Sunday, August 31, 2008

Get the door - It might be Domino's

Can I just say, without launching into my promised tirade about the lack of customer service in Holland, that Domino's pizza has disappointed me on more than one occassion?

In the US, Domino's delivers in 30 minutes, or your order is free. In Holland, they deliver in 30 minutes or...you just have to wait a little longer. One time it took them an hour and 15 minutes.

So, good service being the exception here, imagine my surprise when we got Domino's tonight and it was 1) On time; 2) delicious; and 3) still hot. It wasn't just ok; it was actually GOOD. The cinnastix were still warm, and the pizza was flavorful, fresh, and on time. You could've knocked me over with a feather.

See? THIS is what I'm talking about. I'll order from them again, not because I have no other choice (but there aren't really that many...) but because it was worthy of my business. This is something that is such a foreign notion in the Netherlands. No one cares about the quality of service they provide, so everyone just becomes used to sub-par service, if any.

Congratulations, Domino's. I salute you! Do not let the lack of enthusiasm discourage you. There ARE people who appreciate your effort. Make this a trend. Please!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Smoking Banter


So there is a smoking ban in Holland now. Cigarettes. Bad, evil, naughty, polluting cigarettes. Here, let me light that joint for you...

I saw a sign at our local pot shop detailing the ban and saying something like: "we do not want to have to clean up tobacco and cigarette filters." WTF? Is this another loophole? Don't leave evidence so we aren't liable?

Marijuana is already tap-dancing on the paper-thin ice of legality - are we really going to enforce the "no tobacco" law in coffeeshops? That's like arresting a hooker in the Red Light for littering. Just a thought.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I got nothin'

I can't think of anything to write, so I am watching TV and laptopping.

There is a mosquito circling my head and I can't kill the bastard. (Why do they always bite you like 20 times? Can't they just give you one good long bite and leave you alone for a couple hours? That would be appreciated when I'm trying to sleep.)

I do like the Family Guy. It reminds me of when I was living in Rhode Island, and it's really American humor. Comedy Central is becoming my favorite channel.

Lame post. Can't brain today. I've got the dumb.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back that shit up

Does no one else notice the lack of personal space here?

Attention Dutch dames en heren:

1) For the love of all that is holy, when I am shopping and looking at something, let me put it down before you pick it up. It's not your size. Trust me. You are a wee skinny bitch and I am a buxom trut. Back off before I crush you.

2) When the restaurant is empty, DO NOT SIT NEXT TO ME. I know. I am magnetic and lovely and you wish to orbit me, but being so close to you makes me want to shove a french fry up your nose.

3) On a crowded bus, do not grab my child's stroller for support. It makes my maternal instincts kick in and I develop the strength of 10 men. If I could move, I'd smack you one.

4) When we are shopping at Albert Hate, let me make my selection before bending in front of me to get your sperziebonen, cheese, karbonade, or whatever. I don't want to have to club you with my can of Unox worstjes. And have patience with my little boy. He wants to push the carriage. Think back to when you were a little blondie. Remember how important those things were?

I know it's a crowded country. I know you have developed these annoying habits as a product of natural selection, but if one more of you bumps into me without apologizing, I am going to go postal.

That is all. I'll be in my bunk...

I See Stars

I see stars. Lots of them. They walked right by my window. Some even looked inside. That's what happens when you live sandwiched between a 5-star hotel and one of Amsterdam's most famous coffeeshops.

Here are a few - Goldie Hawn, Woody Harrelson, 50 Cent (more on him later), Rage Against the Machine, Pink, Beyonce, Tommy Lee...

Pink was actually sitting on my doorstep waiting for her bus to pull up when my partner D came home. He said "Does anyone ever tell you that you look like that singer...um..."

She goes, "Pink?"

D goes, "No, I'll think of it in a minute..."

She assured him he meant Pink.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Email Address

I now have an email address devoted to the blog. It's amsterdamyankee@gmail.com. It's also listed in my profile. Feel free to email away til your heart's content! (That goes for you too, munchkinsmama!)

Send along any questions, comments or topics you think I should write about.

I'm honored that people are actually reading my blog and subscribing to it. Thank you so much for encouraging my behavior.

It ain't the cold, it's the humidity

Why isn't that a saying in Holland? This is the only place I have ever been where it can be cold AND humid.

You bundle up to go outside, then sweat inexplicably. When you take off a layer, the wind blows and freezes you until you put your soaking wet layer back on again. Then it fucking rains.

I come from New England, where the weather is notoriously unpredictable, but Holland makes New England look as predictable as, well, rain.

Then there's the hail. Then rain. Then the sky clears so quickly that even the rainbows get confused. They show up and then go, "oh shit, this again?" and disappear.

I had a Swedish friend who used to say "there is no bad weather, just bad clothes," which is true 'round these parts. The problem is knowing WHICH clothes. You always have to be ready to get rained, hailed or sunned on at any second of the day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Meeting with the Burgermeester

Thanks for the suggestion Sophie - I will try the Burgermeester. I have to hit Elandsgracht this week to have my bakfiets tuned, and they just opened there.

I'll be sure to report back to everyone, as I know you are all holding your breath in anticipation...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Frannie the Tranny

When V was an infant, he was colicky and had skin problems, but the cold weather soothed him like nothing else would. We found ourselves pushing his carriage or carrying him in a sling at all hours of the day and night throughout the winter through the busiest, seediest part of the city.

We lived in the Red Light District, and our late night jaunts brought us past the same colorful characters, night after night, and we got to know some of them pretty well.

I have a lot of good/funny stories about most of these people that we came to be acquainted with. This is one of them...

Francine is a pre-op transsexual (has a penis and boobs) who works a window in the transsexual section of the Red Light. (We secretly call her Frannie the Tranny.) She's always been really sweet to us and the kids, having seen my belly grow with V, and always peeking curiously into his carriage.

(Some of the girls can be really rude, or make gross gestures, so when you have kids around, politeness is appreciated.)

D was out late one night with a couple of Americans, all shitfaced, when someone joked about getting a prostitute for the drunkest friend, whom I'll call Bob.

Being in the neighborhood, D said "I've got the perfect girl for you!" and took him to Francine's window.

Bob got really hostile when he saw her and started making derogatory comments, so everyone just decided to call it a night and go home.

We saw Francine a couple weeks later at AH (see Albert Hate below) and D apologized to her for the behavior of Bob, saying that he hoped she hadn't become upset.

She said, "It's OK honey. Why do you think he was embarrassed?"

Yeah, that's right. He'd already been to her a couple times.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The neighbors are naked again

We have a sneaking suspicion that our neighbors are nudists. The downstairs ones, not the one who was arrested this week.

Every time I knock on their door, it seems that he has just had a "shower" and needs to go put on a robe before greeting me - and I don't knock that often or consistently at the same time.

We first began to suspect this when my partner would smoke on our balcony in the mornings. He would often hear rumblings from the balcony below and look down to see our neighbor - who is 65 if he's a day - smoking outside in all his glory.

I let it go, saying "well, maybe he sleeps naked and wants a smoke first thing in the morning." D said "No, I don't think so."

Neither one of them looks comfortable in clothing, and they are always dressed like they threw something on from their bedroom floor. And she never wears a bra, despite needing one.

They have often told us that they visit Het Twiske on nice days and that "you don't even have to wear a bathing suit." I've noticed that their 10-year-old daughter usually has a dark tan after visiting, and she has bragged to my stepdaughter about being able to run around naked.

Now, I am all for freedom of expression, and adults doing what they want, but I think there is a point that kids need to learn that their public nudity isn't always safe or acceptable. I personally think that the age cutoff for buck-naked beach-going is about 3 for kids. Once they're 18, who cares?

Call me a prude or an American, but I don't want my kids exposed for any creep to see. There is plenty of time for al fresco frolicking and smoking when they get to college. Besides, what if you drop an ash??

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I want a burger

I want a burger. Not just any kind of burger, but a seriously disgustingly juicy, rudely gigantic burger with enough bacon, cheese and jalapenos to choke a stable full of horses. A burger so succulent that you have to wipe your mouth after every bite. Mmmmmm.

A restaurant I used to frequent in Rhode Island had that particular burger on the menu. They called it the "Go f*ck yourself burger," since there wasn't a thing about it that was healthy.


You can get those burgers (perhaps minus the jalapenos) in any location you hit with a dart on a map of America. It'll run you about $8.95, if memory serves, and that's in a place where they will bring it to your table on a plate with fries, not wrapped up in paper and thrown in a greasy bag. You can order it rare, medium, well-done, or - my favorite - medium rare. In Holland, the whole concept is rare.

My continuous search for the perfect burger in Holland has led me to believe the following: The Dutch have no fucking clue what a burger should look or taste like.

The closest approximation to the burger I mentioned can be had at one of two places in Amsterdam, but it'll cost you, and you won't get no friggin' jalapenos.

Renaissance cafe at the Renaissance Hotel off Spuistraat. They won't let you specify a temperature, but they won't burn it to a crisp, either. It is seriously good and almost TOO big - but I always manage to cram it in. The damage? 15 euros. What is that in American pesos, I mean, dollars? Around 22 bucks, I'd say.

The next best is at the Tara Irish pub and restaurant where the service is almost non-existent, but at least they have fireplaces. Again, 15 euros.

Do not - I repeat - DO NOT attempt to order a burger that seems reasonably priced at any kind of "brown" cafe or eethuis. You will get a squashed, burned, oddly-spiced meatball that you won't be able to choke down without a bottle of mayonnaise. (Fortunately, there will be mayonnaise on the table for your... wait for it... fries).

The considerable paucity of good burgers may have a plus side - there are less fat asses here. Riding around on the bike looking for burgers is a lot healthier than driving three blocks to the closest Ground Round, 99, Chili's or Applebee's to eat yourself senseless, but man, do I wish I could do that once in awhile!

(You like that word paucity, huh? Always looking for a pocket to squeeze in a good Latin cognate. "Considerable paucity" is an oxymoron. I'm frickin' ON today!)

Busted!

Our neighbor got arrested this week, and not in a normal way, either. The SWAT team came in with shields and rifles and led him out blindfolded, then searched his house. No idea what happened there.

Have you ever noticed that in a situation like this, it's always best to be "the neighbor"? Whenever a serial killer is arrested, they interview "the neighbor." They always say the same thing, but the point is - the neighbor never gets killed.

What it says about the neighborHOOD is something else, though...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our Urinal

Outside the apartment where we lived for 3 years is a giant *historical* public urinal, or "pissoir" as the French say. Our friends call it "the Urina Marina," since it is right on the canal near their boat.

I can't tell you how many of my stories begin and end with this urinal. You can see what people are doing in there because the bottom is open, but the top and sides are covered, so people think it's really private, if stinky.

For example, there is a homeless guy who sells donuts out of a big cardboard box. God knows where they come from. Well, one day he scraped together enough money to get a crack whore. Guess where they went?

I won't specify the direction of their feet, but when they came out, he was still holding his donuts (reminds me of a joke...nevermind...). Eew.

The really funny part was that the hooker stuck around to try to button his pants back up - very motherly - while he wavered back and forth with his cardboard box. Eew.

Here's a picture of a guy standing on our urinal dressed as Freddy Mercury and singing "I want to break free." Yes, he was British. But that is a story for another day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I love being right!

I love, love, love, LOVE being right:
SEE?

You read it here first folks (both of you). The British are a bunch of drunken a-holes:)

Cat:1; Mouse:0

He got it. The lazy bastard caught the mouse. I love my cat so much that I am going to have his litter bronzed.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What is it about mice?

I have seen gross. I have known horror. I've experienced fear.

I've seen clench-jawed junkies shoot up outside my children's bedroom window. I have given birth twice. I have been frisked at a maximum-security prison. But nothing, NOTHING raises the hairs on my neck and makes me scream like a little girl like a tiny, grey mouse.

There was one in the living room this morning. Our trusty cat Cosmo was sniffing around my son's toys and I saw it bolt under the couch. You know you're in trouble when this:

is your last line of defense against evil. The same cat I have yelled at, tripped over and shuttled aside with my feet can become my hero if he would just man up.

He's caught them before, but I think he has become a little too well-fed and fixed to have the drive now. Once he lost sight of it, he sniffed around half-heartedly, then contented himself with attacking the dog.

I think I won't feed him today and if he catches said mouse, he'll get the biggest bowl of creamiest cream I can buy.

Friday, August 15, 2008

You're too much, baby


I went to Baby Planet yesterday to exchange a baby sling that D bought for me.

Thursday nights are called "shopping night" since stores are opened until 9-ish, (unlike in America, where any and all stores are open EVERY night and there are all-night pharmacies and supermarkets even in small towns - shopping in Holland kills me). I had the bright idea to ALL go to the store together and look around, exchange the sling, and maybe grab dinner.

(Ironically, when my son was born, they monitored him for a potential lung problem. You'd never have guessed it by the way he screamed last night. We barely got to look in the store, since V had a freakout. So much for shopping so close to bedtime. But that's another rant.)

Meanwhile, they have the most beautiful things there for children, but expensive! I'm talking about 120 euro swings, 80 euro play mats and 800 euro carriages. (We have one of those expensive carriages, and I must say it is really worth it.) It wasn't even a high-end shop for the glitterati, but for average families on regular salaries. I don't know how people afford all this kit for kids here. Toddler shoes and jackets are 70 euros.

Let me just clarify that everyone buys this stuff for their kids unless they are really among the lowest of the low class. Bugaboo baby carriages are practically standard-issue here. People really want their kids to look good, which can lead to a case of "Keeping up with the Joneses" - or "Keeping up with the Jansens," here in Holland.

I am frugal in that I want good quality without paying too much - I love Target, for example. However, I once mentioned to D that I had seen some cute things at Zeeman (kind of a K-Mart) and he was embarrassed. He said that he had promised himself that HIS children would never wear anything from a store like THAT. EVER.

Can you imagine? I mean, kids grow so quickly. Why can't I buy a cheap pair of pants for the baby, knowing he'll probably wear them twice? OK, they look a *little* chintzy, but if anyone has the bad taste to mention it to me, I'll just point to our 800-euro baby carriage, stick my nose in the air, and walk away.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Albert Hate

Our local overpriced-and-only-decent supermarket is called Albert Heijn, or AH. I hate the place with the intensity of a thousand suns. It's always packed, check-out lines are at least 7 customers deep, and the staff act like jaded superstars phoning in their performances.

Not the place I want to visit with two children. If it weren't for the nice homeless man who "works" there handing out flyers and collecting shopping carts, I'd never even make it in the door, since it is too narrow for my baby carriage - they have to buzz me in and out through a special gate reserved for wheelchairs. The bell for said gate is broken, so this guy will bellow to a staff member to open it. I dread the days he isn't there.

I had make the trip today because I desperately needed bread and diapers. (My oldest won't eat anything but sandwiches and my youngest won't do anything but poop.) Being mid-morning, it wasn't too busy, so V could use his own mini shopping cart.

Had to wait to check out since only one register was open. The line was twisted down the aisle. What do they care? Paid 50 euros for two bags of groceries (that I packed myself into bags I had brought with me - fucking Europe).

On the walk home, V wanted to walk and hold my hand. Having only 2 hands, I set one bag on his little ride-along stand on the carriage, careful that nothing spilled.

Finally at home, V wanted to be carried upstairs, of course, since it was impossible. I told him to wait for me and I'd make 2 trips. First trip, two shopping bags in one hand, baby in bassinet in the other. Up to the third floor. The timed entry light goes out halfway up - the one at the top is blown out. Scary. Next trip, carry up the boy and the diapers. City living. Glamourous!

Once I'd unpacked the groceries, I wanted to make a sandwich for my big boy. But where was the bread? I lost the fucking bread on the way home. I LOST the fucking BREAD on the way home. I can't believe it. No wonder you can't own guns here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

He can't help it: He's Dutch

My oldest son is a neat freak. He loves to clean and organize, and things upset him when they aren't "quite right." If he were 20, I wouldn't mind, but he's 2.

I've actually had to punish him by NOT letting him clean. I've said things like "put that vacuum down right now and come over here!" and "If you don't listen to me, I am taking away your squirt bottle and rag!"

This is how he plays with cars:


When he was one and a half, he was playing in the kitchen utensil drawer, as babies are wont to do, and he came across a pen. He handed it to me and said disapprovingly "Mommy, not here."

He is definitely Dutch. This does not (repeat, NOT) come from me. It is the inherent cleanliness that comes from being born among canals and windmills.

One of the things that fascinates and disturbs me about the Dutch is this clean streak.

If you have a backyard or outdoor space here - and in the city, that's quite a thing - the first thing these people do is pull out all the vegetation and pave it, then put furniture, flower pots and the inevitable garden gnome on it. WTF?

Don't even THINK about letting the dog go in the yard - walk him outside instead. WTF is the point of having a fenced yard if not to let the dog go in it? Especially with all the rain here. They would rather go out in the hail and rain than let the dog piss on the yards that they purposely cover with brick and stones. That's comedy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Obnoxious Award

In keeping with the last post, I was thinking about whose behavior is the worst when traveling.

People like to call Americans loud and obnoxious, but after years of observation, I've decided this: We ARE loud, but not nearly as obnoxious as we get branded. And compared to the award-winning country, we are QUITE well-behaved.

(An aside - A friend of mine who works in a restaurant said "I don't know why everyone talks about the Americans badly. They are always polite and never run out on their check, not like those fucking Canadians.")

No, it's another English-speaking people...namely THE English. I have never seen such idiocy in my life. The problem is, the pound is stronger than the euro, so they all come down here for a nice cheap weekend away to celebrate bachelor parties and "hen" weekends. I don't think I have gone a single weekend without seeing an English person falling, being pushed, or jumping in the canal.

They drink and drink and drink, then get stoned, and throw up all over the streets. I've called an ambulance once for an Italian, once for someone of unknown origin, and three times for the English.

Once an English drinker/stoner was so messed up that he passed out while standing and cracked his skull on my doorstep. Good times.

They seem to get terrible beer muscles and are always looking for a fight. Particularly when there is a football (soccer) match against the Dutch. Win or lose, it's always "knokken."

They have no shame when it comes to dressing bachelors in drag, or giving brides-to-be hats made out of condoms to wear while they cackle around Amsterdam. Shaving cream and face paints are favorites too.

British women don't seem to know when they are fat, so they always dress as though they are thin. They aren't. Let me explain something. There are big boobs, and there are fat boobs. There is only one kind that people want to see hanging out of a tube top. If you find yourself tucking a fat roll into your pants because it keeps oozing up over your waistband, don't put on a tube top. You're not fooling anyone. Those are fat boobs. And stop smoking, for Christ's sake. It looks sleazy, and it sure isn't helping you lose weight.

It reminds me of this:

Aussies: Dislike being mistaken for Pommies (Brits) when abroad.
Canadians: Are rather indignant about being mistaken for Americans when
abroad.
Americans: Encourage being mistaken for Canadians when abroad.
Brits: Can't possibly be mistaken for anyone else when abroad.

So congratulations, Brits! You make us look good!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ugly Like Me

One of the impressions that the Dutch - if not all Europeans - have of Americans is that we are insincere.

At first, this struck me as odd. I find Americans much "warmer" and touchy-feely than the Dutch. I think we are more expressive, talkative and friendlier.

Then it hit me. That's what makes us so insincere. Think about it. We say "how are you?" whenever we see someone, and expect "fine, how are YOU?" instead of a litany of their woes. It's become more of a rhetorical question to us, but to people for whom English is a second language, it seems like we really DON'T care how they are unless it's "fine."

Also, we exaggerate like crazy. Think of all the hyperbole we use every day. We're always saying things like "This is the best ice cream EVER!" and "I HATE when that happens!" and "Those are the prettiest flowers I've ever seen" and "I literally had a heart attack" (no you didn't. You figuratively had a heart attack, but that's another rant.)

Not to mention we say things to soften the blow and be polite, whereas Dutch people would simply tell the truth. If you ask an American friend if you look fat in your outfit, she'll say something like "I don't know. Turn around... Well, maybe it's not the best color on you. I think you look fine, but maybe you should change if you don't feel comfortable." Ask a Dutch friend the same question and she'll say "Yes. Wear something else."

How many times have you said something like "Oh, we should get together for lunch every week," or "we should do this again sometime," or "I'll call you" and then actually followed through? Dutch people would think of that as your having lied to them. They would never say any of those things unless they were planning on putting it in their schedule.

So the bottom line is that we think we are being nice, but everyone else thinks we're just a bunch of lying drama queens. I kinda think we're both.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

White Trash Christening

So I saw a headline I just HAD to click on. This was it: Jamie Lynn Spears Takes Daughter Maddie to Local Wal-Mart. (Usmagazine.com)

No! She didn't! The hell, you say!

The 17-year-old Skank o'the Month apparently engaged in a time-honored white trash tradition...dressing like a 'ho and taking the brood to Wal-Mart. Big fucking deal. This is news?

No one even told us what she bought or if anything exciting happened, like the baby spitting up or fussing in Housewares. Did she have to change a diaper in the *gasp* Wal-Mart bathroom?

Please, let's give this little girl the pat on the back she deserves by reporting her every move like it is of national importance. By the way, she ain't even a celebrity. She's the SISTER of one. She tried the celeb thing, but just couldn't stay away from the pipe-laying boyfriend (no, seriously, he is). Don't they sell condoms at Wal-Mart?

Fortunately, JLS will never have to fear going without for the sake of her child, or trying to figure out which milk WIC will cover, or how to stretch out the pennies in the coin jar. And of course, everyone will applaud her every move, agog.

Remember girls, teen pregnancy is cool and makes you popular. Everyone will admire you and write articles about your every move while you hold that precious little bundle who'll love you forever, just like your boyfriend. Everyone just LOVES a teen mom!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dutch chickens

So our new house has a bird coop out back. The current owner breeds exotic birds, and the coop won't fit at his new house, so he asked if he should leave it rather than demo it. It's really quite nicely built. D and I have discussed what we should do with it, and D said, all excited "We can get chickens!" WTF?! Who wants chickens?

He argued that it would be fun for the kids, and "we'd always have eggs," and insisted that this is something normal Dutch people have been known to do; even in the city.

I argued that they are dirty, noisy and I'm American. Plus, I had a friend who moved to the country and thought it would be fun to have chickens. He ended up with so many eggs that he would leave them at his neighbors' doors, ring the bell and run.

So, no. No chickens.

I showed pictures of the new house to a friend - another young dad. He asked about the coop and I told him the story of why it was staying.

"Cool," he said, "you can get chickens."

WTF?

Monday, August 4, 2008

This is how we roll

When I tell people I have a bike with a box in the front - a bakfiets - they can never quite visualize it. This is an Amsterdam minivan. There is a little bench in the box with two seatbelts for your kids. Now I ride with the baby's carseat in front with a child's seat on the rack behind me for V. I have thighs of steel.



We had a graffiti artist make it a little more "us" with a skull and crossbones on the front, flames on the side, and Amsterdam's triple-x shield on the back.

I don't know what I'd do without my bakfiets. It has given me more mobility than a car would and it's free to park. People consider it sort of an Amsterdam yuppie status symbol (no wonder, considering how expensive they are), but it's really a necessity for me. They make much bigger ones with three wheels. It is a common sight here to see tiny Dutch women pushing around 3 or 4 kids in one of these rolling living rooms.

I have actually taken my cat to the vet on this bike with my son's feet on top of the carrier, while I was 7 months pregnant. My partner said if I'd have sent a photo of that to Immigration, they'd have granted me permanent Dutch citizenship.

If I ever find the bastard who stole my first bakfiets, there won't be enough of him left to bury. That's why the Dutch invented bike insurance. Cue Goldmember "Isn't dat vierd?"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Who started this Freegan thing anyways?

Leave it to Oxford students to take dumpster diving out of the realm of the homeless and turn it into a snotty, we're-better-than-you activity (Actually, I'm surprised it's not Harvard).

Can we get a moratorium on freegan self-importance?

I'm all for getting something for nothing, but I'm gonna draw the line at eating out of a dumpster. Incidentally, don't tell me how bright you are for eating trashed food with your high-end college degree and six-figure salary. Here's a quote I pulled from the Guardian's web site on an article about "freegans:"

"The word freegan is a blend of "free" and "vegan". Devotees of freeganism seek to make a political statement by rescuing edible food and perfectly good household items from supermarket bins and skips respectively.

"Freeganism attracts all sorts — from doctors and lawyers on six-figure incomes to students and families struggling to make ends meet."Freeganism is a proactive movement," says Alf Montagu, a spokesman for UKfreegans. "It's not just about foraging for free food at the back of supermarkets. It's also about giving back with our time to the wider community."

Have we really sunken so low as a society that we need to applaud ourselves for our willingness to sift through dirty diapers, cat litter, and who knows what else in order to get a free meal? I even saw these dump devotees on Oprah.

Go ahead, pick your food out of the trash, but don't pretend that you're making a political statement or that you're saving the world. And for God's sake, don't invite me to dinner.

(This is a little off-topic, but who cares? It's my frigging blog, I'll write what I want.)