7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 170)

April 27, 2012 | 43 comments

— 1 —

I know what you’re thinking: Jen, I have not seen enough of you on my computer screen lately. You were in LOTR, you blessed us with that video of yourself chasing around a scorpion in utter futility, and yet I find myself yearning for more. Could we get you to run your mouth a little more in front of a camera?

You’re in luck. Just for you, I went on Fox and Friends on Fox News last week, to talk about the 9th Circuit’s ruling that political ads can air on public television:

— 2 —

Bug WatchHave kids? Want to ruin your life? Get one of these. My children like to collect those pill bug things, and after too many times of having my bowls and glasses commandeered as bug habitats, I went on Amazon and bought one of these “watches” that acts as a mini bug house. Because I secretly hate myself, I only bought one.

Like could not even begin to describe my children’s feelings for this thing. Love isn’t all that close either. Nay, it is as if, upon beholding the green toy contained within the Amazon box, each of them instantly realized that his or her entire life up until this point had been a sad, sad joke, and now, by way of this bug watch, a life of joy and wonder could finally begin. But there was only one, to be shared among my four oldest kids.

I instantly ordered a couple more with two-day shipping, and thus began the longest 172, 800 seconds of our lives as we waited for the next box to arrive. Even now that they’re here, the problems have not ended. If there is any question of one child using another child’s bug watch, our house instantly turns into a scene out of a WWF cage match.

Heed my warning, fellow parents: Think LONG and HARD before introducing your children to the world of bug watch ownership.

— 3 —

Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess, a.k.a. the blogger I really cannot link to, had a book signing here in Austin last night. I went, because I feel a familial sense of duty to follow the careers of crazy sixth-generation Texan bloggers who write memoirs. Hundreds of adoring fans packed the entire second floor of Book People, so this was my view:

My view of the Bloggess

In addition to a reading, she was celebrating the fact that she just found out that her book, which was released only days before, was #1 on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. I should have told her about my eerily accurate prediction from back in January, perhaps jumping up and down and shouting, “Who called it?!” People would have been all like, “Wow, you guessed that someone with over 200, 000 Twitter followers would be able to sell a lot of copies of her book. You’re a veritable soothsayer!”

— 4 —

During the Q&A after the reading, a fan asked Jenny Lawson about how she handles blog trolls. Her answer was genius. She said that she used to have some people who would regularly leave extremely hateful, personally insulting comments. After trying unsuccessfully to ban their IP addresses, she started going into her control panel and editing their comments to delete what they actually said, and write something like this instead:

I just wanted to tell you how much I admire you, not only as a writer but as a person. I am your biggest fan, and aspire to be like you in every way.

Inevitably these people would see her changes, and leave a second, more vitriolic comment letting everyone know that they never said anything of the sort. And she would edit that too, so that it ended up saying:

I was worried that I might not have expressed my full appreciation in that first comment, so I wanted to come back to reiterate how amazing I think you are. I’m just in awe of your awesomeness.

Every one of them eventually went away.

— 5 —

Speaking of blogging, the past few months I’ve gotten way behind on my blog reading. Who are your current favorite reads? Any new voices you recommend I check out?

— 6 —

It came to my attention after I published my last 7 Quick Takes that a few clarifications are needed:

  • My son was not stung in the face twice; it only happened once. It all went down while I was writing my quick takes post that Thursday. Per the scorpion-sighting routine around here, as soon as the event occurred I jumped into action and updated my blog. Then I resumed writing quick takes, but found that I had yet more to say about the matter (mainly, “AAAAAAH! %&$^*#! AAAAAAAH!”), so when that quick takes post was published the next day it gave the incorrect impression that there were two stings.
  • We’re not moving. I know I said, “We’re moving, ” but we’re not moving. In fact, you can safely ignore anything I say in scorpion posts as it pertains to future actions I plan to take to remedy this situation. I occasionally vent my anxiety about being surrounded by venomous arachnids by threatening everything from moving to hiring a live-in exterminator to arson, but I always find these plans to be too logistically difficult to implement.

— 7 —

Only a few weeks until summer! This means that I have three months off from feeling guilty about not homeschooling enough. I can’t wait!



  1. Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    I appreciate the advice on dealing with trolls. I did my most recent posts on my strategies (though I still think the reason I’ve got a mostly calm combox is because a bit of math nerdery a week keeps the blog trolls meek.)

  2. Katie@NFP and Me

    4- That is awesome. I was just trying to think of policy for off color comments for the new site. This may just be it! 🙂

  3. George @ Convert Journal

    Congrats on LOTR! #4 sounds like a good idea, but the OC in me would still go back and ban them and delete the comment (maybe a day or two later). #7 just seems so… improbable.

  4. Leila

    Oh, wow… that bug catcher thing. I spent the last two days watching my boys put fire ants in my tupperware, with crackers to keep them fed while they cooked to death in plastic in the Arizona sun. So timely about those watches…. Interesting.

  5. Myrtle

    I spent the last two days watching my boys put fire ants in my tupperware, with crackers to keep them fed while they cooked to death in plastic in the Arizona sun. Thanks for sharing your great thoughts with us.

  6. Kathleen Basi

    #4 is absolutely hilarious. I’m going to remember that…in case it ever happens to me. (Yeah, right!)

  7. Judy Dudich

    Hmmmm….what about the fact that public television is funded by viewers’ private donations…doesn’t that give some internal right to control what is allowed to air? I disagree with the judge insofar as political ads being different from marketing/commercial ads. They are one in the same, as a political ad is marketing a person/candidate. People who “buy” the product will “pay at the register” with their vote.
    Great job standing up for parents’ responsibilities in educating their children. I would have liked to ask your opponent in the debate why he thinks a back-stabbing, negative, oft-times offensive political ad “educates our children as to the political process”. It’s a fair question; one that he did not address. There is nothing about these ads that accomplishes this other than forcing parents to have to explain that sometimes the political process skewed by politicians who lack good moral character and ethics. Thanks for the heads-up on the bug thing. I’d considered getting a few. I think I’ll stick with watching my kids take my produce-canning jars from my cupboard and ATTACKING the little tin lids with my husband’s screwdriver so as to poke a bajillion air holes in it for “potential residents” and looking, while they’re doing it, like a crazed hacker of some sort.

  8. Amy@Diapeepees

    Don’t feel guilty on the homeschool front…Just consider the bug watch hands-on entomology…intensive 2-month science unit…obviously no time for anything else…you’re building serious scientists.

  9. LPatter

    JEN – and commenters! – #5 –

    Please check out my friend Theresa Martin (yes, same name as St. Therese, first and last!) at:


    She is AWESOME and is starting something powerful with her aim of dialogue within the cultural context. She is just getting started with her blog and book but I am super excited for what’s in store from her.

    SHe is also looking to start some really interesting conversations but needs a range of people to comment and challenge ideas…

    Check her out!

    • Theresa Martin

      Thank you so much!!!

      Hi everyone! I knew my ears were burning for some reason! 😉 YES! Please come one and all and check it out! the New Feminism movement is certainly Rising!

      I received a comment on my blog that someone had blogged and someone had commented and linked my site…long way to get back here! I LOVE it when that happens!

      1st time on this blog…so fabulous! what a magnificent world full of amazing women God has given us!


  10. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    You did great on Fox News!

    Jenny Lawson on blog trolls? Pure awesome.

  11. Anne

    Haha….I read LOTR as Lord of the Rings, thinking you’d made some funny reference to yourself in the movie. Life on the Rock makes sense, duh.

  12. Steph

    That is too funny re:take 4. I was giggling out loud. I think you just have to have a thick skin to post anything publicly anywhere on the Net. Otherwise you’ll spend so much time worrying about such meaningless things.

  13. KyCat

    1 – UGh! I let my kids watch PBS because of the lack of commercials. Political attack ads are worse! I was at my in-laws in Michigan and watched a little Canadian PBS and was AMAZED. They had political infomercials on where representatives for the political party, calmly and politely said this is what we stand for and what we would like to do in office. There was NO mention of the other guy, and no ugly assertions that people who disagreed with their ideas hated their country. It was unlike anything political I’ve ever seen, but I liked. it. THAT, I want my kids to watch.

  14. Andrea

    One of my favorite blogs is Study Hacks: Decoding Patterns of Success. http://calnewport.com/blog/

  15. Grace

    Have been here in a while….nice to see you’re getting around. Thanks for hosting…it’s always a pleasure to visit here.:)

  16. Sarah Webber

    Kimberlee Conway Ireton, a dear friend of mine, is blogging about the efforts of the International Justice Mission and Love 146 to end slavery and the sexual exploitation of children. For every comment on her blog posts, she has pledged $.50 and that money has been matched by a group of us so that for every comment, $10.50 will go to each organization. Our goal is $1000.00, so, please, click on her blog, read about our efforts and, pretty please, leave a comment. And join me in praying for the children who have yet to be rescued. Or contribute your own funds towards these excellent causes. Just because I am currently unable to physically join the forces storming brothels in far away lands and rescuing children who are enslaved doesn’t mean I cannot make a difference in their lives, with your help, and Kim’s, and all of our other readers. So, please, help us. And, Lord Jesus, please hurry the rescuers and make smooth their paths, physically and legally, to save the children you love.

  17. John Henry

    Gotta second Andrea. Study Hacks is awesome. My other new favorite read is artofmanliness.com. Way better than it sounds.

  18. Caitlin

    Great job on Fox News. I really have to wonder if this guy actually believes the things he is saying, or is this an instance of, “I want to spin the results of the court’s decision to make it seem like this is actually positive for children.” Don’t get me wrong, four year olds are fantastic but a child is going to pick up on the tone of the ad as opposed to the content at that age. Exposing a child to an attack ad is hardly a good first exposure to the political process, especially if we want to effect change in the process!

  19. Veronica Mitchell

    Sometimes Jenny Lawson also responds to the trolls and makes them funny. My favorite Bloggess comment response ever was when she got a really, really hateful comment that said “This post is why white @#$% shouldn’t be allowed to breed.”

    And she responded, “Mom?”

    I laughed for days and days. She completely disarmed the hater.

  20. Kara

    #4 is hilarious! That’s genius.

  21. JC

    I suppose that using the trolls’ email to sign them up for internet spam is a little too passive-aggressive, then.

  22. Beth

    You asked for blog suggestions…

    Have you seen Momastery.com yet? My guess is that you probably won’t agree with her 100% of the time, but she is spiritual, funny, and a momma… hope you enjoy.

  23. Jennie

    So cool you were on Fox and Friends! I love that suggestion about what to do with blog trolls. Have a great weekend!

  24. Dwija {House Unseen}

    Dude, I am right there with you on #7. “If I can just get through the next few weeks of not homeschooling I can finally not homeschool for three months!”

  25. Dwija {House Unseen}

    p.s. J.F. gets in the last word on F&F. Wut wut!

  26. Kimberlie

    Drats! As I was reading your post my son saw #2. Now he will relentlessly pester me for his very own “bug watch.” Which means I will have to buy 3-4 of them because I have four kids and I am pretty sure that all but the nearly 11 yr old will fight over it and raise a chorus of “it’s not fair!” if I get only one.

    #4 I don’t have any hater commenters on my blog because I generally don’t have any readers, but if I do get nasty comments someday, I will have to remember this little trick. Clever!

    #7 I can so relate. I am counting down the days until I am no longer a homeschooling mom and just be a mom. Three and a half weeks. Yippee Jesus!

  27. Lianna

    Love the bug watch quick-take, that your children think their entire lives were a “sad, sad joke” before the bug watch! Wonder how long they will be enthralled with the watches?

  28. Mary

    The Bloggess sounds like a lot of my ex-Catholic friends. That kind of talk is old for me – and reminds me of what my husband always says, “I think she doth protest too much.”
    For some reason four letter words sell. It’s a shame.

  29. Julie @ The Corner With A View

    Oh my gosh! I am totally getting one of those bug catchers for the 4 year old I babysit! Too great. Happy Friday!

  30. Missy Rose

    So, since I have two boys I should probably get four bug catcher watches in order to have sanity for at least two hours?

    Thanks for sharing the The Bloggess’ advice about trolls … that’s a great idea.

  31. Lindsay @ Lindsay Loves

    Jen, are you sure you’ve got this numbering right? The week before last was 169, wasn’t it?

  32. Incomplete

    You asked for blogs we like. Father Shane Johnson does a great job at http://fathershane.com/. He takes the “new evangelization” seriously, and follows and answers questions from a number of the tumblr bloggers, many of whom are young people. He also works with a group of Catholic young people on Facebook. He recently started a blog for vocations questions.

    You can learn a lot here. One big thing I’ve noticed about him is how charitable he is in his responses.

  33. suburbancorrespondent

    Thanks for reminding me of why I like summer so much.

    And Jenny is awesome. Almost makes me wish I had blog trolls, just so I could try her method.

  34. Jen G

    I have to recommend the Seraphic Singles blog at seraphicsinglescummings.blogspsot.com. There’s a lot of great advice there for single Catholic women, of all ages!

  35. Jen G

    a small correction!


  36. Christie Martin @ Garden of Holiness

    I love the troll handling. I’ve only had a few so far and all have been blithely unaware of what I actually wrote. Such editing without regard to what the troll actually wrote strikes me as poetic justice.

    P.S. The 9th Circuit and Neal Asbury really want to politicize public television (overtly, that is)? Love how he puts political awareness in the same category of sexual content and violence on TV, as if it were a good thing.

    Some days I wish Centrum would invent a Logic Supplement.

  37. Jessa @ Shalom Sweet Home

    Hi Jen! If you’re looking for something to read, stop by my blog at any time for the adventures of an American Catholic in Jerusalem! Until recently, I hung my hat in Austin like you, but then my husband and I moved to the Holy Land, where I am now the only blonde and the only Christian for miles! It has definitely been an eye-opening experience so far, and I usually document our adventures in a style borrowed from 7 Quick Takes. Come stop by, and since I’m still pretty new to blogging, any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

  38. Alfred Stinson

    Wonderful takes. I love the points you picked out here, and the video was very nice as well.



  39. LPatter

    One more blog suggestion:

    Catholic Fried Rice: catholicfriedrice.blogspot.com

    I am super proud of this kid (ok 20-something) who I knew back when I was a college campus minister – he just hosted a super-courageous discussion with almost 50 men on the topic of pornography (see 4/26) – but his post for today is great too.

    So refreshing! 🙂

  40. Catholic Grammie

    Okay Jen – one of my favorite reads:


    She always brings joy into my world – very proud of my daughter who is doing a year of volunteer work. Check her out!

  41. GeekLady

    …you do realize eventually a boy will put a scorpion in his bug watch, right?

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