

And? There most definitely is NO peanut butter anywhere near These Shoes.

Need a night out? Slip 'em on. Need a party? These Shoes will bring it. Need a dance floor? These Shoes strobe like the one below John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

I don't get to wear them much. Because,dancing, at my age, does not happen often.

When I do, people love them. The women (and again - even certain men) want to know where I got them.

If I am busy dancing, this is what my-husband-the-cop tells them:

"I got them off a dead hooker, at work in the city. Yeah, she didn't need them anymore..."

Nice. He's lying, of course. He's such a hater of These Shoes. I don't listen to him. Ever. He is just jealous because his police boots don't have strobes.

Mr. Cop was nowhere around the night I was threatened for my dancing kicks. That's right - one of my girlfriends saw a woman looking at my feet, then telling her friend:

"I just want to knock her down and take her shoes."

Oh no she did-n't! Listen here, do not know who you are dealing with. Anyone trying to steal my Party-Pumps will get a quick, Lucite, battery-powered heel planted squarely in their behind.These Shoes will go nowhere but my feet, understand?

Because, I'll tell you what, I've never had a bad time in them. When the little lights burn out, I'll scour the web and find replacements.

And when my lights burn out, and I'm done dancing for good, they'll go to my daughter.

After all, she loves them, too. I've taught her one of life's important lessons: Only the best shoes have batteries.