Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Taxman Cometh

Well, some of you may recall my boasting smugly about having finished our taxes way back in January. I guess that irritating smugness may have deterred people from reminding me that I now have a teenage son who managed to be gainfully employed last year and who just might need to file some taxes also. Luckily, I remembered at the last minute; so Theo received a crash course yesterday on W-2's, FICA ("You mean, I don't get that back?"), and why it's best not to guess when typing in your SSN on IRS forms.

To tell you the truth, I just don't remember being that young.

I visited a local mega-church today. A friend of mine invited me to drop in on some talk she was giving, and I jumped at the chance to see one of these places. (All right, the words "free child care" did have some influence on my decision to attend, also.) Being the type of person fascinated by the logistics of efficiency and scale (in other words, being the mother of a somewhat large family), I was awestruck by the organizational skills that are evidently required to run a place like that. And, as a person who attends Catholic Mass with her husband and children, I was also shocked by how modern it all was. I mean, the average Catholic parish simply does not have 2 huge video screens projecting the words of the hymns (complete with slideshow), accompanied by piped-in professional worship music.

So, at dinner tonight, when Rachel was commencing on her 5th glass of whiiine, I had a sudden vision of how to implement mega-church tactics in my very own house. Picture, if you will a large video screen mounted up in a corner of the kitchen, with the words "Shut up and eat!" scrolling continuously over a slide show of pictures of starving 3rd-world children gratefully shoveling spoonfuls of rice and beans into their hungry mouths....I mean, talk about getting our message across to the kids in a multimedia, 21st-century sort of way. I'm still trying to decide on the soundtrack. Suggestions?

Oh, also at dinner - I boasted to Larry about how I didn't even have to pay any back fines at the library today in order to be able to borrow some books, and he said, "Oh, really? Have they started automatically charging our credit card instead?"

Now, was that nice? You'd think he could give me the benefit of the doubt, for once.


  1. 5th glass of whiiine... that's funny girl. Of course, for a split second, I was like.. she lets her kid drink wine? Can I do that too?

  2. Eric Clapton's "Leila."

    "The Wall," by Pink Floyd ("If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have pudding if you don't eat your meat?")

    "A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action" (Toby Keith; you can switch to "Let's Get Drunk and Be Somebody" when you host a party).

    Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."

    ("Hungry Like the Wolf," on the other hand, would probably not be a good choice.)

    And finally, don't forget the Barney classic, "Clean Up, Clean Up!"

  3. If I come up with the winning entry, do I get a spot on your blogroll? (Or do I have to take up knitting for that?)

    Cuteness's preschool uses the "Gymnopedie" of Erik Satie to make them all fall asleep at naptime. It never fails: a full dozen 4-year olds, zonked and zzz'ing. How much is that worth to ya, huh?

  4. Those screens and piped in music completely turn me off from a church, but for use at home to get through to "today's" kids??

    Freakin' brilliant.

  5. too funny about the library. We have 3 cards in this family, but only 2 of them can be used at the moment because the third has some ridiculous $30 charge on it. And if I would remember to take CASH with me to the library, I could actually pay it! :)
    Soundtrack? "Eat It" by Weird Al? :)

  6. That song from the 50's or 60's where the chorus is "no more bread and butter, no more toast and jam..." Or "Feed me, Seymour" from "Little Shop of Horrors". Or "I'm just mad about Saffron" sung by Donovan. Reverse psychology: it's what's for dinner.

  7. I finally got around to our 17 year old's taxes yesterday and the state of Illinois rejected them!!!


    It asked for his middle name so I put his middle name... they only wanted his middle initial - pretty stupid, but done!

    Like you, mine were done and spent before Valentine's Day.

    Soundtrack suggestion, and I'm surprised it hasn't been used already.

    "Eat It" by Michael Jackson, followed by the big purple dinosaur and "Clean Up" I am so with Kalynne on that one. :)

  8. He's funny, is your husband!

  9. I'm loving all these song suggestions; and, mamabird, I'm betting the wine would definitely quiet them down at dinner. Unless it turns out that my kids are loud drunks.

  10. Larrys not just sleeping in the corner, he has caught on to ya. hehe just kidding. You are so whitty, I just was trying to be as cleaver as you. thanks for the laughs

  11. I need a giant screen like that.

    Your husband is funny. Mine would have said something like that, too.

  12. I have found those librarians to be a pretty trusting bunch. I've done the rotating cards thing too when the fines get too high.

  13. Genius - because I need one of those screens, too.

  14. Brilliant!! I could freakin' pipe in some wicked commercials in the middle of their cartoons, too! What a great concept.
    Mama bird might like to know that a generation or so ago some people were giving poppy tea to their toddlers. Kinda explains a lot about some people....

  15. "Breakfast in America" by Supertramp.

  16. You are brilliant with that eating plan. Our church has the screen thing going on and not once have I thought of implementing that in my own home. And how about something in their bedrooms admonishing them to clean it once in a while?

  17. We were SO excited this year that our taxes were done TWO WEEKS early...you amaze me. All the musical selections are great, maybe the song from "Oliver", when he asks for "more"!
    Thanks for the note....let's chat sometime...
    Pax Christi, EJT

  18. Here's a few for different purposes:

    We Will Feed You (whether you like it or not) - Queen

    Treat Me Right (or you may not get any dinner) - Pat Benatar

    Get Up Offa Your Butt (and pick up your dirty clothes) - James Brown

    Play That Funky Music (but turn down the volume) - Wild Cherry

  19. "I boasted to Larry about how I didn't even have to pay any back fines at the library today in order to be able to borrow some books" - It would seem you didn't learn your lesson with the taxes. I see a ruined book in your future.

    Elizabeth is cute thinking that people like us with bunches of kids get our taxes done early because we are organised! It's the refund baby!

  20. I'm with Heidi -- "Eat it" by Weird Al Yankovic. Or something from Live Aid... ;)

    The Library Nazis, I mean librarians, here require that you have no more than $5 in fines in order to take out more books. I have actually fished in the seat cushions of the car for change so I could take out a grownup book. Sad, but true.

  21. You CRACK me up. I want one of those video systems in my house replaying messages about how smart and pretty mama is...lest anyone in my home forgets!

  22. Larry is so funny. I think video screens with animated characters encouraging/scolding/threatening your kids would take a huge load off of any mother. Can't believe I never considered the genius of the mega-church tactic before!

  23. Hmmm, maybe you could put one in your own bedroom to communicate with your husband...how about "No sugar tonight in my coffee, no sugar tonight in my tea!" I don't remember the artist though. Something from the 70s?

    Interesting that you said the average Catholic church doesn't have the screens and powerpoint and so on. I haven't been to a church without that in ages (but I don't usually go to Catholic churches). But my fairly hip cousin (who grew up Catholic) was appalled at my wedding when she saw the screens. She called it divine Karaoke. It's actually a very funny post - check this out: http://www.suburbanbliss.net/suburbanbliss/2004/09/im_always_torn_.html

  24. It seems really sad that there are 'superstore' churches now - I thought the whole point of joining others to celebrate your faith was to make a community - how can they manage a real sense of community when it's so huge and impersonal?

    Perhaps it's just me, I prefer cosy / intimate spaces.

  25. You come up with the best ideas!
    I would have my big screen on every morning saying "Put your shoes on and GET IN THE CAR!"

    You could play "We are the world"

    I agree with Weird Al's "Eat it!"
    Were you aware that Weird Al has an entire CD devoted to food related music?
    "La la la la la lasagna" (La bamba)
    O o o oh O oreo.... the white stuff (the right stuff)
    "Girls just wanna have lunch" (girls just wanna have fun)
    "Taco Grande" (Rico suave)
    "The rye or the kaiser" (The eye of the tiger)

    Yes, we do have this particular CD.

    We played "Party in my tummy" from Yo gabba gabba for our toddler. After watching the video, he actually put a green bean in his mouth (victory!) but then he tasted it, and promptly spit it out.

  26. since i read your mulch post, i see mulch everywhere! you can buy it everywhere, it's around bushes and flower beds....it's a mulch invasion!

  27. are you offering free child care at your mega church dinner table? if so, we're coming over.

  28. Oooh, he's snappy with the comeback, isn't that Larry? But I like your dinner idea...

  29. Your husband is quite the comedian!

    Congrats on no fines!

  30. I went to the library today and NO FINES for me either! Frankly, I was amazed. Group hug, everybody!

  31. I like the sound of the giant screens with the Message of the Moment scrolling across.




    I think you should play Also Sprach Zarathustra because it's just that cool. Let me know if you implement and how it goes! : )